Fic-For-All entry: Willow Rosenberg/Lyle (The Italian Job)
DISCLAIMER: JOSS OWNS BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER AND THE ITALIAN JOB IS THE PROPERTY OF PARAMOUNT PICTURES. I OWN NOTHING.
Willow smiled and waved as Faith pulled the car from the sidewalk, before hitching her bag up higher on her shoulder, and turning to walk into the building. Ever since she'd activated the slayers, she really hadn't been needed by the council, especially since older Watchers who had left the council because they disagreed with Quinton Travers' narrow minded take on the world had begun to rejoin the new council. These days, it was only if someone needed a major spell was she pulled out and dusted off, much like a formal suit that lived in a wardrobe unless it was needed.
Willow had found it made for a boring life, and had taken up her old hobby of writing out computer programs and selling them, bringing in much needed funding to the schools, and also giving her a purpose.
Through her email, Willow had received word about a conference about computer programming was being held in Philadelphia, and so she had persuaded Faith and Dawn that a weekend away from the slayer school in Cleveland was in order. Faith and Dawn had been thrilled at the prospect of going shopping, so they had driven down with Willow, and had dropped her off at the hotel the conference was at, before continuing on to New York for a long weekend of fun and shopping, before picking Willow back up on the way back home.
Willow walked into the hotel lobby and checked in. She collected her key card and headed up to her room, pulling her suitcase behind her. Why on earth had Buffy insisted that she carry a battle axe with her? Willow didn't even like using a battle axe; they were too messy and chunky for her liking. No, if magic wasn't an objection, Willow much preferred a knife, a crossbow, or even a short sword. Leave it to the slayers to handle the heavy weaponry.
Once she reached her room, Willow let herself inside, dropping onto the bed with a relieved sigh. It had been far too long since she'd had any real alone time. Sure, she wasn't ever doing much, but she lived in a house with between twelve and thirty teenaged girls, not to mention Faith, Xander, Buffy, Dawn, and occasionally Andrew. What was even more annoying was that ever since she'd found out that Kennedy had been cheating, and had left Rio for Cleveland, she'd rarely been left alone, for fear of a return to her 'dark Willow days.'
It had been six months, and Willow was really over it. She hadn't even been really hurt when she'd found out, as she'd been having suspicions about the longevity of her and Kennedy's relationship since the start.
Rolling onto her stomach, Willow pulled the brochures and her information for the conference out of her pocket. The first session started in an hour, so she slowly slid off the bed, gathering a change of clothes together before heading to the bathroom, planning on having a shower to wash away the trip.
Her shower finished, Willow got together her things, loading them into a bag. Knowing that the people that were attending the conference were going out for dinner immediately after the session, Willow grabbed a stake, a cross, and some holy water, in addition to her laptop, notebook, wallet, and pens. Satisfied that she was ready, she picked up her bag, and left her hotel room, double checking her key card in her pocket on the way out.
She walked down into the foyer, before following the signs to the auditorium that the conference would be being held in. She checked where her assigned seat was, before sitting down. It made her feel like she was in class at college again, and she giggled as she set up her laptop. Many of the sets were filled already, with many of the people there fitting the geek stereotype head on. Cordelia would be laughing her head off if she was here. Most of the guys here looked like they had worse fashion sense than Xander did during high school before he and Cordy got together.
Neither of the seats on either side of Willow were occupied, so she took the opportunity to send a quick email to Xander using the wireless connection in the room. By the time she'd finished typing, and hit send, there was a guy approaching the seat beside her. She did a double take. Was that Oz?
No, but the resemblance was uncanny.
"Hi," Willow greeted politely as the guy sat down, pulling out his own laptop as he went.
"Hi. How are you going?"
"I'm good thanks. How are you today? I'm Willow, by the way."
"Lyle, and I'm good too. It's nice to meet you, Willow."
Willow studied Lyle intently as he went about getting his laptop set up. There was definitely a resemblance to Oz, but there wasn't any of the wolfishness that sent magical tingles of warning through Willow's fingers.
Instead, when he smiled at her, Willow felt a completely different set of tingles, in a place that wasn't her fingers. She swallowed.
'Bad Willow, remember, Gay now,' she chastised herself.
"So, Lyle, we're you from?' willow asked, her voice suddenly more higher pitched than it was normally.
