|Primary Characters:||Pretty much everyone, but as always especially Angel.|
|Warning:||some m/m sex|
|Description:||Joyce Summers is dying, but Will doesn’t want to let her go. Eventually, she agrees to accept his remedy. Angel and Jenny are looking forward to some time alone together, but things don’t always turn out the way you plan.|
The phone rang, and Angel went to pick it up. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see that Jenny was coming to answer the phone, so he backed off and let her pick up. After all, chances were this was a call from one of her techno-pagan friends. But he could tell right away, that he’d been wrong. Jenny’s face expressed concern. Was it for him after all?
As always, whenever someone came to the door, or called on the phone, he’d expect some disaster to have happened to one of the people he loved. People, who with a few exceptions, all owed their complicated existences to him, or rather Angelus. It was a heavy responsibility, but he wouldn’t run away from it. He was allowed to continue his lonely existence so he could make up for his past mistakes.
Angel expected Jenny to turn over the receiver to him, but instead she looked over towards Willow, who was happily absorbed in gently teasing Doyle.
“Yes, she’s here. I’m really sorry to hear that, Buffy. Ok. I’ll put her on. Willow? It’s for you. Buffy.”
Willow’s eyes widened in surprise, and she disentangled herself from Oz’ possessive arms and walked over to pick up the phone. Whatever Buffy had to say, it kept Willow silent, but her face spoke to those who knew and loved her.
Something was wrong. Buffy was in trouble, or – Everyone present listened attentively for any hint of what was going on. Even Will suspended his usual banter, and with his arm around Jenny, awaited the conclusion of the phone conversation.
“I’m really sorry, Buffy. Of course. I’ll drive back right away. No, nothing’s more important. Don’t be silly. Yes, I’ll tell them. Take it easy. Can I speak to mr Giles for a moment? Oh. Well, I’m glad he’s there with you. And – tell her -“
Willow’s voice faltered a little. She appeared to be desperately searching for words that wouldn’t come.
“You know what I mean. I won’t be long.”
After hanging up, Willow remained deep in thought, until Doyle walked over and placed a hand on her arm.
“Oh. This is terrible. It’s Joyce. She’s -“
Will rose to his feet and moved over to Willow so quickly and silently, you could hardly see him until he stopped, his eyes boring into Willow’s.
“What’s wrong with her?”
“She’s dying. I can’t believe Buffy would keep this from me for so long.”
Will’s cool was shattered and he grabbed Willow by the arms in a very good imitation of Spike’s cruelest ways. Doyle, Oz and Angel all moved in on Will and disengaged his hands from Willow.
“Oh, sorry, love. Didn’t mean to hurt you. What’s wrong with her?”
“Cancer. Oh, this is so terrible. I have to go. Buffy needs me.”
“I’m going too. Sorry, Jen. But this is something I have to do. Me and Joyce – we go way back. Ever since she hit Spike over the head with a – Anyway, she’s special.”
“I’m going too.”
Willow’s lovers loyally joined the group of vampires and people who were returning to “Sunnyhell”, as Will so poetically put it.
Angel looked at Jenny, and came to the decision that this was far too important for them to stay behind. But he didn’t know how his lover would feel about it. Buffy had never been one of Jenny’s favorite students, and he knew that Sunnydale would bring up painful memories for the lovely Gypsy.
“Of course I’ll go too. We’ll all go.”
“Doyle, will you drive me and Oz?”
“Yes, of course. Anyone else?”
“I’ll take my car. Jenny? Will?”
“Thanks. Let’s go. Joyce needs me.”
Jenny and Angel exchanged a glance. This was a new development. Though Will had often made appreciative remarks about mrs Summers, but they hadn’t realized he was that smitten. And though Will had always been partial to older women – and younger – and men – in this case, it could hardly be said that Joyce was older, no matter how eternally young the vampire looked.
The problem was, Will might be dead, though it was hard to believe when you saw him, but from the way things looked, the object of his affection would soon be permanently dead. It seemed inevitable that their lover was headed for heartbreak, figuratively speaking.
The drive to Sunnydale took almost all night, and by the time the sun was painting the sky rose-colored, the vampires regrettably had to seek shelter at Willow’s house. They would have approached Giles, but Angel knew that would be too painful for Jenny, and deep down, the vampire harbored a little bit of jealousy towards the librarian. He knew it was unfair, and in any case, Jenny had all the more cause for jealousy when it came to Angel’s former lovers, but the feeling was there. Time enough to face Giles later.
Oz and Doyle were determined to escort Willow to Buffy’s house, and though Will and Angel felt helpless, watching the mortal girl leave, they knew they’d have to be patient until the night.
The reunion was tearful, and Willow shed no less tears than her friend. She stayed with Buffy all day, and in the evening, they all went to the hospital where they were met by Giles and the vampires. Meeting Jenny again proved emotional to say the least, for the librarian.
Jenny handled the meeting better. She had managed to move on. But the woman Giles had been dating was now dying, so at the moment, he was no closer to finding a lasting relationship than ever. But Buffy was the one everyone gathered around, to offer their sympathy.
With a patient in this condition, visiting hours appeared to be flexible. They were told to enter Joyce’s room one by one and Buffy was the first to go in. Apparently, she had let her mother know she had visitors, because in a few minutes Buffy reappeared, nodding to Willow. Willow didn’t stay for long, and knowing how Will felt about Joyce, she had prepared the way earlier, by asking Buffy’s permission to let Will go in and see her mother. Reluctantly, Buffy had agreed, and at last the vampire was allowed inside.
He stopped in the doorway, and peered timidly inside. It was difficult to guess that the seemingly shy young man, was once known as William the Bloody, later as Spike, the Slayer killer, and now, still a vampire, though more gentle. And he was anything but young and innocent. Despite that, he now hung back, hesitatingly. When he saw that Joyce was awake, and looking at him, he moved closer to the bed.
“Will. Buffy told me you wanted to see me. Sit down. It isn’t contagious, but even if it was, you wouldn’t be affected, would you?”
“Don’t worry about me. How are you feeling, pet?”
“Fantastic. Have you come to take me dancing?”
Will sat down on the chair Joyce indicated. She was pale, thin, and her eyes were sunken. If Will had still been breathing, his breath would have caught in his throat. As it was, he swallowed nervously.
“How long have you been sick?”
“I have suspected something was wrong for a while now. My doctor ran a series of tests. And things appeared to be ok then. But I had to go back for more tests. This time, the news wasn’t as good.”
“I see. How – How long -“
“How long do I have? A few weeks, maybe. Or a few days. They won’t say. But I have a feeling -“
He thought he saw what she was getting at, and he hung his head, sadly. It was amazing how this woman had come to mean so much to him. She wasn’t the Slayer, but close enough. The mother of one. The woman on the bed should have been his enemy, but the moment the blow had landed on his head, he had had an inspiration. No, Spike had. But the emotion had lingered, when his soul had been returned to him. There was something about this middle aged woman, that attracted him as much as – or more than Jenny or Angel.
“I’m sorry. If there was something I could do -“
She’d be wondering about his reaction. Will was fairly sure that Joyce would be stunned if she knew the feelings she aroused inside him. But was there nothing he could do? What was he? A vampire. And what did vampires do? They brought a swift death, but they could also give eternal life.
“Will? I didn’t realize you felt so strongly about me.”
