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You know she was always beautiful in your eyes....


TITLE: I'll always be right there (1/?)
AUTHOR: Siobhan Gormley
E-MAIL: siobhan@nbnet.nb.ca
FEEDBACK: YES!!! 
DISTRIBUTION: Willfic archive, my own page, otherwise ask first!
SPOILERS: "Inca Mummy Girl" (isn't that the title of last night's ep?)
CONTENT: Nothing that'll get any undies in a bunch. ;)
SUMMARY: Willow deals with having a boyfriend and Xander's feelings...
DISCLAIMER: I in no way 'own' Willow, or any of the rest of the crew on
BtVS, I just like to play with them for a little while and then I put them
back, relatively none the worse for wear. They do belong to Joss Whedon,
Mutant Enemy, WB, and anyone else who puts money in to the production of
this show. I only lay claim to this story, such as it is.


Willow sat outside partially in the shade of a tree on the front lawn of
Sunnydale High, a huge smile on her face. Life was good. The vamps and all
weird demon occurrences were down as of late and she had a boyfriend! His
name was Oz, or at least that was what he went by. He was lead guitar in
one of the bands that played at the Bronze. 

Willow had been surprised when he had come up to her that one night to ask
her to dance. She had seen him before up on stage, but she had never
figured that he'd *actually* seen her, especially considering all the girls
that hung around him. He was admittedly rather cute, and really smart. They
would talk about stuff for hours with the greatest of ease, either in
person or over the phone. Willow never figured that she could be so happy.

Of course the slightly cynical side of her, the one that had hung 
around Xander too long, warned her that she shouldn't get too 
comfortable, 'cause something was bound to happen to ruin it all. 
Needless to say, Willow preferred to ignore that side.

She leaned her head back, closing her eyes as the sun shone down upon her
contented face. Life was definitely good.

---

Life sucked. Sometimes Xander truly wished that that mummy *had* taken his
life. Anything had to be better than to watch as everyone around him found
someone and he stayed on his own. He couldn't help but feel that he was
forever cursed.

[Guess thats what you get for living on the Hellmouth,] he thought
cynically. 

Xander was sitting at the top of the stairs that lead in to Sunnydale High,
watching his best friend sunning herself. He couldn't help but notice how
happy she looked, and knowing that it had nothing to do with him made him
feel even worse. 

When she had told him about this 'Oz' guy, he had been bothered, but he
didn't say anything. After all, it wasn't like he had any right to pick and
choose who she should go out with. It was most definitely her choice to do
that, even if she made the wrong choice.

Xander let out a mournful sigh. His thoughts had slowly become more and
more cynical over the last while. It was strange because all during the
summer he had lightened up, or so he had thought. He and Willow had hung
out, been silly, like they had used to when they were younger, before Buffy
arrived. And then as soon as she had returned, he suddenly took ten steps
down the evolutionary scale and became a Neanderthal again, or maybe that
was below a Neanderthal, but that wasn't important. Just the fact that he
had become a total loser again was enough to make him cynical. And he had
to admit, he hated it. He hated it because he felt horrible, he hated it
because he said things he should never say, and he most definitely hated it
because he hurt those around him, those he loved. 

Some shrink would probably say that he was doing all this only because he 
wanted to keep people away from him, that he was afraid of having a real, 
close relationship with someone else, and then the shrink would somehow 
come around to blaming it on his parents, although the shrink mightn't 
be far off.

He came out of his thoughts momentarily to gaze at his best friend again.
She was happy, and she looked so beautiful, glowing with that happiness.
Not that she hadn't been beautiful before...

[You know she was always beautiful in your eyes, you just were too chicken
to say anything. And now it won't matter 'cause she's got someone and she
doesn't need you anymore, she doesn't need your approval or attentions
anymore. So just give it up Harris, you're destined to lead a life alone.
Oh so very alone.]

Xander let out a soul-wrenching sigh. Life really sucked.

****

"Thank you Willow for taking the time to help me out with this project at
the last minute. You're truly a life saver," Jenny Calendar praised. Willow
graced her computer teacher with a brilliant smile. 

"I'm happy to help." The two women began their work, chatting only from
time to time about various things, seeming to keep subjects neutral. That
was until Ms. Calendar decided to open up a not-so-neutral, or objective,
subject. Men.

"Willow, you know Rupert, um, I mean, Giles pretty well by now, don't you?"
Jenny asked, looking at Willow.

"As well as anyone could get to know him. He's always kinda kept to
himself, although I think he's beginning to loosen up a bit, which I think
a great part has to do with you," she replied, a mischievous grin on her
face. Jenny actually blushed, looking away from the young hacker. 

