The Good Will Come Out by jgracio



"Eu queria falar com Willow Rosenberg," Xander said in his best Portuguese accent.

The secretary looked up from her magazine and shot a discreet glance at the crystals in front of her. Xander wasn't positive about what these particular crystals were for, but he'd seen similar ones being used in Africa as a kind of supernatural security check. Whatever it was that the crystals she was looking at checked for, her body language changed, giving way to a slightly more relieved posture.

"And whom should I announce?" she asked him in a nearly flawless English. And not the normal kind of English either, no, the tweed wearing kind. He guessed she was probably a Watcher in disguise.

"Xander!!" a voice he recognized screeched from somewhere to his left.

And then, before he could turn to reply, he was tackled by a speeding redheaded witch. He barely avoided falling down.

"Have you been working out or something?" he smiled down at Willow.

"Giles told me you were coming, but we weren't sure of the day! You should have called ahead! I'd have made sure you had a proper reception, you know, with food and people and sugary things and alcohol, but not too much, don't want any cave Slayers..." She stopped to breathe.

Xander grinned at her and took a step back. He was glad to see her happy. He looked Willow over. "Look at you, all high-powered businesswoman now. Who'da thunk it?"

"You like?" She showed off her attire, a smart looking business dress. "They want the leader of the South American Council to look the part, you know. Makes it easier to deal with the civilians."

"You look good. And I like the longer hair too..."

"You know, funny thing about hair, it takes time to grow. Why haven't you dropped by more often? I mean, Xander, two YEARS?"

Xander began to answer but then noticed the secretary's anxious look. "I think I'll answer that question later, Will. Looks like someone else wants to talk too..."

The secretary had moved from behind her desk. "Willow? This is Xander? Xander Harris? THE Xander?"

"The one and usually only," Willow confirmed with a nod.

"But... But I thought the pala... Uh, eye patch? Where's the eye patch?"

Xander grinned at her bluntness. "See, funny thing they failed to mention at pirate school? Eye patches make people easier to identify. I finally gave in and got a fake eye. It's safer but not as manly."

"Funny. Just like Willow said you were. I'm Mariza." She kissed him on the cheek. "It's very nice to finally meet Willow's Xander. We've heard lots about you."

"Lies I tell you. I didn't do it and you can't prove a thing, I wasn't even in the country at the time!"

Mariza giggled. Xander had the impression she was giving him signals and she was a babe, wearing a mini skirt to show off her tanned legs and shapely backside.

For some reason, he suddenly noticed Willow was giving him the evil eye and quickly looked elsewhere.

"So... Willow," he said awkwardly, "Wanna go out for a coffee or something? Do some catching up?"

"Sure. I know just the place. Just let me get my purse." She vanished through a door.

"Is it true you used to date a thousand year old ex-vengeance demon?" Mariza asked.

This was not a good direction for the small talk. His expression instantly saddened. "Yeah, but I really don't like to talk about it."

"You're still not over her? That's so sweet!" Mariza looked like it was the most romantic thing she'd ever heard instead of the painful, heart crushing affair it really was. All his friends had gotten over their 'eternal' loves pretty damned quickly, after all. Trust Xander to hold on to something for longer than anyone else.

"But you really should get on with your life, you know. It's not right for such an interesting man to spend his life alone."

God, she really was pouring it on, wasn't she? Maybe she was a demon? Nah, Giles would never allow a demon to work for the Council, no matter how much Buffy wished otherwise. But did this Mariza knew him from somewhere to think she could dictate what he did with his life?

Willow came back wearing a big smile. And just in time too, he didn't want to deal with Willow's watcherly secretary throwing herself at him anymore.

"Mariza, I'll be back in half an hour to an hour, tops. You need anything, call me on my cell." And then turning to Xander, she nodded to the front door. "Let's go then."

Xander followed closely behind her as they walked out the door and into the hall. Willow smirked at him as she called for the elevator.

"What?" he surrendered finally.

"Mariza threw herself at you didn't she?"

Xander raised both eyebrows. "Yeah. She was coming across as almost desperate. I mean, a hot babe like her, she should have men around constantly. Why the Glenn Close impersonation? I'm no Michael Douglas."

