The characters of Buffy, Willow, Xander, Giles, Cordelia and
Oz are property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, WB Network.
I do not own them. I'm just borrowing them to repair some
of the hearts that have been broken far too long. I don't
intend to make any profit from writing this, so please (as
always) don't sue me.
Feedback: Is lovingly cherished.
Spoiler: Anything before the
episode "Homecoming" is fair game. (Thanks to Willa
for that one!)
Dedication: For Willa. I couldn’t
have done this without your encouragement. In addition, for
Kat, because she is who she is.
Summary: A late night in a
storm-shaken Sunnydale awakens some buried feelings . . .
Willow Rosenberg headed out of the shower, wrapping
herself in a big towel. She was freezing. The wind outside the
house was howling and didn't make her feel the least bit comfortable.
The day hadn't gone very well, Giles was in
a particularly bad mood, Buffy was quiet, too quiet for Willow’s
taste, but she didn't seem to be able to get her out of her
sad reverie. Oz was out of town, since the band had been invited
to come to San Francisco and they had chosen this particular
week to do so.
Great. Just when she was the loneliest she had
ever been in the whole last year. So what about Xander? Willow
snuggled into the towel and switched off the light in the bathroom.
Where could he possibly be? Somewhere with Cordy,
surely not feeling as lonely as she did. Definitely not thinking
about her right now.
'Why on earth should he be?' a little
voice inside her head asked. 'He's
got a girlfriend, you've got a boyfriend, so what's the big
deal? Why should he think about you right now?'
The voice grew quiet for a second and then asked
again: 'Why are you thinking about
She rushed into her room and turned on the CD
player again to make that enervating little voice go away. Her
eyes had some difficulties adjusting to the darkness, but soon
she found matches and lit up a candle. The music and the candle
were perfect for oozing in self-pity. Only that she didn't get
the chance to.
When she turned to get herself a pair of pajamas
she nearly cried out. Someone was sitting in the dark corner
of her room. Her heart was pounding and her hair stood on edge.
She suddenly was very aware of how very much not-dressed she
was. The urge to scream and run away was incredibly strong but
for some reason she fought it.
"What do you want?" She hated herself
for her own voice. Why did it have to sound so scared? The person
leaned forward into the light of the candle.
"Sorry Will, did I scare you?"
Willow forgot about her current state of undress.
"Alexander Harris!" she said with
a voice that lay somewhere between anger, laughter and still
a bit of fear. "If you ever, I mean ever do that again,
I'll kill you with my own hands."
Her words must have had a completely different
impact on him, since he flinched and shrank back from her. "Whoa,
easy, Wills. I'm not the enemy!" His words were supposed
to sound humourous, but in a strange way they didn't. She forgot
about her anger and pulled him back into the light.
"Are you alright?" she asked, concern
in her brown eyes.
"As always," the snappy retort came.
"Then why are you here?"
He turned away from her, looking out of the
window into the night, where the heralds of a close storms where
throwing little twigs against the house. It was an awkward noise
mingling strangely into the soft sound of the music.
"Do I need a reason to stop by?"
She gave him a level look. "Don't
mess with me Xander. You didn't stop by for about four months
and now you suddenly do and scare me half to death, hiding in
the dark?" She shook her head. "What's wrong?"
"Left out the fact that I'm getting back
in the old goofball-mode, being deceived, and being damn lonely?
The words were so bitter that Willows heart
contracted at the sound of them.
"Did Cordy . . ." She hardly dared
to speak the words. The consequences they brought with them
were just . . .
"Yeah." Xander finished. "She
did. While humiliating me in front of all the people I care
about - not including you, 'cause you weren't there- she told
me, that she wanted to break up."
Willow couldn't do much more than stare at Xander.
"But why would she . . ."
"I don't know!" Xander shouted. "And
frankly, I don't care."
When he looked down at Willow he regretted his
harsh words right away. He sank back into the chair. and felt
her looking up at him with her brown eyes expressing even greater
concern than before.
"How do you feel?" she asked very
"I don't know," he repeated. "You
know, I'm not even sure if I really can say that I loved her.
But it's so damn . . ."
"Unfair," Willow finished for him."Why
would you say that?"
"That you're not sure if you loved her."
His eyes darted around the room. "Because
it is true. I don't know. Because I never felt like, ‘Wow,
this is it.' You know, this funny little feeling in your stomach
that tells you: 'You've found her.' I never felt it. Sure we
did a lot of kissing and . . ."
"Xander!" Willow raised her hand to
stop him. She couldn't take much more. Seeing the two of them
practically lunging at each other as soon as they had the chance
to had been hard enough. "I'm not sure I want to know that
He flashed her a smile. "Sorry." A
slight pause, then: "But it didn't go quite as far as you
She raised an eyebrow but kept quiet.