"Here and there, I move around a fair bit," Lyle said, "What about you, Willow?"
"Originally Sunnydale, California, but these days I'm living up in Cleveland."
"Sunnydale… Isn't that the town that got sucked into the ground by some sink-hole or something?"
"Yep, that's the one." Willow nodded.
"Wow that must have been something to see." Lyle said with a smile, before turning back to his computer. Willow felt her body tingle again at that smile.
'Gay now Gay now Gay Now,' Willow mentally chanted.
"So, what line of business are you in Willow?" Lyle asked, having finished his laptop set up. Willow shrugged.
"Programming, mostly, just making programs and selling them to companies." Willow replied, thinking about one of her former clients, a certain demonic law firm who had experienced major data loss and system breakdowns ever since they had sent an army of assorted nasties after their former boss, Angel. Angel had hugged Willow when she'd shown him all the files she'd been able to steal from the law firm in question before she'd effectively wiped every single computer that was on their network.
"And I'm also a teacher at a girls' school in Cleveland. "What about you, Lyle?" she asked.
"Oh, just little things. Security stuff, traffic control, you know…" Lyle eluded. Willow nodded, understanding what Lyle was saying, as well as what he wasn't.
He was a hacker, who'd probably done some things that were highly illegal through his hacking. Amongst hackers, there was a definite 'don't ask…don't tell' rule about what illegal projects they'd worked on in the past.
The pair fell silent when the conference session started. Willow paid attention to the speaker, and so did Lyle. Willow glanced sideways at Lyle when she was sure he wasn't looking, before catching herself, blushing, and turning back to the lecturer.
Goddess, when did she go back to high school? She'd hung around the mini-slayers far too much, obviously.
This was going to be a long weekend.
Lyle glanced sideways at Willow, smiling at the blushing redhead. She was so sweet, and innocent, but at the same time something told him that she had a hidden, dangerous side to her, and it was sending him nuts. Was this what it was like for Charlie when he met Stella? Maybe, but then, they'd practically grown up together, so it was different.
Lyle glanced around him, scanning for any familiar faces in the crowd. He saw a few, but no-one that he knew well enough to give away his slightly sordid past, although that Willow reacted to his vague description of his jobs hinted that she was well and truly familiar with the world of hacking.
Nearly everyone in this room would have hacked at some point of their lives, but few of them would have gone as far as Lyle had when it came to breaking the law.
But hey, he was the Napster, and had the wired magazine cover shoot to prove it. Speaking of…
"Hey, Willow. Do you read wired magazine?" he whispered. Willow glanced at him and nodded.
"Yeah, but I've missed a fair few issues, I've been travelling a bit in the last two years."
"Ah, okay then."
"Why do you ask?"
"I was in it a couple of issues ago, I was just curious to see if you'd seen it."
"Nope, but you do look familiar. Do you know someone named Daniel Osbourne?"
"Yeah, he's my cousin; I haven't seen him in years, why?"
"Oh, I went to high school with him. You look a lot alike."
"I've always thought my baby brother Jordy was more like him, but my mom says the same thing."
"What's he been up to lately, do you know? We sort of lost contact after he left Sunnydale during our freshman year of college. We were dating."
"I don't know. The last my mother heard, he was in Nepal researching some sort of wild animals, I think they were wolves, and he was in some band."
Willow almost laughed, "He has a thing about wolves. I bet he's really enjoying it there."
Lyle smiled at Willow, whose eyes were sparkling like emeralds, before he forced himself to focus on what the speaker was saying, and Willow did the same beside him.
At the end of the session, Willow and Lyle left the auditorium together and walked with the rest of the people attending the conference to the hotel restaurant. They sat together at the large table and met with a few of the other people at the conference. Willow met up with a few people that she chatted with online about computer issues, and Lyle spoke with the people that he'd spotted in the auditorium, but the pair remained side by side. Willow laughed at someone's joke, her hair glinting in the flickering candlelight that lit the restaurant, her eyes sparkling like emeralds. Lyle swallowed, his mouth suddenly dry. She was so beautiful, and she wasn't snobbish, or just out to get laid. It was like she was a kindred spirit to his, cut adrift in a world that was so focused on materialism, beauty, sex, and having a good time. Lyle knew that Willow loved computers, just as much as he did, and it just made her even sexier in his eyes.
