Seeing is Believing


ficpic_seeingisbelieving


Angel’s secret relationship with Cordelia is discovered when Willow catches them on film.

  • CONTENTS:   C/A in BtVS
  • RATING:   NC17
  • LENGTH:   Short Story / 12,000
  • STATUS:   Complete
  • CHALLENGE CREDIT:   Gilly / Challenge #8 AO’s ‘Lysa Says: Challenge Me’ thread.
  • FICPIC CREDIT:   Lysa

Well, holy cow! That was clever.

Good plotting, good pacing, great dialogue, and especially the way to bring the funny.

– Nickle –


Seeing is Believing

Willow waited patiently while Giles closed up the book cage. He’d locked away the red amulet they’d taken from the demon Buffy defeated tonight. The demon was a magic-user in addition to being extremely ugly and now dead. Having tried out a little magic of her own, Willow had been so excited when one of her spells distracted the creature that she’d gone and tripped over a gnarly tree root, twisting her ankle.

“Who put that tree there?” she’d frowned at the knobby wooden root. Then glaring at the demon who had just blasted them all with a bright flash of light from his glittery red amulet, Willow figured it was to blame.

Buffy knocked the demon to the ground, “It’s just an oak, don’t blame this bloke.” Surprised at her own words, she blinked twice upon saying it, but continued to fight.

“Amusing, Buffy,” drolled Giles sarcastically. “Focus on your technique not on making derisive quips that mock me. Bloke isn’t even proper English.”

To be honest, Willow wasn’t certain what everyone else was doing during the fight as Buffy seemed to have it covered. If the amulet had done anything, no one else seemed to notice. Giles explained that it might simply have been a botched spell and Willow didn’t feel like arguing the case.

With the demon dispatched, they were all deciding what to do next. Xander claimed that he was starving and Buffy quickly piped up that she had her usual post-patrol snack attack. Cordelia offered them a ride to Main Street where the pizza parlor was still open.

Willow’s ankle was throbbing too much to enjoy pizza and so the Watcher promised her a ride back to her house, but as it was a ways back to the library, Angel had to carry her all the way back to the school to get to Giles’ car.

That was a little thrill-ride all in itself, Willow admitted. Though sometimes, Angel still scared her a little despite being good again. He’d made an effort to build up a trust with the group, but Willow found it hard to unconditionally accept him back on patrols after everything that had happened.

Especially now that Angel was technically no longer Buffy’s boyfriend.

Frankly, Willow didn’t see the break up lasting long. Not with Buffy inviting him to come along on patrols this way and keeping him involved in the research side of things as well. She said it was all about being mature about things, but Willow was not quite convinced Buffy was entirely over the vampire.

Angel was the least of Willow’s recent worries. Though Cordelia had offered to give her a ride home after dropping Buffy and Xander off, Willow had made up an excuse to wait around for Giles. She could tell the brunette didn’t believe her; Cordy was too sharp for that, but for once she actually let it slide.

After the whole kissing Xander fiasco and the accident that followed, Willow wasn’t even certain why Cordelia Chase wanted to keep her role as Bait Girl for the Scooby Gang. She’d gotten over Xander faster than a short-order cook could flip a pancake. He’d been so grateful that Cordelia was alive after her fall onto that rebar that he eagerly accepted friendship in lieu of their boyfriend-girlfriend status.

Willow blamed herself for all of it and was just grateful that Oz somehow managed to forgive her for kissing Xander and that Cordelia came out of it okay. Oz was away for the weekend with Dingoes Ate My Baby, so he hadn’t been on patrol. Otherwise, she would have snapped at the chance to ride home with him rather than make Giles do it.

Almost as soon as they arrived at the library, Angel had done one of his patented vanishing acts. One minute he was there and the next he’d disappeared without a word. Willow was kinda glad because she really didn’t know what to say to the vampire. And when she didn’t know what to say, she usually ended up saying things that just seemed to leak randomly from her brain to fill in the void of silence.

“All locked up?” Willow perked up at the sight of Giles pocketing the keys to the book cage.

“Yes,” Giles told her as he moved to help her to her feet. “Until we have time to do proper research on its properties, I’d rather keep the amulet than simply destroy it. One never knows when these mystical devices may come in handy.”

 


Angel leapt over the security gates at the Chase Mansion with a burst of speed and dexterity. Crossing the lawn in shadows, he made his way to the poolside where he stood for a long while just staring up at Cordelia’s balcony.

Though their relationship was still very new, it remained a secret between the two of them, something that continued to bother the vampire. Cordelia wanted it that way.

“Our little circle friends has a black cloud when it comes to love,” Cordelia had claimed and he could deny her nothing.

She didn’t want their love tainted by the others finding out about them. Not quite yet. Angel had to admit to himself that keeping this from everyone might not be the way he wanted it, but having Cor all to himself was also a helluva turn-on. Cordelia was far more to him than just a secret lover; he wasn’t quite certain just what they meant to each other at this point, but it was far more than just physical.

All those stolen moments out on patrol with the others near, but completely in the dark brought a smirk to his lips. Just the little looks and stolen touches they shared that no one else noticed added an edge of danger and the thrill that they might be discovered. Cordelia was delectable bait, but it hadn’t been her beauty that caught his heart in the natural trap of her allure; it was a single moment of vulnerability she had allowed him to see.

Angel never knew what drew him to the hospital to see her that evening after her accident. He’d just gone.

Having had time to think about it, Angel figured it had to be about Buffy. Most things were all about Buffy back then. He’d been feeling sorry for himself and instead of brooding about it in the dark shell of the mansion, sought out the one person who had a reason to feel worse: Cordelia.

Strangely, Spike’s arrival in Sunnydale had been the catalyst for broken hearts and broken relationships. In retrospect, ending it with Buffy had been the best thing for both of them. Though Angel cared for her still, the passionate feelings they had once shared weren’t deep enough to carry them beyond the Acathla experience.

He’d been willing to try to put it behind them, but in the end, it was Buffy’s decision.

“I’m not coming back. We’re not friends. We never were,” she’d said. “And I can fool Giles, and I can fool my friends, but I can’t fool myself. Or Spike, for some reason. What I want from you I can never have. You don’t need me to take care of you anymore. So I’m gonna go.”

Angel hadn’t stopped her. He knew the curse was no longer an issue, but he couldn’t give Buffy what she wanted. What’s more, she was right. They’d never been friends.

Her words had sparked something within him about the importance of friendship. It was something he hadn’t seen much of during his undead life. There had been some form of companionship with Darla, Dru and Spike. Though calling Spike a friend was like calling a sharp pain in the ass just a tingly feeling, the word really didn’t apply. His thoughts had turned to Cordelia Chase hospitalized after the rebar incident and her resulting breakup with Xander.

Maybe it was partly that he wasn’t ready to be alone again. It might have been a simple desire to see that she was okay. Though he’d purposefully distanced himself from her in the past, Angel followed the instincts that urged him to go see her. There was a vulnerability in Cordelia’s eyes as he looked at her in that hospital bed, one he had never seen before and he realized they now had something in common.

