DISCLAIMER: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all the slayerettes belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. One Belief Away by Bonnie Raitt, Paul Brady & Dillon O'Brian is from Bonnie Raitt's Fundamental CD and is likewise used without permission or profit.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
One Belief Away
Last night I thought I found you
I saw it in a dream
I was tangled in the rushes, baby
You were caught up in the stream
And the more I tried to reach you
The more you slipped away
And when I woke up in the darkness
I was callin' out your name
You and we dance around it
Why is the truth so hard to say
We long for true love, well
We've found it, it's just
One Belief Away
There's a shadow in the garden
And it's coiled around our hearts
Won't you help me to believe you, baby
Won't you show me where to start
The more I try to reach you
The more you slip away
I want to wake up in the darkness
and hear you callin' out my name
One Belief Away, Bonnie Raitt, Fundamental
The Bronze was nearly empty. Buffy & Willow sat at a table and fiddled idly with the damp napkins under their bottles. Neither was accustomed to the silence that sat between them. There was so much that was new, and that took their time from each other.
"How's with Riley?" Willow broke first.
"Eh," Buffy shrugged. "He's a nice, normal guy. Well, there's the whole Army thing, but he's from Iowa. How much more normal can he get?"
"Normal guy, got it. You're bored senseless."
"Yup." Buffy sighed. "How's with Tara?"
Willow smiled. "All good. We did this cool thing with a rose. Well, we tried, but it kinda went kablooey. I'm sure it was my fault. But she's real patient. We'll try it again."
"Cool. Another witch."
"Yeah," Willow sighed.
"That's not a happy sound."
"Will," Buffy reproved. "It's got you sighing. It's something."
"Can we talk about it later?"
"Okay." Buffy drained her water. "Wanna patrol with me?"
"Sure." Willow smiled at her and got off her stool. They hadn't patrolled together since school started. There was always something.
The cemeteries were empty, too. There were a couple newbies, but mostly the girls walked. Somewhere in the first cemetery, their neverending conversation began again. Buffy let Willow beat around the bush until they decided to call it a night. On the way back to the dorm, Buffy asked, "So, what's with the sighing before?"
Willow's smile became small and tight. "It's nothing."
"It's something." Buffy pushed.
"It's just Oz. And Tara. And stuff I need to figure out."
Buffy stopped and stopped Willow. She turned Willow toward her. "You can talk to me about anything. Especially who you love."
Willow looked at her shoes. Then Buffy saw Willow make a decision. She straightened up and looked Buffy in the eye. "I love you."
"I love you, too."
"I'm in love with you."
"I know." Buffy leaned in and brushed her lips against Willow's. "I love you more than anything." She kissed Willow gently again.
Willow returned the kiss, pulling Buffy against her. They stood on the sidewalk kissing until Buffy came to her senses. She pulled away and took a deep breath. "It's not safe out here, Wills."
"Uh huh. I mean, no, you're right. Can we do more of this when we get where we're going?"
"Oh, yeah." Buffy turned them toward the dorm.
Buffy reached out and turned off the alarm just as it started. Willow didn't move or acknowledge the noise, and Buffy smiled. She played with Willow's hair and thought about what had happened the night before. It was just a night like any other and then it was the best night ever. Buffy lowered her face and kissed the top of Willow's head. She rested her lips there, inhaling Willow's scent.
Willow mumbled something, then sat up suddenly. She looked sleepily at Buffy before shifting her eyes to the clock. When the time registered, she lay down just as suddenly and rearranged herself alongside and on Buffy. Then she sat up again, her eyes wide.
Buffy stifled a giggle. "Good morning."
Willow relaxed and smiled down at Buffy. "Best morning." She leaned down to kiss Buffy. Willow meant it to be chaste and brief, but it quickly turned into something more.
Willow's alarm clock interrupted them. Buffy climbed out of bed and turned it off. When she turned to come back to bed, Willow was watching her with a small smile. "What?"
