Many Facets
by Kimber
Chapter 1

Buffy made her way down the path that led to the cafeteria. She was to meet Willow there for lunch. So much had been going on in their lives lately that they just didn't seem to have time for each other anymore. You'd think with both Oz and Angel gone and both girls living together that they'd see each other more often than not. Buffy's slayer duties kept her out most nights past 1 A.M. and Willow picked up an extra computer course at night to fill the void Oz left. Now it was Friday, both of them had finished their classes for the day, and lunch was going to be the beginning of a "girls' weekend."

Weaving her way through the crowd, Buffy found a table for two over in the corner. She noticed Larry sitting with some of his friends a few feet from her.

They smiled at each other and left it at that. After a few minutes, Buffy got antsy waiting for Willow... she was never this late. She got up and walked over to Larry's table.

"Hi Larry. How's it going?"

"Buffy! Long time no see. How's everything with you?"

"Good. It's, of the good. Listen, I was supposed to meet Will here after her last class but she hasn't shown up yet. Have you seen her at all today?"

"Yeah, I had a 10:00 with her this morning. She didn't mention anything though."

"Are you talking about Willow Rosenberg?" A blond boy from Larry's group asked.

"Um, yeah. You know her?"

"I just had Psych with her. Some guy in the class went over to talk to her afterwards and she took off. Looked like he really got to her about something." The blonde reported, rather happily, to the dismay of the slayer.

Buffy looked at Larry, then the boy. "Listen, um... what's your name?"

"Chris. Chris Madison."

"OK. Chris. I really need to know where she is. Do you have any idea where she took off to?" Buffy's voice was shaken with concern.

Chris smirked and glanced at Larry. "Nope. I know nothing."

"Why do I get the feeling that you know a lot more than you're letting on?" She approached his side of the table. "Listen, Willow is my best friend and if something's happened to her, and you know about it... let's just say you don't want to see me angry. It's definitely not a pretty sight."

Larry tried to corral the situation. "Buffy, take it easy. I'm sure she'll show up sooner or later. There's no reason to get all heated up over this."

Just then, Chris started to laugh. That was it, Buffy had just about enough of his games.

"Listen carefully, Chris," She put her hand on his shoulder, "If you don't tell me," She squeezed her hand, "what's going on," squeeze "you're going to regret" squeeze "ever introducing yourself," squeeze "to me."

The discomfort on his face was quite evident. "Fine, fine! God, let go.. you've got some grip there. She ran into the bathroom. Second floor of the psych department. Man, Jeff was right about you two."

Larry got up and moved closer to Buffy, "Why don't you go look for her, Buff."

"No. What's that supposed to mean? Right about what?" The tension in the room was at an all time high. Some students that sat on the fringes of the little group quieted down and were listening intently.

"Jeff was the one that went up to her after class. He wanted to ask her out on a date tonight. Just about everyone knows Oz and his band. Since Oz left, he thought she might be a free agent. She turned him down cold. She made some excuse about having a girls' night with you and that she wasn't quite ready to date yet. He said something else to her and she just looked at him and took off. I asked him what happened and, well, he told me he thinks she's playin' for the other team now." Chris began to study the table intently.

Larry suddenly took great notice of the cafeteria floor, like it was the most amazing thing he'd ever seen.

Buffy turned to him. "Did you know about this?"

He sighed. "I was passing through the hall looking for Chris. Willow ran by me, practically knocked me over. I didn't know what was said." He looked at Buffy, hoping she wasn't gonna' drag him into it.

"Fine. I'm gonna' go look for her." She looked at Chris. "Don't think I'm done with you yet. Or your buddy Jeff." Then she turned to Larry, "And you. You of all people should know better Mr.-Gay-jock-and-proud-of-it. Since when did you become so insensitive to other people's feelings?"

Larry looked straight at her, "I didn't think there was anything to be sensitive about, Buffy. Unless of course it's true and there is something going on."

The shock on her face was evident. "No. There isn't anything 'going on' between Willow and I. We're best friends, we look out for each other. God, why does a close friendship between girls register as 'not quite right' with guys? I swear sometimes."

They didn't hear the end of her comment. She was out of the cafeteria and on her way to the psych building. 'Men! I can't believe they'd think that. Willow and I, it's just... ridiculous!' She cut across the bike path and made her way to the psych building. 'Why now, of all times, does this campus seem to be the biggest one on the West Coast?'

She walked into the building and made her way up the stairs to the second floor. 'Great. Six corridors, three bathrooms.' The first two bathrooms were bust. As she rounded the corner to the third and final one, she collided with someone. Both losing their balance, they fell to the floor, limbs everywhere.

"Hey watch where you're.." Buffy looked up and saw Willow sitting in front of her. "Will! Where were you? I got worried when you didn't come to the cafeteria and--"

"I'm fine Buffy, really. Something came up after class and I was just on my way to the cafeteria to meet you now." Willow smiled, but Buffy could see that she was not herself. Her eyes were puffy and bloodshot and her nose was red, too.

