Foolish Hearts

Disclaimer: Joss's children still live through his fans. Long live Fan fiction…and Joss Whedon, for creating these guys. Thanks for letting us use them( as long as we don't do it for profit). Legal. Joss Owns them.

Author's note: One shot fictions seem to be not as fun for some of you. A lot of you expressed a desire to see a little bit more of what happens next. No promises. Don't expect miracles. But, maybe this little sequel(sort of) to " April's Fools"  will work…or not. Well, I'm sure you'll let me know ( or not).

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Foolish Hearts

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The two women stood in the doorway, staring at each other. Neither seemed to want to move first. Maybe they didn't want to break the spell

Willow, fresh from the outdoors, looked sweet. Her cheeks were a little flushed from the wind, and her eyes sparkled… maybe a little mischievously. The corners of her mouth were tilted upwards, into a small smile. The tiny little dimples curled at the edges of her smile. In a buffyism, she was full of adorableness. She calmly waited for Buffy to say something, do something. Maybe recover from her dumbstruck look.

Dumbstruck would describe Buffy at that moment. The last person she expected to see at her door was Willow. Her eyes were wide, her mouth slightly open. She blinked, and blinked again, expecting Willow to disappear… but each time, she still was there. This wasn't happening, her mind told her. This kind of thing doesn't happen. But it happened…her eyes weren't lying to her.

They stood there, looking at each other for a few beats more… they Buffy's body clicked in, even as her mind was still awhirl with confusion. Before Will knew what was happening, one small blonde woman had her in tight embrace.

"Ooof , Buffy!" Willow said, then gasped a little…" Buffy…. not vampire…oxygen becoming an issue…" .

"Oops, sorry Will" Buffy blushed, loosening her hug…but not too much.  She still held her tight, afraid she'd disappear.

"I'm happy to see you too, Buffy" Willow teased her, smiling. But her smile was replaced with a concerned look." Buffy?" Willow asked, gently. The slayer was shaking in her arms." What's wrong, Buffy?"

"Will? Are you real?" Buffy asked, her eyes bright with unshed tears. She was biting her lip, trying and failing to keep it from quivering." I … I  didn't know how much I missed you, how empty I felt inside, 'til I saw you standing in the doorway. I… I thought you were an illusion, some trick my mind's playing on me. I … was going through boxes… and found that April Fools day dance pin. Are you real? Will? Please?" Buffy is babbling. She's overwhelmed, not knowing how to cope. "God, what'm I doing? Come in, come in!" She said, dragging Willow, a very confused Willow, inside.

Buffy looks around, and has a minor panic attack." God, I'm sorry, Will. The place is such a mess…no where to sit…god, hold on, I'll find something for you to sit on" Buffy babbles…starting off in one direction, then suddenly turning and going another way, then turning again. Her face looks a bit confused, and panicked. She walks over to Willow, touching her again, still not convinced she's real, and then heads off in another direction. Willow is getting dizzy just watching her. She finally speaks up.

"Buffy, stop. STOP!" Willow says, her concern growing into worry as she watches Buffy." Buffy, it's me, Will. No big. Sit. Here. With me." Willow unceremoniously sits on the floor, leaning up against a box. She pats the space beside her.

Buffy, seeming to come out of a daze, looks at Will. Really looks at her, like she's seeing her for the first time. Her face seems to relax a little, much to a very concerned Willow's relief, and breaks into a self- deprecating half-grin. She blushes just a touch, and sits down next to Willow.

"Honest, Will, I'm not nuts" Buffy says, seeing the worried look on Will's face." I… I… it's really kinda hard to explain …" Buffy trails off.

"It's ok, Buffy" Will says, looking at her. The smile has returned to Willow's face, mostly to reassure Buffy all's good" You don't need to explain."

"No, Will, I really do have to explain" Buffy says, her tone almost remorseful." It's something I shoulda said long ago, but didn't".

"Ok, Buffy " Willow says, humoring her. She's a bit worried by Buffy's expression and tone. It's … not like her.

" God, I don't even know how to start this, Will. My heads feeling all Mixmaster, here. You know we've been buds for… well, forever. We've been through a lot together. Lots and lots. I know I've put your life at risk  more times than I want to count, more times than I should've. I never shoulda put you at risk, Will. Ever." Buffy says, looking at Will. Willow starts to protest, but Buffy stops her "No, Will, it wasn't right. But the thing is, I don't think I'd be here if not for you. Well, I know I wouldn't be" Buffy says, referring to her resurrection. " But I mean besides that. You gave me an anchor to the world, Will. Something to hold onto when it woulda been easier to just let go".

