DISCLAIMER: Wouldn't I love to own em! But of course I don't, how much does that suck? Everything herein belongs to Mr. Whedon, Mutant Enemy, yada yada yada.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Ok, I wrote this in a completely different way than I've written anything. I started it back at the end of May and just wrote bits here and there when the mood struck me. And I've switched POV's back and forth between Buffy and Willow a little bit. Hopefully it won't get you too confused and hopefully it doesn't feel all that disjointed.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
I can't believe it's the end of our freshman year of college already. It seems just like yesterday that Willow was sitting in the graveyard with me on patrol, trying to get my procrastinating butt in gear and pick my classes. How can that be 9 months ago? So much has happened since then, and I've been counting my lucky stars this past week for not losing Willow in the process of it all. But I came pretty close, and that thought scares me more than almost anything.
I pick up Mr. Gordo and stick him into one of the packing boxes that litter our dorm room. I didn't know I had so much stuff! Between the two of us there must be close to 20 boxes in here. I guess we're both just big pack rats. Because I know we didn't move all this in here last fall.
I've been wondering about something the last couple of days, and I haven't had the mind, or the courage if I really want to be brutally honest, to bring it up with Willow. I think I'm afraid of the answer. But I can't put it off any longer, we're almost done packing and I promised Mom I would have her Jeep back in an hour, in one piece.
She turns away from the box she was packing her bed sheets in and gives me her undivided attention. "What's up Buff?"
I fidget a bit and pick up a packed box to keep my hands busy, carrying it over to the door and adding it to the pile ready to go downstairs to the car. "Well I was sorta, well curious about something."
"About what?" Willow's eyes sparkle with curiosity.
"About next year. Actually, the living arrangements next year." I look up from the new box I was packing hesitantly.
She seems just as confused and unsure as I am, so I decide to bite the bullet. "I know we didn't start off as roomies, but I've loved sharing with you . And I also know that this year wasn't the best for us, I mean I know you felt like we weren't even really room mates anymore. But I'd like to try and make up for it. Next year." I took a deep breath and looked up to meet her eyes. "Will, would you maybe want to room together again in the fall?"
She looks a little hesitant and I take that as a bad sign. "Buffy, I'd really like to, but well, I mean, Tara kind of already asked me."
"Oh." I had actually forgotten about Tara. Which is hard to imagine considering her and Willow have been locked at the hip the last few months. At first I didn't think anything of it, with the exception of being a tad bit jealous that Willow had found a new friend that she seemed so close to. But I was so wrapped up in Riley and the Iniative stuff that I didn't stop to notice what should have been really obvious to me. When Willow told me that Tara wasn't just her friend, but something a whole lot more complicated, my jealousy actually spiked tenfold. I should have felt relieved that I wasn't being replaced in the best friend department. But for some reason I felt I was losing Willow anyway.
"Well I didn't actually say yes yet, I thought it seemed like a big step, living together. We've only been dating for a few months. Lets just wait and see, is that ok?" I must not have been hiding my disappointment well because she was awfully quick to try and reassure me.
"It's ok Will, I understand, she's your girlfriend, she should come first." I tried not sounding too bitter. Willow has this gentle sympathetic look on her face, one that I've seen on more than a few occasions, and she quickly crosses the room, navigating her way through the mess, and wraps me up in a strong hug.
"I've known her for 6 months, you've been my best friend for 4 years. Nothing is more important than that." She pulls back and looks at me with a hesitant smile. "But I do have to think about it ok? I'm not saying no, but I can't say yes just yet. Can you understand that?"
Well as long as she's not saying no flat out I can live with that. Besides, it gives me the summer to try and convince her just how good a best friend I can be. "Sure Will, take your time and decide."
"Ok, now that it's settled for the time being, we better get a move on. Didn't you promise your Mom that you would have her car back by 6? By the way, how in the world did you convince her to give it to you in the first place?" She gives me this curious look, and I know she's thinking about the last time I managed to get my mother's car keys. It honestly wasn't that bad, I mean, I might have gotten into one minor little accident, but it wasn't my fault, and she knows that. I think she just likes to tease me.
"It wasn't that hard Will, SOME people don't hold that one tiny little fender bender against me forever you know." I give her an exasperated look, but I know I'm none too convincing, because I can't help but smile at her. She has this way about her, every time I look at her I can't help but smile, even if I'm in a terrible mood, taking one look at her, even if it's just for a moment, cheers me right up. I've spent 4 years wondering how in the world she does that.
"I don't hold it against you Buffy, I know it wasn't your fault. But I can't say I was enjoying the ride all that much before that. I think it took a couple of days for the feeling to return to my fingers after holding on so tight." She sticks her tongue out at me, and I think I should be really worried about the reaction it seems to have had in me. Desire? No, no way, that's not it, nuh uh, she's my best friend, that certainly was not any kind of lustful feeling.
