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Disclaimer: I don't own the characters. Xena, Gabrielle, Joxer, Hope, Ephiny,
Solari, Janice Covington, and Melinda Pappas are owned by Sam Raimi, Rob
Tapert, and Renisance Pictures. Buffy, Willow, Angel/Angelus are owned by
Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. This story is for entertainment only.

Summary: A crisis brings Buffy and Willow closer.

Pairings: Xena/Gabrielle, Buffy/Willow

Rating: NC-17

Feedback is encouraged. Send your comments to [email protected] and place
"Feedback" as the subject.

This story was inspired by the fic "Dark Promise" by Katrina.
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Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Xena Warrior Princess: The Love of a Friend (FF,ff)
by Andrew Reynolds

Chapter One

A red ferrari pulled into the driveway of an opulent mansion. A petite blonde
stepped out and pulled her briefcase from the passenger seat. She closed the
door and locked it. She was a small woman, just a little over five feet tall.
She had short strawberry blonde hair and deep emerald green eyes. She was
dressed in a two piece business suit. Her short skirt stopped at mid-thigh,
revealing her well-toned legs.

"Hello, Gabby!" a voice called to her.

She turned and saw her next door neighbor, Carolyn standing at the hedge
that seperated their property. Carolyn was a beautiful woman in her middle
thirties with firey red hair and a body to die for. She was smiling at
Gabrielle. The blonde walked over to the hedge and the two chatted for some
moments. Saying goodbye, Gabrielle went up the walk and entered the mansion.
Closing the door behind her, she called out.

"My love, I'm home!"

She sat the briefcase down and stripped out of her suit jacket. Then standing
on one foot after the other, she removed her high heels. She put the case on
a nearby table. Suddenly, she sensed a presence behind her. She turned and
her face lit up. Standing just inside the door to the den was a strikingly
beautiful woman. She was tall at six feet with raven black hair and striking
blue eyes. She wore a lopsided grin as she gazed at her lover.

"How was your day?" she asked in a clear resonate voice.

"Ah, it was Hades, Xena! I really hate business meetings!" the young woman
complained.

Xena walked over and stepped behind Gabrielle and began massaging her
shoulders.

"MMmmmmmm......that feels great!" Gabrielle sighed as she closed her eyes and
felt the tension leave her body under the gentle hands of her soulmate.

She moaned as Xena stopped her ministrations. Xena held a letter in front of
the blonde.

"This came for you this morning."

The young woman took the letter from her companion and glanced at the
address.

"It's from Willow." she said, opening the envelope.

She read the letter and smiled as she folded it and replaced it in the
envelope. She placed it on the table next to the briefcase and turned to
Xena.

"She said that school was out for the summer and asked if it was alright to
spend the summer with us." she said.

"Sounds like a wonderful idea. We haven't seen her since the last time we
were in Sunnydale." Xena replied with a smile.

Willow Rosenberg was Gabrielle's niece. While Willow's parents didn't care
for the blonde woman, Willow adored her. She had even won over Willow's
best friend, Buffy the last time they were in Sunnydale. That had been an
interesting time. Some rogue vampires were looking for the ancient bard to
destroy her. For by destroying her, they would gain the power to walk in
the sun as she did. But in the end, Buffy with the help of Xena managed to
destroy the renegade bloodsuckers, but not before Willow had found out their
little secret.

Gabrielle was a little over two thousand years old. Her father was the god,
Bacchus. Unfortunately for Gabrielle, she had inherited her father's lust
for blood. But, she didn't need it as often these days. Her lover, Xena was
immortal as well. She was the daughter of Ares, God of War. They had traveled
throughout Ancient Greece, helping people for years. Of course, the bard knew
that she was immortal back then, but the warrior had no idea of her own
lineage. It had come as a shock when they finally learned the truth. They had
lived and loved together for two millenia. They were happy. Gabrielle had
grown extremely wealthy over the years by investing their money wisely and
opening her own publishing house. They would never want for anything again,
a far cry from their life on the road, where they had depended on Xena's
hunting skills to put meat in their bellies and Gabrielle's bardic skills to
put dinars in their purses.

The bard gave her lover a quick peck on the lips before going into the
kitchen. There, she got herself a tall glass of iced tea and made her way
into the den. She sat at her desk and setting down the glass, she picked up
the phone and dialed. After a short pause, she spoke.

"Hello, Willow? It's Gabrielle. How are you?"

"I'm great. How are you?" Willow responded.

"I'm great. So is Xena. And your parents?"

"They're pretty good. You know, typical parents." her niece said.

Gabrielle laughed.

"I got your letter. We'd be happy to have you over for the summer."

