Storm

Disclaimer: Joss Whedon owns the characters. We know , we know already

Author's note : Not set in any particular season, but before they go to college. Buffy has the rainy day blues. Ok, summary sucks. Might be better to just read the story. Thanks .

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Storm

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Buffy Summers hates thunderstorms.

She particularly hates this thunderstorm. She is standing at the front window at her house on Revello drive, looking out at the storm. Buffy is sunshine girl, she loves the sun and all the goodness that goes with it. Rain …bad, sun… good. That's her philosophy, anyway(one of many). Rain means staying inside. Not being able to drive(so unfair, those driving tests! Why don't they ask anything REAL on them, anyway?), it means she can't go out to the mall, or to the espresso pump, or the bronze…or anywhere cool( Buffy is not walking in the rain girl, either. Doesn't like to get wet… unless it's for fun. And rain is so not fun!). Today's storm is a particular bummer. Mom is away at some thing happening in L.A. Xander and his folks have gone somewhere on a vacation(bet he's having LOADS of fun…ick). And Willow…sigh…Will is at a "mandatory attendance" Rosenberg Family dinner. They are rare events, as Ira and Sheila Rosenberg are usually off 'doing their thing' somewhere. So, when they're all together, there's at least ONE dinner that Will has to go to…and that's tonight. TV is sucky, don't want to watch movies alone, and read? Please! Gimme a break, already. Nope, this is turning into super mega sucky day.

Buffy also has a little secret that she hasn't shared… with anyone. Well, with mom, but no way to avoid that. She's terrified of thunder and lightning. Scares her silly. That's right, the Slayer, the Chosen one, She who blah, blah, blah, etc, etc. is afraid of storms. Maybe it's the sudden noise, maybe it's the unpredictability of them. WhatEVER,  thunder and lightning make her quiver. And she hates quivering. Every time lightning strikes, a little stab of fear goes through her heart. Her tummy gets rumbly- tumbly, and a peal of thunder makes her want to jump out of her skin. To summarize, Buffy + Thunderstorm = Bad Mojo

At that moment, a loud boom of thunder shakes the house. Buffy feels her stomach go into knots, and feels herself shaking. This is totally stupid, she thinks. It can't hurt me, it can't cut off my head, for Pete's sake. So why am I full of quiverness anyway? Dumb, Buffy. Really dumb. But of course, yelling at herself for being a baby about these things doesn't make it better, and she's still feeling shaky.

She turns away from the window, and notices how dark it's gotten inside. Right, dark house and storm. That's gonna so help my nerves, she thinks. She walks over, about to turn on a light when a bright flash of lightning appears. It's followed almost instantaneously by a loud thunderclap. She is shaking harder now, trying to calm herself. She remembers vaguely that someone once told her how to tell how far a strike was by the time difference between the lightning and thunder. One second equals one mile, if she remembered. But those came almost at the same time. Crap! That means it musta been real close!  How close?

Her curiosity overcomes her fear. She makes for the window, and looks out. Over on the next block, she can see a plume of smoke in the rain….Hey…isn't that block where Will's house is? Isn't that the direction of Willow's house? She lets the curtain fall back, telling herself that she's being silly. Of course it didn't hit Will's house. Just a coincidence, is all. It's all cool.

She goes and turns on a lamp, and sits on the sofa. She sits for awhile, but can't get the thought out of her mind. What if Will's house got struck? Awww,. c'mon, that's just stupid. Just your nerves working overtime, Buff. It's nothing…nothing. But she can't quite get the feeling something's wrong out of her mind, try as she will. She finds herself back at the window. Another strike happens, and her heart is beating faster in her chest. She feels like she wants to hurl, and she's scared silly. Looking out, she sees the plume has darkened, and thickened. Her mind keeps nagging at her.

Finally, she decides to call. That's it. I'll talk to her, she'll tell me how close it got, and all will be cool. No big. No getting paranoid, Buff. She'll giggle at your fear, and maybe you can talk for a bit. Help you calm down. Anything. She heads for the phone, picks it up and dials Willow's number. It rings… and rings… and rings. No answer. DAMN!!! Now it's worse than ever. She starts pacing. I gotta go, go see. Make sure she's ok.  A peal of thunder lets rip, and she starts to shake. Dammit all, why now? Why do I have to be a fraidy- cat now? Her hearts thumping in her chest, and she's starting to sweat from nervousness. But still, she hesitates. The fear is real, and it's holding her back.  She paces back and forth, getting increasing more and more agitated. The fear and the worry are making her ill. She wants to go, has to go… but she can't. It's just too much….