"What about those, oh, gazillion times you saved my life?" Willow asks. She's not taking this praise-the-Willow fest without a reality check or 12 thrown in.

"That was only cuz I put you in danger in the first place" Buffy says, waving that off." Thing is, Will, you've always been an important part of my life. Always was, always will be. You being part of it gave me a safe place. Someplace that I can be something other than the slayer. I can be just Buffy, without all the other stuff. I couldn't do that with Giles, or Xander, or even my mom, really, when she was still alive. But with you, we could just hang, or watch old stupid movies, or go to the mall, or get espressos  or go to the Bronze, or just sit and be in a park, or the library( shudder, too many books) or anywhere. We could have fun, giggle, talk about anything. It gave me a base, someplace I could come to ground. It gave me a reason to hang on, fight, and win. Cuz I knew you'd be there, that you'd let me be me."

"Isn't that what friends do?" Willow asks. But she had to admit, she was loving this. Buffy praise was the best, anytime.

" That's part of my point, Will. You're more than a friend to me. I…mean, I've felt more than friendship to you for a long time. Almost from the start, Will, I knew there was something special between us."

"For the longest time, I thought I felt a sisterly affection towards you, all the warm fuzzies without the friction of living together" Buffy smiled. Willow returned the smile. She knew Buffy adored her sister, Dawn. But they could fight at the drop of a hat, and then make up, and 10 minutes later, be fighting again. "One night, that all changed." She walks over to the box she'd been rummaging through earlier, and pulls out the button she'd been looking at earlier. She held it up, for Will to see." This night. That all changed this night".

Will looks at Buffy, and a small smile came on her face. She'd been thinking of that night too, on her trip here. She'd not even been sure WHY she'd come here, and why now? Things at home had gotten… messy. She'd caught Kenny cheating on her. She kinda suspected something wasn't right, but when she came home early one day, and saw Kenny in bed with another girl…and WHO it was, it'd just crumbled her. She didn't even want to think about it. It was too painful. But she couldn't stay there, couldn't face what happened, so she left… on the pretext of business. But that wasn't it. She couldn't be in that place, reminded of what happened. It just hurt too much.

She'd put her everything into the relationship with Kenny. She'd wanted it to work, to last. She felt a great warmth and affection for Kenny,  a strong attraction to her. They were totally different people. And Kenny and Tara were light years apart in most everything. But Will had seen something she liked in the younger girl; and she had to admit that in bed, Kenny made her…pop. Pop like no one made her pop before. So she put great energy, a lot of devotion, into making it work .Was what they had love? Ah… Willow wasn't sure. But she felt it could be, should be. And, since who she wanted, really wanted, was unattainable, so far away, probably not going to be part of her life anymore, she wanted this, badly.

"Maybe that was my mistake" Will thinks" Maybe that's why it hurt so bad when I found the two of them together. In bed. In the throws of passion. Maybe if it hadn't been her Kenny cheated with, it wouldn't have hurt so much. That was like a slap in the face. Seeing Kenny making love to Dawn, seeing Dawn's expression of guilt and defensiveness, her face still flushed from excitement and lust. It…god, I … can't even deal now with it".

Dawn had been staying with Kenny and her for awhile. She'd originally gone with Giles to England. Was set to go to an English university ( Cambridge, no less.), but at the last moment, after a lot of strings being pulled by Giles, and a lot of favors cashed in, backed out. She decided instead she wanted to go to an American university. Giles had been severely disappointed, but resigned about the whole thing. Buffy on the other hand, had a fit!

Dawn and she got into a yelling match, which ultimately resulted in Buffy telling her she was on her own. She so wasn't gonna live with her, she could figure out what she wanted to do herself. Since, as Buffy said, you INSIST you're an adult now, deal with the consequences.

 Willow had empathized with Dawn. She knew she probably had a case of homesickness, and just wanted to be back home, closer to family and friends.  She also knew Buffy could be… well, like a brick wall when she made up her mind. So, she invited Dawn to live with her, and go to school in the Bay area. Dawn got accepted at Stanford, and to save money( since Buffy refused to support her), commuted to Stanford from Will's house ( Giles, by the way, saw to it that most of the expenses at Stanford were taken care of, so don't feel too bad for Dawnie).