"Can I bring Buffy?"

"Of course. We have plenty of room."

"I can leave tomorrow on the first flight." Willow said.

"Okay, see you then. Take care and tell your parents I said hello."

"I will. Thanks. Bye."

"Bye." the young blonde said before hanging up.

The blonde leaned back in her leather chair and sipped her tea. She stood and
went to her wall safe. Swinging back the picture that hid it, she dialed the
combination and opened it. She removed a scroll and closing the safe returned
to her desk. She unrolled the document and began to read. Over the years she
had lost some of her scrolls chronicling her adventures with Xena. She was a
little surprised to see the headlines in the papers in 1943 stating that
archeologist/adventurer Janice Covington and her assistant Melinda Pappas had
discovered the scrolls in one of Ares' temples. The papers had called the
discovery the Xena Scrolls. Luckily for the bard and her lover the scientific
community at large did not believe in the scrolls as historical fact. They
believed that they were just myths written down by superstitious peasants.
Gabrielle was certainly not going to convince them otherwise.

She put down the scroll and sat lost in thought. She thought about all of
the people she had known and cared about in her life. Her family back in
Potedaia, Ephiny, Solari, her evil daughter, Hope and even Joxer. Joxer, now
that had been an interesting person. She had cared for him even though most
of the time he was a pain in the ass. His intentions were always good and she
had to admit that he had come through for them when it counted. She shook
herself out of her memories to see Xena standing next to her.

"A dinar for your thoughts." Xena said, laying a hand on the shorter woman's
shoulder.

"I was just thinking of the old days. All the people we knew. Do you ever
miss that?"

"Sometimes," replied her dark lover, "I miss the wide open spaces, the road,
the battles. After all, I am still a warrior. But, I wouldn't trade our years
together for the world."

"Xena....." Gabrielle said with a tear in her eye.

The taller woman leaned down and captured her lover's mouth with her own.
They kissed for some minutes before the need for air forced them to part.
They just stared into each other's eyes. Green falling into blue and blue
falling into green.

"I called Willow. She'll be here tomorrow. She's bringing Buffy along too."

Xena smirked. While at first she and Buffy had been cold to each other,
they had grown to be close friends. The brash young blonde reminded Xena
of herself all those years ago. Like the warrior, Buffy had a great
responsibility on her shoulders. After all, she was the slayer. The one
chosen to rid the world of vampires and demons. Sometimes she wondered what
the slayer would do if she ever encountered one of the Olympian gods. She
had even begun to teach the young girl to use a chakram. She had to admit,
Buffy was a quick study. The girl had already mastered getting the weapon
to return to her but she still had trouble catching it.

She leaned in and kissed her companion again. Xena and Gabrielle shared a
long, passionate kiss. They went into the kitchen, where the bard prepared
a scrumptious meal. After two millenia, Xena still could not add cooking
to her list of many skills. As they ate, Gabrielle told her lover all about
her day.

After they were through, they cuddled up together on the sofa to watch TV.
As the images flickered across the screen, they began to nuzzle each other.
Xena kissed and playfully nipped at the blonde's neck.

"Mmmmm...May.....Maybe we should retire to the bedroom." Gabrielle suggested
in a husky, lust-filled voice.

"Good idea." the dark woman whispered, switching the television off.

She stood and taking her small lover in her arms, carried her up the stairs
and into the master bedroom. She threw the blonde onto the bed and fell on
top of her kissing the moaning woman with feverish abandon.

"Did I ever tell you I love you?" Xena asked between kisses.

"A million times, but let's make it a million and one." Gabrielle sighed.

"I love you, little bard."

"And I love you, Xena. Now take me before I go insane with desire!"

The warrior kissed the blonde and without breaking the kiss she began to
unbutton the bard's blouse. She slipped her hands beneath the material and
began to fondle Gabrielle's small, firm breasts through her bra. She could
totally lose herself in the bard. With Gabrielle she could let her guard
down and be herself. She had never been able to do that with anyone else
before. She couldn't remember when she had first realized that she was in
love with Gabrielle. She knew that she couldn't live without her lover now.
As she kissed her lover, she thought back to the first time they had shared
their feelings with one another and the wild lovemaking that soon followed.
She moaned against the bard's neck.

"Yessssss....Xenaaaa........" the bard sighed in ecstacy.