Finally, something in her breaks. Her worry over Will's safety wins over her fear. She grabs her coat, and makes for the front door. She has to know Will's ok. She has to!

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Buffy's running through the rain.

She is soaked, the coat she picked was way too light. She's anxious, and feeling a bit lost. Lightning lights up the sky, and a clap of thunder follows. She's scared out of her skin, being out in it, but she has to keep going. But the light and sounds disorient her, and for a minute she's not sure where she is. The rain is coming down hard. It's hard for her to see, as it's getting dark. But she finally determines where she is, and changes course towards Will's house.

 As she arrives, she sees the fire trucks pulled up around Willow's house. She gets closer, and can see the roof is blazing away. Her heart is thumping in her chest.  Her breathing is coming in short, staccato bursts. She runs up, and sees Mr. and  Mrs. Rosenberg standing at the sidewalk, talking to a fireman on the scene. They're gesticulating wildly at him, trying to get him to do something. She looks around, but doesn't see Willow. She moves in closer to the Rosenbergs, overhearing the last snatches of the conversation

"She's still IN there" Mrs. Rosenberg says, frantic. " She's in her bedroom around back. She must be trapped. You've got to do SOMETHING!!" She's screaming at the fireman now.

"We can't, ma'am. The way to the back is blocked by that tree" The fireman points to a large tree that fell over in the storm, crushing Ira Rosenberg's car, and blocking the way to the back." We got guys cutting through it, but it's gonna take time. We can't go through the house, that way is blocked by fallen beams." He looks upset. This isn't going so well, he's afraid there is nothing they can do.

"Mrs. Rosenberg. Where is she? Where's Willow?" Buffy, coming up to Sheila Rosenberg, asks.

"Bunny? Bunny Summers? What're you doing here?" Sheila turns to her, her face distraught.

"I saw the lightning strike, and the fire. I came as soon as I could" Buffy says." Where's Will?"

At that moment another thunderclap is heard, and a strong chill goes through Buffy. She's barely holding on here.

"She's… she's in there, Bunny. She's trapped" Sheila says, pointing towards the back. She begins to lose it. "She's trapped. Oh, god, she's going to die. My baby's going to DIE!!!" Sheila is screaming and crying.

Buffy grabs Sheila by the arms, and turns her towards herself. She looks her straight in the eye and says" No one's gonna die. Not if I can help it. She's in her room?" Buffy asks, trying to keep it calmer.

Sheila Rosenberg nods. " Yes. But they can't get through. That tree is blocking the way. The other way, through the house is blocked by burning beams. There's no way to get to her! Oh, god" She starts to cry, shaking. Ira Rosenberg comes to her, and holds her.

" I'll get to her." Buffy looks at the tree, and is a bit taken aback. It's huge…but she thinks she can get over it." Don't worry, I'll get Will".

" Please, Bunny, please, save my Willow." Sheila says, desperate.

Buffy starts for the tree when another thunderclap is heard, loud this time. She nearly jumps out of her skin, but keeps going. She can't stop now… Will might be hurt. She's gotta get to her.  As she gets closer to the tree, a fireman blocks her way.

"You can't go here, miss. It's too dangerous. Please go back and stand out of the way."

"Don't EVEN try to stop me" Buffy says low, but her voice deadly serious. As gently as she can, considering how upset she is, she pushes the fireman out of the way. He goes flying back a few feet. He gains his footing, and comes at her, trying to stop her, but it's too late. She's already in the tree.

As she climbs through the overturned tree, the branches whipsaw back on her, scratching her face and upper body. The footing is slick from the rain. She almost looses her footing when another thunderclap booms out, scaring her. She recovers, and plows forward. She is almost through the tree, ready to jump off when she sees another sight that makes her stomach turn over.

Another tree has fallen over in the storm, and landed right on the roof of Willow's room. It's partially collapsed the roof. Buffy feels her heart sink in her chest. Her emotions, already near breaking over fright and worry, take over and she can feel the tears overtaking her. She bites her lip, trying  to hold it back, and plows forward, trying desperately to reach her friend.

" Please, God, if you're there, please. Please let her be alive. Please let her be ok. I'll do anything, give anything if she's ok" Buffy prays to herself. She is near breaking, but she can't stop. She can't. Willow needs her. She feels it in her gut.

She weaves around the debris in the yard, making for Willow's room. She sees the door is stuck, the collapsing roof has partially blocked it. She looks around frantically, trying to see Willow, but at first doesn't. Then, she sees her form, passed out in the room.  She makes for the door, and starts kicking at it. It's jammed tight, but she keeps kicking. All the while she's silently praying that Will is still alive, still alive. Finally, out of sheer desperation and strength, she manages to get the door unstuck, and it flies open. The smoke from the room pours out into the fresher air.

