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Summary: Suppose that Willow came out sooner then season four? Would life have been hard for her and her friends?
Notes: This story will explore how hard it is to come out as a high school student, something the show missed out on doing in the college years. I hope that I can capture it properly. There will be some Buffy/Riley in this one also but she may end up with a female later on. I have not yet decided what to do with Angel if anything but some core characters may not end up so friendly.
(July 4, 1999)
The fireworks were set to begin as soon as the skies darkened in Sunnydale and the town was abuzz with activity. It was no matter that vampires and other evil creatures loved this night. The children of all ages wanted to make this a fun holiday because it marked the 99th anniversary of the town. Incidentally, the town was founded by a descendent of the current Mayor Richard Wilkins III, Richard Wilkins sr.
Britney Walsh hailed from a small town in Texas and loved the changes that California had brought her thus far. She had accepted an invitation to come live with her aunt Maggie for the summer before she began her studies at Sunnydale's one and only college. This, of course, was a cover up because Britney had been in the United States military for the last couple of years. Maggie had arranged for her to get some schooling in and do security work for her upstart military project, The Initiative.
To her family and close friends, Britney had been an out of the closet lesbian since she was a sophomore in high school. To the military, she did not disclose her sexual preference because life was made very difficult for gays and lesbians in the armed forces. She wanted to get through six years of military service without any drama, thus decided to keep it in the closet. This was the main reason that she decided to come work for her aunt Maggie. She would be able to get some of her time in and not have to hide her sexuality so much. Not having to hide her sexuality was a huge burden lifted from Britney's shoulders and aunt Maggie was very pleased to help her favorite niece in any way that she could.
As Britney walked into the Bronze, a local club that she had heard two of her new friends speak about, she saw a pretty redhead sitting at a corner table alone. Britney was an outgoing person who made friends and got dates easily. She could tell by looking that this girl either was not big in the many friends department, or was troubled. She walked up to the bar and got herself a drink. Having just turned the legal age of twenty-one, she enjoyed doing this on occasion. She then scoped out the packed club for a seat and decided that that corner table with one person was her best bet.
- - -
As Willow shuffled through town on her way to the Bronze, she wondered if she should have let Buffy talk her into going out. Sure, it was a big day for the town but Willow wasn't in the mood for big days. She knew that she had to do this for Buffy, who had gone off for a month after Angel was ran through with her sword. Willow had tracked her down and got all the sad details of how it all went down. She then had talked Buffy into coming back home and trying to pick up her life. Buffy had used this against Willow when she resisted going out for the evening and it worked.
Oz was her first boyfriend and they seemed to have clicked very well for several months. The more he got involved with his band however, the less time he had for Willow. When he was in town, he'd make some time for her but she felt that they were drifting apart. This saddened her deeply because he was such a kind guy and she feared that she wouldn't be able to get anyone else to date the likes of her. A couple of weeks before the big event, Oz had suggested that they still see each other but make it non-exclusive in the event that one of them found someone that they enjoyed spending time with. Willow read between the lines and knew that he had found another person on the road and this was his way of not cheating on her. Part of her felt good that he didn't want to hurt her in that way, while another part of her felt bad that he'd even consider cheating on her.
As Willow entered the Bronze, she frowned at having to see all of the couples. Xander had Cordelia and even Buffy was sitting with some guy that Willow didn't recognize. She ordered a coke and sat down alone in the back of the club with hopes of not being noticed. She didn't think that it would be very hard to not get noticed because Oz was the only person who had bothered to notice her in any way other than friendship. As she sipped her drink and impatiently waited for the fireworks to begin so that she could go home, she saw someone coming towards her. She didn't recognize the tall, jet black-haired woman who wore a leather jacket and cowboy boots. The woman had a well-toned build and deep brown eyes with a confident smile plastered on her face, but why was she walking towards Willow?
"Excuse me ma'am," the woman said and offered her hand for Willow to shake. "My name's Britney Walsh and I was wondering if there is an available seat at this table." She made a gesture around the room to indicate that it wasn't easy to find a seat as she asked the question.
"Sure," Willow said in a quiet voice as she watched most everyone in the club ogling the woman. "I'm Willow Rosenberg," she added and gave the woman a tentative smile. "You're not from here I can tell by the accent." Willow added and then blushed slightly, as she didn't normally take the lead in a conversation with a new person.
"No," the woman replied and sat down next to Willow rather than across from her. "I'm from a backwoods town in Texas and will be going to the university here in the fall."
"I'm going into my senior year of high school and then to college here probably." Willow replied and motioned the waiter to get her another coke. "My best friend would like me to go elsewhere but I think I like it here. I've lived here all my life though and would like to see what's out there." Willow finished babbling as another coke was given to her and a beer to the woman.
"It's a big world out there," Britney said with a smile directed at Willow. "I've been in the army slightly over two years now and have decided to get some higher education in."
"My friend Xander would talk you to death," Willow said with a motion of her arm towards Xander. "He loves military stuff and thinks he's so going to be this big hero when he's watching war movies. He gets a little cartoonish with it though. Sometimes we have to mentally block him out or else he will drive us crazy."
"It's a good career to get involved with." Britney said and watched some other people moving towards the table. "It looks like you've got some companions coming over here. Am I going to be intruding?"
