DISCLAIMER: All BTVS characters belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Grr, argh.
Dawn, Willow and Buffy sat in silence through breakfast, Buffy reading the paper, Dawn going over her homework, and Willow eating a muffin and watching the news on T.V.
"Hmm? What is it Dawn?" Buffy responded without looking up from the paper.
"Would you and Willow mind if I walked to school today?"
Buffy looked up. "No. As long as Willow doesn't mind." The Slayer looked at the wiccan for a response.
The phone rang and Willow rose to answer it. She had a perplexed expression on her face when she came back to the table. "That was Xander. Anya doesn't feel well, and since it's Friday, he wanted to know if she could take off.” She shrugged then smiled. “We may as well not open and then go in early tomorrow. I deserve a day off every once in a while. "
"Yes you do.." Dawn smiled. "So, I can walk to school with my friends and you two can hang out all day. Just like old times."
Before Buffy or Willow had the chance to object or process the information, Dawn had her bookbag on her back and was at the door. "Love ya both!" The door shut behind her.
"That was odd." Buffy scratched her head.
"To say the least, yeah." Willow agreed. "So no troubled teens to council today?”
"Actually, I took a personal day today. I have a date with three loads of laundry, then there's the food mart for this weeks groceries, then I was gonna give Giles a call around four, which is, uh, eleven his time. I think." Buffy scratched her head. "I never can get the time difference right."
"Oh." Was Willow's response. "Well, guess I'll go upstairs and read a book. Or something." She half smiled and walked out of the kitchen.
Buffy kicked herself internally as she watched Willow climb the stairs. Dawn was right. They should spend some quality time together. It had been such a long time since it was just the two of them. So then why was Buffy all about avoidance and less about bonding time with her best friend?
Without thinking about it any longer, Buffy strode up the steps and knocked on Willow's door. When there wasn't an answer she opened the door slowly. "Wil?"
"Um. Either I need glasses or. . .where are you?" Buffy looked around the room, perplexed.
Willow floated down in front of the Slayer. "Right here." She smiled.
"When looking for my best friend, trying the ceiling first does not fall into the top five places to look." Buffy smirked.
Willow smiled warmly at that sentiment. She couldn’t remember the last time Buffy refered to her as that.
"You should do that more often, Wil."
"Smile." The Slayer stated simply.
Willow shrugged and cast her eyes downward, a little embarassed. "So. Did you need me for something?"
"Well, I was thinking, as I'm prone to do sometimes," Buffy began to pace a little, "You know, having a brain and all and. . .I was thinking about what Dawn said earlier and she's right, not that she's always right, I mean, that would be like breaking a rule or something, you know, having a little sister who's right all the time, and,"
"Buffy." Willow placed her hand on the Slayer's shoulder to stop her from wearing a track in the carpet. "As much as I appreciate the great impersonation, mind telling me what's up? Without the babblfest?"
The Slayer blushed. "Dawn. She said we should spend time together. Like we used to. She's right." Buffy looked up at the Wiccan and smiled. "We haven't been for ice cream or mochas or even had a halfway decent conversation in a while." She shrugged. "I miss it." The normally brave Slayer ducked her head a bit and whispered. “I miss you.”
Willow was at the very least speechless. She wasn’t sure what to do or say especially since she and Buffy had generally gone about their lives without each other lately. “Buffy, I. . .” She breathed deeply a moment. “Sure. We could, um, do something together if you want.”
“Yeah? You sure you don’t have anything else planned?” The Slayer looked hopeful.
“Positive. Just let me grab my jacket.”
They had spent that entire day together shopping, going for iced cream and mochas and even stopped by Xander's apartment to drop off some hot tea to Anya. It was a very long and unsupernatural day, and neither could remember the last time they had a day like that.
Willow had excused herself after they got back claiming she had forgotten to do something while they were out. Buffy didn't think anything of it until Dawn came home from her study group.
“Hey.” Dawn greeted her sister. “Where’s Willow?”
”She left a while ago.” Buffy peered out the kitchen window. “She’s been gone a few hours. I’m getting worried.” She turned to Dawn. “I think I’m gonna go find her.”
Dawn nodded and walked to the refrigerator. As she reached for the handle she stopped and looked up at the calendar. “Buffy. Do you remember what today is?”
Buffy walked over to her sister shaking her head. She looked to where Dawn was pointing. “Oh, god. How could I forget?"
The phone rang and Dawn picked it up. “Buffy, it’s Xander. He’s looking for Willow.”
Buffy took the phone from her sister. “Xand. Yeah, she left like three hours ago. I know, I know. I totally forgot. Yeah, call me when you find her. Thanks.”
”Xander’s going to go look for her. He called to see if she wanted company to. . .” The Slayer sighed.
“Go visit Tara’s grave.” Dawn finished quietly.
“I’ll stay here incase she comes back.” Buffy said equally quietly and returned to the window.
She saw the shadow move slightly and froze. Stalked. She knew she was being stalked. And in a graveyard with, regrettably, no stake or holy water or cross or anything. Good thing this wasn't the usual type of stalking where there was running and dust and general havoc involved.
Willow rolled her eyes and muttered, "Wonderful." She turned around slowly as if feigning loss of direction, muttered something incoherent, and a body landed at her feet with a great thud.
A large body.
With dark brown hair and, "Nice to see you too, Wil." Came the familiar voice. "Think you could just yell out ‘who's there?’ next time?"
