Phases - Epilogue
He looked around and relaxed, he was still at home, the chains had held. He was naked, his house was pretty wrecked and he ached all over but he hadn't hurt anyone.
Oz took the chains off slowly, he wasn't one to rush decisions, he thought that everything had a time and a place but he knew he would have to decide soon what to do about Willow.
He loved her.
He had to leave her, they were beginning a relationship and every look, every touch was exciting, he couldn't bear to lose the future they had.
He couldn't bear if anything happened to her.
If Willow remained in a relationship with a werewolf something would happen to her.
He loved her.
He had to leave her, he had no choice.
He had to be strong.
* * * * * *
He approached Willow after school the next day; she was unhappy and he knew it was because of him. He longed to hug her and tell her everything would be alright.
He had to be strong.
She was timid, not sure how he felt about her.
"Willow, I know I've been acting strangely lately, and haven't really been myself around you, the thing is recently I haven't been as sure of who I am as I used to be."
"But, isn't that what a relationship is about, finding out about each other?"
"Well, sometimes, but there are other times when you need time to work things out on your own."He paused
"I'm sorry Willow."
"Sorry," she repeated blankly.
"I'm sorry that I've hurt you but I don't have a choice, I'm going through a lot of changes."
"Well welcome to the world, do you think you're the only one who's going through changes?"
"Stop saying that!"
"I just need some time."
He wanted to say more but she turned and ran off, sobbing. He hated himself and what he had done.
He wanted to run after her.
He had to be strong.
Bewitched and Bothered but Mostly Bewildered
Buffy had always liked Oz but right now she wanted to kill him, one look at her best friend tearful and broken up had made her blood boil. She was pretty angry already over letting the werewolf slip through her fingers and it was only her need to protect and comfort Willow that was overriding her desire to break something or do something permanent to Oz.
They spent most of the night with Willow lying against Buffy, her head on her lap or her shoulder. She would cry and talk and cry some more and Buffy never stopped touching her. Willow needed human contact.
After a while Willow was calmer and could think more clearly.
"I think it hit me so hard because there has never been any guy who wanted to be with me, the closest I ever got to a serious relationship was with a demon and he decided to kill me."
"Hey, that was only when you broke up with him, maybe he couldn't bear to lose you."
Willow looked sadly at her friend. "That doesn't really help, Buffy, it's just Oz was a normal guy who liked me and then suddenly, poof, as soon as he starts to get to know me he backs off.."
"He said it was just him, it's probably nothing to do with you."
"But don't you see, it should be to do with me, if he cared about me anything he is going through should be to do with me as well."
"Not all intimacy is good, Will," Buffy said quietly, thinking back to her own recent experience.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to bring up Angel."
"We're talking about mean boyfriends, I don't think that we could have avoided the subject. Between our respective ex-honey's, I personally think that we are better off without."
"It's easier for you to say that, Buffy, you have had some with, and you know that it took a Gypsy curse for Angel to leave you. All I want is to be loved."
Buffy's heart almost broke, her friend looked so unhappy. "You'll find someone, and in the meantime you'll always have me."
It was meant to be a comforting friend thing to say and Willow seemed to take it as such, but Buffy knew that her feelings were deeper and as they lay down to go to sleep she couldn't help but imagine that the smile on Willows face at Buffy's words meant more, although she knew it didn't.
She had to force down those feelings, Willow needed her as a friend right now.
She had to be strong
"Hey did you guys just see that?" Buffy and Willow turned to look at Xander. "See what?"
"I think I just saw Amy working some magic on Miss Beakman."
"What, like witchcraft?"
"You know, her mom's a witch," Willow added
"Amy should know better than anyone to stay away from magic."
"I know, and to use it to skip doing homework assignments seems kind of less than divine purpose,I can think of a lot better uses for magic."
"Stop right there, Xander, we've heard how you would act with invisibility, the ability to raise thedead and access to all the world's computers, I think I know you well enough to guess the rest."
"You make me sound like some kind of immature...."
"Buffy, can I have a word?" Buffy looked up to see Giles approaching them, he looked worn andtired. "Have a sentence even."
"...Oh, ok" he seemed startled by the humor, "I..." he paused, Jenny Calendar had just walked outof a nearby classroom, their eyes met, he looked away.
"Rupert, good, I think we need to talk, do you have a moment?"
"Actually...no, I have some things I need to discuss with Buffy."