At first, it'd been great. Will always liked Dawn. She was like a little sister to Will. And, in some small way, since Buffy wasn't around, it was a comfort to have one of the Summers' sisters close. Dawn, despite her sometimes childish ways, was a real sweetheart. Helpful, cheerful and perky most of the time, it'd been really pleasant.

But things changed. Willow, due to the nature of her work, had to travel a lot. She'd be gone sometimes for a day, sometimes a week. During those absences, evidently, Kenny and Dawn got closer. And closer. And then…too close.  And then came the day Will came back early, as a surprise. Unfortunately, the surprise had been hers.

She blamed Kenny more than Dawn. She blew up, and told Kenny to get lost…and never find her way back. But not before her eyes went black, and she did a few things to frighten Kenny that Kenny never would forget. Kenny left, quietly, the next day.

Dawn was different. She could see the girl had true remorse for what she'd done. And, Willow thought, probably Kenny had seduced her. And she was Buffy's sister. She couldn't just throw her out on the street. So, after some real tears and recriminations, she let Dawn stay. But that didn't change what happened, what she'd seen. She couldn't get it out of her head. Her relationship with Dawn was damaged, and she needed time away to think. So, making up the excuse she had to go away on business, she left San Francisco.

She hadn't planned on coming to Cleveland. After that night in Los Angeles, when they said goodbye, she'd pretty much figured Buffy had wanted to put her old life behind her… including her. Buffy had rushed off so quickly at the end, that Will didn't know what to think. So, she'd kinda stayed out of  Buffy's life. She'd exchange an occasional letter, but nothing really more. It was in one of her letters that she knew Buffy was in Cleveland. But not where( she got the address from Giles, later).

But now she needed Buffy. Felt drawn to Buffy. She needed someone to pour her heart out to( no, wasn't going to tell her Dawn's role in it, she knew Buffy would kill Dawn). It wasn't until she was on the plane, and realized what the day was ( April 1st … ironic, isn't it?), that the night of the dance came back to her, and all it's attendant memories.

Willow realized suddenly that Buffy was looking at her strangely. Huh? How long had she been woolgathering, anyway?

"Will, are you alright?" Buffy asks, concerned. She had that little pinch between her eyebrows that always appeared when she was deep in thought, or worried.

" Sorry, Buffy" Willow says, blushing slightly." My mind kinda drifted off. About the April Fool's Dance and all"

"Nothin' else, Will?" Buffy asked. She'd been silent for awhile, watching Will. It didn't' seem to her that it was all that pleasant a memory she'd been having. A little knife of ice hit Buffy in the gut. What if I…well, got it wrong? Maybe it hadn't been that great a night for Willow.

"No…nothing else, Buffy" Willow says, covering where her mind had wandered to.

"Maybe this isn't a good time to talk about this, Will." Buffy says, backtracking. She's beginning to think she made a mistake here, that Will doesn't have the same memory about that night. That it wasn't important to her. Maybe she doesn't really remember it? No, that can't be right, because she just spent a lot of time thinking about it. So, maybe then she doesn't… maybe I got it wrong. Way wrong. Cuz she's not looking all that happy with the memory. I don't get it . She dressed up so killer that night. And, she could've gone home with Oz, but she walked home with me.  Was I the only one that felt … something… when we slow danced together? And…that kiss…what was that about? She… kissed me, I know that? But, we never talked about it after that night. Oh crap. Now I know why. She wanted to forget about it. It'd… it musta been … stupid, Buffy. Really stupid! She probably wanted to forget about it, never think about it again…and you're bringing it up. God, don't you get it? It repulsed her. She was just too sweet to tell me that. God, Buffy. Everybody's so right. You're so self involved, you're thinking everyone feels the same way you do. Cripes. I said things changed that night. Oh, god how'm I gonna get outta that one?

"Buffy what is it? Why not talk about this? I mean, it seems important to you. We should talk about it" Willow says. She was a little worried for her friend. Her mind seemed all over the place today. So not like her. But, hey, I should talk? Will says to herself.

"No, Will. It …well, it just reminded me of you, how much I missed you. No big, not really" Buffy says. Maybe she can just pass this off.

"Really? Cuz it seemed like you said something about how things changed that night. What things? What did you mean?" Willow asks.

"I did? Oh, I guess I meant how…ummm… you and Oz really got together after that night." Buffy covers. She's trying to get out of this without too much egg on her face.