Xander smirked and stood with all the dignity he could manage after being unceremoniously dumped in front of the red headed Wicca.
"Xander." Willow's eyes narrowed at her best friend "What are you doing here?"
"I think I'll be asking myself that same question tomorrow when I wake up sore." He rubbed the back of his head to emphasize the point. "Buffy sent me. She was worried." He looked at her then dropped his head subtly. Kicking at nothing in particular on the ground, he added softly. "We all are.
Willow tried to scowl, but it came off as more of a smirk. She crossed her arms in front of herself and responded. "I'm fine, Xander. Really."
"Then what are you doing walking around a graveyard in the middle of the night with no weapons?" He quirked his eyebrows up when he saw her get into a defensive stance. "Don't. . .stand like that at me, Will. I know you. I know you have the wiccy stuff on your side, but still. You're better safe than sorry. Ya know?" He put on the full puppy-dog face for her.
She softened a bit. "I know, and," She stopped mid thought. It was crazy, he was right. It was totally insane to be out here at this hour with no form of protection other than spells. Especially since things had been so quiet. Deathly quiet for weeks now. "Why not walk me back to the house?" She tilted her head and smiled. "I'm done here." She gestured behind her.
His eyes couldn't help but go to where she'd gestured. The grave. The headstone. All the fear and helplessness she must have felt. . . he suddenly felt it too and was embarrassed for having intruded on her in the middle of it. "I'm sorry, Will. I shouldn't have,"
"It's okay Xander. Really." She automatically took his hand and they walked out of the cemetery in silence.
The headstone of Tara McClay stood against the full moonlight, sheltered under a willow tree.
Willow crept into the Summers' home and placed her keys on the table by the door. She slid her shoes off and crept upstairs to check on Dawn. Once she was satisfied Dawn was sound asleep, she crept back downstairs and towards the back porch where she knew Buffy would be waiting.
Willow couldn't help but smile when she saw the Slayer. The screen door opened with a moan and Buffy turned to regard the redhead. "Weaponless much?"
Willow sighed and opted to sit down on the steps rather than the porch swing next to Buffy. "I was fine, Buffy. You know that." She frowned a bit. "Why do we always have to go through this?"
"We can stop going through it, Wil, when you stop your death march every month." Buffy responded a bit sharply. "Every month you wander off to that graveyard without anything on you." Buffy got up and sat down next to her. "Why?" She whispered.
Willow closed her eyes. She knew the Slayer still didn’t understand. "Buffy, it's,"
"If you say it's complicated one more time, Wil," She narrowed her eyes at the Wicca. "What's so complicated about picking up a stake on your way out of the house?"
"Buffy, I," She shook her head. Words were failing her once again. When Tara was taken from them so suddenly. . .taken from her, she felt as if she'd never be whole again. Then Willow was so stricken with grief she did what she never thought she’d do. She turned against all of her friends and even tried to end the world so as to end her own grief. In the months that followed, Buffy, Dawn and Xander helped her cope. Dawn was amazing. She kept Willow occupied with helping her with homework, teaching her the in's and out's of geometry and physics. Buffy was great too, but a just a little different. Stand offish. Distant. She didn't know what to make of it. Still after all this time, it was a mystery. "I need to do things, my way, that’s all. I don’t want to go there on my guard all the time. Besides, I have magic on my side.” She shrugged. “If you need confirmation of that why don’t you go call Xander and ask him how his back is?” She turned to reguard the Slayer. "I wish you would try to understand. Try to be my friend."
Buffy sighed. "I am your friend, Wil. Your best friend." She reached her hand out and placed it on top of Willows. "You know that, right?"
Willow nodded slightly and squeezed the slayer's hand. "I know." She whispered quietly but broke the contact and distanced herself from the Slayer. "Lets go to bed, okay? I'm tired and I have to be at the Magic Box early tomorrow." She breathed in some fresh air and smiled at her friend. "You all done with patrol?"
Buffy tried to rebound from the sudden loss of contact without showing the Wicca it truely bothered her. "Patrol? What's that?" She scoffed. "This place has been deader than deadville." The Slayer rose to her feet and pulled the Wicca with her. "I suppose I should be thankful for the time off, but we both know that something evil is just waiting to spring out of no where while our guard is down. I think it's just a matter of time till we're back on track."
Willow smiled. "That's my Buffy, cynical till the bitter end."
"Hey, I'm just being realistic." The Slayer shrugged as she opened the back door for them to walk through. "And besides, I can't sit on my duff forever." Buffy locked the door and turned again to reguard her friend. "You okay?"
"Fine. I promise." The Wiccan responded. "Fine and. . .tired. I think I'm gonna turn in."
Buffy nodded. "I'll go in a few. I promised Dawn I'd look over her homework before I went to bed. And I still have to make her lunch."
"Have I told you lately how great of a 'mom' you've turned out to be?" Willow commented warmly. "You've taken such good care of her."
"I've had some help you know."
"Well, allow me to be of some help again and remind you that your 'little' sister is growing up fast and will be totally mortified if you pack her a lunch." Willow smirked.
Buffy closed the refrigierator door and nodded. "Yeah, you're right. She'd kill me. Bed then?"
Willow nodded and followed the Slayer up the stairs. Buffy took the room her mother once had and Willow took Buffy's old room. It had been arranged after Willow returned from England where she’d been studying with Giles and a Coven.