They’d become a source of strength for each other, friends, though keeping their visitations secret. Just between them. Cordelia made peace with Xander. Angel let Buffy know he’d still be there to help her with the Hellmouth, surprised that she actually asked him to stay. Slowly, they’d both crept back into the sphere of the Slayer, her Watcher and the Scooby Gang.

Only recently had things taken an intimate turn with them. Their first kiss was pure accident, surprising the hell out of them both. The second came out of curiosity. Not the third. Angel remembered that kiss and his body stirred just thinking about its blinding passion. She’d given him her innocence and he’d pledged to himself that this time things would be different. There was so much about his relationship with Cordelia that made him all the more certain that he’d been totally wrong for Buffy and she for him.

After that first time, he’d told Cordelia they were going to take things slow. He wanted to know her and for her to understand just who and what he was before they continued with such intimacy. Because having her again would only feed his demon’s natural obsessions. It might already be too late because he wasn’t certain he ever wanted to give her up.

Climbing up to Cordelia’s balcony where the French doors were unlocked, he walked right in. Clearing his throat, he tried not to sneak up on her, knowing that she hated him popping out of nowhere. She’d been standing at her dresser, brushing out her gorgeous hair and automatically looked into the mirror upon hearing his voice.

Only her own reflection greeted her and Cordelia turned, a huge smile brightening her features. “Long time no see. Must be an hour tops.”

After a long, weighty pause, Angel let his fingers wander over her face, placing a soft kiss at the corner of her mouth before admitting, “Missed you.”

 


A Week Later, Friday Morning

Skittering over to the open office door, Willow poked her head in and focused on the Englishman sitting at his desk pouring over an old tome. This was far more important than trying to find information on that amulet now gathering dust in the weapon’s cabinet.

“Giles, we have a poltergeist,” Willow blurted the news.

Buffy’s ears perked up with interest, “A ghosty with the mosty?” Having just entered the library with her two best friends, Buffy glanced around and saw nothing strange.

Getting up out of the chair he’d just settled into ten minutes before, Giles took a look out the door into the main room. All seemed quiet. “The library doesn’t appear to be haunted, Willow. No one has died in here…recently.”

“Stuff keeps getting moved,” Willow complained as she walked towards the table. “I left research materials out there, but then I found the books on the floor.”

Trying not to snigger at his friend’s theory, Xander simply announced to the group, “We should ban all research until we get to the bottom of this.”

“No such luck,” Giles lifted a brow, his closed mouth twisting at one corner. Honestly, he hadn’t noticed anything when he came in having gone straight into the office. “There is a simple explanation for this. I’m certain paranormal activity has nothing to do with it. This is a school library. People are in and out of here all day long.”

Willow bumped into Buffy after she bent over to pick up the books. “Uh…sorry.” Then turning, she moved to place them on the table, managing to step on Xander’s foot as she moved out of the way. “Bigfoot!” Mumbling, Willow finally set the books back on the table and carefully turned to face Giles again. Asking, “What about nighttime? We’re the last ones to leave and the first ones here every morning.”

The Watcher slowly pulled his glasses off, taking a moment to tap the tip against his mouth as he pondered her words. “You have a point there.”

“Maybe we should do a spectral analysis,” Willow suggested almost eagerly. The idea of a ghost was kind of fascinating.

“Ghost slayage…how would we do that?” asked Buffy of Giles who looked back at her with a frown.

Xander suddenly sounded enthusiastic, “Can we have an exorcism?”

Sighing, Giles popped his glasses back on the bridge of his nose. “Try looking for your ‘ghost’ with more conventional methods before we call for the experts.”

“Ghostbusters?” asked Xander.

Clenching his jaw closed, Giles walked back into his office to continue his research.

“I don’t think he believes me,” Willow’s bottom lip poked out in a pout. “Giles doesn’t believe me. I just know I left those books on the table. I wouldn’t put them on the floor or leave papers all over the place. And that chair was knocked over.”

Supporting her friend, Buffy agreed, “Something or someone was here. We could stake out the library. Set a trap and watch to see what happens.”

Buffy figured the culprit was probably someone she could get her hands on, maybe a prankster. But she wanted to be supportive of Willow’s theory. “No worries, Willow. We’ll toast that ghost.”

“Guess so,” Willow looked a little disappointed that Giles hadn’t been more serious about her ghost theory. She wasn’t so closed-minded as to think it might be the only possibility. One way or the other, Willow was determined to find out who was behind these library capers. Better to cover all the bases. “A stakeout sounds good to me.”

Rubbing his hands together, Xander grinned, “Cool. Can we bring pizza?”

 


On her lunch break, Willow went to one of the payphones in the student lounge. She’d been thinking about this problem all morning and finally come up with a solution that would give her the proof she needed one way or the other. If this wasn’t a ghost, then she wanted hard evidence to prove the culprit guilty.

After dialing a number, she heard a familiar female voice on the other end of the line. “Rosenberg Electronics, how may I help you?”

Willow whispered despite being alone and far out of the hearing range of her friends. “Clara? It’s me, Willow. Is Uncle Hershel around? I need a favor for school.”

 


Friday Night

Cordelia appeared dressed to kill as she sailed through the library doors, her hair bouncing around her shoulders in long waves. To the group gathered there in jeans and t-shirts, it was obvious that the cheerleader had arrived under protest. “Why am I here again? There’s a really hot band playing at the Bronze tonight.”

“Stakeout,” Xander explained the reason they’d called. He hadn’t given her details on the phone, just told her they needed help.

Arms akimbo, she stared at her ex with a look of disbelief. Since they appeared to be setting up camp in various sections of the room, Cordelia let out a soft pfft, “Of the library? Don’t we spend enough time here as it is?”

“We have a ghost,” Willow told her as she deliberately set out papers and books on the main table.

A laugh burst from Cordelia at the news. Then seeing the redhead’s serious expression, she tried to ask for details on this supposed specter. “As in ‘They’re heeeeere!’ or the I-want-my-own-ghost-Patrick Swayze variety?

Buffy giggled at the thought of having Patrick Swayze hanging around the library. No such luck. Reminding Cordelia, “Hellmouth Central here.”

“Yeah,” Cordelia snorted, “so our ghost is not of the hot and hunky.”

The words suddenly made her think of her own hot and hunky guy. A warm feeling spread throughout her chest, rising up to her cheeks and Cordelia hoped the others didn’t notice that her skin was flushed. Just the thought of Angel made her tingle and melt in want. Those large skillful hands touching her in all the right places; his hard male body pressed to hers; the kisses that drove her wild; and just the way that he looked into her eyes all made Cordelia tremble at the thought of being with him.

“You okay, Cor?” asked Xander with a frown. “Maybe you should just go on over to the Bronze. Or just go home. We can handle this.”

“Go on,” Buffy encouraged her. It hadn’t been her idea to invite Cordelia in the first place. “We don’t need your kind of bait for our ghost tonight. Besides…Angel will be here later just in case there’s a fight.”

