I watched "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date" for the first time yesterday and this popped into my head. Forgive any and all spelling and grammatical errors but it's seven in the morning and I haven't gone to sleep yet.
AU/AR- "Never Kill a Boy..." just a 'what if' story. (First Buffy fic)
Joss is Boss... and I am not the Boss
EDIT: I fixed all the errors I could find, fleshed out the fight scene, and tried to smooth out the transitions at the end. Any remaining discrepincies I blame on and my muse only striking me at obscene hours of the morning; enjoy!
Find Buffy…Get her to funeral home… Help Giles… Find Buffy… Get her to- Willow's thoughts were a mantra set to the beat of her running feet hitting the pavement. She had to keep her thoughts funneled strictly on her, and Xander's, mission otherwise her body might realize hey, she really wasn't all-star athlete girl and shut down on her. And Giles did not have the time for her to collapse and regroup before alerting Buffy to his rather fangy situation.
"Will… (pant) wait… (pant) (gasp) hold up… a sec." Xander managed to gasp out beside her and grabbed her elbow to stop her.
Willow slowed and stopped taking deep breaths and trying to calm her heart rate back down to doctor approved human levels while Xander hyperventilated next to her…
Well, at least he had his hands on his knees with his head bowed, so when he started feeling lightheaded and nauseous, he'd-
Ack! Bad Willow! Her mind scolded, Find Buffy; get her to the funeral home; help Giles! Rambling tangents and non sequiturs later!
"Xander, what's (deep breath) wrong? We need to hurry, it's late and dark out and Giles-"
"I know, Wills." Xander's breathing finally calmed and he rose from his hunched position. "But we need to think about this a sec. Where are we running to? We don't know where Owen took Buffy, wouldn't it be better if we went to one of our houses or the library and called her pager? That way-"
"No," Willow interrupted, taking one of Xander's arms and propelling him forward again. He'd raised a valid argument and at any other time she'd be very proud of her nearest and dearest friend and would be delighted to debate the subject, but the point was moot, the danger impending, and she just didn't have the time to explain it. "We do know where Buffy is-" Owen was outside the radar screen- "I mean, where else could they be? Owen told us he was taking her dancing and let's face it: Is their anywhere else in this town to go besides The Bronze?"
"Oh." Xander picked up the pace and soon they were running again, "When did he tell us he was taking her dancing?"
"Back at her house, (pant) when we took (pant) Owen aside so Giles (pant) (gasp) could talk to Buffy. He- (pant) he asked if (cough) (gasp) Buffy didn't like to dance. Ergo: (gasp) Bronze."
"Oh." Xander looked like he wanted to say more, but instead focused all his energy (and breathe) on running.
Thankfully, they soon arrived at The Bronze, Sunnydale being a small suburb, and after paying the cover charge they were in and searching the club for the petit blonde.
"Over there, I see her dress!" Xander's 'Buffy-sense' to the rescue!
"Buffy!" Willow exclaimed. She and Xander hurried, while trying to look somewhat casual, over to Buffy and her date…
"Look at this. You show up everywhere. Interesting." Huh, Owen did not look too thrilled to see them on top of the guy lurking on Buffy's other side.
What's Angel doing here? He doesn't look too happy. Granted, this was the, what, second time she'd seen him up close and he didn't strike as the type to wear cardigans and sing 'It's a Wonderful Day in the Neighborhood', but still…
"Look, we got to get to-" Oh, crap. It appeared that Willow had zoned out of the conversation and now Xander was about to blab some major secrets in front of Owen! Willow couldn't let him ruin this for Buffy. Her friend had been so excited that this boy had asked her out, she'd find a way to help Giles without having to sacrifice Buffy's happiness.
Thinking quickly, Willow jabbed her elbow into Xander's still slightly heaving side. Her oldest friend groaned before clamming up and trying to cover his wince. Willow looked straight ahead of her, trying to act natural and gauge Owen's reaction for any damage. When she shifted her gaze to Buffy, trying to think of a way to tell her about the danger without, you know, actually saying the words, she caught movement out of the corner of her eye.
Is he…? Was that a…? Did his…? Willow wasn't completely sure if her body was still recovering from the extended run from the Sunnydale Funeral Home to The Bronze or if her punching Xander really did make Angel smile. Well, half-smile. Tops.
"We thought it'd be fun," Xander was putting his arm around her as he spoke, "if we made this a double date."