"Will, you're not fine. You've been crying." Buffy put her hand on Willow's. "What happened?"

Willow pulled her hand away and looked around the hall, "It's nothing. Really, I'm fine, Buffy. Just big time Oz missage I guess."

Buffy got up and put her hand out to help Willow. She visibly ignored it and put her hand on the wall to get up. They both dusted themselves off and straightened their clothes. They were no worse for wear, really.

An uncomfortable silence fell between them. Buffy spoke first, "So, lunch?"

"No. I-I'm just gonna go now. I have studying to do. For.. class." Willow responded.

"But Will, It's Friday, remember? No evil classes until Monday. We're supposed to have girls' night tonight. I told Giles I was going to patrol early so we could rent some movies, pop popcorn, paint our toes--"

"No, I'm not up to it tonight. I think I'm gonna go home this weekend. Remind my parents that they still have a daughter. I think they get back from their conference around six."

Buffy couldn't take it anymore. "Funny thing. Well not funny, ha ha, but... I saw Larry in the cafeteria today."

"Really? That's nice. How is he?" Willow was thankful for the change in conversation.

"He's good. He was sitting with a bunch of his friends. He said he saw you today. Actually, he said you almost ran him over after your psych class." She looked at Willow to gauge her reaction.

Willow shrugged. "That was him? Oh, well..." She shrugged again.

"Yeah, anyway I met a friend of his, Chris Madison." Willow looked up at Buffy and turned her face away. She knew what was coming next.

"Chris is in your psych class." It wasn't a question. Buffy knew from Willow's body language that she knew what she was leading up to. "Anyway Chris is friends with.."

"Jeff." Willow answered. "Yeah. So?" Her voice was barely audible.

"Yeah, so? Is that all you can say, Will? What happened with Jeff? What did he say to you to get you so upset? Come on Willow, talk to me here. This is Buffy, Buffy to Willow, come in, Willow..."

Willow shook her head. "It's nothing. He asked me out, I said no, end of story. Really.. that's where the story ends... no more story... I told him I wasn't over Oz leaving... 'cause, I'm not over it.. he only left two weeks ago.. and that's it.. he was mad but he understood.. Jeff, I mean.. not Oz.. how could Oz be mad, I mean... all I did was kiss Xander. He slept with Veruca.. twice.. so that's it." Willow was in full-tilt babble mode.

Buffy shook her head. 'Not good. No, not good at all.' "Will, I know how you feel."

"No, Buffy. That's the thing," She turned to face the slayer, "you don't know how I feel, no one does. Angel left for LA to give you both a new start. Oz left for God-knows-where because he cheated on me. There's a big difference."

"That's not what I meant, Will." Buffy looked at her. 'It's now or never.' "I know that... that Jeff said something to you... to make you upset... Chris told me... he said something.. about us." There, it was out in the open.

Students began to pour out of the classrooms.

"Oh.. Oh, no... no, I can't.. Buffy.. I don't, I mean... we don't.. but he didn't.. and he said..." Willow stuttered her way through an explanation, but she couldn't seem to get it out. Tears threatened to fall and she turned away from Buffy, not able to face her, or the conversation that was sure to follow. "I can't talk about this... not now.. I have to go.. I just.. I can't.. you don't know how... I-I'm.. sorry."

Before Buffy could get a word in edgewise, Willow took off in the throng of students and effectively gave the slayer the slip. 'Damn. How'd she do that? You're only supposed to use your powers for good, Will.' Buffy spent the next hour searching for her friend. The Library, Oz's old room, the computer lab, their room twice, the cafeteria, the TV room in their building, and just about every ladies' room on campus. Willow was nowhere to be found. It was getting close to six and Buffy's stomach reminded her that she hadn't eaten since this morning since her lunch date with Willow was a bust.

The only thing that was open near the school was a pizza place a few blocks down. Buffy made her way there, ordered a slice and a soda, and looked around the place. In the corner, next to the bathroom, she saw a flash of red hair through the crowd. 'Willow.' She took her tray, paid for the food, and made her way over to the booth. "Will, is that you?"

The girl turned around, clearly NOT Willow, "Excuse me?"

"Oh, sorry, I thought you were.. a friend of mine." Buffy replied.


The slayer turned around to find Willow standing in front of her. "Will? Where have you been, I was worried."

"I had some stuff to work through, so I went home. My parents left a message saying that they'd be gone another week or so. I was hungry so I came here." She gave a little shrug.

"Would you sit with me? We never did got to eat lunch. Dinner is just as good, right?" Buffy posed the question to her, hopeful that the hacker would accept.

"Sure, why not."