"Right," said Buffy. She was torn when it came to Jenny, she blamed her for what had happenedto Angel but at the same time she knew that it wasn't really her fault and more, she knew that Giles and Jenny had had a connection and that Giles wouldn't forgive her until Buffy had.
Buffy didn't look at her, she just walked off with Giles, she couldn't think straight, not yet.
* * * * * *
"Willow, how are you doing?"
"I'm ok, just focusing on school, what did Giles want?"
"Oh, you know, fatherly style facts of life talk, now you're dating, your boyfriend might want to become more intimate blah blah, evisceration, yadda, yadda, feeding you your own heart, etc."
"Oh my god."
"Possibly the only relationship where protection means a stake, apparently around Valentines hegets pretty brutal."
"What are you going to do?"
"Well, my mom and me were planning a pigout and vidfest, hey, why don't you come?"
"Oh, I wouldn't want to intrude on mom time."
"Hey this is just girls, getting together and comforting each other time, Mom would love you being there too."
"Ok, that sounds good, It's not like I have any other plans anyway, I wonder if Oz is still going to go to the Valentines Dance..."
"Who cares whether he goes to the dance, stays at home or wanders round the meat packing district painted blue and singing the lumberjack song? What matters is that you'll be round at my house and we'll have a nice night in watching videos and stuffing our faces with popcorn and ice cream."
Willow couldn't help but smile at the imagery.
"Ok, count me in."
The bronze was loud and noisy but Xander didn't hear any of it. He walked outside almost in a daze. She'd broken up with him. He couldn't believe it. She had liked his clothes, she had liked his gift. There was no reason behind it, he couldn't figure it out. Sure, before now he had been reluctant and it had shown that he was reluctant when he should have been ecstatic. He had been not the most unpopular guy at school but definitely on the lower side of the popular scale while Cordelia was the undisputed top of the food chain and yet he had always felt like he was accepting the runner up prize. Buffy had always been his first choice and he was closer to Willow than he was to anyone. But he had ended up with Cordelia and she had broken up with him on VALENTINE'S DAY, I mean for god's sake, couldn't she at least have waited a day or two,maybe when he was being geeky or they were actually having an argument. At least then it would have felt justified. He had looked his best and had finally decided to try and take the relationship to the next level of being actually intentional rather than hormonal and she had pulled out his heart and stamped on it. On the other hand, this being Sunnydale maybe he was lucky that statement was only metaphorical.
The following day he could feel the stares upon him. Every mocking glance, every girl's giggle, every guy's oh-so-amusing comments. He was used to Cordelia's friends mocking but even that cut him to the bone today. Something had to be done. He didn't have to take this.
He saw Amy down the corridor and hurried towards her. He had a plan, all he needed to do was break up with Cordelia. He knew a better use for magic than invisible homework.
It was the sight of Willow talking to Amy that threw him. Maybe he should think about this, he could always blackmail Amy later.
* * * * * *
Willow had been thinking a lot the previous night, she had fallen asleep lying next to Buffy on the couch as they watched the musical. Buffy had fallen asleep as well but Buffy's mom had woken them to show them a box of roses that someone had left on the back porch. The note in with them simply said, "Soon."
Buffy had been expecting something more gory but Angel obviously thought that the anticipation was the best bit of any gift. It had been Willow's turn to comfort her friend that night. When Buffy had fallen asleep Willow had stayed awake thinking. Romance wasn't meant to be like that. She had dreamt of the perfect romance when she was a child and the dreams had never really left her. She had wanted to be loved by someone so much they could never hurt her, never leave her. The reality was so harsh, why couldn't it be like the dream? Her thoughts wondered back to Xander's comments that day about what he would use magic for and she knew what she would use it for. A love spell, make the dream a reality. As with most bad ideas it sounded great in the middle of the night.
* * * * * *
Willow might not have thought about it again if she hadn't seen Oz, he was talking with Larry and laughing, it was the laughing that did it, how could be so happy after what he had done?
She immediately went to find Amy.
"Hey, Willow, how you holding up?"
"That's kind of what I want to talk to you about. I need your help."
"Sure, anything I can do."
"Well, I know that you're a witch--"
"Wait a minute," Amy interrupted, "I'm not a witch, that was my mom."
"There's no point hiding it, Xander saw you work magic on Miss Beakman."
"Are you going to tell anyone?"