"I…" Buffy looked skeptical, "didn't know you guys were seeing each other." Of course Buffy was unconvinced, because she knew Xander didn't even realize Willow was female, let alone wanted the redhead, Buffy wasn't stupid.
However, while Xander was not as book smart as her, he was a better liar so Willow decided to follow his lead. "Oh, yeah, well, we knew it would happen eventually," she looked up as Xander looked down and they smiled at each other, hopefully realistically enough to fool Owen, "so we figured, hey, why fight it?"
"And you guys were thinking double?" Owen looked somewhat convinced, which was good enough for Willow, she nodded and looked back at the other two people in front of her as Xander gave his vague affirmative.
What is Angel doing here?
Oddly enough, she and Owen seemed to be on the same wavelength. She watched as the loner from her school turned to the other loner. "And you're here because of work?"
"Hey, maybe we should all go somewhere together." Xander was trying to steer the conversation back toward their mission.
Buffy doesn't have a job. Neither do Xander or I. Does Angel have a job? Like a regular job, not just the cryptic warning guy shtick- Ohhh…
"Gee, that's so nice of you to ask, but Owen and I were, sort of-" Buffy looked like she was weighing the pros and cons of physically throwing her and Xander out of the club- "Owen and I."
Ohh, work. Vampires, Prophecies, Slaying. What do ya know? Angel was here for the same reason as she and Xander. That's it! Angel!
"You know what would be cool?" Xander looked like he had more to say but she cut him off. She'd figured out a way to have her cake and eat it too! Or in this case, save Giles and let Buffy and Owen continue their date.
"Buffy's right, I mean, what were we thinking? It's their first date. We should let them enjoy it unaccompanied. Why don't Xander and I grab Angel and go take care of that work problem, huh?"
She now had two distinct sets of brown eyes staring at her oddly. Oh well, she'd explain it to them soon enough and at least Buffy and Owen looked happy. Correction. Buffy looked ecstatic and Owen looked cautiously optimistic.
"You guys work with Buffy… and… Angel, too?" Gosh, Owen needed to lighten up. She was doing him a favor here!
"Well, Xander and I are more on the outskirts than truly working with Buffy, but I'm sure between the three of us we can manage any evi- problems." Willow had her right hand in a death grip around Xander's forearm and her left was tugging at the sleeve of Angel's coat. With surprisingly little protest, she herded the boys toward the front exit.
At the threshold of the club, her luck ran out. "Willow, what are you doing?! We need to get Buffy. What can Angel do? Say something cryptic and puzzle those two undead to death… again?"
Ugh, why her, why now? Giles didn't have time for this! "Xan, just trust me. Angel can help." Xander scoffed and rolled his eyes while Angel's eyes drilled into her, looking decidedly uncomfortable. Y'know, for Angel.
She really didn't want to do this. She had no right to do this. What Angel told people about himself was his business; she had no right to speak for him.
Aside from volunteering his help to save Giles, of course.
Willow glanced over to the man on her left. Angel looked ready to bolt, or to fade into the crowd or any convenient shadows. Willow sighed, she'd have to do some explaining now before they left The Bronze.
"Xander," Willow turned to him, voice strong and the beginnings of her 'Resolve Face' starting to shape her features, "will you go get us some water so we can rehydrate before the run back? And use the restroom if you need to?" Willow tried to spare his 'manly pride' while still making it clear that he was to skedaddle for a little bit.
And boy, did Xander look steamed. Thankfully, it seemed her 'Resolve Face' (and his bladder) settled the argument before it could take off. After making it known that he could and would be back at any moment so Angel better not try anything, earning an eye-roll from Angel, Xander took off for the men's room.
How do I explain myself without sending Angel sprinting to Canada? Willow was still trying to organize her thoughts and feelings into a neat, structured, and coherent outline when Angel decided they'd been quiet long enough.
"Why do you think I can help?"
Well, that's a start. And a good one, considering he implied that he would help. Willow took a deep breath, "Because I know." But she still needed more time to cogitate; she hadn't numbered her thoughts yet!
"What do you know?"
Oh, great. Three words and she sent Angel, mysterious-tough-guy personified, backing away from her. No wonder all the teachers call me gifted.