They ate in semi-comfortable silence. All the while, Buffy wondering what had gotten into her friend, and what Jeff said, to make her so upset. She had her ideas, though. When the 'Evil Willow' from another world made her appearance, she made it known that she was definitely from an alternate, alternate reality. Angel made some comment about the darker side of a vampire being the person's subconscious, but they all quickly dismissed it. Now, Buffy couldn't help but wonder about the validity of the statement. Dominatrix Willow? 'Kinda gay' Willow? They were foreign concepts to her, but she wondered how much thought her friend had put into Angel's musings. Suddenly, something, or rather someone, broke her train of thought.

"Ladies! I see you've finally found each other. How are you doing, Willow? All better now?" Larry sidled up to their table.

"Fine Larry, thanks." She gave him a lopsided smile. Buffy just glared.

"Good, glad to hear it. Listen, don't listen to anything Jeff says, OK? He's not the most reliable or decent specimen of the male species. He can be a real jerk sometimes, and he doesn't take rejection very well. Don't put too much stock into anything he says, or does for that matter. He gives us good guys a bad name." Larry beamed a smile at her, hoping to lift her spirits.

"Thanks, Larry. You're an ok guy, you know?" Willow smiled back at him. Buffy was quite relieved to see her somber attitude soften a bit.

"I know, I know, that's what all the guys say... see you both later." With that, he disappeared as quickly as he showed up.

"Feel better?" Buffy gave a questioning look to Willow.

"Strangely, yes. Larry's right. Guys can get really mean when they don't get their way. Men. Harrumph." Willow gave Buffy a genuine smile.

"I'm glad you're better, Will. How about we finish up here, you go on a quick sweep with me, and we get some movies? Just you and me, it'll be fun."

Willow considered, then agreed. They finished their pizza and made their way to the campus. "I thought we were gonna do a sweep?" She asked the slayer.

"Yeah, Giles suggested that we sweep the campus. That way we'd be closer to home and wouldn't be out too late. The cemetery can wait till tomorrow night." Buffy replied.

The patrol was uneventful. That is until they happened to cross over to the bike path on the way to their dorm. Two vamps came out of nowhere, ambushing them both.

"Buffy, look out!" Just as she dusted the first vamp, Buffy looked up to see the other one coming at her with a tree branch. He swung, she ducked and pulled his legs out from under him.

"Strike one! Care to try for another?" She yelled in his direction.

He got up, madder than before, and they started trading punches. She kicked him into the bulletin board, pieces of it flying everywhere." She tried a round house kick and missed. This gave the vamp the opportunity to grab her and send her flying, shoulder first, into a nearby tree. Dazed, she tried to shake it off but he was at her again almost immediately. Just as he was about to grab her off the ground, he exploded into a cloud of dust in front of her About 5 feet from where Buffy sat, she could see Willow crouched behind the park bench. One of the seat boards was obviously missing.

Willow quickly made her way over to the slayer, "Are you OK, Buffy? Are you hurt?"

"I'm fine, Will, but how did you...?" The confused look on her face made Willow chuckle a little.

"The seat was loose. I didn't want to get too close, so I did my floating pencil trick, without the pencil of course." She put her hand out to help the slayer to her feet.

"Will, you could have been hurt. Are you ok, I mean. Wow, you saved me Will, that was.. I didn't know your powers were that strong."

"I didn't save you, I helped. Like any good slayerette should. And my powers aren't that strong. I've just been practicing with bigger things than pencils lately, that's all." She dismissed Buffy's comment with a wave of her hand.

"Man, I must be really off my game tonight. I have to pay better attention, I could have gotten both of us killed. I'm sorry Willow, I.." Buffy reached out to her and visibly flinched when she moved her shoulder.

"Don't be." Willow caught the flinch from the brave little slayer, "You're hurt, did you hurt your shoulder?" A look of concern washed over her face.

"I'm fine really, no more bruised than usual." Buffy scrunched up her face.

"You flinched.. a-and scrunched.. flinching and scrunching don't go in the 'I'm ok' column, if you ask me. Come on, lets get back to the room so I can take a look at the damage." With that both girls headed off to the dorm.

Chapter 2

Willow unlocked the door to their room. She made her way over to her bed, after fighting with a few dust bunnies, she pulled out a first aid kit.

"Will, really, I'm fine." Buffy protested. But Willow would have none of it.

"Just let me look at you. Take off your shirt." Almost immediately, Willow regretted her response. The events of the day dancing on the fringes of her mind. "I mean, so I can look at you.. I mean to see if your shoulder's ok.. if it's bruised--"

"It's OK, Will. I knew what you meant." Buffy tried to put on her best comfort-face. She began to unbutton her shirt and flinched again.

"You are really hurt, aren't you?"

"I guess I hit harder than I thought. Damn vamps. Why can't they just stay worm food." Ungracefully, even for a slayer, Buffy flopped down on her bed, closed her eyes and gave a heavy sigh.

A minute or two passed. Why she did it, what possessed her, she wasn't quite sure. Even with every bone and muscle in her body screaming NO, and her brain screaming even louder, Willow walked over to Buffy, knelt down in front of her, and began unbuttoning her blouse.

