Pillow Talk By Chrys Loch (Prologue To The Vampire Stories)

Continue onto Tomorrow Night And Always

It'd been a few days since the end of Sunnydale, the defeat of evil and the beginning of a life unknown. Almost everyone had taken up temporary residence in a small beachfront motel in the next tourist town up the coast. The young slayers were recovering from the battle wounds quickly thanks to their newfound powers. Ex-principal Wood was doing well though recovering slower at a nearby hospital. There was a general feeling of time-out and readjustment as they spent their days alone or in groups: on the beach or in their rooms. No-one went out at night yet and the younger ones stayed with each other, holding back the nightmares.

Buffy lay on her bed in her darkened room, the windows and curtains open, listening to the sound of the waves against the shore. She sighed when she heard a soft knock on her door and when they knocked again, she got up to answer it.

"Who is it?" Buffy sighed again and called through the door. It was late and she would be worried except that eventless was the theme of the last few days.

"Hey Buffy, it's Willow. Can I come in?" Willow knew she didn't wake her friend, the knock had been too soft. She hoped that Buffy wouldn't be mad at the intrusion though.

Buffy was clothed still, in at least a tank top and shorts, so she opened the door, a little curious why Willow wanted to see her this late. The odd request kicked in years of habit, so instead of inviting her in, she chose a more subtle reply. "If you can."

Willow laughed and walked in the room. She noticed all the lights were off, but there was some light coming through the open windows. "That doesn't work in a public motel, Buffy. If I was a vampire, I could still come in."

Buffy shrugged as she shut the door. "If you were a vampire, I'd kinda want it done with anyway. Just don't turn me, and we'd be cool."

"Buffy!" Willow protested. "If I was a vampire, I'd hope you'd stake me right away."

"I don't know." Buffy teased. "Remember what your vampy self was like? Admit it, you made a great vampire. Had all the Mayor's vamps working for ya in half a night."

Willow groaned. "Yeah, I remember. Evil, skanky and kinda gay. If I turned now I don't think I would be like she was, though. Too much has happened. I think I'd have less fun."

Buffy's eyebrows rose at the reply. "You've given this some thought? I don't know, Will. I know vampires. I think you'd have a lot of fun."

"Yeah, I've kinda thought about it cause of the whole fighting uber-vamps, unknown agenda, recently evil thing. I worried one night. Why are we talking about this?" Willow was hoping to drop the whole image from her mind. This wasn't going to plan at all.

"I don't know. You came here. Why are you here? Is anything wrong?" Buffy noticed the missing parts of her friend's attire. Tee-shirt and shorts kinda fit, but that seemed to be all she was wearing. She had no shoes on and there was a small bag in her hand.

"No. Nothing's wrong. It's just that you've been alone lately, which I get. But with everyone grouped in rooms, it might be lonely. So I thought, you know, best friend, staying over. I thought maybe I could stay here tonight." Willow held her breath and watched for a clue to the response. She was a little worried about Buffy spending so much time alone, though she easily understood why she would want to separate herself from the young slayers after all that time trapped in a small house together. And of course there was all that happened that they never talked about. Something had changed though when Buffy yet again asked her to be the key to a plan, even after so many plans and trials had failed. She thought that maybe, if she simply tried, they had one last chance to reconnect.

"Spend the night, here? With me?" Buffy smirked curiously and leaned against the door, her eyebrows raised and daring her friend for clarification.

Willow laughed before defending her proposal. "No, Buffy. Not like that. You've been around Faith too much already. I just thought we could, you know, not sleep, together. I know I didn't wake you up. And I can't sleep either. We could talk. Or not."

Buffy considered her mood for a moment, noting it had lightened when Willow came in. Deciding that part of that was because she had been teasing Willow, she continued. "I don't know. You've gone way beyond kinda gay." Buffy smiled and crossed to the bed, laying down on top of the covers. "What will everyone think?"

Willow smiled and dropped her bag on a nearby chair. "Well, Xander will love the rumors. I promise to restrain myself and behave, though."

"I still don't know if you're a vampire or not." Buffy pointed out. "Vampire version of behaving is different, you know."

Willow shook her head, a little surprised at Buffy's mood. She was expecting to find a brooding Slayer she would have to pull back from battle weary thoughts. This was all unexpected, but welcome. So she teased a little back as she lay down on the bed next to her friend. "Actually, you're the one that knows vampires best. Do you want to check for a pulse?"

"No." Buffy smiled. "I'll stay in suspense."