The blonde Slayer frowned at her words and then shrugged. It wasn’t her plan to make her words rhyme, but lately she was doing it all of the time. She was too busy thinking about it to notice Cordelia’s reaction to the mention of the vampire’s plan to show up.

Cordelia’s heart was fluttering fast. She’d hoped Angel might come by the Bronze, but the truth was that the club wasn’t exactly his scene. The band would’ve been fun, but suddenly she didn’t feel like leaving. The thought instantly bothered her.

What was she thinking? I’m volunteering to hang here for a lame stakeout of the library when I could be dancing at the Bronze. Crap! It’s happening again. Get out of here, Cor. Get out before Angel shows up.

Backing toward the door, Cordelia tried to make her escape. She didn’t understand the reason, but this wasn’t the first time she’d gotten this feeling. It was just that the others were never around when it happened. Only Angel.

“Going somewhere?” Angel’s voice suddenly sounded behind her.

With a yelp of surprise, Cordelia whirled around. “Skulk much, Angel? Geez, will someone please buy the vamp a bell,” she pleaded loudly even as her eyes hungrily looked their fill.

Angel brushed passed her, noting her flushed skin and the sparkle in her eyes. Her heart was hammering in her chest, though that might have been the shock of his surprise entry into the library. As he moved by, he trailed a finger across the back of her hand. Cordelia trembled at that slight touch.

“Anything interesting tonight?” The vampire had no idea of their mission. He’d just come at the usual time and hoped to make a quick round before heading off to the Bronze to find Cordelia. This was Friday night and it had surprised him to find her here of all places.

“We’re ghost hunting,” Willow volunteered the information. “We have a poltergeist.”

After a long silent pause, Angel met Cordelia’s gaze as she settled against the table, leaning back with her hands pressing flat and her legs stretched out before her. “A ghost? Here in the library. Interesting theory, Willow.”

The young witch immediately dived into an explanation of the many reasons for her suspicions. Listening patiently, Angel shoved his hands in his pants pockets and let her talk uninterrupted. While he kept his ears open, his thoughts were all focused on Cordelia.

He didn’t have to look her way; her presence alone filled the room, an intoxicating mix of scents and sounds that made his body react instantly. In that dress— why did it have to be red— she was intoxicating, beautiful, irresistible, but he’d just as soon see it on the floor. The thought of what might be underneath it was a tantalizing notion.

“So that’s why we’re here,” Willow finished up. When the vampire didn’t immediately comment, she waved a hand in front of his face, accidentally hitting him on the chin.

Angel glanced down at the horrified teenager who immediately started to apologize for the accident. “Sorry, Angel. I’m really sorry.”

“I’ve been hit a little harder than that before, Willow,” he chuckled and the redhead stared back at the smile on his face as if she’d never seen him do that before. “It’s okay, really.”

“Sheesh! Can we get this stakeout started?” Cordelia asked just wanting someone to give her assignment that would take her mind off Angel for a few minutes.

The evening felt like an eternity of torture. Not only was it the most boring night they had all had in ages, there was no sign of a ghost or other prankster making an appearance. Finally, after midnight had come and gone and Xander had eaten the last of the pizza, cheese-flavored popcorn and chocolate YooHoo he had brought for the group, they decided to call it a night.

For the first time in hours, Buffy spoke louder than the whispering they had kept too. “Let’s roam home. I-I mean we should call it quits for the night. We can come back tomorrow to see if things are alright.”

A little whine sounded as Buffy listened to what was coming out of her mouth. These rhymes were starting to get to her. She caught the look Angel sent her way, one full of confusion, as if he wasn’t certain if she was serious or trying to make a joke.

Willow shuffled tiredly over to Giles’ office for a couple of minutes, grumbling that she was going to catch her ghost one way or the other. When she reappeared, the group was ready to leave having gathered their things.

Cordelia sighed in relief as they headed to the door. It was better in a crowd. Feet all moving in one direction. One step after the other. She focused on the door, on the way out and not on Angel.

“I made it,” she sounded surprised as she stepped out into the hall.

Putting an arm around her in friendly fashion, Xander quipped, “Eight hours without a mirror. That must be some kind of record. Must’ve been a bore not being able to check your makeup every ten minutes.”

Actually, Cordelia had been too busy stealing glances at Angel. Their assigned hiding places were almost directly across from each other and if they sat just so the others couldn’t see them. He made love to her with his eyes. Just looking. That intense and unblinking stare.

There was no doubting what Angel was thinking, not the way his hungry eyes ate at hers. She squirmed under that gaze, her body reacting as if he’d touched her with his hands. Had he undressed her in the deep, dark realm of his imagination as she had done to him tonight? Cordelia had lost count of the number of times when the urge to sneak over to his hiding place had hit with a blinding force. Each time, she beat it back and held on to her senses.

Barely.

What was it between them lately? They’d started out as friends. Angel was being so patient with her when it came to their romance, to making love. In fact, he had far more patience than she, often being the one to slow things down. He had an iron control that balanced out Cordelia’s energetic enthusiasm, but things had been so different this past week.

Neither one of them seemed to have control.

Cordelia offered her friends a ride, noting that Angel was not amongst the group. She wanted to get out of here, to get home, but for once, she really wanted their company. Just to play it safe.

“Nah!” Buffy stretched her arms over her head. “We’ve been cramped up all night. I’ll just walk home. It’s only a couple of miles.”

After that, Cordelia knew that Xander and Willow would follow. “Goodnight, then.”

The trio waved their goodbyes and Cordelia stood by her car as she watched them go. Once they had turned the corner, she pressed the button on her key ring to pop the door locks. Gripping the door handle, Cordelia couldn’t seem to will her hand to open it up. She felt that same pull that had brought here last night and the night before that and the night before that and every night for the past week.

There was no choice but to obey that urge.

Turning, she headed straight into the school. Cordelia lifted a hand to the library door and pushed it open. With a resolved sigh, she stepped through, her hazel eyes sweeping around the room. A voice sounded from the shadows, causing her to jump even though she expected him to be here.

“Looking for me?” Angel asked stepping forward to wind his arms around her back to front and pulling her into his strong embrace. Kissing her temple, he said, “Tonight is the last time, Cordelia. We have to stop this.”

“I know,” she turned in his arms, a cry on her lips just before he crushed them with his own.

 


Saturday Morning

Even though she’d had a late night, Willow entered the library early the next day, eager to discover whether her ghost had been active during the rest of the night. It only made sense that a ghost might know they’d been staking out the library and purposefully stayed away.

“Ah hah!” She was grinning like mad upon seeing the notes she had so carefully laid out on the table spread all over the floor. That wasn’t the only thing looking messy. A jar of pencils on the countertop was knocked over and some books were on the floor near the shelves. “Gotcha!”

Heading into Giles’ office, Willow grabbed the VCR tape out of the wireless recorder, the spy cam device she’d borrowed from her Uncle Hershel. Designed specifically for home security, the system included a motion sensitive camera with a wireless VCR relay device. Willow had set up the VCR and transceiver prior to them leaving last night figuring to catch their ghost in the act.