"Was there something you wanted to ask me?" Willow queried when her teacher
hadnt said anything.

"I just was wondering, do you know whether he...that is, has he ever talked
to you or has Buffy ever mentioned if he had ever talked about his past?"
Willow was quite surprised at the question.

"Isn't that something you should be asking him?" Jenny sighed.

"I've tried, but he's been rather closed-mouthed with me. I thought maybe
since you...well, youre 'non-threatening' to him, for lack of a better
term, and I thought maybe he might have talked with you whenever you were
researching with him."

"To be honest, we haven't really talked all that much other than when it
comes to things to do with the research. He's never been really talkative
about subjects outside of his immediate interests. I find he's always kept
out of conversations or else steered the conversation away frompersonal
matters. Of course, I can't really speak for Buffy, but she hasn't said
anything to me."

"Oh well, I thought I'd try." The technopagan turned back to her screen,
continuing the work she had stopped. After a couple of minutes, she spoke
again.

"So what's this I've heard about you having a boyfriend? Keeping secrets
from me again?" Ms. Calendar queried in a mildly teasing tone. Willow
stopped what she was doing, looking at the woman at her side who was now
grinning. 

"It's not a secret, it's just that it's kinda new and I haven't talked
about it with many people."

"You've certainly mentioned it to Giles." Willow's brow creased in thought.
She couldn't remember having mentioned it to Giles, at least she didn't
think she had talked directly to him about her boyfriend.

"He must have heard me talking with Buffy," was her reply. Ms. Calendar
nodded in response while she finished up what she was doing.

"So, are you going to tell me about him or do I have to go through Buffy to
find out." Willow couldn't help but smile at her teacher's curiosity. She
and Jenny Calendar had become friends over the course of the past year, and
she enjoyed the time they worked together, whether it was in computers or
doing research to help Buffy. It was nice to have an adult, other than
Giles, to discuss things with. Not that she didn't have her own parents for
that, but most times they weren't around, and Jenny and Giles had become
like second parents to her. It therefore hadn't been much of a surprise to
see them get together.

"Well, his name is Oz, he's lead guitar in a band and he's a really nice
guy. He's funny, smart, and we have a lot in common."

"That's it?" 

"Um hm."

"Seems to me you forgot something," the technopagan paused as Willow gave
her a strange look, "he has great taste in women." They both chuckled over
her comment. They stopped laughing at the sound of the door opening. Xander
stuck his head in, a sheepish grin on his face. He wandered in to the room
when he wasn't told to get lost. Looking over their shoulders, he glanced
at what
they were doing.

"So, what are you ladies up to? Creating a superior plan for world
domination?" The two women looked at each other, then looked back at Xander.

"Xander, I think you've been watching too much 'Pinky and the Brain'.
Speaking of that, how come you're not home right now watching it? Something
keeping you here?" Willow asked. She didn't seem to notice, but Jenny did,
when an almost hurt expression crossed his features.

"Um, well, I just..I thought maybe you might be finished and might want to
walk home together. I mean, it's no biggie if you don't want to. It's not
like I can't walk home alone, again," he replied, the last word almost a
whisper.

"I think I'm okay now, Willow. You can go ahead home," Ms. Calendar said
before Willow even had the chance to get any words out. Willow shrugged her
shoulders.

"Okay, if you think so. C'mon Xander, I'll make sure you get home safe and
sound," she teased. Xander noiselessly said 'ha ha' in response. 

"I'll see you in the morning," Willow said over her shoulder to the
computer teacher as she left the lab. As Xander followed Willow out of the
classroom, Jenny could have sworn that his mood seemed to pick up a bit. It
always seemed that one minute he was being moody and distant, the next he
was happy and joking. She shook her head, not quite sure what to make of
the boy. But
she had the distinct feeling that Willow Rosenberg had quite a bit to do
with it, and the girl hadn't a clue.


End of Part One

--
*************************************************************************
Siobhan (pixie73@geocities.com): Proud Member of Buffy, Eh?, Buffyatric, 
         GASPer, Keeper of Giles' sense of style (or lack thereof)
Siobhan's Virtual Home: http://www.ncf.carleton.ca/~aq806/       
Siobhan's TV Land: http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/Set/4610/
*************************************************************************
  X-Phile, Trek Fan, B-5er, Disnophile, Dragon Posse, Whovian, Hopeful 
       Romantic, Austenite, Linguistic Twin, MCEBer, Angst Lover
*************************************************************************
 "Well, yeah, I'm gonna take Willow, but I'm not gonna *take Willow* in
  the sense of 'Take me'." --Xander, "Inca Mummy Girl", BtVS
*************************************************************************

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