Disclaimer: I don't own 'em. Just like to take them out, dust them off and make them play with themselves.
Feedback: Most welcomed. Good or bad I'd like to know.
Spoilers: Everything up to and including Phases.
Genre: Monthly theme- Intolerance ( Events in Phases change when someone overhears Larry talking to Xander.
Lemons Into Lemonade
He heard muffled voices as he walked past the locker room door. Curious, he slowly opened the door and peeked in. No one was in the bathroom, the voices were coming from the lockers. He pressed his back against the wall and crept closer towards the door. 'Is that Larry...'
"...I mean, come on! How are people gonna look at me after they find out I'm gay?" Pause. "Wow. I said it. And it felt... OK." Whispered, "I'm gay." Louder. "I... am gay!"
"I heard you the first time." Xander said meekly. He felt the same way. 'Larry's gay?'
"I can't believe it. It was almost easy. I never felt I could tell anyone. And then you, you of all people, you bring it out of me!"
"It probably woulda slipped out, even if I wasn't here."
He had heard enough. He quickly slipped back into the hall before either of them could realize he'd been there.
Xander stood there in stunned silence. That had not gone as expected. Now Larry had the crazy idea that he was gay too. He shook his head and walked out into the hall. He had just begun to notice the other students all whispering when he saw Willow and Buffy.
Willow quickly excused herself because she was meeting up with Cordelia. Xander Buffy moved to her locker, "So, how'd it go with Larry?"
Xander got edgy, "What's that supposed to mean?"
Buffy gave him an odd look, "I think it's supposed to mean, how'd it go with Larry?"
"He's not the werewolf. Can't we just leave it at that? Must you continue to push and push?" When Xander saw the look he was getting from Buffy he looked away. He noticed other students were looking at him too.
"Sorry I was just wondering..." Buffy said.
"Well, he's... Larry!" Xander said, taking two quick steps away from the quickly approaching jock.
"Xander!" Larry comes right up in Xander's face. Xander motions for Buffy to stay back but she remains alert. "Have you been talking?"
"What? Larry..." Xander said, looking side to side. "I don't talk Larry. You're causing a scene!"
Larry looks around and takes a step back, lowering his voice. "Sorry, it's just. Everyone's whispering around me."
Buffy looks around and does see an unusual amount of people watching her friend. "Xander, what's going on?"
Xander looks at Larry and shakes his head, shrugging his shoulders. "I've only said hi to Buffy."
"Aww. Looks like Larry's got a crush!" Marshall loudly announced as he approached the trio.
Larry spun around to look at Marshall but was pushed off balance and into the lockers with a thud. "It true? The whole schools talking about it."
"Marshall, I don't know what you're talkin' about." Larry said, trying to remain calm. If Xander didn't talk it had to be something else.
"Jesse heard you man. He was in the locker room with you." Marshall was looking Larry right in the eye and watched as the boy visibly paled. "It's true." He laughed and shook his head. "You," he emphasized with a shove, "I'll be seeing later."
The bell rang and Marshall walked away. The hall slowly cleared except for the three of them. Buffy knew she was clearly missing out on something but before she could ask both Xander and Larry took off in different directions.
After class she went in search of Xander and eventually found him in the library. "What was earlier all about?"
Xander looked at her, his expression unreadable. "Larry is gay. He thinks I am too."
"Are you?" Buffy asked without thinking.
Xander looked at her like she's nuts. "Come on Buff..."
"Sorry," Buffy said, grinning a little. "It would explain why you stole Willow's Barbie."
"I was five!" Xander yelled out at Buffy. Her grin was now full blown and soon they both burst out laughing.
"So," she said, hopping up onto the table. "Larry likes the tight-ends on and off the field."
"Buffy!" Xander said, shocked at her wording.
"Hey, I mean nothing by it. It's cool he's admitting it." Buffy pauses, "But why does he think you're gay?"
"I was questioning him about being a werewolf, telling him I'd been through the same thing..." Xander says, leading her on.
"Ah, I get it. So why'd he almost jump you?"
Xander sighs, wondering how she can be so slow sometimes. "Jesse overheard us and told the whole school, except you."
"Why didn't he tell me? Aren't I gossip worthy?"
Xander looked at her, closing his hands together and motioning to Buffy. "You are very gossip worthy, but you were with me. And Willow. Who are decidedly not."
Buffy frowned at that but didn't respond. "So how bad do you think this is gonna get?"
As if to answer, Willow burst into the library. "Oh my God, this is so bad!"
Buffy immediately jumped off the table and rushed to Willow's side. "What's wrong? Are you OK?"
Willow smiled softly at Buffy. 'She's always worried...' "I'm fine Buffy. But they're trashing someones car outside!"
By the time the three of them made it to the parking lot the damage had been done. The cops were already on the scene with two students in the back of separate patrol cars. Larry was being talked to by two officers.