So why do I not sound convincing even to myself?
"Huh?" Uh oh, I must have really spaced out there, because when I look up and refocus Willow is standing right in front of me with her hand gently resting on my shoulder.
There's that feeling again.
But it's not a naughty one, not in the least bit.
"Are you ok, you look kinda spooked. Spidey sense isn't going off or anything is it?" She looks around the room quickly, apparently checking to make sure there aren't any hell beasties suddenly ready to munch down. I can't help it, she looks so adorable that I just have to pull her into a hug. She stiffens for a second before relaxing and draping the arm that was on my shoulder around my back and returning the embrace. "Ok, now I'm really starting to get worried." She tries to sound like she's joking, but I can hear the nervousness in her sweet voice.
I pull back reluctantly and release her, but she doesn't step back far, returning her hand to my shoulder and meeting my gaze. "Sorry Will, just got a lot going on up in here." I tapped the side of my head for emphasis.
She smiles warmly at me and takes the hand that was resting on my shoulder and gently brushes away a few tendrils of hair that escaped from my ponytail. "Aww, poor Buffy's brain. Anything I can do to help?"
Well considering where my runaway thoughts just took me, I'm thinking letting Willow in on them isn't the best course of action. "No, don't worry, I'm fine. I guess I was just getting sentimental that's all." Ok, so that's not a complete lie, just half of one, which means I'm kind of telling the truth right? Because I absolutely hate lying to her.
"Yeah, I know what you mean. Our first year of college, I can't believe it's over already. Time just seemed to fly by, didn't it?"
Sure it did, time that I could have, scratch that, *should* have been spending with Willow. The same time that she was spending with Tara and slipping away from me. Hindsight is always 20/20 isn't it? If I would have known back in October that Willow would fall in love with a girl this year my first guess would have been that it would be me. I mean we've been best friends for almost 5 years now, I'm closer to her than I am to anybody else, most certainly Riley. We know everything there is to know about each other. So why not me?
Wait a second, why do I want it to be me anyway?
Great Buff, first you're having lustful and completely naughty thoughts and desires in the best friend department. And now you're complaining that Willow didn't fall in love with you. Oh this is gonna be the best summer ever. Lets see how long it takes you to jump her bones.
Could things get any worse?
"Hey Buff, my parents rented this condo out in Malibu for a few weeks this summer. They said I can have it for one of the weeks while they're at some convention in Philadelphia. So I was thinking, maybe we could take them up on the offer?"
Willow. Me. Beach. Malibu. I think the odds are definitely against me on the jumping her bones deal.
"Yeah that sounds great Will, I'm sure Xander would love that, checking out all the beach bunnies, it would be like heaven for him!" Of course he would go straight to hell once Anya found out about it.
"Actually, Xander has a construction job in Monterrey for most of the summer. His company is footing the hotel bill for him and everything. And Anya's going with."
Oh god! Xander isn't coming. Xander, the buffer, the man who makes it not just me and Willow all by ourselves. He isn't coming!
"What about Tara?" Ok, why did I say that? I mean the last thing I really need this summer, what with my little naughty best friend thoughts and all, is to see said best friend smooching in the sun with her girlfriend.
"Tara left for the summer. Back east to visit family and everything." Huh, funny, Willow didn't sound all THAT upset, considering the fact that she won't see her girlfriend for 3 months. "So I guess it's just you and me Buff."
Willow. Me. All alone for a whole week. With the possibility of bikini's playing a big role.
Things just got a whole lot worse!
Buffy and I got loaded up and out of the dorms a lot quicker than I had anticipated. Of course Slayer super strength and all that played a significant role, what with the 3 boxes at a shot that she carried down the 2 flights of stairs to the parking lot. I swear sometimes she does that just to try and impress me. Flashing me a sweet, almost cocky grin before grasping up another heavy pile and heading out into the hallway. Doesn't she realize that no matter what, no matter how strong she is, how many piles of clothes and other knick knacks she can carry, she's just Buffy to me.
Sure she's the Slayer, and believe me, that fact has saved my keister on more than one occasion, not to mention the entire known world. But it's the complete package that makes her my best friend. I guess she's just so used to having to pretend being someone else with Riley that she doesn't realize she doesn't have to do that with me. She never used to, I knew her better than I knew myself at times. When did all that change?
Actually I don't really need to ask myself that question, I already know the answer. Riley. Oh who am I kidding, Riley AND Tara. I didn't think that when we started dating people that weren't within our little close knit group that we would drift so far away from each other. But that's exactly what happened. And I can't help but curse both Riley and Tara a bit for that. Even when I know it's my fault more than anyone's.
I hid Tara. I hid our relationship away from everybody who matters the most to me. And as much as I'd love to say I don't know why I did it, I know with certainty the reason. I was scared. Completely and utterly terrified.
Of Buffy's reaction.
