Feather Roads - Subterfuge

Note: Subterfuge takes place during the 4th Season, several months after 'Forge-Blade but before the Spring Semester is over and the big beat down with Adam. Lets say..three months. Three months sound good to you? Cool. Rock on!

"...too repeat, even though a conversation may appear simple to the casual observer it remains, in fact, a highly complex activity. Not only are there the roles of 'Speaker' and 'Listener' but there are also responsibilities that each role imparts on those involved in the conversation. It is the Speaker's responsibility to insure that the Listener, his or her counterpart in the Conversational Process is able to understand clearly and easily everything that is being said..."

Inhale..inhale..you have to inhale sooner or later you stupid professor of..of..what is this course again? But does he breathe? Noo..just talk, talk, talk, blather tweet whoodle, never stopping, never ending..what is he..some sort of hellish new amalgamation between Human Administration and Hellmouth energies? The Eternal Teacher?

Doesn't he breathe? Well?

Inhale damn you!! Stop! Pause! Desist of the gum flapping! Just for a second..please..just one, sweet, sweet second without your damn droning filling the room. Oh Please..Oh Please..Oh please..

"So students, to sum up..."


"You must be aware of the actual complexities of a basic conversation, which go beyond simple speech. If you'll just cast your eyes to the front of the room I have a series of slides which should illustrate my point nicely."



I look about the lecture hall desperately. Someone here must be able to help me, aid me in conquering this threat..this..evil..this...monstrosity(Oo big word!)..this..this....LECTURE!!

Most of the seats are empty, maybe the students sitting there were smarter than I was and ran from the room at top speed. Maybe I could...no. I need the credit hours.


Oh..wait! There she is, my hope, my saviour! She's sitting right next to me, how could I be so blind as to forget her, she'll make everything all better, she'll protect me from the threat of..Education. She'll...she'll...she's taking notes?

Damn these dark forces for corrupting her so! I will free you my Willow!

I open my notebook and select a cool, clean, piece of paper. This I slowly, and quietly tear out, blah..I hate those little pieces of paper that get stuck in the metal loops. Grrr... Ahh..there we go.

What to do ..what to do... I casually peek out of the corner of my eyes at Willow. She's still bent over her notebook, carefully and laboriously taking very, precise notes. Aha! Got it.

I write my thoughts quickly and slide the paper over so it bumps into her elbow. It takes a few seconds for her to notice it. She glances up, see's the paper and reads the note.

'Nice Sweater.'

And indeed it is a very nice sweater. I've been working very hard to get my Willow to wear clothing that is a just a tad more risque. The aforementioned sweater is an excellent example of compromise. Warm, fuzzy and just the nicest shade of light blue, with a line of slightly darker blue buttons running up the front. It's also very, very tight. When I first got it for her and she tried it on she swore it was trying to strangle her, but these days it's her favorite.

Willow writes down her response and slides the paper back to me.


I feel a tingle of mischievous energies ripple along my spine. This'll beat those classroom doldrums for sure!

I scribble out another message on the same piece of paper and I slide it back to Willow.

Willow casually glances at the new words on the paper.. and her face goes bright red! She shoots me a look of exasperation and then quickly hugs the paper to her chest while making sure no one around us happened to read it over her shoulder, eyes darting around the room.

After a few minutes, interrupted by repeated furtive glances around, she puts the paper back on the desk, carefully smooths out the wrinkles as best she can and picks up her pen.

The paper slowly slides across the desk back to me and I think I see Willow's hand trembling just an eensy, teensy bit.

I glance at the words she wrote.

'With your teeth?? Can you do that?'

I look up from the paper and see Willow staring at me with a small smile creeping about her lips. I answer her question by clicking my teeth together a few times in her direction. She covers her mouth with both hands to muffle the giggle. Her cheeks are burning bright red again too.

She's such a cutie.

Willow reaches out, grabs the piece of paper and writes out another note before sliding it back.

'Where do you want to have lunch?'

Ah, a serious question. Trying to change the subject are we? Naughty, naughty! Can't have you spoiling my fun now Wiccan-mine. Need to think..what would ..ah. Got it.

I quickly write, 'It's not a question of where, but a question of what.' and I slide the paper back to her.

This time she has to stifle the surprised yelp that almost bursts from her throat and she does sit bolt upright in her seat. Eyes spinning wildly she looks around, afraid that anyone will have noticed her outburst. But no, the spell of the Evil Professor of Doom is a powerful one and everyone else seems to have lapsed into some sort of vegetative state. Thank God for innuendo!

It probably saved my soul.