Maybe he’d better explain first, before he made his offer.
“What can I say? I suppose there’s something in what they say about love at first bite.”
She smiled at his feeble joke. Of course he hadn’t bitten her. Yet. Not that a bite was strictly necessary. At least not by the vampire.
“You can’t be serious.”
“Oh, but I am, pet. Love is one thing I know. But there are no strings attached. It won’t be the first time my feelings aren’t returned.”
“Hold it. I didn’t say I didn’t feel anything for you. This is just so unexpected. Besides, whatever I think, you’re a little late. I won’t be around for much longer. It’s such a relief Rupert’s promised to keep an eye on Buffy. And of course, so has her father.”
“Don’t talk like that, Joyce.”
“Why not? You look so young and handsome, but you’re not young at all, are you?”
“No. Not for a long time.”
“So you shouldn’t be a stranger to death.”
For a second, a shadow of pain flew through Will’s eyes. No. He wasn’t a stranger to death and certainly not the many ways of taking lives. But to Spike those lives had been nothing but prey. To Will – even William the Bloody – a human life or any life meant a bit more. And Joyce wasn’t a nameless, faceless victim.
“No. I’m not.”
“Then you should know that this is what life is all about. Sooner or later, you die.”
Maybe she was right. Her soul would find peace, her body would return to the soil and that would be the end of it. But it wasn’t fair. Why should this happen to Joyce? She was a good person. Will couldn’t imagine that she’d ever done anyone any harm. So why was she being tormented like this? If she would only consider his solution, he could make the pain go away, and give her a new life. At the very least, he could ask.
“I know. Not me, not Jenny or Angel. But other people. Except, it doesn’t have to be that way. We can change the rules. If you’ll let me, I’ll make you well again.”
Joyce frowned at him, as if she couldn’t believe a word he was saying. She hadn’t understood. He would have to make himself clear.
“What I’m suggesting, is that I make you a vampire.”
The look in her eyes, told him using that word had been a mistake. He winced. Angel was so much better at this kind of thing. Jenny would have been perfect. Maybe he should ask one of them to explain.
“You want to make me a vampire? Why? Doesn’t that mean losing my soul? Wouldn’t that make me evil?”
“Yes. But Willow and Jenny can give you your soul back. Right away. You won’t have time to kill anyone.”
Again, his choice of words caused a reaction that didn’t give Will much hope of having his offer accepted. But he knew he couldn’t give up without making one last effort.
“You drink blood, don’t you?”
“Yes. But we can drink other things too. Wine and -“
He broke off, realizing that wine might not be what Joyce would miss the most, if she ever accepted becoming a vampire.
“Blood. Isn’t that revolting? I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you.”
“It was revolting. You get used to it, very soon. Honestly. But it might be different for you. For years, I didn’t have a conscience to bother me. Not much of it anyway. You should ask Jenny. She’ll know more about that.”
“Will, are you serious?”
“Yes. I don’t want to lose you.”
“Oh. That’s very sweet of you. Come here.”
What? Joyce was holding out her arms to him, and Will was stunned. For a second he was wondering if this was a proposition, or her way of accepting his offer. But she didn’t look as if passion was on her mind, and he didn’t think she’d be able to embrace the idea of becoming a vampire that easily. Whatever she wanted, he wasn’t about to question it, however. He put his arms around her and lay his head on her shoulder. They remained like that for what seemed like a long time, until the change in her breathing alerted him to the fact that he was exhausting her and with a stab of guilt, Will pulled back.
“Sorry, love. Didn’t mean to tire you out.”
“It doesn’t take much these days, so don’t worry about it. Listen, Will. I don’t feel comfortable with this idea of becoming a vampire. Sorry. You must have lost people you care about before.”
“I have, yes. You’d think you’d get used to it in time.”
“You’re not alone anymore though, are you? There are more who are like you, right?”
“Yes, but -“
“I know. And believe me, I appreciate your concern.”
“I understand. Is it alright if I come and see you again?”
“Please. As long as Buffy doesn’t mind.”
“I’ll try not to embarrass you in front of your daughter.”
“That’s alright then. But for now, think you’d better go.”
“Of course. I’ll be back tomorrow night. Sweet dreams, pet.”
Outside, his friends and lovers were waiting. Buffy was sitting down, and Giles was standing protectively over her. If Will hadn’t been so upset, he’d have seen the absurdity of a mere human being protective of someone like Buffy. Right now, all Will wanted was to find someone’s sympathetic arms and take shelter there.
Angel could read Will like an open book, but with so many strangers, not to mention Buffy, Giles and his other friends present, he was reluctant to draw attention to himself by holding Will. Fortunately, Jenny noticed her lover’s dilemma and hurriedly began to offer all the comfort she was capable of. Even this proved to attract some attention from passersby. It was time they returned to Willow’s house for the night. How lucky that her parents seemed to be out travelling practically all the time.
Willow and Oz would be joining Giles in his effort to watch over Buffy, but the others made their way back to the Rosenberg house. This late at night, they would all be vulnerable to vampire attacks, and Angel wished they could have convinced Buffy of the necessity of them all staying together. But he had a feeling she still felt rather cold towards Jenny, and if forced to make a choice between his old lover and the lovely Gypsy girl, Angel knew he’d take Jenny any day. Or rather, any night.
Willow had made up the guest room for Angel, Jenny and Will, and she’d encouraged Doyle to make use of her own room. The half-demon wasn’t entirely comfortable with this arrangement. As a one time husband and father, he was fairly sure Willow’s parents would have all kinds of objections to his presence in their daughter’s room.
But Willow had hastily assured him that her parents weren’t expected back for at least another month. Somehow, Doyle was more positive about Oz’ chances of meeting with approval under the critical eyes of the Rosenbergs. After all, they could have no way of knowing that their daughter’s boyfriend was a werewolf a few days of the month.
Once safely indoors, no one felt any inclination to go to sleep. They sat down in the living room, uneasily studying each other. It would have been easy to assume that death in any of its various forms would no longer bother them quite as much. But it was a fact that this new reminder of the mortality of mortals was a stunning blow to everyone. In a way, the loss of any parent painfully reminded Angel of how his own parents had died. But Will seemed to be the one most deeply affected by the news.
He was desolate, and Angel felt guilty for his reaction earlier at the hospital. This was California, after all. Who would have been bothered by the sight of a man crying in another man’s arms, at a hospital of all places? To make up for his earlier insensitivity, he placed an arm around Will’s shoulders.
For the moment, he didn’t have any idea of what to say. He didn’t think anything would comfort Will right now. Despite his age, Will was in so many ways still very young. To Angel’s astonishment, help came not from Jenny as might have been expected, but from Doyle. Normally, the half-demon would steer clear of Will, for fear of provoking Will’s interest.
“I don’t know if this is any comfort to you, but my religion has always told me that at times like this -“
“Don’t tell me to seek consolation with God. Do you really think he’ll have anything to say to someone like me?”
“I don’t know. All I was saying is that Joyce will be in a better place. Ask Angel, he’s seen the worse place, so there has to be a heaven. Besides, I’ve met the powers -“
“I know all that. Your religion might give you comfort, Doyle, but I was never one of the faithful, even when I was a mortal. Not that I don’t appreciate your concern. But I won’t let Joyce die. Has it never occurred to you that I have the cure for her condition? We all do. Not you, Doyle. But the rest of you.”