I always had suspected there was more to Faith and Buffy's relationship than Buffy let on. Not that I think they slept together or anything, because the fleeting thought that they did would be enough to make steam come out of my ears. No, it was more the fact that Faith had this sensuality about her, she oozed sex appeal. And more than once I could have sworn I saw Buffy's eyes glazing over when all of us would be out at the Bronze. Of course it was a rarity in and of itself that Faith would actually hang out with all of us at one time. She usually either spent all her free time with Buffy, or with none of us at all. I remember asking Buffy about it once and she gave me this rather disgusted look and shot down the notion that she could ever be attracted to Faith. It had calmed my fears that Buffy was interested in Faith. But it didn't make me feel any better about my own feelings for my best friend. Because when she brushed away the thought of her and Faith together so brusquely I took it to mean all woman in general, including myself. And given the fact that Faith was walking sex appeal, even if it was of the skanky variety, if Buffy wasn't attracted to her, she wasn't attracted to any woman at all, myself being at the very bottom of that barrel.
I remember being so nervous when I told her about Tara that all I could do was clutch onto my pillow and very barely meet her gaze. And at first, I thought for sure she was going to run out screaming into the hallway. She had looked confused , then when realization set in about what I was telling her, I swear I saw a thousand different emotions play across her gorgeous green eyes. Hurt, confusion, but the one that really caught my attention at the time, was the jealous green spark that flashed for longer than any of the others. And it both raised my curiosity and my hopes. And then the guilt set in. I was with Tara, yet I couldn't help but have a little bit of hope that my new girlfriend was the key to winning Buffy's heart.
How horrible am I?
And my guilt just gets worse, because I'm actually rather glad that Tara left to go back East. Things weren't all that great at the end of the year anyway, I think she was beginning to pick up on the fact that my emotions were divided between her and Buffy. And as wonderful as Tara is, and as much as I do love her, it's not the same kind of connection that I have with Buffy.
It's not the same kind of love I feel for Buffy.
And therein lies my problem. For 4 years I've been completely in love with my best friend.
And now we have the entire summer to spend together. Tara is back home, 3000 miles across the country, and Riley is off getting debriefed who knows where. Not that it's that unusual for Buffy and I to be together a lot during the summer. Last year we spent a ton of time just hanging out. With Xander gone on his little road trip into the great unknown, and with Angel in LA, we had plenty of girltime. But with Oz's presence constantly in the background, even if he did manage to make himself rather scarce with all the gigs Dingoe's managed to nab, it kind of put a damper on things. Not that I would have ever worked up the courage to come clean to Buffy in the first place. Especially not right after what had happened with Angel. She was heartbroken that day in her bedroom, and I was not about to add to her emotional stress by admitting that I've been hopelessly in love with her for almost the entire time we've known each other. Nope, that was a definite thing of badness in my book. But last summer had been fun. We really had some good times, movies in the afternoon followed by tons of summer shopping. Then even more movies at night, with lots of slumber party sleepover goodness.
Last summer was probably the best of my life. And now that I think about it, I know exactly why. It was the first summer I had ever spent with Buffy. So I must be trying to press my luck, because Buffy and I alone together in Malibu on the beach is bound to kick my hormones into high gear. Which around her, is never the best thing. Sure I adore the feeling of pure and unadulterated love and passion that courses through my veins whenever I'm in her presence. Suppressing it so she doesn't realize is a completely different story. But I can't help hoping that this summer brings us together as lovers, the way last summer brought us even closer as the best friends that I hope no matter what happens, we always will be.
And as much as I have guilt for leaving the thought of my girlfriend in the back of my mind, I can't wait until Malibu. Buffy in a bikini is more than enough to send me running for a cold shower. But it's the thought that I might finally work up the nerve to tell her how much I really do love her that has me the most excited. Visions of Buffy holding me close, as we sit on the beach under a star filled sky dance in my head as I drift off to sleep.
"Buffy, my god, how much stuff do you have down here?"
"Come on Will, it's not that bad! Besides, I have a very good excuse, I've been gone all year long, how am I supposed to clean out my closet when I don't even live here most of the time?"
I crawl out of the back of Buffy's closet for a moment to shoot her an exasperated glare, but the second I turn to look at her my heart stops beating in my chest. She's modeling one of the new bikini's she bought when we went to the mall last week in preparation for our week of sun and sandy surf fun. She had showed me the small, barely there purple iridescent number on the hangar and I immediately loved it. But on her, words can't accurately describe how incredibly gorgeous it looks. I have to actually shake my head to clear my vision, I honestly think I was seeing doubles of her out of repressed desire or something equally naughty.
At the present moment Buffy has me digging through her closet for her duffel bag and beach towels. But I think I'm fighting a losing battle, because all I seem to be up to my waist in is shoes and the occasional stuffed animal.
