Till The Day I Die By Coffee

In the shadows of the club, Jesse stared at her, his Willow. Newly born again, he was a different man, a changed man.

A dead man.

Jesse loved Willow. He had always loved her, but while he was secretly loving her, she was secretly loving Xander. So, he feigned a fake attraction to Cordelia, which neither of his friends appreciated considering the cheerleader had been their number one tormentor, and still was.

"Why do you losers even breathe?" Cordelia asked once upon a time, her face fixed in a sneer reserved just for them.

That wasn't a problem anymore.

Cordelia's flesh, so open and on display, did nothing for him. Jesse walked by her as though she was a bug on the wall, and walked straight to Willow, in her little mom-picked dress. Mrs. Rosenberg had major control issues for someone who was hardly ever around, and about as interested in her daughter as she was in watching paint dry.

Maybe Jesse would kill Willow's mother for her.

That was real love.

Jesse looked upon Willow with new eyes. A predator's eyes that sparkled with deep intensity. She was as beautiful as she ever was. An image of her flashed in his mind. His 7th birthday party. She was wearing a pink glittery hat, overalls with a rainbow striped sweatshirt underneath, smiling that precious Willow smile.

It would be fair to admit that he was anxious to see that smile with a wicked glint of demon in her eyes.

Willow was talking to the new girl. Her posture was insecure, her long auburn hair grown to hide her face. The new girl was radiant around her, and emitted some kind of weird vibe that made him stop in his tracks. New girl would know about him; she would sniff around like a wolf on the smell of rabbit, which was weird, because he was supposed to be the wolf. But then new girl took off, and Willow was by herself.


Jesse stalked over to her, his posture confident, his eyes hypnotizing Willow from where she sat.

"Jesse?" she asked, surprise coloring her voice.

Her hazel eyes probed his own dark brown eyes, and he was just as hypnotized as she was. Like he had been, she was hiding in the sunlight. All she needed was a little shadow to make her who she was destined to be.

Together, they were going to be marvelous.

"Wil," he said, his voice more manly than it ever sounded before.

"I'msogladtoseeyou. Ithoughtwelostyou," she said in a rush of Willow-speak.

"Would you be sad if you had?" he asked.

"Devastated," she said. And she meant it.

Jesse could tell.

"Dance with me?" he asked, taking her hand into his own. If he was speaking to anyone other than Willow, he would not have been so polite as to ask.

Jesse was the epitome of seduction. He had thought this out, thought out how things would have to go, because he didn't want to scare her. He only wanted her to know what he knew now. It took dying to finally feel alive.

There was a spark in Willow's eyes that he had never seen before, some kind of exhilaration.

"We never dance," she said factually. "At least, not to this kind of music."

"We do now." He led her out to the dance floor, nearly knocking over Cordelia on their way there. He expected to hear, "What's your damage?" but for once the popular, shallow girl kept quiet beneath the venomous gaze Jesse shot her way.

The music was slow. It was made for the soft sway of bodies against one another, for the touching and the want. Willow stared at him like she was star-struck, and he smiled at her, genuine and wide. The way she looked at him made him feel like he was bathed in sunlight, without that pesky turning to dust thing. While everyone else was like a shadow to him, she was whole to him, real to him.

"You're different," she said, lowering her head so that her face was hidden behind a curtain of dark auburn.

Jesse placed his hand beneath her chin and raised her head, so that she was looking him in the eye. "Do you like it?"

"Yes, of course," she was quick to assure. Afraid that at any minute now he was going to ruin the moment with a bet or something nasty, her eyes welled up with tears. "This is weird, Jess."

"No. This is right."

They stayed that way, his hands and hips guiding her. Her warm fingers entwined with his own, her skin soft and milky. He ached to taste it, taste her. When he spotted Xander headed their way beneath the constantly changing club lights, completely dumbfounded, he sighed.

This just wasn't the time to be interrupted.

"Um, guys? Jesse? Wil? What's with the naughty dancing and the invading of personal space?"

"Xander!" Willow's voice held nervousness in her tone. Jesse bristled with jealousy, trying not to vamp out and kill Xander over a stupid question. He had been toying with the idea of saving Xander for Willow to play with later.

"Just two friends, enjoying one another. Care to join us?" There, he had offered to let him in on his newfound secrets of the underworld. In a roundabout way.

"Uh, no," Xander said, with disgust, "I'm going to get some food, and sit and eat like a normal non-sexy-dancing best friend."

"Xander," Willow tried to break away, but Jesse's finger at her lips, and his other hand tightly grasping her own, stopped whatever it was she was going to say, whatever line would come out urging their friend to stay, to forgive them their slight trespass over the lines of their best friend triangle.

"Let him go, Wil. He's oblivious."

Willow's emotions were always easy to read. Heart on her sleeve, hurt in her eyes. "Don't worry about it, Wil. I'm not oblivious. I see you."

Jesse led her off the dance floor. "Come on," he told her, "I'll walk you home."

Willow followed him blindly, with all the devotion of a brainwashed cult member, her hand curled tightly up with his. Her skin was flushed, not used to this much public display of affection. Not used to the other girls looking at her with envy or looking at Jesse with desire.

They were halfway to her house when he stopped walking, and instead sat beneath an old oak tree that was carved with Willow, Xander, Jesse - Forever, November 11, 1990. She settled herself beside him, trying not to dirty a dress that he knew for a fact that she hated.

The timing was perfect so he kissed her. Soft, slow, the way a first kiss should feel. Not the rough, bruising kiss of a Sire that Jesse had. The slow, percolating kiss was meant to make her insides melt. Listening to her heartbeat roll like thunder in his head, her quick intake of breath aroused a hunger within him that he didn't think was possible. He had fed before he met up with her, because he didn't want to be vicious, didn't want to rip her open like a meaningless meal. Like ripping open a bag of snack sized chips, swallowing its contents whole, and still being hungry.

When the kiss broke, she looked stunned. The magic of the moment was strong; it meant so much to him. Holding her fingers to her sensitive lips she only said, "Wow."

"I've loved you forever, Willow. Do you know that? Do you love me?"

"Til the day I die," she said with conviction. The foundation for the statement had been built through childhood, through their adolescence. It was cemented in birthday parties, funerals, first days of school, and photos that showed the passing of time. It was time to tear down the house and build a new one. To put a freeze frame on the both of them.

Jesse grinned, his eyes suddenly cold, a fire turned to ashes. "Guess what, Wil?"

Innocent eyes filled with hope, stared at him with newly discovered romantic love. "What?"

Showing his true face, Jesse informed her, "That's today."


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