"Huh? Oz and I were together before that, Buffy. Don't you remember?" Willow asks. Her nose is twitching. 2+2 is not making 4 here.

" Oh…yeah, I got that. But I meant, that was the night I really got it… got it?" Buffy says.

"Oh, ok, I see" Willow says, not seeing. Buffy sighs relief inwardly. She thinks she just dodged a bullet there. Then Will's brow pinches, and she says " No... wait… no… that's not making sense". Buffy groans to herself. Crap!

"Whaddya mean, Will?" Buffy asks innocently.

" You were talking about your feelings, Buffy. Just before that. How they'd changed from friendship, to me being, well like a sister to you.  Then you said that changed that night. What did you mean?" Willow asks. Her face is settling into her resolve face. Something's not being told here.

" I did? Geeze, Will. I … my thoughts have been all scattered today. I guess  I just changed lanes in my head without signaling it" Buff said, still trying to wiggle out of this.

" I don't know, Buff. Sounded like you were pretty sure of it. Like there was something you wanted to say?" Willow says, not really asking.

Damn, what is she hiding? Willow thinks to herself. I got a clue, I think, but I can't just blurt it. Sounds too damned conceited. But, I know …well. I mean, I remember her being rather…dammit I know she felt something that night. I could sense the way she was looking at me. I could …tell something was going on when we danced. And she sure as hell returned that kiss we had. I wasn't there all by myself, I know that !

"Why would you think that?" Buffy said, all the time her mind saying ' DUMMY, DUMMY, DUMMY.' She continued " I… just remembered we had a great time that night."

Willow frowns a little. " Buffy, stop. You were gonna say something else. What was it? We're friends, right? We can tell each other things, ok?"

"No… there's nothing to say. And , anyway, I think it's best to just let this drop. I  thought it was a pretty nice evening. That's how I remember it. But , I don't think you felt the same." Buffy says, in a rush.

"Huh? Where'd you get that?" Willow asks, truly puzzled.

" Will, I watched as you were thinking about that night. The expression on your face wasn't a happy one. So, I guess I just didn't see it the same way you did" Buffy says, retreating. Can't we just drop this now?

"Buffy, that was a …wonderful night. Very special to me. I don't understand how you could think otherwise?" Willow asks

" Will, I watched you. It looked like you smelled something bad. So, like you said, we're friends. You don't have to try to spare my feelings. I just… screwed up. Sorry" Buffy says, physically withdrawing, standing up and walking to the window, looking out " I never should've brought that night back up". She doesn't look at Will. She can't.

" Buffy!" Willow says, getting up and walking over to her. " Look at me, Buffy." Buffy doesn't turn. " Look at me, Buffy!" Willow says, more firmly. Buffy turns, her face looks like she lost her last friend. She feels right now she has. Willow takes Buffy's face in her palms, and looks directly into her eyes. " Hear this, Buffy Summers. That night… was special to me. It's been special to me nearly 6 years now. That night was one of…no, it was THE best night of my life! Do you understand me? I remember every little detail about that night… every little detail. I wouldn't trade that night for anything in this world, or anywhere else. Do you understand, Buffy? If I had my way, every night would be like that night. I wouldn't change a thing about that night. Not a thing. Especially not who I was with!" Willow says, holding Buffy's face in her hands, so she couldn't look away." Is that clear enough, Buffy?" She looks at Buffy, who is looking back at her. She acts on impulse, not really thinking. " Maybe not!" She says, then leans in, and kisses Buffy firmly on the lips.

For awhile, both women are lost in the kiss. Buffy is dazed. She's not sure what's happening, but she's not hating it. Her mind is going in seven directions at once, and she's not aware of anything around her except Will's soft lips on hers. She feels her arms gather Will closer to her as the kiss continues and deepens.

Willow is also lost in the kiss. This kiss is light years better than the one on that April Fools night. All the conflicts she had about kissing Buffy, her concerns about her sexuality, etc. are gone. She can just enjoy this for what it is . Problem is, her mind kicks in, and all the stuff that's happened over the last 2 months comes back to her in a flash. And it ruins the kiss for her. She  breaks the kiss, pushes off from Buffy,  and backs off … leaving a dazed slayer standing there alone. She sees the look on Buffy's face… What did I do wrong?, it seems to ask. She can't look at her. She turns away.

 " Will? What's wrong?" Buffy asks, eyes wide." Did I do something…bad?"

