Feedback: Yes, thank you. Melpomenethalia@aol.com
Spoilers: Through Buffy season 4.
Summary: Set mid-season four, Willow treasures a secret birthday gift.
Author's Note: Twenty-third in the Jewel Box series, a collection of 500 word fics (in response to The 500 Club) and an idea taken from Challenge in a Can. In this case, it's Willow, secretive, jewelry.
Disclaimer: All characters are owned by Mutant Enemy (Joss Whedon), a wonderfully creative company whose characters I have borrowed for a completely profit-free flight of fancy. Kindly do not sue me, please, as I am terrified of you. Thank you.
Willow was never one for jewelry. It wasn't that she disliked it so much as the thought of wearing it rarely occurred to her. She had the standard set of formal earrings, a watch, a couple nondescript bracelets and necklaces, but nothing she had ever felt attached to.
Nothing, that is, until a week ago. Birthdays were another thing that had never been a big deal to her. Usually her parents were out of the country, and if they weren't, they went to work before she was up and returned home after she was asleep, leaving a gifts on the kitchen counter. Her mother could always be relied upon every single year to give her a book on the history of the oppression of women. Her father would get her some high-tech gadget, expensive and impersonal. There was never a card.
It hadn't been until high school when things had changed. Buffy and Xander, who'd never given a thought to the concept Willow had a birthday until Buffy pointed out she must have born at some point, had started making a lovely fuss. Willow was surprised by how much she enjoyed the silly paper hats and being the center of attention. But more than that, it had been about them loving her.
This year her parents were at a conference in Boston, Xander and Buffy had been busy with Anya and Riley respectively, and Willow had almost forgotten the day entirely until Tara nervously handed her the little box, wishing her a half-stuttered "happy birthday." She'd practically melted from the sweetness of it all. The gift turned out to be a tiny golden heart on a long chain.
"It's n-n-not real," Tara had said, her eyes lowered apologetically. "I mean, you know, th-the gold."
Willow had looked at her and smiled. "I think it's very real," she had said, gingerly touching the heart with the tip of her finger.
Willow was at Giles's appartment tonight, researching the latest demon with the rest of the Scoobies. At least that was what they were supposed to be doing. Spike was muttering in a corner, complaining about the temperature of his pig's blood. Xander currently was gnawing his way through his third bag of cheesy chips. Buffy sprawled on the couch, a book open before her, snoring quietly, Riley providing an equally unconscious pillow behind her. Giles caught Willow's gaze and rolled his eyes at the others before going into the kitchen to make his requisite pot of tea. There was one person missing, but she seemed to be the only one aware of it.
When Giles left, she carefully pulled the chain from its hiding place beneath her sweater, dangling the little charm in front of her eyes. It caught the light, practically glowing with the desire to make itself known, but she just wasn't ready yet. As she heard Giles's approaching footsteps, she carefully slipped the necklace inside her sweater again. Secretly, Tara's heart rested next to her own.