Author: Casandra
Email: Since my Fanforum account isn't working at the moment.
Well even though the show isn't still in its first run, syndication will probably go on for eons, so I guess all this is still necessary. I of course don't own them, because if I did, things would have been a lot more on the slashy side of things. Alas, Mutant Enemy, Fox and Joss don't seem to think the way I do. Oh well.
PG-13 for now, just for the slash content. Minor swearing might be in here too, so be forewarned. I've been considering giving something a bit more naughty a try again, and if I do I'll give sufficient warning.
If the thought of woman in love and having a relationship bothers you, you better tear your eyes away quickly, because that's all you'll find in my fanfics.
You can find my work at Realm of The Shadow (, Near Her Always ( and I Kind of Love You as well. Plus my new site, No Other Way. Anybody else, you're welcome to it, just please let me know where it's going.
I, like every other author, adores it. So if you like my work, please drop me a line and let me know. It'd be much appreciated.
I have this tendency to reference just about anything. So if you haven't seen all 7 seasons and all 144 episodes, you might use caution in reading this. Not saying I WILL reference something, but I just might, so be aware.
Buffy/Willow. But also probably a smidge of Willow/Kennedy too. Actually, I might have some Dawn/Faith in here as well, maybe as a backdrop couple. Who knows, I think I'm just making it up as I go along.. I'm such a UC ship ho! Might as well go for the gusto LOL
Post series finale. At least 6 months down the road, where Willow has to make another life changing decision, very reminiscent of her decision to stay in SunnyD back in 'Choices'.
Author's Note:
Ok, I haven't written anything significant since Summer Confessions, and that one I started during the Summer of 2002. It's now June 2003 as I start this. So I am probably very rusty when it comes to fiction. All I've been writing is term papers for the last nine months. But I'm going to try my best here and see what I can come up with. It's also going to be mostly in Buffy's POV. I might switch over to Willow at some point, not sure yet. We'll see what happens I guess.

| Part 1 | Part 2 |


Part 1

It's ironic.

I've spent my entire adult life resenting the destiny that was thrust into my lap, always feeling obligated to it, trapped by it, scared of it. And now that I don't have the weight of the world on my shoulders alone anymore, I feel incomplete somehow. I suppose I had just gotten so used to the fact that I alone was the person responsible for saving the world time and again, that now that the responsibility has been lifted from me, I almost miss it. That goes to show you just how messed up in the head I've become over the last seven or so years. The problem I'm having is, if I'm not THE Slayer anymore, who am I? I've defined myself solely on my mystical superstrength for as long as I can remember now. And even though yes, I do still have the same skills and abilities I've had since becoming a Slayer, I'm no longer the only one. I had enough trouble accepting Kendra, and later on Faith, being around. But I could chalk them both up to a small glitch in the Slayer system. After all, if I hadn't gone down to fight the Master, it never would have happened. But even after I had been dead set against never staking another vampire again, one look at Willow's tearstained face and I knew I couldn't fight my destiny. Because if I did I wouldn't be able to protect anybody from the harsh evils of the world. And more importantly, I would have been letting Willow fend for herself in that kind of violent atmosphere. There was just no way I was about to let that happen if I had it in my power to do something about it. Death be damned. If that's what happened, so be it. If I could take the Master out in the process, thus keeping everyone safe, most importantly Willow, than that was a chance I was willing to take.

But I digress.

So now I'm not THE Slayer anymore, I'm just A Slayer. Which technically I suppose is really the same thing. And I guess it might just be my over-inflated ego of seven years talking, but it really is bothering me. I would have thought I'd be hanging from the rafters in celebration if I ever got the chance to have a 'normal' life. But now, I'm starting to wonder, what's so great about normal anyway? The only normal friend I have anymore is Xander, and look what being normal got him. Or maybe it's more the fact that he's my friend that got him the pirate look permanently.

And the worst thing about ALL of this? I'm not Willow's Slayer anymore. Nope, the spell I insisted she do, the one that was my idea, took her away from me. If I'm really honest with myself, I had left Willow's side long before the spell, from my own free choice. At first I was angry at her, so incredibly angry, for ripping me away from eternal peace. I just couldn't get past the anger and hurt that the one person I relied on to always do the right thing screwed up. Yep, me, the queen of accidental mistakes condemned my very best friend because she did it. Once.

How much of a bitch am I?

She stood by me through everything, and she happens to make a mistake one time, and I drop her as quick as I possibly can. Of course we never once talked about the fact that we were best friends in name only for the past two years now. Me? Talk about a personal problem?

Get real.

And it was that much worse because I didn't even bother to allow myself to worry about what my solitude was doing to her. I had Spike to keep me busy, what did I care? Willow had Xander, and even if they weren't together anymore, she still had Tara's love. She didn't need or want mine I assumed. Well you know what they say about assuming something. It makes an ass out of both 'u' and 'me'. Yeah, lame joke I know, I have no idea who came up with that one to begin with. But surprisingly it fits perfectly for what happened the last two years. Maybe if I would have been paying even a small amount of attention to her, things wouldn't have ended up the way they have.

Tara might still be alive. Willow more than likely wouldn't have had to hit absolutely rock bottom before becoming the goddess of pure benevolent magic that I always envisioned her to be. And then again, maybe I'm giving myself too much credit. She might have had to go through all those things she did, without me, to make her the incredible person she's become now. Not that she wasn't always incredible, I knew there was something magical about her from the very first time I laid eyes on my adorable witch. Of course she wasn't a witch then, oh no, she started practicing the dark arts for the sole purpose of helping me in my fight against the hellmouth.

So again, it all comes back to her association with me.

But now she's not even MY witch anymore, the same way I'm not HER Slayer either. Because now there's Kennedy. She's taken my place in Willow's life. ALL my places actually. She's her own personal Slayer/Best Friend/Girlfriend in one nice nifty package. Of course I've always only filled two of those three slots. But I've always wondered, and maybe even hoped, that we could go three for three someday. I may not have outwardly showed it the last few years, but it's always been in the back of my mind. Even when I was with my significant others. Even when I was ignoring her. It's always been there. And yeah, I'll even admit that Kennedy is cute. But that tongue ring comment, grr, I could have spit nails. But of course, mind on the mission, I had to focus, like always. Jealousy does not play a good part when it comes to averting yet another apocalypse.

I've always been a tad bit jealous when Willow was in a relationship. But never more so than now. Maybe it's because I don't like Kennedy, or maybe I feel even more threatened because I'm free and clear to make my move and once again, someone is in my way. The again, it could be the fact that Kennedy is a Slayer as well, so I know that it's not a put-off to Will when it comes to being romantically involved with someone. Of course it's more than likely the fact that I haven't seen Willow so outwardly affectionate with anybody like she is with Kennedy. They're constantly cuddling, or smooching to their heart's content.

In front of all of us. In front of me.

I'm really shocked at the self control I've shown. I haven't physically removed Kennedy's lips from Willow's yet, so that's a good sign I hope.

