Boys on the Side
She was sleeping, drifting in and out of consciousness. Fragmented nightmares about Daphne were plaguing her. Willow didn’t know if she was recalling what happened or her mind was inventing horrors.Everyone's starting to wonder about you. The real you. If they find out, they'll punish you. I... I can't help you with that.
Willow jerked awake. “Tara!”
Someone was knocking on her door. Willow rubbed a hand over her face and rolled out of her bed.
“Willow? Are you all right?”
She opened the door. “Angel?”
“Are you okay? I thought I heard you shouting. If this is a bad time-”
“No, come in,” Willow said, opening the door for him.
“So I guess you’re allowed to have boys in your room now,” Angel joked.
Willow grinned at him. She was instantly transported back in time to the first time she had ever invited Angel into her room back when she was a junior in high school. He was having her check out someone from Buffy’s past that he was suspicious and jealous of.
“Willow, if you need to talk... about the nightmare or anything...”
“So I guess you heard.”
“Giles and I do still keep in touch. Especially after LA. I worry about you.”
“I’m doing a pretty good job about not thinking too hard on the fact that my girlfriend drugged me, stole my blood and all of that caused me to lose control of my dark side.”
“And now you’re picking up the pieces and trying to find out who you are now,” Angel said.
Willow gave him a look.
“Kind of been there. Only my rehab happened in a hell dimension, so if you need to talk...”
Willow nodded. She moved towards where he table and chairs were. She closed the curtains then gestured to one of the chairs.
“You thirsty? I had the house elves pick up some things from the butcher for you and Spike. I can just call one.”
“Thanks. I ate earlier. We appreciate you going to the trouble,” he said as he sat.
“You want anything to eat? I know you don’t need it, but Spike has this texture thing, and I thought maybe you might have one too, you know?”
He laughed. He knew what all she had done, but she was always going to be WIllow to him. He knew she had power. The fact that his soul was with him proved that, but there would always be something sweet in her - no matter how dark her darkness got. There would always be something delicate to Willow.
“I’m good, thanks.”
Willow rang a little bell and instantly a house elf popped in next to her.
“Hello, Panky, could you please bring me some chamomile tea?”
“Yes, Misses Willow.”
Angel gave Willow a look.
“It’s what they do. Their whole function in life is to serve. They’re happiest when serving, so I give them little things to do sometimes. I figure it’s better than me doing it with magic which used to be my go-to not too long ago.”
It was quiet for a moment.
“So... you didn’t just happen by on the off chance I was having a nightmare, did you? What’s going on, Angel?”
Angel sighed and shifted. “That Theo guy.”
Willow raised an eyebrow.
“I know. All right, I know. I’m not the most objective when it comes to Buffy having other boyfriends. Believe me I know this, but I just want to make sure he’s, you know, a good guy.”
“Theo’s a really good guy, Angel. He really likes Buffy, and she really likes him.”
“I was afraid you’d say that.”
Willow slid her hand across the table and covered his cold one with her warm one. “You’re always gonna mean something to Buffy, you know that, right? Maybe not what you want to mean to her, but that’s how life works out. Look at me, I’m right down the hall from my first true love, and it took us a long time to get here, but Oz and I are friends.”
She wasn’t going to tell him that Oz wanted more, but she couldn’t give it to him anymore.
“But I don’t want...”
“To be her friend. I know. I don’t really want to be Oz’s just friend either sometimes. What happened to Nina?”
“I’m still seeing her, but... it’s not... it isn’t like...”
“Well, I hope not. I don’t want to be called out to LA to resoul you again.”
“No, I mean... I just...”
“She still loves you, but she’s not in love with you anymore, Angel. There’s this part of her that you will always have, and maybe things will be different in the future... and maybe they won’t, but there’s one thing my experiences have taught me - you can’t go back. Only forward.”
“I’m not saying it’s been easy. When we found out Theo was a necromancer, things were rough. I didn’t know if he and Buffy would get past that, but they did. There was even a time not too long ago before Theo that I thought she was gonna hook up with Draco, but that didn’t happen. I think she’s happy with Theo.”
“No, you know it, and you’re trying to let me down easy.”
Willow made a face.
“I know you’re connected to the slayers because of the scythe,” Angel said. “And a part of me is even jealous of you for that. You know more of Buffy than I ever could. Faith also told me that every time she gets hurt, you know it almost instantly and there’s a whole ocean between you.”
She didn’t think the time was appropriate to tell him her connection with the slayers wwas damaged, either.
“That doesn’t mean I know Buffy better than you, Angel. I just know her in a different way. Faith did a dream walk with you when you got your soul back the last time. She knows you in a way Buffy never will. Should Buffy be jealous of that? Should she be jealous of Nina?”
“I don’t want Buffy to be jealous.”
“And I’m sure she doesn’t want you to be either,” Willow said.
Panky brought her tea then. It was silent while Willow poured, both of them thinking.
“Look, there’s something I want to ask you, but if you don’t want to, I’ll understand. I... I moved Jenny and Joyce and Tara here when we settled. Well, had them moved. You know this because you had them out in LA for a time just in case. I was wondering if... um if...”
“I’d like to move Cordy and Wes here.”
“How did you...”
“They were your friends too. I’ll consider it. I know they’ll be taken care of here. I need to talk to Gunn about this, though.”
“Of course,” Willow said. “You know next time you visit, you could bring him and Nina. Maybe even Connor.”
“Connor’s busy with school.”
“So’s Dawn, and she still manages to visit.”
“All right. I’ll consider it.”
“You and Spike got to glare at Theo and try to make him nervous. The least you can do is let Buffy do the same with Nina.”
“So you let Oz growl at your new girlfriends?”
“After this last one, I’m thinking I might go back to having boyfriends for a while. You think Spike would go for it?”
Angel made a face.
“What? He’s pretty.”
“He’s also Spike, in case you haven’t noticed.”
“You know he’s thought about biting me. He wanted to turn me into a vampire.”
“Oh who hasn’t thought about biting you?”
Willow raised her brows.
“What? Like you didn’t know,” Angel said. “I considered it a lot when I was evil. In fact, I was all set to do it once, but Spike talked me out of it. Now I’m thinking it was because he wanted to do it himself. I know he tried to bite you when he was chipped. Buffy told me.”
“He also threatened to put a bottle through my face once, but I like to think we’ve built a better relationship since then.”