DISCLAIMER: Buffy and Her Friends belong to Joss Whedon and a bunch of suits. I'm adjusting their realities for fun, not profit, as I own nothing and have the credit report to prove it.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
"Stupid Valentine's Day," Willow grumbled as she walked toward the Magic Shoppe. A pebble came into her path, and she kicked it viciously. "Stupid Oz. Stupid Dingoes," she growled while the pebble skittered down the sidewalk. The holiday was two days away, and Oz and the band were all ready on the road toward a multi-night gig far upstate. Oz promised to make it up to her, but Willow wasn't sure he could.
Walking through downtown Sunnydale did nothing to improve her mood. Everywhere were red hearts, pink Cupid silhouettes, and advertisements for sweethearts' specials. She paused outside the Magic Shoppe and took a deep breath before opening the door.
She didn't recognize the woman behind the counter, but that was nothing unusual. The Magic Shoppe changed hands frequently, but nothing else in there did. Willow swept past the counter full of love charms and headed toward the back corner. She browsed the bookshelves, dragging her fingertips across the leather spines until one caught her attention. It was slimmer than the rest, and its gold lettering shimmered against the dark red leather.
"Peto posterus," she said softly as her fingers slid over the characters. Impulsively, she pulled the book from the shelf and headed for the counter.
"Did you find everything you're looking for?" the clerk asked.
"Yes, thank you," Willow answered, while pulling her wallet from her bag.
"You're lucky," the clerk smiled. "This book is on sale. Six seventy-nine, tax included."
Willow handed her a ten dollar bill, then put the book in her satchel. She accepted her change, frowning only slightly at the clerk's, "Happy Valentine's Day."
Willow hurried home ahead of the early winter dusk. Her parents had left another note on the refrigerator, scribbled on an envelope full of cash. She left the note there and checked the answering machine. "Hey, Will," Buffy said brightly, "I'll swing by after patrol so we can tackle the history project. See ya then!"
Willow sighed and turned away from the machine. She rummaged through the refrigerator and pulled out the carton of yesterday's Chinese takeout. While it spun in the microwave, she got a drink. She sat at the table and read the book. It was slow going, as she translated the Latin on the fly. Soon she was immersed in reading.
A hand on her shoulder caused Willow to jump. She tumbled backward in the chair, and would have fallen except for the Slayer's strong hands catching her. "Willow, are you all right?" Buffy asked.
"Geez, Buffy, you scared the heck out of me! Can't you knock or something?"
"I did knock," Buffy said indignantly. "I chipped a nail knocking!" She thrust the offending digit into Willow's line of sight.
"Uh huh," Willow answered. "That's why it's covered in vamp dust." She grinned at Buffy. "How many did you get tonight?"
"Eight," Buffy grinned back.
"Sure you're up for homework?"
"Oh, yeah. I won't be going to sleep any time soon, and I hafta do this project, so..."
"Ok. Let me get my books."
"Got anything to eat?"
"Check the refrigerator," Willow said over her shoulder as she left the kitchen.
Before opening the refrigerator door, Buffy saw the note from Willow's parents. She read it quickly and growled softly. Instead of getting something from the refrigerator, Buffy went to the phone on the wall by the back door and called her mother. "Hi, Mom, I'm at Willow's."
"Everything all right?" Joyce asked.
"Her folks left town again, so I'm going to stay over tonight, ok?"
Joyce sighed. She was frequently frustrated at the Rosenbergs' indifference to their daughter. She also knew that if Buffy stayed over, she would get to school on time. "All right, sweetheart. I'll see you tomorrow."
"Thanks, Mom. Good night."
"Good night, Buffy."
By the time Willow returned, Buffy was seated at the table with a soda and a bowl of ice cream. They worked on the project together for almost two hours, until Willow's yawns were too frequent to ignore.
"C'mon, Will, let's get some sleep."
"'K, Buff. See you tomorrow."
"Nah, I'm staying."
"'K." Willow stood and stretched. A moment later, Buffy got to her feet, and followed Willow to her bedroom.
Willow pulled her pajamas from under her pillow and went into the bathroom to change. Buffy opened the drawer Willow set aside for her, and pulled out shorts and a t-shirt. By the time Willow returned from the bathroom, Buffy was sitting on the side of the bed. The covers were pulled back.
Willow climbed past her to the side on the wall, and Buffy turned out the light and pulled the blanket up over both of them. "Good night, Willow."
"Night, Buff," Willow answered, and yawned again.