The others couldn’t deny the truth if they saw it all on film.

She hadn’t set up a video monitor here in the office and the A/V room was currently locked up tight. So Willow planned to head home and watch it there. Since the small camera was motion-sensitive, she wasn’t quite certain what it would pick up, but hoped that the evidence of her poltergeist would be on the tape.

Walking home, a perky hop in her step, Willow ran into Buffy and Xander. “Our ghost struck again last night. Got it all on tape. Uncle Hersh let me borrow a wireless video system. Wanna watch?”

“I can’t,” Buffy pouted, then revealing, “More training.”

“Again?” Even Willow looked a little surprised. Giles hadn’t let up on the Slayer for a week now. Day after day he was focusing on some new technique she needed to learn.

The blonde nodded woefully, “Yup! I’d much rather watch movies with you.”

“I’ll go,” Xander volunteered. The thought of going to the library and helping Buffy with her training session was always inviting, but it also made him think of food. As far as he knew, there wasn’t any stashed away in Giles’ office, but the Rosenberg refrigerator was always full.

Walking past Xander’s house on the way, he noticed a familiar car in the driveway. “Walk faster. Uncle Rory’s visiting.”

They hadn’t gone five feet before his mother appeared on the porch. “Xander Lavelle Harris, I thought I told you to stick around today. Your uncle is here and you know he likes to see you.”

Xander shared a look with Willow that suggested it was not his idea of fun. That was why he’d escaped before anyone noticed and headed over to Buffy’s house. With a sympathetic smile, Willow told him, “Sorry, Xander. I’ll watch the tape and let you know if there’s anything interesting on it.”

“Can we trade uncles one of these days?” Xander asked not for the first time. “Yours gives out computer games and gizmos for your birthday. Last year, Uncle Rory gave me a stuffed squirrel he ran over with his car.”

A large-eyed stare of sympathy followed. The taxidermist apparently liked his gifts to be personal. “Think of it this way. When you get your first apartment, you won’t have any problem decorating. You’ll have your very own Wild Kingdom.”

She was giggling now, unable to hide her amusement at the idea of a giant moose head hanging over Xander’s bed. “Thanks for that, Will. Go home now before Uncle Rory hears you and gets any ideas.”

Reaching her house just a block away, Willow realized immediately that her parents had already gone out for the day. They’d said something about shopping and wanted to get to the mall before it got crowded. Kinda hard to explain why she was watching a video tape of the school library without going into details. While Uncle Hershel had given her the VCR command pack without question, even he would find her reasons a little odd.

Deciding to get comfortable before getting started, Willow popped some popcorn in lieu of having breakfast. Popcorn was better for movies, anyway, and this was kind of a movie. She grabbed a soda from the fridge and headed back into the living room to watch the video.

Setting down on the couch, Willow turned the television on and pressed the play button. The camera, designed to pick up movement immediately focused on their group as everyone gathered their belongings in preparation for leaving the library. Expecting this, Willow sat back and waited for everyone to leave. Once the doors were closed, she knew that the camera would shut off and then only pick up again at the first movement her ghostly intruder made.

The scene flashed as the camera swept to the library doors. Willow didn’t expect her ghost would come in that way, but maybe it had been hanging out in the principle’s office or something. It sounded like a good place for a high school poltergeist to cause trouble.

“Cordelia?” Disappointment sounded in Willow’s voice as the brunette walked back into the library. She was obviously trying to find something. “Forget your car keys?”

The camera caught a movement from the shadows behind Cordelia. It was Angel, she realized, who had apparently never left. “Looking for me?”

Puzzled, Willow munched on the popcorn and watched the screen, thinking all the while that she wished they’d get out of there so her ghost would show up. And why would Cordelia come back looking for Angel? It’s not like he ever took her up on the offer of a ride home. Almost as soon as he posed the question, Angel’s arms encircled Cordelia from behind and his lips tenderly kissed her temple.

Willow’s mouth fell open, popcorn dropping to her lap as her eyes fixated on the screen. “Wha—huh?” What the whosiwhatsis is going on here?

“Tonight is the last time, Cordelia,” the vampire’s words suggested this wasn’t the first time they’d met like this. Though he wasn’t too happy about it, apparently, “We have to stop this.”

“I know,” Cordelia’s answering cry was almost desperate as she whirled around in Angel’s arms, her own looping around his neck. Then their mouths came together in the hottest on-screen kiss Willow had ever seen.

Leaping off the couch, Willow pressed the pause button on the remote, staring at the television as if the action might cause the evidence before her to vanish from the screen. “That’s…this is… so not what they…I mean…gosh! Eep! That’s Angel. Angel is kissing Cordelia. Cordelia is kissing Angel.”

Pacing in front of the television, Willow threw her hands over her head, then grabbed onto the ends of her short red hair and tugged just to see if she’d wake up from this strange dream. No such luck. Peeking back at the TV, she saw that the scene had not changed.

“Think, Willow, think!” The frantic pacing led her straight to the telephone. It was in her hand and Giles’ office number dialed before she actually did some of the thinking she was trying to focus on.

Giles’ voice came on the other end after the first three rings, “Rupert Giles, here.”

Hyperventilating just a little, Willow was gaspy as she tried to talk. “Giles. Hi. Buffy. Now.”

“Buffy can’t come to the phone right now, Willow,” Giles told her, sounding a little distracted himself. Then his voice came from a distance, as if he was holding the phone away from his mouth and actually addressing Buffy. “Do try that spin kick again. You wouldn’t surprise a two-year old with that move.”

Willow knew that Giles didn’t like their training sessions interrupted. Since this wasn’t exactly a subject Buffy would want her Watcher involved with, Willow wasn’t about to leave him a detailed messagge. He’d never liked the fact that Angel was Buffy’s boyfriend in the first place, much less after the vampire turned evil and tortured him while trying to suck the world into hell. Only because Buffy had argued his case upon Angel’s return did Giles reluctantly accept him back into their sphere.

“Giles? Giles, are you there?” Willow called out trying not to whimper into the phone. “I-I need to talk to Buffy.”

“Later, Willow. Not until she gets this right,” Giles was adamant. “What’s the rush?”

Hemming and hawing a little, Willow finally told him, “Oh, I’m just reviewing the video I made of the library last night. She wanted to watch it with me.”

A disinterested hum sounded from the Englishman. He was clearly keeping an eye on the Slayer as she went through her moves in the middle of the library while talking to Willow at the same time. “Any exciting discoveries? Was it a poltergeist or just the janitor’s cat?”

Cat? They hadn’t even thought of that one. “Umm. Discoveries?” her voice reached a high peak squeaking in response. “One or two maybe.”

“Good, that’s good,” Giles was clearly not listening now.

Giving up, Willow simply told Giles to have Buffy call her during her first break. That might be hours, she knew. Hanging up the phone, Willow nibbled at her lower lip, sucking it into her mouth and staring at the image frozen on the television screen.