Buffy froze. Every muscle in her body tightened. She peered down in front of her, to see her best friend before her, undressing her. 'gulp. No.. no gulp. This is Willow for Gods sakes. Not some stranger. No gulping.. this isn't a situation that merits gulping.'

Willow finished unbuttoning her blouse and moved around Buffy to kneel on her bed. Carefully, she peeled back the material and came face to face with a very large bruise with small gashes surrounding it. "See, I told you that you were really hurt. You have little cuts all over your shoulder and you're turning different colors."

"Great, just call me Rainbow Buffy, distant cousin of Rainbow Brite." She managed a smile and Willow joined suite.

As carefully as possible, Willow cleaned the wound and put a bandage over it. "You're all set. A little battered, mind you, and the iodine makes you smell funny, but better." She came around to sit next to Buffy.

"Not only did you save me you also make quite the nursemaid Will, thanks." Buffy smiled at her.

"Come on Buffy, I didn't save you. I helped, like I said before. I'll always help you. I'm not only research girl you know, I've got layers." Willow made a face. "Ugh, I think I just channeled Cordelia. I don't know where that came from." They both had a much needed laugh.

They sat in comfortable silence for a while, then Buffy was the first to speak. "Well, the night's not a total waste, right? I mean it's only 8 o'clock, we can grab a movie and some popcorn still, I mean, that is if you still want to." She looked over at her best friend, hoping for a yes.

"Um, sure. Why not. You need to rest anyway." Willow offered.

"Yeah, don't worry about it, I'll be practically healed in the morning. Slayer-super-healing and all that." Buffy smiled, glad to have the old Willow back.


"Now who could that be?" Buffy wondered. She got up to answer the door. Standing there was a tall, dark-haired, well build guy. "Yeah? Can I help you?"

"Jeff," Willow offered behind the slayer.

"Can I speak to you, alone?" He asked beyond Buffy, totally ignoring her question.

"I don't think we've met. Hi, I'm Buffy," Anger seethed from every fiber. 'So this is Jeff. Mean, nasty, made-Willow-cry-Jeff.'

"Buffy. This is Jeff. He's, uh... in my psych class.. he's here..." she turned her attention towards him, "'re here... why are you here?" Classic Willow.

"Listen, I wanted to talk to you, about this afternoon. Preferably without an audience. Can we, I mean, go somewhere?" Jeff looked in her direction.

Willow was torn. She didn't know what to do. Talk to Jeff, and risk having to spill everything to Buffy... or.. well.. stay here and have to spill everything sooner.

"I don't think that's a good--" Buffy began.

Willow cut her off, "No, Buffy, it's OK." Again focusing on Jeff, "We can talk, in the lounge." Willow gave her a look of reassurance. The last thing Buffy remembered was the door closing.

'Unbelievable! How could she just go off with him like that? After what he said and did to her.' Buffy was lost in thought. It had been about ten minutes since Willow left, but it felt like ten hours. She paced, and straightened, then paced some more. Finally she couldn't take it anymore and decided to take some action. 'That's it, I have to see what's going on.'

Making her way, quietly, to the lounge, Buffy crouched behind a sofa. It was a good thing no one was around right now, she'd have some serious explaining to do. She could see Jeff and Willow standing at the far end of the lounge, but she couldn't hear anything. She poked her head out, to see what was going on. It all went so fast. Jeff, putting his hand on her shoulder, her shrugging it off, his hands flailing in front of him, Willow shaking her head violently, he went for her shoulder and turned her around, she was.. she was crying. 'Damn it! That's it... no more talking.'

"Hey, get your hands off of her!" Buffy stood up, knocking over a potted plant in the process.

They both jumped at the sound of the slayer's voice. "Buffy, what are you doing here?" Willow asked.

"This doesn't concern you. Why don't you go away and let Willow and me finish talking?" Jeff spoke through his teeth, hoping to scare off the smaller girl.

Willow didn't know what to say. She wanted to get away from Jeff, away from all the mean and hurtful things he'd said. She stood there, looking out the window, overwhelmed by the knowledge of two very piercing eyes upon her. Somewhere inside her, a little voice came through. "Leave."

Immediately, Jeff turned to her then to Buffy, "Hear that Blondie? She said--"

"Jeff. Leave. Leave me alone and don't come back." He was shocked. He began to say something, but she interrupted. "No, don't say another word. Just leave. Get out."

"But Willow." He protested.

"Get out!" She screamed.

'Go, Will, you tell him!' On the inside, Buffy was elated. She saw the confusion on Jeff's face. He began to reach for her, but withdrew. Silently he walked out the door. Willow and Buffy were left standing there, alone.

Buffy walked up behind her. She could see their reflections playing against the glass. In the dark of night, she could see Willows shoulders begin to shake, tears making their presence once again.

"Will, I.." She didn't know what to say.