"Nothing." Willow pushed herself to the edge of the bed and stood.
Buffy was right there and pulled her into a hug. "I love you, Willow."
"I love you, too." Willow returned the embrace. Her pulse and respiration jumped.
Buffy noticed the change and smiled. She was about to say something when Willow kissed her. Full out, I want you now, passionately. Buffy kissed her back and lowered them to the bed.
Just before 11 am, they got up went to shower. The bathroom was empty, and they took the last and largest cubicle to shower together. As much fun as it was to bathe each other, the need for nutrition overrode it. They filed the idea away for later, finished their showers and dressed.
By 11:30, they were in line at the cafeteria. After eating, they headed back to their dorm room to pick up their books for their one afternoon class, and the only class they had together, psychology.
Buffy tried to pay attention to Professor Walsh, but it was difficult. Willow was next to her, gorgeous and sexy and, fortunately, paying enough attention for both of them. Every time Buffy tried to take notes, they came out up as doodles of their names or joined initials. She sighed and stared at the clock, willing it to move faster. It refused, and Buffy turned her gaze back to Willow.
Buffy's relief at the conclusion of the lecture was dampened by Riley's approach. "Oh, crap," she muttered.
"Hi, Buffy, Willow."
"Hi, Riley," Buffy answered. Willow smiled and waved.
"We still on for later?" Riley asked Buffy.
"Uh, actually, I need to talk to you about that," Buffy answered. She turned to Willow. "I just need a minute," Buffy told her softly.
Willow searched Buffy's face. After a few moments, she nodded. "Okay." Willow moved toward the door. From where she stood, she could see both their faces.
Buffy watched Willow's retreat before turning back to Riley. "Um, there's a lot of stuff going on right now."
"Huh?" Riley looked confused.
"You're a nice guy and everything, Riley, but,"
Riley interrupted her. "Oh, man, 'you're a nice guy' is the kiss of death. You're dumping me."
"Well, yeah," Buffy answered. She looked up at him. "There's somebody that I have feelings for and I just found out they feel the same way."
"Great." Riley forced himself to smile.
"I know this is really awkward and this is the classic bad line, but I hope we can still be friends," Buffy said.
"Comrades," he answered. "See you in the field." Riley turned and walked away.
Buffy watched him for a second, then turned to Willow, watching from beside the upper exit. She climbed the shallow stairs quickly.
"Everything okay?" Willow asked.
"I think so," Buffy answered. She reached for Willow's hand and smiled. "We are officially school free until Monday. Whatcha wanna do?"
Willow looked sideways at her as they left the lecture hall. "I'm sure we can think of something," she said. "Ooo, I know, Mom and Dad are gone. We can spend the weekend there. Bigger bed, bigger TV, bigger refrigerator."
"I'm sold. Let's dump the books and go." She squeezed Willow's hand and said in a lower tone. "Not like we'll need clothes or anything."
Willow immediately flushed bright red. "Buffy!"
"What?" Buffy feigned innocence.
"You know what."
Willow saw Tara walking toward them and tried to drop Buffy's hand. Buffy refused to let go. "Hi, Tara."
"Hi, W-willow," Tara answered. She looked at Buffy curiously, wondering whether this was the person about whom Willow spoke so often.
"Tara, this is my best friend, Buffy Summers. Buffy, this is Tara Maclay. From the Wicca group."
"N-nice to m-m-meet you," Tara said.
"Nice to meet you, too," Buffy answered. She turned to Willow. "I'll get started without you." Buffy pecked her cheek before releasing Willow's hand and resuming her walk to their room.
Willow nodded and watched her disappear into the crowd before turning her attention back to Tara. "How're you?"
"I'm g-good. How are you?"
"Fine, thanks." Willow looked at her feet.
"You t-t-two l-look re-really cute together," Tara said.
Willow looked up. "It just happened, Tara. I'm really, really sorry. I wouldn't hurt you for anything."
