My Daring Romance With Xander Harris

"Happy birthday, Willow." Her father kissed her on the cheek and gave her a rectangular parcel covered with pink shiny paper. She unwrapped, it smiling the whole time, it was on video. She squealed with premature delight when she found it was the Ballerina Barbie she'd asked for, Cordelia and Harmony had one, why couldn't she?

"Oh, Willow, you don't want that!" Her mom snatched it from her trembling fingers. "It sets unrealistic goals for today's youth, girls in particular. Why did you buy it for her?" She snapped.

"She did want it, she said Cordelia Chase had one, and Harmony, too." He explained.

"Prime example, those two have been brainwashed into thinking anything they want, they get. It isn't that way in the real world. You can't just cram these unstable theories into a five-year old's mind."

And so they argued, it occurred everyday. She thought it was regular, Xander spoke of his parents bickerings quite normally. When these came about, she'd sneak slowly to her room, into her closet, and make up a dream world, California, possibly LA, for Barbie, Ken, and Stacy. She'd pretend she was Barbie, driving the Corvette, with Xander in the passenger's seat, whispering sweet nothings into her ear. But it was only pretend, and in the end they were only Barbies.

She squished her Barbies and fashions into her play tote bag, Mrs. Harris was coming to pick her up. She put on her green jumper with white turtleneck underneath with her pink headband on and sensible Keds on her feet. Walking into the living room, she set down her tote, and hugged her father, who was sitting on the couch.

"Willow." He smiled, and gave her a peck of a kiss on the head.

"Daddy."

"Baby, I found that doll that your mother took away, put it into your bag quick before she notices it is gone." At his order she picked up the box and stuffed it into the bag, covering the contents inside with a flowery scarf, she put the bag by the door.

There was a hollow knock on the door and she unlocked it and had a struggle to open it but she finally did, Mrs. Harris and Xander waltzed in. She saw his mop of dark hair before his face and she smiled.

"Hello Xander." She said meekly, in her own special Willowy way.

"Willow." He picked up her bag and led her outside.

"Um, I'll have her back at about five." Mrs. Harris said sweetly and walked towards the door.

"That'll be fine." He bid her good-bye.

They'd built a maze of cardboard boxes to be small city, drawn on them with Crayons in bright happy colors.

"This is where she works." Xander poked the largest box.

"So how was that test? The one Ms. Carlen told your parents you needed."

"They poked me with these needle things, and it hurt alot! I had to wear this weird paper dress thing that only covered one side of me, I've had nightmares since."

"Sorry Xander."

"Not your fault."

"Still."

"You're so nice, different from the other girls, Cordelia spazzed the other day when I ate that worm. You thought it was funny."

"I'm cool like that." She said sarcastically.

"You are. Willow, will you be...?"

"Your GIRLFRIEND? Yes, I guess." She spoke so shyly that it sounded as if she'd hardly formed words.

"Cool."

They, everyday after kindergarten would go out to the playground, and go into the mini log cabin and pretend it was their home until their parents, who were often late, would pick them up. And when Willow left first, Xander would give her a small peck on her cheek, making her, turned away from him, turn beet red.

Until, one day when Xander was searching through her play tote and found a battered pink package, it contained a beauty, to him. She was sparsely dressed with a big fluffy poofy tutu and small ballet flats on her nimble feet. He kissed the package.

"Xander, what is that?" Willow startled him.

"Oh nothing." He stuffed it up his shirt.

She tore it from him "That's my Barbie!"

"Willow..."

"WHAT? You can't just 'Willow...' me and think everything's nifty! It just isn't that way!"

"I'm sorry, I was just rummaging..."

"In my bag? Xander! That's private!"

"Whatever."

"Don't 'whatever' me! We're through, Xander Harris!"

The next day, when Willow got picked up for school, there was something different. There was another boy in the backseat, and he sat in Willow's trademark seat.

"Hey, that's my seat." She said meekly. The two boys turned with their dolls in camoflauge.

"This is Jesse's seat, Willow." Xander said snottily.

"But-"

"Willow? Is there not any room in the back? Oh, sorry, here, I'll put you in the baby seat, and you can sit in the front." Mrs. Harris said kindly and led her to the front. Willow grudgingly sat down. All the way to school, the boys were screaming, "Willow's a baby! She's stupid!" and then they laughed and laughed.

At school, at playtime, Willow walked on her tiny legs to where Jesse and Xander were playing.

"Can I play dolls with you?" She asked.

"No! And these aren't dolls, they're action figures, stupid."

When she walked over to where Harmony, Aura, and Cordelia were playing Barbies, she spoke.

"Can I play with you guys?" Willow asked softly.

Cordelia turned "Sorry, I don't speak loser. Maybe Sophie Zellman'll play with you." With her braids bobbing, she pointed to the darkest corner of the room. Willow nervously walked over and sighed,

"Sophie, can I play with you?" Sophie turned, a glint coming off her large glasses and off her frizzy hair.

"Sure." She smiled.

"So what're you playing?" Willow looked down at Sophie's paper.

"I'm not playing. I'm studying." She pointed to the times tables on her paper.

"Can you teach me?"

"Absotutely." She grinned.

After school, on top of the counter, Willow put her Barbies one by one down the garbage disposal. Soon, Xander and Willow... and Jesse were all on civil and friendly speaking grounds. They all remained that way until high school, and beyond.