Buffy was unable to sleep. Thoughts of Willow getting hurt or worse crept into her mind and refused to leave. She finally got out of bed and walked down the hallway to where Willow’s room was. She knocked on the door and when no answer came, she opened it slowly.
Willow was sitting on the edge of the bed with her head in her hands. Buffy heard her sniffle and slowly made her way over so as not to startle the Wicca.
“Wil?” The Slayer whispered.
After receiving no answer she sat down on the bed next to her and waited.
Willow looked over at her. “Sorry I didn’t answer you.”
“I never thought anything could hurt so bad, Buffy.”
”You’re not alone, Will. You have Dawn and me. You can call Giles anytime and Xander and Anya are five minutes away. You have us. You always will.”
Willow rose and walked over to the window. She traced her hand silently across the pane then turned to Buffy. “I know.”
Buffy rose after a few moments and joined the Wicca at the window. “You miss her, I know.”
“I do, Buffy. I’ve come to terms with it though. When I was studying at the coven, I learned a lot of things. I owe so much to them. One of the most important lessons is that everything happens for a reason and that nothing goes without consequence.”
”Tough lessons.” Buffy nodded. She reached her hand up and placed it on Willow’s shoulder.
“I don’t think I’m gonna go anymore.” The Wicca whispered reverently. “Not for a while anyway. I had a long talk with myself today when I was there. I need to leave her in peace and move on with my life. I think I’m ready for that now. I need to go forward and not hang onto the past. I can’t change anything from before.” She reached up and over to her own shoulder placing her hand over Buffy’s. “But I can look forward to tomorrow.”
Willow turned and looked at her best friend before her. They were standing under the cover of darkness with only the moonlight spilling through the window. She couldn’t believe how lucky she’d been over the years to have Buffy at her side through the good and bad. “Thank you.”
Buffy looked at her curiously. “For what?”
“Just for being there. For being my friend, my confidant, my sounding board. . .my Buffy.” She smiled and touched the Slayer’s cheek.
Neither were ready for the emotions that surfaced suddenly.
Buffy closed her eyes and relished the touch of Willow’s slender hand on her cheek.
Willow sighed softly at the small smile that crept across the Slayer’s face as she closed her eyes.
It seemed a short distance to travel, much shorter than the Wicca realized after she found her lips brushing softly against the Slayers.
“Wil.” Buffy whispered. “I. . .I’m not Tara.”
Willow opened her eyes and sighed. “No. You’re not. You’re Buffy.”
Buffy backed off slowly and turned away.
“Are you freaked?” Willow asked in a small voice.
“Would it be easier if I was?”
Buffy turned around and looked at her. “Tara.” She stated simply.
When Willow didn’t answer, the Slayer slipped out the door quietly and into her own room.
They avoided each other for the next week or so. Buffy heading out early to walk to the high school, getting home before Willow then leaving early for patrol. Willow would get a ride from Xander to the Magic Box in the morning then walk home at dusk when she closed so as to miss Buffy leaving for patrol.
Dawn took notice right away of the situation but decided against getting involved. That is until she sat in the living room one night and watched Buffy go out the back door and Willow come in the front.
“You can’t do this forever you know.” She stated simply.
“What?” Willow removed her coat and placed it on the chair near the desk. “What are you talking about Dawnie?”
“You and Buffy. You think I haven’t noticed that you’ve been avoidy all week?” The teen rose from the couch and abandoned the chips and remote control. “Mind if I ask what’s going on?”
Willow shook her head. “You wouldn’t understand, Dawnie.” She sighed. “I don’t even think we do.”
“I understand that you love each other. I understand that you two haven’t spoken since the night you came home from. . . “ The younger Summers sighed. “She was really worried.”
”I know.” The Wicca responded.
“I don’t think you do though.” Dawn took Willow’s hand and led her over to the couch so they could both sit down. She turned the TV off and turned to the Wicca. “See, being the bratty little sister, I know things. I hear things. Probably a lot of things I’m really not supposed to know or hear in this lifetime or the next one.” She smiled. “Buffy’s. . .difficult. You know? Like, she’s got this whole Slayer thing going on at night and during the day she’s a counselor at the high school, which, yay for her, I mean, she’s got some normalcy in her life.” Dawn sighed at the perplexed look Willow was giving her. “Willow, no matter how much you or anyone else loves my sister, it’s not enough.”
“Dawnie, I. . .” Willow’s eyes went wide and she sputtered.
“No, wait. That’s not what I meant.” Dawn shook her head. “She’s complicated, Willow. You of all people should know that. And being the Slayer just makes her that much more complicated. See, my sister thinks she’s better than us because she’s the Slayer. She thinks it makes her all superior, but it really doesn’t. I’m sad for her sometimes.”
”Dawn, what do you mean?” Willow was even more confused now than before.
"Will, Buffy's been alone for two years. Know why? Cause she thinks she's gotta be. It's like a slayery mental block. When Riley left, the slaying was...well, you saw how she was, right? She was distracted. It was the same with Angel, too. The part that's her, I dunno, 'Inner Slayer' blames her slaying problems on her life problems, so it tells her she's better off by herself, because she's above everyone. But it's wrong. She pushes us away because she hates not being able to...love like we can, I guess? She doesn't think she can do that and be the big superhero, ya know?" Dawn rolled her eyes. "I mean Spike was her last relationship! How much more 'shallow' can you get?"
