Chapter 7: The Big Moments
Disclaimer: I do not own Willow and Xander. Not even action figures of them, if, in fact, those things exist.
A/N: This is the last chapter of this story. I loved writing all the little chapters, and this one seemed the obvious spot to end it. If you liked it, never fear--Willow and Xander are my favorite ship, so if I write any more stories, it'll probably be them again.
A/N #2: There is sex in this chapter. It's not super-raunchy sex, but it's sex all the same. There is also a lot of schmoopieness, so if you're not into that kind of thing, you may want to skip it. But if you do skip it, you'll always wonder what it would've been like to read it, so you should probably just read it now. ;)
The first thought is, "This is new and different." The second thought is how weird it is to actually be cataloguing thoughts right now. But I can't help it if it's one of those moments that's just bound and determined to make itself an entity, one of those moments you know you'll always remember because it's branding itself on you even as you're in it, moving infinitesimally slower than real time, sharpening itself in your mind. There is no hazy filter on this, no dreamy quality, no skipping-over of seconds or compromises of clarity.
Normally, this kind of consciousness-with-claws would make me mildly uncomfortable, make me wish for life to go back to normal speed, like sound and light coming back after a power outage. But this isn't "normally," and I won't question the weight of time now.
Time has been much less reliable lately, anyway, though I'm getting slightly better at determining when it's going to speed up and when it'll pass more slowly than old Mrs. Ferguson on her daily walk. For instance, when I'm not with Xander, the hands on the clock just sit there, mocking me with their immobility. When I know I'll see him in an hour or two, it might as well be a year or two for as fast as the time passes. Stupid time anyway. It runs rampant is what it does, all cruel and mocking like it is. On the other hand, it greatly enhances my sense of anticipation.
Anticipation. That's something I've experienced a lot of in the last couple of weeks. You'd think I'd have had my fill in recent years, being in love with Xander and hoping against hope that he'd look at me—really see me, that he'd suddenly grab me and kiss me, and then, of course, propose marriage. Hey, what can I say? I have a great imagination. And, until recently, that was all I had. But now it's different. Now the anticipation is justified. Now I know that he's seen me. Now I've experienced being grabbed and kissed by Xander, and I have to say, my imagination had nuthin' on the real thing.
But now that I've been grabbed and kissed—and have done some grabbing and kissing of my own—I can't help wanting more. Heck, I'm a red-blooded American girl, and I don't think there's anything wrong with having hormones and such. And even though I've had hormones toward Xander before, it's different when it's reciprocated, and it's also different now that we're both free. So you'd think now that we're finally "allowed" to have these feelings for each other, now that we're somewhat-responsible adults, we'd be able to just…get it on already, right? Wrong.
Now every time we're alone together, there's this…thing between us. This weird nervousness, like our being together is this huge, monumental thing that we've sworn on threat of death not to screw up. And that's not completely unfounded, because there's a high screw-up probability here, and I really really don't want to see us do that to each other. If we screw up at this, I don't think the friendship will survive it, and we can't not be friends. I can't live in a world full of vampires and monsters without Xander. He's my link to the past and the future; he's my link to myself. He's my reminder that I'm about more than witchcraft and slayer-supportage and big, world-ending drama. Sometimes he's the only thing that's real.
So it's just not an option to screw this up. Which means that every time we're alone together now, we turn all shy. We edge closer together until we're touching. We hold hands. We fumble toward each other and we reach out and we collide like we've been sucked into each other's gravity fields, and it's amazing. But there always comes a point when we break apart because we're both freaked out about where this is going. About the third person in the room: the "us." Because I want this more than anything, and I know he does, too, because…because I know him. And it doesn't hurt that I can feel his heart pounding when I'm in his arms, that I can feel how erratic his breathing is—kinda like mine—and that I know he wants me. And knowing he wants me makes me want him more than I already wanted him. Which was beyond a lot.
So, yeah, there's been some internal conflict going on for both of us. Hey, we don't have to defend that. It's to be expected, right? When you're in love with your best friend and he finally loves you back, and everything's about to change, there's bound to be some anxiety. But anxiety isn't what's humming through the room now; it's not what's got my heart hammering in my chest and my breath confused about when to come and go. It's that pesky old anticipation this time. But this time, I'm ready for it.