For the last five months or so all of us surviving Scooby members, with a few extra new club members added on, have been holed up inside what used to be an abandoned warehouse right outside of Cleveland. Somehow, and honestly I don't think I want to really know, Giles got the lease free and clear. Within three days of arriving here he had the place cleaned out. And in another week or so it was habitable, and very habitable at that. There's about 8 or 10 of us here on any given day, and it doesn't get crowded at all. We all have our own living areas, nicely decorated for the most part. And 8 bathrooms to split between us all. Certainly not a bad setup in the least bit considering the sharing that we all had to do back at my house during the height of the potentials' invasion. I still can't believe an old run down warehouse could be spiffed up to be so nice in such a short period of time. Not that I'm complaining at all, really. It's just I do worry sometimes HOW we ended up with such nice digs. Giles year long siesta in England must have either been very profitable, or he managed to snag back most of his connections that he had before he met me. And with the Watcher's Council for the most part non-existent, I wonder who's paying the bills now. Did they have a secret stash hidden somewhere that wasn't blown up by preacher boy?

In any case, no matter who is paying the bill for our swanky new living area, its nice to not have to be the sole supporter. Although most of the gang wasn't in favor of mooching off of whoever is our secret benefactor.

Almost as soon as we set up Slayer central here, Xander went out job hunting. Apparently Cleveland is having a big real estate boom at the moment and is in dire need of construction workers. I think it helps him grieve for Anya by having a nine to five job again. I've never seen Xander as quiet as he was on the trip cross country. I know he still loved Anya intensely. And I have to wonder if it made it worse or better them never marrying last year. He refuses to talk about her, mourning in his own private way. And me being the queen of solitude, I can understand that. I miss her too actually. We might not have always gotten along, and I did try and kill demon Anya, but I did consider her a friend, her human self at least. And she died fighting a battle meant for me alone. And considering I have a guilt complex a mile long, besides feeling sad for the loss of my friend, I have guilt for it too. But she made her choice to fight, and in the long run, I think she knew she was doing the right thing, fighting the right battles, on the right side.

Surprisingly, Faith is still hanging around here with us. I'm not exactly sure how I feel about that. I'm over my anger at her for everything she's done in the last few years. I can see the changes in her. She's not the same hotheaded kid that we all met in Sunnydale 4 years ago. She's more grounded, more focused. And she cares about more than herself. It's a rather shocking change to believe, but I see it, and I believe it. We're still not friends, we tolerate each other, we work together, but we're not to the point yet where we can really call ourselves buddies. But I think eventually we'll get there. I'm happy for her, she seems more at peace with herself than she was. She takes an active role in everything that we do around here. She even got herself a job as a bouncer at one of the local nightclubs. Can't say that line of work surprises me, even if it is at a gay nightclub. Faith never did 'out' herself, but it's safe to say that Willow is not the only sometimes Sapphic member of the gang. Not that it bothers me of course, considering I'm having tendencies towards the ancient Greek poet side of things lately. Or maybe not so lately as the case really is. I know the Xena reruns aren't helping to take my mind off of it. But I swear, if Faith brings Dawn home one more time from those under 21 parties they have at the club, I'm going to seriously reconsider the friends idea.

Of course blaming Faith for being responsible and actually watching out for Dawn is kind of ridiculous, even I admit that. But it's one of my issues, because I'm beginning to think that all of us girls are giving the lesbian life a try. I don't doubt that Dawn goes to see Faith at work. They've become very tight lately. And as much as it would have bothered me before, Faith DOES look out for her like no one else. And that's saying quite a bit considering what all of us have gone through to look out for Dawn in the last few years. My problem is if Faith *isn't* the reason Dawnie is going to that particular club. I really don't mind if she is indeed inclined that way, hell, if she's made from my blood, it actually makes quite a bit of sense. But I don't want her thinking she can't talk to me about it. I guess that's another thing I have to schedule in, a heart to heart with my little sister about her sexual preference. That should be fun.

I wouldn't dream of asking Giles to sit in on that one. And even if I wanted to, I couldn't. About a month after getting us all settled in here he took off back to England. I think he's in Bath this time, wherever that is. He didn't really go into a lot of detail about why, but I figure it has something to do with corralling all the other new Slayers that'll be popping up in the next few months. Willow gets emails from him on occasion. Which is rather shocking, I didn't know Giles went hi-tech, let alone knew how to go about sending email. Hell, it took Willow how many hours to teach me how to instant message and email people using her laptop. And I'm not nearly as technophobic as Giles. Of course he's changed quite a bit in the last few years since he's been back on his native soil. Always surprising me with the things he says and does when he's around. I'm still not sure whether I like that or not. But I do find myself missing the old Giles, the stuffy librarian Giles that we all loved to tease about his affinity for tweed everything.

For example, Robin going to England with Giles. That I didn't see coming at all. Going from mild mannered high school principal to Slayer command. Sure, he has it in his blood, but I thought for sure he'd return to his educational ways. I guess he liked the demon hunting business. It's good that Giles has a partner over there though, makes me worry less about him being all by himself. Of course it gives my overactive imagination way too many visuals that I could really do without. Ewww isn't a strong enough term in the least bit!

Hmm, Willow should have been home by now. She said that she was only going to be about an hour at the Best Buy up the street, and it's already going on two. Will's been all cybery again since we got settled. She's been constructing databases using her cyber and wiccan skills to help the Slayers decide where they want to go based on the most demony activity she can sense.. All but three of them have headed off on their own, making a new life for themselves with their new powers. Of course Kennedy is still here. Willow's still here, which means there'll be no getting rid of Kennedy either. She's a good Slayer, she patrols every night, and has a part time job at one of the karate centers downtown. But she's constantly around whenever Willow is, so I never get any time alone with my best friend.. It's ironic that now that I want to be with Willow, someone else is constantly in the way. Figures that's just my luck. That's the reason I wish Will would hurry her butt up. I have the day off from my classes at the police academy and I know Kennedy is going out with Vi and Rona tonight. So I figured I could have Willow all to myself. I know I won't make a move on her, because even though Kennedy and I aren't the best of friends by any means, I still respect the fact that Willow IS her girlfriend.

Willow and I have been much better in the last few months. And for that I'm eternally grateful. In fact it was her idea that I join the Cleveland police department. Honestly, I never would have thought about it. But with my strength, speed and agility, not to mention my recuperative powers, it makes perfect sense. And as much as I was enjoying the guidance counselor gig, there's no way in hell I was going to be able to get another job like that without a college degree of some kind. And that was definitely lacking with the turmoil of the last couple of years. So when Willow suggested that I attempt to be a police officer, I admitted to her, and to myself, that it seemed to be the perfect line of work. Of course there was the pesky problem of my prior warrants for murder back during the summer of 1998, but Willow was all up for taking care of that minor detail. It turns out she didn't have to. When Sunnydale went kaboom, all their records went with it. All local registries were wiped out, including my criminal record. Which is fine by me, once less problem to worry about coming back and biting me in the ass sometime in the future. So for the last month I've been studying at the academy to become a specialist in combative situations. That's what Willow calls it at least. Personally I think the captain of the academy just thinks he can eventually break me by giving me the most physically demanding challenges he can think of. But I haven't failed one yet, so that must mean something. I just wonder where the force is going to put me if and when I graduate.

"Hey Buff, you still around?" How is it that I didn't even hear her come in? The doors to this place are anything but quiet.

"In here Will!" I call out to her from my reclining position on my bed. Deep thoughts require nice cozy bed goodness. Otherwise it gives me a headache.

