Keeping Her Word

By TheBear!

I don't own any of it, Joss does.

If you want the good stuff--which cannot be posted on this site--go to my site


where the bulk of my fic is located.

Willow walked into the training room in the back of the magic box to see her best friend Buffy seriously hammering the crap out of the punching bag. As Buffy turned with a spinning kick, Willow thought she saw the beginnings of tears in the Slayer's eyes.

Somehow she just knew that something terrible had happened, and that Buffy needed her best friend to make it all better.

"Buffy?" she asked softly, walking toward the Slayer, but staying out of range of her vicious kicks and punches as she tore into the bag. "Buffy, look at me."

Buffy shook her head and her voice was clipped as she answered, "Not now, Will. I've got to keep training."

"Buffy, that's not training," Willow said. "Come on, Buffy, this is Willow you're talking to. Something's obviously wrong! Tell me?"

She slowed her strikes as though considering the request, then she stopped. Her shoulders slumped and her head dropped forward. She stood there facing the bag, head down, her hands in fists at her sides, and trembling.

Willow slowly approached the shaking blond and ducked her head to meet the Slayer's eyes. What she saw there was pain and anger and sorrow all balled up into one tangled emotional mess. She felt a little teary herself and said, "Aw, Buffy. Come 'ere," as she wrapped her arms around her friend in a loving hug.

The hug was apparently too much and Buffy broke down, sobbing mightily against Willow's shirt.

Willow tightened her arms around the weeping girl, holding her tight when her knees threatened to buckle. She gently lowered them both to the mat, thinking, 'God, she's so light! How can someone so amazingly powerful be so small and light?'

She ignored her own tears and let Buffy cry for as long as she needed to. She was herself torn with sorrow at the thought of her friend hurting so much. 'Buffy saves the whole world on a routine basis, but no-one knows or cares that she feels and hurts just like the rest of us,' Willow thought sadly. 'Well, I care!'

Willow leaned away from Buffy enough so she could look into her red-rimmed eyes and brought up one hand to wipe away her tears. "I love you, Buffy. I always will, no matter what."

Buffy stared into Willow's eyes for several moments. Her face wore a look of tentative hopefulness, and finally she sniffled back another sob and answered, "Thank you Will! I love you much I can't begin to describe it!"

Willow smiled; she was amazed sometimes that she got to be the one to comfort this astounding, extraordinary girl. "Tell me," she ordered gently. "Tell me what's wrong."

Buffy dropped her eyes and began the sordid story. She told Willow how Spike had come to her, told her he had something to show her. She gave a weak chuckle at Willow's 'eww!' comment.

She told Willow how Spike had taken her to a house of horrors; where people paid vampires to bite them, paid to have their blood sucked. She told her how it made her nauseous to be in such a place, how it made her feel dirty, almost violated that there was a place full of people paying vampires to make them into victims...people were paying monsters to feed on them! She said it made her wonder why she bothered risking her life to fight these creatures when these were the people she was fighting for!

"You know most people aren't like that, Buff," Willow reminded her. "You fight for the innocents, the ones that can't fight back for themselves."

"I swear, Willow. Sometimes I think it isn't worth it," Buffy said. "All the crap I go through, all the beatings I take...If it wasn't for you..."

Willow's breath quickened and her heart nearly leapt in her chest with sudden hopefulness.

"...for all the Scoobies, I mean," Buffy quickly corrected herself. "Anyway…" she trailed off.

Willow filed the slip for later examination...deep, repeated examination.

The blonde glanced up at Willow for a moment with worry in her expression, and then it changed a look of relief when Willow didn't say anything. She went on to describe how she'd felt when Spike led her through that horror only to show her that her supposed boyfriend was one of the people paying for that service. She said she'd nearly thrown-up on the floor—that only her refusal to look weak in front of Spike kept her from losing her last meal.

Buffy started crying again and Willow just silently held her, rocking her gently; 'I love you Buffy!' she thought ardently, 'in every way.'

The sound of a throat clearing startled her out of her Buffy-love-induced fugue. Both of them turned to see the source of the noise and Willow almost growled when she felt her friend stiffen in her arms. 'Bastard!' she thought, her anger bringing on the unusual-for-her curse.

"You don't have to..." she whispered, looking back at her friend.

Buffy acknowledged the redhead's fierce protectiveness with a wan smile, then whispered so softly that only by watching her lips move was Willow able to get the message, "It's ok, Will."

Willow raised a brow as if to ask, 'are you sure?'

Buffy nodded and the two got up. Willow didn't even bother to look at Finn again as she headed back to the front of the shop

Willow walked out of the training room, but paused to listen to the conversation between her best friend and Riley. 'I know I shouldn't be eavesdropping, but I made a promise. Now I just need to know if this is the time to keep it,' she thought.

It wasn't long into the conversation before Willow realized that now was indeed the time, and she would have to fulfill her promise. It wasn't something she wanted to do, but she'd vowed to do this, and Willow Rosenberg was a woman of her word.

"Now, where does he keep them?" she muttered as she went into the store room looking for the necessary item. "I know he's got a couple around here somewhere…"

Riley walked out into the alley behind the magic box muttering to himself. "She doesn't understand; I have needs...needs that she isn't meeting. Those vampires weren't about sex, or love...they made me feel needed, and special...something that Buffy never even tried to do," he said with angry self-justification.

'Stupid man,' Willow thought angrily as she waited for him to pass her position.

"It's not that I want to go back to the military, I really don't," he continued his self-aggrandizing rant. "I just can't stay if she isn't going to let me be the man, if she won't give herself to me the way I need her to."

'Self-righteous jerk!' Willow nearly snarled with rage. 'And he ends his sentences with a preposition!'

"I get the whole 'chosen one' thing, really! But, come on, she's the woman, I'm the man. She's got to let me take care of her once in a while…" he muttered as he passed Willow's hidden niche.

She stepped out behind him. "Riley Finn," she spat.

He spun around, clearly surprised to see her standing there, hands behind her back.

Despite her anger, she felt slightly uneasy. 'Can I really do this?' she asked herself.

"Willow. What do you want?" he asked. "Buffy couldn't come out herself?"

Willow frowned, "You should have been on your knees, Riley, begging her to forgive you!"

Riley shook his head, looking bewildered. "First of all, Willow," he began. "Buffy and I are none of your business."

"You hurt her!" Willow interjected, her anger building.

Riley ignored her and continued speaking, "Second, Buffy is the one who isn't putting enough into this relationship, not me."

Willow's eyes almost bugged out at that statement. 'Oh yeah I think I can do this,' she thought. "I can't believe you…" she muttered, astonished by his arrogance.

Riley dismissed her with a wave of his hand. "What the hell do you know about men anyway? Stay out of this you little dyke. It's none of your business," he said as he turned to walk away.

"I warned you what would happen…" Willow said in an almost sad, resigned voice.

Clearly annoyed, he turned around, mouth open as if to give her another piece of his mind.

His eyes widened in shock as the shovel struck the side of his head.

The end.