"I let him get to me. Oz, I mean... not Jeff. As much as I'd love to blame him for this, I can't. Not entirely, anyway." She sniffled and wrapped her arms more tightly around herself. "He's.. he was the drummer in Veruca's band. I didn't recognize him at first, but then I remembered. That night at the Bronze, when Giles showed up... I remember noticing him.. noticing me. I forgot about it." Sniffle. "He's... Oz was all that Veruca would talk about during their practices. Jeff took great pleasure in telling me that. They met for lunch a few times.. Oz and... her." Sniffle. "He told her that... that I was off doing stuff with my friends, with you. She thought I was neglecting him.. can you believe it? He never said anything.. Jeff blames me, for Veruca dying. He said... h-he said that if I'd kept m-my boyfriend satisfied.. then... then he wouldn't have... he..." Sniffle.. sniffle.. whimper "Oh God, Buffy.. I made him... I pushed him towards her... I.. forced... neglected him.." She couldn't go on. The sobs were wracking her body, she was leaning against the window now.. she looked like her knees would buckle any minute. Then they did.

"Oh, Willow." It was all Buffy could squeak out before she saw her friend slide down the wall to the ground. In two seconds she was at her side, Willow crying softly into Buffy's shirt. Gathering up all of her slayer strength, she lifted Willow off the ground and carried her back to their room. She carefully laid her on the bed and went over to the desk to get a box of tissues. This was going to be one long night.

Willow was weeping softly into her pillow. Buffy was beside herself, she just didn't know what to do. After a few minutes, Willow calmed down and looked over at her friend.

"Ugh..I must look a mess." Buffy handed her a tissue. "Thanks. Before you say anything, I know it's not my fault.. Oz leaving.. him sleeping with... her." She couldn't bring herself to say Veruca's name. "I just.. I let Jeff push my buttons.. that's all. I shouldn't have let him get to me like that... with everything he said..." Willow blew her nose a few times. Buffy could see that there was more to this situation than met the eye.

"Will. You hardly know him. How could he know how to push your buttons? I don't understand how he got you so upset. And this afternoon. I know he said something to you, something that made you so upset that you'd run away from me. Please, Will.. talk to me. Let me know how I can help. Let me know what I can do.. Please.. I hate seeing you like this." Buffy was at a loss.

"You." Willow whispered.

"What?" Buffy could barely make out what she was saying.

"You.. he talked about you. He said that if I wasn't careful, that people would start saying things about us. Things.. like.. more than what they were saying now.. h-he said.. he saw us a few times.. walking together... holding hands.. h-he told me t-that... that people on campus were.. were talking about us.. like we're... a couple... that.. it's why Oz left... because he couldn't.. he didn't want to... be.. with someone... like.. THAT!" The tears threatened again. Willow tried to blink them away, but it was of no use. "He said he... he'd make it go away.. t-that they'd stop talking... if I went out with him... He almost had me convinced... then you came in... and... well."

Buffy watched as a million different emotions played on her friends face. Fear, anger, agitation, hate. All of it because of some nasty rumors people started. Then she saw the tears slip from her beautiful green eyes.. eyes that were very much like hers. Older and wiser than eyes anyone their age had any right to have. It saddened her.. made her angry... Mad at Jeff for doing this to her, at Oz for leaving... at herself for, well, for everything.

"It scares me." It was barely a whisper, but Buffy had heard it.

Will, there's nothing to be scared of. Who cares what they say.. they don't know anything about us, anything about--"

"No. That's not what I meant... I meant... what I meant to say was.. living here, you get kind of used to all the hellmouthy things.. but human emotion, base-crude-end-all-be-all-intentional hurt... well... sometimes, I feel like I'd take the demons over the people any day... and I get so scared about... you go patrolling... you get all banged up almost every night... you could... God, you could die, Buffy... I couldn't.. I wouldn't know how... It would kill me too... if anything ever... ever happened to you. And it scares me... but.. sometimes, not as much as.." She didn't finish, she couldn't. She wasn't ready for it. Wasn't ready for it all to come bubbling to the surface. The thoughts, the innuendoes, the feelings.. it was all too much to bear at once.

"It scares me too, Will. More than I can say... I just don't have the words for all the fear I have inside sometimes." Buffy's eyes threatened to spill over. "It's like.. When my mom gets a shipment in the Gallery.. and she pulls out these paintings and ornaments and pottery and stuff... she could let other people handle the unpacking.. but she doesn't because she wants to be responsible for it... like she has a duty to protect what ever is in those boxes.. and that's how I feel.. sometimes."

"You thing I'm like a box of dusty art?" Willow was quite confused. "Buffy, you're not responsible for me. I'm responsible for me and my actions."

"That's not what I meant, Will. Angel explained it to me once.. Love and friendship go hand in hand... and when you give someone that.. it's.. it's as if your giving them a piece of yourself... like handing them an old vase or painting... or your prized possession... and when you hand it over.. it's like your saying 'here, this is for you. It's priceless really, but I trust you enough to give it to you.' And if you break it... like if my mother breaks a piece of art.. then it can be fixed, but it'll never be the same... you know... it's a big responsibility to love someone, and I get that. I think we get that. Will, if anything ever happened to you. I don't know what I'd do.."