Willow watched Lyle out of the corner of her eye the whole evening, watching as he interacted with some acquaintances of his. He was so…real. Not fake, like so many other guys…and girls our there. What you saw was what you get, and all that. In his own unique way, he was very handsome, and the more Willow looked at him, the more differences she saw between him and Oz. Lyle was two years older than Oz, making him almost four years older than her. His hair was a natural brown colour, and carried none of the scent of hair dye that Oz's had. His eyes were different too. As for his personality, it was different too. For one, he was talking more than Oz ever had, both to Willow, and to others.
And then, of course, there was the whole not being a werewolf thing. Although did remember Oz saying that it was his baby cousin that had been the werewolf that had bitten him. Lyle, being Jordy's older brother, would probably know about werewolves, which would make explaining to him about her witchiness a lot easier.
'Whoa where did that thought come from?' A voice, which sounded strangely like Buffy's, whispered in Willows mind. Willow paused, a frown crossing her face. Why was she already considering telling Lyle about her past? She barely knew him. He could be a vampire, for all she knew. Except that she was almost as good at picking out vampires as the slayers…better than a lot of them, Buffy included, but on the other hand, there were a lot of other nasties out there that Willow couldn't automatically pick out.
Willow glanced sideways and watched as Lyle laughed at someone's comment, drinking from his bottle of beer. He was so handsome, but yet at the same time he was so natural and down to earth, and at the same tome so intelligent and geeky. It made her tummy feel squiggly.
'All aboard for the six o'clock express to boys town' Willow thought, a shy smile spreading across her face.
When Willow got to her room later that evening, she checked her watch, checking what time it would be in Cleveland. It was still quite early, before anyone would be in bed, so she dialled the number for the private staff room, a room of the school with a private phone line that was strictly for the Scoobies use. Willow, Xander, Buffy, Dawn, Faith, Giles and Andrew rang that number when they were out on a solo mission, or away from Cleveland, and wanted to have a chat without the younger girls overhearing.
The phone rang twice before it was picked up.
"Hey?" Xander's voice asked.
"Willow, how's the conference going. You learning lots of new geeky things?"
"I've only had one session, and that was more of an introductory thing, Xander." Willow dryly commented. Xander chuckled, "alright, oh clever one, what can the Xand man do for you?"
"Is Buffy there? I was kind of hoping to have a girl talk, and you're not a girl."
Xander laughed, "Thank-god. We need every bit of testosterone as we can in this place, and Andrew doesn't count."
"So, this is when you say that you miss Angel and Spike?" Willow teased
"No" Xander replied without hesitation.
"Admit it, Xander, you miss having guys that you could butt heads with, all that brotherly bonding stuff."
"You need to admit that you're deluded. I do not miss the broody one and the impotent one. Have a nice weekend Wills, here's Buffy."
Willow waited for the phone to be handed over.
"Hey Wills, what's up. Xander tells me you need girl talk."
"I'm confused Buffy, Oz's cousin is here."
"The werewolf one…its two weeks from full moon Wills."
"No, the werewolf one's older brother, who looks a lot like Oz, but at the same time he is so much different."
"Am I detecting a slight case of dreamy voice, Wills?" Buffy asked teasingly down the phone. Willow pursed her lips.
"Yeah, he sits next to me in all of our sessions, and he's so chatty, and we sat together at dinner, and it was so nice, and he's so sweet, but I don't know if it would be weird dating Oz's cousin. They haven't spoken in years, although apparently Oz is still up in Tibet studying wolves."
"Lyle's words, not mine. Seriously, Buffy, when he smiles I feel all fluttery inside, and it feels like my knees have turned to mush, and he kept shooting sideways glances at me, but I was doing it to him as well, and I was blushing. By the way, we should limit contact hours with the potentials; I was literally acting like I was in high school again." Willow babbled.
"Willow, breathing is of the good, remember?" Buffy cut in, her amusement thick in her voice.
"Right, breathing. Breathing is good." Willow nodded, breathing deeply.
"Willow, do you remember what I told you the day that we met."
"That vampires are real?"
"No, Carpe Diem, seize the day, just don't get attacked this time when you go off alone with a vampire, okay?"