"Well when was the last time you used it? Because I can't seem to find anything in here besides shoes and plenty of bunnies, both of the dusty and furry variety." And the fact that some of the dust ones are bigger than the stuffed ones really should worry me I think.
"Umm, I think probably the summer before last. When I left after.................." She stops because I imagine she saw the pain flash across my face. The summer between our Junior and Senior year of high school isn't one of my favorite topics. I spent dozens of sleepless nights wondering, praying to any deity that would listen, that Buffy was safe. That she wasn't in a ditch somewhere, or worse yet, sucking the life out of someone as an immortal Vampire Slayer. The emphasis always on the vampire part. That entire summer I felt like I was completely lost without her, like part of my soul was taken along with her on her journey, and I didn't find it again until that night I saw her alive and well in that alley. It sounds melodramatic even to me, but that's exactly how I felt. So every mention of the summer we spent apart like that just opens the wound a small crack and lets the hurt seep in just a bit. And Buffy knows that. Hence the contrite look she's sending my way.
"Will, I'm sorry, I know, really sore subject. You know how my mouth has this tendency to not cooperate with my brain sometimes." She stops adjusting herself in the mirror, and quickly crosses the distance between us and grasps me up into a warm, loving hug.
Ok, normally Buffy hugs are the most soothing thing in the world to me. This time is a tad bit different. Cause you see, she still has on the purple string bikini. And her very barely covered body is now squishing into me in all the wrong places. Actually the real problem is, she's squished into all the right places. And it's suddenly gotten extremely hot in her bedroom. I can feel the blood rush to my cheeks as I wrap my arms around her hesitantly, searching for a spot that won't add any more friction to my already electrically warm body. I settle for the middle of her back, but I quickly spring my hand up to her shoulder the minute the thought of just simply untying the knot she has keeping her bikini top in place crosses my hormone induced mind.
Bad Willow! I'm a very, very bad girl! What in the world has come over me? I'm thinking like a sex starved teenage boy. Oh god! I'm starting to think like Xander!
"Will, are you ok?" Huh? Oh man, she must have noticed how strangely I've been acting. Just great, I'm ruining everything before we even get out to Malibu. Funny, I didn't even realize she had pulled away to look at me. And why not, I'm staring at her, why shouldn't she be looking at me too. Of course she's not looking at me the way I'm looking at her, cause well that would mean she wants me the same way that I want her, and I'm pretty sure that's not the case.
Oh god! Somebody please, just shut me up! I even babble internally!
"Yeah, I'm ok Buffy."
"Are you sure, because it kinda felt like you tensed up when I hugged you?" She has this subtly hurt expression floating across her eyes and I kick myself mentally more than once. I hate that look, it's a cross between wounded puppy dog and confused. Separately I think that she's adorable wearing them. But combined it just tugs at my heart.
"No, no, I'm fine Buffy, I was just surprised I guess. I think I'm just getting readjusted to your hugs again. I mean this past year we weren't really all with the huggies and I really kind of missed it, and you, and well you know this already, and it's not like you haven't hugged me recently, cause you have, but that was for the first time in ages. And I guess I just need to get used to you hugging me more often again. Not that it's a bad thing, cause it's way up there on the goodness scale, top of the charts really. And can you just shut me up now?" Oh god, what's happening to me? I haven't babbled that much in ages. I'm reverting back to my high school self. What happened to cool confident college girl? Buffy turned her into a pile of hormonal mush with one hug, that's what. Scratch that, one bikini clad, almost naked Buffy hug.
Buffy reaches up and pushes a errant strand of my auburn hair back behind my ear and gently smiles at me. Melting again here. "Actually Will, I kind of like it when you do that. You get the cutest expressions when you go into one of you little spree's there. In fact, the first time I saw you do that I had to fight such an urge to just wrap you up in the biggest hug. It was the most adorable thing I'd ever seen."
Awww. She's so not helping my melting condition. Because that was one of the sweetest things she's ever said to me. "Well now you know I'm a big fan of your hugs, so no need fighting the urge anymore, right?" Ok, well that was not subtle in the least bit. Hey, look at me, I just asked for Buffy huggies, yay on me!
She laughed a little before sobering up a bit and just gazing at me through sparkling green eyes. No way did I just see a spark of desire flash in those eyes, no way. "Well Will, you know I'm not the most restrained person on good days, so glad to hear." She leaned forward and took me into her arms again, turning her face into the crook of my neck and softly nuzzling my hair. Ok, wait. Nuzzling!? Buffy is nuzzling my hair? She sighed contentedly, or at least I think so, and tightened her hold on me.
"Buffy?" I was getting rather confused, because the way she was holding me, so lovingly, so.......possessively, certainly seemed to be going out of the best friends ballpark. And as much as I was enjoying all the closeness, I didn't have a clue what was going through her mind. She pulled her head up from my shoulder and caught my gaze in her own. For what seemed like forever we just stood there, wrapped in each other's arms, gazing into emerald green depths.