Willow sat back and absorbed everything she and Dawn talked about. “When did you get so insightful?”
Dawn shrugged and smiled. “Um, when no one was looking?” She laughed softly. “Seriously though. She’s closing up again, Willow. And I’m afraid this time she won’t come back. And I think that you’re the only one who can save her.”
”That’s a tall order, Dawnie. I mean, you’re her sister, Giles is her watcher. I’m just her best friend, and”
”You’re more than that.” The younger Summers cut her off. “She knows it, you know it and if you didn’t, then you wouldn’t be avoiding each other.” She paused and finished quietly. “You would have made up by now.”
Willow sighed. She new Dawn was right. Every single word that came out of the younger Summers’ mouth was somewhat of a shock to her. But if she thought about it long enough, it really wasn’t. It was everything Willow knew about the Slayer, but never put words to.
”No problem.” She shrugged. “Now, why don’t you go find her? I know she’s patrolling the high school tonight.”
Willow stood and nodded. “I think I just might do that.”
Buffy was walking around the grounds of Sunnydale High School. In truth she was more taking a trip down memory lane than looking for vampires. She rounded the corner and stood in the middle of the courtyard. Smiling to herself, she walked over to the bench against the wall and took a seat. She looked around at her surroundings as if suddenly realizing where she was. . .
“Good thoughts?” Willow remarked softly as she approached the smiling Slayer. She sat down and nodded. “Ah, yes. This looks like familiar territory to me.”
Buffy’s smile faded and she didn’t look at her nor say a word.
“This is the part where I say, ‘uh, did you want me to move?’ and you introduce yourself and ask a favor. Am I right?”
The Slayer stood and walked away a few paces.
Willow rose and followed her. “You’re doing it all wrong.” She closed the gap between them and stood next to her. “I’m the one that’s supposed to move. Not you.”
“We’re not kids anymore.” Buffy remarked flatly.
“No, we’re not.” Willow agreed. “But when things get all jumbley, it’s good to go back to the beginning. Back to when things were simpler. . .better.”
“We can never go back.”
“No, I guess we can’t. Well, magically we could. . “ She stopped her thought when Buffy gave her a sideways glance. “But not really. And we can’t take anything back either. You can’t take back killing Angel, running away, losing your mom, jumping off the tower, Riley leaving and getting married, sleeping with Spike. . .”
”What’s your point, Will?” Buffy cut her off with sharp edge in her voice.
“I can’t take back, restoring Angel’s soul, losing Oz to Veruca, getting addicted to magic, Tara dying in my arms, killing Warren and Rack, almost ending the world because I wanted to end my grief.” She paused a moment and finished quietly. “And kissing you.”
The Slayer sighed and put more distance between them. “No, I guess we can’t.”
”See, that’s the thing, Buffy. I don’t want to.” She walked to where the Slayer was standing and stood in front of her so there was no place left to walk away. “I don’t want to take any of that back. Good, bad, indifferent. . .it’s a part of me. It makes up who I am. Who you are.”
“Willow. . .”
”That’s right. ‘Willow.’ And you’re Buffy.” The Wicca smiled at her best friend. She waited a moment and took a step closer putting her hand out to touch the Slayer’s shoulder.
Buffy immediately backed away.
“Do I make you nervous?” Willow whispered.
The Slayer sighed. “Something makes me nervous, but it’s not you.”
“Then what, Buffy?”
“I think it’s. . .Us.” She finally whispered and turned away. “Look Wil, I have to go finish patrolling. I still have to cover the campus and then I’ll head home to call Giles. Maybe then we can. . .” She turned around to face the Wicca.
And she was gone.
Buffy closed the door quietly so as not to wake any of it’s sleeping occupants. She gingerly unbuttoned her coat and reached to take off her scarf. She felt it being taken off for her.
“You’re really late.” Willow whispered. “And judging from your movements, hurt too.”
“Didn’t know I had a curfew.” Buffy whispered dryly. “Besides, it comes with the job.” She turned around finally. “What are you doing up so late? Only Slayers and creatures of the night are supposed to be stalking around at this awful hour.”
“Witches too.” The Wicca smiled. “Don’t forget witches and scoobies. Lifetime membership in the Scooby gang has its responsibilities.” Willow flinched a bit when she saw the large tear through the fabric of Buffy’s shirt and the blood angrily staining it. “Bedroom, go. I’ll get the kit.”
”I’ll be fine, Wil. It’s just a little scrape and a whole lot of blood.” Buffy smiled hoping that she’d sounded reassuring.
“Still, go. I’ll meet you there in five minutes.” The Wicca smiled at her best friend. “Now, shoo.”
The Wicca smiled back at her and padded toward the kitchen.
A soft knock came at the door moments after Buffy entered her room. “Come in.” She looked up to see Willow open the door quietly. ”Hey you.”
”Hey, yourself. How are you feeling?” The Wicca sat on the bed and patted the empty spot next to her.
Buffy complied and sat down. “Okay. It’s really not that bad, see?” She moved her shirt to the side. “Just a scrape.”
”Okay.” Willow placed the med kit at the foot of the bed. “I just wanted to make sure. I know how you go around acting all ‘brave Slayer’ sometimes when you’re really hurt.”
“I am of the good. Promise.”