"I know… I know that vampires, demons, and the Hellmouth didn't just appear in Sunnydale because the Slayer did. There were scary bad guys here before Buffy moved here, before Giles moved here, before Xander and I were born, before my parents were born," Willow took a tentative step toward Angel, relieved when he didn't back away. "And I know that since there was evil here before Buffy came to fight it, that someone must have been fighting it before her. Fighting it and winning… or at the very least, keeping it from taking over. Otherwise we'd all be slaves to the Boogeyman already, right? And it might not even just be Sunnydale under his evil, slimy, stinky clutches but all of California or even the whole country. Because really, if you have the ability to take over and control the Hellmouth with all the local and migrating competition, you've gotta have some serious chutzpah and-" Forcibly closing her mouth, Willow stopped herself mid-babble, since unlike everyone else she'd met in her entire life, Angel seemed quite content to let her ramble off, full steam ahead, into the sunset (or sunrise, as the case would be in several hours).
At least he seemed to be smiling. "Some time you're going to have to tell me how you can say so much without taking a breath." Willow smiled shyly in return– "And about this… Boogeyman and his 'evil, slimy, stinky' and apparently quite dexterous clutches." –and promptly turned redder than her hair. "But not today. You were saying?"
Right, focus brain, focus! Rewind to pre-babble… Oh, right.
"Pre-Slayer slayage. Someone had to do it. Someone knowledgeable and capable. In order to protect the Hellmouth and the unaware humans living on it, someone would have to know all about what goes bump in the night and be physically able to match that super-human malevolence."
And we're back to frowny, poker-face Angel, that's ok. Willow knew what she needed to say now. She hadn't felt this confident since Jesse died, but now, she could practically feel his arm around her shoulder, sending her his support and comfort.
She took another step forward, putting her just inside Angel's personal space, not enough to be invasive, but enough to, hopefully, show him her support. Her trust in him.
Willow looked into Angel's liquid milk chocolate eyes as she quietly put all her cards on the table. "There aren't many beings that could do that. And even fewer, who would." Willow kept her voice even and pitch low as Angel's eyes widened and his jaw tensed, "I don't know what you are Angel. It doesn't matter to me." Willow hastened to elaborate as she saw Angel's face close up and disbelief creep into his eyes. "I owe you my life."
Angel shook his head, "You-"
"I owe you my parent's lives. I owe you my friends' lives. And that is enough for me." When she saw the lingering doubt, Willow pressed on, "You're a Monet painting, Angel. I can see the big picture, and it's wonderful. Everything else… it's just dots. And I know the dots are wonderful because they're what makes the big picture so amazing, but they aren't everything. You are more than the sum of your dots, Angel!" Willow gave herself a mental pat on the back for making Angel smile again. "And while I would like the opportunity to investigate those dots, that can wait until the right time and place."
Until you're ready for me to know, Willow hoped Angel heard the subtext. Nuance wasn't her strong suit. Though, she must be better at it than she thought because it looked like Angel read her loud and clear.
"Thank you…" Angel looked uncomfortable again, and the way he'd trailed off at the end of his expression of gratitude it was almost like…
"Oh! I'm Willow. Rosenberg. Willow Rosenberg." She stuck her hand out to shake his which seemed like such a silly thing to do after the heart-felt speech she'd just given him, about him, no less, but it wasn't like they'd had time to introduce themselves before now.
Willow could just picture it, Hi, guy! I've seen you lurking around The Bronze before, but don't worry, I'm not a stalker, I just know that you know about the very real existence of vampires and the Vampire Slayer and thought I'd come over here and introduce myself since your vigilante slaying has probably saved my life several times over… Willow barely contained her snort at the idiocy of the scene playing in her head.
Letting go of Angel's hand Willow let her mouth run off a bit in order to distract her from her fantasy introduction. "I met Buffy the first day she transferred to Sunnydale High, she wanted academic help to catch up in her classes, and Xander fell off his skateboard when he saw her before school even began that day. Of course Jesse," Willow had to swallow passed the lump in her throat, looking at the wall behind Angel's right shoulder. "Jesse already knew about a new girl transferring into school because his mom knew and told him. And," Willow quickly moved past Jesse, just in case Angel started asking questions, she couldn't handle that right now, "of course you know about Giles-" Whatever words she had about Giles and his role as Buffy's Watcher and the school librarian died in her throat as she remembered why she and Xander ran here in the first place.