"See, her problem is that she wants a relationship, not just fun. She's from one of the traditional families. Old Watcher blood actually."

They entered the elevator.

"Yeah? So? What's stopping her? Why not just go find some nice guy and make with the babies already?"

"Heh. You have any idea how hard it is to have a relationship with someone from outside the 'business'? Before the old Council blew up there were lots of young Watchers to marry, but now? Now, normal girls like her have it even harder. Fewer male Watchers and they need to compete with the Slayers. And you know how, um, entertaining Slayers can be, right?"

A picture of Faith straddling him came unbidden to his mind. "Yeah, very entertaining," he agreed absently. "At least until they decide to play rough."

Faith had never patched things up with him. He couldn't say he was sorry for that.

"Rough is good sometimes." Willow smiled innocently.

"Why, Miss Rosenberg," he retorted, amused. "Whatever would your mom say?"

"Now that you mention it, I'm not sure she even knows where I am. I haven't spoken to her in like forever. Not since Sunnydale at the very least."

The elevator stopped and they stepped out, heading out into the street.

Xander's expression soured. "Wanna know what's sad? I'd trade my parents with yours any day. I'd have been happier if they didn't bother to show up in my life. No such luck, though, huh?"

"I know, sweetie. We really bombed in the parents department, didn't we? If I hadn't met Joyce I wouldn't believe they could even come in the non-sucky variety."

************************************************************************************************************************

São Paulo seemed like a strange cross between a rich US city and a poor African one. You had your shiny buildings and bands of poor kids roaming the streets. You could drive an expensive European car but you better not stop at the lights. Add in the Portuguese touches and it was all a big mess. But at least the people were nice.

And Willow looked at home.

The Council's offices were located in a fairly quiet area, close enough to the hustle of the main streets to be practical but far enough away that you had the illusion of calm. Similar to Sunnydale, really, but hopefully without the Hellmouth.

And it was as if Willow knew everyone, throwing 'Oi!' and 'Tudo bem?' around at pretty much everybody she saw.

The coffee house was close. It only took a three minute walk and they were there, greeted as soon as they came through the door.

"Willow, menina, tudo bem com você?" a large black woman said, far too fast for Xander to understand.

Beside him Willow, waved at the woman. "Oh, silly me," she muttered. "I completely forgot you don't speak the language."

She gripped his hand in hers and interlaced her fingers with his. Lifting her other hand to his cheek, she closed her eyes and whispered something.

"So, who's the hunk? New boyfriend or something?" the woman continued.

Willow removed her hand from his cheek and still clasping his hand, all but dragged a shocked Xander into the coffee house.

"Hi Carla! I'm fine. This is my best friend Xander."

"Hello Xander, it's very good to meet you." Carla kissed both of his cheeks. Not getting any answer she continued, "Cat got your tongue?"

"Uh... Hi?" Xander replied in a shaky voice.

"The boy must be shy. Nice to see there are still shy men around," Carla said to Willow. "The usual, sweetie?"

"Yes please. And give Xander the same as mine, he loves sugary goodness."

Willow led Xander to her usual table.

"What was that back there?" Xander began.

"Just a small spell, nothing big. Something to allow you to speak to people," Willow told him with a smile.

"So it's all 'I know kung fu!' like? Cool!"

It took Willow a couple of heartbeats to understand the reference. "You know, I think I could do something like that too," she remarked, intrigued. "Never tried it."

The silence drew out for a moment, almost awkward, until Xander spoke again.

"So... Two years. I never thought I'd go that long without seeing you," he said.

"Me neither. I always thought we'd keep in touch, but it's like you vanished after going to Africa. No phone calls, no email, no nothing. I only knew you were alive because I could feel your aura. It was like you were trying to hide or something."

He could feel the hurt in Willow's voice.

Xander sighed. "In a way, that's right. I was trying to hide."

"What were you hiding from? Your friends? Cause' I speak from experience when I say that way lies badness. And possible loss of skin." She shuddered at the memory.

"I dunno. Trying to hide from the mess my life had become. Trying to hide from my memories."

Carla arrived bringing two cappuccinos and a couple of cakes Xander had never seen before. Xander took a bite out of one.