"I never felt like she wanted me for who
He looked up again, warily hoping to see understanding
in Willow’s eyes. The complete and utter sympathy that
he found was nearly too much to bear. Why could she be so patient
with him, over and over again? He didn't deserve this.
"I know that this most likely won't help,
but I guess she just didn't deserve you, Xander. You're too
good for her."
That last sentence did it. All the walls Xander
Harris had erected to protect himself were crashing. He didn't
want her to see the breakdown. At least Willow should think
of him as the happy-go-lucky guy. He didn't want her to see
the pathetic creature that lay beneath that cover. He headed
for the door, muttering, "Thanks, Willow."
The red-head stared at his broad shoulders for
a few seconds. "Xander, don't."
"Don't bury this, too. It's me, Willow,
remember? I’m the last one you should hide your feelings
from." She smiled sadly.
"But you . . ."
"Will you shut up?" she commanded.
He didn't move. But she saw his shoulders twitch.
She rose, turned him around and embraced him
tightly. He didn't struggle, his arms locked behind her back,
nearly hurting her, but Willow didn't care much. His sobs were
stifled by her shoulder and she could feel his tears. Somehow
she realised that his crying didn't relate to Cordelia, though.
It was more the kind of pain you felt when you realised that
you could be in a crowd of people but still feeling lonely.
It was a long time until the quiet sobs seized.
When he looked at her again, he sniffled a little
and tried a sheepish smile. "Sorry."
"That's seems to be your favorite phrase
tonight." she teased lightly. She smiled and tried to lighten
his mood. But for some reason it didn't seem to work.
Xander just stood there, staring at her wide-eyed.
"Xander, what's . . ."
He blinked. She saw him swallow heavily as his
gaze travelled along her exposed arms and shoulders.
'Aw, crap,' she muttered inwardly.
With all her concern for Xander she had forgotten
that she still hadn't changed into her pyjamas. Xander’s
constant staring caused her to blush ever so slightly.
"Uhm, Xander? Could you . . . snap out
He shook his head, just like he woke up from
a particularly vivid dream and smiled apologetically. "Sorry."
The timid look in her eyes and her ever so slight
backing off made it clear to him that she was going to leave
the room to change clothes. "Willow wait."
"I'll be right back Xander, I just want
to . . ."
Willow spun around and just stared at him, truly
"Willow, have I ever . . .?" He swallowed
hard. "I mean ever . . . told you . . ."
"Right, if you tell me now how very beautiful
I am, I'm going to call the mental home," she said, sarcasm
darkening her voice.
She was about to leave the room, when Xander’s
quick reaction took her aback. He reached for her arm and led
her in front of the mirror, taking the candle with him.
"Look at that, Willow Rosenberg."
Willow blushed again. "Xander, stop it.
I've seen myself in the mirror a thousand times before."
"But I haven't. I've never seen you any
more beautiful than tonight, Willow."
Xander drew in a sharp breath as he touched
the bare skin of her shoulder. Droplets of the water hadn't
dried completely and glistened in the dim light of the candle.
He was so close to her that he could smell the shower gel she'd
used, mixed with the smell of her skin. She had put up her hair
to keep it from getting wet and that made her neck look just
. . . perfect.
"How blind was I . . ." Xander muttered
under his breath.
Willow closed her eyes. This was getting harder
and harder to take. She could feel his breath on her bare skin.
She could feel his body heat. Good grief, she even could smell
the aftershave he'd used this morning.
'Stop it! What are you doing?!' she
told herself forcefully, when she realized that her breath was
beginning to quicken. This wasn't right. He was upset, she was
confused . . .
"Xander, I can't . . ."
He tentatively put a finger over her lips. "Shh.
Willow. Just let me look at you."
The storm outside raged on and suddenly threw
a branch against Willow’s doors. She flinched and opened
her eyes. This was so unreal. Yet much more real than she ever
dreamed of. But then it hit her.
"I'm betraying him, Xander. I can't betray
him, I . . ." In her racing thoughts she kept repeating
her boyfriend’s name like some kind of spell. Maybe it
would make Xander leave.
The tall young man spun her around to look her
straight in the eyes, his hands rock-hard, yet gentle on her
biceps. "Do you love him?"
'What? What?! He can't honestly expect me
to answer . . . How dare he?'
Before she could finish her thought, she found
herself saying, "Xander, I . . . I can't, I owe him . .
"You owe him?"
Willow froze at his question. What had made
her say that? Why hadn't she said that she loved Oz, and that
there was no place for Xander? She was supposed to say that.
Why hadn't she?
'Because you know that it would have been
But what about right now? Wasn't this a lie,
too? Xander couldn't possibly have discovered feelings for her.