"Nothing like that, I just wanted you to cast a love spell."
Amy pulled her into a classroom.
"Willow are you crazy? Love spells are very tricky, if the intent isn't pure..."
"The intent is pure. I love Oz and he loves me, he is just having trouble admitting it right now. He has trouble opening up."
"I don't know, Willow--"
"Please, Amy. My intentions are pure and if you don't, well, I don't know what I'd do exactly, but I might let something slip about the witch thing."
"No, I wouldn't." Willow slumped into a chair her head bowed. She felt Amy's hand on her shoulder.
"I'll need something of his, a personal item."
Willow smiled thankfully. "I read that with love spells a picture of the person would work just as well."
"I suppose, I always prefer to work with something more personal but a picture is doable."
They met later that night in an empty classroom.
"It would be easier to do this at home, but I really don't want my dad to find out that I've gotten into witchcraft. Ok, I've got the sacred circles set up, the mixture is heating up, all we have to do now is prepare you."
"What do I have to do?"
"First strip off and I'll paint the symbols on you."
"Strip off, as in take off my jumper?"
"Willow, this is a love spell, a cry to the goddess Diana. If you're not going to do it properly you might as well not bother."
"Ok then." Willow mused that Amy really wasn't trying to make this easy on her, she wasn't even looking away. Soon she was naked but still trying to hide her body from the other girl.
"Move your arms, I need to paint this symbol on your chest." She pointed at the open book nearby depicting a trident type symbol.
Amy could see that Willow was nervous so she decided the simplest way would be to take charge. She moved the other girl's arms down to her sides and dipped her finger in the paint.
Willow gasped as Amy's finger touched her, the paint was so cold. She could hear Amy muttering an incantation, and as the symbol neared completion, Amy drawing the lines up first one breast, then the other, Willow didn't feel cold anymore.
Amy was having difficulty focusing on the right words, she couldn't take her mind off how soft Willow's skin was. She took a hold of herself and when the symbol was drawn, ordered Willow to sit in the circle on the floor and hold the lighted candle.
The picture of Oz was rolled up and hung on a string, she swung it round the mixture in the beakershe was using as her witches' cauldron.
"Diana, Goddess of Love and the Hunt.
Amy could feel the magic energy collecting and swirling around her
"May he neither rest nor sleep until he submits to her and her only,
* * * * * *
She saw Oz at first break the following day, he was packing away some books into his locker
"Willow." He looked guarded
"I was just wondering if you've had enough time to think things through yet?"
"Willow, It's only been two days, you can't really be expecting me to have worked through my problems already"
She was confused. Wasn't he supposed to be begging to be allowed back in her life right about now?
"I'm sorry that this is hard on you, but believe me it's better this way"
Willow barely remembered walking to the library. Even magic couldn't make a guy like her, she was just a big loser destined to go through life alone. Buffy was sitting in the library, flippingthrough a book. Willow could see Giles in the office sorting through the Watcher diaries.
"Willow," Buffy turned around and smiled happily, "I was just thinking about you. What'sup?" she asked, noticing Willow's unhappiness
"It's nothing, just Oz still."
"Oz is an idiot. You should just forget him. You don't need him."
"I need somebody, Buffy, I know I should be used to being lonely, but I just want somebody to love me."
Everything was getting to be too much. Willow was close to breaking down in tears; she had put so much hope in the love spell. To have it fail miserably was too much.
"I love you."
Willow looked up. Buffy was standing in front of her; their eyes locked and Willow could see the love in them.
"Willow, I know I shouldn't be saying this. I've tried to hide my feelings, but I can't deny what I feel. I can't bear not to be with you."
Willow could see Buffy's body tense, her lips were slightly open. Willow closed her eyes and her head moved forward...
"Willow can I talk to you for a minute?"
Willow's eyes snapped open and she spun round. Amy was standing there. "Er, sure, ok."
She took Amy outside the library, but her eyes kept being drawn to the small windows in the library doors through which she could see Buffy. Her mind was in a whirl; Buffy, loving her, almost kissing her. Could it be really happening? Could she bear if it didn't? She was barely listening to what Amy was saying
"I think the spell didn't work."
"Yeah, don't worry about it."
"We could try again tonight."
"No, that's ok. I was wrong to try and make him love me. I think things are best the way they are."
"But we could try other spells, or just hang out. I guess I didn't realise how much I enjoyed spending time with you."