"This is great. What is it?"

"I knew you'd love it." Willow grinned. "But no changing the subject mister!"

Xander sighed and then continued. "How did you get over Tara?"

Willow smiled sadly. "I didn't. I don't think I ever will."

"It looked like you had moved on to Kennedy, what with the tongue ring jokes and all."

Willow looked up from her cappuccino, took a sip and then continued, "Looked like it, didn't it? But no, I just needed someone to love me, and she was right there in my face telling me stuff I wanted to hear. I thought that her loving me would be enough, but it wasn't."

"We really are doomed, aren't we?"

**********************************************************************************************************************

Willow insisted on Xander staying at her place. No need to stay in some cheap hotel when she had a room set up for guests, was there?

So, he ended up sleeping in a far too girly bedroom. Made sense, most of Willow's guests were bound to be female. The bed was softer than what he was used to. But no nightmares. Always a good night when the nightmares didn't come.

He was jet-lagged to all hell though and woke up far earlier than he should. He stayed in bed until Willow's clock alarm began to blare then got up and went to check on her.

"What'cha doing?" he asked when he found his friend sitting on her bed in a yoga-like position.

Willow opened one eye and looked up at him. "Finding my center, getting in touch with the good in the world, getting rid of negative feelings. You know, just your usual exercises when you're a walking atom bomb." She grinned at him.

"Aw, you're the prettiest atom bomb I know."

"I bet you say that to all the super-powered girls."

"You know me too well."

"And don't you forget it! Now go bother some other witch and let me finish." Willow closed her eyes and returned to her exercises.

Xander went back to getting ready for a busy day. He was going to join Willow's top team to work on a case. Meet and greet followed by some heavy duty Slaying. Something about having to deal with a native American spirit. Maybe this time he'd manage to avoid the weird diseases.

********************************************************************************************************************

"This him? He don't look like much!" the girl exclaimed.

She was young and, like most other Brazilians, of mixed racial heritage. And she was very attractive, even in her military-ish outfit. Couple that with her 'tude and it was easy enough to see who she was. A Slayer.

Willow rolled her eyes upwards. "You know if someone had told me the sweet thirteen year old girl would turn into this... this teenager, I'd have run off to Rome or something."

The Slayer stuck her tongue out at Willow.

"This girl here is Sandra. She's our Slayer, much to our displeasure. Next, Mariza, who you already know. She's Sandra's poor Watcher."

Mariza waved at him.

"The big bad black guy is Carlos. Call him Carlão. Slayer backup."

Carlão waved a machine gun in his direction. Okay.

"The guy next to him is our doctor. Marcos. He takes care of the ouchies."

Willow then pointed at herself. "Team leader and magic specialist. Guys, this is Xander. He's... Uh..." Willow struggled for words "He's key guy. No specific role in the team, but you'd do well to follow his advice."

Taking a page out of Oz's book, Xander greeted them. "Hey!"

Will was still in her tactical officer mode.

"So you guys understand what we're hunting, right? This spirit has been making snacks out of the descendants of the tribe who killed him, and he's growing stronger with every meal. We need to put him down before he gets too strong. It ends tonight."

As he listened to her giving orders to her team, Xander was surprised to discover her more dominating side and he wondered idly just how dominant she was in other aspects of her life. Huh, sexy Willow thoughts. He hadn't had sexy Willow thoughts since before Anya died. No sexy thoughts at all after her death. Strange.

Willow paused in the middle of her speech and turned slightly red before she finished. "Let's go."

*******************************************************************************************************************

"I'm telling you I'm burning up!" Xander whined.

"Aw, you poor baby!" Willow crooned with a patient smile. "Let me make it better, why don'tcha?"

And she hugged him.

It was an old childhood thing of theirs.

"What's with the fever jokes?" Carlão asked. "Didn't the doc clear everyone?"

"I think he's just being a wuss," Sandra stated. "I'm the one who's got a broken arm, and I'm not whining, am I?"

Willow broke the hug. "There," she said in a sing-song voice, her eyes laughing, "All better now."

Xander's grin widened slightly. "I'm ready for the turkey eating."

This time, even she was stumped.

"Huh?"

