Angel moaned at the throbbing in his head and slowly opened his eyes. He blinked several times until his vision cleared, then tried to move. He looked in disbelief at the ropes tying him to the chair he was occupying.
“Welcome back, lover,” Willow said from the shadows.
He looked up with narrowed eyes and tried to see his wife in the gloom beyond the bright light shining over his chair. “What game are you playing at, Willow? This isn’t funny.”
Willow moved slowly into the light and he gasped at the vivid bruises marring her beautiful pale skin. He had a vague recollection of being angry with her a few days ago, but he didn’t remember hitting her. “Did,” he swallowed and tried again, “Did I do that?”
Her hand automatically moved up to touch her face and he saw the wicked looking dagger in her hand. The cold metal touched her cheek and she blinked once. A sad smile graced her lips then slipped away. “It was your fists, Angel, but it wasn’t you,” she said softly. Tired green eyes met pained brown ones and Willow said, “I love you, Angel, I always have, but I can’t do this anymore.”
Willow lowered her hand and started twirling the knife. A distracted look came over her and she said casually, “When you became human, I thought we would finally be okay, that we could truly begin our life together. I thought that we, that you, would be happy. We agreed to the Goddess’ terms without really looking at the fine print. Neither of us counted on Angelus still being a part of you.”
Angel opened his mouth, but Willow laid a gentle finger over his lips. “Shh, shh, you’ve had your time. It’s my turn now. You’ve hurt me more in the last year than in all the time I fought alongside Buffy. You’ve hurt me more than losing Tara, than almost ending the world. I was in pain then, but nothing like what you’ve done to me with your games. I’m the most powerful witch in the world and I let you use me as a punching bag, because I loved you and because I believed in the Goddess.”
The distracted look faded abruptly and Willow’s eyes turned black as she focused on her husband. In a flat voice, she said, “You beat me black and blue and put me in the hospital again, Angel, because…hell, I don’t even know why you did it this time. That I may have been able to eventually forgive, if not forget, but you killed our unborn child in the process, and that’s not something I can let go unpunished.”
Tears slid silently down Angel’s cheeks as he felt the first nick of the dagger. He’d tried, god how he’d tried to contain what was left of Angelus, but the tighter he’d locked that part of himself down, the more bled through. He’d destroyed his love, his shining light, his Willow, and in the process destroyed the new life he hadn’t even known they’d created.
The darkness inside him screamed for retribution, to make Willow pay for daring to defy him, but he wouldn’t fight. Whatever Willow did to him, even if she killed him, would be a small price to pay for what he’d done to her, for what he’d done to them. If he survived this, he’d find a way to…he didn’t know what he’d do.
He’d had everything he’d ever wanted, but the demon that was still a part of him couldn’t rest until he’d twisted it into something dark and unnatural. Angelus had played his games, but Angel vowed to himself that his games were over.
Thanks be to Elisabeth for the beta.