"No, Buffy no!" Willow says, still not looking at Buffy. "It's me, Buffy. I can't do this now…"

"Do what, Will?" Buffy asks, a small smile fighting with the frown on her face. "Kiss me? News Flash: you just did!"

"This. Any of this" Willow says, gesturing around. " It's… wrong, it's just wrong"

"Wrong?" Buffy says, her expression reflecting her puzzlement." To kiss me? That's wrong? … When I want you to kiss me?"

"No… Buffy. Not kissing you…well, yes, kissing you is wrong. Especially since I'm involved with someone. That's wrong. I mean, kissing you is wrong when I'm involved with someone else. Do you see? It's wrong… kissing you…wrong" Willow, nervous, babbles.

" That's not it, really, is it ?" Buffy says. Her voice has a plaintive note to it. Her knees suddenly feel week, and she sits on the floor. "That's not it at all"

"Buffy?" Willow turns, hearing the mournful note in Buffy's voice. She sees the slayer sitting on the floor, seeming to be staring at nothing.

" What'm I doing wrong, Will?" Buffy asks, turning her head to look at Willow. Her eyes are bright…too bright. " What's wrong with me?"

"Wrong? With you?" Willow asks. She's clearly not getting it." I don't get it?"

"Why do I repulse you, Will?" Buffy asks, biting her lip to keep it from quivering." What's wrong with me?"

"Repulse me? Buffy!" Willow says, not believing what she's hearing." That's… just silly!"

"No, Will, it's not." Buffy says, her voice wistful. " Something I do pushes you away from me. It's true now, and it was true then. I .. want to understand it, but I can't. You're smarter than me, Will. You know, I'm sure. What is it? Why do I make you get the wiggins when you kiss me?"

"Buffy, you're not making sense!" Willow says. Buffy's words, her expressions and feelings are beginning to tear small wounds in her heart. She can't stand seeing Buffy like this. So… sad, and longing, and remorseful. So, shamed.

"Maybe not." Buffy says. "But it's what my heart feels, Will. We get so close, so close, then you seem to run away, like it's too awful to be that near to me."

"The night of the dance, the April's fools dance, it was like that. I remember how overwhelmed I was when I saw how beautiful you looked. And it was like someone finally opened my eyes. I not only saw how gorgeous you looked on the outside( and you were hot, Will, admit it!), I saw how wonderful and beautiful you were inside. I saw something I hadn't seen before. Will in control, Will confident, Will strong and sure and …utterly devastatingly wonderful! You had this soft aura about you. You glowed.. All night, you just glowed. I… I never was so proud to be with someone, to have someone say they were with me, as I was that night with you. Everybody saw it, Will… not just me. Why do you think they all gathered around us? They wanted to be where I was… with you! You made me feel special, Will, just by being with me" Buffy's words are painted with her heartfelt emotions. She's never been able to say these things before.

"I was on a cloud, Will." Buffy continues, her voice wistful." It was perfect, that night. At least for me. Being with you, holding your hand on occasion. Even that little stupid thing Cordelia tried to pull on us, making us the April Fools, was perfect. Cuz everyone got to see me with you, with YOU. I …  know in my heart, my foolish, silly heart, they envied me."

"I remember dancing with you, Will. How much fun I had shakin' it down with you. But what stuck in my mind was the slow dance. I know, it probably mortified you to be slow dancing with another girl. I admit, at first it was a bit weird for me. But I soon lost that feeling. When I had you in my arms, I can't describe it. It was just right. I felt your body next to mine. I smelled your scent, like spice and cinnamon. Your cheek so soft next to mine, the feel of your hair as it brushed against my cheek… I was exhilarated and nervous at the same time. I could hardly breathe, I was so excited. Your arms around my neck, your hips under my hands…god, I thought I'd gone to heaven right there. Stupid, huh? I mean, it was just a dance, right? But … I've never felt like that , before or since… " Buffy's voice has a dreamlike quality to it.

Willow sits there listening to Buffy, her mouth slightly ajar. She'd never heard this from Buffy. She feels like her heart is going to hammer it's way out of her chest, it's beating so fast. Tingles run throughout her body. She is thunderstruck. She can't say anything, do anything. She just sits there, listening.