Willow turned slowly to look properly at Amy, she looked in Amy's eyes, the same look was there. The longing, hungry look.
A guy came up to them, Willow remembered his name was Brad. "Willow, I was wondering if you might be able to help me with some schoolwork?"
Willow could see the look on him too, she made excuses and quickly left. Everywhere she looked guys were checking her out, girls were looking at her with jealousy. She had to get out of here.
* * * * * *
She was hurrying home. She needed to get away from people until she could figure things out. She nearly walked right into....
"Hey, Willow, I was looking for you. I've been doing a lot of thinking lately."
"I think I know what you've been thinking and I think that thinking is fine, but taking it beyond thinking to saying or doing would be a bad thing."
"Well, maybe I wanna be bad. When Cordy broke up with me I started thinking about the girls I know and I kept coming back to you. You've stuck by through everything; you're beautiful and sweet. I haven't been blind all these years, I know how you feel about me. Don't try to deny it."
"Xander, you're my best friend next to Buffy."
"Buffy's not looking to date you and even if she were, it wouldn't matter, I know that you want me."
"Xander, I have to go now, I need to think things over."
"Don't go." He grabbed her arm.
"Let go of me, Xander. Go home, I'll see you tomorrow."
He walked off, but he kept looking back and his eyes were intense.
Willow had spent most of the night trying to think of how to break the spell, but she didn't know how to begin to do it. All she could hope was that it would have all blown over by tomorrow.
Tomorrow came and it hadn't blown over.
As Willow walked down the school corridor, she could feel every eye on her; she could see most guys unwilling to try anything with other people there. The ones that did she brushed off with a "Talk to you later," but she had to do something soon or she dreaded to think what might happen. The day was a nightmare; she didn't get a chance to sneak into the library unseen till near the end of the day.
The library was quiet, which was a relief. Giles was there.
"Giles, you've really got to help me."
"Of course, Willow, you know that I would always do anything to help you."
The words were too heartfelt, the gaze too intense.
"Oh no, Giles, not you too."
"Not me too? Willow, what is going on?"
"Rupert, we need to talk." Willow gasped with relief as Jenny Calendar walked in
"I'm not just going to go away if you ignore me, Rupert, I care far too much about you."
"Ms. Calendar, could we talk privately for a second?"
"Willow, I really need to talk to Rupert here."
"Please." Her voice verged on the panicky.
Jenny looked puzzled, but led her away to Giles office. Giles followed and she said, "I think Willow wanted to talk to me on her own."
"I just think it best if I stay with her. She wanted my help."
"Giles, could you please wait out here?"
"Of course, Willow, whatever you say."
Jenny looked puzzled.
"Ok spill, what's going on?"
"Well, I kind of found out that Amy was a witch and Oz has just dumped me so I kind of persuaded Amy to cast a love spell on Oz but now every guy in Sunnydale except Oz wants to date me which may sound nice but is actually very creepy, even Giles is acting really odd."
Jenny's expression grew gradually darker as Willow spoke.
"My god, do you realise how serious this is? People under a love spell are obsessed, they lose all capacity for reason. If all the men are affected then the results could be deadly. Has Amy tried to reverse the spell yet?"
"Well, remember when I said that all the men were affected? I maybe should have mentioned that some girls seem to be affected too. Amy doesn't really seem to be focused on magic when she talks to me."
"OK, I am going to try and find Amy and talk to her."
"Could you take Giles with you?"
"Stay here." She strode out and grabbed Giles, pulling him out the door.
"I really think I should stay here to take care of Willow...."
Willow couldn't help but smile, she really hoped it worked out between them.
She stopped smiling when Buffy walked in.
"I thought I might find you here."
Buffy was dressed kind of oddly, everything individually looked great, but nothing really matched. It took Willow a minute to realise that everything Buffy was wearing was something Willow had said looked good in the past. Wow, she really remembered Willow's opinions.
"I thought we might finish what we started yesterday."
Willow was startled from her thoughts
"Buffy, there's something you should..."
Buffy pushed her against the wall and kissed her. Willow couldn't resist; she felt her whole body respond to the girl pressed against her, smelling her hair, feeling her lips and tongue, but she forced herself to push Buffy away. She couldn't let this happen, not if she was ever going to be even friends with Buffy again.
"Buffy, you really don't want to, I know that you think you do and if you had any idea what it would mean to me for you to, but you don't not really, you're only feeling this way because of a spell, it's not real."