A puzzled expression crossed over Willow's face, causing Buffy to laugh. "I got here just in time. Your mind is in a strange place tonight."

"Yeah, sorry." Buffy confirmed letting her eyes stare blankly at the ceiling. "I was just laying here listening to the waves and for a change not thinking about anything at all."

"Nah, I like the mood." Willow assured. "I was a little worried, you know. Darkened room and all. I thought maybe there was some Angel worthy brooding going on."

"Strangely, no." Buffy reflected. "I think I'm just a little tired still is all. I don't really know what to think yet."

"Yeah, I hear ya." Willow turned on her side, resting her head in her hand and watching Buffy. "So, how is the wound where the sword ran through. Cause I know you said it's fine, but you know, that kinda should have killed even you."

Buffy turned her head to look into Willow's questioning gaze. She shrugged and pulled her shirt up enough for Willow to see. "It's all healed. Will..." Buffy pulled Willow's attention back from the small scar that remained, "it healed fast. Like in only a couple of hours, fast." She hadn't even told Giles about that.

Willow was shocked for a moment. "A couple of hours? I was worried the spell would take some of your powers to give to the others. But that sounds like it added to them."

"Yeah, I think so." Buffy confirmed. "I've been testing it out a little. I think what made potentials slayers, made me like a super slayer or something."

"Wow. That's great. I think." Willow tempered her enthusiasm. "I wonder if Faith is the same way."

"I don't know. I haven't told anyone before now. Just kinda wanted to let everything settle down, ya know?" Buffy pleaded with her eyes for Willow not to go off and tell any of the others till she was ready.

Willow smiled in understanding and reassurance. "Don't worry. I won't be the one to say a thing. It's just kinda amazing is all. But then again, these last few months have been one for the record books."

Buffy smiled and turned back to stare at the ceiling. "Thanks." They drifted into a comfortable silence, each in their own thoughts of the last few months. Then an unrelated thought drifted into Buffy's mind. "Hey Will."

"Yeah?" Willow pulled herself back into the present.

"Isn't Kennedy missing you about now?" Buffy couldn't linger on the past yet and either wanted to be alone to think of nothing or continue the conversation.

"Huh?" Willow was confused for a moment at the sudden question. "No. She's with some of the younger slayers tonight. A lot of them have been having nightmares and they feel safer around her now. She's kinda become the leader. Since Faith is still at the hospital with Robin and they're still a little afraid and kinda in awe of you."

"So you two didn't have a fight?" Buffy thought maybe that's why Willow had really come to her room.

Willow grinned, realizing what thought had started this turn in the conversation. "No, Buffy, we didn't have a fight."

"Good." Buffy seemed content enough to leave it at that.

Willow was pulled to continue though. "We have been drifting apart. She's so into being a slayer now, and being a leader, trying to take care of everyone. She's so excited about what it all means. And that's great. But I've been there and done all that. I mean, I grew up with the legend. Now, I'm just mostly tired."

Buffy rolled her eyes at the reference. "I'm not a legend, Willow. But I understand the tired. What are ya gonna do?"

Willow was relieved to hear no judgment or preference in Buffy's tone. It seemed to be an honest question. "I don't know. I think I was just rebounding. It's not love, love. I know that."

"So we should get you your own room?" Buffy gently pressed for further answers.

"Not just yet. We may be going our separate ways, but the sex is still great. We'll see what happens." Willow smirked.

Buffy glanced at Willow's face and smiled, nodding her head knowingly in response, her smile grew.

"What?!" Willow demanded, trying to hold back her laughter.

"It's that pierced tongue thing, isn't it?" Buffy was trying hard not to laugh, herself.

Willow groaned. "I can't believe I said that. I was nervous. And we know how I am when I'm nervous. Still, I can't believe I said that with Dawn in the room."

Buffy finally broke down laughing. "Dawn's fine. I can't believe you said that with Giles in the room." She tormented further.

Willow slapped Buffy's shoulder. "Stop laughing. It's your fault."

"Ouch. My fault?" Buffy asked, turning her head so she could watch Willow explain this one.

"Yes. If your crazy plan didn't depend on me doing some super spell, I wouldn't have been nervous." Willow argued.

Buffy shook her head and shrugged before laying back again. "I knew you could do it. And still not my fault. Your logic in no way resembles our earth logic." She quoted an earlier and simpler time.

Willow chose not to argue the spell point since she had indeed pulled it off. She did pick up on the reference though and continued. "Mine is more advanced. Though not as advanced as Xander's." She added.