This is how we got here: we were sitting on his couch, watching TV. Our hands crept closer together; they met during a Honda commercial. His fingers brushed the palm of my hand. My heart did a little flip, which surprised me because I thought I was ready for any touch, and our hands are far from foreign territory. We were watching a show about the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and maybe it was thoughts of the afterlife that made me lean closer to him, to embrace the present. My hand moved to his leg. His arm slid around me.
I leaned against him, resting my head on his shoulder. I knew this would hurt my neck eventually. He changed the channel to an old zombie movie. I said, "Pfft!" but didn't ask him to choose something else. I shifted slightly, turned toward him. He was petrified, I could tell. Afraid to make a move. This amused me for some reason—for many reasons—and I giggled. He looked at me, questioning, and I smiled and shrugged, and leaned back against his neck. He chuckled, and it vibrated through me. I could feel his pulse where my head rested against him. I wondered how fast I could make it race. I kissed his neck, and he sucked in a breath, and his pulse did race against my lips.
He turned and put his hands on my arms, as though he were going to pry me off and set me away from him like a misbehaving child, but he only moved me back slightly and then his lips were on mine and his hands were in my hair and on my back. And then they were everywhere at once, and they were strong and warm and possessive. I couldn't get close enough, so I knelt, leaning toward him, but then I was too tall, because Xander has always been taller than I am, so I swung one leg across him and then I was straddling him, feeling unbelievably unlike myself but more like the self I'd always wished I could be with him.
My skin felt flushed, and I leaned back and pulled my shirt over my head and threw it aside. His eyes widened for a second and then he was unhooking my bra and I laughed at the dichotomy that is Xander Harris, and this time he knew not to be offended. He made kind of a growl and was on me in an instant, and his mouth made me shiver though my skin was still hot, and my mind was saying, "Did I just make Xander growl?" I raked my fingers through his hair and felt the slightest sheen of sweat at the roots, which I knew would make his hair curl in those beautiful waves I know he hates.
Minutes and hours and years went by and our clothes went by the wayside, too, and now we are in this crystalline moment that will not pass any faster than it will pass, which is just fine with me, because it is a moment I always hoped for but never thought I'd have, and if I need more clarity to feel this and process it at the same time, so be it. I know that I can't be like this with him without thinking, "Oh, God, this is Xander. Xander and me."
Now he is waiting, and his breath is ragged and so is mine, and it's all I can do not to say something stupidly inappropriate, like, 'Let's do this thing!" So what I do say, though highly unoriginal, is, "I want you," and I can't look him in the eyes after that, so I lean up and plant my mouth at his neck, hard, and then he's inside me, and it's just too unbelievable that it can be this new and this oddly familiar at once.
He stops again, this time because we both uttered an amazed, "Oh," at the same time, and this elicits a giggle from each of us, and suddenly I'm reminded that although we've grown up together, we aren't really grown up yet, and we don't have to be. We can fumble together a little. And so we do, and it's a good kind of fumbling. A really good kind of fumbling, to be precise.
Soon the novelty has turned to urgency, and I forget to be surprised to feel Xander inside me, because I know that he has always been here, that we have been part of each other for so long that it's only right we should do this, too. I forget to tell him all the things I meant to tell him before we got to this point: that he'll always be my best friend no matter what, that he's stronger than he thinks, that he's important. That I love him.
But right now I can't tell him any of that, because I don't want to do any talking. I only want to feel, because I've never felt like this before. Because it's Xander's body making me feel like this, and that thought makes me shiver a little, and he feels it and leans down to kiss me, and the heat is almost unbearable. We shift so that he is sitting up and I'm wrapped around him, and I can feel every part of him at once, and I'm overwhelmed.
We move together, and I can't believe how much I love his body and suddenly my skin is on fire and my chest feels about to burst, and I can't stop kissing him. Then I do stop, because there is a little ball of light somewhere inside me that's growing and growing, and soon it's exploding in and around me and I suck in a breath and then let it out in a sound I didn't know could come out of me. I hold onto Xander for dear life, and I hear him say, "Love you, Will," and I feel him come inside me, a pulsing that doesn't match mine. I find his mouth with mine, and through our frenzied breathing we kiss each other for all we're worth. Until I start giggling.
He looks at me and smiles. "I can feel you laugh from the inside." His hair is sweaty and curling around his ears, and I can't believe how cute he looks, though I'd never phrase it like that to him.
"Hey, guess what?" I say in a low voice.
"What?" he asks.
