THOUGHTS OF FRIENDSHIP
Willow is my best friend in the whole world. Don't get me wrong. And I would do anything for her.
Well, almost anything.
"Please Xander? I can't ask Buffy, because she's doing that thing with her mom and I need to do this and you're my best friend and I'll never ask you for another thing. Ever."
She's all eyes as she stares at me, begging me with those green eyes that I've never been able to refuse anything.
"All right. Although I want it noted that I'm doing this under protest. This is a way girlie thing and I want to assert my manliness right from the start."
"Duly noted." She giggles, giving me a quick hug as we walk to the library.
What does it say about our lives that two weeks after graduation, we're still hanging at the Sunnydale High School library? Okay, at least Willow has a real excuse. She's in love with the librarian. Me? I'm just pathetic enough not to have anything else to do.
"So, what demonic little thing are we researching today?" I ask as we walk into Giles' little sanctuary. His face lights up as he sees Willow, and I wonder again how we all missed it. I don't see how the love he obviously has for her could have escaped us all.
He shakes his head, trying not to stare at her. "Well, actually Xander, you'll enjoy this one. I've heard some rumors of a demon attacking teenagers during…certain activities. I'm afraid it's most likely a succubus or an incubus. Something right up your area of expertise."
"Aren't they…" my eyes light up. "Sexual demons? Whoo-hoo! It's about time we had something juicy. And I mean that so not in the literal sense." I know they're laughing at me, but I don't care. There is far too much angst in our lives. Humor is my field of expertise and I'm all for showing it off. "But, I would think, if it's a sexual demon, you two would be more worried than anyone else."
I raise my eyebrows as Willow slides into his arms and kisses him softly. She's getting more bold and comfortable doing it in front of all of us, although she's hesitant to kiss him in front of Buffy.
I swear, who knew Giles was a girl magnet? I wonder what I need to do to inspire such loyalty? I hope it's not dress in tweed, because it really makes me look fat.
"I think we'll be safe enough," Giles admits with a blush, taking Willow's arms in his hands and putting a little distance between them. "If Willow can behave herself."
"Hey! It's not just me!" She laughs and the sound fills the library.
It's nice to see my Willow happy. Although, she's not really my Willow any more, is she?
I stare at the building in front of us in abject horror. I can take almost anything, but I'm not sure I can take this.
"Look at it like this, Xander," Willow says in a last ditch effort to get me out of the car. I can hear the edge of exasperation in her voice. "Lots of the women that will be in there are sexually active. Maybe you can find someone interesting."
She's laughing at me, but I play along. "That's true Wills, there's nothing like an unwed mother to get me going." She sticks out her tongue and I shake my head. "Okay, let's go. But if anyone asks, I'm denying that I even know you."
"Okay, then they'll all assume you're in there for some tests or something. And maybe they'll be afraid of you."
"All right, I know you, but I'm not having sex with you."
"That's a relief." She laughs and climbs out of the car. I can tell she's nervous, although she's hiding it well.
"Willow, you're sure about this? I mean, not this, but everything?"
"I love him, Xander."
We walk into the building and I'm sort of surprised. Don't know what I expected, but it looks like your typical doctor's office. Willow goes to the counter and I make my way over to the chairs in the waiting room. There are a couple of girls there, but I don't know them. I hadn't thought about that. What if we see someone we know?
Willow comes over to me, a clipboard in her hand. "They said it'll be about five minutes till I can see the doctor, then it will be about a half an hour."
Panic rises in my chest. A half an hour. That's like a lifetime. "Willow, what if someone sees us? Someone we know? Someone like…Harmony."
Cordelia's most vicious follower. "Oh look, it's the geek squad. Does Cordy know you're here with your little…" She sneers at Willow. "Friend?"
I wonder how I'm supposed to explain this to Cordelia. I can imagine the conversation now. No Cordy, I was with Willow, but not because I'm with Willow. She's with Giles. Stop laughing. Cordelia… I look up at Harmony, realizing she's expecting an answer. "Oh yeah, Cordy likes that I'm open minded."
Willow's eyes grow to the size of baseballs I think. Her name is called and she punches me before she leaves. Harmony has walked away with an evil glint in her eyes. "Xander!"
"Relax Will. It might be better for you and Giles if people think you and I are…a thing. You said you still needed to find out what the regulations are on dating an instructor. So, calm down, go to your appointment thingy and come out to the car when you're finished. I'll wait out there."
The sun is beating down on me, and I'm sure that it's been more than a half an hour, but I don't want to go back inside.
I've been doing a lot of thinking. When Willow first told me, that night in the Bronze, I was shocked that she was over me, but happy it was going to work out. And, honestly, I haven't thought much about it since then. I haven't seen them together too much, and they were always closer to each other than any of the rest of us.
But now, sitting in my car, I can't help but think things through.
Willow had loved me all her life. She used to stare at me with her big, green eyes and make me feel like I was king of the world. I thought I could walk on water. I thought she'd love me forever.
Not that I expected her to, really. Okay, maybe I did. But mostly, well, I just expected things to stay the same. They changed when Oz and Cordelia came into the picture, but I never felt that any of that had any bearing on my relationship with her.
Sure, we didn't talk as much. We weren't as honest and open with each other as we'd been before. But I always knew if I needed someone, Willow would be there.
And now she's putting everything on the line for Giles. She's giving up her schooling, her future to be with him. And I realize, much to my chagrin, that I've given up a wonderful, amazing woman. Well, I haven't given her up, since I don't think I ever had her to begin with.
But I had a chance. And now it's gone.
I look up as she rounds the corner, the sunlight shining on her glorious hair.
Giles is a very lucky man.
"Yeah?" She staring down at the package of pills in her hands, and I can almost hear the thoughts racing around in her head.
"You love him?"
"He loves you?"
I can see the slight smile from the corner of my eye. "Yeah."
"Then it's going to be okay."
I know what she's going to ask, and I've been dreading the question since the night in the Bronze. Because I honestly don't know how I'm going to answer it.
"Am I doing the right thing?"
"I think so."
"Did you ever love me?"
The silence is like a living thing between us. "Not like he does."
She nods. "Are we still going to be able to be friends? Or are you going to be like you were with Oz?"
I pull over to the side of the road and turn to face her. "I never hated Oz, Willow. I was just worried about you. And it was easier to blame him than to examine my own feelings." She nods again. "I think Giles will treat you the way you deserve to be treated. I think he'll love you with everything he's got."
"You're not answering my question."
"Willow, I can't imagine my life without you in it, in some capacity. I can't imagine going through a day without knowing you're there if I need you to be." I know there are tears in my eyes and I feel a little foolish. "I wouldn't have gone with you today if I wasn't your friend."
"You mean the world to me, Xander."
"It's mutual." I reach over and catch her hand, squeezing it softly. "It's all good, Willow. Us. You and him. Weird, but good." She's smiling as I pull back out onto the road, taking my best friend home to the man who loves her. "But then, this is the Hellmouth, weird is normal, right?"
"Where you're concerned, Xander. Weird is always normal."
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