The Wicca stood. “You, uh, must be really tired from patrol and all.”
”Wil, no. I. . .” Buffy stopped mid sentence and ran her hand through her hair nervously. “You left.”
The Wicca nodded. “I did.”
“Why not?” Willow shrugged. “You weren’t exactly open-book-Buffy, so I thought you could use some time alone. To think.”
“I don’t know how to do this.” The Slayer admitted.
Buffy shook her head. “Let you in.”
Willow nodded slowly. “I see.” She walked up to the blonde slowly as if she were ready for her to bolt any minute. She extended her hand and sighed with relief when Buffy took it and stood up. When she saw that Buffy was just going to stand there she moved in slowly and wrapped her in a hug.
“Wil, I think. . .”
”Shh.” The Wicca chastised. “Don’t think. Just. Feel.”
”Tall order.” The Slayer sighed. She pulled away and noted the frown on Willow’s face. “Sorry.”
“Buffy, can’t you turn the ‘inner Slayer’ off for a while?”
Willow sighed. “You’re ‘inner Slayer’. The part of you that’s telling you to close everyone out and seal yourself away. Lock all the doors and the windows cause there’s a storm a brewin. . .” She placed her hand over the Slayer’s heart. “In here.”
“No, no storms. It’s pretty quiet in there actually.” Buffy dodged.
“That’s the problem. It’s been quiet in there for way too long.” Willow countered. “Rely on me, lean on me. Open up a little. I promise it won’t hurt a bit.”
Buffy backed up a pace. “Wil,”
“Buffy, why do you do that? I get close and you back off. Literally.” She slumped her shoulders a little. “You know, you’re tearing down all the confidence I worked up before coming in here.”
She ran her hands nervously through her hair again. “Sorry, I just can’t think with you this close to me.” Her eyes went wide. “God, did I really just say that out loud?” She smiled and shook her head. “Wil, what are we doing? What am I doing?”
“Can you just put tape over the inner Slayer’s mouth for like five minutes and allow yourself to feel?”
“I can’t get this close to you. It’ll never work. I’m flattered really, but”
The Slayer’s words were halted by the Wicca’s lips pressed to hers. She resisted somewhat poorly out of a general knee-jerk reaction. As soon as she started to settle into the kiss, the Wicca backed away.
Buffy touched her lips. She could have been hallucinating but she could swear she still felt the electricity of the kiss lingering there like a physical force.
“Don’t be flattered, don’t be sorry. Be Buffy.” Willow stated simply as she enveloped the Slayer into another hug.
After a few moments, Buffy relaxed in the Wicca’s arms. If she thought twice about what she was doing she probably would have run away. I’ve done enough running, the Slayer admitted to herself and returned the hug.
“Better?” Willow whispered into the Slayer’s hair.
Buffy nodded slightly. She knew if she spoke, her voice would betray her and let Willow know just how. . .
“Nervous?” The Wicca whispered.
Buffy smiled and pulled back. “How do you do that?”
“What?” Willow smiled.
“Know how I feel, what to ask. What to do.”
“Well, two out of three isn’t bad. If I really knew what to do then you wouldn’t have left before.”
”Ever consider that you really did know what to do and that’s why I left?”
Willow shook her head. “No, I didn’t.” Willow reached over and tucked some stray hair behind the blonde’s ear. “Buffy, did you ever. . .”
“Think about us?” The Slayer smiled at the shocked expression on Willow’s face. “Sort of, but. . .I couldn’t let myself go there, ya know? A lot of it had to do with Tara and respecting your relationship but it had to do with me too. How I inevitably screw up any remotely good relationship in my life. I couldn’t do that. Not with you.” She looked at the redhead in anticipation and in fear. Fear that she would bolt out the door any moment because the Slayer really had screwed things up between them beyond repair.
”Buffy, you’re not gonna ‘screw up’ with me. Don’t you get that by now? I mean, not too long ago we fought and I’m not just talking about saying mean things. I’m talking about physically beating each other up. I put you through so much. . .and still you managed to forgive me, to let me back into your life and your home. It’s me who’s worried about screwing up with you.” She sighed. “I wonder sometimes exactly what it takes for you to not forgive me.”
The Slayer regarded the redhead before her. Willow’s words struck a chord deep within her but more than that – they struck her speechless. How could she ever think I wouldn’t forgive her? She’s Willow. She reached over and touched the redhead’s cheek lightly.
Willow settled into the Slayer’s hand without hesitation. Their short but honest talk gave her just enough reassurance and courage to allow her to be taken wherever it was they were headed.
“Nothing.” Buffy finally stated. She smiled at the Wicca’s ‘huh?’ expression. “Nothing you do could ever be bad enough for me to not be big with the forgiveness.” She leaned in slowly and chastely kissed her forehead. “Nothing.”
The small contact she and Buffy were sharing suddenly wasn’t enough and it not only excited her it scared her. She’d felt this before, the love coming though so easily with barely any words spoken. It was familiar and something she had almost forgotten she was capable of feeling. “Buffy.” The Wicca pleaded hoarsely.
“Hmm?” The clueless Slayer kissed her forehead a few more times, unaware of the feelings she was beginning to stir in the Wicca.
“Buffy.” Willow pleaded again with a bit more urgency. She pulled back in order to see her face. “You really don’t get it, do you?”
“Wil?” She cocked her head to the side. “Did I do something wrong?”