"I know," Tara answered quietly. "I h-ho-hope you're h-h-h-happy together."
"See you l-l-la-lat-later."
"Call me next week, okay?" Willow asked.
"I have to go. She's waiting."
Tara nodded again.
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah." Tara nodded again.
Willow wanted to get back to Buffy, but her conscience poked her. "Are you sure you're okay?"
"I'm f-fine, Willow. Go."
"I'm s-sure," Tara confirmed.
"Okay," Willow said. "See you later."
Tara nodded one last time and Willow walked away.
Buffy was dropping clothes into a bag when Willow arrived in their room. "You okay?"
"Yeah," Willow smiled at her. "Thought we weren't going to need clothes," Willow smirked as she dropped her backpack on her bed.
"Just to get there and back," Buffy grinned back. "I got yours first." She zipped the bag. "Ready?" she asked.
"When you are."
Buffy opened the door and bowed to Willow, one arm sweeping toward the exit. "After you." Buffy grabbed Willow's hand as she passed, and followed her. She pulled the door shut with her other hand.
They walked leisurely toward the Rosenberg house, holding hands and talking like they always did. Buffy put their bag by the steps and went into the kitchen. Willow was standing at the counter, looking up into one of the cabinets. Buffy came up behind her and boxed her against the counter with her body. Willow turned and smiled at her. Buffy kissed her, and Willow put her arms around Buffy's waist and pulled her close.
Buffy moved her hands to Willow's back. She slid them down to her thighs and easily lifted the redhead. Willow locked her legs around Buffy's waist. She knew they were moving and some small part of her brain marveled at Buffy's strength and agility.
Buffy easily sidestepped their bag as she headed for the stairs. Willow wasn't heavy, but her senses were getting overwhelmed with Willow. Buffy knew they had to get to the bed before they went any further. She knew Willow's house as well as her own and took them directly to Willow's bedroom. Buffy climbed onto the bed. Willow stayed wrapped around her as she laid them down.
A noise woke Buffy. After a moment she placed it. The front door opening. It closed a few moments later. One set of footsteps headed toward the kitchen. The other climbed the stairs. Crap. They aren't supposed to be here. Crap. Buffy kissed Willow, sleeping easily atop her, and waited. She hoped it was Willow's father moving toward them and her mother in the kitchen. Otherwise there would be no sleep for anyone. Buffy held her breath as the footsteps entered Willow's room.
Ira Rosenberg smiled at the girls. "You make sure you get something on in the morning," he told Buffy, then bent and kissed the back of his daughter's head. "Good night, girls." He closed the door.
Buffy's heart rate returned to normal after he left. Wow. Two out of three parents. Wow. She stroked Willow's hair while slipping back into sleep.
Buffy woke first in the morning. As much as she didn't want to, she woke Willow. When Buffy was sure she was awake, she said softly, "Don't freak, okay?"
"What's wrong?" Willow whispered.
"Your parents came home last night."
Willow buried her face in Buffy's neck. "Oh shit."
"Your dad's cool."
"Oh no," Willow groaned, and Buffy felt her flush.
"It's okay, sweetheart." Buffy rubbed Willow's back and tried to ignore her increasing arousal.
"How can it be okay?" Willow asked.
"Look at me, Will," Buffy said, and waited until Willow did. "It's okay. Your dad came in and he smiled and said to make sure we were dressed in the morning. Then he kissed you and left."
"Daddy did that?"
"Wow," Willow said softly.
"That's what I said," Buffy smiled. Then it faded. "I'm sorry he found out like this."
"Yeah," Willow agreed. Then she kissed Buffy gently. "Good morning."
Buffy's smile returned. "Good morning."
"You want to shower first?"
"No, I want to shower with you." Buffy grinned.
"Raincheck?" Willow offered.
"Okay." Buffy kissed her. "You go first."
Willow kissed Buffy before climbing off her and out of bed.