"That boy does have some logic." Buffy agreed. "How's he doing, Will?"

"He's grieving." Willow succinctly responded. "And you? Do you miss Spike?" They had really only lost two people close to the core group. They were lucky. But still, they had lost.

Buffy closed her eyes at the question. "Do you really want to hear the answer?"

"Yeah, Buffy, I really do. Or I wouldn't have asked. Something snapped in me a while ago, and I shrugged my shoulders at the whole thing." Willow thought there was probably a better way of saying she accepted it and hoped Buffy wouldn't get mad.

Buffy didn't get mad. She understood what Willow meant to say and was used to the way she sometimes said things. "Kinda like how we shrugged our shoulders at Xander's Anya thing?"

Willow breathed a sigh of relief. "Yeah, exactly. Hey, did you guys ever shrug at me and Tara?"

Buffy shrugged her shoulders and Willow slapped them again. "Ouch still." Buffy protested.

"That didn't hurt." Willow defended her reaction. "You miss him, don't you?" She thought she knew. She just wanted Buffy to talk about it.

"Yeah. Of course I miss him." Buffy just stared at the ceiling a moment before continuing. "It even hurts. Bad." She closed her eyes.

"I'm sorry, Buffy." Willow wasn't sure there was anything else she could say.

"Thanks. I think Xander has it the worst. He loved Anya." Buffy offered in honesty.

"You didn't love Spike?" Willow was a little confused now.

"No. At least not love, love." Buffy admitted.

Willow thought maybe she finally understood what it was to Buffy: rebound and comfort. "But the sex was great, right?"

Buffy's eyes opened in shock and she covered her blush with her hands. "Willow! I can't believe you just said that. Again. You must be vamp you. You, you isn't usually so bold."

Willow was enjoying shocking Buffy. Being in a relationship that wasn't true love she felt let her grow up a little. And she thought she finally understood some of Buffy's choices a little better. "Still have a pulse. You can check it any time. Come on, fess up, the sex was great, wasn't it?"

Buffy smiled, meeting the challenge and trying to shock her friend back. "Oh hell yeah. The sex was mind blowing. It was often violent, occasionally kinky, definitely obsessive and addicting. But I stopped it. I swear I stopped it. Then he got his soul back and he was just there, you know? He was really there, behind his eyes. And it was really comforting." Buffy closed her eyes again, no longer trying to shock Willow, she remembered how it was at the end. "I really miss him. I'm glad he got to be a champion in the end and all. But I really hurt with missing him."

Willow rolled over to Buffy and gave her a quick hug then returned to her place on the bed. "I really am sorry."

"Thanks, Will." Buffy wiped a tear from her eye and forced a smile to return. "I needed to finally tell someone all of that."

"Well yeah." Willow was glad Buffy let some of it out. But she could tell her friend was in no mood tonight to grieve, so she brought the conversation back to its teasing tone. "You have to confess kinky sex to someone."

Buffy laughed gratefully at the turn in the topic, even as she blushed. "So... what can you confess then? Any kinky shenanigans somewhere in your past?"

"Nope. Sorry. All my relationships have been very above board. Pierced tongue not withstanding." Willow grinned in certain innocence.

"I don't know. I seem to recall your first boyfriend was a cyber demon in a robot jumpsuit." Buffy countered.

"That doesn't count. And he wasn't my first boyfriend. Xander was my first boyfriend." Willow corrected.

"Xander doesn't count. You were like five at the time if I remember right. Plus, then, you had a boyfriend who was a werewolf. There had to be some kink in that." Buffy pressed on. She was enjoying this night so far. It was working better at taking her mind off the future than listening to the waves.

"No kink." Willow reiterated. "Oz was very sweet. And there was no biting of course. He was even afraid to nibble, so no hickeys even."

Buffy laughed. "Okay, okay. But then there's the whole sleeping with a woman thing."

"That's not kinky." Willow didn't mind all the teasing tonight, but she was going to turn the tables first opening she had.

"It is to straight women." Buffy corrected. "We put it up there with walk on the wild side after too much to drink stuff."

Willow laughed and wished she wasn't using her pillow so she could throw it at Buffy right now. "It's not kinky!" She stressed again. "And anyway, you with the whole kink confession, have you ever done that?" Willow decided turning table time was in order.

"What? Sleep with a woman? No!" Buffy wondered what even put that question into Willow's head.

"So you and Faith never..." Willow suggested, hoping to push Buffy for the answer to that years running debate between herself and Xander.