She smiled. “You did something, Buffy, but it wasn’t wrong.” She cupped the Slayers face in between her palms and drew her in slowly. Just as it looked like she was about to brush her lips, she turned Buffy’s face in her hands and placed small fleeting kisses on her cheek. She continued in this manner until she reached the Slayer’s collarbone, lingering a bit after suckling her soft skin.
Her breath caught tight in her throat, the Slayer began to melt and catch on fire at the same time from the Wicca’s attentive lips.
Willow finally opened her eyes and looked at the Slayer. “See?”
Buffy nodded dumbly. “Yeah.” She responded and noted the deep timbre that had suddenly crept into her voice.
In unison, they leaned in and the moment their lips touched, a moan escaped from the back of Willow’s throat urging the Slayer to wrap her arms around her waist. Slowly, she reached delicate hands up and entwined them in red hair cupping the back of the Wicca’s head urging her impossibly closer still.
It didn’t take long for Willow’s tongue to beg entrance to the Slayer’s mouth. Slowly she traced the outline of her lips and they parted willingly allowing Willow even deeper access.
Buffy let out a moan of surprise and arousal as the kiss deepened. She pulled the Wicca closer, her body begging for even more contact than their lips were providing.
Breaking their connection slowly, Willow kept her face close to Buffy’s. “This is usually the part where I wake up.” She whispered.
Buffy nodded in agreement. “Me too.” She breathed deep noting her ragged breath as well as Willow’s. “Or where we get interrupted.”
“Dawnie is sleeping.” Willow kissed her again briefly.
“I talked to Giles already.” Buffy wrapped her arms tighter around her waist.
The Slayer nodded and nuzzled her neck. “Mmm hmm, the wonders of modern technology.”
“Are you okay?” The Wicca asked concerned.
Buffy nodded. “Better than I’ve been in a while actually.”
“I’m sorry.” Willow whispered. “I mean if I. . .”
”Kissed me so that everything else just faded into oblivion?” The Slayer smiled. “’Cause last I looked, that wasn’t a bad. Or something to be sorry for.”
“Pushed.” Willow grinned. “I was gonna say pushed but, I like your version better.” She showered Buffy’s cheek with light kisses again.
The Slayer closed her eyes, “God, Willow.”
“How do you feel?” Willow asked between kisses.
“Like I’m gonna break.” She turned her head slightly finding the Wicca’s earlobe and began suckling softly. “But in a good way.” She whispered. Breaking her trail of kisses from the Wicca’s earlobe she whispered. “I want to kiss you again.”
Drawing back then forward, the Slayer closed the gap between their lips urgently. The sudden pressure made Willow weak in the knees and she wrapped her arms around the Slayer’s neck.
Moments or minutes or even hours later, she wasn’t sure, the Slayer pulled back with something close to abject fear on her face. “Wil. I. . .I can’t.”
The Wicca panted trying to catch her breath. Things were going so well, then suddenly. “Why. . .Why’d you stop, Buffy? What’s wrong?”
“I. . .I just can’t, Wil.” The Slayer struggled to compose herself. She touched Willow’s cheek lightly and ran out the door.
Willow sat down on the bed with a great sigh. She couldn’t understand what happened in the course of two minutes. The Slayer fled like a scared rabbit. One moment they were fine and the next she was alone. She rose from the bed after thinking a while. She remembered what she and Dawn talked about and her eyes went wide with recognition suddenly. Oh, no Buffy Summers. You’re not gonna do this again. I deserve you and you deserve me. Time to put that inner Slayer in a coma. With that, she grabbed her jacket and headed out. She had a feeling she knew exactly where she’d find the her.
Buffy wandered around the cemetery lost in thought. Even the vampires had enough sense to not be out this late, so she wasn’t worried about having to slay. What she was worried about was what had so quickly transpired between her and her best friend. They were talking then suddenly they were kissing and then all the air got sucked out of the room. Absently, she reached her hand up to her lips again. It had to be magic, the Slayer mused to herself. When she brushed her lips lightly she could still feel and taste the Wicca lingering there.
Buffy sighed. She found her way to her destination without even thinking about it. She knelt on the ground and touched the cold marble stone in front of her. Things were simpler then. Things were so much simpler before she’d died. She knew right from wrong, the good guys from the bad. Since she’d been brought back, everything got complicated but she couldn’t blame anyone – especially not Willow. She was the only one that was making things harder and more complex than they really needed to be.
Willow approached silently. She saw the Slayer kneeling in front of her own grave and sighed. She spoke softly though she knew Buffy was probably aware of her presence the minute she walked into the cemetery. “We didn't know where you were. We saw. . .we saw you jump, saw you fall and then there was just. You're body. We knew. Even before Giles took your pulse we knew you were gone. But we didn't know if your soul was, you know, safe. We were. . .I was so afraid that your soul was in some hell dimension like Angel was. Suffering some eternal torment just because you saved us and we couldn't, I couldn’t leave you there. I had to try no matter what the cost.”
Willow moved closer and knelt down next to the Slayer. “Buffy, if what I did was so unforgivable that you can’t be with me, I’ll understand. I pulled you out of heaven. You were happy there and I ruined it.”