"Tell me you didn't go back to sleep after I left." Willow plops herself down on the foot of my bed and reclines herself lengthwise across the bottom, the hand she's not using to prop her head up on absently playing with the laces of my tennis shoes.

"Nope, just thinking. You know me, gotta be comfy lest the smoke start coming out of my ears." I casually picked up one of the smaller pillows on my bed and toss it at her head. I'm careful not to throw it too hard though. Ever since that night a short time after I moved to Sunnydale. Willow was over at my house trying to get me caught up on a few history assignments, so we were both sprawled out on my bed. I was too busy *not* paying any attention to what George Washington apparently did with his troops in Concord during the Revolution. Before I knew what was happening I was eating feathers from the pillow Will had tossed at me. I wasn't going to let her have the last word, or in that case, the only one, so I grabbed the offending pillow and launched it back at her.

I forgot about Slayer strength and all that. Because the next thing I remember, Willow is sprawled flat on her back on the floor, my toss knocking her clear off the bed. She had the most dazed expression and I was sure that I had given her a concussion or something equally traumatic. I was scared to death. Here I had just made a really good friend, not to mention she was cute as all get out. And I had to go and ruin it because of stupid Slayer powers. Midway through my spazzout I realized that she was laughing. Full throated giggles. And I knew that everything was going to be ok. But ever since then I'm very careful when we get into a pillow fight.

"So what took you so long? I thought you just had to grab some kind of thingie for your laptop. You weren't flirting with that cell phone tech again were you?" She blushes and I realize that she probably thinks I'll never let that one go. She's probably right.

It was a one time thing. Kennedy was on patrol and Willow needed to go and get an adapter for her printer. Me being the over protective best friend that I have been lately, insisted that she didn't walk alone to the store. Long story short, the girl behind the cell phone counter started hitting on Willow while I was looking at cover plates for my Nokia. Will, still sometimes a shy insecure woman, casually flirted back, but nothing compared to how blatant the sales girl was being. I of course was practically foaming at the mouth watching the girl's display. So as soon as I found an opening I linked my arm through Willow's and drug her off to her adapters, leaving a very petulant looking Best Buy employee behind.

"Actually I was with Kennedy." She looks a tad bit guilty for some reason as she looks down and starts playing with an imaginary piece of fuzz on my bedspread. I thought Kennedy was going out with the other girls tonight?

"Oh, I thought she had other plans?" Yep, that sounds good Buff, just inquisitive, not jealous in the least bit. Not like you were anxiously waiting for Willow to get home so you could take her out to that bar of Faith's and maybe, just maybe, get her to dance her ass off with you.

"She did, well, she does, I mean she just grabbed me before she headed out with Rona and Vi. Of course not that kind of grab you know, because we were in a public store and all, but I mean, we just talked. And that's why I was late." Oh that can't be good. I haven't heard her babble like that in a long time. And her babbles generally only kick in when she's nervous or guilty about something. Either one usually is not that pleasant a reason. So something has to be up.

"Is everything ok? I mean it wasn't anything demony was it?" Right, because that would be a hell of a lot easier to deal with than something relationshippy.

"No, not really. Nothing you need to worry about Buff." She plasters on one of her fake smiles, the kind that tell me something is certainly not right in Willow world. But it's also a sign that she's not ready to talk about it just yet. So I'll let it go. For now at least.

Might as well try and cheer her up. And if we happen to end up having naughty friction as a result of her frown upside downing, so be it! "Ok, well if you're sure?"

"I'm positive"

"Well then, since Kennedy is out with the other girls, I thought maybe you and I could do something? It seems like forever since it's just been the two of us hanging out." And it really has been. I miss Bronzing with Willow and Xander. Of course that was never the two of us, but still, we were together. The three musketeers. It hasn't been like that for a long while now.

A brilliant smile, this time completely genuine, lights up her face. It makes me feel like melting into a puddle of Slayer goo right on the spot. "That sounds great Buffy! And I know what you mean, it's been way too long since it was just you and me." She sighs a bit and the smile falters just a tad. And I wonder if she missed it just as much as I have. "So what did you have in mind?"

I'm trying so hard to hold the mischievous expression from crossing my face. What do I have in mind? I can only begin to imagine the possibilities of going to Club Olympus and dancing the night away with my favorite red headed goddess. But I wonder if she'll go for it. "Well it's a surprise, but I think it's a place you'll like." Yep, Will is a big fan of Faith's place of employment. For obvious reasons. "So, grab your jacket and lets motor." It's actually not that far from our place, a few blocks maybe, but hey, I'm trying to make this as date-ish as possible, so we can't be walking when there is a car at my disposal. Another perk Giles refused to disclose about. But again, not complaining. A nice shiny purple Mustang is not something I'm going to argue with Giles about. If he wants to give his Slayer expensive fast presents, well then that's his prerogative.

"Come on Buffy, don't be a hold out, just tell me!" Oh there is nothing in this world that can crumble my willpower like a Willow Pout. She looks downright adorable. And that's putting it mildly. I always cave. Always.

"Willow, don't be like that. You know I can never resist it when you turn up the Willow charm." Ok why did I say that!? The Willow Charm? I mean sure she has it. In spades. Spades upon spades. But she so does NOT need to know what effect said spades of charm has on this Slayer. No siree.

"Ok fine, but let it be stated that I do this under major grumble grumbles. You know how I hate surprises." She grabs her leather jacket off the coat rack at the front door, mumbling all the while about Slayer's and their secrets. It's not so much that she hates surprises, it's that she has zero patience when it comes to things like this. I swear she's still that 16 year old kid that thought Slayer T-Shirts would be cool. But it makes me love her all the more. Knowing that she's still essentially the same person deep down that I met all those years ago. Even after all the hell she has gone through because she chose to fight alongside me. If there is a God out there, I give my thanks a thousand times over for that.

As soon as we start heading for my car, instead of the opposite way down the alley that leads to the main street, Willow grabs my arm and snaps me around to face her. The expression on her face is priceless.

"Buffy, I am NOT getting in that car with you! Never again!"

Now, it wasn't all that bad. So I decided to see just how fast my new little sports car could go. And just how well she cornered. How was I supposed to know that it was trash day on the west side of the city. Besides, I mean that trash collection guy really shouldn't have been hanging off the side of the truck like that. The near miss TWO months ago is still apparently fresh in my best friend's mind though. She looks terrified! I try to reason with her though, because really, driving with me is not all THAT bad. "Will, you want to get where we're going don't you? I don't think you want to spend our girls night out in a yucky alley do you?" Logic, that is always the way to go with a brain like Willow's.

"And just why can't we walk? It's not that far is it?" Ok, well apparently I didn't look at all the logical points. So now, big question. Do I lie and say, yes it is too far. Or do I concede where we're going, ruin the surprise, and have her talk me into walking there, thus blowing the entire date like principle of driving in the first place. Gah! I'm having way too many complex thoughts. I'm getting a headache and that is not in the plans for tonight. There can be no bumping and grinding with Willow if I'm popping Advil's at the bar all night long.

I wonder if guilt tripping her and using the utter truth disguised as a ploy to get my way will work? Doesn't hurt to try at this point. I take both her hands in my own, for a moment enraptured with how soft they feel against my own callused palms. I had almost forgotten what is was like to hold hands with Willow. I don't think we've done this since that day I helped her meditate and heal her stomach. God, that was a year ago! I shake myself out of my reverie and look up earnestly into her confused emerald gaze. "Will, do you honestly think I would do anything to put your life at risk? Do anything that would hurt you?" And seriously, that's the last thing in the world I would dream of doing. She's far too important to me. We've survived 7 years on top of a portal to hell. There is no way I'm losing her to a stupid car accident, and especially not one of my own doing.

