Disclaimer: Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy own these characters. I just like the pretty gift wrapping. If I owned them, of course, there would still be a series(provided we could get SMG back again …sigh).

 Lyrics to " We're All Alone" Property of Linda Eder

Author's Note: I must say I very touched and pleased at the response I have gotten for my stories. I never really expected much in the way of that when I started writing them. However, don't get me wrong, I love it. Thanks to all for helpful suggestions they have given me, I am doing my best to incorporate them.

This little story is kinda sorta a sequel to " The Christmas Gift." It takes place a week later, at New Year's Eve. There will be a bit more Buffy/Willow goodness in it. Hope it amuses. And again, thank you all so much for reading my little stories

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A Whole New Year

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You are sitting at the Bronze . It is New Year's Eve, and you are having a great time. So glad you decided to move the party here. No running around trying to decorate and get everything ready. No having to refill chip/dip and candy bowls(when will Xander ever outgrow his obsession with chocolaty goodness? Probably never).No spilled drinks on carpet that never come out. No finding little ' surprises' that fill you with dread. No stressing about broken lamps, broken furniture, broken windows. No worries about the cops showing up. Yes, so much better. Whose idea was it anyway? I could almost kiss them. Oh, yeah. Kennedy. Well … never mind.

Sitting here, doing the resting the feetsie thing is great. Danced up a storm, time to take a bit of a break. And you have to admit, you look great. Simple black cocktail dress, heeled sandals, black choker with a single large pearl . Good thing it is a quiet night. No place to put a stake here, you chuckle, sipping your drink. Did the patrol thing about 90 mins. ago and it is deader than dead. Even the vamps are co-operating tonight. Yay.

You have to admit that you aren't going to miss this year too much. What with the trio, Willow's magic out of control, then Tara dying. Willow going all veiny and evil, trying to destroy the world. And her being gone so long (really, really missed her) with Giles trying to fix what went wrong in her. And now the First. Sigh. All in all it adds up into sucky year deluxe. Ahhh, well, not much longer to go. Maybe next year will be better (if we figure out what to do with the First… double sigh…) Ok, girl. Off duty now. Time to relax and enjoy Bronze party goodness.

As you are enjoying the party, Xander and Anya dance bye. You see how they look at each other and wonder if they'll EVER get a clue as to how right they are together. Xan calls out " Hey Buff, no dancie, dancie?"  to which you reply " Doing the kick back thing, Xan"  And of course, An  has to get her word in " Xander, it isn't very nice to point out to Buffy that she doesn't have a  date, and therefore no one to dance with"…Xander gets his patented Habbita, Habbita look, and dances Anya away. ' did I ever mention how much she annoys me at times' you think, then chuckle.

You look around the dance floor a bit and spot Dawn. You smile, cause you can see she is having a great time. And that she looks great in ..hey, is that MY Red dress?.. ah well….and then you notice where Dawn's dance partner has his hand(riding so comfortably on her bottom) and you get ready to get up and say " Hey, buster, watch the hand placement" when you see Dawn casually reach back and adjust her partner's hand upward to her hip. Sigh. Good work, mom. Almost mortified Dawnie for nothing. You gotta learn she is growing up , and can handle these things. Yeah …that'll happen. Your gaze moves around and then locks.

Whoa...is that Will over there? Shakin' down the Willow tree with that hot little number she's wearing… Green spangly dress that gathers at the hips and …double whoa. Slits up the thigh? Will? Wow, you gotta admit her being with Tara was a good thing. Brought her out of her shell,  built her confidence up. Hard to believe this is the same Will that used to sit at the bar, finding it hard to talk to boys. Well. That's a moot thing anyway, considering.

 You wonder why you never noticed it before…but you  notice others are noticing…checking her out, male and female. You get a little twinge; is that jealousy? What's that about, you wonder. But you have to admit she looks hot. And cool. And (gulp) Sexy. You look at your drink, and think maybe time to ease up on the drinking, Buff.

And you look up, and she is standing there. Wow…even more hot close up. Hey, Buff, what is with the checking out best friend thing? Anyway, she says to you " Buffy, c'mon dance with me" and you hold up your glass, shaking it  indicating you are cooling off a bit. But she gets that Willow pouty thing going and says " C'mon Buff" and you think, Yeah, fuddy. Get off your butt and dance with her. She grabs your hand, and you find yourself on the floor.

And she is really shakin it up. And you are like, she is totally hot tonight. She so has this sexy adorableness stuff going (gulp, gulp) and you are thinking Buffy plus too much to drink = not good. So you blurt out " Hey, Will , when did you get so hot" and blush…" I mean… dancing ? Dance thing , ya know?" Blush, blush. And she smiles at you, and says " Oh, Well, Tara used to love to dance. We would go out dancing a lot." And you say" I don't remember you coming to the Bronze much with Tara." And she says " On, no. We used to go to the Butterfly's Heart…little gay club". Oh . She continues " Sometimes, we would just stay home and put on a romantic record and dance to it". And you notice her tearing up a bit, and her smile is fading. ' No you don't' you think, and you give her a wicked hip bump, and a wicked smile. She is startled… but then gives you that "Oh, yeah?" look, and bumps you back, and giggles.