There was always the possibility that Cordelia and Angel would leave in a minute and she’d still find evidence of her ghostly perpetrator. Okay, so maybe she wasn’t dumb enough to believe that one. Angel himself had indicated this wasn’t the first time that they had been there.

Curiosity burned in the pit of Willow’s stomach. What were Angel and Cordelia doing at the library…together…and kissing? She had no idea, none at all that they had ever gotten that close. Wondering if there might be some other clue as to this shocking development’s origins, Willow lifted the remote and pointed it in the direction of the VCR.

Her shaky finger pressed the play button.

The passionate clinch lasted several more seconds and Willow could feel fire shooting up to her cheeks. Even her ears burned with a combination of embarrassment and… something else that couldn’t possibly be excitement. That wouldn’t be right. Not at all.

“Oh, geez, I’ve wanted to kiss you for hours,” Cordelia admitted, smoothing her hands over the lapels of Angel’s leather jacket and then slipping beneath to rub along the contour of muscles covered only by his soft black sweater.

Watching, Willow’s whole body shivered at the way the vampire was looking down at Cordelia, like he wanted to gobble her up with kisses, his arousal obvious even to one inexperienced in taking note of the signs. Angel’s voice dropped an octave lower than normal, “Just to kiss me? I’ve been thinking about other things, too.”

“Other things?” Willow found herself asking the question even as the words came out of Cordelia’s mouth. She dropped the remote onto the couch beside her and slowly reached for the bowl of popcorn, setting it on her lap.

“Making love to you,” Angel’s mouth curled up into a sensual smile, his hand tracing Cordelia’s face as he said it.

Gaping at the screen again, Willow was on the edge of her seat waiting to hear what he was going to say next.

“Lucky thing you were on the other side of the room all evening,” he added with a self-derisive tone, “otherwise it would have been impossible to keep my hands off of you.”

Cordelia’s hands were doing a little wandering right now as she asked, “Even with the others around?”

Scoffing at the thought, “I barely noticed they were there. All I could think about was you.”

Frowning at the vampire’s admission, Willow didn’t know what to think about it. Even though he was no longer Buffy’s boyfriend… officially, there had to be an unwritten rule that friends kept their hands off other friend’s boyfriends. Just as soon as the idea came to her, Willow thought about kissing Xander and getting caught in the act by Cordelia and Oz.

“So I’m not one to talk,” Willow pouted. She was so busy grousing about the fact that she almost missed what came next.

“Why does this happen, Angel? Whenever we’re here, I can’t get you out of my head. I want you so much,” Cordelia tried to step away, but his hand captured hers, his thumb circling the back of her hand.

Shaking his head, Angel reluctantly admitted, “I don’t know the reason.” Then setting her at arms length, “You should try to go home. Get out while you can. Before we…”

“I tried to leave,” Cordelia pleaded for understanding, “but I couldn’t. Not without seeing you again.”

“Same here.”

They couldn’t leave? Willow made a little face at the television. From the look of those smoochies, she was almost certain she’d find it hard to go away without them too. Couldn’t blame Cordelia for racing back to get them.

Angel’s voice dipped low, determination sounding in every syllable, “Shall we try for the door again? You know what will happen if we stay.”

Clueless, Willow grabbed a handful of popcorn and started tossing one kernel at a time into her mouth.

“Home is better. When we want. How we want,” Cordelia nodded her consent to the idea. “Let’s go. Now. Before it’s too late.”

Willow barely had time to ask herself, Too late for what? With a burst of speed and strength, Angel swept Cordelia into his arms and shot out of camera range, his movements too fast for the motion-sensitive device to keep up. After a moment, it zoomed back toward the library doors where the vampire had stopped, and holding Cordelia, was now kissing her again as if it was the only thing on his mind.

This was weird, Willow concluded, her curiosity growing by leaps and bounds. It was no longer just a reaction to the fact that Angel and Cordelia were locking lips, but the notion that there was something else going on. Watching the tape seemed to be the logical way to discover the reason behind it.

Still munching on her popcorn, Willow considered the fact that Buffy had broken up with Angel about the same time as Cordelia had ended her relationship with Xander. “Rebound City,” she quipped with sudden understanding that they’d been in the same boat.

Willow didn’t think she’d ever seen Angel so much as touch Cordelia before now. Not unless he was saving her life at the time. Except when he was Angelus and pinned Cordelia to the ground in the cemetery. Evil Angel had certainly made an effort to touch the cheerleader, though he had been planning to kill her at the time, so that might not count.

The camera she had so conveniently placed in the upper level bookshelves had a bird’s eye view of the whole lower level. As Angel carried Cordelia back into the middle of the room, the camera followed their movements. In the back of her mind, Willow figured she needed to tell her Uncle Hershel that the security device worked perfectly. Though this was hardly what she imagined picking up on the recorder.

“Looks like we’re doing this here after all,” Angel set her down on her feet in front of the main counter.

Squirming in her seat, Willow whispered to herself, “Doing what?” Though she had a strong feeling that she knew that answer and was just too comfortable wading knee-deep in denial to admit it to herself.

Pulling his jacket off, he handed it over to Cordelia who tossed it onto the countertop behind her, knocking over the jar of pencils in the process. Then a frenzy of eager movements followed as their hands reached out to unbutton, unzip and unwrap each other so that their clothes dropped to the floor piece by piece.

The remote went flying from Willow’s hand, landing somewhere in the plush couch cushions. “No,no,no. Eep! No nakedness. Stop that! Aack! Cordelia parts.”

Shutting her eyes, Willow felt around in the couch cushions for the remote, but it remained elusive.

“I want you so much, Cordy.” The way he said her name caught Willow’s attention. It was a softer sound than Cordelia or just Cor as they often called her.

“So I see, Big Guy,” Cordelia’s husky response had Willow opening her eyes, turning back toward the television.

Willow practically fell off the couch, her green eyes wide pools. The scientist inside her wrestled with the curious minx, exclaiming, “Wow! Are all vampires that well hung?”

Hearing her own voice, Willow slapped a hand over her mouth. Though the little voice in her head pointed out that it was her mouth she covered and not her eyes. Naughty Willow. It isn’t nice to stare.

Willow didn’t even have Oz to compare him to having never seen her boyfriend naked. Well, except for peeking at him in the cage before he’d gone all werewolf. Playing doctor with Xander when they were eight didn’t count. Besides, all three guys were such different body types that it was hardly fair to do so. She liked Oz the way he was, but gosh, wow and golly, Angel sure was impressive standing there all big and bulky and broad-shouldered and beautiful.

She couldn’t seem to tear her eyes away from the screen. Cordelia was the perfect foil for Angel’s male perfection. Willow felt another wave of heat swirl around her belly as she switched her focus from him to her. Angel’s pale hands curved around her lush golden breasts, the dark nipples peaking hard and ripe, apparently too much of a temptation for his mouth to resist.