Buffy's face fell as Willow spoke. Now she looked furious. "You think this isn't real? That I'm not serious about you? How can you think that? I love you so much, how can you reject me like this?"
"Get away from her."
Both girls turned to see Amy there.
Buffy looked back at Willow. "What is this? You lead me on then dump me for this witch? Tell her that you're mine."
"But, Buffy, Amy..."
Amy walked forward "She doesn't have to say. I know what her heart wants."
"Funny, I know what your face wants." She punched Amy square in the face, Amy staggered back but Willow was relieved to see that Buffy wasn't so far gone to use all her slayer strength or Amy wouldn't have a face left. The witch looked up her mouth was bloody and her eyes were pureblack.
"Goddess Hecate work my will,
A blast of mystical energy hit Buffy. Willow was blinded by the light for a moment and when she could see again all that was there was a pile of clothes, lying on the floor.
At that moment Miss Calendar returned with Giles in tow. "What just happened here?"
"Buffy...." Willow could just point at the pile of clothes. As she did, she saw movement in one of the sleeves and a rat scurried out.
"Amy, turn her back."
"Forget about her, Willow, Buffy can take care of herself."
"Amy, just undo the spell and get out of my library. Leave Willow alone." Giles glared at Amy.
"Both of you just sit down and shut up," Jenny snapped. "Willow help me get the Buffy rat."
"Ooh, I see her. She went behind that book shelf."
Willow went to one end, Jenny to the other.
"I've almost got her."
The rat seemed terrified by the grasping hands. It jumped, then the bookshelf toppled, knocking Willow backwards. "God, it's a super strong rat!"
"Where did she go?" Miss Calendar demanded.
"I didn't see, I think that she went out of the door, I'll catch her."
"No, given the rate that this spell is gaining pace, if you go out there it could cause a riot. Go out through the stacks. Go home, or to Buffy's house, someplace safe. I'll work with these two here and try and get both spells reversed."
Giles and Amy stood up at that, each trying to look more important than the other.
Willow headed out through the stacks and found the back door. She peeked out and it seemed pretty quiet. She slipped out the door and started walking fast down the road, keeping her head down.
She didn't hear the gang of guys until it was too late and suddenly she was surrounded. There were five of them and they didn't look like the kind who could be persuaded that she needed to wash her hair tonight. Fear knotted in her stomach as she backed against the wall.
She tried to speak, but nothing would come out. The five of them were almost on her when suddenly someone barreled into them. They scattered momentarily and Willow let herself be grabbed and started running with the person who had saved her. She turned and saw it was Larry.
The five guys were running after them.
"What do those guys want with you?"
"Oh, you know, guys just can't get enough of me."
In the future Willow would have nightmares about what might have happened to her and Larry if the gang had caught them if Oz hadn't been driving home that route. Oz's Van squealed to a halt in front of them, and he shouted, "Get in," and drove off almost before they had. They left the pursuit in the distance but looking back, Willow could see that they were still running and hadn't given up.
"Ok, Willow, I know something is going on."
"I think I picked up a few key words there. Did I hear you say love spell?"
"Yeah, I did one with Amy. It was all to get you back Oz, but the spell affected everyone except you and Larry for some reason. Why didn't it affect you, Larry, not that I'm not grateful or anything?"
"I would have thought Xander would have told you. I thought you guys talked about everything. We admitted to each other that we were gay."
"No, Xander must have forgotten to mention that."
"He's just still nervous about his own sexuality. I'm sure he'll talk about when he's ready."
"I hate to interrupt," Oz said, "but can I just get something straight, I told you I needed time and you tried to make me come back with magic, that is pretty not cool."
"I'm so sorry, Oz, it's just that we belong together and I couldn't bear to be without you."
"Now's not really the time to talk about this. You're in too much danger right now, but we'll talk about this later."
Night was coming on quickly. There was silence in the van as they drove towards Willow's house, each person lost in their thoughts. As they turned the corner to Willow's street, they were greeted by a mob. It looked as though every guy in school was waiting outside her house.
Oz didn't hesitate, he slammed the gear into reverse and upped the acceleration. Too late. They had been spotted. He did a three point turn and drove as fast as he could, while the mob was left behind.
They were driving past Buffy's house when Oz stopped the van. "We need a plan of action, we can't just drive around, we might get cornered."