Buffy just laughed at the suggestion. "Is that what everyone thought? No. No, no, no, no. And a thousand no's beyond that."

"Me thinks she doeth protest too much." Willow pointed out.

"No. I'm just setting the record straight. Pun intended." Buffy countered, still grinning. "So... was that why there was the whole jealous Willow vibe?" Buffy turned it back around, starting to see the whole thing in a different light.

"Hold on." Willow sat up. "Crossing the teasing line. You don't wanna go there." Willow warned, more worried for herself at the moment than for Buffy.

"Sorry. It's just. I just realized something." Buffy didn't really notice Willow's panic. Her mind was too busy piecing thoughts together.

"What?" Willow asked, worry evident on her face even if Buffy wasn't looking.

"That you're gay." Buffy looked at Willow with surprise showing in her eyes.

Willow was stunned for a moment and just stared down at her friend. Finally she started to chuckle despite her recent fear. "You're just realizing that now, Buffy?"

"Wait. I can explain." Buffy attempted to clarify. "Before, with Tara. I thought maybe it was just Tara. You know? That whole, I'm in love with the person it doesn't matter what gender they are thing. But now there's Kennedy. And I wasn't really thinking about it. Till just now. You're attracted to women." Buffy grinned, her own understanding triumphant on her face.

Willow groaned and threw herself back down on the bed, covering her face in her hands. She couldn't believe she was having to come out again. Taking a deep breath, she turned on her side again to face Buffy and her realization. "Yes, I'm attracted to women. Still. Plural. You know Xander caught on much quicker than this." Willow chided.

"Well, you and Xander have something in common." Buffy defended lightly. "I bet you both checked out women together at the mall and stuff."

"Buffy, you're begging for another slap." Willow cautioned through her wide smile. "So, finally catching up girl, are you alright with this?"

Buffy laughed a little at herself. "Yeah. A little winded. But I'm good." She turned toward Willow, a thoughtful look in her eyes and a mischievous grin on her face. "Of course, now there really is a gay woman laying on my bed. And she's still possibly a vampire."

Willow expression grew puzzled, though her smile continued. "Buffy, what is it with you and vampires?"

"Well, what is it with you and women?" Buffy countered.

"Buffy! That is so not a comforting answer. I think that hits a negative on any comfort scale." Willow's mind was quickly reeling and rebelling with the thought that it could possibly be the same thing.

"Sorry." Though Buffy's grin said otherwise. "It's the answer that came with the question. There's only been the two vampires. And I'm tired of trying to figure out the why of Spike."

"No, that's not what I mean." Willow sought to clarify. "It's just, it popped in my head, with all the teasing. Plus, you're forgetting Dracula." She pointed out.

Buffy's face turned thoughtful for a moment and she rested back on the bed. "Dracula doesn't count. I mean, he's Dracula. Even you were all remarking on the penetrating eyes."

"Yes, but Buffy, that's all he was going to penetrate me with." Willow asserted, making sure her voice still held a playful tone.

Buffy groaned. "I don't want to think about this," she protested.

"Okay." Willow relented. "I just don't want you to be disappointed that I'm not a vampire."

Buffy smiled a little and shook her head. They settled again into a comfortable silence in the semi dark room.

"Willow?" Buffy's mind kept running, skimming briefly on moments over the past years.

"Yeah, Buffy?" Willow turned and faced her friend, feeling by Buffy's tone that something more serious was coming up.

"Can I ask you something personal? And well, kinda hard, about something you were?" Buffy quietly started.

Willow braced herself before honestly replying. "Yeah, Buffy. You can ask me anything."

"Do you remember, what it felt like, when you were like one of the big bads? Did it feel good? Cause it seems every big bad I've faced is having fun at it. Even Spike kept bragging about how much fun it was." Buffy asked, then waited, staring at the ceiling.

Willow gave herself a moment to collect a real answer to that. "This doesn't go beyond this room?"

"Never." Buffy assured.

"Yeah, I remember." Willow started. Turning on her back to focus on the nothing of the ceiling, she continued. "I remember it all. To answer the question, yes, it feels good. Really, really good. You feel like you can have anything you want. And there's no consequences. Of course, there's really not feeling much at all. Except for all the wanting. So..." Willow shrugged. "I'm kinda glad I didn't end the world."

"Wow." Buffy wasn't sure why she had asked or what to say now. She turned on her side again, reaching for Willow's hand, she squeezed it gently and smiled. "I'm kinda glad too."