"No, not at all." Willow said in a more withdrawn voice, as her friends joined them. "Guys this is Britney Walsh," she said and then began to introduce her friends. "This is my best guy friend, Xander Harris and his girlfriend Cordelia Chase. This is Buffy Summers, my best friend and I don't know this guy."
As Britney shook their hands, she noticed that this Chase character had a little attitude and her boyfriend was checking out Britney's assets more than a spoken for male should. She smiled at Buffy as they shook hands and then regarded Riley Finn with a big smile. "I know him a little bit." She added and then took her seat next to Willow.
"Yes I met her a couple of weeks ago and showed her around town. That wasn't such an easy task being as I haven't been here long myself." Riley said with a smile and shook Willow's hand. "Buffy has told me a lot about you and it's very nice to meet you."
- - - -
As the sun began to set and Oz played music with his band, Willow decided that she wanted to leave before Oz was finished. She had a nice evening meeting this new woman, chatting with her friends, and felt he would ruin it. There was a time when Willow would have waited excitedly for him to finish a set but not anymore. She now felt that he would go from club to club and pick up girls until he came home. That is when geeky little Willow would be waiting for him to give her a few kisses and speak as few words as possible. "I hate to do this guys but I need to go." Willow said and shot Buffy a no arguing my decision glare.
"Will stay with us and have a good time." Buffy said in the quietest voice that she could and still be heard over the music. "Don't let him get you down."
"If you want to leave," Britney stood up from the table and smiled at the group of friends, "I could come with you. This isn't really my style of music."
"Brit will be a good escort for your friend Buffy," Riley piped up and shot his friend a knowing glance. "I mean, if she doesn't really want to stay that is."
"Will," Buffy stood up in a huff. "You can't let Oz ruin your evening just as I can't let old wounds ruin mine."
"Cool it with the guilt trip there Buffy." Cordelia chimed in and refilled her drink. "Everyone has somebody here and maybe she's feeling like her old geeky self and wants to go home." Cordelia had fit into the group since dating Xander but couldn't help taking a jab or two on occasion.
"I'd rather think she wants to go home so that she doesn't have to spend time with snobs such as yourself." Britney said with a look of anger in her eyes. She never liked those types of girls in high school and wasn't going to let one of them spoil her evening. "I would be more then happy to watch the fireworks somewhere other than outside this club with you Willow." She added with a reassuring smile to the redhead.
"I don't want to intrude on anyone's night." Willow replied softly.
"You're not intruding," Britney said and followed the redhead out the door. "What's with that snob in there?"
"She's badgered me like that ever since I can remember," Willow said as Britney pointed to a Ford truck with tented windows and an extended cab.
"Give me directions and I'll drive wherever you want to go." She said and opened the passenger door for Willow to get in and then rounded the truck and got in the driver's seat. "I think that people who treat others so crappy have more insecurities then they let on." She added and pulled the truck away from the Bronze.
Willow shook her head in agreement and directed Britney to a good spot to watch the fireworks. It was her front yard, the place that she had watched them for the last ten years or more of her life. Until Buffy came along, Willow only had one true friend and they'd watch the spectacle from her yard every year. "I'm used to doing this sort of thing alone so if you like have someone to meet or something…"
"No Willow," Britney said and pulled into the Rosenberg's driveway. "Really, I have enjoyed your company this evening and would like to watch them with you if that's all right." She finished speaking, got out of the truck and opened Willow's door before the redhead had a chance to do it herself. "So, what's with this Oz guy?" She asked as the two headed onto the deck.
"He's my first boyfriend, was rather. I don't know what he is now because he wanted the option for us both to see other people. I took that to mean that he is interested in another person because he has to know that there is no chance in another person being interested in me. I'm sorry for letting that all out; you must think that I'm strange." Willow said and unlocked her front door. "I'll just go inside and get us something to drink and then we can sit here and watch the show."
As Willow went inside, Britney chuckled to herself. Granted, this was not the type of girl that Britney normally went out with but she liked Willow's mannerisms very much. She thought that maybe a change in types of women that she tried to get to know could mean having a chance at a good relationship for once. "I don't think you're strange at all," Britney said as Willow came back out with their drinks. "As a matter of fact, I think this Oz guy is pretty stupid because you are a very nice person to be around."
Willow blushed at the compliment, as compliments were not something that she was used to receiving. "Thanks, I think that you are a nice person also. I mean, you could have had any guy in that club but decided to hang out with me. That's something that never happens, not even with my friends."
"First of all, I don't date guys. Secondly, I'm not trying to be nice to pick you up so don't even think that." Britney said and smiled at Willow, who seemed to get a little nervous. "I mean, I haven't even given you one pick up line so you are safe with me."
Willow didn't want to come off as homophobic but was taken by surprise at Britney's revelation. She had seen a few same sex couples around town but never talked to a lesbian for any length of time. It wasn't that she minded being around them but she never had the opportunity to talk with one. Now that she was talking with one, she didn't know how to react. "I, wow, I don't know what to say but people are people is my view. It doesn't matter what they look like or who they choose to date but a lot of people think that it matters."
"They sure do," Britney said, as the fireworks beginning kept her from thinking of what it was like to come out in a religious community.