Willow's staring at me again with a fake 'I'm cranky' look on her face. Lower lip sticking out just a little bit, a little crease which is scrunching her eyebrows together but I can tell she's just playing from the tiny crinkles around her eyes. She lets out a barely audible 'hmph' and crosses her arms in a deliberate gesture. She does it again a few more times to make sure I get the point. 'Hmph!'

I smile, time to throw some fuel on the fire!!

I poke her gently on the shoulder.

"Hmph!" She hmphs again.

I poke.

A more forceful Hmph is my reward.


"Hmph Hmph!!" Crosses the arms.

Poke, poke.

She gives a resigned sigh and faces me.

Smiling wickedly, I point at her then back at me while slowwwllly licking my lips. Then, with exaggerated movements I rub my tummy.

Willow's jaw is just hanging open. Her eyes are very, very big as well...every few seconds a tiny squeak manages to escape her throat. I hold up a finger over my lips and pantomime going 'ssshhhh'.

"eek." She says.

More fuel.

Glance around quick, good, no one's paying attention.

I slowly, slowly...bring my fingers up and kiss the tips one..by..one then reach out and touch her cheek quickly but softly.

"eek!" She says again.

Now she's really red.

I smile and wink at her.

Her hand dives for the pen, there's a moment of furious scribbling and the paper, now fairly drowning in notes has new words for me to read.

'You're a meanie!!' With the word meanie underlined three times.

I nonchalantly pick up my own pen and write back:

'Where do you want to have lunch?'

I smile sweetly, takes a few seconds but I resist the urge to bat my eyelashes. I settle for trying to look all sweet and innocent.


Now I have to try not to laugh out loud. This is fun.

She scribbles another note.

'You are such a meanie!' This time both 'such' and 'meanie' have been underlined more than once.

I write back. 'Sorry. How can I make it up to you.' She's putty in my hands.

Aww..I don't get an eek this time.

Uh...oh...uh oh..I know that look.. Willow cannot look sultry on purpose if she tries but when she doesn't want too she does, really, really well. And right now that accidental 'Sultry' look is burning across the space between us to nail me right between the eyes.

The paper slides across the desk toward me and now the sound of paper grinding across plastic coated wood is very, very loud. I'm sure someone had to have heard that but a quick glance around the room confirms that no one is paying attention to anything, including the professor.

"...must reiterate that body language is another primary factor in communication that is woefully underappreciated and that it, not verbal communication, can be used to convey meanings and messages that would be impossible with just the limitations of the spoken word..."

I tune the professor out and look at Willow. Flushed cheeks, eyes very, very bright, small smile dancing on her lips. Yay body language!

I look at the newest words on the paper.

'I'm sure I can think of something.'

I raise an eyebrow. This is rather daring of her...let's see how far she wants to play.

I write back, 'Like?'

I slide the paper over to her. She reads. She looks at me. She smiles. I'm in trouble.

She pretends to think about it for a minute. Tapping the tip of her pen against her lower lip eyes looking everywhere but at me. She hmmm's quietly a few times, every once in a while shaking her head as if dismissing a thought. Finally pen dips to paper and her hand moves the latest note across the desk to me.

'Buy me a mocha!'

What? What?? Ooooh.. is she ever going to get it!!

'Now you're being the meanie!' I write back.

She reads it and almost giggles aloud again.

The paper slides over to me again and I read...

'Well, you could do more than just buy me a mocha.'

I smile, this is more like it, I write again. 'Like?' and slide the paper back.

Her pen moves across the paper and she slides it back to me. Slide, write, slide, write..this _is_ fun. Reminds me of high school. Course if the professor catches us and I have to read it I'll eat the paper first! I read her words.

'You could buy me two mochas!'

I shoot a glare at Willow but she's not paying attention to me. Indeed she's again looking like the perfect student. Eyes fixed on the teacher, pen dancing across her notebook as she takes notes. It's only the doodles she's actually drawing and the green eyes peeking at me from underneath red hair, and the small smile still being worn, that tell me otherwise.

Then the bell rings.

"...chapters two and three to prepare for the next lesson. I'll see you all Thursday." The teacher concludes.

"Willow!" I say loudly lurching to my feet. "You are such the Ex-Wiccan!!"

Laughing Willow grabs her books and stuffs them in her bag. "You'll have to catch me first Slayer!" Then she sticks her tongue out at me, and runs for the exit. I'm still standing behind my desk in a mild state of shock. She reaches the door, turns, winks and, making sure again no one is too nearby, and pats her ass in my direction then she bolts out the door.

I love body language.

I take off after her.

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