Buffy, going low, enters the room. She moves through the smoke towards the inert form of Willow. She's lying on her side, and is unconscious. Buffy picks her up, and starts to move towards the door as a beam behind them collapses, narrowly missing them. Buffy's heart leaps in her chest, but she holds on, and carries Willow out into the night air.

She lies Willow down in a relatively safe spot in the backyard, out of the rain, and notices she's not breathing! Oh,. God, no! Buffy's mind panics. Then she remembers the CPR class she took, and begins to give Willow CPR. Taking off her already soaked coat, she rolls it and places Wills head on it. Arching her neck, she opens her mouth, makes sure her throat is clear, and pinching Will's  nose, she  starts mouth-to- mouth. Breath Will, please, Buffy begs her silently as she renders aid. Getting no response, she begins chest compressions(careful of her slayer strength). C'mon Will, please, please baby- breathe for me. Buffy keeps up it up, then switches back to  mouth- to –mouth. She is fully panicked now, her mind starting to blame herself. Why didn't she come sooner? Why? WHY? Dammit, Buffy. You're fears cost you Will. The most important person in your life. She starts on the chest compressions again, not giving up. Suddenly, Willow takes in a huge breath, and coughs.. .and coughs. Buffy stops the compressions, and looks over at her. Willow's eyes have opened , and she looks disoriented. But otherwise, she looks fine.

" Where am I? What happened? " Willow's brow furls , not understanding. " Buffy? What're you doing here?"

Willow all of a sudden finds herself in a huge slayer embrace. She hears Buffy crying and laughing at the same time, and hugging her tightly…a little too tightly!

"Buffy…. need… to … breathe….now" Willow gasps out. Buffy loosens her grip.

Buffy is holding her still, but more gently now, and is laughing and crying, and saying over and over " You're alive, Will. Thank god you're alive"  Willow, still out of it, not understanding, still hugs Buffy, and rubs her back , trying  calm her.

Buffy, her emotions now out of control, so happy that Willow is alive, starts kissing Willow all over her face. She's not even aware what she's doing, she's just so grateful that her friend is alive.

Willow is startled. She's not sure what happened, but … she's so not hating this. Not even trying to push Buffy away, she gives in to Buffy's kisses. Finally, Buffy's lips land on hers, and hold for  a sustained kiss. Willow thinks she's died and gone to heaven. She's secretly crushed on Buffy for like forever. She's had daydreams about kissing Buffy… and now it was so happening!!! She feels sore, hot, hurts in too many places to count, but doesn't give a rat's patootie. Buffy is kissing her! KISSING HER!!!!

Buffy, suddenly realizing what she's doing, breaks the kiss. She backs off, her eyes saucer wide.

"W-W-Will. Oh, god, I – I – so sorry. I … didn't know what I was doing. I was just so happy you're alive!" Buffy says, stammering.

" Buffy? What's going on" Willow says, looking around and finally realizing the house is on fire!!!… then she remembers that she was trapped in her room, and passed out….oh…god

"You saved me! Buffy, you SAVED ME!!!" Willow says. Buffy doesn't say anything, just blushes and looks away.

"C'mon, Will, I better get you back out front. Your mom's having a fit out there." Buffy says, trying to cover up her feelings and emotions. She gets up, and reaches out for Will's hand.

"Uh-uh… no way. Not yet!" Willow says, stopping her. " I gotta know somethin'" She says.

"Will, we can talk later. Not safe here. Lets go!" Buffy says, concerned… maybe more about what Willow wants to talk about than their particular danger at the moment.

"No, Buffy, Now!" Willow says, putting on her resolve face. One thing you don't do is go against Will's resolve face. Buffy, sighing, squats down next to her.

" Will, this is stupid. We can talk once we're safe. Staying back her is dangerous" Buffy says, but knows it's pointless. Swaying a rock is easier than Willow when she has her resolve face on.

"No way, Buff. I know you. Once we're out there, you'll avoid me. So, I gotta know and know now. Before we go out there!" Willow says, firmly.

"What? What do you wanna know?" Buffy asks, suddenly feeling like she's in a courtroom.

"Ok, first thing. Why'd you come?" Willow asks, quietly.

" What? What do you mean? I saw…the smoke…came over to see if I could help" Buffy said, covering .

" Buffy, stop! I know you're afraid of thunderstorms.  You weren't outside. Why'd you come?" Willow said, insistently.

"You know? How…how do you know that?" Buffy said, confused and suspicious." I never told anyone about that!"