"Yeah, It'll be a little while before the mob finds us, we should be safe here at least for a little while."
Willow caught a glimpse of black out of the corner of her eye and then the windscreen shattered. Suddenly Angelus's face was inches from hers.
"Works in theory."
Willow felt herself dragged out of the window by the vampire and held inches off the ground.
"I never realised before how beautiful you are. All this time I've been focused on Buffy, what awaste of time. I love you. Willow, we're going to spend eternity together."
"Get away from her."Oz rushed up. Angel didn't even look at him. An almost casual backhand connected with Oz's chest and he was knocked backward until he slammed into a tree and went down. Larry came from the other side and punched Angel in the face. This time the vampire looked at his attacker.
"Do you mind? You're killing the romance here." He grabbed Larry's shirt and threw him onto Oz, who was trying to get up, both went down.
Willow felt her head being forced to one side by Angel, baring her neck. "I feel very close to you right now."
* * * * * *
Across town Jenny was having trouble keeping everyone focused.
"Why did you send Willow away? She needs me."
"Why don't you try and focus rather than blathering on about your feelings?"
"You have no idea what I'm going through."
"I know it's not love, If it were you would be trying your best to get this spell undone so that she wasn't in danger. Rupert?"
She turned around look for the librarian only to see the door swing shut
"Oh great, come on ,Amy, we've got to get set up in the science lab, we have all the information we need all we can do now is cast the spells and pray they work, I hope Willow isn't in any immediate danger."
* * * * * *
Willow could feel the points of Angel's teeth pressing against her neck, and all she could think about was how Buffy would be pissed she had stolen her boyfriend.
Suddenly a foot connected with Angel's face, and he was thrown backwards off Willow. She turned. "Buffy, thank god.." The person standing in front of her was not Buffy.
"Spike, what the hell are you doing?" Angel snarled.
"You've taken Dru away from me, and you can have her, but you'll not take away my true love."He turned to face Willow. "Don't worry, pet, I'll protect you from the bad man. Then we can get to know each other a little better."
"Like hell you will." Angel's vamp face was on, and he launched himself at Spike.
Willow turned and ran to Oz and Larry, Larry was helping Oz to his feet but both seemed pretty worse for wear.
At that point the mob arrived.
* * * * * *
The science labs
"Goddess of creatures great and small, I hereby license thee to depart."
* * * * * *
Buffy was confused. She was naked in the school basement. Oh well, at least no one else was there to see her, but then that did mean that there was no one to get clothes.
It was about then that she remembered what had happened.
* * * * * *
"Come on, we've got to get into the house."
Willow and Larry each took one of Oz's arms and hauled him to the house. They hammered on the door and Joyce answered just in time for them to push her aside, get inside and slam the door shut before the mob got in. The four of them held against the door but a crash from the kitchen indicated that some had found the back entrance.
"Quick, the basement!" Larry shouted.
"Willow, what's going on?" Joyce Summers was confused, and Willow couldn't blame her. At least if the mob got them, she wouldn't have to explain this. On the other hand, maybe positive thoughts would be good right about now.
The basement door burst open, and the mob rushed down the stairs.
* * * * * *
"Diana Goddess of Love and the Hunt, I hereby license thee to depart."
"There it's done," Amy said wearily. She was exhausted; she'd never done this much magic inso short a time before.
"Are you sure?"
"I'm no longer overwhelmed by the urge to jump on Willow, so I'm guessing it was successful."
* * * * * *
Willow, Oz, Larry and Joyce had backed into the corner; Larry grabbed a wrench.
Suddenly everyone stopped.
"What's going on?"
"Where am I?"
"Why are we here?"
The room was filled with "Wh" questions.
Willow sagged with relief, the spell had been undone.
* * * * * *
"You promise that you're going to come back and explain this." Willow could see that Buffy's mom wasn't going to take no for an answer on this.
"Sure, Miss Summers, I just need to check on a few things first."
Oz, Larry and Willow looked around for Angel and Spike, but they were nowhere to be seen.
They made their way to the van.
"Sorry about the windshield, I'll buy you a new one, and sorry about getting you hurt, and you Larry."
"Willow," Oz said looking grim "the windshield, the bruises, they don't matter, they heal or get fixed. What bothers me is that you ignored how I felt. You acted pretty selfishly and I don't think you could have done that if you did love me. You did it because you want to be loved. I'm not blaming you, it's something everyone wants, but it's not a good reason to be with someone. I don't think that we'll be getting back together."