The Slayer sat for a long time and thought about what her best friend said. In truth, she was bitter about them bringing her back – Willow bringing her back – but that was long ago and she’d gotten past all of it. She knew why she couldn’t give in to what she’d been feeling for the Wicca for some time. “It’s not you, Wil.” The Slayer spoke softly. “It’s that I’m Buffy. And I slay vampires. And that’s my job.” She turned to her and smiled sadly. “It was my job to die saving the world – saving you and all of my friends. In the end, it’s always going to be me and I couldn’t bear to have anything happen to you – have anything happen to one more person that I love.”
“Dawnie and I talked about this.” Willow took the Slayer’s hand in her own. “We came to the conclusion that you’re just being a big stubborn silly head.” She smiled. “You don’t have to be alone because you’re the Slayer, Buffy. Just because you have this destiny doesn’t mean you have to fulfill it alone.”
”But it does, Will. I know what I have to do now. I’ve known for a really long time. I could work at the Doublemeat Palace and get my five-year pin, and the high school counseling teens but I still patrol every night. I still come home smelling like the un-dead. I’m still the Slayer no matter how ‘normal’ I try to live the other parts of my life.”
“Now that’s just a bunch of crap.”
Buffy looked at her, confused. “What?”
“All of what you said, it’s total bull. And you know why?” The Wicca rose to her feet. “Because you’ve taught yourself to believe it. You want to believe that you’re destined to face all the evil things alone. You’ve convinced yourself that you’re job is too dangerous for you to get involved romantically with anyone. You’ve turned into this selfish ‘Oh-it’s-all-about-me-The-Chosen-one’ whiner and I’m tired of it.”
”Wil. . .”
“No, Buffy. I’m sick of it. Know what your problem is?”
Buffy rose and stood in front of Willow. “Oh please, psych major, do tell.”
“I-I plan on it! You’re scared of loving because you feel like you can’t. And when you do, you feel like it’s not enough so then everything just falls apart. And if you don’t do that, you get into a relationship that’s totally doomed! Can I just say Spike – eww! That was you thinking that you didn’t deserve any better. You punished yourself by getting into a relationship with him. You deserve so much better, Buffy. Don’t you see that? Don’t you see that you can be the Slayer and love someone with everything you have inside you and not have the sky turn black and the heavens fall?”
Thunder rolled across the sky and a flash of lightening lit the cemetery up as if it was the middle of the day. A sudden downpour of rain began.
“That was supposed to be metaphorical!” Willow yelled up at the sky.
“Come on.” Buffy reached for the Wicca’s hand and they ran out of the cemetery toward home together.
Buffy closed the kitchen door and leaned against it. “Wil, did you. . .?”
“No.” She breathed out. “Though it was very spooky.”
Buffy nodded her head.
They stood in the kitchen in silence for a few moments, each lost in their own thoughts. Finally, the Slayer broke the silence. “If we don’t change we’re both gonna catch our death. In my case, my third.”
They looked at each other oddly and smirked shaking their heads. The meaning wasn’t lost.
Willow headed for the stairs without a word. Buffy followed close behind.
They approached Willow’s room and the Slayer opened the door for her.
“Thanks.” Willow murmured and walked in. She immediately went to her drawer and pulled out a fresh towel. She turned around to find Buffy standing there looking at her. “What?”
The Slayer shrugged. “I don’t know.” She sighed and walked toward her a bit. “I was thinking about what you said. About how I can love but I choose not to. Do you really think that, Wil?”
“I do.” She replied matter-of-factly. “And it makes me sad, Buffy. You have so much to give, so much to offer and I can’t stand seeing you close up more and more every day.”
The Slayer nodded. “You okay?”
Willow smiled. “I’m a little, you know. Wet. I’m sorry if I was out of line back there.”
”It’s okay, Wil. I think I deserved it. A little. I ran out on you.” She took the forgotten towel out of the Wicca’s hand and wrapped it around her shoulders. She began rubbing her back trying to get the chill out of the quite possibly freezing Wicca. “You’re really cold aren’t you?”
Willow nodded. “Yeah, a little.”
”Why don’t we get you out of those wet clothes?” The Slayer immediately felt a blush rise in her cheeks. “I mean, uh. . .”
”It’s okay, Buffy.” Willow smiled. “I can take it from here.” She turned around to face the closet and pulled her shirt off. She stepped out of her skirt and grabbed a pair of jogging pants off of a nearby chair and pulled them on. She reached into dresser next to her to grab a shirt and felt Buffy’s hand on her shoulder. She froze.
“Wil.” The Slayer whispered.
Buffy took a small step closer to the Wicca so that barley any space was left between her front and Willow’s back. The Slayer gently placed both of her hands on the freckled shoulders before her. Lightly, she kissed the back of her neck, along her collarbone and over to her shoulder. Barely touching soft skin, the Slayer allowed her hands to run the length of her arms and wrap around the slender waist of her best friend. “I don’t know what I’m doing.” She whispered. “But I don’t know if I want to stop either.”
“I think you’re seducing your best friend and just for the record, again, not complaining here.” Willow whispered back. Slowly, she turned around and placed her hands on Buffy’s shoulders. “I love you and we’re both grown ups here and if you’re not sure then, okay, not sure but if you are then,” Her train of thought was derailed by soft kisses being placed on her neck, trailing up to her jaw line and finally reaching her lips.
“Stop teasing?” Buffy attempted a humorous conclusion to Willow’s unfinished thought. She smirked when the Wicca narrowed her eyes in feigned anger and gasped as she was suddenly walked backwards and landed on the bed with the redhead on top of her.
