Wood it work?
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership of any intellectual property owned by any major or minor media company and am not making money off of same.
Nine year old Willow Rosenberg was a girl on a mission. She loved reading and wanted to share that love with Xander and Jessie, more Xander than Jessie, who was currently deemed a poopyhead for a surprise water balloon attack while she was holding Harvey, who had taken three trips through the dryer to dry out. Fortunately her stuffed bear slash backpack absorbed all the water before it could ruin her books.
Xander and Jessie weren't big readers, unless there were lots of pictures and characters that gave the reader an unreasonable expectation of what the human body should look like AKA comic books. Fortunately Willow had just the thing to capture their attention—she had… Narnia!
A week later
"That was awesome!" Xander said when Willow finished reading the book aloud.
"Yeah," Jessie agreed. "I'm going to give those books on tapes thing a shot."
"What?" Willow asked confused.
"Hearing you read it was cool," Jessie told her, "much better than reading it myself, which is what those books on tape things are for, so I can read books without reading them."
"Okay," Willow said with a frown. While she didn't like the fact that he wouldn't be reading himself at least he'd be hearing some great books.
"Read the start again," Xander told her, clearly enthralled.
"Wouldn't you rather read it yourself?" she asked hopefully.
"It'll be faster if you read it while I copy it down," Xander told her, confusing her.
One Month Later…
"What do you think, Wils?"
Willow looked at the poorly made wardrobe. "It needs a lot of work," she admitted. "But it's a big improvement over your last one," she encouraged.
"I found a better source of wood than the scraps of plywood they let me have at the lumberyard," Xander explained.
"The nails look a lot neater too!"
"I think I got the hang of them," Xander agreed.
"I found a book on furniture making, an old one like you asked for," Willow said, holding out a large hardback book.
Xander accepted the book and skimmed through it, his eyes lighting up as he saw what was in it.
He would forever deny he squealed like a teenage girl at a concert, not that Willow noticed as he'd swept her up in a hug and kissed her cheek, thanking her profusely.
Willow suddenly found furniture making a fascinating field.
"I need a dictionary," Xander said.
"I have one at my house," Willow quickly said. "I could make us lunch!"
"How about WE make lunch?" Xander suggested, remembering a seven year old willow covered in flour and eggs from her attempts to make pancakes.
"You're thinking about the pancake incident, aren't you?" Willow accused, recognizing the look in his eye and the grin on his lips.
"Remember when we made spaghetti?" Xander asked not answering her.
"Yeah we made way too much, just like I said we would, and cleanup would have been easier if you'd listened to me beforehand, but it turned out great."
"Exactly, so if 'we' make lunch I expect nothing but success!"
"Then 'we' will clean up afterwards," Willow teased, knowing he'd tried to back out last time.
Ira took Shelia's coat and put it away with his own when they stepped in the door.
"Something smells good," Shelia noted.
Ira followed her into the kitchen where they found a clean kitchen, enough meatloaf for a half dozen people warming in the oven, and a large pot of mashed potatoes and one of mixed vegetables. "Our little girl is almost old enough to take care of herself," he said proudly, as he saw the dinner she'd made for them.
"Certainly mature enough for us to attend some local conventions," Shelia said thoughtfully. "Just during the weekends of course."
"Of course," he agreed. They'd both been looking forward to a convention on sexual politics and bondage and discipline being held in San Diego, but it wasn't something they thought Willow should be exposed to until she was older.
The moment Xander saw Willow he knew something was wrong. He set down his sandpaper and walked over to her. "Are you okay?"
"Kinda, yeah… no," Willow admitted. "Mom and Dad are going to a convention and they said I'm old enough to look after myself for a couple of days…"
"Would you like me to come over?" Xander offered.
"Could you?" Willow asked hopefully eyes lighting up.
"It's summer, as long as I show up for dinner or tell them I'm eating at a friend's they won't even notice I'm gone," Xander replied.
Willow hugged him tightly, feeling guilty because she knew the trouble he was having at home and for once she was glad of it as it meant he had more time for her.
Willow set the table and Xander heated up the leftovers from what they'd made the day before. They talked about the latest movies and what cartoons they liked and then they cleaned up and washed the dishes together.
The fact that here parents were gone had faded from her thoughts, she'd just had dinner with Xander and talked about their days like her parents did, it was almost like she and Xander were a couple and she couldn't be happier.
Xander changed into his pajamas in the bathroom while Willow changed in her room. When he rejoined her she realized she hadn't thought about where he was going to sleep.