"Will........" She leaned closer and closer, her forehead now resting against my own, both our breathing becoming somewhat labored. I was positive she was actually about to kiss me, when I heard Joyce's loud voice echo in through the open bedroom door.
"Dinner's ready girls! Don't want it to get cold, come on!"
We snapped apart like someone had shocked us and just stared at one another for a brief moment before Buffy turned back around to her closet and grabbed a white t-shirt and a pair of cutoffs and quickly slipped them on. She turned back around to face me, gave me a shy sweet smile and grasped my hand, pulling me along with her downstairs to dinner.
And I'm sure the goofy grin stayed on my face throughout the entire meal.
"So girls, you're sure you have everything you need?"
Mrs. Summers was in full parental mode at the moment. I don't know if she was worried that we would get into trouble by ourselves out in Malibu, or she just missed Buffy this past year and didn't really want her to go. I had a feeling it was the latter, because even if Joyce thinks Buffy isn't the most responsible person in the world, she knows that I wouldn't let anything get out of control. No, no, that's not an ego. I just know that Mrs. Summers trusts me. During the summer that Buffy was gone I spent quite a lot of time with Joyce. I don't know if being with her made me somehow feel closer to Buffy, or if I just felt a duty to my best friend to watch out for her mother until she came back. But in any case, Joyce and I had more than one heart to heart, most of the time it focused around our relationships with Buffy. I used to try and get her to forgive herself for what happened and not hang onto the guilt that was eating away at her. It was horrible seeing her like that, so broken and hollow because of her fight with Buffy. I could relate too, because I had similar feelings. Not because of a fight with my best friend, but her mere absence from my life was making me feel all kinds of depressed.
Joyce in return for my support and I guess just my general company, repeatedly kept telling me how thankful she was that I was in Buffy's life. She told me that before Buffy met me that she was a somewhat selfish, self absorbed person. But I helped make her a sweeter, kinder human being. I tried to dissuade Mrs. Summers, because it's very hard for me to believe Buffy as being anything other than the incredible, caring, loving girl that I know. Besides the fact, that even if Joyce was right, I seriously doubt that her change in personality had anything to do with me. Being the Slayer, having all that responsibility, was definitely the more likely candidate. But she wouldn't budge, insisting that I was what kept Buffy grounded. And that on more than one occasion Buffy would talk to her about me, and how lucky she was to have met me.
And you would think that information would have warmed my heart to the core. But it only made me miss Buffy more. Made the cut in my soul feel deeper. Because it just made me love her all the more, knowing that she really did value our friendship so much.
"Yeah Mom, we're all packed. By the way, thanks for finding my duffel bag. Where was it anyway?" Buffy peers curiously up at her mother, simultaneously trying to zipper up the last bag of her luggage. I don't know how in the world we're gonna fit all this stuff into the trunk of the car I rented. Buffy has 6 bags, plus the 3 of my own. A Mustang trunk only holds so much. I guess I should have known Buffy would over pack. Last summer we went out to the beach for the day, and she had two bags just for that. I guess the idea of us cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway in a convertible over rode my practicality.
"It was up in the attic actually." Mrs. Summers is shifting from foot to foot. Which is rather odd, because she only does that when she's nervous about something.
"What was it doing up there? The last time I saw it was right under the foot of my bed." Buffy doesn't seem to pick up on her mother's strange behavior, she just sounds confused.
"Well remember when the Gallery was doing inventory and I brought some of the things home and stored them in your room?" Buffy blandly nods her head, picking up one of the heavier bags and carrying it to the door in the process. "Well I took some of your stuff up into the attic so it wouldn't get all messed up. I thought I had brought everything back down, but I guess not." Joyce casts a curious glance in my direction and then continues. "Did you go through it and make sure everything was still in it?"
"There wasn't anything in it to go through, Mom." By this time Buffy has all but one of her 6 bags at the front door. Joyce gives her daughter a curious look, but then an almost smug knowing one replaces it. This conversation is getting stranger by the minute.
"If you say so Buffy." Now the smug smile has turned into a genuine one, leaving me completely baffled.
"Will, I'm gonna take these out to the car a while. You've got everything else all ready and packed to go right?"
"Yep, we're all set. Although I'm thinking one of those bags of yours is gonna have to go in the backseat instead of the trunk." I smirked at her, making her glare at me in the process, before tossing the keys at her. "Come on, hurry up slowpoke, we want to beat the rush hour traffic." We had decided to leave in the afternoon for who knows what reason. I think Buffy just wanted to sleep in actually. I didn't mind though. I kept picturing driving down the coast just as the sun was setting over the ocean. With Buffy sitting right next to me, her golden hair blowing in the sea breeze. I turned around to say goodbye to Mrs. Summers but before I could she grasped me up in a tight hug.
"You take care of my little girl Willow."
