Some kind of Angel
by Erin
Author's Note: Song lyrics included here are from "Some Kind of Stranger", from the Sisters of Mercy album, First, Last and Always.

Willow was humming happily to herself as she finished debugging the code she was writing for her computer science project. It wasn't due until Tuesday, but she didn't want anything interfering with the plans she and Buffy had made for Valentine's Day.

"We should do something together, just you and me, Will," Buffy had said to her earlier.

Willow had looked at her friend, puzzled. "But, I thought you and Riley were going somewhere?"

Buffy frowned. "Yeah, well, things aren't working out so well for us. I dunno, he just seems a little...dull."

Willow arched an eyebrow. "That whole commando thing just not exciting enough for the Slayer?"

"No, it's not that," Buffy said, "it's not that what he does is dull, it's just that..." She paused to choose her phrasing carefully. "When I'm with him, it's almost like everything's in Black & White. It's all muted, there's no technicolor. It's so Pleasantville, everything's nice but there's no..."

"Chemistry? Electricity?" Willow gave Buffy a sympathetic look. "Well, that settles it. You shouldn't have to go spark-less. Ok, we'll make it Girls Night In. It could be fun! We'll rent movies, and have pizza," Willow grinned. "And I could even get Xander to use his fake ID to get us some beer."

"Whoa," Buffy held up her hands. "Forget it, I have totally learned my lesson after the last time, when I became Cave-Slayer. 'Just say no' poster girl, that's me."

Willow nodded. "Wine coolers, then?"

"Of course."

Empty wine cooler bottles were liberally scattered around the dorm room. Buffy was laying on her bed on her stomach, her head at the foot of the bed. Willow sat on the floor and leaned against Buffy's bed, watching the movie intently. Buffy tried to watch the movie, but in her intoxicated state she was not quite able to follow what was going on. "So, why exactly are they chasing him?"

Willow gestured at the tv screen with a piece of pizza. "He's got the plans for a top-secret cold fusion reactor. You know, it would help you catch all those plot points if you didn't say 'Boring' every five minutes and start fast-forwarding through the movie."

"I wanted to see an action scene," Buffy replied, her voice taking on a petulant tone. "Besides, the movie's boring. How about we talk? We never really talk anymore."

Willow raised an eyebrow, but she shut off the tv anyway. "Ok, talk is good. What do you want to talk about?" She got up, somewhat unsteadily, and sat next to Buffy on the bed.

"I dunno...what do you want to talk about?"

"It was your idea to talk, so talk."

"Ok, ok..." Now that they were talking, Buffy wasn't quite sure what to say. It didn't help that she found Willow to be quite gorgeous, and was having a hard time not telling her. She may be drunk, but she wasn't that drunk. Yet.

Stalling for time, Buffy got up and put a CD on the stereo. Some low, techno-goth music filled the room. Willow looked over at her friend in surprise. "I didn't think you went for this kind of music."

Buffy seated herself back on the bed. The dark music suited her mood at the moment. "I didn't, but last year Faith kinda turned me on to it."

"What else did Faith turn you on to?" Willow winced inwardly at Buffy's sharp look. She hadn't meant for it to come out sounding quite so...bitter. Guess some wounds just take a lot longer to heal, Willow thought.

Buffy dropped her head slightly. "I know Faith hurt a lot of people. And in the end, I just couldn't forgive her for that. But I couldn't forgive myself, either. I could have helped her, if..." Buffy trailed off.

Willow placed a comforting hand on Buffy's shoulder. "You can't blame yourself. The things that Faith did, she did because she was disturbed. There was something wrong with her--"

"No, she wasn't!" Buffy interrupted, sharply. "There was nothing wrong with her. Sure she was a little on the amoral side, but she didn't have to go down the road she did. She only went down that road because I hurt her." She passed a hand over her eyes, remembering the pain and hurt from a year ago.

"But, Buffy," Willow started, "you were a great friend to her. You never hurt her! If anything, you were always reaching out..."

"I did hurt her, Will," Buffy sighed. "She...she was in love with me." Willow sat stock still, obviously stunned by the news. Buffy continued, "And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't crushing on her. She was wild, and confident, and stunningly beautiful. I don't know, maybe I led her on or something. I certainly didn't mind when she--" Buffy cut herself off abruptly, and got up to retrieve another wine cooler.

"Didn't mind when she what?" Willow asked, quietly. She was afraid she already knew the answer.

Buffy sat down again, and took a swig of the cooler. "Didn't mind when she kissed me."

Willow felt sudden tears spring to her eyes. Faith, who had betrayed them all, Faith, who had tried to have them killed... Willow felt a consuming jealousy, an anger against the other slayer, and she saw her hands clench.

Buffy continued as if she didn't notice. "But that was during the whole on-again-off-again thing with Angel. I loved him, and was so afraid to lose him that I didn't realize it had already happened -- I had already lost him. I put Faith a distant second, and finally I told her it couldn't happen. Not while...Angel..." Buffy broke off, tears running down her cheeks.

Willow looked at her friend with pain-filled eyes. She reached for Buffy, as if to comfort her, which was always her first inclination. Her hand froze in mid-air, and she dropped it back to her lap. "Is that why she tried to kill him?" She asked, quietly.