After four hours, Willow woke. She wanted to get out of bed, but Buffy was sleeping on her, and Willow couldn't think of a way to disengage without waking her. She lay awake and thought about what she had read in the book. It had spells for seeing the future, and some for changing it.
Buffy began to whimper, a prelude, Willow knew, to nightmares. She stroked Buffy's hair and whispered, "It's okay, Buffy, it isn't real. Just let it go." After so many nights of sleeping with Buffy, Willow knew how to calm her, and this one was no different. Buffy made a few happier noises, and adjusted her grip on Willow, who continued to pull her fingers through Buffy's hair. The regular movement was calming to both of them, and Willow, too, slipped back into sleep.
The alarm clock woke Willow. Buffy rolled off of her and slapped the machine, which disintegrated. Willow sat up and saw the remains of her alarm clock, then looked at Buffy and giggled. Buffy grunted.
Willow climbed over her, ignoring the Slayer's unhappy noises. She stretched, then went to the closet to choose her outfit. She pulled a jumper from a hanger and slung it over her shoulder. Next stop was the dresser, where undergarments, tights, and a turtleneck were gathered. Willow took the clothes with her to the bathroom.
When she came out, Buffy was still sleeping, and Willow shook her roughly. "Buffy, get up!" She knew from experience that being nice wouldn't work, and she repeated, "Buffy, get up!" loudly.
Buffy sat up, and Willow giggled at her again. Buffy had a terrible case of bed head, and was generally out of it. Willow grabbed her friend's nearest arm and tugged, and Buffy reluctantly got out of bed. Willow pushed her toward the bathroom, and got the shower going before she left. She went back into the bedroom, and pulled Buffy's only clean outfit from the closet. She made sure everything the Slayer would need was in a neat pile, and went into the bathroom.
She knew Buffy was awake by the movement of her shadow on the shower curtain, and called, "See you downstairs."
By the time Buffy made her way to the kitchen, Willow had juice and toast ready. "Hey," Buffy greeted her.
"Hey," Willow smiled. "Want more than this?"
"Thought we'd swing by the Pump on the way to school."
"K." Buffy chewed her toast, ignoring Willow's cheerfulness.
"Grumpy Slayer," Willow teased, and refilled Buffy's juice.
"I hate mornings," Buffy growled.
"Finish up and we'll get you caffeinated."
After school, Willow headed home instead of hanging out in the library to watch Buffy train. The spell book was at the front of her thoughts, and she wanted to try some of the spells. Two caught her attention. One said it would show the future; the other promised to reveal her true love.
Willow gathered the ingredients she needed from the box under her bed, and made herself comfortable on the floor. She read and re-read the spell to see the future before beginning. Once all the herbs were in the brazier, she began the chant. After the third incantation, the world fell away.
Willow felt separated from her body, as if she were floating over Sunnydale. She was pulled first to the Sunnydale High library, where Buffy was executing a complicated series of spins and kicks while Xander watched. Cordelia walked in and smacked him on the back of the head, and he grinned and shrugged at his girlfriend. Giles barked instructions, and Buffy flowed from position to position.
Then she was pulled toward the basement, and saw the Hellmouth and its seal for the first time. It shimmered darkly, and called to her with promises of power, and Willow shivered at the thoughts it induced. It was a long time before she moved away from there, to a rundown hotel where a dark-haired girl whimpered in her sleep. Willow followed her for a while, and saw she and Buffy patrolling together, dancing together, kissing like it was their last chance, and felt a flare of jealousy.
She returned to the high school, only to see it explode, and watched from a distance as Giles handed Buffy her diploma. Then she was on the UCSD campus, watching herself watch a blonde girl who hid behind her hair. Buffy patrolled with half a dozen young men wearing camouflage and carrying odd weapons before all hell broke loose. It reminded her of Bosch's paintings, demons and blood and screaming everywhere, and then it was over.
Things switched again, and Willow was at the hospital, handing Buffy a yoyo across the bed where her mother lay, her head wrapped in bandages. A younger girl who resembled both Joyce and Buffy was there, and hugged Willow tightly before she left. In another hospital room, Willow stood beside a bed and stroked the blond girl's hair, and felt rage like she had never known. Then there was confusion, and everything stopped as Buffy flew through the air.
Willow was jerked back into consciousness by gentle shaking. "Willow," Buffy said again.
"I'm all right," Willow answered, although she felt anything but.
"What were you doing?"
"What kind of spell?"
"To see the future."
"Yeah? When am I going to hit the lottery?"
"I think I skipped that part." Willow unfolded her legs and tried to rub away the pins and needles feeling.