Cordelia moaned in wanton response and Willow echoed the little sound feeling her own unbidden reaction to the erotic sight. Sinking back into the couch cushions, she found it impossible to stop watching. The camera followed their every move as they stumbled their way across the library in a tangle of arms and legs. Too caught up in their intimate caresses, they missed the table and collided with the bookcases behind it.

A growl of complaint sounded from deep inside Angel’s chest, welling up like a soft rumble. He lifted Cordelia with ease, settling her legs around his waist, continuing to capture her mouth with hungry kisses. Then he turned, carrying her over to the surface of the table where he set her down on the edge long enough to sweep aside the books and papers covering its surface. They tumbled to the floor with a crash.

“So much for the poltergeist theory,” murmured Willow with a little pout.

Realizing that she really shouldn’t be watching this and that she was intruding on an intimate moment, Willow made a legitimate attempt at searching for the remote again. She stood up and started pulling the cushions up until she found the device. With one last look at the screen, she pressed the pause button again.

Gulping, Willow set the remote down on the coffee table and walked away. Waving a hand in front of her face, she tried to cool off a little. Other than the shocking fact that Angel and Cordelia were obviously lovers, something bothered her about all of this. She didn’t know what it was, but Willow had a weird feeling about it. Pacing the floor, fidgeting and tugging at the ends of her sweater, she reviewed the facts.

“There’s no ghost,” she shrugged. Obviously Angel and Cordelia had been the ones to wreck havoc on the library. “Kinda strange they didn’t wait to clean up the evidence.”

Willow figured if it was her, she would have put everything back in its proper place. If they’d done that there would have been nothing to set off her curiosity to begin with. She would never have come up with her poltergeist theory or borrowed the security system from Uncle Hersh. So it was all their fault she caught them on film.

“Yup! Their fault,” Willow convinced herself of the fact and was smiling as a result of it. “They shouldn’t be doing those things in public places anyway. Giles would have a fit.”

Then she was giggling like mad. “At least they didn’t use the desk in his office.”

One thing bothered her though, Willow realized, getting over the embarrassment factor and focusing on the events she’d witnessed. Cordelia and Angel both seemed reluctant to be there. Sex in public places was possibly a turn on, but Willow didn’t really see either one of them as the type to go at it in the library of all places.

When Buffy and Angel were together, they’d kissed in public and held hands, but that was the extent that Willow had been privy to seeing. Cordelia…was a little bit different. She handled guys and their wandering hands with practiced ease. Though her reputation as head cheerleader leant itself to rife rumor, and Willow herself had referred to Cordelia as a skanky ho, the reality was far different. Willow witnessed her relationship with Xander and knew that Cordelia Chase was far from being easy.

“So why the library?” Willow asked herself. “Not exactly your romantic getaway spot. They said they couldn’t leave without seeing each other. That it would be the last time.”

From what Willow had seen on the screen, it didn’t look like they had a relationship that was on the verge of ending. Why would it be the last time? They’d obviously stayed for a reason even though they made an attempt at leaving. In fact, it was not just as simple as trying to head out the door; the vampire had used his superhuman speed to get them out of there, but without success.

“Weird. Maybe they’re just bored with the library.” Tromping back over to the couch, she pulled the popcorn bowl onto her lap and started munching. Thinking back to the first time she’d noticed things being out of order, Willow had to ask herself, “Have they really been doing this for a week?”

Grabbing the remote again, she pressed fast-forward, intending to skim over the details and move straight to the part where they were leaving the library. Willow wanted to see if they had any trouble getting out once they…finished. She hadn’t counted on the fast-forward action moving across the screen that way and dropped the remote on the floor upon seeing their bodies writhing together at such a frenetic pace.

If it had been somebody she didn’t know, Willow might have been laughing herself to death at the sight, but the fact that these were people she saw nearly every day, made a huge difference. As soon as the wayward device was back in her hands, she set the VCR to play at its normal speed.

Though she knew that it would have been better to simply stop the VCR and fast forward the tape so that she didn’t see everything, Willow’s curiosity got the better of her again. A little guilty twinge pulled at her insides, but it wasn’t as if anyone else knew she was watching the tape.

“Not exactly the film they show in sex ed,” Willow quipped, her eyes widening again at the sight of Angel thrusting rhythmically into the brunette. The way Cordelia was writhing and all but chanting his name made her figure the vampire had to be doing something right.

Not that Willow would know. She and Oz hadn’t gone all the way yet, but wow. This was certainly educational. After what seemed like forever, Cordelia reached a fiery peak, her body clutching his and her cries of passion heard explicitly across the view screen. Angel followed her, his own orgasm coming not far behind and Willow was practically shaking at the intensity leaping off the television screen.

Angel gathered Cordelia into his arms, their bodies still joined. “I’m sorry, Cordy. So sorry.”

To that, Cordelia wrapped her arms tightly around his neck, buried her face against his broad shoulder and pleaded, “Take me home, Angel.”

Sorry? Willow was confused. There was no doubting the enjoyment factor. So why would Angel be sorry after giving Cordelia pleasure to an extent that it practically made her eyes roll back in her head?

The vampire gently disjoined their bodies and placed Cordelia on her feet beside him. His hands cupped her face as he looked down at her with an expression that Willow could not deny held deep feeling. She could have guessed his thoughts even if his next words hadn’t confirmed her suspicions.

“You know I love you, right?”

Cordelia smiled that blinding grin, but her eyes convinced Willow that it was possible for a girl she’d once thought of as a cold-hearted bitch to actually know the meaning of love. She ached for Xander for a brief moment because whatever was going on between Cordelia and Angel eclipsed any tender feelings she’d witnessed before their big break-up.

“I do now,” Cordelia stood on her tiptoes to touch her mouth to his. After they parted from that tender moment that left Willow sighing in response, the brunette told him, “I love you too, Broody, but can we get out of here before Giles’ desk starts to look interesting?”

They dressed hastily and hand-in-hand, Cordelia and Angel bolted out the library doors. As soon as the doors stopped swinging, the motion-sensitive camera turned off. The remainder of the tape was blank and so the television screen went all fuzzy with whitenoise.

Willow turned off the television, ejecting the tape from the VCR at the same time. “Case of the Prankster Poltergeist…solved. Mystery that is Cordelia and Angel…weird. Yummy and wow, but weird.”

 


Saturday Evening, Just After Sunset

“Just come on in, Cordelia,” Willow urged the other teenager who refused to set foot in the library.

Cordelia asked, “Can’t you just talk loudly? Why don’t we ever have these meetings in the student lounge where it’s comfortable?”

“Because we need to be inside the library.”

Reluctantly, Cordelia stepped inside, noting that the others were already gathered at the large table they used for research. Her face flushed a little at the thought that it wasn’t all the table had been used for recently. As it was just Giles, Buffy, Willow and Xander present, Cordelia let out a little sigh and joined them at the table.

“So what’s the scoop?” Xander asked as soon as Willow returned.

Giles was in the dark as much as the others. He couldn’t recall Willow calling for a meeting before. “I’ll tell you everything in just a minute. We’re waiting for Angel to get here.