" Buffy, please. I'm not blind! I've been over to your house before when there's thunder and lightning. I can see your reaction. Sure, you try to cover it up, and do a pretty good job of it. But I can tell." Willow says.

Buffy doesn't say anything, just looks at the ground.

"So, again …why'd you come over here?" Willow asks.

" Will. I did see the smoke, out my window. And, it was like in the general area where you live. So… I tried to call you, but no answer. I got panicky. I … felt something might be wrong, so I came over…just to be sure you were ok" Buffy says.

Willow looks at her friend, and smiles." So, you came out in the lightning and thunder, which scares you, to check on me?" Willow says.

"Well, I thought … I… felt something might be wrong" Buffy stutters and stammers, not looking at Willow.

" So, why you, Buffy? Why are you here with me, and not the firemen? I can hear the trucks out front. I know they're here… why aren't they rescuing me?"

" Well.. ummm.. they couldn't get to you, Will. You were blocked in on all sides." Buffy says, quietly.

"How'd you get in, then?" Willow asks, smiling to herself.

" I… Uh…climbed through the tree blocking the driveway." Buffy said.

" Didn't they try to stop you?" Willow asks, already knowing the answer.

"Well, yeah, but I wasn't about to let them stop me, Will" Buffy says, a little more forcefully.

" So, you risked your life…and maybe being thrown in jail, to find me?" Willow asks, again quietly.

"I…ah…well, it's no big, Will" Buffy said, again looking down. Not liking this.

Willow's expression softens. " Oh, I don't know, Buffy. I'd be a crispy critter right now if not for you. So yeah, it's big. It's a big big!"

Buffy looks at the ground, her eyes averted. She mumbles something to the effect of don't sweat it, or something like that.

"Why, Buffy?" Willow asks, pointedly.

Buffy looks up at her, surprised. Maybe a little hurt.

"Why? How can you even ask that, Willow?" Buffy says, tone definitely hurt.

" Why? Buffy, I gotta know. Why'd you do it? Risk your life for me?" Willow says, looking at the smaller blonde girl.

"Geeze, Will, what? I was gonna let you turn into toast? Become Willow Flambé? You're my best friend, you know that!!!!" Buffy says, but still refuses to look Willow straight in the eye.

" Is that all, Buffy? I'm your best friend? That's all it was?" Willow asks, gently.

"Well, yeah…sure!" Buffy says, maybe a little too quickly.

"Well, you didn't kiss me like I'm your best friend, Buffy" Willow says.

"What?" Buffy interjects, so not liking what's going on. "That's nuts, Will!"

"Really? When you knew I was alive, you were laughing and crying and hugging me , nearly cracking a rib, I might add" Willow says, smiling at Buffy. " Then you kissed me, Buffy. I'm not real experienced, but I can tell the difference. That was no best bud's kiss!"

" You're nuts, Will! You're…still in shock from the fire. Yeah. You're…so wrong!" Buffy says. But she's not looking at Willow. She's looking at the ground, and my, her face is red!

"Am I, Buffy?" Willow says, lifting Buffy's chin with her finger." Really? Am I?"

Buffy, refusing to meet her gaze, says in a low voice, "Yes!"

But, Willow  won't give it up. It's too damned important. And she so knows when Buffy's trying to hide something from her… like now.

" Really?" Willow says, low…her tone coaxing.

Buffy feels trapped. Her emotions are all over the planet. But she looks up into Will's emerald colored eyes, and she's lost. So lost, it's not even funny.

Buffy, very quietly, almost inaudibly says "no".

Willow just smiles at Buffy. A warm, soft smile. She knew…she just knew. She feels her heart going pitty- pat in her chest.

"So, I guess that means then" She says quietly, almost not believing it herself." We're more than friends?"

Buffy, still in the grip of Willow's eyes, almost under a spell, says quietly" yes" .

"So, is this the part then where I get to kiss my rescuer?" Willow says quietly. Her heart is beating really, really fast.

"Yes, I guess it is " Buffy says, her heart beating faster than Will's.

Willow puts her arms around Buffy's neck, and leans in towards her. Buffy, seemingly under a spell, leans in towards Will, and their lips meet. The kiss is warm, soft, and full of previously unexpressed feelings. It lasts long…so long both girls are out of breath by the time they break it off. Their foreheads touch, and they gaze quietly into each other's eyes. Both have a nice blush going on their cheeks. They both lean in again, and kiss again, briefly.

" Ok, now you can take me out front" Willow says, softly. Buffy lifts her into her arms, and Will puts her arms around Buffy's neck. Willow leans her head on Buffy's shoulder, nuzzling against it.

Carrying her, Buffy takes Willow out front.

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 Fin.