"Isn't it tradition to eat turkey after defeating an angry Native American spirit?"

Willow's eyes flashed.

"No?" he continued. "Well, it oughta be."

"You know, I don't understand how a guy so competent at dealing with the supernatural can be such a clown," Carlão muttered to his red-headed boss.

"Not a clown," she corrected quickly. "Xan is lighthearted. After all these years dealing with the things that go bump in the night, I think it's great he still manages to make fun of things. God knows we've had enough brooding, angsty, bossy people around."

She and Xander shared a private smile.

"Yeah, well, anyone who can handle himself in a fight gets a lot of leeway from me," Carlão proclaimed.

"Don't know what you're talking about, I'm the one who had to rip the spirit's head off! And may I remind you, broken arm here," Sandra said with a pout, waving her cast despondently.

"Aw, Sandra's jealous," Mariza teased.

Everyone laughed.

"Am not!" the teen whined.

"Don't worry about it Sandra." Xander said laughingly. "Besides, nobody can handle the slaying like a Slayer." Turning back to the others, he clapped his hands. "So! What do you people do for the post-Slayage celebration around here?"

********************************************************************************************************************

As it turned out, they all went to Carla's place, to eat and drink and generally enjoy the fact they were still alive. Xander and Willow sat at Willow's usual table.

"Is it me or does that Marco guy seem jealous of you? He knows about your whole, 'Breasts, Yay!' dealie, right?" Xander whispered.

Willow turned slightly red.

"Uh, well, we might have slept together once," she blurted. "... Or twice."

Xander spat his drink all over the table.

"But... but... Tara? And... And Kennedy?" He looked shocked. "What happened to all that 'Gay now' Willowness?"

Willow grinned.

"I'm nothing if not unconventional, Xander. Jewish Wicca, scientific witch, why not bi?" she asked cheerfully.

Listening to her talk like that, Xander couldn't help but think back to his post-ADAM dreams. Tara, Willow, ice cream...

From pale pink, Willow's face turned a much deeper shade of red.

"Xander! Of all the inappropriate things to think about! I mean, the clothes alone! Tara would never..." She noticed Xander's troubled look. "Uh... Have I mentioned I can kinda read minds without trying to now?" She fidgeted in her seat.

"Hey, it's not my fault if I like lesbians," he protested defensively, going a bit red too. "That's pretty much a guy thing. It comes with the penis-having." He suddenly remembered some of the other things he'd been thinking about since he came to visit and nearly choked. "And... and, uh... isn't there some kind of law against snooping on other people's thoughts?" he finished accusingly, hoping that the whole privacy angle would get him out of trouble.

"Snooping!" Willow retorted. "You're the one who just screamed in my brain with your whole ménage à trois thing!"

They sat in uncomfortable silence for a minute or two, but Xander soon had enough.

"Is ice cream a suitable peace offering?" he asked with his best puppy dog look.

"I don't know. Seems to me that ice cream makes you hot," Willow teased him, an uncharacteristic smirk floating on her lips before broadening into a smile. "But I guess it'll do. You're buying though."

"Not a problem, I still have enough money from my real job having days to buy ice cream. But it better be cheap."

"Why didn't you try to get a real job again?" she asked, curious. "Why not try for a real life? Maybe get away from all this weirdness?"

Xander took a gulp from his beer before he answered. "Tried that back at Sunnydale, remember? And you saw how that went. No use fighting fate is there?" he finished with a shrug.

Willow gently touched his left cheek. "You really got a raw deal, didn't you? All of the weirdness and pain, none of the advantages."

"I get to hang with hot super-girls. However you look at it, that's gotta be of the good!"

"Aw, that's sweet. Thanks. But you'll still need to buy me ice cream."

She batted her eyelashes at him.

"Yeah, well, I was talking about Buffy anyhow," he retorted with a smirk.

*********************************************************************************************************************

The voice was faint. "Wake up!"

Too faint to worry about. No, better to keep avoiding Tony. Not that he had much room to hide. His damned basement wasn't exactly spacious.

And then Tony was moving faster than any human should.

Xander weaved to the left and threw an ineffective punch.

"You need to wake up now," the faint voice said again, distracting him for an instant.