"I will Mrs. Summers. We take good care of each other, so don't worry." It was nice, being wrapped up in a maternal hug. I can't remember the last time my own mother hugged me, if ever actually.
"And remember to have fun. You and Buffy need to reconnect on this trip, remember how much you both mean to each other." Before I had a chance to contemplate and question her comment Buffy came bouncing back through the front door.
"Ready to motor Will?"
"Yep, lets go." I gave Mrs. Summers one last curious look before joining Buffy in the doorway. Mrs. Summers followed and grabbed her up in a warm hug as well before forcibly pushing us out the door, telling us to have a good time, and more importantly, to behave ourselves.
Buffy and I hopped into the car, and surprisingly enough I didn't have to fight her for the driving privileges. That was one less thing for me to worry about. As much as I love Buffy, driving is not one of her finer skills.
"So, ready to start the fun or what?" Buffy cast me the sweetest smile as she slid on her sunglasses.
"Definitely." Yep, I was definitely ready to start the weeklong Buffy goodness.
"Wow Willow, you're parents really go all out!" Buffy sounded so in awe. Me, I've gotten to the point that materialistic type things don't impress me so much anymore. Being Buffy's best friend for 4 years, seeing all the things she's accomplished, all the things she's had to learn how to deal with, that's what really impresses me. But I'm glad that I can seem to make her happy, even if it is with my parents buyoff's for never being around. And I do have to admit, the condo really is spectacular. A spacious living room, with a tan leather couch, and what had to be at least a 60 inch TV tucked away into a cabinet on the far side. A kitchen area with bar seating and the biggest refrigerator I've ever seen, well, next to the commercial one that we found Dr. Gregory in back in 10th grade that is.
Eww! Bad visuals Willow, bad bad visuals! Although I do distinctly remember sitting behind Buffy on the stairs of the library later on in the day, gently massaging her shoulders trying to calm her down and ease the tension out of her taut muscles a bit. If I really think about it now, I'd probably guess that I was already head over heels for her, even way back then. Which is actually a rather scary realization.
"Oh my god Will, you have got to see this view!" Buffy comes rushing back over to me and grabs my hand, dragging me back towards the sliding glass doors that lead out onto the deck. We continue through the doors and I involuntarily gasp, fully absorbing the view Buffy is so crazy about. She's right, it's absolutely amazing. The deck itself leads down onto the sandy beach, and about 100 feet out is the shoreline. And with the moon reflecting off the water, and the star filled sky glistening above us, I don't think I've ever seen anything more beautiful. Buffy pulls me into a sideways hug, wrapping her left arm around my shoulder and grasping me around my waist with her right, and finally settling her chin on my shoulder. "This is like paradise isn't it?" She looks up at me, the moonlight dancing in her excited green eyes, and I can't do anything but stare at her and nod my head in agreement.
It IS paradise. My paradise.
The sound of the waves crashing against the shore, the moon and stars shining brightly overhead, and Buffy's arms wrapped around me. I can't think of a more perfect utopia.
"So, are you up for a little naughty fun?!" I blink my eyes a few times to refocus, caught up in my own Buffy centric world for more than a moment. Ok, did she just mention naughty fun? I think my hormones are definitely in control again, because a thousand different scenario's are playing out in my mind, and I'm sure they're all 10 times more naughty than what Buffy had in mind. Before I have a chance to ask her just what exactly she meant, Buffy pulls away from me and starts taking her shorts off
"Uh, what?" Oh yes, very coherent there Willow. Of course I do have extenuating circumstances. Namely a half naked Buffy in front of me, for the second time in under a week.
"Come on Willow, tell me you've never skinny dipped before?"
Oh. My. God.
She is so not doing this to me! I have plenty of self control. But if she honestly thinks that I can control myself with both of us naked and dripping wet she's completely out of her mind. Of course the fact that she has no clue how much I desperately want her probably has a tad bit to do with her driving me completely crazy.
Before I ever realize it she's completely stripped down to her bra and thong. Wait a second, since when does Buffy wear thongs? Not that it's really important, because I'm sure as soon as we get closer to the water that's gonna go the way the rest of her clothes did. And I'll be in just as much trouble either way.
"Come on Willow, you can't go skinny dipping wearing all that!" Buffy starts tugging on my shirt, trying to pull it overtop my head. That's the last straw, Buffy trying to undress me snaps me out of my naked Buffy induced haze.
"Buff, I really don't think this is such a good idea. I mean, uh, well, what if someone sees us?" Somehow while I desperately tried to reason with her she managed to get my shirt over my head and now I'm standing there in nothing more than my shorts and bra. I quickly realize what the sea breeze is doing to my exposed top half and cover myself up. Yep it was just the cool ocean air, it had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Buffy's gaze has turned into an even more mischievous one.