I see her contemplating my statement, her eyes softening and a small smile touches her lips. She squeezes our joined hands tighter and starts pulling me towards my car. I guess that's my answer. She does know.

"You just better hope that I like this surprise of yours Buff." She teases me as I close the car door behind her, quickly moving around to the drivers side and slipping into the soft leather seat.

"Oh you'll like, I'm sure of it." It's just what I have planned for her that I'm not positive she'll be receptive to.


I pull up in front of the valet service at Club Olympus, Faith really did find a top notch club to work for, I gotta admit that. I gesture for Willow to get out and I can't help but smile at the confused expression crossing her face. "Um Buff, did you need to talk to Faith or something?" She stays buckled in until I get out of the drivers side, hand the valet man my keys, a five dollar bill, and swiftly move over to the passenger door to coax her out.

"Willow, this is where we're going. I figured since we can't go Bronzing anymore, this was the next best thing." I manage to get her unbuckled, standing and heading into the club, waving to Brian the doorman as he lets us pass. He's a great guy. Big old teddy bear really. Unless you piss him off. Watch out then. Of course Willow doesn't know I come here every once in a while. Nope, because then she'd know I'm toeing the straight line far off into lesbian land. I guess I wouldn't really be toeing the line now that I think about it. But in any case, she comes here with Kennedy, and I come here only when I know I won't see her and Kennedy getting it down on the dance floor. Not something I'd be able to stand, even with a couple of stiff drinks from the bar. She hasn't said a word to me yet, just let herself be pulled along until we find my favorite table. It's in the back of the club, but it has a panoramic view of the entire place. Plus it's up on the second floor. Nice and private to boot. "So, whatcha want to drink?" Maybe some alcohol will bring her out of her daze.

"Buffy, this is a gay bar. This is Faith's gay bar!" She whispers it to me, almost conspiratorially, it's rather amusing really.

"Yeah Will, I'm pretty aware of that. So what? Don't you like you're surprise? I thought you liked it here?" Gotta add in the Slayer style pout or it will never work.

"No Buffy, I love this place, really, it's just well, I mean......." She trails off and I know exactly what she's thinking. "Buffy, you're not gay, so why did we come to a gay nightclub?"

"You're gay, so we fit in just fine. Ok, now what do you want to drink?" Lets get her off the non-gayness of me for just one moment, thank you. I'm still standing as I look down at her upturned face, the lights from the dance floor reflecting off her bright emerald eyes. It's entrancing to say the least, and I almost miss her drink request.

"Alright, if your sure you're comfortable with this" I roll my eyes a bit at that, assuring her that I'm not being put out in the least bit. "I guess I'll have an Orgasm." Um, huh? I mean, WHAT?!

"A whatgasm?" I mean my gosh, here I thought I was playing it completely subtle, when she comes out with THAT! Something's up though, because she's almost falling out of her chair laughing.

"Oh my god Buffy, that was priceless!" What? What did I do? I'm not the one who said orgasm!


"Buffy, an Orgasm is a mixed drink. Actually, it's a shot, vodka, amaretto and cream, I think. Hence the name Orgasm."

"Oh." I knew that. Really.

"I was just kidding though, they're not that great, too strong for me. I think I'll just have a Blowjob instead." If I could physically swallow my tongue I think I would have done just that. When did Willow get so bold? Again she's laughing at my predicament, or at least the incredibly red shade my face must have taken on. Apparently you can see it, even in this dim lighting. "Ok fine Buffy, you're no fun, how bout just a boring ole Witch of Salem, that sounds appropriate, don't you think?" I can't help but smile a bit at her unending cuteness, even when she's teasing me. And of course wondering if there really are mixed drinks by those names. And just how Willow became so aware of the various forms of consuming alcohol. I might just have to talk to Kennedy about that. Or beat her to a pulp for turning my best friend into a cocktail conessuir.

"Ok, haha, laugh at stone cold sober girl. But don't we remember the last time I had anything significant to drink? Or spent any time at a bar? Cave Buffy ringing any bells here Will?" Yes, Cave Buffy was sure not the most pleasant experience. I'm so glad that I had enough of my subconscious not exactly subbed to rescue Willow from that fire at the Grotto. I can't imagine what would have happened if I had been any more out of it than I already was.

"Ok, spoil my fun. Just get me a Hurricane."

"That I can do." Because surprisingly, that is something I've heard of. I go to head back down the stairs to the bar, but Willow grabs onto the sleeve of my leather jacket, halting me before I can even take two steps.

"You're sure you're ok being here? You're not worried some hot girl might come and hit on you?" She teased me a bit, but I could see the seriousness in her eyes. She was genuinely worried that a nightspot that catered to the alternative was going to freak me out. Of course she has always been super sensitive about what my feelings were regarding her sexuality. Did she honestly think I was homophobic? I never could figure that one out, but she's always been more tip-toe'y with me about it than anyone else.

I leaned down close enough so that my breath was tickling her earlobe. "The only thing I'm worried about is some hot girl hitting on YOU. This is *our* night." And with that I left down the steps to retrieve our drinks, leaving my best friend sitting at our table with a stupefied expression on her face. Lets just see what she makes of that little confession. Not an outright admission of jealousy, but hey, close enough. Baby steps.


Willow POV~

Ok, what was *that* about! She's worried that someone is going to hit on me?! Ok, well maybe she's just trying to be protective of my relationship with Kennedy. But yeah, that explanation flies out the window as soon as it came, because Buffy can barely stand Kennedy. And that's on a good day. Of course neither of them think I can sense the hostility between them. I have no clue why they think that, considering I'm a witch and I'm naturally more in tune with all things emotional, especially since my time with the coven in England last year. I honestly can't figure out why they don't get along though. I know Kennedy can be a little headstrong and impetuous, which is actually a lot like Buffy was when she first became a Slayer. Plus, add in the whole Slayer thing and they're actually quite a bit alike. Kennedy has always reminded me of a strange cross between Buffy and Faith. Quite an attractive combination I must say.

Of course I've always had a thing for Slayers. More so one Slayer, but I will admit to checking out Faith's assets more than once. With her it was the first time I really had appreciated the female physique in a decidedly naughty way. It was a small case of lust, pure and simple. Probably yet another reason I was so hostile to Faith, added onto the whole 'she's stealing MY Buffy' thing I had going on at the time. And ironically enough Faith was the one who made me accept my feelings for Buffy for what they really were. I had loved Buffy so much, for so long that I didn't stop to think what loving her really meant. Or *how* exactly I loved her. I just did. And I didn't overanalyze it, I didn't think about it, it was just as natural to me as breathing air into my lungs. The sky is blue, the grass is green, I loved Buffy, it was that simple a truth to me. And until Faith came along I had never thought about loving Buffy in a physical way as well. I mean I had always noticed she was gorgeous, it's a very hard thing not to take notice of. Especially with half the class checking her out at any given moment. But I never thought it was strange that I happened to agree with their opinion, because she was my best friend, so of course I was appreciative of her looks, that's how it works, right? Yep, it's embarrassing to think I was that naive.