For a moment, Angel couldn’t understand what Will was referring to. But Jenny and Doyle were way ahead of him, and spoke simultaneously.
After a glance at the gypsy, Doyle decided to let her continue. After all, she spoke from personal experience.
“Don’t do it, Will.”
“Why not? I can save her.”
“And cost her her soul.”
“But you and Willow can give it back to her.”
That was true, but Jenny still rebelled at the thought of yet another innocent human being becoming this monster that she was, that both her lovers were. Given the choice she knew she’d prefer death to this lonely guilt-ridden existence.
But on the other hand, Will did have a point. If they hurried, she and Willow could give Joyce her soul back, without any humans dying to feed the insatiable hunger for blood. Was it fair of her to deny Will this chance to save the woman he obviously had feelings for?
By now, Will’s meaning had sunk in, and Angel realized his input would be needed. But he was stunned into silence. On a personal level, this was both promising and frightening in equal measure. If Will were to find a lover elsewhere, he might at last be free from his heavy obligations towards this particular childe.
On the other hand, to face his former lover’s mother was intimidating. He knew that deep down, Joyce had forgiven him for taking her daughter’s virginity, but he was still mortified by running the risk of once again having to explain himself, and make up some excuse.
Again, it was Doyle who spoke up.
“What does Joyce say about it?”
Will’s dark eyelashes fluttered and he wouldn’t face the half-demon.
“So far, she’s a bit overwhelmed by the idea.”
“In other words, she said no, didn’t she?”
“Yes. But she’ll see my -“
“No, Will. You can’t do this to her against her will. Angel, wait – I know you didn’t turn me into a vampire. Somehow, I did it to myself. And it wasn’t you who killed me, it was Angelus. But looking back, given the choice, I’m not sure what I’d do. This existence is bleak, compared to what I had.”
“Who said anything about doing it to her against her will? Haven’t you noticed that I’m a new vampire these days? I’m a good boy now. If Joyce still won’t hear of it, I’ll accept it, but I’m still hoping I can change her mind. What do you think, Angel?”
“I agree with Jenny. It has to be Joyce’s decision.”
“Alright. But you’ll see. She’ll change her mind.”
“Yes, what will you do then, Will?”
Will stared back at Doyle and Jenny, unintimidated.There was something of Spike in his haughty posture.
“I’ll look after her, naturally. What did you expect? That I’d kiss her goodbye and wish her luck?”
Though they discussed the matter for the rest of the night, no one was able to sway Will. He would save Joyce’s life, that was all there was to it. So they retired for the day. Sometime during that day, Willow and Oz slipped inside, and got into bed next to Doyle. It was a tight fit, and naturally Doyle woke up and had to move over to make room for his lover and her other lover.
It was decided that they would remain in Sunnydale until the end. Angel felt guilty about abandoning his duties is Los Angeles, but this was a time when other commitments would have to wait. He might have taken Jenny back, leaving Will to watch Joyce fade away, and if he’d asked, he was sure Doyle would have joined them. But he didn’t think it would be fair. They were all in this together. From what Willow told them, it wouldn’t be long now anyway.
Willow was back at her own house. Buffy’s other friends had taken over, and Willow was more comfortable with her new friends, and her lovers. She listened to Will’s plans for Joyce, and astonished all the others by giving it her whole-hearted approval.
“Oh, yes. That would be so neat. Jenny? We could cast the spell right at the cemetery and -“
As always, Oz agreed with his lover, and that made Doyle see her point of view. Perhaps, it wasn’t such a bad idea after all. But Angel and Jenny were still doubtful, not unexpectedly. No one knew better than they did, how painful it was to exist as a vampire with a soul.
Will now spent every night over at the hospital. No security could keep a determined vampire out, and no one, including Buffy knew he was there. Joyce seemed to get used to his visits, and even look forward to them. To begin with, though, Will didn’t think he’d be successful in persuading her to let him help her. She was adamant in her insistence on letting nature take its course.
One night, about a week after Will’s arrival, there was an alarming change in Joyce’s condition. She was notably weaker, and for a second, Will began to think he’d be too late.
“Joyce, love? Wake up.”
She was pale and immobile, but Will could still hear her heart beating faintly. His vampire senses didn’t miss any of the subtle signs of life. But he also knew she was fading fast. Sadly, he let his fingers trail down the side of her face. He bent down to place a kiss on the cold lips. She was almost as cold as Jenny, or Will himself. Suddenly, Joyce’s eyes fluttered open and fully aware again, she met his gaze.
“Will. I thought -“
“Me too, love. Joyce, don’t do this to me. Are you going to make me beg? Don’t leave me. I – I love you.”
This was news to Joyce. In the days since the vampire had appeared at her bedside, she’d had a hard time figuring out his true intentions. Another woman might have doubted the sincerity of a creature like this. But for some reason, Joyce didn’t. She sensed that Will meant what he said. A few years ago, she would only have felt terror and disbelief at this revelation.
Now, she not only believed the vampire’s words, and she was flattered. Such a handsome young man – no, not young and not a man either. But at her age, she was incredibly lucky to have someone that attractive fall for her. Especially in her condition. The chemotherapy had made her hair fall out, and she knew she looked awful. It was amazing that this particular vampire would see through outward appearances and still have this feeling for her.
That finally broke through her defences and tears came to her eyes. Why should she worry about her daughter’s reaction? This was her life to do with as she pleased. If Buffy couldn’t handle her mother as a vampire, then who said Buffy needed to know?
“Will? Do you still want to make me a vampire?”
“Of course. Have you changed your mind?”
“If it isn’t too late.”
“No. It isn’t too late.”
“Promise me you won’t tell Buffy.”
“Are you going to bite me now? And drink my blood?”
“No. You don’t look as if you have anything to spare.”
“But I thought -“
“Yes. That’s how we usually do it. Not that I’ve sired that many myself. I used to feed on people, not make new vampires. But really all it takes is for you to swallow some of my blood.”
From the expression on Joyce’s face, Will could guess how she felt about tasting his blood, but he couldn’t let that deter him. His senses told him he didn’t have much time. All he needed now, was Joyce’s consent. Actually, he already had that, but he wanted to make sure.
“If you’re sure -“
Joyce looked steadily into his eyes, and to his relief, Will realized that her doubts were gone.
Not wasting any more time, he opened a small wound in his wrist and pressed it to Joyce’s lips. No need to fear she would drink him dry. She was weakening by the second.
“Drink it all up, now, pet. There. It’s not so bad, is it? Pretend it’s wine.”
But she wasn’t sucking in enough, so he squeezed his wrist impatiently to wring out a few more drops. The pain was nothing, and under other circumstances it would have turned him on. Finally convinced that Joyce had drunk enough to make the change, he pulled his wrist away.
“Good girl. That’s all. You’re alright now.”
Joyce was so weak by now, that if Will hadn’t known any better, he’d have said the time had come. But her heart was still beating, and though at first he feared that she had passed out from the exertion, she was still with him.
“Now – You don’t have to do anything else. Just rest. I’ll stay with you, if you want me to.”
“But how does it work?”
“Trust me. It will be alright.”
Will didn’t want to frighten her by pointing out that now, she’d die.
“When you wake up again, I’ll be there. I’ll look after you. There’s nothing to fear.”