" When Oz showed up, I thought our evening was over. I'll admit it, Will. I was a little jealous. Ok, I was a LOT jealous. I was greedy. I didn't want to share you, not that night. But I knew you and Oz …well, you were in love. I knew I had only been a placeholder, so I backed off. I sat watching you, and I tried so hard to be happy for you. I think I even convinced myself…well, not deep down, but surface Buffy was happy for you." Buffy said. " I always wondered why I felt queasy a little when you told shared your feelings about Oz … and even Xander, with me. Guess I know now, huh?" She said, coming to a realization. She goes back to her story." So, I was resigned to going home alone. Even with that, it was a special to me. I was floored when you came to me and said you wanted me to take you home. ME… take you home. YOU wanted to be with ME. Not with Oz … me. I couldn't believe it. But I wasn't gonna ask questions."

" I remember that walk home so well. I kept stopping. I bet you wondered what the hell I found so fascinating about the sky. But it wasn't the sky. It was you. I didn't want it to end. I stalled. I would look at the sky, but I kept looking at you out of the corner of my eye. Every time I did, my heart would just go nuts. I didn't know what was happening, but yes, I did know. I was falling in love with you, Will."

Willow's heart almost stopped beating when she heard Buffy say that. She felt giddy and lightheaded  and flushed from head to toe.

" After I ran out of ways to stall, when I couldn't walk any slower without crawling, we finally made it back to your house. I looked at you, on your porch. I still didn't want to say goodnight, but there was no way around it. Then you did something that changed my world forever, Will. You kissed me. I mean, you kissed me, really kissed me. I thought my brain and heart were gonna burst at that moment, but I didn't care! I coulda died right then, because at that moment I knew true perfect happiness. But before I could say or do anything, you were gone, inside your house"

" I didn't sleep very much at all that night, Will. I couldn't sleep. That kiss kept playing in my mind. I didn't understand it, couldn't make sense of it… and didn't want to. I just wanted to do it again, and again , and again til my lips fell off"

" The next day I wanted so much to talk to you about it. I hinted around , god, I think I dropped anvils. But you acted like the night had never happened. It was back to Will and Buffy, best buds. I was hurt… shit, I was devastated. I didn't understand it. I couldn't. It took awhile, but it dawned on me. I …did something wrong. Something really bad. Something to make you want to forget that night happened. I thought about it, went over that night again and again in my head, and the only thing I could think of was that the kiss…something in the kiss…pushed you away. I don't know what, but I … just couldn't think of anything else." Buffy's expression said 'help me out here. Was it something else?' . She continued. " I was scared Will. If I pushed it, I'd lose what I had of you. So, I bottled up my feelings, buried them deep, and kept with the " Buffy and Willow as buds". I didn't want to lose what little I had " .

"After that it was all different for me. I sent Angel to hell, to stop the apocalypse. I ran away to L.A. to deal with the guilt and loss. But, part of that dealing Will was about you, and that I couldn't, wouldn't ever have you. The reason I even came back? Cuz I couldn't think of life without you, somehow, a part of it."

" After that, look at my history of relationships. Angel, gone. Riley? Poor boy, I could never let him in. Spike? Yeah, that was …interesting…but went nowhere. Why, in all that time, didn't I find someone to love? Was it cuz I was The Slayer? Does being the slayer make me incapable of loving someone? Of giving  my heart to someone? Don't think so. I looked all around for someone to love, and guess what? I was already in love, just totally in denial about it. Kinda funny, if you think about it"

No one in the room was laughing.

" I guess in L.A., when I finally realized this thing with Kenny was serious" Buffy says… and notes a flash of pain cross Willow's face…what's that about?. She continues." I guess that's when I finally got it. Message board lit up in head…" no hope here, Buffy." I realized finally I had to make a change. I had to break away from you, put distance, real distance between us. No matter how much I want you to be happy, and believe me, Will, I want you to be happy, I couldn't live close to you knowing that …well… there just was no hope. I guess that's why I was so bitchy and rude in L.A. when saying goodbye. Cuz it was goodbye. I was edging close to breaking down in front of you when I ran outta there. I didn't want you to see that. It was tough enough, all in all."

"God, I'm so bad at this. Willow, what I want to know is, what is it about me that just…pushes you away? I'm not asking cuz I'm hopin' for anything. I know when I've lost. But, I just wanted to know. I mean… when you kissed me today, all of it came rushing back again. And my heart is aching all over again( ok, it never stopped). Then you pushed me away again. I can't help it… that hurt. So, what is it Will? What'm I doin' wrong? What's wrong with me?"