Xander hadn't considered it either and it'd been a couple of years since he'd slept over, (Willow's parents had stopped letting her have sleepovers with Jessie and Xander when she turned seven) so he simply climbed into her bed like he was used to.
Willow turned off the light and climbed into bed, sure that she didn't need a nightlight as her blush could probably be seen from space. Mustering up her courage she planned out what she was going to say and then squeaked out the word, "Boyfriend?"
"Boyfriend," Xander agreed grabbing her hand under the covers.
They fell asleep holding hands and smiling.
Willow and Xander looked over their newest creation. With Willow helping to puzzle out some of the more difficult passages they'd made a sea chest using methods of construction that had gone out of style at the turn of the century. Carefully sanded and fitted wood was fastened together using wooden pegs soaked in water and hammered in place using a wooden mallet.
Sitting in the front yard drinking lemonade they admired the fruits of their labor.
"OK, I admit this way of putting together furniture is superior," Xander said. "It takes a lot more preparation to get everything ready, but it fits together a lot better."
"The book says we need whale oil and beeswax for the finish," Willow said.
"I know where to get whale oil," Xander said.
"Where?" Willow asked curiously.
"None of your beeswax," Xander replied and started tickling her.
After the tickle fight had finished, Willow asked, "Do you really know where to get whale oil?"
"No, but the furniture place downtown has been there since forever, so they might know," Xander replied. "We'll take it down there and ask."
"It's kinda heavy," Willow pointed out, not looking forward to trying to carry it onto the bus.
"Jessie's been looking for an excuse to drive Uncle Rory's truck again anyway," Xander offered.
"We almost got caught last time," Willow reminded him.
"Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand-grenades," Xander replied with an enthusiastic grin.
"I'll get the police scanner," Willow said with a sigh, knowing there was no arguing him out of it and wanting to be there to help keep him out of trouble.
"We'll take back alleys all the way," Xander promised.
"Just make sure there's room under the seat for me to hide if we get pulled over," Willow said.
"We'll wear our troll masks," Xander added, "that way they won't even recognize us!"
Half an hour later…
The approaching officer took one look at the three figures in the truck and immediately turned and left, not saying a word.
"Good call on the masks," Jessie said starting the truck back up.
"Weird," Willow said, relieved she wasn't going to have to call her parents for bail money.
"Your driving is getting better," Xander told Jessie, "you only hit three trash cans on that last block."
"It's hard to see out of my mask," Jessie admitted.
"I told you to widen the eye-holes," Willow said before giving him an order, "Trade masks with me."
Taking off and switching masks only took a couple of seconds.
"I can see!" Jessie exclaimed like a blind man opening his eyes for the first time.
"I'm nearly blind in this," Willow said, "I'm surprised you managed to miss any cans at all!"
"Miss?" Jessie asked. "I was using them to make sure I wasn't going to hit any buildings."
"Next time we wear helmets and pads," Xander told Willow as Jessie drove on, accidentally bouncing a trashcan off the bumper.
They pulled into the back of Max's furniture and got out of the truck. Before they could take off their masks an enormous, bald, gray skinned… creature, that was at least nine feet tall stepped off the loading dock and picked the chest off the back of the truck with one hand and took it inside.
"That was not a costume," Willow said as the three stood there in shock.
"I knew it!" Xander exclaimed, grinning beneath his mask.
Max, an older man in his mid-fifties who looked like he didn't eat enough, came outside. "It's good work, a bit amateurish, but built using the old ways. I'll give you four-fifty for it, unless you'd prefer some other method of payment."
"Cash is king," Jessie said accepting the money.
"Get any more pieces of that quality, bring them by," Max said, heading back inside.
Jessie peeled off fifty and handed four hundred dollars to Xander. "We are ordering pizza!"
"What did you know?" Willow asked Xander.
"I knew Narnia wasn't just a story!" Xander said picking up Willow and swinging her around.
"That's why you're building furniture!" Willow exclaimed. "You want to go to Narnia!"
"Dude, seriously?" Jessie asked.
"The cops and Max thought we were something other than human," Xander said, "and you saw that gray… guy. There is a lot more out there than we know and I am going to find a way to Narnia."
"I'm in," Willow said.
"So am I," Jessie agreed. "Now let's get your uncle's truck back and make some plans."
"Plans?" Xander asked.
"We have a way to make money so we don't have to keep stealing wood from abandoned houses and scavenging for the tools you need," Jessie said, "we need a workshop and some place to figure out what to do next."
Typing by: Stephenopolos
AN: An earlier start for the three.
TN: Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you. …King of the Cretins.