Author: Lucinda
rating: pg
pairing: Willow/Riley #16 on QPC)
Quickie Challenge:
Disclaimer: I do not hold any legal rights to the show or characters of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Distribution: WLS, NHA, Quickie Challenge, Yourmission, Bite Me please? anyone else ask first.
set AU season 4. There is no Initiative. Buffy and Riley were NEVER involved.
Theme for February (up to the 15th): love, flowers, chocolate, PWP, courtship, Valentine's Day, weddings.

From the moment he'd first seen her and been accidentally assaulted by her friend at the bookstore, Riley Finn hadn't been able to forget Willow Rosenberg. She was pretty, and had enough uniqueness to stand out without looking like a freak, and she had the cutest smile... He was quite smitten, to use an old fashioned sort of term.

He hadn't been able to stop thinking about her, and had felt like something had been stomped on when he'd learned that she had a boyfriend, some guitar player in a local band. But then her boyfriend left, running of with the lead singer from another band, abandoning Willow. She was theoretically available again... as soon as she'd healed enough to even think about dating anyone again. He'd been waiting, watching, and trying to form a plan of courtship that would win the girl without making people think he was an obsessive stalker.

Valentine's Day was the perfect opportunity. NOt just the fourteenth, but the whole season. He would woo her properly, with all the things... well, several of the things that having two older sisters had taught him that women wanted. Riley Finn was a smart man, and he figured that if he did this right, she not only wouldn't be mad at him, but might accept if he asked her out. With a prayer for luck, he began Operation: Woo Willow.

A bouquet of blue and purple wildflowers was delivered to her dorm room on the first, with a card that simply read 'from an admirer, to the lovely Willow'. She'd been delighted, holding them close to her with a surprised and amazed smile for several minutes before searching for a vase to put them in.

He'd heard all about it over breakfast. It seemed that Buffy wasn't just Willow's friend but also her roommate, and Buffy was currently dating Forrest Gate, one of the guys from his fraternity. She'd been going on about how Willow'd gotten flowers, and it was so sweet... It was clearly a hint that she hoped Forrest would get her flowers for Valentine's.

Willow had received more gifts, one every day from the first to the thirteenth. Flowers in all shades, several boxes of chocolates, and an assortment of small fuzzy stuffed animals holding little heart shaped pillows each with the words 'be mine' embroidered on them. Willow was undeniably happy, practically walking on air as she'd gone to and from her classes over the past few days.

On the fourteenth, he sent her a box of German-made marzipan, and then sought her out during the time he'd learned she had lunch, finding her in a corner of the student center, sitting in a window bay gazing outside.

"This is where a guy would traditionally serenade the pretty woman that he'd like to ask out, but... since I really can't sing, I'll skip the actual singing part. Happy Valentine's Day, Willow." Riley spoke, hoping that she would smile at him, that she wouldn't be angry, or depressed, or any of the dozens of emotional responses that a woman could use that left a man feeling inept, clueless and awkwardly in the way.

She looked at him, her eyes sparkling as she gave a hesitant smile. "Riley? You're my... the flowers were beautiful. And I loved the little tiger with the heart..."

He gave a small nod, his hands shoved into his pockets. "Well, yeah. I hope... I mean, I don't want to be too pushy or anything, but... would you maybe want to go to dinner or something? Be my valentine?"

Willow rose to her feet, and walked over, her eyes bright and a glorious smile on her face. "I'd love to go to dinner with you, Valentine."

Riley smiled back, feeling like the luckiest guy on campus. He had Willow, or at least, a date with Willow. Valentine's Day was good.

end Sweet Valentine.