Buffy nodded, wiping the tears from her cheeks. "She was so focused on breaking the two of us up for good... All she really had to do was wait." Buffy shrugged, and gave a bitter half-smile. "Patience was never one of her big pluses, though. When she poisoned Angel, she knew I would come after her. She was hoping to end it, one way or the other." Buffy straightened up, and cleared her throat. "Ah, wow," she said, chuckling weakly. "That was a head-on collision on memory lane, huh?"

Willow sat with her head bowed. "You never told me," was all she said, quietly.

Buffy winced. "I know. I just...I didn't know how you would react."

"React to what?" Willow rose angrily, and started pacing. "React to my best friend being bisexual, or react to her being in love with a psychopath?" She threw the words like daggers, each one hitting its target.

Buffy's head snapped up. "Willow, that's not fair!" She jumped up and grabbed her friend by the shoulders. "Faith wasn't a psycho, and it's not like we had much of a chance--"

"No, otherwise you probably would have slept with her," Willow replied, bitter venom coating the words.

Buffy was thrown off balance for a moment. She had never heard Willow speak with that kind of venomous tone before. "Why would it have mattered to you," was all she said, her eyes roaming over Willow's face, searching for an answer.

Willow gave Buffy a long look and then shrugged the Slayer's hands off of her shoulders. She took a couple of steps back and sat down on her own bed without saying a word.

Buffy watched her friend pull away, and the sight broke her heart. She'd been a fool, she realized suddenly.

The CD changed songs to one which Buffy recognized as a slow, dark ballad, a haunting melody which had plagued her memories for the last year.

"And yes I believe in what we had
But words got in the way
And only yesterday
As I was leaving
Lord knows I've tried to say but I've
Heard a million conversations
Going where they've been before
Seen the way that careful lingers
Undecided at the door..."

Buffy took a step toward Willow, and held out her hand. Willow glanced at the proffered hand, and looked at the blonde with red-rimmed eyes.

The Slayer's request was soft, and quiet, and consisted of only three words: "Dance with me."

"And all I know for sure
All I know for real
Is knowing doesn't mean so much
When placed against the feeling
The heat inside
When bodies meet
When fingers touch..."

Willow's look changed instantly from cold to puzzled; she started to ask a question, but Buffy repeated her request in the same soft tone: "Dance with me."

"All my words are secondhand and
Useless in the face of this
Rationale and rhyme and reason
Pale beside a single kiss
And I've heard so many things I
Fail to understand at all
I'd settle anytime for
Unknown footsteps in the hall outside..."

Never breaking eye contact, Willow tentatively placed her hand in the Slayer's, and allowed Buffy to draw her up, into her arms.

"And all I know for sure
All I know for real
Is knowing doesn't mean so much
When placed against the feeling
The heat inside
When bodies meet
When fingers touch..."

Willow rested her head against the Slayer's shoulder, smelling fresh soap, and flowers, and the fragrance which was unmistakably Buffy's. Her throat tightened, and she felt the tears start running, unbidden, down her cheeks.

"And I know the world is cold but
If you hold on tight to what you
Find you might not mind too much though
Even this must pass away and
Memories may last for years but
Names are just for souvenirs
Some kind of angel let me
Look into your eyes
Don't give me whys and wherefores
Reason or surprise
I don't care for words that don't belong
And I don't care what you're called
Tell me later if at all
I can wait a long long time
Before I hear another love song..."

Buffy's hands tightened around Willow's waist. Now that she had her here, in her arms, she didn't ever want to run the risk of letting her go. She rested her head against the redhead's cheek, and whispered the next words softly into her ear, in time with the song:

"Come here I think you're beautiful
My door is open wide
Some kind of angel come inside...
Come here I think you're beautiful
I think you're beautiful, beautiful
Some kind of angel come inside..."

Buffy pulled her head back, and leaned down to capture Willow's lips with her own. Willow returned the kiss tentatively, and they spent long moments, overcome by the new sensation. Finally, Willow broke the kiss, and looked at Buffy, her face a mix of sadness and confusion.

Buffy looked Willow in the eyes, and her voice was husky with repressed emotion. "You are the one I want. I won't lie to you, and say that I didn't love Angel, or Faith; but that time has passed, and I don't want to go back there." The blonde raised a hand, and lightly brushed Willow's tear-stained cheek. "I love you, Willow. If you don't feel the same way, or if you don't trust my love for you, I hope we can at least stay friends. Because I can't imagine my life without you in it."

Willow looked at Buffy, and saw the truth laying there between them like a dark secret brought to light. She could not counter it with a lie; truth called to truth. "I love you, Buffy. I've loved you for years, even before I realized it. How could I not love you?" Willow reached up, brushing Buffy's hair away from her face. "And how could I not forgive you, and trust you?"

Buffy laughed through sheer relief; a weight she did not even realize existed vanished from her shoulders in an instant. It was a weight she had borne for a long time. "You are my angel, Willow," she said, her heart shining from her eyes.

Willow's only answer was to pull the Slayer back down, into a gentle kiss. No more words were necessary.

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