Title: Illumination
Author: Elisabeth
Email: dragonydreams@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.dragonydreams.com
Rating: PG
Pairing: Willow/Angel
Summary: Angel learns of the conditions attached to his soul.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them from Joss et al.
Distribution: My site, the usual lists, anyone with previous permission. Anyone else - please ask.
Feedback: Yes please. I'm a greedy little writer.
Author's Note: I am using a writer's prerogative and reworking the episodes 'Surprise' and 'Innocence' to suit my own purpose, both with the dialogue and timing in order to make it fit into my own little W/A world. You've been warned.

Dedication: This part is for Emmy because I don't think I'll have another one done before the weekend. Congratulations on your graduation!

See Awards this series has won.

 


Illumination
Fourth in Teacher's Pet Series
Sequel to Directed Study


Ms. Calendar was busy organizing her classroom while Willow and Buffy were commiserating over their respective relationships ending. She had heard from Rupert of Buffy and Angel's break up the previous day and silently breathed a sigh of relief. She was startled out of her contemplations of that doomed relationship by an accented voice behind her.

"Jenny Calendar."

She spun around at the familiar voice, surprise clearly written on her face at his presence. "You startled me."

"You look well," he observed, closing the distance between them.

"Yes, I'm fine," she offhandedly agreed, moving behind the safety of her desk, knowing that she was in for a reprimand if her uncle came to her in person. "I know I haven't written as much lately. I've been busy."

"I cannot imagine what is so important to make you ignore the responsibility to your people." He dryly said.

"Well, I've been working and..." Jenny tried to explain.

Cutting to the point, Enyos interrupted, "The elder woman has been reading signs. Something is different."

"Nothing has changed," Jenny commented, clearly not worried. "The curse still holds."

"The elder woman is never wrong," Enyos insisted. "She says his pain is lessening. She can feel it."

Jenny looked down, ashamed to admit, "There was..."

"There was what?"

She looked back up, prepared to accept her fate, "A girl."

Enyos exhaled in disgust. "What? How could you let this happen?"

"But it's over," Jenny rushed to add.

"Then there is another!" Enyos exclaimed.

"I promise you. Angel still suffers. And he makes amends for his evil. He even saved my life."

"So you just forget that he destroyed the most beloved daughter of your tribe?! That he *killed* every man, woman and child that touched her life?! Vengeance demands that his pain be eternal as ours is! If this, this girl gave him one *minute* of happiness, it is one minute too much!"

"I'm sorry. I thought..."

"You thought what?! You thought you are Jenny Calendar now?! You are still Janna, of the Kalderash people! A Gypsy."

"I know... Uncle Enyos. I know," she sighed in resignation.

"You know what it is, this thing vengeance?" he pressed. "To the modern man vengeance is a verb, an idea. Payback. One thing for another. Like commerce. Not with us. Vengeance is a living thing. It passes through generations. It commands. It kills."

"You told me to watch Angel..."

"The curse," Eynos continued. "Angel is meant to suffer, not to live as human. One moment of true happiness, of contentment, one moment where the soul that we restored no longer plagues his thoughts, and that soul is taken from him."

Jenny's face paled. "Then, if somehow, if... if that happens... then Angelus will come back."

"I mean to stop it." Eynos informed her.

"We can warn him," Jenny jumped up excitedly. "If there is someone else, we can prevent him from becoming too content."

"It is not our place to directly interfere."

"Then you want to let Angelus return?" Jenny demanded. "Allow him to destroy us all?"

"What do you propose to do?" he countered.

"I'll go to him. I'll explain to him that there is a possibility that he could lose his soul. He wouldn't want that. He believes that he needs to suffer as much as we do. His soul constantly reminds him of what he did to us, he feels that he deserves to suffer," Jenny reasoned.

"And you think he will give up this... whatever it is that is causing him such happiness, such contentment? You are a fool."

"Then what were you prepared to do? Kill the girl? We aren't murders."

"Of course not," Enyos agreed. "Yet we are gypsies. The problem lies with the curse itself. It was cast hastily. There is no way that the elders could have known that he would have survived this long with the soul. What we must do is make it permanent."

"Can we do that?" Jenny asked in awe.

"We can try." Enyos stated.

~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~

Despite her uncle's warning, the next night Jenny went to Angel's apartment. She told herself that she wasn't going to tell him that they were making the soul permanent, just in case the demon inside Angel decided to rebel.

She quietly knocked on his door, knowing that he'd still hear it if he was at home. A minute later a slightly disheveled Angel opened the door to her.

His surprise at seeing her on his doorstep was evident. "Jenny, what brings you here?"

"I needed to speak with you, privately." Gesturing towards the apartment she asked, "May I?"

"Uh, of course," he agreed, stepping out of the way after a quick look back into the apartment.

"I'm sorry to bother you at home," Jenny said as she moved into the room. "I hope I'm not interrupt..." Jenny trailed off as she noticed an equally disheveled, blushing redhead sitting on Angel's bed.

With a slight wave, Willow greeted her teacher, "Hi Ms. Calendar."

"Willow?" she needlessly questioned. "What are you doing here?"

"I'm, uh, I'm," Willow floundered, searching for the right words.

"That's none of your concern," Angel cut in, moving to sit next to a grateful Willow. He addressed the technopagan, "Was there something you wanted?"

"It's you," Jenny said quietly. "I thought he was talking about Buffy... but it was you."