Willow smiled and tried to push the memories from her mind. "And I'm really sorry I kicked your ass."

"Hey!" Buffy protested, disbelief evident on her face. "You in no way..." At seeing Willow's knowing look, she relented with a smile. "Okay, you totally kicked my ass."

Willow was shocked speechless and turned to look at Buffy.

"Not beyond this room." Buffy warned, enjoying the look on her friend's face.

"I just never thought there'd come a day..." Willow teased.

"I've done alright as far as Slayers go." Buffy jumped in at her own defense.

Willow's face softened instantly as she whispered. "You've done incredibly, impossibly."

Buffy squeezed Willow's hand again. "With a lot of help from my friends. I'm so glad I have you back, Willow."

"Well yeah, the very First was a little over the top for any Slayer." Willow acknowledged.

"Not just that. I mean now, too." Buffy confided, ducking her head a little and noticing the incredibly ugly motel bedspread.

Willow felt a small wave of joy lift her mind from her recent memories. Scooting a little closer to Buffy and holding tight to her hand, she offered an admission of her own. "Hey. I kinda love you, too. It was a damn good fight," Willow asserted, "and I'm glad I stayed in." When Buffy raised her head to meet her eyes, Willow answered the questioning look evident on her friend's face. "Don't get me wrong. It had it's moments. So did I. And I'm glad, at least for a time, that it's over."

"It is kinda over, isn't it?" Buffy shook her head a little in wonder. "I think I've done about as much to Sunnydale as I could do." She dryly acknowledged and closing her eyes; relaxed in the moment.

Willow smiled in response and without thinking about it, started stroking Buffy's hair. Comfort and silence filled the room. She listened to the faint sound of waves as her eyes caressed Buffy, her fingers running smoothly through her hair. Willow indulged briefly in the attraction, even desire, she's held secret for so many years, before she tucked it carefully back into her heart. "You sleepy?" She asked, needing to break the moment.

"Mmm. No." Buffy stretched a little and relaxed again into a loose curl on her side, her hand still holding Willow's. "You?"

"Not even a little." Willow pulled her hand back from Buffy's hair and rested it on her side. Taking a deep breath and closing her eyes; with a small shake of her head, she steadied herself again. Opening her eyes, she found herself gazing into Buffy's.

Buffy held Willow's eyes, a small smile remained from the comfort of the friendly caresses. She looked warmly at her friend and recognized a more heated gaze looking back at her. Buffy noticed Willow's breath had stopped and felt her own heart beating as time seemed to pause. She wondered for a moment if it was desire she was seeing and started to voice the question when Willow looked away suddenly and she thought better of it. Instead she rolled onto her back and let the question settle to the back of her mind for the moment.

Willow breathed again, grateful Buffy seemed to let what almost came up in the moment go. She tried to softly pull her hand from Buffy's and was surprised when Buffy wouldn't let it slip away. She waited to see what would come up next.

Buffy retraced some of her memories, pausing at the year they shared a room at college. There were moments in the beginning when they were close, connected; sharing everything that was happening in their lives as best friends will. Then at the end, the relationships with others that almost tore them apart. She remembered what it was that truly brought them all together again.

"You know what I think our best battle was?" Buffy seemed to voice out of the blue.

"Huh? Ah, no." Willow was grateful for the sudden turn, but was wary of the non sequitur.

"When we were fighting Adam and we all joined in the spell. I felt all the slayers. I felt you and Xander and Giles. I felt like I could do anything. And it wasn't from the power boost. It was finally feeling so connected to everyone who mattered in my life. I could do anything because I had friends with me. In the case of fighting Adam, that was a little more literal than usual." Buffy smiled a little to herself and stared at the ceiling as the meanings behind the moments of her past focused a little clearer in her mind.

Willow smiled at the memory, but her smile faltered. "I remember. But what I remember most was the power boost." Willow paused then forced herself to continue with the small confession. "It was so ancient and deep. You had so much confidence and strength. After that, I always tried to get that feeling back."

Buffy looked over at Willow, implications tallying in her mind.

Willow noticed the look and squeezed Buffy's hand reassuringly. Letting a grin soften her words, she tried to lighten the current mood. "It wasn't your fault, Buffy. It was my reaction and remember; of the two people here, who's the boss of me? If I weren't Jewish and also Wiccan, I might say I'd taken a bite of forbidden fruit. Anyway, I should have at least taken the warning of your First Slayer trying to kill us all in our sleep."