The blonde's voice nearly drove Xena over the edge. The dark warrior began
to massage the bard's breasts harder. She could feel the hard nipples poking
at the material. She took hold of the bra and ripped it open. She began to
circle one nipple with her tongue, while pinching and rolling the other in
her fingers. Gabrielle was in heaven. Soon, Xena stopped her ministrations
on the girl's breasts and moved lower. Her head moved beneath the miniskirt
and began to lick at the young woman's folds. Gabrielle never wore underwear
anymore. The juices of her arousal flowed from the blonde. Xena lapped it up
as if it was the sweetest ambrosia. She attacked the bard's swollen clit,
causing the woman to gasp and grind her hips into the older woman's face.
The warrior inserted two fingers and began a rhythm that matched the rhythm
of her tongue. Suddenly, the bard convulsed with a strangled cry.

"XXXXEEEEEEEEEENNNNNAAAAAA!!!!!!"

Gabrielle quaked and spasmed for what seemed like forever. She fell back
limp, spent and smiling. Xena kissed her gently on the lips. She smiled at
her lover. The blonde flipped the warrior onto her back and ripped the jeans
from her body. She thrust her hands between Xena's legs and began to probe
and caress.

The warrior closed her eyes and enjoyed the sensations her lover was
creating. She felt the bard's strong fingers enter her and begin thrusting.
Suddenly, she felt Gabrielle's tongue flick across her hard nub.

"Mmmmm.....Gabrielle......my sweet." the dark woman moaned as she began to
grind her hips against the probing hand and tongue.

She could feel her climax approaching. Even after two millenia, their
lovemaking was far from boring. She ground her hips faster. Her lower lip
was trapped between her teeth, while her hands grasped at the blanket. Her
head writhed from side to side. Suddenly, she let out her war cry.

"AYYYYYYYYYIIIIIIIIYYYYYIIIIIII!!!!!!!!!"

She convulsed and quaked under the bard. Soon, she lay still, spent and
gasping for breath. She opened her eyes.

"Gods, I swear you get better everytime!"

"Thank you." Gabrielle said, smiling.

They removed what was left of their clothing and curled into one another's
arms.

The next morning dawned clear and bright. It looked to be another scorcher.
Gabrielle stirred, yawned and opened her eyes. Xena was gone. Nothing
unusual. She got out of bed and slipped on a robe. She left the bedroom,
tying the robe closed as she went. She entered the kitchen and poured herself
a glass of orange juice. As she replaced the carton in the refrigerator, she
glanced out of the bay window. Xena was in the backyard doing her sword
drills. Even after all these centuries, the warrior still refused to let her
skills get rusty. The bard stood there, mesmerized by her lover. She watched
the warrior's smooth, flowing movements. A fine sheen of sweat covered the
dark woman's skin.

Gabrielle sat down at the table and unfolded the morning paper. She leisurely
sipped the juice as she scanned the headlines. She looked up as her lover
entered. Xena opened the fridge and took out a bottle of mineral water.
Opening it, she sat opposite the bard.

"Morning. Sleep well?" she asked.

"Uh huh. You?" the bard replied.

"Great. I'm getting too old to keep up with you." Xena replied with her
lopsided grin.

Gabrielle chuckled. She finished her drink and stood.

"Would you do me a favor?" she asked.

"Anything, you know that."

"Would you call the airport and see when the first flight from Sunnydale
arrives while I shower and get dressed?"

"Sure."

"Thanks."

The blonde went into the master bathroom and closed the door. She turned on
the shower and removed the robe as the water heated up. When the water was
the right temperature, she stepped in and slid the shower door closed. After
she had finished, Gabrielle dried, dressed and went into the parlor to see
Xena just hanging up the phone.

"The plane is set to land at nine." Xena told her shorter companion.

The blonde looked at her watch.

"Still got an hour."

She walked over to the phone and dialed a number.

"Hello, Jane. This is Miss Hope. I won't be in today. Reschedule my
appointments. Thanks. Bye."

She hung up and turned to her lover. She gave the warrior a quick peck on the
lips. She walked to the front door, picking up her purse as she went.

"I have to run a few errands. I'll pick Buffy and Willow up on the way back.
I won't be long."

"Okay." Xena replied.

After Gabrielle left, the warrior sat on the sofa and flipped on the big
screen television. She came across a karate tournament on ESPN and settled
in to watch it.

The bard piloted the minivan into the airport parking lot. She sighed in
relief as she entered the cool terminal. She checked the flight board to
find out which gate Willow's plane would be disembarking at. She weaved her
way through the crowd. At last she arrived at the gate. She looked around.
There was no sign of her niece or her friend. She sat, picked up a magazine
and began to flip through it. Just as she was done with the magazine and
had replaced it in the rack, she saw Buffy and Willow emerge from the gate.
The blonde walked toward them.

"Aunt Gabrielle!" Willow exclaimed happily.

She dropped her bags and threw her arms around her aunt. Gabrielle smiled and
embraced the redhead. She stood back at arm's length and looked her niece up
and down.