Willow looked at the Slayer for a moment. All of the humor and sidestepping were gone now, and all that was left between them was desire. “Stop the foreplay.” She concluded her previous thought before leaning in pressing her lips against the Slayers’ forcefully. Her tongue begged for no invitation but instead forced its way between the Slayer’s already parted lips.
The blonde moaned as their tongues dueled for control. Buffy ran – almost raked – her nails down Willow’s back firmly, ending their trip with a squeeze to the redhead’s rear before pulling her in closer.
Willow complied momentarily, grinding into the Slayer’s center but then pulled away slowly, gasping for air. “Lack of clothing no longer an option.” She stood up bringing the Slayer with her and quickly changed positions. Ridding herself of the sweatpants, she sat on the edge of the bed with the Slayer facing her. Slowly, she unbuttoned the white blouse the blonde wore and slipped it off her shoulders. Risking another look into the Slayers eyes, Willow saw desire and willingness. That was enough incentive to continue by leaning in and brush her tongue over the Blonde’s already erect nipple.
Buffy instinctively grabbed the back of Willow’s head and pulled her in, almost begging for more contact. The redhead refused to comply and instead slid the Slayer off of her lap to where she was now standing topless in front of her. Before she cold question the Wicca’s motives, she felt wet kisses across her ribcage and her hands again went to the Wicca’s head. She wasn’t quite sure if it was out of pure desire for more contact or to simply hold herself up but concluded quickly that it was both when she felt the buttons on her jeans being moved away and Willow’s lips across her lower abdomen.
The redhead kissed her way across the Slayer’s stomach slowly. She waited for and dreamt of this moment for what seemed like an eternity and she wasn’t going to waste or hurry though a nanosecond of it. She slipped her hands into the Slayers jeans near her hips and slipped them and her panties off in one felt swoop so they pooled around her ankles. The Slayer kicked them backwards and straddled the Wicca’s lap.
“God, Wil,” She moaned hoarsely as the Wicca’s delicate hands encompassed both her breasts and began kneading them firmly. In response, the Wicca leaned back bringing the slayer with her, then rolled them both over so that she was on top again.
Wasting no time, she dipped her head toward the waiting Slayer’s lips and placed her knee between her legs. Without pause, Buffy lifted herself up to meet the Wicca’s grinding hips gasping at the sudden swell of desire and wetness that greeted her upon contact. Without hesitation, Buffy maneuvered her hand up toward the Wicca’s center and felt the desire wash over her at the sudden gasp of the woman above her.
“Buffy,” Willow whispered in the Slayer’s ear before she took her earlobe between her teeth and tugging gently. “I love you.” She kissed the Blonde again, harder this time in almost outright desperation.
“Yes,” Was all the Slayer could manage before the redhead slipped her hand between her knee and the Slayer’s legs adding even more contact to their coupling.
Buffy raked her nails across the redheads back roughly and increased the pace and rhythm of her own fingers stroking the redhead’s center.
Words were lost. It was all touch. All feel. All instinct. Moans. Gasping. Sweat. Eyes open wide to each other, each begging the other not to look away. The pressure reached its peak and they both climaxed together shaking, shuddering, gasping and holding on until the last possible moment. The Moment where they came together as one.
The sun began it’s ascent early that morning. Creeping into the window like an errant child who’d spent the night out past curfew, it bathed the two lovers in a warm glow. The Slayer lay content and spent in her best friends’ arms, tracing random patterns on her flat abdomen feeling like she didn’t have a care in the world.
The Wicca had her arm snaked protectively behind the Slayers head and wrapped around her shoulder. Occasionally, she’d give a light squeeze just to make sure she was really and truly there and the night they spent making love wasn’t a dream she would wake up from any time soon.
Buffy lifted her eyes to meet Willow’s. “Hey you.”
Willow smiled, content. “Hey yourself.”
“Do you have any idea how much I love you?” She whispered.
Willow smiled and kissed her gently on the forehead. “Probably just as much as I love you.” She brought other arm over and settled into a laying hug position which the Slayer gladly adjusted to. “My question is, why didn’t we get here sooner.”
Buffy thought on that a moment then smiled. “I guess we just got side tracked. Not that, you know, all of the side tracking was bad. I mean, you had Tara and I know you guys really loved each other. I had. . .well, I guess I had the Slaying and world saving to do and it was like every other week we had a new apocalypse to deal with.”
”True.” The redhead nodded. “I suppose we got here with us when we were supposed to and not before we knew it was time for the other one to be ready to get here before the other had a chance to catch up.”
Buffy smiled at the complex and very Willow like explanation, leaned up and kissed her nose.
“What was that for?” The redhead smirked.
Buffy shrugged. “For being you. For not giving up and giving in. As stubborn as I can be, you still knowing how to understand me, and coax the real me to the surface, even when I don’t. For a lot of things I guess. Most of all, for knowing how off course I was and nudging me back in the right direction.” The Slayer kissed the woman next to her firmly, but with a gentleness and love Willow felt deep inside her heart. “Mostly because I love you and always have.”
”I love you too, Buffy.”
Again, no more words were needed. As the sun rose high into the sky and the world began to wake, a Slayer and her Wicca fell asleep peacefully in each others arms. Both knowing that they’d never veer too far off course with the other by their side.