Buffy gratefully let the flow of the conversation move on. "Yeah, she wasn't much with the social skills, or bonding. Professor Walsh should have studied me instead of trying to kill me. I have a Id full of demon juice mixed with a hygiene deprived lone warrior. She was good in a fight, but playing well with others in full Slayer mode? Well, you know how well I was at that." Buffy watched carefully as Willow's face contorted in concentration. "Willow?"

Willow's focus snapped back to the present. "Huh? Oh, sorry. Just, world making sense, pieces falling into place stuff."

"Hey!" Buffy playfully protested.

Willow smiled, then her expression grew curious. "Do you still feel the lone warrior inside you now? After the spell I mean."

Buffy adjusted her body to stare at the ceiling again and give herself a moment to think. "I feel something and it's still strong, but it's not as separate now. Like it's mixing with the other parts of me. Probably why I can even tell you any of this, I think. I've spent the last few days just feeling it all blend together." She turned to see Willow's reaction. "Willow, you have that look in your eyes that Riley used to get. That look of someone who wants to put me in a little room and do experiments."

"Hey!" It was Willow's turn to protest. "It's just... wow."

"Yeah." Buffy continued, marveling at how easy this felt now. "Before, I always felt alone and felt I should be alone. No matter how hard I tried to connect with everyone. I was the only one in all the world, yada yada. Even when that wasn't true. I thought maybe with Faith... but we know how that turned out."

"Well, Faith turned out to be a sociopath." Willow pointed out.

Buffy smiled. "You liked her too, once," she pointed back. "It didn't matter anyway. Still alone: big ol' wall. Now the wall's come down like Sunnydale. And I'm just wondering if I have any friends left to connect with." She was suddenly so grateful to Willow for coming to her tonight, and so fearful of what the deep down answer might be.

"You do Buffy! You so do, I mean, if you can deal, forgive, me, and what I've done, and everything, that's you know, happened, cause I'd like, I want." Willow was quick to answer, so quick that her words were tangled in the rush to get it all heard.

Buffy's smile reached her eyes and as the relief flooded her body, she reacted. She engulfed Willow in a hug that knocked them over till she was resting on top of her friend. She felt Willow hug her tightly in return. As the embrace continued, she felt Willow's hand tracing random patterns on her back. Buffy relaxed, enjoying the feeling of holding and being held. Eventually, her mind wondered what she was doing and she pulled up a little, ducking her head; her hair spilling around her face. "Sorry. Just, a reaction to all the relief."

Willow tried to look into Buffy's eyes, but they were looking away. Her hand continued to stroke Buffy's back as desire tickled all her nerves at the sight of Buffy poised this way above her. "Buffy, it's okay." She whispered, a little too breathlessly. When Buffy's head rose at the words, the quizzical look on her friend's face snapped Willow's mind back to reality and she shyly looked away, dropping her hand to her side.

Buffy wondered again at the look in Willow's eyes, but didn't say anything. Her own reaction still startling her, she took a deep breath and rolled back over onto her back. Instantly, she missed the contact.

The following silence was too much for Willow and she tried to break the tension while cursing her hormones. "So, have you thought at all about what you might do now?"

Buffy accepted the turn in topic. She needed time to think. "A little. This is going to sound crazy, but I was thinking about becoming a fireman, or person. Whatever. I could be good at that. And, you know, still do some good. I'm thinking my psyche needs to break up with evil."

Willow beamed at the idea. "Wow. That's a great idea, Buffy." Her enthusiasm stalled as her mind continued with picturing it. "But how are you going to explain someone your size being able to do that, though?"

Buffy shrugged. "Once they see how well I can do it, I'm kinda banking on the ol' denial slash acceptance routine to kick in. I don't know. It might be worth a try."

"It is." Willow confirmed. "It's a wonderful idea. And I'm all for taking a new direction. I'm thinking I might return to the realm of computer geekdom."

Buffy dared to look over at Willow again, a sly smile forming. "But how are you going to explain not looking or acting like a geek?"

Willow felt a blush tint her face. "They'll just have to get over it, I suppose."

A sudden idea rushed into Buffy's head. "We have to have a night that's just us Scoobies, Xander included. With alcohol. I feel a sudden need to get too drunk to care about anything, especially now without the dire consequences. Tomorrow night, we should sneak away."

"Well, the only flaw I see in that plan is the hangover consequence the morning after." Willow pointed out.