"Wanna grab something to eat before patrol?"
"Sure." Willow took the hand Buffy offered and let the Slayer pull her up. She immediately wrapped her arms around Buffy.
Buffy reciprocated. "You sure you're all right?"
"Yeah. Just missed my bestest bud."
"All right." Buffy stroked Willow's hair for a few moments before they separated. "Mom said I can stay tonight."
"You just want me to help you finish your history project," Willow said, her tone teasing.
"Heck, yeah. I don't wanna go to summer school."
"That would cut into your beach time."
"Exactly. Can we go now? I'm starved."
Sunnydale was quiet and patrol was brief. They wrapped up early and returned to Willow's. Buffy finished her history project in record time, and they both did their homework. They finished just after midnight and went to bed.
Willow couldn't sleep, and after half an hour, slipped out of bed. She got the spell book and the ingredients for the second spell, which she had set aside earlier, and went into the bathroom. She closed the door and turned on the fan.
This spell was simpler, and had fewer ingredients. Willow went over it three times before beginning. Again, as the spell engaged, she felt as if she were floating away from her body. She didn't go far this time, just back to her bedroom, where she watched Buffy sleep for a few moments before repeating the final command. "Addo mihi ut meus unus verus diligo."
She didn't move from the bedside. Buffy reached across the bed, mumbling Willow's name, and Willow was back in the bathroom. She cleaned up the spell, her head spinning. This spell and the other seemed incompatible. The future she had seen showed no indication that she and Buffy might be together, and Willow wondered why.
She returned to the bedroom. Buffy was sitting up. "You all right?"
"Bathroom." Willow laid the book on her dresser and crawled across Buffy. She lay on her side, facing the wall.
Buffy curled around her. "You smell like roses," she murmured.
"New soap," Willow answered automatically.
"Nice." Buffy yawned. "Sleep now."
"Sleep," Willow answered, and patted Buffy's hand, which rested on her stomach. Willow knew she wouldn't be sleeping much; her brain was analyzing every moment of her time with Buffy and trying to determine exactly how she felt.
The phone woke them. Buffy disentangled herself from Willow and rolled over to answer it.
"Happy Valentine's Day, honey," her mother said cheerfully. "You need to get up and get ready for school. And buy Willow a new alarm clock today," she added firmly.
"Thanks, mom. See you later." Buffy hung up the phone. She shook Willow gently.
"I'll shower first," Buffy offered.
After Buffy left the room, Willow sat up. She hadn't slept much, and the little she had had been filled with dreams of Buffy. Willow got out of bed and put Buffy's clothes on the bed. On top of them, she put a card and a small box. She bought both of them weeks ago; Xander's card and candy were all ready in her backpack. Then she went to the kitchen.
Buffy came in twenty minutes later, a box in each hand. One she put on the table. The other she handed to Willow. Willow looked at her uncertainly. "I love the necklace, Will. You can help me put it on after you open yours."
Willow opened the box cautiously. She smiled when she saw the twin to the necklace she gave Buffy, and looked up at her friend. "It's beautiful. Thank you."
"Happy Valentine's Day, Willow," Buffy answered. She took the box from Willow and removed the necklace. She put it around Willow's neck, and Willow moved her hair aside so Buffy could fasten the clasp.
Willow stood up and reached across the table for Buffy's box. As Buffy had, she removed the necklace and placed it around Buffy's neck.
"Thanks," Buffy said quietly, and turned to face Willow. "I know it's all couples day and stuff, but I made a dinner reservation for us." Buffy trailed off, suddenly unsure.
"I'd love to have dinner with you," Willow answered. Buffy looked at her and smiled, and Willow was suddenly certain of her feelings. "I have to tell you something."
"Last night, when I told you I was in the bathroom, it wasn't exactly true. I mean, I was in the bathroom, but I wasn't, you know. I was doing a spell."
"What kind of spell?"
"To find my true love."
"What did you see?" Buffy whispered.
"You," Willow whispered back.
"Sorry, didn't mean to freak you out. I just thought, you know, with the necklaces and dinner, and it's Valentine's Day, and I wanted to make sure I wasn't just seeing something that isn't there and if I'm wrong, just forget I ever said anything."
"Breathe, Wills," Buffy said softly. "No wigging here, I promise."
Willow smiled. "Wow."
"Yeah. Wow." Buffy smiled back. After a few seconds of silence, she asked, "Mochas?"
Peto posterus = See the future
Addo mihi ut meus unus verus diligo = Show me my one true love
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