"God, Willow, you're gorgeous," Buffy told her huskily.
Willow blushed as she pulled on her robe. She darted out the door without answering.
Buffy sighed and stared at the ceiling. She sat up and swung her feet over the bed. Her robe was on the foot of the bed, where it had been since the first time Buffy stayed with Willow. She pulled it on and tied the belt loosely, then made the bed. She pulled the chair out from Willow's desk and sat down. She didn't wait long. Willow returned from her shower with a towel wrapped around her head. Buffy stood up when she entered the room, and moved toward her. She kissed Willow once and pulled back. "After you're dressed, will you get the bag? I left it downstairs last night."
"Sure," Willow answered, and Buffy left to get her shower.
When she returned to Willow's room after showering, the bag was sitting on the bed. Willow was nowhere in sight. Buffy dressed quickly. She picked up yesterday's clothes and put them in the bag before closing it. Buffy carried the bag and her wet towels out of the bedroom. The towels went into the bathroom, and she carried the bag downstairs and set it by the front door. "Willow," she called softly.
"Kitchen," was the answer.
Willow handed her a cup of coffee. Buffy sipped it, then asked, "What do you want to do?"
Willow sighed. "I should talk to them."
"That's not what I asked," Buffy answered.
"I want our all-naked weekend," Willow said softly.
Buffy smiled. "Me, too. We're still packed for it." She put her mug down. "They're up."
"Let's get this over with, and we'll figure out the rest. I'll meet you back at the dorm."
"I'm not leaving," Buffy said.
"Buff, please don't argue."
"Willow, I'm never running away from you again." She took Willow's hand. "We'll do it together."
"Good morning, girls," Ira Rosenberg greeted them.
"Hi, Daddy." Willow pulled from Buffy to hug her father. "I thought you weren't coming back until next week."
"You know how it is, princess." Ira hugged and kissed his daughter. "A scheduling snafu. We're leaving again tomorrow."
"Oh," Willow said in a disappointed tone. "Where's Mom?"
"Still sleeping." Ira poured a cup of coffee, then sat at the table. He gestured for the girls to join him and watched. Buffy pulled a chair out for Willow, and after she was seated, slid her chair around beside Willow's. Willow pushed Buffy's coffee toward her and grazed her fingers against Buffy's. They shared a brief smile.
"Buffy," Ira said.
She turned her attention to him. "Yes, Mr. Rosenberg."
"What are your intentions toward my daughter?"
Willow flushed again. "Daddy!"
"It's a perfectly reasonable question, princess."
Buffy reached for Willow and squeezed her hand gently. She held it until Willow relented and interlaced their fingers. "I love Willow, Mr. Rosenberg," she said in a clear, steady voice. "I'm going to do everything I can to keep her happy."
Willow missed her father's smile at the Slayer's straightforward answer. "See that you do," he said firmly. "And don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it."
"Yes, sir," Buffy answered.
Ira reached in his pocket and pulled out his wallet. He emptied it of cash and handed it to Willow. "Go have fun, princess."
"But Mom," Willow protested weakly.
"Your mother won't be up for hours," he said. "It's a beautiful day. Go have fun with your shiksa."
"Daddy," Willow protested, blushing again.
"Enough all ready." Ira pushed his chair back and stood. "Give your old man a hug before you go."
Buffy released Willow so she could do as her father asked. Buffy stood up, too, and stayed behind Willow. There wasn't anywhere to move to. She heard Willow's father whisper something to her, but couldn't make it out. Willow's reply made it clear what the question was. "With all my heart," she told him, and Buffy smiled.
Ira squeezed his daughter one more time and gave her a kiss before letting her go. Buffy tried to get past him, but he wouldn't let her pass without a hug. She returned the embrace. "Take good care of her," he said in a soft, stern voice.
He let her go and looked at both girls. "Next time we're home, we'll have dinner."