Not now. Not after such a brutally long time of not noticing
his best friend. He was dealing with the loss of Cordy, perhaps
with his loneliness, and he was doing it in a hormonal kind
"I don't want to be your stopgap, Xander,"
she stated flatly.
He retreated, clearly taken aback by her words."You
don't really think I would do that to you, now do you?"
Willow couldn't meet his intense brown gaze.
"You did before."
Of course he had. Xander flinched and mentally
kicked himself. He had. And he remembered the hurt look on her
face far too well.
"Willow, I . . ." Again she put her
hand up to silence him.
"Don't. Don't say it." She sighed
and made one last attempt to get out of the room. It wasn't
too late yet.
"Willow!" His voice was merely a whisper,
a dying plea. "Please don't go."
"But why, Xander? Why shouldn't I go?"
He didn't answer. Xander went to her door and
turned the key to lock it. The only door remaining, her last
chance was the door that led outside to the yard. But how was
she going to explain to her parents that she knocked on the
front door in the middle of the night, only clad in her bathing
If he would just take those puppy dog eyes away
from her. She felt her restraint weaken with every second that
"Because I don't want you to."
She watched him incredulously and started to
tremble when he returned and softly pulled her back in front
of the mirror.
She knew that there was no way back now. And
she wondered silently why she wasn't even able to remember Oz's
face. It should have alarmed her. Instead all it did was loosen
the emotional bond to Oz, a bond that was based on a love that
just wasn't strong enough.
What a traitor she was.
When Xander raised his hand to touch her again,
he stopped. "Will, I . . . I'm scared."
She felt tears stinging in her eyes. Her last
thoughts had just cut the bond. She was feeling the cut, the
pain, the release. Deep down inside of her. But she couldn't
have done that to Oz, now could she?
Willow took his hand and softly led it to her
shoulder. Again, it felt like an electric surge had hit him.
She was so incredibly smooth. Xander let his fingertips wander
over her back and her arms, barely touching her. Carefully turning
her around he cupped her face with his hands and gently brushed
her lips with his thumbs.
The urge to kiss her was hard to restrain. But
he wanted to wait. Just to see this look in her eyes, somewhere
between fear, excitement and a much stronger emotion. Xander
reached up to her hair and released the tight knot. Her auburn
hair fell in soft waves around her face.
They were very close by now. Close enough for
Willow to get on her tiptoes and kiss his eyebrow tenderly.
She couldn't think.
What was she doing? She mustn't to do this.
They were best friends . .
Her thoughts were washed away when Xander kissed
her nose. A little smile lifted the corners of her mouth, but
didn't prevent her lower lip from quivering. Looking up into
Xander’s dark eyes she wondered if she had made the right
Another long, horribly long time they just stood,
their eyes locked. Until Xander couldn't ignore his feelings
any longer. He leant down and their lips met in a very tender
first kiss, barely touching but enough to make their knees start
to shake. There was no more thinking about what the others might
say, when they found out, there was no more thinking about their
friendship, no more thoughts about the hurt they might cause
- the only thing that remained was the increasing need. Xander’s
hands moved over her bare back on their own, while her hands
had crept into his dark hair.
In the dark
It's just you and I.
Not a sound
There's not one sigh.
Just the beat
Of my poor heart
In the dark.
Long contained emotions welled up in Willow,
causing her do deepen the kiss. Lips devoured hungrily, finally
taking everything which had been denied them for so long. Her
little hands became more fervent, pushing Xander’s shirt
from his shoulders. When their bare skins touched for the first
time they knew that they were completely lost. Xander’s
breath was ragged and he found it hard to stay in control with
Willow’s fingernails raking over his back. He didn't want
to rush things. But if Willow kept up that speed, it would be
over in a matter of minutes.
"Wait," he managed to say hoarsely.
She looked at him, the sudden stop making her
hesitate, bringing to her senses, making her argue with herself
for a second. But they had known eachother their whole life.
She knew it was alright. She hoped it would
Her hands sank down and she put them into his.
Xander was touched by the depth of her trust
in him. He bent down and trailed butterfly kisses all over her
face, but never taking his eyes from her. Slowly he went lower
until his kisses reached the soft fabric of the towel she was
still wrapped in. He looked up again.
"Will, are you sure about this?"
One look into her eyes was enough. He didn't
need another answer.
Slowly Xander took her in his arms and carried
her over to the bed. Her breathing became irregular and her
whole body was slightly trembling when he unwrapped her carefully.
For quite some time he couldn't do very much more than stare
at her. Again.
Did she know how truly beautiful she was?
Her pale skin was glistening in the candlelight
and not just her skin - she was shining from an inner light
he had never seen before. He could almost feel her every thought.