Willow looked up at Angel, eyes wide, "Giles needs help! He went to the funeral home alone to see if the Anointed One was this guy, Andrew Borba, who died in the bus crash last night and was wanted by the police, something about a double murder. Only, Xander and I didn't think it was safe that he go alone so we followed him and saw two guys chase after him into the building. We peeked into the windows from the outside until we found him and he told us that the two guys after him were vampires, brethren, in fact, but he's trapped without a phone so we ran here to get Buffy-"
If he thought I could babble fast before… Willow idly thought as her words got faster and faster until Angel gently grasped her forearm to halt her (probably incoherent) words.
"It's ok. We'll help Giles and if this Andrew Borba is the Anointed One I'll take care of him."
"Ok." She liked the way he said 'we'. "Thank you, Angel."
"And just what, exactly, has he done that merits thanks? And watch the hands, buddy." Xander always did have such… interesting timing.
"Xander, be nice. Angel's going to help us." Willow calmly stated as she started walking toward the door to the club.
"Oh, riiight. And just how, I ask is he-" Xander visibly wilted under the ferocity of the 'Resolve Face- angry version' Willow fixed him with and started running toward the funeral home without any form of complaint.
Willow caught the amused and wondering look Angel sent her way. "What?" She asked as she started jogging, looking over her shoulder to tell Angel, "You have your dots and I have mine."
Astoundingly, the run from The Bronze to the funeral home felt like it took half the time, but it hurt twice as much. Ow. Note to self: use the stair climber collecting dust in the basement.
"Ok. Which way?" Angel didn't even look winded. The meanie.
"The room's around back." Willow pointed down the left hallway and started jogging next to Xander while Angel took point. They were getting near the end of the hallway when Angel started to slow down and suddenly turned left down another corridor. Xander looked ready to start yelling when they entered the darkened exam room to find it in complete disarray. Everything was overturned or broken, including a bar on the window and the two next to it pulled away to create a bigger escape hole. And worst of all: no sign of Giles.
"Giles?" Willow called tentatively. Clinging fervently to the hope that Giles was hiding somewhere in the room, safe and alive-
Suddenly, the door to the rightmost freezer slab on the top row popped open and out rolled Giles… lying on top of a covered corpse. But Giles was alive!
"Giles?" Willow squeaked while Xander stared in slack-jawed fascination at the sight in front of them.
"Willow? I thought you and Xander had run to get Buffy?"
"We, uh… did. But, Owen… date… happy Buffy…" Willow waved her arms in the abstract hope of adding to her broken dialogue while Giles climbed down from his… hidey hole. "What happened?"
"Ah, yes, two more of the brethren came here after me but I was more than a match for them."
"Translation?" Oh, good. Now she didn't have to close Xander's jaw for him.
"I hid. But this chap was good enough to bunk with me until they went away." Giles was looking puzzled. Willow followed his gaze to Angel.
"Oh. Angel's been kind enough to help us. See, Xander and I didn't return alone."
Funny, Giles just looked more confused instead of less.
Xander took one look at the Watcher's face and half-smirked, "Yeah, she won't tell me either. But don't question the 'Resolve Face', tweed-man. You won't win." Reaching over Xander closed the freezer that Giles had hid in, while Willow blushed and studied her shoes.
The four searched the room and the rest of the slabs looking for the missing vamps, with no luck. They split up to cover more ground, which Willow always thought was a bad idea in horror movies but could see the appeal now, in real life. Even if it was still a bad idea. Willow volunteered to go with Angel, knowing the other two would bring up too many questions that Angel wasn't ready to answer just yet. She gave Xander her extra stake, knowing she'd be safe with Angel, and followed him down the dark hallways of the Sunnydale Funeral Home.
They came to a door, it looked like an office of some sort, with a plaque reading Observation Room. Angel tried to open it, "Locked." He appeared to be studying the best way to break it down, when Willow gently pushed past him and knelt in front of the lock. Pulling out two bobby pins from her hair, Willow proceeded to try picking the lock.
"And where," an amused voice from above her asked, "did a studious girl like you learn to pick a lock?"
Willow responded absently as she concentrated on the lock, "You'd be amazed what you learn when your parents leave the state for a month without warning you and lock the door behind them when you're five." Willow smiled triumphantly as she heard the faint click of a successfully picked lock. She looked up to see Angel looking at her in concern and… anger?
I thought his eyes were a darker shade of brown…?
"Your parents… just… left you alone when you were five?"
Well, at least he's not angry at me and my meager lock-picking skills. Willow gave Angel a composed, knowing smile. "They have busy careers and are often away on business."