Cordelia’s head shot over to the doors as if she was planning to run for the hills rather than be in the same room as the vampire. She was halfway out of her seat when Willow grabbed her arm. “Trust me, Cordy. It’ll be okay.”

The brunette sank into her seat, staring at Willow in confusion. Realizing, “You called me Cordy.”

“Dontcha like it?”

“Yes,” Cordelia admitted, she liked it a lot, but there was only one person who called her by that nickname.

Before the questions brewing in Cordelia’s head could pour forth, Willow asked Giles to open up the book cage. “I need you to get the amulet we took from that demon last week.”

“Perhaps we should discuss defensive techniques against magic while we’re waiting,” Giles suggested as he got up to retrieve the amulet.

Buffy didn’t want to think back to that episode. The demon was dead and gone and that was good enough for her. “Giles, you’re acting like a mother hen; surely Slayers get a day off now and then.”

“Not until you’ve got it right,” Giles called out from the depths of the cage.

Cordelia finally dragged her gaze away from Willow long enough to see that Xander had a large pile of goodies from the vending machine piled up in front of him. “What are you planning to do with those?”

“Eat them,” Xander was already in the process of scarfing down a Twinkie.

“Don’t complain when you start looking like the Michelin Man,” Cordelia warned him. “We may have to roll you out of here.”

Glancing down at the goodies, Xander commented, “I can’t help it. Every time I think about coming here, I get a snack attack. The cravings just start and I’m not satisfied until I get here or I stuff my face with the nearest junk food.”

Willow took the amulet from Giles when he brought it out and placed it on the table. “Oh, look. There’s Angel. Now we can get started.” She quickly averted her eyes from the approaching vampire. It was too easy to picture him without the leather coat, shirt, pants… stark naked.

The vampire walked into the library, his eyes sweeping over the group as a whole and then settling on Cordelia. The nervous look in her eyes made him wonder what was going on, but it could have been just the fact that they planned to let Giles in on their little secret tonight. Angel headed over to his usual spot on the stairs and took a seat.

“A week ago, we were all exposed to this,” Willow held up the amulet only to have it tumble from her fingers. Xander caught it before it hit the table. The redhead let out a grumbled protest and determined that she wouldn’t make another move before she got this out into the open. “Ugly demon’s sneaky magic.”

Buffy pointed out, “The demon’s dead. I cut off his head.”

“Eew!” Cordelia crinkled her nose at the reminder. “Focus much on the gross parts?”

“Doesn’t bother me,” Xander commented with his mouth full of peanut M&Ms.

“I came back to the library this afternoon while Buffy and Giles were finishing up their training session,” Willow explained. “My theory on the library being haunted was a bust. The tape proves we didn’t have a ghost.”

Cordelia gaped, “Tape? What tape?”

“From the security system I activated yesterday,” Willow told her noting the deep shade of red that was creeping up Cordelia’s neck and flushing her cheeks.

“Will’s uncle is the coolest,” Xander grinned.

Buffy nodded in agreement. “Too bad the tape was blank.”

“Blank?” The question came from Angel who had risen from his distant spot on the stairs and walked over to stand next to Cordelia, his hand on the back of her chair. The silent support wasn’t lost on Willow.

“There was no poltergeist,” Willow confirmed now daring to look straight at him even though her cheeks were flushed at the time. She hadn’t lied to the others about it. They just assumed the tape was blank when she declared that the ghost was a no-show. “I did make a discovery, though.”

Angel gave her a stern look that nearly had Willow cringing under its weight. “And what was that?”

“J-just the reason everyone has been acting so strangely,” Willow managed a small squeak. Even as she answered, the vampire’s hand had left the back of Cordelia’s chair and was now on her shoulder, his thumb working in a little soothing circle on her upper arm.

Realizing that she’d better hurry, Willow swallowed down her nerves to explain, “I came back to do a little research. Things have been weird this last week. For all of us. I finally realized that the amulet was the cause.”

“Weird in what way?” asked Giles. He hadn’t noticed anything untoward happening to him.

Willow told him, “You’ve been working Buffy to the bone day after day. If you’re not after her to train, you’re talking about training.”

“That’s my job,” defended Giles, standing up from his sitting position on the edge of the table. “Nothing unusual there. As a matter of fact, we should be reviewing those defensive techniques now instead of wasting more time talking about amulets and ghosts.”

“See,” she pointed out. “You can’t go two minutes without mentioning it.”

Buffy sent her Watcher a pleading look. “Believe her, Giles, please. I think Will is right. Something’s going on. It started that night.”

“Geez, Buffy. What’s with the rhyming gig?” Cordelia asked. She’d noticed it before, too.

A little whine escaped Buffy’s throat, her large eyes pleading and a pout forming on her pink lips.

“It’s the magick,” Willow piped up when Buffy seemed reluctant to open her mouth again. “The moment the amulet zapped us, it caught us doing or thinking about something and that kinda trapped us. The spell wasn’t designed so much as to harm us physically, but to affect us mentally.”

“Nothing’s wrong with me,” Xander protested as he opened up a small bag of nacho flavored Doritos.

Willow would bet her allowance that Xander had been thinking about food that night. Buffy was so close to defeating the demon that his mind had already wandered off to the after-patrol pizza party. “Well maybe you’re just the lucky one, Xander. I’ve been a clumsy oaf every time I come in here. I can’t even move without bumping into something or someone. That night, I’d tripped over the root of that tree right when the demon zapped us.”

“That’s quite a theory, Willow,” admitted Giles. “I was concerned about Buffy’s use of one particular method of attack when the amulet was invoked. My mind was on Buffy and her training sessions.”

“So you’re saying we’ve just been doing the things that were on our mind at the time the demon zapped us?” inquired Xander now ready to admit that his thoughts were not exactly on the fight. “I get it now.”

Angel didn’t particularly want to draw attention to himself and Cordelia, but as they had already agreed to bring their relationship into the open after they figured out what was going on, this seemed to be the time to do it. “So do I…get it. It’s starting to make sense.”

“What happened to you?” Xander asked curiously. “Don’t tell me…you bought out all of the black clothes at the mall. Broke into the local chapter of the Red Cross to raid all of the AB-negative? Practiced scowling? Cos you do that real well. Like now for instance.”

That was precisely what the vampire was doing until a feminine hand closed over his and pulled it down to the table, squeezing it. “Angel and I ended up here,” Cordelia announced to the group. “We couldn’t stay away. Kept coming back every night. We were the ones who left the library in a mess.”

Buffy eyed their joined hands and looked at the brunette with a vein of suspicion. “So you’re confessing to being our ghost. What were you two thinking about when the demon zapped you…trying to get out of our next research session? Why do I get the feeling there’s something else?”

“Because there is, Buffy,” said Angel as his fingers threaded through Cordelia’s when she caught the darkening look in the Slayer’s eyes. “Cordelia and I have been seeing each other for the past couple of months.”

At her gasp and Xander’s strangled choke as he chomped on chips, Angel revealed, “We decided to hold off on telling everyone.”