"Well too bad Will, because I've got your shirt, so you're just gonna have to come and get it!" And with that she took off sprinting towards the water, waving my shirt behind her like a war prize. She reached the shoreline and turned back around to grin at me, sticking her tongue out, challenging me to try and retrieve my stolen T-shirt. And honestly I didn't really need to, I mean I had at least 15 other tops I could have put on, 20 feet away in my suitcase. But there was something about the way Buffy was acting, the playfulness, the..................flirtation in all her actions of the past few minutes. So yet again, my hormones took control and I took off after her down the beach.
By the time I reached the shoreline she had already waded about 10 feet out into the water, still waving my shirt above her head triumphantly. "Come and get me Will!"
I tentatively dipped my foot into the water, making sure that it was warm enough. Even in the middle of July I still figured that it was best to check. How much of a wussy am I? I carefully wade out to where Buffy was standing and just as I was about to reach her I lunged, grasping for my shirt in the process. I must have caught her off guard, because before I know it I'm completely wrapped around her and we're falling backwards under the water. As we resurface I find that Buffy's arms are wrapped tightly around my waist and I've somehow managed to bring my legs up to encircle her hips. She reaches up ever so slowly and brushes a few wet tendrils of hair away from my eyes. Her touch is so gentle and soft that I have to actually follow her hand to realize she's really touching me. She keeps tracing my hairline for a moment before trailing her hand down my cheek and ever so softly over my lips.
"Will........." She trails off breathlessly, inching closer with every passing second. After what seemed like an eternity to me I feel her sweet lips ever so softly brush against my own. Before I even have a real chance to fully respond to her embrace I feel her pulling away. Great. She regrets it, I just know it. Buffy raises her eyes to mine, still tracing the contour of my jaw with gentle fingertips. Wait, is that a smile? Her eyes are twinkling in the moonlight, and I swear I see them visibly darken with desire. Uh, desire? For me? Ok, yeah, I think I'm having another Buffy induced hallucination.
I give her a small tentative smile, not really knowing what exactly is going on. I guess that was all the incentive she needed, because her lips are once again upon my own. This time though she's not quite as hesitant, taking gentle control over my lips and ever so slightly running her tongue across, demanding entry into my own mouth. I grant it to her, not caring if I'm imagining things or not, if I am, I hope I never come out of the dream. Our tongues greet each other in a sweet gentle duel, neither one overpowering or seeking dominance, just sweet caresses with the other.
"Oww!" Buffy pulls away from me suddenly and I'm scared to death I've done something wrong. But the thought quickly escapes me when I see her slowly bring her foot up out of the water, cradling it gently.
"Buffy, what's wrong?" Well I figured it was something with her foot, because, well, duh. But I didn't know what she could have done just standing there kissing me. Unless of course I stepped on her, but wait, no, that can't be the case, because my legs were locked around her waist the entire time.
"Something bit me I think. Ugh, stupid little critters!" I can't help it, I start to giggle. I mean it's not funny that she's hurt, but just the sight of her standing there, groaning about sea creatures is too funny. Buffy has fought 60 foot long demon snakes, and she's all upset over a crab or something just as harmless. I immediately try and stifle myself when I see the hurt glare she's shooting in my direction. "And what is so funny?"
"Nothing, nothing at all really." Uh huh, yeah, she's gonna leave me alone with that explanation.
"Riiiight" she drawls out. "So you were just one step away from hysterical laughter for no reason at all?" She has this subtly hurt expression crossing her features and I suddenly completely sober up.
"I'm sorry Buffy, it's just that I've seen you fight how many hundreds of evil disgusting demons, and you're all upset over a little crab or something." She pouted a bit, tugging at my heart strings, so I decided to push it a little. "If you really want to know, it's kinda cute." And I hope to god the darkness covers my blush. She looks up and again I see that lust filled gaze directed at me. Totally at me! She starts to lean in again, and even though every fiber of my being just wants to stand out here in the ocean with her forever, wrapped in her arms, with her lips permanently sealed with my own, I reach my hand out gently and stop her. I know she's the Slayer, but if something really did bite her, she should at least but some disinfectant on it. Plus, with the breeze and being in the water, I am getting a bit chilly. She casts me a confused gaze and I impetuously lean down and take a quick sip from her sweet lips once again. I think I really could get addicted to kissing her. Which makes this even harder to do. "You need to put something on your foot. Besides, I'm getting kinda cold out here." She smiles a bit and then pulls my soaking wet T-shirt from behind her back and dashes towards the shore. Of course I managed to catch up with her fairly quickly, considering the fact that she had a pretty noticeable limp. I came up behind her and wrapped my arm around her waist, guiding her right arm around my shoulders, helping her hobble into the house. I sat her down on one of the leather reclining chairs, neither one of us really caring if we were getting the upholstery wet or not.
"Did you bring any first aid stuff, or should I run up and see if the bathroom has anything?" I called to her from the foyer as I dug through my suitcase for a dry top.
"Yeah, I put some antibiotic ointment and some bandages in my duffel bag."