But once Faith showed up and I realized I could be attracted to a woman based solely on looks, I started re-evaluating everything. And I came to the really shocking conclusion that I was actually IN love with Buffy as well. Heart, body, soul, and mind, they were all hers. And up until that point Buffy only had three of those. So I figured, without the physical love I couldn't really be IN love with her, I just loved her more than anybody. And there was a difference between the two so I was perfectly normal and completely straight. So who was I kidding? Just myself apparently.

So 4 years after the fact of finally realizing it, I've still yet to do anything about it. And I probably never will. But because of keeping myself in the dark so long, I tend to over analyze everything now, instead of finding myself in the same predicament again. So just what did Buffy mean by this being *our* night? Hell, if I didn't know better, and I'm almost sure I do, I'd say she was acting rather possessive. Sort of like the way Kennedy gets when we're here and is constantly giving anyone who steps within five feet of our table the Slayer death glare. Before I can ponder that rather interesting new thought I see Buffy come bounding up the stairs, not so carefully balancing our cocktails in her hands.

"Come on Will, lets shake and shimmy!" She grabs my hand as she sets the drinks down with the palm that my own hand isn't possessing, dragging me out of the stool and heading back for the steps before I can even mumble a response.

We hit the dance floor just as a new song is starting up. I recognize it immediately. The memory hits me, making me realize just how long ago it really was.

This holy circus camp
Aladdin and his lamp
A feverish daydreams and sway de loca
My face in magazines
The lesbian James Dean
I got all I ever wanted

Buffy starts getting into it right away, I don't think it registers with her the way it does with me. But I know I won't ever forget that moment.

So I don't mind saying
This is how the good life's supposed to be
The good life for you, for me
Well I don't mind saying
This is how the good life's supposed to be
The good life for you, for me

I had been really worried about her, not really getting into the festiveness of the Prom the way Oz seemed to be. Which was strange in and of itself, Oz getting into the spirit of something. I had no idea if she was alright or not, I just knew that so far the Prom had seemed to be safe. So that had probably meant she was successful, I just didn't know what the price had been. But just when I was really ready to start freaking out I saw her hesitantly walk into the gym. Her gown fitting her perfectly, her hair flowing freely down her bare shoulders. She was our hero, MY hero. Oz actually had to get my attention at first because I was so wrapped up in my thoughts of her lying dead with a Hellhound on top of her, that I hadn't even noticed at first. And I bet he wishes he never had. Because for the next 20 minutes I couldn't take my eyes off of her.

Down miles of empty road
With acolytes in tow
You could be Persephone
A pigeon through the glass
A drunken trapeze act

Well you got all you ever wanted

"Hey Will, why does this song sound so familiar? Do you recognize it?" Well color me surprised, she does remember. At least somewhat.

"Yeah, they played it at Prom." Don't want to let her know just exactly when they played it, because that might look a tad bit suspicious.

So I don't mind saying
This is how the good life's supposed to be
The good life for you, for me
Well I don't mind saying
This is how the good life's supposed to be
The good life for you, for me

As the song wound down I looked up into her hazel eyes to see if she did indeed remember.

"Oh that's right! Hey, speaking of Prom, you never did tell me if you were in on that whole Class Protector thing." Oh uh. Busted. I had been waiting that entire summer after graduation for her to pounce on me with that question, and she never once did. I considered myself lucky when I didn't have to explain about having that secret when we had our no secrets rule in effect. Leave it to Buffy to bring it up 4 years after the fact.

Just as I was about to try and wiggle my way out of an explanation, a new song started up. It had a bit of a hard beat to it, perfect for dancing, and even better for getting Buffy's mind off of her little question. "Come on Buff, I love this song!" Truthfully I had never heard it before, but she didn't need to know that. I pulled her farther onto the dance floor, into the crush of bodies gyrating all around us.

There was a time
When I could breath my life in you
One by one
Your pale fingers started to move
And I touched your face
And all life was erased
You smiled like an angel
(falling from grace)

We`ve been slaves to this love
From the moment we touched
And keep begging for more
Of this resurrection

Well that certainly is appropriate. I was a slave to my love for her, hence resurrecting her. Honestly, I'm not sure anymore if I even believed that she was trapped in Hell or someplace just as unpleasant. I just missed her so damn much that I think I got to the point where I didn't even care anymore. I needed her back. It was one of the few times that I let my selfish desires override my better judgment. And I paid dearly for it. We both did.

We`ve been slaves to this love
From the moment we touched
And keep begging for more
Of this resurrection

You kissed my lips
With those once cold fingertips
You reached out for me
And oh how you missed
You touched my face
And all life was erased
You smiled like an angel
(falling from grace)

Oh how I wished that was true. I've ached for Buffy's kiss, her touch, for years now. And for a while I could keep myself moderately happy with her friendship. The hugs we shared. How she would hold my hand or loop her arm through my own when I went on patrol with her. But those days are long over, they stopped almost immediately after I met Tara. I wonder....

We`ve been slaves to this love
From the moment we touched
And keep begging for more
Of this resurrection

We`ve been slaves to this love
From the moment we touched
And keep begging for more
Of this resurrection

No, it's not possible, I mean Buffy would never feel like that for me. She probably just restrained herself so that I wouldn't get the wrong impression. I mean it does seem like the time our friendship took a southward turn was right around the time I came out. But I mean, that has to be a coincidence, right? Or maybe she was freaked that I would hit on her or something like that, and that's the reason why she pulled away. Ugh, I'm getting a headache, too many deep and confusing thoughts. And lets not even go near the distressing conversation I had with Kennedy before I came home to Buffy. Came home to Buffy, I think I really like the way that sounds in my head.

Buffy seems to want to bring on a migraine though, because before I realize what she's doing, I'm in her arms, my hands looped around her neck seemingly of their own accord. And we're slow dancing. Buffy and me are dancing to a slow song. Together. In each other's arms. This is definitely new.

I gotta take a little time
A little time to think things over
I better read between the lines
In case I need it when I'm older

Now this mountain I must climb
Feels like a world upon my shoulders
I through the clouds I see love shine
It keeps me warm as life grows colder

In my life there's been heartache and pain
I don't know if I can face it again
Can't stop now, I've traveled so far
To change this lonely life

Wow, I haven't heard this song in ages! And boy did she pick an interesting one for us to dance to. Wait a second, why *did* she pick one in the first place? Best friends generally do not slow dance together. And best friends certainly don't dance as close as we are now. I feel her hold around my waist tighten and pull me closer to her, and I realize that I don't really care why.

I wanna know what love is
I want you to show me
I wanna feel what love is
I know you can show me

Buffy lifts her gaze up and meets my startled one. Yep, I'm so confused. Yet strangely, still not caring. She smiles at my perplexed expression and then pulls me even closer, if that were possible, and rests her head snugly against my shoulder.

I'm gonna take a little time
A little time to look around me
I've got nowhere left to hide
It looks like love has finally found me

In my life there's been heartache and pain
I don't know if I can face it again
I can't stop now, I've traveled so far
To change this lonely life

I wanna know what love is
I want you to show me
I wanna feel what love is
I know you can show me

I can't help but to relax into her embrace, relishing this almost perfect moment. Nothing matters right now. I don't have a girlfriend. Our home was never destroyed by the purest evil man has ever known. Nothing in the last seven years matters. Except us. Buffy and Willow. Together. I don't care about what's going to happen after the song comes to an end, all I care about right now is savoring the first real contact I've had with Buffy in almost 3 years.