Buffy looks over to Willow, hoping maybe she'll tell her. What she sees instead makes her upset with herself, and confused. Willow is sitting there, quietly sobbing, tears flooding down her face. Oh, god, what did I do now? Buffy thinks to herself. I didn't mean to make her upset. Shit, I'm so good at this.

"Will… God I'm sorry, I didn't mean to upset you!" Buffy says, moving over to comfort her. Willow pushes her away. Right now Buffy hugging her is just going to make it all worse. Of course, Buffy misinterprets what's going on( clueless much?).

Buffy retreats, moving away from Willow. She figures she's just nailed the last nail in the coffin of their relationship. What little they'd had left( occasional phone call, letters, etc.) was so gone now. She'd come to Cleveland to make a clean break, try to live life without Willow in it. Guess I got my chance now, huh? She thinks to herself. Good one slayer, real good. She sat there, lost in her thoughts.

So she nearly jumped out of her skin when she felt Willow's arms go around her, and lay her head on Buffy's shoulder. She froze. Her heart was thumping in her chest. She was scared out of her mind. She's battled demons 2 feet taller than her, and weighing nearly 3 times her weight, and never felt this scared. She felt Willow's warm breath on her neck. She was shivering. Not from fear.

She turned her head, and Willow, her cheeks tear stained, was holding her, resting her head on her shoulder, eyes closed. For the longest time they just sat there. One slayer, terrified of all the things she was feeling; one witch, needing to feel the warmth of the person she so loved. After what she'd been through the last couple of months, she needed someone to hold onto. She finally realized why she came here. She needed Buffy. She'd always needed Buffy.

" Buffy" Willow finally speaks, her mouth smiling gently, her eyes sad." The last thing you do is repulse me. I wasn't kidding before when I said that night was the most special night of my life. It was. I … everything I did that night, was because I wanted to be there, with you. It meant everything to me that YOU took me to that dance. I dressed the way I did because I wanted you to see me as more than a friend. I wanted to be someone that might be desirable to you. Remember that slow dance? The one that you blushed so prettily over? I arranged that to happen. I wanted you to hold me close so much, I had to have some excuse. When you're arms were around me, When you were so close to me I could feel your body swaying next to mine, Goddess. Buffy, I nearly…." Willow blushes, and whispers into Buffy's ear. Buffy's eyes go wide.

"You're kidding… right?" Buffy asks, blushing

"No. I don't kid about that" Willow replies. She blushes again

" Oh" Buffy replied. " Ummm… well, Will, to be honest? I … me, too. If that song had gone on much longer…" Buffy really blushes now.

" No Way….now you're making fun of me" Willow says, pouting a little.

" Way, Will. Why do you think I avoided any more close contact dances that night?" Buffy says. " I mean, how would I've explained it to mom when she did the laundry?" Both women blush.

They sit silently for a few moments, thinking about that one.

"When we were named the King and Queen of Fools, when we were onstage together, it was the greatest moment in my high school career. Everyone knew you were there with me, and happy about it. Of course, I'm kinda glad that Xander tipped me about Cordy's plans. Doing  a 'Carrie' at that point woulda ruined everything" Willow giggles. " You shoulda seen her face when she tried to dump that pig's blood on us, and couldn't. Glad I'd learn a protection spell the week before" She grins at the memory.

"So that's what that was about? And, you dropped the spell…and it …oh god, that is sooo funny" Buffy starts to laugh out loud. Willow joins her, and soon they are both laughing hysterically at the memory of Cordelia Chase covered in pig's blood, screaming at the top of her lungs. And everybody at the dance having a good laugh at the Queen C's expense. They finally calm down, just a giggle now and then bursting out, and Willow continues.

"So, now do you know why I wanted you to walk me home?" Willow asks.  Buffy slowly nods.  Willow continues. " I didn't want that evening to end, either. Every time you stopped to look at the sky, I was thinking " Is she gonna kiss me now? Is she gonna kiss me NOW?". God, Buffy, by the fourth stop I wanted to hit you" Willow giggles. " Not really, but boy I wanted you to kiss me, bad. Finally, when I saw you weren't going to make the first move, I kissed you. On my parent's porch. Boy, would Sheila Rosenberg had a field day with that one if she'd caught us!" Willow smiles, and blushes." I could just hear the ' I accept you for what you are, darling—but why Bunny Summers? I don't like that girl ' speech now" Will giggles.

" Can you imagine if my mom had caught us?" Buffy giggles… and Willow joins her." She woulda had a cow!"

" I dunno, Buff. As mom's go? Yours was the coolest" Willow says.

