Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Challenge/Prompt: nekid_spike A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words: Day 24:
Word Count: 813
Date Written: 28 August 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Whedon, not the author, and are used without permission.
Willow leans back against the tweed that presses softly against her back, a subtle reminder that she is not alone. She knows she’s not alone -- she wouldn’t be researching this stuff if she was --, but sometimes, it feels like they’re such a small number in the grand scheme of the universe, a small number fighting impossible odds, a small group that’s going to be killed one by one until they’re all dead before she and Xander can even graduate.
It’s funny, she thinks as she recalls her best friend, how she used to have such a huge crush on him. That’s all it was -- a childhood crush --, and now she’s growing up, rather she’s ready to or not, ready they’re ready or not. Now she knows Xander’s never been the man who she would need. That man is older, more mature, wiser, and more sophisticated than her best friend will ever be. He’s standing behind her right now.
Willow leans back as she waits for her program to do its thing and find the right password. She knows Giles is concerned about the legality of this whole situation, but sometimes, legal matters can’t be considered -- not when minor laws stand in the way of saving thousands of lives, their own and their loved ones’ included. She won’t let the law stop her from doing what is right.
A smile traces over her face at that thought, as though she’s some badass rebel fighting the system. She is fighting the system, and she is a bit of a rebel, she supposes, the quiet, shy kind that fights from the shadows. But badass? Buffy’s badass. Giles, she suspects, has been badass in his long, assorted past. But herself? She could never be so daring. The only reason she’s daring now is because she’s behind a computer screen, and even now, she’s nervous. If it wasn’t for her friends, she’d never have the courage to do what she’s doing.
“It’s taking awhile,” Giles murmurs from behind her.
She shrugs. “Library computers,” she says as though he should understand that they are far from the best, or fastest, systems available. But then, as she’s still waiting for the system, she lets her eyes drift closed. She leans back, her eyes still shut, and his cologne seems to wrap around her in a heady cloud of invisible aroma. She breathes in, breathes out, breathes in --
His hand touches her shoulder, and it feels so right, so natural, almost as though it’s filling a hole she never knew until recently that she possesses. “Are you sure you’re alright with this, Willow?”
“Yes,” she answers without even thinking. Yes, she’s all right with this . . . whatever this is between them. She’s more than alright with it. She wants more of it, more of him.
The computer pings, and Willow’s eyes open. Xander’s looking meaningfully across the table at her, causing Willow to realize that she’s laid her head back against Giles’ chest. She blushes and rapidly turns her full attention to her monitor.
“Here’s our answer,” she says. “This is the way we’re going to do it, how we’re going to get him.” But how, she wonders, is she going to get him? Giles still looks at her like she’s a child. He doesn’t see the woman she’s becoming.
But then if he doesn’t, why does his touch feel so natural, so completing? He knows more than he lets on, she decides, and when the time is right, when he thinks she’s old enough, he may well announce his own feelings for her. If not . . . Well, it is the 21st century. Girls can go first. If Buffy’s brave enough to face the undead, Vampires, and everything else from Hell every night she lives, surely Willow, as her best friend, can be brave enough to face her Watcher, to face the brave, noble man with whom she’s fallen in love.
Giles’ hand touches her shoulder again. Willow’s breath and heartbeat quickens. “Good work, Willow,” he says behind her. She hears the pride and approval in his voice and has to smile. Oh, yes, one day, she’s going to be brave enough to tell him exactly how she feels about him. One day, they’ll be together. She smiles, looking forward to that bright day, and as Xander again catches her eye from across the table, she hopes with all her heart that he, too, will find the one woman in all the world to complete him.
They may not live to graduate, but that doesn’t mean they can’t find happiness and love while they’re still living, that they can’t experience all the best life has to offer, or that they can’t experience everything they’d want in a long life in the short ones they’ve been given. Willow’s smile grows. Yes, they’ll definitely make the most of the time they’ve been given.