I wanna know what love is
I want you to show me
And I wanna feel, I want to feel what love is
And I know, I know you can show me

Let's talk about love
I wanna know what love is, the love that you feel inside
I want you to show me, and I'm feeling so much love
I wanna feel what love is, no, you just cannot hide
I know you can show me, yeah

I feel Buffy start to pull away a bit, and I involuntarily whimper at the loss of contact. I knew it was going to end sometime, but that felt like mere seconds. She tilts her head back up to meet my gaze again. "Will......." I can see the hesitance in her hazel eyes, I can hear it in the way she says my name. I should have known it was too good to be true. "Will, can you? I want you to........."

She can not be asking what I think she's asking me. It's completely impossible, right? But she did instigate our slow dance. And the way she was holding me. I may not have the handbook on best friend etiquette, but that's just not normal. She was holding me almost like Xander was right before we had our clothes fluke.

Oh my god!

But wait, we're not all that dressed up, so no clothes fluking to be had. "Buffy?" I'm not sure what to say, because I'm even less sure of what exactly is going on. I can't help but lean in even closer to her as her name whispers past my lips. I'm naturally drawn to Buffy, I always have been. And in this moment, more so than ever.

I wanna know what love is, let's talk about love
I want you to show me, I wanna feel it too
I wanna feel what love is, I want to feel it too
And I know and I know, I know you can show me
Show me love is real, yeah
I wanna know what love is...

As I'm leaning in, she starts mirroring my action, bringing our bodies as close as humanly possible. I can feel her breath tickling my lips in teasing anticipation. She's going to kiss me. I can't believe it! Buffy's going to kiss me. Just as I go to close my eyes, preparing for the sweetest embrace, her eyes dart away from mine to something over my shoulder.

"What in the hell!?"


Buffy POV

I cannot believe how good it is to feel Willow in my arms again. It seems like a lifetime since we've been so physically close with one another. It probably was another lifetime ago, at least from my perspective. That just makes this so much sweeter. Nothing matters at the moment. She doesn't belong with someone else. We're here, together, where we've always been meant to be. Nothing has ever felt more perfect.

I see her naturally start to inch closer to me, if that is even possible, we're practically melded into one another now as it is. I copy her action, fully intending to finally snare those sweet perfect lips with my own for the very first time. Just as we're about to come together my eye catches something over Willow's shoulder.

"What in the hell!?"

That is just SO not possible! I mean there is just no way in hell that I could be seeing what I think I'm seeing.

"Buffy?" I look back up into Willow's incredibly confused gaze and for a moment I forget what pulled me away from those luscious lips in the first place. But only for a moment. I smile a bit to reassure her that it was nothing she did, running the tips of my fingers along her brow, easing her perplexed expression as much as I can. As soon as I see her start to calm down, I turn her around in my embrace, keeping my hands firmly on her hips.

"Willow, please tell me you're not seeing what I'm seeing." I whisper in her ear. As upset as I am I can't help but be completely mellowed by our closeness. She just has the most taming effect on me. It's quite ridiculous at times. For years she'd go on patrol with me and I'd get into a fight, be all in the moment and everything. The second I dusted the vampire and turned back her way, I was completely with her. No fight seconds ago. I was completely at peace in her presence. And then we stopped patrolling together and that was that. I had almost forgotten what that felt like.

"Buff, I don't know what you................oh my god!" Apparently I'm not seeing things. And I so wish for once I were. Because that little talk that I was going to have with Dawn? Gonna have it right this second. And now I'm pissed, because this is taking precedence over Willow smoochies! "Buffy, did you know about them?" The 'them' in question is Dawn. And her apparent spit swapping partner. None other than Faith.

"I had no clue! I mean I knew she was coming here to see Faith. But I never realized how much of Faith she was seeing!" Oh it better not be more than what she's seeing now. Because if she's seen more of Faith than what her two sizes too small tank top and leather pants are showing right this second, she is grounded for the rest of her natural life.

"Wow, I never would have guessed." Willow leans back into my embrace. It's a casual movement, so natural, that I just as naturally move my hands from her hips, around her waist and lock my hands together, keeping her firmly in my arms. I rest my chin on her shoulder as we continue to unashamedly stare at the display going on not more than twenty feet from us. The music has sped up a bit again, not as slow as the ballad Willow and I were dancing to moments ago. But it's not a hard, fast pace. Faith and Dawn don't seem to notice either way though, they're too caught up in each other. Faith has her arms firmly wrapped around Dawnie's waist, running her hands gently up and down the lower portion of her back. Dawn has her head snuggled against Faith's shoulder, her nose seemingly buried in the dark shiny mane of hair that Faith seems to love to tease constantly. Willow and I continue to watch them, the familiarity with which they seem to dance, the closeness and gentleness of their embrace. I wonder how long this has been going on. "I wonder how long they've been together?" Willow voices my unasked question. She seems to take it for granted that they ARE together, and not just dancing.

"How do you know they're *together* Will, I mean maybe they just decided to dance?" Yep, denial isn't just a river in Egypt anymore.

"Come on Buffy! I mean look at them! They're all with the swoony eyes and the gentle touches. Look how close they're dancing together. They have to be a couple!" She leaves out the fact that *we* were dancing exactly like them not more then five minutes ago. And we're not a couple. Of course I kill my own logic with that right there, because I want more than anything to be a couple with Willow. Me being in love with her and everything.

Oh god! Does that mean that Faith and Dawn are in love!?

I can deal with them dancing. Honestly, I'm dealing here. That might just be because Willow is standing firmly encased in my arms. But it doesn't matter, because I'm dealing. But add in the factor that they might genuinely possibly be in love with each other? I'm on a direct flight to Wiggins City. I doubt even Willow will be able to calm me if that's really the case.

"So what are you going to do? Should we go over there and talk to them? Or wait until they get home?" Oh yes, wait until they get home so that they can do all sorts of very naughty things in the meantime.

"Like hell I'm going to let them keep doing THAT when I can put a stop to it!" Yep, I'm putting my foot down. The music has picked up again and the two of them are actually drawing an audience, the bumping and grinding is that bad. I reluctantly remove myself from Willow's warmth, and start the trek over to the, by now, rather large crowd of voyeurs, grabbing Willow's hand in the process. As much for her support in what I know is going to be a very unpleasant conversation, and the fact that I just can't seem to *not* be in direct physical contact with her now. I've had a taste after so many months of starvation from it, I don't think I'm ever going to be able to go back to the way things were before tonight.

"Buffy, you're not going to go all Slayer on them are you?" She pulls me to a dead stop about 10 feet away from the onlookers. Slayer on them?

"What are you talking about Will?" She gives me that exasperated little half smile thing that she does. Ok, so I think I have a good idea what she means. But what does she expect? Just let them go on their merry way causing a ruckus at the local gay nightspot, secretly smooching in alleys or something just as yucky. No way, Buffy Summers' little sister is not going to be doing that.