"My God..." Xander said, looking at the damage done to Larry's car. All the windows were smashed out, the lights busted. Someone took the time to shred the leather interior. What was left of the car had been spray painted with several offensive terms for homosexuals. Before Xander even realized what he was doing he went over by Larry.
Willow looked over at Buffy, "Since when have they been friends?"
"They aren't," Buffy said, sounding a little withdrawn. "He's just a good guy."
By the time the cops leave it's almost sunset. Larry refuses to let the cops drive him home, insisting that he wants to walk. They finally give in and leave. Larry takes off and Xander quickly excuses himself, walking home with Larry.
"Buffy," Willow says, taking a step away. "I should leave too. I want to go over to Oz's house."
Buffy watches Willow grin when she talks about Oz. 'God, she's beautiful...' Buffy's brought out of her thoughts when she feels Willow's arms wrap around her. Buffy's about to bring her arms up when Willow pulls back. "See ya!"
'Woah, what'd I miss?' Buffy thought. "You can't go!"
Willow turned around and looked at Buffy. Her voice sounded almost panicked. "Why not?"
"It's almost sunset. Not only are there vamps but there's also a wild werewolf out there. You aren't going anywhere alone." Buffy said, reaching out and taking Willow's hand in her own.
As Buffy pulled Willow in the direction of the library Willow laced their fingers together. She always felt more relaxed when Buffy was holding her hand. "Whatever you say Buff..."
"I really appreciate you sticking around this afternoon. My whole life has blown up in my face." Larry said, his head hanging. "It's nice that not everyone hates me."
Xander's eyes betrayed his guilty feelings. If he hadn't suspected Larry of being the werewolf the poor guy wouldn't be in this mess now. Still, he was grateful Larry didn't agree with him. "It'll get better eventually."
"How long did it take your friends to get over it? I mean," Larry looked over at Xander. "Willow has to know right? Buffy?"
"Um..," Xander got that nervous look on his face. "About that... I'm not gay Larry. I was talking about something else earlier."
Larry stopped walking and looked confused. He replayed the conversation over in his head and realize Xander never had said what he was talking about. "Oh... I'm sorry. I just assumed. I mean..."
"What? You mean what?" Xander said, throwing his hands in the air. "What is it about me? My hair? My clothes?"
"Its... nothing Xander. My mistake." Larry said as he began to round the corner on his block. "I'm right up here."
Suddenly two cars came through the intersection and screeched to a halt in front of the two. Half the football team climbed out of the cars and surrounded them.
"What's going on guys?" Larry asked? This is exactly what he'd feared would happen. Even if he wasn't surprised, he was still disappointed that his friends were never really friends.
"Nothing," said Jesse. "We interrupting a date? The full moon sure is pretty tonight."
"C'mon man. Why are you guys actin' like this? It's not that big of a deal." Larry said, hopping to get through to at least a couple of them.
"Sorry, some fag checking me out in the shower day after day is a big deal."
Larry reacted on instinct, pushing Jesse down onto the ground. "It wasn't like that and you know it."
"We don't know anything Larry," Marshall said. "Except that you're a queer."
He nods his head once and the other players close in on Larry and Xander. The two hold their own for a few minutes, landing a few punches and kicks. They are outnumbered though and eventually they're both held down by two guys while the others take turns. Eventually one of the neighbors called the cops.
"So, we still have no clue as to who the werewolf actually is?" Giles questioned the girls.
"Larry was a bust and he was our only lead," answered Willow.
Buffy grabbed the tranq gun, "We're going after Kane. He probably has a better idea where our wolf is than we do."
After driving through town the three park near the woods and start trekking through. They come upon Kane's van and follow his tracks until they caught up with him. They kept there distance and observed him setting a trap for the wolf. Buffy remained nearby while Giles and Willow moved to the other side of the trap.
Eventually the wolf showed up. Giles tried to take aim of the wolf while Buffy made her way over to Kane. Just as he fired Buffy knocked him over. This startled the wolf but Giles was able to shoot him in the neck. The wolf quickly went to sleep. After a few choice words with Kane, and bending his little gun, they took the wolf back to the library.
Buffy and Giles carried him into the cage and were locking the door when Cordelia burst in through the doors. "You guys! Where the hell have you been? I've actually broken out in a sweat looking for you!"
Buffy and Willow exchanged glances as Giles handing Cordelia his handkerchief. "What's seems to be the emergency Cordelia?"
She wiped her face off and handing the piece of cloth back to Giles. "It's Xander. And Larry. They were jumped on their way home."
"Where are they? Are they OK?" Willow asked worriedly.
"Larry's got a few fractured ribs and a nasty black eye but he's okay." Cordy said, looking away from Willow.
"And Xander?" Buffy quietly prompted.