"Yeah, I guess she was" Buffy says, a little sad. After 3 years, she still misses her.

" Willow, can I ask you something?" Buffy asks after a bit.

"Uh, yeah, sure" Willow replies.

" Why didn't you tell me how you felt?" Buffy asks.

"Like you told me?" Willow replies.

"Oh… yeah. But, I wanted to talk about it. You kinda acted like it never happened" Buffy says.

" Buffy, we were in high school. Not exactly gay friendly. And, I didn't even understand my own feelings. I thought I'd gone way over the line, and that you'd be so weirded talking about it. So, I kinda pretended it didn't… just so we would still be friends." Willow says. " And anyway, Buffy" She continues," what exactly would it take to express how I feel. I practically threw myself at you, and kissed YOU! What did you want me to do? Skywrite it? Maybe  wrap myself in a ribbon and bow, and nothing else, and say " To Buffy, please take me?" God, what kinda anvil droppin' on your head does it take?"

" Don't know about skywriting. But kinda liking that second idea" Buffy grins, maybe just a little evilly.

"B-U-F-F-Y!!!!" Willow turns a pleasant shade of red. But is she's so embarrassed, how come she's getting tingly?

"Yeah, well… you been breathing on my neck for the last 10 minutes. I'm getting sorta…" Buffy blushes.

 "Horny? Gee…lil ole me, makin' the slayer … horny?" Willow giggles. She leans in, and nibbles on Buffy's ear. Buffy squirms a little. Willow, seeing that Buffy isn't objecting…moves in and licks her neck. Buffy gasps.

"WILL!" Buffy says, maybe panting a little." What're you doing?"

" Dunno…what's it feel like?" Willow grins, reaches under Buffy's arm, and gently cups her breast. Buffy nearly loses it.

"Uhhh… Will?" Buffy is starting to pant now." Don't think this is a good idea…"

"How come?" Willow breathes huskily into Buffy's ear. She nibbles on it, and gently squeezes Buffy's breast." Don't you like it?"

"Ummm…oh yeah" Buffy sighs. She's liking it a whole lot…but it's wrong! "But, Will, aren't you… married?"

Willow feels like someone just dumped ice water in her lap. She freezes. Then the anger, the hurt, and all the rest come rushing back. She drops her hand, and moves away.

"Sorry, Will… I just …" Buffy starts, then sees Will's face. It's set into a hard mask. "Will… what is it?"

" Dammit, Buffy!!!!" Will snaps at her. " Couldn't you've just not brought that up? Weren't we kinda having fun?"

"Will?" Buffy looks at Willow, concerned." What's going on?"

"Nothing!" Willow says shortly.

"Not nothing, Will" Buffy says, firmly." I know you. You're loyal to your lover. This so isn't you!"

"Really? You know me? Gee, that's rich, Buffy Summers!" Willow snaps, losing her temper. "You haven't been around, have you? You weren't around when Kenny  cheated on me…"

"WHAT????" Buffy says, shocked. " SHE WHAT???"

Willow recounts the story to Buffy. How she came home, found Kenny in bed with another woman( carefully editing out Dawn's role in it… she didn't want Buffy to kill her. Well, not much)., and all the rest of it. By the end, Willow was drained, and her eyes were welling up with tears. Buffy, on the other hand, was flushed red with anger.

"Why? Why'd she do it , Buffy? I tried so hard to be everything she wanted. I… I don't understand" Willow is starting to cry now..

Buffy gathers her in her arms, and holds her close. She gently strokes her hair, and kisses her forehead.

"Shhh…honey, it's ok. It's not you. She was…IS … trash. You deserve a lot better than her!" Buffy says, trying to soothe  Will.

"Bu-Bu- Buffy it hurt sooo bad" Willow loses it, clinging to Buffy, crying her heart out. Buffy just holds her, rocking her, letting her cry it out. She needed it.

As  Buffy held Willow, she came to a realization. She knew that her life was going to change again. It was kinda scary, but kinda exciting, too.

She wasn't going to let Will go this time. She and Will belonged together. She adored Willow, and she knew Will loved her. She finally knew that in her heart.

Their silly, foolish hearts had kept them apart. They were so afraid to risk them, so afraid they'd break each other's heart, they nearly lost each other.

Right now it was too soon. Willow was hurting, and needed a friend more than a lover. But someday she'd need both.

And she'd have them both, all in one.

~~*~~*~~*~~*~~

Fin.