"Buffy, I know you. You're going to go over there, demand Dawn stop doing whatever it is that she is with Faith. And you're going to alienate both of them." She cups my cheek in her palm, and I can't help but lean into the warmth. "I know you want to protect her. And believe me, if this would have happened a few years ago, I'd be right there with you. But Faith is different now, we both see it. And maybe Dawn has something to do with that difference? Just hear them out, ok? For me?" Well there is no way I can turn that proposition down now. She even gave me her patented Willow smile and everything. Damn her.

"Fine, I'll hear them out. But no promises about anything else. I want to know just what exactly it is that they're doing first and foremost, and then we'll take it from there. Does that sound ok?" I always cave to Willow. What Willow wants, Willow gets. Or so I'm starting to realize.

"Thank you." She says it so sincerely that I can't help but blush. I turn almost purple though when I feel her gently place a delicate kiss on my cheek in an even more sincere show of her gratitude. For just a moment I forget what it is we're talking about, I just stare back at her in amazement. She smiles gently, blushes an adorable shade of pink, and starts tugging me towards our original destination. Right, Faith and Dawn. And dancing. And possible smoochies. Good to know I can still form coherent thoughts.

By the time we come close enough to the mass surrounding my sister and her dance partner, things have started to slow down again, and with the change in tempo, the crowd starts to disassemble to either go back to the bar or dance on their own. Faith and Dawn are again wrapped around each other like two land-bound octopuses. Hands and arms everywhere, I can't tell who's appendages are who's. And they're so caught up in one another that they don't even notice Willow and I standing two feet away from them.

I finally separate myself from Willow to tap Faith on the shoulder. "Can I cut in?" Oh yes, sarcasm. And I haven't even begun. I can just tell how this conversation is going to turn out.

"Not with my girl you're not!" Faith practically growls without even looking over her shoulder. At least at first. But once she catches sight of Dawn's horrified expression, she spins around so fast that I can barely blink. "Shit! B, what're you doin' here?" Now that was a pretty stupid question, considering I would think that Brian had told her I stop in every once in a while. Unless he doesn't realize we know each other? Ok, way too many thoughts running around upstairs at the moment. I have to focus on the matter at hand. My sister making out with my once arch enemy. Yep, I know now I'm going to fail the police force's psych test next month. After all this trauma I think I'll have a legitimate excuse.

"Well I could ask you the same question Faith, but I think I already know the answer." For good measure I send Dawn a very hard stare, telling both of them in no uncertain terms that I saw just about everything.

"Buffy, it wasn't what you think! Faith and I were just dancing really. She had a break from work and I came to visit and we decided to let off some steam." Dawn breathes in a lung full of air once she gets all that out. She's nervous as hell, because that's the one and only time that she babbles like my best friend. "It doesn't mean anything, really!" Faith swung her head back around to face her when Dawn mentioned that last part. Hmm, that's interesting.

"So lets see here. Faith and you weren't kissing? Just dancing?" I turn around and look at Willow, not aware that sometime during the last two minutes she's stepped even closer to me, so now I'm almost nose to nose with her. Gotta remember to wear these shoes more often, the heels are just the right size to make us almost exactly even in height. I was all set to smirk triumphantly back at Dawn when I catch the small look of, honestly, I don't know exactly what it is. Willow has a small smile just starting to touch the corner of her perfect mouth. And for the moment I'm swept back into the memory of *our* near kiss.

"You were spying on us!?" I'm broken from my decidedly non-sister thoughts by the screeching howler monkey.

I mean Dawn.

I haven't heard her use that tone of voice in so long now that I had almost forgotten what it sounded like. I really wish I hadn't been reminded.

Just as I'm about to go on the defensive, Willow lightly touches my arm, asking me for silent permission to take over for a second. She knows I'm fast approaching my boiling point. I place my hand atop her own that is still resting on my forearm, granting her said permission, vaguely noticing Faith taking in our close proximity to each other. "Dawnie, we weren't spying on you. Buffy and I came here to have a girls night out, and we just happened to notice you guys across the dance floor. With the, uh, you know, smoochies." Willow didn't happen to mention the fact that we were on a train bound for Smoochville ourselves when I got derailed at Faith sucking face with my sister. I should kick her ass for disrupting Willow kissage alone. Aww, but Will is so cute when she blushes. Which she is doing now. I'm not sure if it's from remembering our near miss, or seeing someone she looks at as a little sister, kissing someone like Faith. Either reason, it's still adorable.

Dawn looks back and forth between Willow and myself, I assume she's trying to make up her mind on whether to lie or not. Before she can answer one way or another though, Faith speaks up. "Yeah, we were kissing. What's the matter with that B?" Surprisingly, I thought they'd deny it, or try and wiggle their way out of it with a lame explanation. I can't say I'm really prepared for straight up Faith.

I think I'll jump onto the end of her little confession though. Might as well go with the obvious disapproving parental side of the argument here. "What's the matter with that!? Faith, she's 17! And you're..... you'!" Yes that was a convincing argument there Buffy. Never mind the fact that you were making out with Angel *and* helping him to lose his soul through bed bouncies when you were barely Dawn's age.

"And just what the hell does that mean?" Faith is glaring at me, with good reason. Or maybe at least *she* thinks it's a good reason. Yes, Willow is right, she has changed. Drastically. But I still can't forget everything she did to all of us. And who's to say it couldn't just happen all over again. I mean it happened once before, and none of us were expecting it. And if that is going to happen, I don't want my sister anywhere in the vicinity.

"You know exactly what it means Faith! Who's to say you won't go all psycho Slayer again. Only this time, you kidnap Dawn instead of Willow? What is it with you going after the people that I love the most, huh?" I hear a small gasp come from behind my shoulder and I suddenly realize what I just said. Well there's another little revelation for my Will. Gotta keep up those baby steps I suppose. I can't take the time to think about *that* particular fallout though, because I'm too worried about the ramifications my little diatribe is having now. I have to admit, that was a bit harsh. But I've been on emotional pins and needles all night. And it's finally starting to get to me. And Faith is taking the brunt of it unfortunately.

"Buffy, it's not like that!" Dawn again, seeming to come out of her daze because she can sense that Faith is ready to blast off and either deck me, or bail. "Faith and I were kissing, yes. But honestly, we were just fooling around, it's no big deal." Again Faith swings around to stare at Dawn, this time like she's suddenly sprung antlers out of her forehead. This is getting stranger and stranger by the minute. At least I can be thankful that the music is loud enough that we're not drawing a crowd.

"So you just make out with people for fun? Is that it Dawn?" Oh yes, I can play the disapproving parent again. Of course when all your relationships have failed and you had an amazing lack of fun during them, it's easy to do that.

"No! I mean, I uh........" Dawn is at a complete loss. At least she's not trying to lie, which is a step up from her kleptomania last year.

"Then what the hell is IT?!" Well if that volume didn't draw an audience, nothing will. I've lost total patience with the entire thing. I'm standing here arguing with my little sister and my sister in arms about something that really, shouldn't matter all that much to me. Especially with Willow standing pressed up tight against me. I want this over and done with. Now. I have much more pressing matters to attend to. Namely getting back to the prospect of Willow smoochage.

"I'm in love with her Buffy!" I was wrong, because Faith's voice probably projected that little tidbit all the way out to the parking lot. And whoa, she said my full name. I can't remember the last time that happened.

Wait a second...



"' love? With me?"