After everything that had happened Willow felt kind of numb, unable to truly feel anything but that still cut into her. She didn't trust herself to say anything so she simply turned and walked away.
* * * * * *
"Amy, we still have to find Buffy and check she's not a rat."
"I know. I just can't help but think about everything that's happened, how it affected me."
"You mean the way that the love spell affected you? It doesn't mean anything, it could have just had a more powerful effect on you because of you casting it." Jenny didn't really think that but she wanted the girl to come to her own conclusions.
"That could be it..." she said hesitantly "I just, I was definitely acting kind of, well, gay."
"Does that bother you?"
"Yeah, it does, but probably not as much as it should."
"Just take some time to think about it. I hurt people I care about recently because I was followingwhat I was taught from childhood was right even though I knew in my heart it was wrong. Don't reject your feelings because they don't fit in. In the long run you'll regret it."
"You're definitely right about taking some time to think, but right now we need to find Buffy. Where should we look?"
"Well, if I were Buffy I would go to the Library to get my clothes."
* * * * * *
Buffy waited until she was sure nobody was about and ran to the library. She ran in and found her clothes where they had fallen.
"Great, no one even folded them."
"Sorry, we were a bit busy undoing the magic to tidy up."
Buffy spun round. Amy and Miss Calendar were standing in the doorway to Giles office.
"Well, I suppose things were a bit wild with everyone throwing themselves over Willow. Did you reverse that spell as well?"
"Yes, it was a bit trickier but we managed it. Everything should be back to normal."
Buffy quickly got dressed.
"Buffy, I have a question, why did the spell affect you? Amy here was probably affected becauseof proximity, but why would it affect you?"
Jenny hadn't meant the question meanly, but Buffy still didn't trust her and her feelings were still too hostile to be honest with the woman she blamed for the loss of one love to admit to another to her.
"I guess that the spell just worked on my friendship with Willow."
"Oh, I thought you might feel...."
"I don't, we're just good friends," Buffy lied. She heard the door swing open.
"If you still are my friend after this whole botched spell, I would understand if you wanted to avoidme." Willow was standing in the doorway. She looked rough, and Buffy could see she had been through the wringer.
"What, let a little love spell come between me and my Wills? Never happen. You aren't getting rid of me that easily."
The look of naked relief on Willows face almost broke Buffy's heart.
"Although, after kissing you, I have to say I think that Oz is even more of an idiot than I alreadythink he is. Oh god, Will, I'm sorry." Tears were streaming down Willow's face. Buffy rushed over and hugged her friend. She gestured with her head to Amy and Miss Calendar andwithout saying a word they left. She only just heard in the distance Amy saying, "Just goodfriends? Does she think we're idiots?"
She comforted Willow as best she could and heard all about Oz's reaction to the spell.
Willow was confused by her own feelings. She knew that there was no hope with Oz now but shedidn't feel as broken up now as she had been before. It could be that now she knew the reason for Oz to want to break up, but the more she thought about it the more it seemed just that Oz was less important to her now. Even if Buffy only wanted to be a friend and nothing more at least she knew that Buffy loved her.
The two girls walked together towards Buffy's house; they had to make a decision soon.
"We could just pretend it never happened," Buffy suggested, "or better yet, say it was all a practical joke."
"Buffy, a mob of lust crazed men wrecked your house. I think your Mom's going to need more of an explanation than that, and I really can't think of anything but the truth."
"You think mom wants the truth? She can't handle the truth."
"Buffy, you're going Jack Nicholson again."
"That's ok, but really, isn't it better to tell the truth than make up some elaborate lie which then collapses? If we do that, then at least there's a chance she would believe it?"
"Gee Mom, I'm a slayer, magic exists, Willow made everyone love her by accident using witchcraft. Yeah, that's going to go down well."
"We're almost there. Do you have a better ideas?"
"Oh god, I'm actually going to have to go through with this. Ok, I'm the slayer. I've fought vampires, demons, Inca mummy girls. I can handle this. I'm not afraid."
"Good for you."
They were at the door.
"Hold my hand."
They walked in; Joyce looked up from sweeping up some broken glass.
"Buffy, next time you organise a party, at least have the decency to tell me about it first."
She stormed off.
Buffy and Willow looked at each other, but for the life of them neither of them could think of a thing to say.