And he lay down on the bed, beside Joyce and put his arms around her. Now the waiting wouldn’t be so filled with sadness. He knew that her death would only last for a day or so. They’d dig up her grave to save her the trouble. Whatever he could do to make this easier on her, he would do.
Now with his face so close to hers, he noticed that she had some traces of blood on her mouth. He let his face move closer and placed another kiss on her lips. There was no resistance, so he deepened the kiss and at the same time let his tongue flicker across her dried, cracked lips to remove the last traces of his blood. No need to alarm the night nurse.
By the time dawn made its first advances on the night, Will slipped out undetected by anyone. His face was somber and his eyes filled with sadness. Just before he left, he heard Joyce’s heart beat for the last time. Placing a chaste kiss on Joyce’s still warm forehead, he had looked down on her unmoving form.
“It’s not farewell, love. We’ll meet again.”
When the night nurse entered the room, there wasn’t a trace of the visitor.
The funeral was over. Buffy was devastated, but the support her friends gave her helped a little. When the ceremony was over, Willow told her friend they would be returning to Los Angeles. Her cheeks flushed a little at telling such a fib, especially at a time like this. But Buffy as usual noticed nothing out of the ordinary about her friend’s appearance.
Everyone embraced and said their farewells, and Giles took Buffy back to her house.
When night had fallen, Willow and Jenny and the men sneaked back into the cemetery to begin their vigil.
Strictly speaking, only Willow’s and Jenny’s presence would be necessary, but the others were there to provide protection, as well as support. When forming the circle, it was important to have much strength to draw on. Oz was present solely to lend Willow his support. He knew far too well that everyone else was better equipped to protect Willow. But he also knew that she depended on his emotional support. Wherever Willow went, Oz went too.
The vigil stretched on almost unendingly, and for a while Will succumbed to gloomy thoughts. What if he had been too late? To his knowledge, no one had ever sired someone who was so close to dying before. Would he never see Joyce again?
Then suddenly, the quiet of the night was broken, by a noise from the vicinity of Joyce’s grave. This was it. Will and Angel approached, taking the shovels they’d brought along. Soon the open coffin was revealed, and the two male vampires grabbed the newest addition to the vampire population of the world. Joyce was hissing and screeching, and obscenities issued from her mouth, making Willow blush. This was Buffy’s mother – If Willow’s own mother had used that kind of language, she knew she’d be –
But now it was time to cast the spell. They formed the circle, waiting for Angel and Will to bring the struggling vampire into the center of the circle.
Not wasting any time, the two witches began to weave the spell. The strength of the males added to Willow’s and Jenny’s and soon the fight went out of Joyce. She slumped down between her captors and didn’t make a sound. Will kneeled beside her to make a visual inspection, but Angel held him back with a warning hand on his shoulder.
“Be careful, Will. We don’t know if it worked or not.”
Jenny sounded confident, and a nod from Willow showed that she concurred. The spell had been successful. But Angel still wasn’t convinced. He remembered the last time they’d performed this spell. Drusilla had very nearly killed Will permanently.
At last satisfied that the look in Joyce’s eyes was her own, not that of a demon, Angel stepped aside and let Will tend to his latest childe.
The others retreated into the shadow by the wall surrounding Sunnydale’s cemetary and waited.
Will pulled Joyce into his arms and held her, while the shock of her transformation passed through her and left her.
“There. I told you it would be alright. Would you like to go home now?”
“To my house?”
“No. Home. To Los Angeles. I promised you Buffy wouldn’t find out about this, and I kept my word. She knows nothing.”
Joyce leaned into Will’s strong arms, and let him lead her towards Angel’s car. Soon they were all on their way back.
Joyce was very tired and Will rushed her into the guest room, where he too vanished not to be seen the rest of the day. Doyle and Willow had gone straight to their place, and that left Angel and Jenny alone together for once.
Though they felt emotionally exhausted, this was such a rare occasion, they decided not to waste any time taking advantage of it. Their bed felt very spacious and luxurious.
“Do you think this is how it’s going to be from now on?”
“Mm. You mean just you and me? I could get used to this.”
“How do you think she’s going to adapt?”
“Well, maybe it’s going to be ok. Willow and Will were right. She never killed anyone. I have vague memories of feeding on two people. If I fight it, I can make myself forget, but I’ll never be able to escape the guilt.”
“I know. But that’s not all she’ll have to deal with.”
“At least she won’t have to face it alone, like you did.”
“Don’t remind me. Jenny?”
“Mm. Oh. Don’t stop.”
And they abandoned conversation for the rest of the day.
The following evening, Joyce’s education began. She didn’t especially like her new craving for blood, and not being able to venture outside during the daylight hours took some getting used to. All in all, though, the three vampires with souls did their utmost to make the transition as easy on Joyce as possible.
Within days, Will asked to speak to Angel and Jenny. Joyce was in the guest room, trying to organize her wardrobe. She had lost everything when she died, and she could hardly sneak back into her own house and take back some of her clothes and other possessions.
“I have something to tell both of you.”
“Is anything wrong? Is Joyce having trouble adapting?”
“No. I wanted the two of you to be the first to know. Joyce and I are getting married.”
What? Was this another example of Will’s wild sense of humor?
“Oh. I had no idea. What does Joyce say?”
Jenny had an idea Joyce hadn’t been consulted.
“I’ll let you know as soon as I ask her. But I only thought it was polite to tell my lovers I’m leaving you for another woman.”
“Alright. Will, I hope you’ll be very happy. But just in case, shouldn’t you ask Joyce? I don’t know how a woman would feel about it, but my guess is she’d like to be consulted. And, I don’t want to spoil this for you, Will, but how are you going to manage this?”
“I’m sure there’s a perfectly beautiful vampire wedding chapel in Vegas.”
They couldn’t help smiling at Will’s outrageous sense of humor.
“Actually, I might be able to help you, Will. If you’re really serious about this whole marriage idea, I have a techno-pagan friend who’s a priestess. She’ll be happy to marry you. I know she’ll love to add a vampire wedding to her resume.”
“Great. I’ll go pop the question to Joyce now, if you’re sure you wish me luck and everything.”
“Of course we do.”
Jenny walked over to Will and hugged him. He stunned her by not letting his hands move all over her. Angel too, held Will for a moment, and he was amazed not to feel Will pressing up against him in a suggestive way. Their flamboyant lover really was growing up.
Will rushed back to knock on Joyce’s door.
“Joyce? Are you busy?”
“No, come on in. I’ll have to thank Jenny for going shopping with me at that mall.”
“There’s something I’d like to ask you, pet.”
“Let’s sit down.”
“Alright. I hope there’s nothing wrong. Is Buffy ok?”
“Nothing’s wrong, love.”
“Oh, good. I have to admit you were right, this isn’t bad. Except for the blood. And you’re so -“
Joyce blushed when she remembered their vigorous sex life. Buffy’s father was a much more inhibited man. Not that Joyce was entirely surprised. Will had been extremely open about his earlier partners. That would have given Joyce cause for concern if it hadn’t been for two things. Will didn’t risk succumbing to any disease, and secondly, even if he did, she was dead, and wouldn’t have to worry about anything as down-to-earth as that.
“Yes, I am, aren’t I?”
Will was far from displeased with Joyce’s appreciation of his skills. Strangely enough, Jenny and her whips and handcuffs were already fading in his mind, in favor of suburban vanilla sex with this woman.