Suddenly the door in front of her was wrenched open, Willow squeaked and fell backward in surprise, not expecting anyone to be on the other side of the door, or for them to be showing their fangs.
Angel tackled the strange vampire and they fought, punching and wrestling. They seemed fairly evenly matched though Angel seemed more knowledgeable about fighting techniques, pinning his assailant onto the wooden desk. Angel's back was to the broken window displaying the sterile room where the vampire's body must have been laid out, as evidenced by the shards of glass and tattered burgundy drapery. The stranger, Borba, kept spouting weird phrases about being judged and a 'they' that whispered to him while he slept. All in all, things Willow wouldn't be surprised to hear in a dooms-day cult. Borba brought up his knees and pushed, shoving Angel back into the sill, causing him to flip backward into the other room.
Willow squeaked and started to crab walk backward as Borba started to calmly walk toward her, his yellow eyes flashing hungrily on her. Willow pushed herself up and thrust the wooden cross she'd grabbed from a table in the exam room they'd found Giles in.
"Why does he hurt me?" Borba growled angrily backing up a few paces from the sting of the cross. Knowing it wouldn't hold him off for long; Willow turned and ran back through the dark hallways of the funeral home.
"Oh no!" Willow choked back tears of frustration and panic as she ran to yet another dead end. She jumped and stifled a scream as she heard Borba's voice coming toward her. Oh no, oh no. Her mind chanted as she started running once again her tennis shoes thankfully making little to no noise on the floor.
I'm about to die and my killer's singing… is that Gospel!? As soon as that thought flitted through her mind, Willow concluded that she must've gone into shock. She turned sharply down a corner and found herself back in the ransacked exam room. Back to ground zero. Willow swallowed the hysterical giggle that threatened to burst. She quickly looked around, there didn't seem to be any pieces of wood, broken or otherwise, lying around that she could use for a stake. Do I try to climb out the window now that there's a big enough hole, without knowing what or who's out there or do I pull a Giles and hide… with a cadaver…
Before Willow could make up her mind, Borba and his insane ramblings came into the room, just as calm and happy as could be. He smiled at Willow as she backed up, her body shaking and her eyes darting desperately about the room.
"I can smell you," he laughed at her obvious fear. "You're the chaff, unblessed. I'll suck the blood-"
He was cut off as Angel came rushing in, tackling Borba from behind and ramming him headfirst into the metal doors to the freezers.
"Bad dog," Angel said as grabbed a fistful of Borba's brown hair and slammed his head forward into the metal with a will. "No treats for you."
"I can't be a Snausage®! They're not kosher!" Ok, Willow was sure even the fully dead people in the freezers could detect the hysteria in her voice.
"Willow," Angel's voice sounded strained as he struggled to keep their enemy pinned, "turn on the cremator."
Willow looked around wildly, the large furnace nearly taking up an entire wall wasn't exactly hard to see, but whatever device turned it on… "How, Angel? I don't…"
"Check on the sides of the walls adjacent to the one with the furnace. There should be a few buttons near it but a prudent distance away from any possible sparks."
Oh there were so many questions a detailed response like that brought up that were just begging to be asked. Willow bit her tongue hard (but carefully, no sense bleeding when Borba already wanted to drink her dry) and dutifully searched as Angel directed. She quickly found a group of buttons and, shooting off a quick prayer, she pushed the red, topmost button. She felt the heat on her right as the furnace roared to life.
She grinned in relief and accomplishment, "Anything else Angel…" The words died as she turned and saw Borba pinning Angel to the sink on the wall opposite the freezers. Willow frantically looked for something to hit Borba with, her eyes falling on a cluster of ceramic urns. She picked one up, feeling its hefty weight, trying not to blanch as she realized there was most probably someone's remains in there.
Willow moved as stealthily as she could, positioning herself behind Borba as he started to choke Angel while he spoke to him.
"Why do you forsake him and his gifts, my brother?"
Willow raised the urn up and, with a silent apology to the person whose remains she was holding, their family, God, and whoever else might be privy to her thoughts, brought it smashing down on the back of Borba's head. He swayed, his grip on Angel loosening, and Willow scrambled back as Angel pushed hard, using the counter as leverage to send Borba back onto the exam table, the sudden weight and velocity sliding the table back and sending the vampire into the lit furnace.
