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She stormed through the mall, credit card in hand, determined to acquire a better wardrobe. When she had gone to change out of her old clothes, she was greeted by a sea of pink, rainbow, and an obscene amount of fuzzy shirts.

No wonder Xander never noticed me, I must've looked like a god damn five year old. She thought to herself. After picking out enough outfits to last her a few weeks and vowing to return, she checked out and made her way to her hair appointment.

-_-_-

Upon arriving at the school, Willow sat on one of the weathered stone benches and waited for Xander. A few guys passed her and did a double take. She curled her lip. Suddenly there was a loud crash behind her. She turned around to see Xander sprawled out on the pavement, skateboard in hand. "Willow, very much the person I wanted to see" A flash of the last time she had seen him like that flashed through her mind as she helped him up. She shook her head to clear it and the flash faded. They pushed through the double doors and entered the school.

"Hey hey!" a familiar voice called out. Jesse. She had forgotten all about him. Tears sprang to her eyes. "Hey Jesse, what's what?" Xander greeted him casually.
"New girl"
Jessie smirked. "That's right, I saw her. Pretty much a hottie."
Willow chuckled under her breath, remembering Xander's bumbling attempts at wooing said hottie.

-_-_-

"-needs to call me."
"Frappuchinos"
"Trendy, but tasty"
"John Tesh"
"The devil"
"That was pretty much a gimme, but you passed!"
"Oh, good!"
"Willow" Cordelia crooned. "Nice coat" "Does it come with the ew or is that just part of the Rosenberg Special?"
Willow sighed, crossed her arms, and turned to face the bane of her high school existence. "Cordy, you look just lovely today. I wonder if you would mind trying out the 'Rosenberg Special'" She leered and the brunette gasped and spluttered, blushed red as a tomato, and stormed away.

-_-_-

Willow ate her lunch on the same bench she had waited on not four hours ago. As she was unwrapping her sandwich, Willow felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. She took a deep breath and smelled the Slayer's strong perfume.
"Mmm. Apricots."
She heard the other girl scuffle around on the pavement trying to figure out what to say.
"Is this seat taken?" She asked softly. It took all of Willow's self control to keep from leaping up and reenacting her Xander hug. Willow shook her head. Buffy sat down and began to unwrap her lunch as well.

They ate in silence for a while, each trying to think of what to say to break the ice. Finally Buffy spoke.
"I'm Buffy Summers, I'm new." She gave Willow one of her winning Buffy Summers Sunshine of the World smiles. Willow's heat leapt at the sight of what she thought long gone.
"Willow. Been here long?" Buffy shook her head.
"About a week or two, I've had time to unpack and stuff, but I still don't know my way around town yet." Willow smiled.
"I could show you, I mean if you're not busy tonight we could-"

She was interrupted by a flurry of teenage boy. Xander settled in next to Willow as Jessie inspected the "Pretty much" hottie.

"Um, Buffy this is Xander and Jessie. Guys this is Buffy." The boys barely nodded as they Ogled the blonde. The girls laughed. Willow continued
"Like I was saying, we could all go out tonight and show Buffy around."
The boys nodded. Jessie tore his eyes from the beauty that is Buffy Summers to ask Willow if she thought Cordelia would be at the Bronze tonight. Suddenly Willow remembered something about that night. Jessie's last night.

"Oh Jessie I'm so sorry I forgot, we need to work on your.. Uh.. Your.. Math Homework! Yes Math Homwork!" That'll keep him busy.

"Math Homework? Since when have I ever done Homework?" Jessie placed a hand over his heart and tried to look scandalized. Buffy laughed and Jessie was hypnotized. That Buffy Summers charm she had missed so much was abundant in this young woman.

"Can you at least try to do some of it? What are you gonna do when you can't get into college because of your terrible grades? Live in a box?" Jessie's eyes widened in fear and he shook his head.
"My mom would kill me!"

Willow breathed a sigh of relief. That's one life saved by hindsight.
"Sorry to skip out on you Buffy, but it's really important that Jessie stays inside and studies all night."
Buffy smiled and nodded understandingly.

-_-_-

It was almost ten o' clock and still no sign of Jessie. Xander had come and gone, saying the only homework he cared about was the kind you do in a dream, where homework still consists of coloring shapes. Willow sighed as her lids began to droop. She pulled on Angel's coat and made her way down the street. An ambulance whizzed by, lights flashing and sirens blaring. Willow watched it pass and trotted across the street to look for him.

After hours of fruitless searching and desperate phone calls it was 2 am with no information or clues. She fell asleep on a bench in one of Sunnydale's extensive cemeteries.

-_-_-

The next day at school was easily one of the worst of her life. When she arrived no one would make eye contact with her and they whispered as she passed. Suddenly she was engulfed in a Xander sized hug. Willow wheezed as the air was quickly smooshed out of her by his arms around her ribs. He stepped back and wiped tears from his eyes.

"Xander what's wrong? Are you okay? What's going on!?"

He looked taken aback at her cluelessness and grabbed her hand, dragging her outside behind the school.

"They found him last night. It was a hit and run, no one saw what happened..."
Xander kept talking but his words pooled together in her head as a blurred mush of sound. She shook her head slowly, realizing who he was talking about. She hadn't been able to save him, not in the original timeline, not now. Willow felt like her heart was being poked apart like a pincushion. She was useless at hindsight save-age.

A realization dawned on her not long after. Since she and Xander hadn't been at the Bronze with Buffy, they hadn't found out the truth about how very real vampires and demons were. She could keep Xander out of Buffy's slaying life and save him heartbreak and suffering and of course the eventual loss of his eye.

Willow furrowed her brow as this idea gained momentum in her head, snowballing into a plan. Her brain, satisfied with it, turned its metaphorical head back to face Xander.

He was looking at her oddly.

"What?" She frowned at him, he shook his head ruefully and wiped his eyes.
"nothing"

-_-_-

School wasn't cancelled for Jessie. Kids die all the time on the Hellmouth. He was no different.