I look around as though making sure we're alone, and whisper, "We had sex."
He laughs and hauls me off him, and we lie next to each other. I roll on my side and sling my arm across his chest, and he grabs my hand. "I know," he says. "I feel like any minute your mom's gonna come in and yell at me."
"Well, she always was a proponent of age-appropriate activities. I'm sure she'd be fine with it."
"Oh, sure, Will," he laughs. "Since we're over the age of consent, she'll just waltz in with a tray of cookies and ask who's winning."
I look up into his face and feel a bit fluttery again. "I'm pretty sure it's me."
He kisses the top of my head and counters, "You must've added the points wrong, Will, because it's obviously me."
"Tie?" I ask, and he turns over to face me.
"Tie," he says, and kisses me.
"You get an A in sportsmanship," I commend.
"And in the sport itself?" he asks, waggling his eyebrows.
I slap him lightly on the arm and answer, "A-plus. With extra points for technique."
"Yeah?" He may develop some conceit over this, but I'll give him that. Right now, I think I'd give him anything.
"Yeah," I reply. "But just to be safe, we'd better check the instant replay…"
He laughs and flips me onto my back, looking down at me, and something washes over his face—something predatory. I don't need to worry about hyena possession, though. I know what's got him possessed this time.
"You're looking rather smug, Miss Rosenberg."
I smile up at him. "Oh, that's just because I know you love me."
"You do, huh?"
"Yep. I have it on good authority."
"Whose?" he asks.
"Er…my own," I answer innocently.
He kisses my forehead, and I get a little choked up when he says, "Well, in that case, there's no doubt. I'd never trust anyone as much as you, Will. Your word is gold."
I can feel tears pricking my eyes. This is the reason I've been holding so tight to every second of this night: because I need to remember this forever.
"I love you," I say, not quite looking at him. I can't believe I'm still shy around him—we just had sex, for crying out loud. But there is a part of me that doesn't quite believe I'm the one he wants. There's a part of me that thinks that, clear as it is, this could all be a dream.
"Willow," he says softly, willing me to look at him. I do, and it's worth every moment of doubt. "I love you, too."
"You do?" I ask softly.
"You just said I did, dummy," he teases.
"Well, yeah, but…I could've been lying for all you know."
His sureness earns him a kiss—one that nearly ends the conversation completely. "So," I say casually, regaining my composure, "what do we do now?"
"IHOP?" Xander asks, and it's silly but I know he's absolutely serious. There are two things Xander Harris thinks about constantly, and, just having had the first one satisfied for the moment, it's only common sense that he'd move on to food.
"Well, I don't know," I reply. "Last time I went there naked, they threw me out."
Xander laughs and says, "Geez, Rosenberg, I think I'm rubbing off on you."
"You've been rubbing on me all night, Xander. I guess it's possible there'd be some humor transfer goin' on."
"In that case," Xander says with a devilish glint in his eyes, "maybe we should skip IHOP. There's this great knock-knock joke I've been meaning to pass on to you."
"Not a chance, Harris," I say. "I may have let you get me in bed without buying me dinner first, but that doesn't mean you don't have to buy it afterwards."
"Okay, okay," he grumbles, but he is somehow fully dressed before I even find my underwear. When I've managed to get ¾ of my clothing on, I see him standing next to the bed with a box in his hand.
"Do I get a present every time?" I ask. "Because if that's the case, you're gonna have to get a couple more jobs, mister."
"Duly—and gleefully—noted, Will, but not exactly. I was gonna give you this tonight anyway, but I sort of…didn't get around to it, if ya know what I mean," he says, somehow managing to look sweet and lecherous at the same time. I grab the box out of his hands and shake it, and he laughs at me and says, "Just open it, Will."
I do, and I smile, and then I start tearing up. "Xan…this is so…I just…" I stutter. "I love it."
"I love you," he says simply. "And I don't want anything to come between us ever again."
"It won't," I say with certainty. "If you steal this one, I'll just steal something of yours to even the score." I lay the Barbie on the bed so I can put on my shirt.
"You already have, Will," Xander says gently. He kisses me on the forehead and grabs my hand. "And now for pancakes!"
I laugh as he pulls me toward the door. After a night this perfect, I can't deny the man his pancakes.
Thank you so much for reading my story. Review if you want. And if you don't, just send me a happy thought through brain-mail. Thanks again, and big smooches to all!