"Well... he's smaller than Larry. He's got a few broken ribs, fractured wrist and a concussion. He's still unconscious."
"Oh my God," Willow said, her hand covering her mouth. Buffy quickly moved to her side, catching her as her knees went out. Buffy lead her over to a chair and sat her down, keeping her arm around her.
"He's gonna be OK, Willow. Right Cordelia?" Buffy looked at Cordy. Willow also looked up.
"Yeah, as long as he wakes up in the next few hours."
"Yes, well... um." Giles mumbled. "You girls should go to the hospital. I'll keep watch here till sunrise."
"Thanks Giles." Buffy said, turning back to Cordelia. "Can you give us a ride?"
"Yeah, sure." She answered with a nod. Cordelia turned and headed out of the library.
"Buffy, give Xander my best." Giles said.
Buffy smiled softly, "I will Giles." She then helped Willow out of the chair and walked her towards the door, still keeping her arm around her.
Willow relaxed into Buffy's arm, drawing strength from her friends presence. 'I don't know what I'd do without her...' she thought. When they got in the car, Buffy helped Willow in back, then got in back with her instead of riding up front. "You can sit up front Buffy."
Buffy smiled and took her hand. "Yeah, but now Cordy's more like our cab driver."
"I heard that," muttered Cordy. But even she grinned a little.
"Do they know who attacked them?" Buffy asked, wanting to go get a little revenge.
Cordy looked at Buffy over her shoulder. "They're already locked up."
"Lucky bastards," Willow mumbled quietly. Buffy caught it though and squeezed Willow's hand softly. The rest of the way was spent in silence.
They were allowed in one at a time. Buffy went first, giving Xander's hand a squeeze and a kiss on his forehead. She whispered in his ear, "I know you're lovin' this attention, but wake up soon, kay?"
Willow went in second, since Cordelia was officially his girlfriend and wanted the most time with him. She didn't mind, she only had one thing to say. She reached out and brushed his hair off his forehead a little. Leaning down she softly said, "I love you" and kissed his cheek.
She stepped out of the room and looked at Cordelia. She smiled softly, "You're turn."
"Thanks," Cordelia said, stepping past them into the room. She pulled a chair closer to his bed and held his hand, her head resting by his side.
Buffy and Willow decided to get some air. They let Cordy know where they'd be and went outside to some picnic tables. Buffy sat down on the table top, her feet resting on the seat. Willow remained standing, staring up at the full moon. "Why'd they do it Buffy?"
"They're scared." Buffy answered.
"Of what? Xander's with Cordelia, the whole school knows this." Willow turned and looked at Buffy. "Is what Larry is so bad that even his friends are tainted by it?"
Buffy saw the water welling up in Willow's eyes. She reached out and took Willow's hands, pulling her closer. "What Larry is isn't bad. There isn't anything wrong with him Willow."
Willow sighed, her shoulders slumping. "How can people do this to one another. Xander isn't even gay yet he got a worse beating than Larry!"
"The kids who did it are just stupid Willow."
The tears streamed down Willow's face, she slumped down onto the seat between Buffy's legs, her back to the slayer. Buffy reached down and hugs Willow around her shoulders. "It's not just those kids Buffy. There are a lot of people who feel that way. My own parents probably feel that way."
"Does it matter what your parents think?" Buffy asks softly.
"What? No," Willow shakes her head. "Of course not."
Buffy slipped down between Willow and the table, her arms sliding down Willow's chest, coming to rest around her stomach. She could feel Willow's breath catch as Buffy's body moved along hers. "Why bring them up then?"
Willow swallowed, "Just as an example. Of people who think badly of gays. Because that's what we were talking about.. and they're people... who think badly..."
"About gays." Buffy finished for her. "You okay Wills? You seem nervous."
Willow jumped up quickly, spinning around. "I'm fine Buffy, just a little anxious."
"How do you feel about gays Willow?" Buffy asked, looking at Willow closely.
"Uh.. What? Why do you ask?" Willow questioned.
Buffy shrugged her shoulders. "It's never come up before and I'm curious."
"Oh, well... I have no problem with people being gay." Willow answered with a nod.
"So you don't think it's bad to be gay?"
"Well, um... no I don't." Willow answered, almost like she was asked if she doesn't.
Buffy was quiet for a moment, one which Willow was very grateful for. Then Buffy chuckled softly under her breath and hopped off the table, heading back towards the hospital.
"What was that?" Willow said, grabbing Buffy by the arm.
"What was what?" Buffy questioned innocently.
"You laughed at me!" Willow said, "Why'd you laugh?"
"I wasn't laughing at you Willow, I just had a thought that amused me." Buffy replied, walking into the hospital and moving towards the elevator.
"What thought?" Willow whispered urgently when she caught back up.