An instant that was all his father needed as one powerful hand grabbed Xander's neck and the other went for his heart...

"Wake up right this instant mister!" the now-not-so-faint voice screamed and he found himself in a strange bedroom, startled awake.

"Wha? What?" he muttered, casting around blearily before noticing Willow's worried face near by.

Oh. Yeah. Willow's place. He'd been sleeping in her spare bedroom for little more than a week now, nightmare free. But that was sure too good to last.

"Xander... You were just having a bad dream. A really bad one."

He still looked panicky. She moved closer, concerned.

"The vibes woke me up and I had to come and... Well, I found you thrashing around on the bed. Nightmare?"

The panic receded slightly and he nodded. "Yeah. Since... Well, I've been having a few different guests in my dreams for a while now. But don't worry, it wasn't you this time."

She paled.

"You... You have nightmares about me?"

Still half-freaked, he just nodded.

"You, Angel, Spike and Faith..." He seemed unsure whether to continue, "Also sometimes Caleb... And Anya."

Momentarily dumbstruck, she hesitated for a second before wrapping him in a hug.

"I'm so sorry," she muttered as he rested his head on her shoulder. They stayed like that for a long time. "You're safe now," she said eventually. "I won't let anyone hurt you anymore. I love you, you know?"

"I know."

They fell asleep still holding each other.

*************************************************************************************************************************

Waking up next to Willow was very different from waking up alone. It was peaceful. Almost like waking up next to Anya.

Huh. But without the morning orgasm.

Good thing Willow was asleep because he did not need another 'Naked Buffy!' moment.

Not that he was thinking about naked Willow.

Or naked anyone but Anya.

"I'm sure Anya wouldn't mind you having naked not-Anya thoughts..." Willow muttered, her voice still heavy with sleep.

"Gah! Bad Willow, bad!" He waited a moment before continuing, "But what? You think I should go find some hot girl and make with the orgasms?"

"I wouldn't put it like that, but unless you've gone all monk on us, yeah! Don't make your misery be your tribute to her." Willow blinked a few times, "Not that I can talk on the whole tribute thing..." she added with a sad smile.

He got up. "I'll think about it."

After that first night the nightmares became a common occurrence.

And so did waking up together.

Not that sleeping with Xander had been Willow's first idea. Nuh uh. They weren't eight anymore. And Willow was the most powerful witch on earth. So, she tried magic. What was a little nightmare for someone with enough power to snuff out all life on Earth? Should have been easy. Just a small mood changing spell, something to counter the nightmare, lighten the mood and turn the dreamscape from dark to light.

The catch? Willow had to be awake to control the magic. To direct its energies and make sure the spell didn't affect other areas of the brain. And while Willow truly was one of the most powerful beings on Earth, she was also very human. And had to sleep. And deal with Council business at normal people hours. So the spell was a bust.

When that happened, Xander told her he'd move out. Go somewhere else where his nightmares wouldn't disturb her. "Shush!" she had retorted sternly. "Friends help friends."

After that he'd slept in Willow's room. And no matter how much they both tried to keep the weirdness out, by wearing kiddy pajamas, by staying as far away from each other in bed as possible, it was like they always seemed to wake up touching each other. Sometimes in new and awkward places. But they always pretended nothing had happened. After all, who can control themselves when they're sleeping?

"Let's go clubbing!" Willow said a few days later.

"No."

"Beach?"

"Heck no!" Xander exclaimed.

"Huh, some lame movie? Big explosions? Or maybe a scary movie?"

"You go. I don't feel like being around people." Xander shrugged.

"You'll have to meet me halfway here, Xand. I can't make the nightmares go away all by myself. You need to go out and have some fun."

He looked up from his cereal bowl. "Come on Will, let me finish my breakfast in peace."

"Kay then, movie later tonight. It's a plan," she decided for him, moving to get her car keys.

"Wha? I never...!"

But she had closed the door behind her, cutting off Xander's answer.

*********************************************************************************************************************

"I don't get it." Xander sounded really confused.

"What?"