“But that’s not what I wanted to discuss with you. Joyce, how would you feel about marriage?”
“Marriage? Now? Are you serious, Will? We’re dead. And I don’t know about you, but I was definitely buried.”
“Yes, me too. But don’t distract me now, love. I’m very serious. Would you like to marry me? Before you say anything, let me finish. I’m well aware of the differences between us. You’re a college educated woman, and I was just a street kid. And I’m older than you, but you have to admit I’m well preserved for my age.”
“Hold on a bit, Will. My head is spinning. Let me get this straight: You’re dumping my daughter’s gorgeous ex, and Jenny, who’s young and beautiful, for this bald old scarecrow?”
“Hush. Don’t say that, pet. It will grow back. When Angelus met me, we both had shoulder length hair, tied back with ribbons. Hm. You wouldn’t want me to grow my hair long again, I guess?”
“Never mind your hair, Will. Answer me.”
“Yes. It’s you I love. Alright, I love them too, but I love you more. And I would really love to marry you.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“Alright. Take as long as you like to think this over. But I want you to know, I’m serious.”
“I can’t believe this. Will, you’re -“
Joyce lacked words to express how she felt about this new, confusing, but also fantastic existence. She contented herself with holding her new lover.
In the meantime, Angel was struck by a thought.
“Jenny? How do you feel about marriage?”
The raven-haired gypsy faced her lover with flashing eyes. She sensed that Angel was serious. Despite everything, she was so lucky to have someone like this beautiful man by her side.
“I’m ok as it is, unless you insist.”
Angel considered this in silence.
“No. I’m ok too. For now. Maybe later.”
“Yes. It’s not as if we don’t have time. But I really appreciate the offer.”
“Even if we don’t get married, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t celebrate our honeymoon.”
“You’re reading my mind, Angel. If Will and Joyce are busy over there, we could probably sneak off to our own room and -“
“I love the way you’re thinking.”
A few days later, Joyce felt she had given Will’s proposal enough thought. She decided that it was time to start over again. And since this was all new, why not get married again as well? Buffy’s father had many good qualities but he was nowhere near as handsome as Will, and his bedroom skills couldn’t in any way compare either.
Now it was time to inform Willow, Doyle and Oz. As the closest friends of the vampires with souls, it was natural that the mortals would be invited.
The news was greeted with a great deal of enthusiasm, especially from Willow. She was thrilled to be asked to serve as bride’s maid, along with Jenny. Jenny, too, was happy to accept.
Not until now, did Willow’s apparent involvement with not only Oz but also Doyle filter through to Joyce. She’d had far too much to deal with in the past weeks.
“Willow, dear, I thought -“
Joyce tried to find a tactful way of asking about this puzzling, and to her, quite new development.
Willow was too deeply immersed in happy thoughts about dresses to wear to weddings and dancing with her two handsome lovers, and –
“I thought you and Tara -“
“Oh, that. I made it up. Long story.”
She really didn’t want to spoil the mood by going into how Oz had betrayed her and how she had dreamed up that ruse to hurt him.
Something had just occurred to Oz, and he decided to discuss it right away with Willow’s other lover. The women were busy making wedding plans. Will, too, was absorbed in the important task of picking out what he was going to wear for the wedding. It would be very 70’s, very David Bowie. Angel had retreated somewhere out of sight, probably hunting down some monster, and Doyle had been about to join him. But Oz knew that what he had in mind, he couldn’t do on his own.
“Doyle? Do you have a minute?”
“You know how women are about weddings.”
Doyle groaned and rolled his eyes.
“Don’t remind me. Want to go out for a drink instead? Before we’re drafted into trying on the wedding dress or something like that.”
“In a minute. I just wanted to ask you something.”
“No, Oz, I don’t think I want to marry you. Been there, done that, as you Americans say.”
“That’s really funny. But I meant Willow. Do you think she might want to get married?”
“Heaven help us, Oz. How would we go about that? I know things are different over here, but in Ireland no priest would ever marry a woman and two men. It’s just not done.”
“But what about that techno-pagan priestess? Couldn’t she do it?”
“Yes. I suppose she could. Have you asked Willow?”
“No. I thought it would only be fair to ask you first.”
Doyle nodded in approval of Oz’ reasoning.
“I appreciate it, my friend. Why don’t we ask her first?”
“But what do you think? I know you were only kidding, but did you mean that you don’t want to get married again?”
“No. I could probably get used to the idea of being married to Willow. Even with a co-husband. What about you?”
“I’d love to marry Willow. With or without a co-husband. Or even two. Willow means everything to me.”
“Heaven forbid there should ever be another guy in this relationship. Don’t get me wrong, Oz, three might be company, but four would definitely be a crowd.”
“As long as Willow’s happy -“
Doyle made a gesture with one hand that seemed to be intended to avert some unpleasantness.
“Let’s just hope you and I can keep her happy, between us. Are you going to ask her, or do you want me to do it?”
“Why don’t we both do it?”
“As you wish.”
“Willow, could we speak to you for a moment?”
“Go ahead. You won’t mind if I look at these fabrics? Jenny’s promised to sew the dress for me.”
“That’s no big deal, Willow. I’ll make mine too. In fact, I’d make Joyce’s too, but Will’s sending for one from Paris or Milan. He hasn’t made up his mind yet.”
“Could we see you in private, please?”
Jenny threw her hands in the air theatrically and got up.
“Say no more. I’ll go and check through my wardrobe. There should be a pair of shoes I can wear with the dress I’m going to make.”
When the Gypsy was safely out of earshot, or at least seemed to be, Oz and Doyle exchanged looks, but eventually, Doyle was able to wordlessly persuade Oz to ask. After all, he’d already proposed to one woman. Now it was Oz’ turn to go through that unsettling experience.
“Willow? Would you like to get married too?”
“Oh, Oz. I never thought you’d ask. But we can’t. Don’t you think we should have our degree first? And what about Doyle? Is your divorce finalized yet?”
“Yes. Everything’s taken care of. And I have to agree with Oz. If you’d like to marry us, I’d be really happy with you as my wife.”
“Doyle. I love you both so much. But Oz and I need to get our degrees first. Or would you rather we got married right away?”
“No. You’re right. We’ll wait.”
“Oh, this is so romantic. We’ll invite Jenny and Angel and Will and Joyce and – But now I’ll have to go talk to Jenny about my dress. Wait. Blue or pink?”
“What color do you think I should wear for the wedding? Pale blue or pink?”
“I don’t know. What would you prefer?”
“I love both. Doyle?”
“Yes. You’re right. Blue is better. Thanks.”
And in a flurry of red hair, Willow vanished into Jenny’s and Angel’s room temporarily transformed into a fashion design studio. Towards morning, Angel returned, bruised and disheveled and headed straight into the shower. Not one minute later, Will opened the door and walked in.
Angel knew it had been too good to be true. Here Will was, back again for a bit of pre-marital fun. But he was wrong.
“Would you be my best man, please?”
“For the wedding. My best man. You have to admit that you and I go way back.”
That was exactly what was bothering Angel. Being best man to a groom he had been sleeping with for close to a century off and on, was not his idea of a romantic wedding. And to make matters worse, he’d also slept with both bride’s maids on different occasions, not to mention the bride’s daughter. Sometimes, having a past wasn’t all that much fun. But Will was right. Who else would Will ask? He hadn’t known Oz or Doyle for nearly as long.