"Me?" Willow queried. "What about me? What's Buffy got to do with it? And who is he?"

"My uncle," Jenny absently answered the last question first. She shook her head to order her thoughts, then turned her attention to Angel. "Do you know who I am? Who I truly am?"

"I do," he answered seriously.

"What are you talking about?" Willow asked, completely lost at the turn in conversation.

"I'm not entirely who I said I was," she explained to Willow. "I am descended from the clan of gypsies that cursed Angel."

Willow's eyes grew wide at that admission. "You're a gypsy," she whispered. She then turned to Angel, "You knew?"

"I had suspected," he admitted. "I could smell the Romany blood, but I couldn't be certain she was of the same tribe. Why reveal yourself?"

"I came to warn you," she told him. "The elder woman has been seeing signs - you are at risk of losing your soul."

"My soul?" he gasped, his emotions strangely conflicted at this news.

"How?" Willow asked.

"He is happy," Jenny answered, looking directly at Willow.

Her eyes widened as realization began to seep in. "That's what you meant about it not being Buffy. You thought that she was the one making him happy."

"I could never be truly happy with her," Angel quietly said. "My demon could never be content with a slayer. That's what I told her when I broke it off with her."

"But that obviously wasn't the real reason," Jenny observed.

"No, it wasn't," he agreed, taking Willow's hand in his, smiling at the girl.

"How long has this been going on?" she asked suspiciously. "And what about Oz?"

"Just a couple of weeks," Willow said with a blush. "When we realized that there was really something going on between us, he broke up with Buffy and I broke up with Oz."

"I assume that we don't need to ask you to not go public with this knowledge," Angel said. "It's too soon."

"Of course not," Jenny agreed. "Just as I hope that you'll keep secret my origins as well."

"Of course," the couple agreed.

"Now what was that about being happy?" Angel asked.

"I'm not entirely sure of the details," Jenny started to explain. "But from what I understand, if you become too content, feel too human, then the curse will be broken and you'll lose your soul."

"Is there a specific 'happy' you're talking about?" Willow asked. "Because I know that I don't want Angel to risk losing his soul by accidentally doing something too happy."

"I know what she's referring to," Angel told her. When he saw that she was about to question him further he said, "I'll tell you later."

Jenny gave him a look of thanks, not wanting to have to explain it to the poor girl.

"Is there anything that can be done?" Angel asked the brunette.

"I honestly don't know, but I'm looking into it," she replied.

Standing, Angel said, "Well, thank you for the warning."

"Believe me, it was my pleasure. If we can prevent the return of Angelus, then I will do anything that I can to help."

"I agree," Angel said walking her to the door.

"I'll let you know what I find out," she told them as she prepared to leave.

"Thank you," Angel replied, holding open the door. "Good night."

He closed the door behind the gypsy/teacher, resting his head against the wood for a minute. Warm arms encircled his waist from behind and a cheek was pressed against his back.

"Well that certainly killed the mood," Willow observed.

Angel chuckled and turned in Willow's embrace. He dropped a kiss on her forehead before he said, "That's an understatement."

"That was quite a bombshell. How are you feeling?" she asked.

"To be perfectly honest... conflicted." Angel closed his eyes to try and order his thoughts as Willow rubbed soothing circles on his back. "My demon is crying out to hurry up and get happy so that he can have free rein again. Which is causing the soul to want to be even more careful to prevent that from happening."

"And what about you?" Willow pressed. "What do you want?"

"I want Jenny to hurry up and find a solution. I don't want to lose the soul. As hard as it is to live with, knowing everything that I've done, I know that I can't go back to what I was. I can't become HIM again. He was ruthless, and cruel, and destructive. I deserve this punishment. I deserve to suffer. And the demon does not deserve a reprieve because I am able to glean a little happiness from this existence."

"So what did she mean about being too happy?"

Angel led the inquisitive redhead back to sit on the bed. "She means, that until she finds a way around this "happiness clause" in the curse, we can't make love."

Angel watched as her green eyes grew wide and her cheeks began to flush as she gasped, "Oh." Then the wheels began to turn and she asked, "Why?"

"Because I can think of nothing that would bring me greater happiness or make me feel like more of a man than to make love with you."

This time his admission brought tears to her eyes. "Really?"

Angel nodded, then leaned forward to brush a soft kiss against her lips. "Really."

Willow pulled him close and reclaimed his mouth in a passionate kiss. Her arms immediately wound around his body, holding him as close as possible without climbing onto his lap, which she was sorely tempted to do.

"Damn curse," she panted when she pulled back for air. "Now that we know about it all I want to do is make love to you."

Angel smiled at her, running his hands over her face and through her hair. "I know what you mean. But at least this will keep us from rushing anything, as we both know we're still not ready for that."

"I know, but why'd you have to go and be all logical. Hormones don't like to be reasoned with."

"At least they can be," he pointed out. "Perhaps tomorrow we can ask to aid in her research."

"Do you think she'd let us?" Willow asked excitedly.

"I don't see why not. If this is for our benefit, I don't see why we should be excluded. Besides, I happen to know what a brilliant hacker and researcher you are," he praised.

"Flattery will get you everywhere," Willow sighed, lowering her head to his neck to lick and nibble at his flesh.

"Just not too quickly," he stated, for his own benefit as well as Willow's before deciding that they'd talked long enough.

The End

Sequel: Gold Star

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Copyrightę December 2003