"You're a witch right? And we've been fighting vampires and other assorted nasties since high school! What's so scary about a stupid movie? I mean, I thought I was gonna lose my hand there for a while, and I really can't afford to lose any more body parts..." He stopped and frowned. With a glint in his eye, he brought his hand to his chin and affected a thoughtful look. "Come to think of it, maybe I could replace it with a hook? Arr?"

Willow punched his shoulder. Hard. "It was creepy! And scary! And you really should stop with the pirate jokes, it's not fun anymore, not without the eye patch." The odd look on her face made him sober up slightly and flash her an apologetic grin. "And don't tell me you've never used the scary movie technique!" she added after a long silence.

"Who would I use it with? Cordelia? It's not like we went to movies, you know. With us, it was all about broom closets. And Anya? Nothing scared Anya... Well, there was this time I rented 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit'... That sure scared her." He smiled at the memory.

"Did you ever find out why she had bunny-fear?" Willow asked, tugging him toward a nearby ice cream shop.

"Nope. I knew all these juicy details about her, but that one she never told me about."

"Xander... Everyone knew about the juicy details." Willow informed him mock-seriously. "Joyce knew about the juicy details. Joyce!"

He thought about this for a second. "That's just disturbing beyond my ability to comprehend," he concluded, turning to the ice cream vendor to order his ice cream. Belgian chocolate with milk chocolate. With chocolate topping.

"Scientifically speaking you should get bored with so much chocolate."

"Sacrilege!" He took out a large spoonful and smeared Willow's cheeks and nose with it before she could avoid him. "There, the unbeliever has been chocolated! Vengeance is served!" he said with a large playful grin.

"You! You! You smeared me!" Eyes wide, she was torn between laughter and disbelief.

"Want me to lick it off?" he leered at her, waggling his eyebrows.

"Ew, gross! Besides, after Kennedy, you're bound to be a disappointment," she continued in a matter-of-fact tone of voice, a wicked light dancing in her eyes at his shocked reaction.

Huh, this wasn't the way this was supposed to go. He would make some embarrassing comment and Willow would go red, that was the plan. Not answer with innuendo of her own.

"You wouldn't believe how good she was with that tongue ring of hers," Willow continued mercilessly.

Xander turned redder than a fire truck.

She smiled brightly. "I win! Serves you right, Xand. You should know better than to mess with the liberated female by now." Her bright smile devolved into a knowing smirk that had no business on sweet, innocent Willow's face. "As my reward, we'll go clubbing next."

He blinked, his mind brought back from the tongue-ring speculations with a jolt. "That's... that's not fair! I wasn't playing. Besides aren't we too old to play Fire Truck?" he whined as he took out some napkins to dab away the chocolate.

"Don't care," she said. "I never won when we were kids. You and Jessie always made me go red. So this time, I won and I want my reward. Clubbing!"

Xander finished cleaning her face, purposely forgetting to clean her nose. "Oh, all right. Clubbing it is."

She finished her ice cream and got up. "Let's go change then."

When they got home, Willow deliberately chose the sexiest, tiniest outfit available. Xander was sure she spent the rest of the night greatly enjoying his attempts at not looking at her or even thinking about her. All because of a harmless, innocent ice cream prank.

Willow. Ice cream. Not thinking about that, not thinking about that.

She tossed him a knowing smirk.

Gah!

**********************************************************************************************************************

He'd been in Brazil for a little over two weeks now. And not one trip to the beach. It wasn't that he disliked it, really. But sand and sun reminded him too much of the Sahara. And how he nearly died of thirst. Not happy memories.

But Willow was nothing if not relentless. She had asked, she had dropped hints and she had nearly even made an ultimatum. Until one day, one of the most dreaded weapons in Willow's arsenal came out to play. Resolve face.

"We're going to the beach tomorrow and that's final. Look at my face. It's all resolvy!"

And Xander, as always powerless against her devious feminine wiles, was forced to relent.

"Are those Speedos?" she screeched in disbelief when she saw his choice of beach-wear.

"Yeah, I mean, they're fine, aren't they?" he asked self-consciously. "These are the sort of thing guys around here wear to the beach, right? I mean, I don't want to look like a weirdo or something."

"Oh, they're fine, don't worry about it." Willow bit her lip, checking him out almost automatically. "I was just thinking about when you joined the swimming team." A vague smile quirked her lips.