“Wonderful. I’ll go and tell Joyce. Oh, and by the way, we’ve been talking about getting our own place.”
Again, Angel was astonished by his own mixed emotions about this possibility. It had never occurred to him that his childe would move away from him. He’d be free of the obligation of sleeping with Will, but he wouldn’t be able to watch over him.
“You know how it is. There are times when you just want to be alone with your love.”
“Ok, but we could get a bigger place. That way we could all stay together. It’s bad enough that Willow and her guys live apart from us. I’m constantly worrying about her. And them. But you and Joyce shouldn’t go off on your own. We could get a house. Someplace isolated, spacious.”
“Angel? Are you serious? You’re not just saying that to make me feel better?”
“No. I’m serious.”
“I’m overwhelmed. Alright, Joyce and I are going on our honeymoon for a couple of months first. But when we’re back, we’ll be happy to live with you and Jenny. Maybe Willow and her guys could move in too.”
“Yes. That’s a great idea. Would you like me and Jenny to look into it? We could get a place while you’re gone -“
“Sounds like a good idea. Now I really have to go. I love you, Angel. Not as much as I love Joyce but close enough.”
“Oh. I love you too, Will.”
Not as much as I love Jenny and Willow and – But Angel decided to keep that observation to himself. He had a feeling Will knew that anyway. It had been bothering Angel for a long time, but now he sensed he could stop feeling guilty about that at least. Compared to all the other things weighing on his conscience it might have been a small matter, but he was glad Will had found happiness in someone else’s arms.
The night before Will and Joyce left for their honeymoon, Joyce appeared to be out of sorts. That puzzled Jenny and Angel. She ought to be happy, despite her condition. Here she was embarking on a new life, in a manner of speaking, marriage, a new love, this trip to Europe. Yet she looked subdued and listless. Jenny decided that a woman’s touch might help draw her new friend out.
“Joyce? What’s the matter? Did you and Will have a fight?”
Jenny had a suspicion Joyce might have found out about Will’s handcuff fetish and didn’t like it. Perhaps she ought to explain to the older woman that that sort of thing was entirely optional. Even if Will was her sire, Jenny firmly believed in the female keeping the upper hand in any relationship.
“No. Nothing like that.”
“Then what’s wrong?”
Joyce stared back at Jenny, and for a moment, the gypsy felt she had overstepped the line. This was a fairly new acquaintance. What little they had seen of each other in the past had been more or less officially. Jenny had been Willow’s teacher, and Joyce the mother of Willow’s best friend.
“It’s that obvious?”
Now Joyce smiled a little.
“Nothing’s wrong. Apart from having become this. It’s not until now that I’ve fully realized what I’m letting myself in for.”
“You mean marrying Will?”
Jenny was joking, and she hoped her tone of voice conveyed as much. It seemed it did. Joyce smiled again and relaxed a little.
“No. He’s absolutely wonderful. I’ve been meaning to ask, Jenny – I hope I didn’t come between you and Will.”
“All we want for Will is for him to be happy. You’ve made him happier than he’s been since he lost Drusilla. So there are no hard feelings.”
“That’s a relief. I did think you and Angel look especially happy together.”
“We are. Who says you don’t get a second chance?”
“That’s just it, though. It just goes on forever and ever, doesn’t it? Until Doomsday.”
“Don’t say that. But I think all of us have qualified for the upstairs, if you know what I mean. In fact, all that religious stuff’s had me confused. I’m a techno-pagan. Now I find that there’s actually a heaven – and a hell. Angel’s been there, you know.”
“Yes, Will told me. Poor Angel. I can’t believe he deserved that.”
“No. He didn’t. It was all Angelus’ fault as usual. Still, he’s back, and safe. Look, Joyce, I’ve found that it’s a lot better not to dwell too much on eternity. Take one day at a time. Oh, here’s Angel. Angel, darling, why don’t you tell Joyce some interesting story from your time here in California.”
“I thought you only came here a few years ago?”
“Yes. But I was here earlier. In the 40’s and 50’s. Well, if you have time, I could tell you a little about it.”
It was rare for Angel to be in such a mellow mood. Usually, Jenny had to pry this type of story out of him, bit by bit. She could tell he was trying his best to help cheer Joyce up. That was one of the things Jenny loved most about Angel. His empathy and his willingness to go out of his way to help others.
“I’d love to hear about it. Is this anything to do with celebrities by any chance? Will said something about how you used to know everyone. But that was back in Europe, wasn’t it?”
“Angelus used to know everyone. But those were 19 century celebrities. I’d rather not go into any of that right now.”
“Oh, that’s alright. I’d much rather hear about the 40’s and 50’s.”
“Well, I went to Hollywood some time in the mid-40’s. I was brooding a lot back in those days, and for a time I became obsessed with television and movies. For a while, I kept watching the same two or three movies over and over again. It helped me forget. But after a while, I came down with a different kind of obsession. Elizabeth Taylor. So in the end I went to Hollywood to see her.”
“And did you?”
“You could say that. In fact, I also met Rita Hayworth and Marilyn Monroe to name a few.”
“No, Joyce, I’m just making this up to impress you.”
“Really. But part of it was true. I did get obsessed with movies and television. We had nothing like that when I was young. And I did go to Hollywood. It was as good a place as any.”
“Oh. Well, thanks anyway, Angel. I’m betting you could tell me a few interesting true stories as well.”
“Yes, I could. But I’ll save those until you and Will get back. Have a really great trip.”
“Thanks. I hope you and Jenny will be very happy.”
Angel cast his lover a lingering look. Yes, he really thought they would be. But not too happy. They couldn’t risk losing their souls again.
Once Will and Joyce were on their way, Angel was looking forward to a long, intense period alone with Jenny. That morning when they went to bed, Jenny gave him an inquiring look. He didn’t at first associate it with the tall tale he’d told Joyce. But Jenny didn’t waste any time getting to the point.
“I thought it was true. At least part of it.”
“About you and your Hollywood celebrities.”
He should have known better than to tell Jenny his darkest secrets. She was far too good at reading the truth in his eyes.
“Alright. In a way. But unfortunately, it wasn’t Liz Taylor.”
“Who was it? Rita Hayworth? Marilyn Monroe?”
“No. I just made that up, because I thought Joyce would be impressed and entertained by that. It was James Dean. I did go to Hollywood, hoping to meet Liz. After all, even if I hadn’t tried in a long time, I knew I hadn’t lost my touch. I was sure that if I met her, I’d -“
“If you like. But I ran into James Dean instead, and I decided not to fight it. I didn’t have to work at it at all. The minute he saw me, I knew he wanted me, so I just let him go ahead. Anything to help me forget. But I wish I’d worked a little harder at it, and really met Liz. She was so beautiful, and she reminded me of Lydia.”
A scowl reminded Angel that Jenny never liked to hear about his past loves. At least not the women. He wondered why that was and he decided this was as good a time as any to ask.
“Why do you always react like that when I mention one of my earlier lovers? The women, anyway. You don’t seem to mind about the men. Why is that?”
“Did I say anything?”
“You didn’t have to.”
“Alright. Those guys can’t compare to me, can they?”
“No. But neither can the other women.”
“I bet you say that to everyone.”
“Maybe I did. But this time I really mean it.”
“You Irish have a way with words.”
Her eyes were flashing at Angel just like in the past, and he knew they were going to be ok.