She's in love with my little sister! No! This is so not happening. What the hell, is it in the freaking water or something?! I mean four of us, that's just not possible, is it? But let's get back to the more distressing issue. Faith, ex criminal Faith. Want. Take. Have, Faith. Is in love with MY baby sister!

"Buffy, calm down, you look like you're going to pop a blood vessel or something." I feel Willow gently rubbing the palm of her hand up and down my back, trying to soothe my nerves. I'm not sure it's possible, even for my Will, because I'm pretty damn raw right now.

"Faith, did you really mean it?" I unashamedly stare directly at Dawn, who's now cupping Faith's cheek gently in her palm, trying to coax the older girl into meeting her gaze. I really don't need to be seeing this, it's so not helping.

Faith clasps her hand over Dawn's, which is still resting against Faith's cheek, rubbing small circles with the pad of her thumb over my sister's knuckles. "I mean it baby, I love you, so much." Faith picks up Dawn's hand from the side of her face and turns her head, pressing a gentle kiss into her palm. Honestly, if I were an outside observer and not one of the participants' legal guardians, I'd actually think it was rather sweet. Too bad I'm not an outsider. "I never thought I would, that I could, fall in love Dawnie. But I have, so damn hard." And not giving any thought whatsoever to the fact that Willow and I are still standing right next to them, Dawn reaches up, grabs the back of Faith's neck, and pulls her down into a sultry kiss.

My little sister ladies and gentlemen. Ugh.

I turn away from the spectacle, I really have no need to see Faith probing Dawnie's mouth with her obviously skillful tongue, if Dawn's small moans are any indication. So much for that sex talk. I'm sure with Faith as her tutor she knows even more than I do at this point, especially in the lesbian lovin' arena. How fair is that?

"God Faith, I love you too!" Well, she certainly still sounds like a teenager, a moony eyed, over the moon in love teenager. Oh man, please tell me I did NOT sound like that with Angel. Cause just, ugh. I feel Willow tugging the back of my shirt to get me to face her. Apparently I'm still staring at their display, which has now turned into a great big bear hug, with Faith's hands coming dangerously close to Dawn's ass.

"Buffy, come on, give them some space." Ok, why is Willow playing Devil's advocate here? I mean my sister is frenching with Faith! My sister is in love with Faith!

Oh god I think I need to sit down.

Willow pulls me along by the back of my shirt, as I slowly backpedal across the dance floor, reluctantly turning around and giving up my gaze of their still heated embrace, as Willow pulls out a bar stool and just about pushes me into it. The bartender comes over to take our order, but I'm not really paying any attention, I'm still trying to catch a glimpse, trying to make sure that they're not actually shedding any articles of clothing out there. With Faith, you never can be too certain. Willow looks expectantly at me for I'm guessing my drink preference, but honestly, I'm in a bit of a fog here. She turns back around to the bartender when I don't offer up anything. "Um, can you do a Gravedigger?" He nods his head in the affirmative and goes to the other side of the bar to make whatever the hell a Gravedigger is. I find myself gazing up at Willow as she's watching the bartender, I guess to make sure he wasn't just faking knowledge that he didn't really have. Through all the stress and strangeness of the last 15 minutes or so, she looks so serene and calm.

The bartender comes back, with a small glass of something, presumably the Gravedigger. "Put it on Faith's tab, ok?" He nods again. Wow, someone more monosyllabic than Oz, who knew such a creature existed. Willow takes my hand and places the shot glass in it, closing my fingers back around. I guess she figures I'm not paying even a small bit of attention to her. Little does she know just how much I DO focus on her. "Here Buffy, drink this, it might make you feel better." I don't see how really, but anything for my Will. I drain the shot glass in one fell swoop.

Dear God!

"What the hell was THAT!?" I'm barely able to get that out between the coughing and sputtering. I don't think I've tasted anything so strong in my life. Well maybe that demon's heart Angel fed me when I was telepathic, but this is a very close second. It's disturbing really.

"Whiskey and rum. Really strong rum." Willow's rubbing small circles on my back, trying to ease the coughing jag her little concoction sent me into. "I thought something really strong might clear your head a bit." Or make me violently ill. I guess she never thought about the fact I hold my liquor about as well as a five year old. "I'm sorry Buff, you just seemed so tense and upset, I wanted to calm you down a bit. Guess I wasn't really thinking so much, but you were starting to turn a really alarming shade of red watching Dawnie and Faith kiss. And well, I guess that wasn't the best idea, bringing it up again. But you know, I can see them over your shoulder, and they're not smooching anymore, just dancing. Pretty close, but still no smoochies. And would you please just shut me up!" I couldn't help but let her go on and on It's been a long time since I've seen her babble so much. I think she even broke a sweat with that one, because there's a light sheen of perspiration coating her forehead.

"It's ok Will, I appreciate the thought. But I don't think even that thing is strong enough to make me forget what just happened." I can really only think of one thing that would put Faith and Dawn's little display out of my mind. And really, I can't actually tell Willow that. I can just see her face. 'Yeah Will, the only thing you can do is kiss me senseless, that'll work!'. Yep, her fish out of water impersonation would be dead on, I just know it.

"Why don't we just go on home then? Maybe pop a movie in, I have that new DVD player, we can fire it up and try it out?" Willow gives me her half puppy dog, half five year old on Christmas morning look. Another one of her faces I'm completely powerless against. Even though I was looking forward to dancing the night away with her, I can't help but let the revelations of the night sour my mood a bit. Maybe just going home and vegging is a good idea. I mean I'll still be with Willow, just in a much quieter, much more private setting. With just the two of us lounging on her bed.

Suddenly her idea seems brilliant!

Lying on a bed, Willow's bed, cuddled up, hopefully watching a sappy love story. Sounds like absolute bliss to me. I don't know why I thought dancing at a crowded club was better. Oh yes, wait, naughty friction. But hey, there can be naughty friction on her bed, if I play my cards right that is.

"Sounds great to me Will, I think I could use a little quality one on one Willow time." And with that I dismounted the stool and started heading towards the exit, pulling Willow by the hand behind me. I fished in the pocket of my leather jacket, blindly fumbling around for my valet token.

"Did we forget?" Willow dangles the little card in front of me between her thumb and forefinger. I go to take it from her, but she snatches it back out of my reach. "No way Buff, that shot hit you like a ton of bricks, in fact I think I saw your eyes roll back into your head for a second there. I'm driving home." I want to protest, I really do. But nothing comes out of my mouth. Well there's another example of what Willow wanting, she gets. And she's right, I *had* forgotten I gave her the token for safe keeping. Huh, must have been one of those psychic Slayer things.

I slide in the passenger seat after the valet brings my car around, agreeably handing over my car keys to Willow. "Wow, I expected to have a much harder time snagging those keys from you." She pauses before pulling out into traffic, turning to look into my eyes, presumably making sure I didn't pass out or am about to puke all over the place from the liquor. I just gaze back at her tranquilly, surprisingly content for the moment. There's that Willow mellowy feeling again. "You sure you're ok?" As much as I really shouldn't, I love it when she worries about me. It lets me know she cares. Not that I doubt it, but it's nice to be reminded on occasion.

"Nothing like a movie fest with my favorite woman in the whole world." I'm beginning to think these baby steps are starting to mirror my size 10's.

Continue to Part 2

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