"Nothing's happened Buffy, really. I'm just on overload right now. Jeff talked to Oz. He called Jeff to see if he knew how I was doing. Why couldn't he call me himself? Are we so far past the point of no return that I might not ever talk to him again? Jeff.. well, the things he said were mean.. and.. they're not true.. so we shouldn't worry about them, right?" Willow wasn't sure if she said it to comfort herself or Buffy, or maybe even both.

"Willow, what Jeff said.. I mean about us... is that.. is that the stuff that scares you? Because if it is... then we could.. I mean.. we could lay off the friendliness for a while... if it makes you.. if your scared that.." Buffy's eyes won out and spilled over with tears. She couldn't believe she was having this conversation with Willow. Willow! If it scared her, if she was uncomfortable then it was up to Buffy to put things right. "I mean, it'll be hard at first.. but I could find... somewhere... I'll call tomorrow.. a single maybe.."

The last part registered with Willow and caught her off guard. "Buffy, no. You wouldn't leave me, would you? You can't go.. who would I... I don't want to.. you want to move out? ...God, first Oz... now.. you can't go.." Willow was almost beside herself. Her eyes were wide with fear, and pride be damned she was crying openly now at the thought of loosing her best friend.

"If you want me to, I'll go.. you're uncomfortable.. I can't.. I mean... I did this..." Buffy didn't get to finish her sentence.. Willow pulled her into a crushing hug, afraid that she'd walk out the door right that moment.

"Ok, Will.. OK.. I won't go, not unless you want me to" Buffy wrapped her arms around the redhead, sobbing and shaken at the prospect of leaving her alone.

"You can't go.. I need.. oh, Buffy... I can't let you.. I don't know what I'd do without you... You're my best friend, my confidante my... you can't go.. I don't want you to." That was all Willow managed to get out between sobs.

"Will, I want to tell you something that I've never told anyone before." Willow looked up and shook her head yes in response. "When Angel.. Angelus went after you, he said something to me afterwards, something that didn't make a whole lot of sense until now." Buffy paused. She didn't know how to do this, she didn't know how to say what had been on the fringes of her mind for almost 2 years now. "He went after you, and he put you in the hospital.. he went after you because he knew you were one of the only people he could go through to get to me." She paused and choked up. Grabbing a box of tissues, she blew her nose, tried to compose herself and continued. "I went crazy when I found out you were in the hospital. It was because of me. Angel used you against me because he knew... he knew how valuable you were.. to everyone... and especially to me... not as old reliable Willow, or research girl, or the resident hacker, or dozens of other labels the gang and I have managed to slap on you over the past four years... valuable as my best friend Willow, my sounding board Willow, my strength and courage Willow. I don't know what I'd do without you in my life. And it scares me.. chills me down to the core to even have a fleeting thought of what I'd do if you weren't in my life.." The tears won out again. Buffy's face fell into her hands and she cried... cried like she couldn't remember ever crying before.

Willow sat there, dumbfounded. She couldn't believe what she just heard, didn't want to believe it. She couldn't, wouldn't, give into all the feelings dwelling deep inside. Buffy loved her. She had just about said everything she could but that. Overwhelmed, she looked at the slayer there on her bed, so vulnerable, so shaken. She reached out and touched her shoulder. It was enough. Buffy bent to her touch and placed her head in Willows lap while Willow rubbed her back. She glanced over to the clock. '11 o'clock and all's not well.'

After a few minutes, Willow shifted her position so she'd be more comfortable. She laid down across the bed and Buffy followed suite. Willow gathered the slayer in her arms and continued to rub her back reassuringly. They remained like that for a long time until they both drifted off to sleep.

Chapter 3

When she woke, she was acutely aware of three things. One: This was definitely not her bed. Two: There was a breathing mass of someone next to her. And three: Her shoulder was protesting even the slightest bit of movement.

Buffy looked up at the redhead next to her. She could see the outline of Willow's face in the moonlight pouring in through the window. 'Slumbering peacefully. What a day we had my friend. What a day.' Buffy tried to move her arm that was quite effectively pinned under Willow's head, and the redhead began to stir. 'Damn, I didn't want to wake her.'


"Well, Will.. that sounded almost human." Buffy whispered.

"Buffy? What are you.. where? ...Ugh, I'm so confused... where are we?"

"In your bed.. which, by the way, wasn't quite built for two. Think the housing department is trying to tell us something?" Buffy dead-panned. Willow gave her a very confused, sleepy look "I think we both fell asleep here last night after sobfest '99."

"Oh, right.. Right! Are you ok.. I mean... you were crying and.. I felt so bad.. it was so... it was very intense." Back to babble mode, even half asleep.

"I'm ok, Will. Just need to move before I loose all permanent feeling in my shoulder."