"Will, lets drop it till later." Buffy said, pushing the button for Xander's floor.
Willow grumbled under her breath but realized Buffy was right. They have to make sure Xander's okay first.
Cordelia was walking out of Xander's room as they approached. "Hey, he woke up."
Buffy and Willow's faces both broke out in huge smiles. "That's great, can we see him?" Willow asked.
"No, they won't let anyone in tonight. They want us all to go home for the night. We can see him in the morning." She said, motioning them back towards the elevators. "Xander wanted me to thank you guys for coming and order you to go home. He's gonna be fine."
"Okay," Willow said, stepping into the elevator.
"What about Larry?" Buffy questioned as they took the elevator back to the main floor.
"He was released half an hour ago, his parents picked him up." Cordelia answered. "Do you guys need a ride?"
Buffy stepped outside and shook her head. "Nah, I think I'm gonna walk home."
"Alright," Cordy replied. She unlocked her door and looked at Willow. "How about you?"
Buffy shrugged her shoulders and took off down the sidewalk. Willow looked at Cordy, "I think I'll walk too."
Cordelia shook her head with a sigh. "Big surprise."
Willow quickly jogged up to Buffy and began walking with her. They stayed quiet for a few minutes but finally Willow could take the silence no longer. "That laugh..."
"Are you gay?" Buffy interrupted.
Willow was stunned into silence. They both kept walking though. Willow finally found her voice. "What?"
"No, I heard you." Willow said. "Why do you ask?"
Buffy paused, a smug smile on her face. "You just seem interested sometimes. It's okay if you are. Won't bother me any."
Willow's face scrunched up in confusion. "Interested?"
Buffy spun, walking backwards so she could look at Willow. She smiled and coyly shrugged her shoulders "In me."
She spun back and kept walking. The silence lasted longer this time. "Why wouldn't that bother you?"
"Why should it? Say you are interested and I'm not. I'd be flattered, not repelled. And if you are and I am... that wouldn't be of the bad either." Buffy answered. "Oh, we're here."
Willow looked around. "Why are we at Oz's?"
"Remember, you wanted to check on him earlier..." Buffy said.
"Oh! Right... make the first move." Willow said, unconvincingly.
"You okay Wil?" Buffy asked, reaching out and rubbing her shoulder.
"Yeah, I'll just go... Thanks Buffy." Willow smiled as she turned and walked up to Oz's door. She waited a few minutes but quickly realizes he's not home. "Oh well."
Buffy watched Willow as she walks back down to the sidewalk. "No one home?"
"Guess he's out." Willow said. "Popcorn and movie night?"
Buffy and Willow head towards the witch's house. "I'm in."
Willow's parents are out of town again so the girls had the place to themselves. Buffy called her mom and let her know she'd be spending the night with Willow. Willow came downstairs in her pj's, letting Buffy know she put out some for her on the bed.
"How thoughtful," Buffy teased as she jogged up the stairs.
Willow popped some popcorn, put a tape in the VCR and started flipping through the channels. Buff soon joined her, wearing one of Willows baby t-shirts and a pair of shorts. "How do I look?" Buffy spun around as she came down the last couple stairs.
"Great," Willow said, pointing to the TV. "What do you wanna watch?"
"Flashdance!" Buffy said jumping onto the couch next to her.
"What a surprise," Willow said, pushing play on the remote.
Flashdance began and Buffy laughed. "You know me so well."
The two girls snuggled into the couch and munched on the popcorn, letting their minds escape into the movie for a while. About halfway through the movie the girls both reached for popcorn at the same time, their fingers touching. Willow quickly pulled her hand back. Buffy grabbed some popcorn and popped a kernel in her mouth.
"You never answered my question Wil," Buffy said softly.
"I think I might be..." Willow said, even softer.
Buffy looked from the TV to her friend. She smiled slightly, "How come?"
"Because of how I feel when you do that." Willow answered honestly.
Buffy licked her lips, leaning slowly closer to Willow. "How does that feel?"
"Even better," Willow's lips were captured before she finished her last word. The kiss was soft and tender. All too soon they parted and Willow blinked a few times before being able to focus her eyes.
Buffy stared intently at Willow, hoping her reaction would be a good one. "I've wanted to do that for a while."
Willow's eyes found Buffy's. "Why?"
"I don't know why Willow, because you're you." Buffy smiled, brushing some stray red hairs behind Willow's ear. "Because I kinda love you."
Willow grinned, "I kinda love you too Buff."
Their lips found each other once again, this time for a longer, more passionate kiss. Their fingers tangled in each others hairs as they held each other tight. Once oxygen became an issue they parted, smiling at each other. Willow pulled them back against the couch, snuggled with the popcorn once again. "Watch your movie Buffy."
Buffy snuggled up with Willow, wrapping their arms together and holding her hand. "Whatever you say Will..."