“Just don’t tell me anything about Lydia, or Willow or Buffy, alright?”
“Alright. I promise.”
He moved over to kiss her and they decided to forget all about the past and the future.
In the next few nights, Angel and Jenny got busy looking for a suitable house. Willow, Oz and Doyle enthusiastically joined in. They were all, especially Willow, thrilled with the idea of buying a big, luxurious mansion. Jenny and Willow devised the idea of living on different floors in separate apartments. The Los Angeles area was full of promising objects, and before long, they found a place that was ideal for their purposes.
Within two weeks, they had finalized the deal and begun to move the furniture over to the new place. At the end of that time, Angel put the old place up for sale. He returned to go over the office one last time, and to take a look around. Already, the place had acquired memories. But he knew it was no use feeling sentimental over the past.
As he was about to leave, he was startled by a slight noise from the open doorway, and his vampire instincts took over. Crouching to meet the attack, he strained his senses outwards. But the voice that softly called out his name was familiar, and Angel allowed himself to relax. Sean.
“I’m in here. Welcome back.”
Sean strolled in as gracefully as ever. Angel knew people found him beautiful, and he knew all about making himself attractive, but he didn’t think he’d ever met a more beautiful man than Sean. Despite everything, he felt his body react to the proximity.
If he didn’t know any better, he’d say that Sean was deliberately playing for that reaction. But Sean wasn’t like that. He was a very down-to-earth boy, or at least he’d used to be. It occurred to Angel that he knew nothing about how Sean had spent the lonely years since their brief time together.
“Hello, Angel. This place looks empty. Are you moving out?”
“Yes. I’m glad you made it here in time. Of course, I knew you’d be able to track us down anyway, but now you can come along with me to the new house.”
“You’re getting a house?”
“Yes. Will -“
“What about Will?”
“You’ll never believe this, but Will met a woman and they’ve been married. They’re on their way to Europe on their honeymoon.”
“Are you serious?”
“Yes. But tell me how you’ve been. You look -“
Angel hesitated to say what was on his mind. Now that he’d had time to study Sean closer, he realized that the boy looked a bit dishevelled. Not that Sean had ever been as partial to sartorial elegance as Will – or Angel himself. But this was a bit unkempt even compared to the way the boy had looked in the past. He couldn’t help feeling a little concerned. This was a childe of his, after all. And one that he felt most responsible for of them all, including Will.
“Terrible. I know.”
“I wouldn’t go as far as that. But are you alright? You didn’t run into any trouble out there?”
“No. I’m fine. There just didn’t seem to be any point in keeping up appearances. And I felt lonely. I didn’t realize how spoiled I got in the short time I was with you – and the others. After all those years on my own, I guess I was missing the companionship of others. Of course, I didn’t know there was anyone else like me, apart from you.”
“I’ve missed you too. And worried about you.”
“You don’t have to say that, you know. I’m alright about – the way you feel.”
This shamed Angel. It was hard to be faced with all that devotion and not be able to return those feelings. Awkwardly, he moved closer intending to embrace Sean.
“But it’s the truth. I told you, I care about you.”
He knew it was a poor consolation, but that was all he had to offer. Or was it? Angelus’ memories kept flooding back, confusing Angel. At one time, he’d wanted this boy as much he’d wanted anyone. And now, he loved him, even if he wasn’t in love with him.
Before he knew what he was doing, Angel had pulled Sean into a far more passionate embrace than he’d intended to. There was no resistance, but no encouragement either. Sean passively allowed him access to his body, and waited for Angel’s next move.
For some reason, this proved more intoxicating than any provocative display, along the lines of Will’s technique. Suddenly, the intervening years were gone, and Angel couldn’t get enough of the young body pressed against him in this irresistible way.
His hands moved along Sean’s neck and shoulders, and whenever Angel encountered a garment, he removed it casually, and continued his exploration. At long last, he could detect a response in the boy. Sean’s mouth felt eager under his own.
At some point, they must have lowered themselves to the floor and continued their reunion.
Angel’s hands were in Sean’s hair, and moved down to his shoulders and chest. This was all too familiar, yet all new. In the past, the childe had always been the one to serve his sire. Today, such dated rules regulating the interaction between sire and childe had been abandoned. Angel was seized by a sudden wish to give Sean pleasure, never giving a thought to his own satisfaction, but there was no question about it, he was as aroused as ever with Jenny.
Angel had now managed to unzip Sean’s jeans, but a restraining hand pushed his head away as he was about to go on.
“No. I don’t want you to do that.”
“Consider it my treat. To make up for the past. Angelus took advantage of you, but I’m not like him.”
“You don’t understand. There’s no need to make up for the past. He’s gone. You’re here. And I know what you really want now. It wouldn’t be fair.”
“Never mind. I can -“
“I know you can. So could I, but let’s not, ok.”
This was totally unexpected, but Angel knew Sean well enough to be able to tell the boy was serious. Perhaps he had a point. Whatever had been about to happen was a bad idea, even if he didn’t take Jenny into account, which he had to do. Why complicate their lives further?
“Alright. Would you like to come back to the house with me? We’d really love to have you live there with us.”
“Truly and honestly. Jenny’s said so a number of times.”
“Alright. She’s very beautiful.”
There was a wistful note in Sean’s voice that caught Angel by surprise. Sean was attracted to Jenny. For some reason, Angel had always thought of Sean as into men exclusively. As if Angelus would have tolerated any infidelity on the part of any childe as long as he or she took the demon’s fancy.
“You’re into women?”
Sean laughed sadly, while he gathered up his garments that were strewn all across the floor.
“Don’t sound so surprised. Why shouldn’t I be? You are. Even Will. Everyone seems to be these days. Even some women, apparently.”
“You didn’t know that?”
“Not until in the past few years. In Ireland that was unheard of. Of course, no one had told me men could do what you and I did that night by the road.”
“I suppose not. You were lucky, until you met Angelus. I was only about 11 when I discovered what men like to do to boys.”
“I’m sorry. Anyway, the only reason I was never with any woman, is that I was still so much in love with you. Do you think -“
“You and Will were both involved with Jenny, weren’t you?”
Angel could see where this was heading, and he thought he knew a solution to their problem.
“You don’t think that Jenny would like to -“
“Yes, I do. She would.”
“She said so?”
“Not in so many words. But that’s how interpreted what she did say about you. Absolutely. Women like that sort of thing. I would never have guessed in the past, but she definitely enjoys a threesome. Will was hoping for a foursome, but that’s all in the past now.”
“Yes. I’m glad. Because though I never blamed Will for what Spike did, I never knew what you saw in him.”
“Actually, I didn’t really – Poor Will.”
“Alright. Why not?”
It was time they were indoors. Dawn was still an hour or more away, but better safe than sorry.
Sean looked a bit uncomfortable, and Angel wondered what was up. Did he feel embarrassed about what had just happened between them? If so, he wasn’t the only one. Though normally Jenny could be extremely tolerant about this sort of thing, it didn’t relieve Angel of any of his guilt. He had decided never to cheat on Jenny, and what had he just been about to do? If Sean was accepted into Jenny’s and his bed, then these unwanted urges might be channeled into their relationship, rather than sordid meetings on the floor.
“You don’t think I could use the shower, do you?”