"I'm sorry... did I hurt you? I must have fallen asleep. How's your shoulder? You want me to look at it again?" Willow shot from babble mode into concerned mode in record time.

"It's fine, really. I must have slept on it the wrong way. We both fell asleep, you're not the only one.. and no, you didn't hurt me. You could never do that." The last remark was thrown in there for some reason. Barely audible, barely a whisper. It was like her brain misfired or something. It wasn't meant to be actual words, just a really comforting thought.

Willow looked at her and smiled. They both just looked at each other. They laid there in comfortable silence, Buffy's head was on Willow's shoulder and her hand was draped over her stomach under the covers. 'Covers? Where did they come from?'

"Buffy. About Jeff," Willow began. She wasn't sure what to say or how to articulate her feelings. It was as if she couldn't think being this close to her.

"Uh, huh." Buffy turned her head in Willow's direction and found herself almost nose to nose with the redhead. They both gasped a little, unsure of what was happening, yet not wanting it to stop.

"I'm sorry... I mean.. the things he said were because I turned him down.. he never should have dragged you into it. I didn't want you to know."

"I know Will, and it's not for you to be sorry about. He's just a big mean jerk. And if he ever comes near you again I'll have to show him a thing or two." Buffy responded.

More silence.

"Buffy," she began, "About what you said last night.. about Angel... how you feel is.." She floundered. She just couldn't find the words to convey how she was feeling.

"It's alright, Will. You don't have to say anything about it... it was pretty intense.. I didn't mean for it to come out that way.. I'm sorry if I scared you."

"No, Buffy... it was.. it was beautiful. It was probably, the most beautiful thing anyone has ever said to me... I don't know how.. how to tell you how much you mean to me too... I can't find the words.. it's too hard."

The tears in both girls eyes began to resurface. The feelings that had shown themselves last night didn't want to quit just yet. Buffy looked at her. Tears shining in her eyes, she couldn't think of one thing that was more beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. Slowly, she reached her hand up to wipe them away. She never meant to make her cry...

Willow closed her eyes to the feathery touch of her friend wiping away the tears. This was all happening so fast and so slow at the same time. They both felt it, felt like they were sitting on the edge of something, both afraid to take a step closer to see what the other side of the door held for them. Just then, she felt a soft, loving kiss on her cheek and a hand smoothing down her hair.

Buffy wasn't sure what made her do it. It seemed harmless at the time. Kissing her friend on the cheek, comfort for them both. They'd done it a million different times on a million different occasions, and sometimes for no occasion at all. It felt good to be this close to her... closer than they'd been in a long time, or maybe ever before. She reached out her hand and brushed the hair away from her face. She felt Willow relax and smile under her kiss.. her cheeks gently changing shape. She'd done that.. made Willow smile. And there wasn't anywhere Buffy belonged right then, other than next to her.

"I love you, ya know... I said so many things last night, but not that. I need you to know how much."

"I know Buffy..." Willow whispered.

Buffy laid her hand on Willow's shoulder. With her thumb, she made light, tiny circles on her neck. So many thoughts raced through her mind. 'What exactly am I doing here? Why am I touching Willow?' She was afraid of the answers, afraid of the truth in them, the truth she knew had surfaced sometime last night in her declaration of love for her best friend.

Willow sighed. She wasn't sure of what was happening. Her breathing became a bit labored under the Slayer's touch. Sensations ran a rampage through her body. Sensations she never felt before with anyone.

Buffy stopped. She took Willow's sigh as a sign of being uncomfortable. "Will, I'm sorry.. I shouldn't have..." She began to withdraw her hand. She didn't get very far because another hand shot up in the darkness and stopped her.

"No, Buffy.. it's ok... I mean.. it's nice being here with you..." She turned to look at the slayer. "Please," she breathed, "Don't.. don't stop."

It was all the encouragement Buffy needed. She reached up and in a bold move, touched Willows cheek with her hand. Willow blinked at her touch, lowering her eyes to the blond before her.. inches away. 'Close enough to.'

Looking into her best friends eyes, Buffy didn't find discomfort, or fear, or trepidation.. what she found was love. All consuming, unconditional love. She moved her hand slowly to Willow's lips and outlined them with her thumb. They were as soft as she'd always suspected. Soft, warm and very inviting.

Willow gazed at the girl next to her, inches away. Everything they'd gone through, every tear, every doubt, every hesitation had all led up to this point. Buffy moved her thumb over Willow's mouth, outlining it gently. Without thinking, as if it were as natural response as any, she kissed the Slayer's thumb lightly, sending tingles to every nerve she knew existed, and some she didn't. All the while, her eyes were focused on the beautiful woman next to her.

"No words." Buffy quietly offered, "No words for how I feel... how much you mean in my life. I want to show you, Willow... will you let me? ...Can you?"

Buffy felt the answer. It was the slightest nod, the smallest movement, but she knew. Willow reached over and cupped her face in her hand. She brushed a stray piece of hair from her face and smiled her best Willow smile. Buffy always felt a warm, inviting welcome in the girl's smile. She always felt that things would be alright, every thing dark and morose in the world would fade away as long as Willow simply smiled.