"Okay, Daddy. I love you." Willow darted forward and kissed his cheek. She returned to Buffy's side just as quickly.
Ira smiled. "Go on, you two."
Buffy looked over her shoulder as they left the kitchen. He was still watching them, still smiling, and again Buffy was glad it was he who had found them in bed together and not Willow's mother. They would still be sitting on the couch being lectured.
Buffy grabbed the bag on their way out the door. They headed toward Buffy's house.
Buffy opened the door and called, "Mom?"
Joyce came from the kitchen. "Buffy. What a surprise. Twice in one week. I'm honored." She hugged her daughter and smiled at Willow over her shoulder. "Good morning, Willow."
"Hi, Mrs. Summers."
Joyce let go of Buffy. "What brings you here so early on Saturday?"
"Long story, Mom."
"Tell me while I fix waffles." Joyce paused and looked at her daughter. "You are hungry, aren't you?"
Willow laughed. "She's always hungry."
"I am not," Buffy feigned being indignant. "But we didn't have breakfast yet."
"C'mon," Joyce smiled. "Plain or strawberry?"
"Strawberry," they answered together as they followed her to the kitchen.
Buffy stopped suddenly and Willow bumped into her. Buffy caught her with both arms around her waist. "Don't be mad, Willow. We haven't really talked yet so I haven't had a chance to tell you, but Mom knows. She's known for a long time that I love you. She said anyone who wanted to could see how much we love each other." Buffy's rushed confession sounded like the start of a major Willow babble.
Buffy held her breath while Willow processed her statements. "Okay," she said slowly.
"I want to tell her," Buffy said.
"Okay," Willow repeated. She slid her arms around Buffy's waist. "Are we telling everyone today?"
"I hope not."
"Good. Cause I have an idea about what to do with the money Daddy gave us." Willow leaned in and kissed Buffy briefly.
"Tell you later." Willow dropped her hands from Buffy's waist.
Buffy released Willow, except for her hand, and steered them into the kitchen. She sat in one of the chairs and pulled Willow into her lap. Joyce was mixing batter and didn't see them.
"I took your advice, Mom," Buffy said casually.
"How'd it work out?" Joyce asked.
"I'm glad." She set the batter aside and plugged in the waffle iron, then came and sat at the table near the girls. She looked at them. Buffy's chin rested on Willow's shoulder, and Willow leaned her head against Buffy's. Their hands were joined, one pair on the table, the other on Willow's thigh. "I'm happy for both of you," she told them. "Now tell me your long story."
"It's not really that long," Buffy admitted. "We were going to spend the weekend at Willow's and her parents came home."
Joyce rolled her eyes. "I'm amazed they didn't wake me up."
"We were lucky. Mr. Rosenberg ran interference for us," Buffy said.
"Sheila doesn't know?" Joyce asked.
"Not from us," Willow said. "Though I'm sure I'll hear from her soon." She sighed.
"It'll be all right," Joyce and Buffy said at the same time, and all three of them giggled. Joyce pushed herself away from the table. "Set the table, sweetie. The food will be ready in a few minutes."
Joyce filled them with strawberry waffles. Willow ate two. Buffy ate half a dozen. Joyce ate one. There was one waffle left when they began cleaning up. Joyce sat at the table while Buffy loaded the dishwasher and Willow washed the things that wouldn't go in there. Buffy snagged the last waffle before putting the plate in the machine, and munched on it while they finished.
"What's on today's agenda, girls?" Joyce asked.
"Dunno," Buffy shrugged and looked at Willow.
"I'm not sure yet," Willow said.
"I have to get down to the gallery. Can I give you a ride anywhere?"
"Yes, please," Willow answered quickly.
"I'll be ready in a few minutes." Joyce left the kitchen.
"What's cooking in your fevered little brain, Will?"
"It'll be fun, Buffy. I promise."
"Oh, I trust you." Buffy grinned. "We better not keep Mom waiting."
They were sitting in the back seat when Joyce came out to get in the Jeep. "Where to, girls?"