Willow smiled at the memory, "Don't worry, I got a stake in my bag, a cross in my pocket, and a mean arsenal of magic tricks up my sleeve."
"Okay Wills, see you."
Willow hung up, a smile spreading across her face as she exhaled calmingly, before hooking out her laptop again. It was time to find out who Lyle was.
Lyle sat on the bed of his hotel room, holding his phone tightly, deciding which of his friends he should call to talk to about his problem. Handsome Rob was out on principal, and Left ear was on the other side of the world, in his villa. That left Charlie. It made sense, since Charlie was the only one of the gang that was married, or even in a long term relationship.
He scrolled through his address book and found Charlie's home number, hitting the dial button. It rang twice before it was answered.
"Hello?" it was Stella.
"Hey Stella, its Napster."
"Hey, how's it going at that conference?"
"It's good, is Charlie there?"
"Yeah, he's just in the lounge room. I'll go and get him for you, okay?"
Oz waited for Charlie to pick up the phone.
"Hey, Napster?" Charlie Spoke.
"Dude, what's up, you sound freaked?"
"How did you know Stella was the one?" Lyle asked.
"Er, I don't know. Why, have you met someone? Who is she, where did you meet?"
"We met today at the conference. She's so gorgeous, man. Her hair, it's like fire, and her eyes are like emeralds, and she's so sweet, but at the same times she's got this whole hidden danger thing going, and she's so smart."
"Dude, you've got it bad. You are like, head over heels, and you've only known her a day."
"I know, Charlie, I don't know what to do."
"And you contacted me why?"
'You're the one that's married, Charlie." Lyle pointed out.
"True" Charlie replied, "Alright, I'd wait at least another day, but then go for it. Do you want me to do a background check to make sure she doesn't have any connections to any of our enemies?"
"No, it's cool. I'll do it. Thanks dude."
"No problem, keep me informed."
"Okay, see you. Stay Cool"
Lyle hung up, before exhaling and hooking out his laptop again. It was time to find out who Willow was.
The next morning found Willow alone eating her breakfast in the dining room of the hotel, at one of the tables reserved for people attending the conference she was attending. She was just beginning to eat her banana pancakes when she glanced up, spotting Lyle walking towards her.
Her little researching session had proved to be interesting. Lyle, or, as he was otherwise known, the Napster, was a hacker within the community, and had featured on the front cover of Wired magazine. He was very wealthy, and specialised in the business of hacking traffic control centres. Willow suspected that Lyle had been involved in things slightly more illegal than hacking, like heists and robberies, although she wasn't worried. She'd done far worse.
Lyle smiled when he spotted and walked over, sitting down beside her once he'd gotten his food from the buffet.
"Good morning," Willow greeted.
"Good morning," Lyle replied.
They sat together, eating in silence, both of them content with not saying anything.
"So, are you looking forward to the sessions today? There looks like there's a lot of really awesome stuff." Lyle said, breaking the silence.
Willow nodded enthusiastically, "I know, I'm particularly looking forward to the seminar on the development of databases online and the one on exchanging information through networks, because they're the ones related to my work at the School, but I'm also really looking forward to the one on developing new security software." Willow babbled. Lyle smiled at her enthusiasm. It had been years since he had been around someone who was so genuinely enthused by technology, in the same way as he was. Sure, Charlie and the others pretended, and if there was something that was connected to the job, like how he had seized power of the traffic control centre during the heist against Steve, then the others would be impressed, but the rest of the time, it was just him and his computers.
"Yeah, I thought along the same lines" Lyle agreed, grinning happily.
That night, after the last of the seminars, Willow and Lyle decided to go and explore the city. Willow made sure the had a Stake, a cross, and some holy water in her bag, just in case, before setting off down the street with the brown haired man.
Lyle swallowed nervously as they walked down the street, admiring the sights. He brushed his hand 'accidently' against Willows, and she blushed. A block later, they were holding hands. Willow's hands felt smooth to his touch, and he couldn't resist rubbing the back of his hand with his thumb.
Willow grinned as she felt Lyle's thumb gently rubbing the back of her hand. It felt nice, and very relaxing. She smiled up at Lyle, before shyly resting her head on his shoulder as they walked. Lyle only gripped her hand tighter, reassuring her that he was fine with the close proximity between them. Willow let out a contented sigh, happy with the little world she and Lyle had built around them.