"And almost got myself turned into the creature from the black lagoon?" he shot back with a grin. "Those were the days, weren't they? Ah, Sunnydale!"

Her smile grew imperceptibly as her eyes took him in. He looked older than he did back home but then so did she. Xander looked like a man now, more muscly and strong. Very nice. Her eyes came to rest on his chest. Like the rest of his body, the skin there was marred by scars. Especially three painful looking gashes.

Moving almost despite herself, she put her hand on his chest. "Are these... Are these from me?" she asked, her voice low. Almost a whisper.

Slightly surprised by the contact, he glanced down at his chest. "Oh. Yeah. They always said love hurts. I never thought they meant it literally." The grin that followed that joke was a bit sad and he didn't meet her eyes.

Willow began to trace the contour of the scars with her fingers, a tender caress against his surprisingly soft skin.

"Uh..." Xander started to turn red.

She couldn't help the quick look down and grinned at what she saw. "So, I guess you're happy to see me?" she smirked. Xander fidgeted uncomfortably and her smirk widened. "At least, the little guy seems to be," she continued sweetly.

"Hey! It's not a LITTLE anything!" And there was no way that he just said what he just said. Was this a moment? Were they having an honest to god moment?

"That's not what I remember..." she drawled.

"Will, for god's sake! I was what? Six or seven? It's not like you had breasts either."

His face was getting redder by the second and Willow was suddenly thinking some very naughty thoughts. Smirk firmly in place, she ran her hand slowly down his body. From the scars, she moved down his chest, past his belly button and all the way to his Speedos. All the way inside those Speedos. From beet-red, he turned very pale and shuddered.

"You were right," she breathed, their faces almost touching. "Little doesn't apply anymore."

Eyes so big they belonged in an anime, Xander swallowed convulsively and took a deep breath to try to get a grip. "Willow, are you sure you know what you're doing?"

She moved her hand up and down very gently, eyes never leaving his face. "Pretty sure. I have had some training," she purred. "And would you look at that, it's working. Men are so simple."

"Yeah." He couldn't really think at the moment. Willow... hot, sexy Willow. "Simple."

She grinned at him and moved her lips right next to his ear. "I don't feel like going to the beach anymore" she whispered, pulling her hand away. "What do you say?"

Before the last word left her lips, Xander was kissing her hungrily. "I didn't want to go anyhow," he bit out. And he pulled at her top, tugging it upward to expose the pale flesh beneath.

*********************************************************************************************************************

Xander rested his head over Willow's chest, listening to her heartbeat while he gently traced the contours of her right nipple with his finger.

"Will?" he asked.

She looked down at him and smiled. "Yeah?"

"I don't want to lose our friendship. You know that, right?"

She nodded.

"But you think we could be more?" he continued.

"I think we already are silly!"

He moved his hands for better leverage and lifted himself up, bringing his face next to hers. "Even if you like girls?"

She giggled at the waves of insecurity she could feel rolling from him. "And you like girls too. Even our interests match." She teased with a wink.

"So... that's not a problem?" He searched her face for a moment before finding whatever it was he was looking for and allowing the tension to drain away. "Good. Now, could you explain what the heck those fireworks were all about near the end there? And the levitating?" He smirked and waggled his eyebrows.

Willow blushed but didn't look away. "Oh that? I guess you could say that was me being, uh, happy with your performance." She leered.

"Really?" He began to kiss her neck, her chest, moving downwards.

"Xan... Again? Already?"

"You know how it is," he said between kisses, "I always loved fireworks."

**********************************************************************************************************************

"Hey Giles!" Xander said cheerfully into the telephone receiver in his hand.

"Xander! I'm very glad to hear from you. How are you doing?" Giles' voice answered.

"Me? Great. And how are things on your end?"

"The fight against evil is never quite over, I'm afraid. But we're managing."

"Good. That's good. Tell me, how's the Council doing on African Watchers?" Xander asked, not wanting to waste any time.

"We have a few now. The situation is not as desperate as when you first went to Africa."

"Think I could get reassigned?"

"You'll be missed, but I do believe you have more than earned it. Where to?" Giles said.

"Brazil!"


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