Cordelia pointed out, “That was my idea. I didn’t know what you guys would think and I asked Angel to keep it between us for a while.”

“Y-You’re dating?” Buffy’s eyes shimmered, overly bright. “Oh. Well, that’s… great.”

Anyone at the table could tell the Slayer thought it was far from being great, but she was doing her best to control her emotions. Having given up Angel, she could hardly blame him for choosing someone else, but the expression on her shocked face made it clear that Buffy never in her wildest dreams imagined that person to be Cordelia.

“This isn’t how we intended everyone to find out,” Angel confessed. “I’m sorry if that hurts you.”

He’d been talking to Buffy, but Angel’s gaze slid over to Xander whose glare looked deadly. “I went to see Cordy in the hospital. Things just progressed from there.”

The deathglare turned to cloudy guilt and resigned acceptance. Xander told them, “I guess you’re the reason Cor has been so happy lately. That’s…cool with me. Just no going all evil on us and I won’t have to stake you.”

“My soul is secure,” Angel revealed slowly. He really hadn’t wanted to get into that, but since Xander had brought up the possibility of Angelus, it might be better to talk about it now. “Something Willow did, I imagine. I found out the hard way during my little stay in hell when they tried to rip it out of me and couldn’t.”

Willow hadn’t a clue as to what she did or didn’t do that might have secured his soul. She’d done her best to translate the rest of Jenny Calendar’s notes prior to invoking the gypsy curse that returned the vampire’s soul. Maybe she’d missed something.

“Well, dunno what I did, but I’m glad,” Willow gave him a little closed-mouthed smile and added, “cos things do seem to be all secure now.”

No sign of Angelus, she added silently. Not that what she’d witnessed appeared to equate to perfect happiness. Far from it; they were both upset over the whole thing, but Willow got the impression they’d already tested out that theory more than once in comfier locations.

Looking over at her best friend, Willow decided Buffy was going to have a hard time with this. Even though she had been the one to break up with Angel, the fact that she had kept him close suggested that she still cared for him. Giving her ex up to Cordelia Chase shouldn’t have been as much of a shock as it was considering that the cheerleader had never denied finding him attractive, but the reality still hurt.

Getting back on track, Willow further explained, “The amulet’s spell was designed to lure us to its location so that the demon could bump us off one by one… assuming he had been able to escape as originally planned.”

“Except that Buffy killed it and we took the amulet,” Cordelia nodded her understanding. “Giles brought it to the library and that’s why we’ve been stuck coming back here.”

“You couldn’t leave until you’d done what you’d been thinking or doing at the time of the initial spell,” Willow nodded with a grin. “I get clumsy, Buffy’s does the rhyming quip thingie, Giles is all focused on training Buffy, Xander constantly thinks about food and you two… were obviously thinking about each other.”

Xander leaned forward on his elbow, cupping his chin in one hand as he looked at Willow. “Are you sure that security tape was blank?”

Blushing ten shades of red, Willow glanced toward Cordelia who wasn’t exactly pale herself. The brunette was quieter than she’d ever seen her, though, which was kinda scary. Maybe she was saving it all up for a private Willow-bashing session. Oh, that would be fun. Maybe as fun as having teeth pulled, Willow figured, so not.

“Like I said, Xander,” she told him still feeling the need to be utterly truthful, “there was no poltergeist. Angel and Cordelia came and they left.”

“Going now,” Cordelia jumped out of her chair at that comment.

Angel pulled her close, whispering into her ear, “I don’t think Will meant it quite like that. We arrived in the library. We left together.”

Inwardly cursing the direction of her own thoughts, Cordelia realized he was likely right about it. Willow hadn’t even blinked when she said it, so it was doubtful that the girl was making a snide remark about the goings-on in the library. Even if she had caught everything on camera.

Cordelia seriously doubted Willow had gotten past watching the kissing stage before she’d tuned off the television. “Can we get on with destroying the amulet? That’s what we’re here for, right?”

“Right,” confirmed the witch who let out a little sigh as Cordelia seemed to turn her rising fury toward something constructive rather than take it out on Willow. “Buffy, you wanna get a hammer or mace out of the weapons cabinet and do the honors?”

 


The rest of the evening was an anticlimax after the amulet’s destruction and their discovery of Cordelia and Angel’s relationship. The pair had gone off together soon afterward. Giles had made his apologies to Buffy for overworking her and driven off after guiltily suggesting keep patrol to a minimum tonight. That left Willow trailing along with Buffy and Xander who were as talkative as scarecrows.

“If it’s any consolation, they really do love each other,” Willow piped up when the silence grew too thick to bear. Maybe she was lucky her friends were too caught up in their own thoughts to ask just how she knew that so convincingly.

Buffy shook her blond head, denial still clouding her heart. “I can’t believe it.”

Even Xander wasn’t so sure he was going to accept this so easily. No matter what he had told Cordelia about her being happier lately. “Cordelia can usually handle guys, but this is different.”

“It’s Angel,” Buffy murmured in agreement, placing the vampire in a whole different category.

Xander groused at the thought of his ex-girlfriend being in love with Angel. “I hafta see it with my own eyes. Make sure he’s treating her right.”

“Seeing is believing,” quipped Willow, “but you’re not getting your hands on that tape.”

With a whine, Xander put his arm around her shoulder, “C’mon, Will, it’s my right as the ex-boyfriend. As your best friend? As a concerned citizen interested in poltergeist sightings?”

“Perv,” Buffy slapped him in the arm eliciting an exaggerated howl of pain from the teenager.

Willow smiled indulgently, “I’ll give you the tape, Xander.”

That surprised both of her friends who stopped walking long enough to gape at her. “Really?” Xander asked trying not to sound too excited about the possibility of finding out exactly what went on between the vampire and Cordelia in the library last night.

“Sure, you can have it,” Willow promised. “In fact, we can all watch it together if you wanna come over my house.”

“T-that sounds okay,” Buffy agreed despite the fact that Xander suggested there was a lot more on that security tape than she wanted to see.”

Willow had already learned her own little lesson in minding her own business and this seemed like the right time to share a little wisdom with her best friends. A smile curled her lips knowing that the only thing Xander and Buffy would get to see on that tape was Saturday morning cartoons. She’d set her VCR to record over the tape just to make sure it never fell into the wrong hands and to avoid the temptation of ever watching it again.

Too bad that keeping the details to herself meant she’d never find out the answer to her little question about vampires. Buffy would not be too happy about it if Willow asked her. Hmm. Maybe that was something Cordelia would tell her. Miss Cordelia Tact-Is-Just-Not-Saying-The-Truth Chase would probably fess up if she knew the answer. Besides, Willow was just curious… scientifically speaking, of course.

The End.


What are your thoughts about ‘Seeing is Believing‘?
Kudos and Critiques are Appreciated. 


The Challenge:

  • A/C any timeline or season, preferably BTVS.
  • Filmed/Caught in the Act. Smut/Humor.
  • NC-17, of course.
  • Quote by Willow or Fred: “Wow, are all vampires that well hung?”