Lyle gulped nervously as Willow rested her head on his shoulder, but immediately relaxed into it. It felt so natural, as he tightened his grip on her hand possessively. Why on earth had Oz ever let this beautiful creature go? It was like John said, you find a beautiful girl, and you keep hold of her forever. Lyle felt like he understood so many of the things the older man had said, and the things Charlie said about Stella now that he had met Willow. It was like his world revolved around her, like he need only look at her and feel safe, and loved and warm on the inside. He wasn't even sure if she felt the same way about him yet. For now, it was just him and her, enjoying each others company, and being in their own little world.
"Don't you wish that this weekend could go on forever?" Willow quietly asked.
Lyle nodded, 'Yeah, we go back home tomorrow night."
Willow sighed, "Will you keep in touch?'
Lyle let go of her hand, and instead wrapped both his hands around Willow's slender waist, holding her close.
"Always," he murmured, before he leant down and gently brushed his lips against hers.
'Oh my God, I'm dying.' Was the first thought that burst through Willow's head as Lyle drew her in and kissed her so tenderly 'There was no way such a kiss could happen on earth. I've died and gone to heaven'
Lyle pulled out of the kiss and Willow sighed.
"Wow" Lyle said.
"Yeah, Wow. Wow sums it up" Willow said dreamily, before she went up on tiptoes, and kissed him. She felt his arms tighten around her back, holding her close to his body as they kissed, this time letting some of their passion for one another seep through.
Willow pulled out of the kiss and Lyle closed his eyes, committing the way Willow looked at the moment, her lips reddened, and her eyes sparkling, to his memory.
"Do you want to head back to the hotel?" Willow asked shyly, biting her lip. Lyle almost let his jaw drop. Was she serious? He nodded quickly.
As they walked, Lyle kept an arm around her, wether it be around her back, or around her shoulders. Willow snuggled her head onto his shoulder again, and they stopped often, kissing, before they kept walking.
Willow could feel her insides growing increasingly tingly each time she and Lyle kissed, and a deep warmth had begun to build up within her.
'I've got a feeling I'm not in girls town anymore' she found herself thinking
Willow woke up the next morning feeling sated and sore in all the right places. Lyle's chest served as her pillow, and she found herself lightly tracing pattern's on the skin of his stomach. Lyle smiled as he woke up, watching as the beautiful red head traced patterns on his skin.
"Mmm, that feels good" he mumbled sleepily. Willow turned her head so she was facing him.
"Good morning," she greeted.
"Good morning," he replied, before pulling her in for a kiss.
Willow was smiling dreamily when they pulled apart, "What time is it?" she asked. Lyle looked at the clock over the top of Willow's head.
"Seven Thirty, we probably should be getting up soon."
"I don't really want to" Willow admitted, and Lyle nodded, completely understanding.
"Hey, do you want to come and stay with me a bit after the conference?" he asked. Willow almost let her jaw drop. He was asking her to come and stay with him. To have the opportunity to spend so much more time together. She grinned and nodded. Sure, they'd only known each other for a couple of days, but Buffy was right, Carpe Diem, and all that, and Willow was certain that Lyle wasn't a vampire, or a werewolf, or a demon, or anything dangerous.
Besides, she could look after herself, regardless of what the other Scoobies thought.
"I'll have to ring up the school and get some more time off, but that shouldn't be a problem, and my friends that were coming to pick me up." She told Lyle. Lyle grinned, sliding out from under the covers. Willow slowly followed him, and he took her hand, leading her towards the shower. Willow giggled.
This was shaping up to be a great day.
Willow leant casually against the wall as she held her phone to her ear.
"Yes, Buffy, I'm sure he's safe. I'll be fine"
"Okay then, if your sure Wills. I'll tell Faith and Dawn to come straight home, and not to bother going to get you, since you've made alternative arrangements. Make sure you give me all the yummy details when you get back though, okay? No skimping."
Willow laughed, "Alright Buffy. Thank-you"
Hanging up, she turned to face Lyle, grinning happily, "I'm good, I've got another week off."
"Perfect" Lyle grinned, pulling her in for a kiss, "When we get to my house, you have GOT to check out my Speakers, they're a blast."