"Oh, come on, it's not like we haven't suffered worse injuries. We'll live. We never could really do it before, what with a possible ending of the world at any moment." Buffy continued, the idea sounding better the more she tried to talk Willow into it. A normal reckless abandon, it was a new experience she was suddenly looking forward to.

Willow glanced over at Buffy to see if she was serious. Seeing that she was, she shook her head and gave in. "Okay, I'm in. And I'll drag Xander in too."

"Good. Only we have to make him laugh. We could tease him about Andrew's crush." Buffy smirked.

Willow laughed. "You noticed that too, huh? I'm not sure that would be the trick to lighten his mood."

"Well, we could point out that it's better than all the girls being suddenly crushed out on him." Buffy paused in thought. "You know, I think that might have been Xander's only time delving into the black arts. In a way that says a lot about Xander. In another way, I remember that it resulted in me wearing nothing but a raincoat and coming dangerously close to undoing the sash. Of course, back to giving him his due, he begged me not to do it."

"Wow. New respect for Xander. I'm not sure I could have done that." The words left Willow's mouth before she could stop them and she belatedly covered her mouth with her hand.

Buffy looked over at Willow, both eyebrows raised, but her shock was tempered by the things she's noticed all night. "Willow..."

"Don't Buffy." Willow interrupted, her voice a mix of warning and pleading.

"But I have to now. Do you think of me that way?" Buffy softly asked, trying not to scare Willow.

"What way?" Willow stalled. Refusing to look at Buffy, she picked at the bedspread.

Buffy turned slowly onto her side to face Willow. "You know what way. In the gay way I finally fully caught onto tonight."

Willow stilled her hand and took a deep breath. She closed her eyes and laying on her back; tried to decide how to answer. She could hear the waves against the shore, the room was dark and warm, and a scented cooler breeze occasionally came in through the window. All in all, the perfect conditions to tell the truth. Smiling as a secret held so close for years was about to come out, Willow answered. "Yeah, sometimes I do."

"Really?" Buffy's tone was excited but puzzled, mild surprise showing on her face around a smile.

Willow glanced over to see her friend's reaction and had to smile herself in response. "Yes, really." She lightly laughed. "It's not as bad as Xander's constant run on fantasy, but yeah, sometimes."

"Really?" Buffy softly repeated, hoping Willow would continue.

"Buffy, your needle's stuck." Gaining courage, Willow turned on her side so she could see Buffy. "Why are you so surprised?"

"It's just I never noticed." Buffy admitted. "Until little things tonight, that is. Which is funny considering that I've thought about it."

"You've thought about it?" It was Willow's turn to sound surprised.

"Well, I mean, in a curious way. Before, I mean." Buffy stopped the rush to explain, and taking a deep breath; tried again. "Before, when we shared a dorm room, we got really best friends close for a time. Then, when you told me about Tara, I wondered sometimes, what it might have been like. Just in a curious way. Not in a full board fantasy way."

"Oh." A sly smile crossed Willow's face. "Full board fantasy would have been alright too."

"Willow!" Buffy blushed.

Willow laughed, relieved at how easy this was and how freeing to have the secret out.

"How long?" Buffy asked.

Willow groaned and closed her eyes. She just had to ask that. "I don't know. Since sometime in high school if I look back on it. Though that was some pretty confusing feelings time and I didn't even admit it to myself. It's just, well Buffy, you have to admit you're pretty sexy at times. And it was hard not to notice. Then noticing led to thoughts... In high school, that's where my mind shut down. In college, shared room, admittedly gay..." Willow stopped herself, suddenly realizing where her ramble was going.

"In college, thoughts ran free and wild?" Buffy pushed.

Willow's eyes snapped open. "You really want to know this?" Willow challenged.

"No. Well, yes. It's just, a little confusing right now." Buffy offered, unsure what she was thinking and feeling. With sudden focus she noticed there was very little space between them, though they weren't touching. She remembered their earlier hug and how good it felt.

"Confusing? How?" Willow gently pressed.

Buffy looked into Willow's eyes. "Confusing in that I really want to kiss you right now." Buffy admitted.

"What?" Willow blinked, not sure she was hearing this correctly.

"Confusing in that I really want to kiss you right now." Buffy calmly repeated.

"I heard you, it's just..." Willow took a breath and tried to calm her suddenly racing pulse. "It's just I didn't think I could have heard that right."

"I've just been remembering, those dorm room thoughts. I lied before. There was one full board fantasy." Buffy continued. The confusion was clearing in her mind the more she thought about this.

"So you're just curious." Willow countered her own rush of fantastic thoughts with the reality and limitation of what Buffy was proposing.