“Of course. Make yourself at home. It’s over there. If you like, I’ll go in and talk to Jenny. See how she feels about this -“
Sean smiled shyly and seemed about to say something, then changed his mind and hurried into the shower.
Angel smiled too and shook his head. To be so young and innocent, after all this time. How sweet, how heart-breaking. He was reasonably sure Jenny would be tempted, and why not? They weren’t ordinary people, and besides, there was Willow – and Oz. If they could make a threesome work, why not these lonely vampires?
“Jenny? Guess who I found at the old place?”
“Just tell me. I can tell it’s good news, because you’re smiling like you just – What have you been doing?”
“Sean was there. I brought him back here. You don’t mind, I hope?”
“Of course not. The more the merrier. Besides, with Will gone the bed’s been feeling a bit empty.”
She was lying, of course. Angel knew how much she’d enjoyed this one-on one, and so had he. Still, there was something to be said for a threesome as well.
“He told me he’s been thinking a lot about you and was hoping you’d want to -“
“Oh, of course I would. But the question is what the two of you were up to on your own.”
Angel stared down at his feet. Jenny really saw right through him. But that was one of the things he loved about her.
“I’m sorry. But nothing happened. We thought better of it.”
“I see. Well, you’d been worried about him, and I think you missed him more than you thought you’d do. Am I right?”
“Yes. But you must know it’s you I love.”
“And all the others.”
“But I love you more.”
“Yes, I think maybe you do. Alright. Bring him in.”
“He’s in the shower. And – he’s never been with a woman before. I was thinking, his first time, he might want to be alone with you. If that’s alright with you.”
“Ok. Once a teacher, always a teacher. He’s not a big fan of whips and handcuffs, right?”
“I don’t know. You know how it is. No, I guess you don’t. We’re usually into pain. At least us guys.”
“Ah. You never mentioned any preference for that before. But that’s ok. I still have those whips and handcuffs. Will didn’t need them anymore. I think Joyce is more into vanilla sex.”
“I’m sure you’re right. But the reason I never asked for anything like that, is that with you I never felt the need. You won’t believe me, but I really think you’re the one.”
“Hm. Ok, go on. Send him in, as soon as he’s done making himself pretty for me. I’m sure I can teach him a thing or two. Come back in an hour. Yes, an hour will do nicely for a first session. Then you can do what you want.”
“I love you.”
And Angel leaned over and kissed her lightly. He immediately regretted it. Her frown told him Sean’s scent was all over him, and he would have blushed if the physical conditions had allowed him to.
“No. You were honest with me. I’m not mad at you. But go into the bathroom and clean up, when he’s done, ok? Call me possessive, if not jealous, but I like to leave my own mark on my men.”
“Whatever you say.”
Less than five minutes later, a dripping wet Sean opened the door and peered inside.
“Come on in. Sit down.”
She took an appraising look at the vampire boy. He was very pretty. Unfortunately, he was also way too young. Normally, Jenny wouldn’t fall for her students, and this boy was the same age as they had used to be. But she reminded herself that no matter how young this boy looked, he was closer to Will’s age than Willow’s or Oz’.
“Don’t look so scared. I’m not going to eat you alive. Come here.”
She patted the side of the bed, invitingly, accompanying her suggestion with a warm smile.
Self-consciously, Sean sat down on the edge of the bed, looking like he’d flee, if she made any sudden move. This was a bit of a turn-off, Jenny couldn’t deny that to herself. She felt like some pervert about to seduce a minor.
“Did Angel explain to you?”
“Yes. Let’s just get this straight. You’ve never been with a woman, and you’d like to learn?”
“No problem. You’re a very beautiful boy. Won’t you get under the covers with me? I’m not going to bite, unless you want me to.”
Maybe a vampire joke would set his mind at ease.
It seemed it did. And he really seemed very eager to start his education.
“You were 16 or so when Angelus found you?”
It could have been worse. For all Jenny knew, Angelus might have been interested in children too. Poor Angel.
“How old were you?”
She hadn’t expected that. Was it really a good idea to reveal her true age? Either it would intimidate Sean more, or else, it might turn him on. If the latter, then Jenny knew she’d be a bit put off. Her age really was no one’s business.
“I was grown up. Teaching at a high school.”
“Oh. I didn’t really go to school. Certainly not high school.”
“I could teach you about computers if you’re interested.”
“Sean, if you’ve changed your mind about this, it’s ok. We don’t have to do it right now. Time is something we all have plenty of. If you like, we can just sleep.”
“But I’d really like to. I’ll do anything you want me to.”
“That’s not what this is about. We’re not ordinarly vampires. I don’t use you, and you don’t use me. This is about love, Sean.”
Again, she’d made him uncomfortable, but Jenny didn’t regret her words. It was important that this boy understood what the relationship was about.
“I know. I’ve never seen anyone as beautiful as you. When Angel said you might want me too, I couldn’t believe it was true. And you’re so different from the women I remember from when I was a mortal. You’re so -“
“Assertive? You could say that.”
“I didn’t mean to offend you. I really like you.”
“I like you too, Sean. Well, if you’re sure, maybe we should get started. You can begin by kissing me.”
From then on, things proceeded according to plan. Apart from a certain awkwardness, Jenny would have said Sean wasn’t such a beginner after all. He did great. But then who said sex was like Greek? If she wasn’t mistaken, he’d find computer science a lot more challenging.
When the hour was up, Angel stood outside the door, listening in on what might be going on inside. He couldn’t hear anything, so he decided it would be ok to enter.
The scene he found, brought a smile to his face. Jenny was sitting upright, reading a book, while Sean was fast asleep. Either he’d been too exhausted to begin his first lesson, or – Jenny had given him a good workout. Silently, so he wouldn’t disturb his childe, he slipped into bed, on Jenny’s other side.
Sex would be out of the question this time, but Angel didn’t regret his decision to let Sean into their bed. He had a feeling Sean was becoming a very happy vampire. With his mouth pressed against Jenny’s ear, Angel began a whispered conference with his lover.
“Yes. He did great. You were right. This was obviously something he’d been waiting a long time to try.”
“Are you ok about it?”
“Why wouldn’t I be? Will was ok, and Sean is too. But Angelus sure picked them young. Wait, don’t look like that. It wasn’t your fault, remember?”
“I know. Unfortunately, you’re right. Sean wasn’t even the youngest. But I won’t go into that now.”
“No, you’d better not. But he’s really lovely. Just like you.”
“No, you are. So you don’t think everything’s ruined? I know you were hoping we’d get some time to ourselves.”
“Yes. I was. But like you, I’m really fond of Sean. And to be perfectly honest, this threesome thing is really hot. I can’t imagine poor Rupert would have been very receptive to that kind of thing.”
No, Angel couldn’t either. He liked to think he was able to make Jenny happy. Happier than the librarian might have. But he still wished Jenny could have been allowed to live out her life in peace. After all, Willow was able to enjoy a happy menage à trois without being a vampire.
But guilt didn’t get him anywhere. At least now, he knew where most of his loved ones were, and hopefully, they were all safe. Willow and her guys upstairs, and soon, Will and Joyce would move into their apartment downstairs. He really ought to focus on the bright side for a change.
Moving closer to Jenny, he slipped his arms around her and rested his head on her shoulder. Without looking, he knew Sean was resting comfortably right beside them. This new relationship showed promise. He only hoped Will and Joyce would be as happy. But he had a feeling they would.