Giggling, and feeling a little giddy, you dance behind her and give her a butt bump, which of course she returns. And you both are now dancing back to back, and close together. And … suddenly you become very, very aware of how close you are, how much of her you feel against you. And you kinda giggle nervously, and dance around in front of her, and at that moment the music stops.

          " Last song before the New Years. An  Oldie but Goodie for all you Lovers out there"

You and Willow look a bit embarrassed, but then she opens her arms and you walk into them. You hear the singer begin the song:

Outside the rain begins
And it may never end
So cry no more on the shore,
A dream will take us out to sea
Forever more
Forever more

Willow puts her arms around your neck, and you find your arms around her. You dance, swaying gently to the music.

Close your eyes and dream
And you can be with me
'Neath the waves,
Through the caves of hours
Long forgotten now
We're all alone
We're all alone

Close the window, calm the light
And it will be all right
No need to bother now
Let it out, let it all begin
Learn how to pretend

Willow lays her head on your shoulder. You are intensely aware of this woman in your arms. How she feels next to you

Once a story's told

It can't help but grow old
Roses do, lovers too
So cast your seasons to the wind
And hold me, dear
Oh, hold me, dear

And Willow is closer to you now, and your bodies sway in rhythm.  You feel tingles. And shivers. 'But this is Will. Your bud' your mind says, but your body is telling you different things. You feel like you are floating

Close the window, calm the light
And it will be all right
No need to bother now
Let it out, let it all begin
Learn how to pretend

And you breathe in her scent. And it reminds you of  cinnamon and sweet spice. You feel her heart beating close to yours. And you feel your breath getting a bit …ragged

Close the window, calm the light
And it will be all right
No need to bother now
Let it out, let it all begin
Learn how to pretend

And you notice the arc of her neck. And your lips are getting dangerously close to it. You feel panicky, you can't breathe.

" I… I am sorry Will, I need some air… gotta go"

And you break away from her, and find yourself almost running for the exit.

"Buff? Buffy?" Willow calls out after you, but you can't hear her. You only hear the beat of your panicky heart.

And you are outside. And you gulp in air. And then breathe again. And then you hear Willow behind you.

" Buffy" She calls, a little worriedly. " Are you ok?"

" I'm fine, Will. I think I just had a little bit to much to drink" You lie so well.

She comes to you, and lays her hand on your shoulder " Don't worry, Buff. I'll drive home"

" Thanks, Will" You reply. Then you begin to giggle.

" What? What is it?" Willow is grinning, seeing you relax a bit

" I remember the last time we … well, I was this drunk. It was like a few years back. We had way too much eggnog, and we wound up in the back yard, lying on the grass, looking at the stars. And you were so seriously trying to point out the constellations to me. And I was so seriously following along, until you got to Cassiopeia . And I started to giggle then, too. And you repeated 'Cassiopeia' and I giggled some more, so you gave me a " What?" look. And I said to you " I wonder where in heaven Cassia does pee?". And then, you got this serious look on your face, and your brow got scrunchie, like you were really trying to find an answer to that. And I just lost it"

And You and Willow laugh at the memory, and you feel your heart relax.

And from the Bronze you hear " TEN" " Nine"

" I guess we should head back in…" You start, but then time seems to stop for you.

Because she is there in front of you. Like a dream.

"Six, Five"

And your hands find each other, and your fingers lock together

" Three, Two"

And you lean in.

" One"

You meant only to give her a chaste kiss on the cheek. But your lips find each others , and you feel tiny sparks dancing across your lips.

And her lips are soft , so soft. And they taste like cherries and chocolate.

" This is Will, this is WILL " Your mind screams "This is so ….."

And then your mind goes  … " Mmmmm"

Just one more second, you think…ok, another….and another

And then the kiss breaks. And your are touching foreheads, and you are looking into each other's eyes. And you both have shy smiles.

And Willow breathes " Oh"

And you breathe " My"  not realizing you had stopped breathing.

And then Willow begins to giggle.  And your eyebrow shoots up in a " What?" expression

And she giggles out " Cooties"

 And you start to giggle " GIRL cooties"

And you both go " Ewwww"

And you giggle and laugh, and lock arms, and walk back into the Bronze.

" Just a kiss. Just a silly New Year's kiss. No Big. Won't happen again"  You tell yourself

and you unconsciously lick your lips, tasting hers

So, why are you a little disappointed?

== Fin ==

Auld Ang Syne, All. Happy New Year. May you have the best year yet.