"Wherever you're going, Mrs. Summers."
She left them in the alley behind the gallery. Buffy leaned over the seat to kiss her mother before getting out of the Jeep. "See you soon."
"Dinner Tuesday?" Joyce suggested.
"Both of you," Joyce added.
"Okay. I'll call you." Buffy kissed her mother again and scrambled out the Jeep, pulling their bag along. At the end of the alley, she caught Willow's hand and they turned the corner. "Where are we headed?"
"Hilton," Willow grinned. "Big bed, big TV, and room service."
"And a pool?" Buffy asked hopefully.
Willow looked sideways at her. "When do you think you'll have time for a dip?"
Buffy grinned back until Willow blushed, then giggled at her. "You are so easy, Will. We need to work on that."
They stayed away from school until Tuesday morning, when they ran into the dorm long enough to pick up their books before high-tailing it to class. They met back in the dorm a little after four, both staring balefully at the flashing message light on the answering machine.
"Odds are most of them are Giles and Xander," Buffy speculated. "I vote we call Mom, do the dinner thing and stop by Giles' before patrol."
Buffy nodded and picked up the phone. She was brief with her mother, and turned back to Willow with a smile. "She'll pick us up here in half an hour."
"We should play the messages, then," Willow suggested.
"You know we'll be sorry." Buffy tried to change her mind. She knew it wouldn't work, sighed, and pressed the button. A few minutes latter, she counted off, "Two from Giles, three from Xander, one from Tara."
"Now we know."
"I know everything I need to know," Buffy turned to face Willow and slid her hands around her side onto her back.
"Oh?" Willow asked, smiling.
"I know I love you," Buffy said softly, and kissed Willow. "I know you love me," she said, and kissed the redhead again. As she opened her mouth, the phone rang. Buffy sighed. "Hold that thought," she told Willow and picked up the receiver. "Hello."
"Buffy, I've been trying to reach you," Giles said.
"We've been busy."
"I must see you immediately. It's rather important."
"Mom's fixing dinner. We'll stop by after."
"Fine. See you then."
"Bye, Giles." Buffy put the receiver down and counted, "three, two, one." The phone rang again.
Willow laid against Buffy and giggled while Buffy answered. "Hello, Xander."
"How'd you know it's me?"
"We've all ready talked to everybody else."
"Where you been hiding?"
"We've been around."
"You gonna be around the Bronze tonight?" Xander asked hopefully.
"Not tonight, too much homework. Maybe tomorrow."
"'Kay, see you then."
"Bye." Buffy laid the receiver down. "You may as well call Tara," she told Willow.
"I'll call her tomorrow. Your mom will be here in a few."
"Uh huh." Willow kissed along Buffy's jaw. "Dinner and Giles and patrol," she reminded herself with each caress.
"Not very convincing," Buffy murmured. She lowered her lips to Willow's neck.
"Dinner and Giles and patrol," Willow repeated.
"Mmm hmm." Buffy was busy trying to kiss each freckle on Willow's neck.
Willow repeated herself again, but at patrol wrenched herself from Buffy. "We should wait downstairs," she said unevenly.
Buffy smiled and nodded. She understood the dance of predator and prey. Willow shivered at the look. Each time she had seen it in the past 72 hours, she had passed out from pleasure and returned to Buffy's smug smirk as she cleaned Willow and brought her to orgasm again because she could.
Buffy's smile became thoughtful when she saw Willow's famous resolve face settle on her features. She nodded to acknowledge it and moved to the door. She pulled it open and curtsied, sending Willow into giggles, and that was why she was able to pinch Willow's butt as the redhead passed.
Willow jumped as Buffy pulled the door closed. "Hey," she protested. "That's gonna leave a mark."
"Good." Buffy took half a step to Willow's side and swept her hand up in their natural motion. "Dinner and Giles and patrol," she reminded Willow as they headed to the curb.
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