"No and yes." Buffy closed her eyes, trying to find the right words. When she opened them, she found Willow's eyes and held them, willing her friend to understand. "There's curious and it's a little confusing. But mostly, there's you and me and everything we've been through and relief. We made it. There's still an us. And the way you've looked at me tonight... and the way I feel... is more than a hug can express."

"What do you want, Buffy? Just one kiss? One night? Starting a whole relationship? That's what this friendship needs, is another complication." Willow was trying to sort it out, make it clearer. She had wanted Buffy off and on for so long, she didn't want to jump to conclusions or actions.

"I don't know. Exactly. You heard the confusing part right?" Buffy honestly replied. "Somewhere beyond a kiss, definitely a night, and can we just see from there? It's always been complicated. Between us I mean."

"We probably shouldn't." Willow managed to whisper, her eyes lost in Buffy's gaze.

"Willow, can I kiss you?" Buffy asked as she reached out to stroke some of Willow's hair away from her face and leaned closer. At Willow's answering nod, she bent forward and lightly touched her lips to Willow's. Closing her eyes, she continued the kiss a little firmer before pulling slightly away.

Willow closed her eyes at the contact, kissing Buffy in return. Keeping her body still, she let Buffy set the pace, bracing herself for the possibility that it ends with the one kiss. She didn't dare let the desire out just yet. She was sure she wanted this, wanted it for years. She thought maybe Buffy wasn't as sure. When the kiss ended, Willow opened her eyes and recognized desire showing in Buffy's. And as Buffy leaned forward again, she let herself react; bringing her hand up, she tangled her fingers in the hair at the back of Buffy's neck and pulled her into the kiss.

This time, the kiss lingered longer. Buffy felt Willow's tongue trace her lips and she opened to it; meeting it with her own. Pushing forward, Buffy rolled them until Willow was on her back and she was braced above her. Eventually, the kiss ended. Pulling back slightly, Buffy smiled. "Wow."

"Yeah." Willow smiled up in return. Her hand moved from Buffy's neck to stroke her back. This time Willow didn't look shyly away and let Buffy see the desire in her eyes.

Buffy ran her fingers lightly down Willow's cheek, across her jaw and down to her neck; pausing at a pulse point. "Your pulse is racing."

Willow laughed lightly. "Disappointed?"

Buffy slowly smiled. "Not at all. So far better than once imagined."

"And what happened to this is kinky only after too much to drink stuff?" Willow challenged playfully.

"Well I plan on getting drunk tomorrow, it'll all balance out then. Besides," Buffy continued, a sly sexy half smile preceding the words, "I am into kinky. Remember?" Enjoying the stunned look on Willow's face, she fell forward and started another kiss. Buffy let her body fall to rest halfway on Willow's. She felt their legs tangle between each others. She felt Willow's hand reach under her shirt to stroke bare skin on her back. Buffy moved her lips along Willow's jaw, down her neck and back up to her ear. Willow's hand moved across her shoulder and down her side. Then Buffy felt Willow's hand move up inside her shirt and cup her breast, a thumb grazing her nipple. "Oh god," Buffy whispered in Willow's ear. Taking her cue, she moved her hand down to Willow's breast. This was all similar to experiences she's had before. This was all so new.

Buffy felt Willow's hands begin to remove her shirt and she sat up slightly to pull it over her head and toss it to the floor. Willow's hands cupped her breasts, stroked her nipples; her head fell forward and she closed her eyes; lost in the sensation. "Willow," she moaned with growing need as she started to pull Willow's shirt over her head. As Willow lay back down, Buffy paused to let the sight sink in. She lightly traced each breast with her fingers, then bent forward and traced one with her tongue. Sucking a nipple into her mouth, she heard Willow's answering gasp and moan.

Buffy returned her lips to Willow's, the kiss urgent and never-ending. They continued to kiss as their hands caressed and explored. Lost in sensations, the kisses blended one into another; only pausing for deeply needed breaths and frantic removal of the rest of their clothing. Buffy's touch was hesitant as she slipped her fingers between Willow's legs and gently stroked. Willow's was more certain and controlled as she entered Buffy; moving in a slow rhythm and stroking the clit with her thumb. And even after each had climaxed, the kisses continued; less urgent but just as passionate. Tangling their bodies around each other, the kisses eventually slowed and stopped. In the darkened room, to the sound of waves against the shore, they held each other as they fell asleep. They at least had tonight and perhaps the rest of their lives.