It was not like they had never touched before. Sure they had,
practically every day, but never like this. Never ever like
Even though Xander had to admit that he had
dreamed of doing so someday.
And she smelled so good. His kisses had reached
her bellybutton. Her eyes were closed by now, she was savoring
every moment as if it was a treasure she had to keep. His lips
returned to hers and they met in a passionate kiss neither of
them was willing to end. They finally managed to take off his
clothes with breaking the kiss only for a split second.
The scared look returned to Willows eyes when
she opened them.
Was she really going to do this? Was she up
to it? She touched his arms and his chest and marveled on how
astonishingly good his skin felt under her fingers. Had she
ever before thought of him in such a purely physical way? Had
she ever realized that he looked amazingly . . . Not like the
goofball, but like a man? The thoughts hit her with the full
impact of a bomb and in a sudden moment of sheer panic she just
pulled him close and hid her face in the curve of his shoulder.
"Will, we don't . . ."
"Shh, just hold me for a moment,"
He held her and she clung to him as if she were
drowning. This time it was her turn. "I'm scared, Xander."
"I know Wills. Me too."
The honesty that shone in his eyes gave Willow
the courage she needed. She knew it would hurt. But she was
willing to share that pain with him, for him and to . . . Yeah,
what? Again her thoughts were washed away by his kisses. He
gave her all the time she needed, and was being so incredibly
gentle exploring the curves of her body. She had never imagined
his hands as being so sensitive. She had never thought of him
as so tender. All her fears, everything she was frightened of
since she had started thinking about this were gone.
His urgent kisses became even more tender. She
had thought about it often. Probably more often than she would
ever admit, but she had never ever thought that it'd be like
Xander opened his eyes to look at her. Would
she ever know that this was as new to him as it was to her?
Sex was easy, but this . . . This went so much further, it was
like touching her very inside without doing so, like being part
of her. It scared him out of his mind. But she felt so good.
He never wanted to let go of her, never wanted to break the
contact with her lovely skin. He only hoped he didn't hurt her.
It would have been the last thing he could have lived with.
Willow felt tiny little ripples starting to
form inside of her. They were slowly getting bigger, and with
them she found it harder and harder to keep quiet. But she had
to, otherwise her parents would find out, and she didn't dare
to think about what would happen then. They'd probably kill
them both in an instant.
She realized that Xander had accepted her wish.
This was too fast for both of them. But even though she was
grateful for it, she wished in some way, he wouldn't have cared
about it and taken charge. Yet she knew that he wouldn't have
done that in a lifetime.
The silent exploration of their bodies seemed
to last an eternity, just until Xander slowed down completely
and laid his head on her chest, fighting to breath normally.
She stroked his dark hair and encircled him with her arms.
What had just happened? Had they really been
taking that step together? The step from friends to lovers?
It took her a while, but suddenly Willow understood that what
Xander had given her was so much more than the actual physical
act could ever have been. He had showed her that he respected
her and cared about her and . . .
She stopped the thought and kissed his forehead.
It didn't matter now. Maybe later she would be able to cope
with the feeling she had had for so long. Perhaps later she
could understand what had happened.
Xander was the one to find the strength to pull
her comforter over the both of them. The storm hadn't calmed
down a bit, quite the opposite, it was growing stronger and
stronger, howling eerily, as though condemning what had happened
in thsi room.
The lovers lay snuggled close to one another,
but besides the exhaustion he felt, Xander realized something
different. A tear ran down Willow’s cheek. He slowly put
himself up on one elbow to look at her.
"Will, what's wrong? Did I . . ."
He kissed the tear away.
"No, Xander, you didn't. I'm just . . .
confused." It was another lie. He hadn't hurt her, but
she was far from being okay. Far from being only confused. Had
they made a mistake?
She frowned at the look on his face. "What
about you? Why's that look on your face?"
Xander swallowed. "Are you really okay
with what just happened?"
Willow noticed the fear in his voice. "Xander,
He pulled her so close that she could hardly
"I . . . I just don't want this to be .
. . It’d kill me if this would ruin our friendship. You
mean too much to me. I cannot lose you."
It was that moment. That exact moment made it
clear to her that it hadn't been a mistake. His fear, her fear
- his concern about her . . .
Willow gently kissed his hands. "Xander,
you're not really saying this, are you?" she asked and
smiled down at him, her eyes sparkling. She had come home. Finally.
He breathed a heavy sigh of relief and snuggled
his face into the space where her neck met her shoulder. "Willow
. . . ?"
"I really . . ."
She put a hand over his mouth. "Don't say
it, Xander. Not tonight."
The lyric comes from a Jazz-song called: "In
the dark". If only I could remember who it was from . .