Willow sighed in relief as Borba met his final, flame-y death. She watched as Angel strolled over to the wall with the buttons that controlled the cremator and turned it off. He looked over and their eyes met, smiling at each other in accomplishment.
"Are you ok?" They both asked at the same time and Willow giggled as she nodded. She opened her mouth to thank Angel when Xander and Giles came running down the corridor. She and Angel both visibly tensed searching for the new danger.
"What's wrong?" Willow asked Giles.
"We-we h-heard fighting and came t-to make sure you were alright."
Willow frowned, noting Giles and Xander's disregard for Angel's safety. That wouldn't do. "We're fine. We found Borba, or he found us, but the flames from the cremator are awful hot so… Queen anyone?"
Wow, mention one bad pun and suddenly your oldest friend and newest friend (hopefully) start looking at you like they're measuring you for a strait jacket.
"'Another one bites the dust'? O-or perhaps 'We are the Champions' w-would also apply?" At least Giles got the musical reference and was even giving her a small grin.
Willow grinned broadly, glad to have made Giles smile after the night he'd had. "Well, I didn't think Borba wanted to ride his bicycle."
Willow smiled brighter at the tiny chuckle Giles gave, "Yes. Quite."
"Alright, well, if Willow's finished acting middle aged, I saw we run out of here and never look back, who's with me?"
Willow sighed as Giles frowned a bit at the age remark and started leading them toward the exit. Xander walked with Giles complaining about how hungry he was but how he felt too nauseous to eat every time he remembered how Giles had hid in a freezer on top of a corpse. Willow thought about how riotous her evening had been, Slayers, and Vampires, and Dates, oh my! Willow snorted at her own bad pun when she felt Angel's hand touch hers. Looking around she saw that they were at the entrance to the funeral home. She turned to smile at Angel, knowing he wasn't going to ride with them in Giles' car.
"Thank you for helping tonight, Angel."
"Thank you for believing in me, Willow." And with that, Willow watched as Angel disappeared into the inky blackness of the night.
"Come on, Wills. I need some shut- Yo! Where'd cryptic guy go?"
Willow smiled softly at Xander, "Angel's fine. He followed us out and said goodbye. Giles? Would you mind driving me home? I want to tell you about the crazy stuff Borba was saying."
The drive home was relatively quiet and markedly uneventful compared to earlier that evening. Willow told Giles everything she could remember about what Borba said. Giles dropped her off at her house, the lights off and her parents' car missing, and waited until she opened the door before driving off. Willow waved at the car and caught movement down the street and tensed, her head turning quickly. She sighed and relaxed as she recognized Angel's clothes and physique. She smiled and waved goodnight to him too, flattered that he wanted to make sure she got home safe.
Willow went up to her room and turned on her CD player as she got ready for bed. She smiled broadly as the first measures of 'Killer Queen' filled her bedroom. She burrowed down into her bed sheets, closing her eyes and drifting off into slumber to the strains of 'Somebody to Love' and a pair of brown eyes gazing at her with trust engulfing her mind.
The next day, Willow listened raptly as Buffy went on and on about her date with Owen (ending at Ben & Jerry's which Willow believed was a major plus and the sure sign of a keeper) and simultaneously thanking Willow for getting Xander and Angel away from her date and apologizing for not being there for the vampire slayage.
"Buffy breathe!" Willow laughed after listening to her friend's twelfth mix of thanking, apologizing, and self-reproach all in one. "It's ok. We handled things for one night. I'm not saying we could do it all the time. Maybe you could tell Owen you have to work nights and stick to afternoon and early evening dates?"
"Maybe. Just… thanks. I needed to feel like a teenage girl again."
"You are a teenage girl, Buffy. You're just also the Slayer. You're a two-in-one bonus! You can defend the world from evil and complain about how your parents just don't understand anything all at the same time." She and Buffy giggled, because unlike a lot of their peers, Buffy's parents really didn't understand, sadly, it was safer that way.
"You're right, and to make it up to Giles, I'm training and patrolling for a whole week without complaint." Buffy elbowed her gently at the overly dramatic fake gasp Willow made, "You're the best, Willow."
"Well, how can I argue with that?" Willow giggled as Buffy hugged her.
"So," Buffy said after she pulled back, "what did you and Angel talk about?"
Willow smiled, "Nothing major, just the Boogeyman, lock-picking, and, of course, Monet."
Planning a few more 'what if's. Feedback appreciated...