Slowly, Buffy leaned up a bit and was face to face with her friend. They both wanted this moment to last, there would never be another one like it. Looking at her, seeing the love and trust in her eyes.. that's all Buffy needed. Gently, she leaned down and lightly brushed her lips against Willow's cheek, and her forehead, her eyes, her nose. It was slow, soft, sensual.

The redhead gave in to her friends touch, her kisses. She couldn't believe this was happening. Couldn't believe that Buffy was here, kissing her. The kisses were feather light and sweet, but Willow wanted more...' What was it that Faith used to say? Oh yeah... want... take... have.' She reached up and stopped Buffy's teasing, if things were going to advance, the redhead felt like she'd have to take things into her own hands.

"Will? I'm sorry. I thought you wanted.." Buffy was confused and froze under the hacker's gaze.

"No.. it's alright. I mean.. I... Buffy, you're driving me nuts! I want... I want more... contact" She blushed at the force of the statement.

Buffy looked at Willow, saw the truth of it in her eyes. Slowly she bent down and touched her lips to Willows. It was slow at first, both needing to get used to the feeling, the texture and softness of it all. Buffy's hand trailed down to Willow's side, rubbing her hip and feeling her bend and move through the sweatpants she wore. Willow gave a little moan under the contact and brought her hand up to the nape of the slayer's neck. She deepened the kiss, invaded the blonde's mouth with her own. Buffy complied, parting her lips slightly to this something new and wonderful. The kisses deepened with each passing moment, both hesitating, yet wanting more and more.

It was Buffy who broke the kiss first. "Will. Oh, Willow." She smiled down at her friend, her eyes glistening with a new born desire. "Looks like we've gotten ourselves into a little.. thing here."

"Buffy, I.. I don't know how to.. do this. I mean. It scares me. This is what scared me before. The feelings I have... for you."

No more words were said. They told each other how they felt with their eyes, with their kisses that were sometimes passionate, sometimes sweet. Willow leaned up to meet her friends welcoming kisses every time, with more and more desire. Buffy sat up and began to unbutton her blouse, it didn't take long for Willow to take over. Soon, her own shirt joined Buffy's on the floor, a testament to their own layers being peeled away slowly, both discovering the new facets of their relationship. As each piece of clothing was removed and cast aside, they both knew that the point of turning back was further and further behind them.

As they rounded the last corner of the obstacles that kept them apart, the last article of clothing that kept flesh from flesh, they both knew that this was where they belonged. Each exploring the other's body tentatively, charting new territory. The desire for each other that neither of them had experienced with anyone before culminated in a rush of moans, sweat and tears. Both experienced the other in bold, beautiful and blinding living color, neither wanting the sensations to ebb or fade away. And when they pulled away from each other it was not for lack of desire... but lack of oxygen.

"Wow." They both said in unison. Each realizing the echo of their sentiments, they giggled, not knowing what was to come next, but not really caring either. Things had changed that night. And it was all of the good.

The moments where darkness and dawn meet for a final dance were edging up through the little town of Sunnydale, and a wicked little grin began to play across the face of the Slayer.

"Hey, Will.. get dressed. I have an idea." Willow gave her a look of confusion, but complied, eager to see what the Slayer had in store for her next.

They both dressed quickly and Buffy grabbed the comforter off the bed. Taking Willow's hand they walked out of the room and towards the exit.

"Buffy, as much as I can appreciate your need for fresh air, don't you think we're a little.. underdressed?"

"Shh, no talking. I want to show you something. Come on, no one will see us."

With that Buffy led them up the stairs to the fourth floor and through a maintenance door. At the far end of the room was a window, large enough for someone to fit through. Willow followed the Slayer up the fire escape and they both ascended to the roof.

Buffy led her friend to the far corner and sat down. Willow followed suite and they both snuggled into the blanket.

"I started coming up here when things got really nasty with Kathy, the-demon-roommate-from-hell. I'd finish patrol, take a shower then come up here to think. I was up here so long one night, I fell asleep. But I woke up just in time to see the sunrise. I've never told anyone about this place. I mean, I'm sure the maintenance guys know about it and all, but.. I could never quite bring myself to bring someone here. Until now. I wanted to share it with you, Will. I don't know what's going to happen next, neither of us do, but I just felt like I had to give you something for everything you've ever given me. I wanted to give you a sunrise."

Willow smiled. "That was..."

"Cheesy.. I know Will."

"No not cheesy, sweet.. a little cheesy, but hey, I like cheese." Both girls giggled. Willow put her head on Buffy's shoulder and together they watched as a new day began. Neither knew what the new day had in store for them. Demons, vampires, rumors, tests, prophesies... but none of it mattered now. Nothing mattered but the newly discovered many facets of their friendship and the sunrise that was about to begin.

Continued in
Enough of Me
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