I grabbed a new shirt, slipping it on as I headed back into the living room to grab her duffel bag that she had thrown onto the couch. I waded through all her vamp supplies, which I had insisted we bring just in case there were surfer dudes that just happened to have no tans and only caught the waves at night. She had reluctantly agreed with my idea that we could never be too careful. But she must have really thought to appease me, because the bag is jam packed with all the essentials, stakes, holy water, garlic, even 4 of her wooden crosses that she keeps in her bedroom. In fact, there's so much stuff that I can't seem to find the first aid supplies. Just as I'm about to ask her if she's sure she actually did pack the kit I see a small compartment in the bag closed with a zipper. That has to be where she put them. I slide it open, but there's nothing at all in there except for a few sheets of what looks to be writing paper. My curiosity getting the best of me I turn my back to Buffy just a little bit more and gently slide the folded notes out of the bag and glance over them. But the first line I read catches me more than a little off guard and I'm momentarily stopped in my tracks.
God! What was I thinking?! I mean here we are, alone, together for the first time in what seems like forever, and I have to go and jeopardize it all by putting the moves on her. I mean I chalked the near kiss we almost shared back in my bedroom last week to a fluke. Something reminiscent of Willow and Xander's fluking back in high school. Of course my mother's dinner call interrupting us really was for the best, at least I thought so at the time. But all week long it's all I've been thinking about.
The way Willow's eyes kept trailing along my body while I was wearing that bikini. The way they seemed to glaze over when we were standing mere inches apart, just within a hair's breath of jumping over a huge precipice into a place so much more complicated. It's been driving me nuts since, wondering, hoping if she wanted it just as much as I did. As much as I still do. And the fact that I do have a boyfriend couldn't mean less to me at the moment. Because all I want is her. I've finally realized it, after all this time. After all the near misses, moments in time where I had almost told her, only to shrivel up and hide. Locking away my feelings, my desire for her, in a place that I never thought I would find again. And yet here we are, both involved with other people, and I can feel that lock in my heart slowly being turned every time she smiles at me. And I wonder just when exactly she stuck the key in to begin with.
I don't love Riley, I don't. If there's anything I'm completely certain of, it's that. Sure I like him, sure I care about him, but I don't love him. And maybe that's making it easier for me. I used Riley as a distraction, as someone to take my mind and heart off of my best friend. But only now do I realize it. For the longest time this past year I couldn't figure out why I had chosen to cut Willow so far out of my life and let Riley so far in. Not that he'll ever understand me the way she does, I don't think anyone could know me and understand just exactly what it's like to be the Slayer except for her. And it's suddenly striking me as the most absurd thing in the world. Staying away from someone because you love them so much, so much that it actually makes you ache inside. Because that's exactly what I did, I completely know that now.
And yet here I am, chastising myself for actually showing her. But the problem is, I may not love Riley, but I'm pretty sure Willow DOES love Tara. And that's my sticking point. Because even though I want her, love her with every cell in my body, I want her to be happy, even if it's not with me. I don't want to put her relationship with Tara in jeopardy on the off chance that she wants me just as much as I do her. I'm willing to let Tara have her, because I couldn't stand the thought of me being the cause of any unhappiness Willow has. And I'm scared to death that telling her would cause just that. Things would be awkward and strange between us, and I would hate it. I'd lose my best friend just because I couldn't settle for having her as nothing more than that.
When we were out there in the ocean, just the two of us, our bodies wrapped together like we were two perfect matching pieces to some intricate puzzle, I wondered if maybe I wasn't the only one feeling it. Sure I was the one that leaned in and kissed her, but she certainly didn't stop me, in fact she responded with just as much fervor. She kept her legs wrapped tightly around my waist and kissed me back like there was no tomorrow. And if I hadn't been such a baby and pulled away because some stupid little ocean critter decided to turn my toe into a snack, I honestly don't know how far we would have gone. But the fact that she kissed me on her own without me initiating it sparks so much hope in me that I know I have to be dreaming.
I turn around to look at her, wondering what's taking so long for her to find the first aid supplies in my bag. I know it's a bit of a mess in there, but it's her fault that stuff is packed anyway. But a jolt of fear and anxiety shoots through my body when I see her slowly sliding down onto the floor, fresh tears glistening in her emerald eyes, a small stack of papers in her hands.
"Willow, what's wrong?!" I start sitting up to go to her, wondering just what exactly she's reading that's making her so upset. She glances up at me, her beautiful face smudged with salty tears, wearing wet tracks down her porcelain cheeks.
"Buffy?" She holds up the stack of letters to me, but I'm too far away to see what's written on them. I get up and hobble across the living room floor and slide down next to her, slowly taking the papers out of her hands, her eyes watching my every movement, yet she won't meet my gaze.
I look at the first words written across the top of the paper.
Return to BtVS/Angel Fiction
Return to Main Page