"You look wonderful. I missed you." she said.

She turned to Buffy and extended her hand.

"How are you, Buffy?"

"Great." the slayer replied, shaking Gabrielle's hand.

The bard picked up one of Willow's suitcases and the three began to make
their way to the exit.

"How was school this year?" the bard asked.

"The usual. Take tests, grade papers, help with the slayage." Willow replied.

"Anything wrong, Buffy? You're awfully quiet." Gabrielle asked with a slight
note of concern in her voice.

"I'm fine. Just jet lag." the slayer answered.

The redhead leaned toward Gabrielle.

"She's still upset about the whole Angel/Angelus thing." she whispered.

The bard nodded her understanding, but remained silent. Soon they arrived at
the van. They stowed their luggage and got in. The drive to the mansion was
a quiet one. Buffy just stared out of her window, oblivious to the world
flashing past her. Gabrielle glanced at the blonde through the rearview
mirror. She didn't like Buffy's silence. She understood what the girl was
going through, but Buffy needed to move on. The bard glanced over at her
niece. Willow's face was clouded with concern. Gabrielle reached down and
gave Willow's hand a gentle squeeze. When the redhead looked up at her, the
bard gave her a reassuring smile.

Soon they pulled into the driveway of the mansion. Willow gaped in awe at the
huge house. This was her first visit to her aunt's home. As they got out of
the van, Xena came out to help with the luggage. She embraced Willow in a
tight hug.

"How's my favorite niece?" she asked, smiling broadly.

"I'm great." the redhead replied with a smile that was equally broad.

"Buffy, good to see you again. You look well."

"Huh? Oh, hi. Nice to see you again." Buffy said absently.

The warrior gave a her puzzled look. Gabrielle walked past her with two bags
in her hand. She leaned in as she passed her lover.

"I'll explain later." the bard whispered.

After all the bags were stowed in the guest rooms, they went into the family
room. They sat around, chatting and sipping sodas. Buffy was mostly quiet
during the whole conversation. Despite her numerous attempts to draw the
young woman into the conversation, Gabrielle had failed to hold the girl's
attention for more than a few minutes. Buffy usually just mumbled a few words
then lapsed back into silence.

'Why does that attitude seem familiar?' the bard thought to herself.

As the conversation was beginning to lapse, Xena looked at her watch.

"If you will excuse me, I have to get down to the dojo. I'll be back in a
couple of hours." she said, rising and walking toward the door.

"Don't work them too hard, Xena." the bard joked.

"You know me." the warrior replied.

She closed the door behind her. Buffy stood and yawned.

"I'm still a little groggy from the trip. I think I'll take a nap."

"Sleep well." Gabrielle said.

"Pleasant dreams, Buff."

"Thanks." the blonde said as she climbed the stairs.

The redhead walked out onto the patio and stood with her head down. She was
on the verge of tears. She wished that there was something she could do to
take away Buffy's pain, but she knew that her friend had to face it on her
own. But, to see her so torn apart, so distant was more than the young witch
could bear. She felt a hand on her shoulder and looked over to see her aunt
studying her.

"What's wrong, Willow?" she asked quietly.

"I'm worried about Buffy. She's taking it so hard. I wish there was something
I could do."

"All you need to do is be there for her. She has to deal with it in her own
way."

"I know. But, I care about her so much."

"Willow, it's more than that isn't it?" Gabrielle asked.

"What do you mean?"

Her aunt gave her the look that meant it was useless to play dumb. The girl
sighed and hung her head.

"Yeah. I...I......I love her. I'm in love with her." Willow admitted.

"Does she know?"

"No! I...I can't tell her. What if she thought I was a sick pervert? I can't
bear the thought of losing her friendship."

"Willow, I know what you're going through. Let me give you a little advice
from experience. Tell her how you feel. She's in a dangerous line of work.
One day her luck will run out and you'll lose the chance to tell her how
you really feel. Trust me. I've been there. I was lucky enough to get Xena
back. But, during those long days when I thought she was dead, I regretted
not telling her my feelings. It gnawed at me. You can't live in a world of
"what ifs". If she is your friend then it won't matter if you are in love
with her or not. What if she feels the same for you, but is afraid to tell
you? You both could be missing out on a wonderful relationship."

"You think she feels the same way?" Willow asked hopefully.

"Yes, I do. But the only way to know for sure is to let her know how you
feel."

Willow nodded.

"You're right. Thanks." she said, hugging her aunt.

"No problem."

Buffy lay on the bed crying. She still felt responsible for the return of
Angelus. She had only wanted to show Angel her love for him. In the heat of
the moment they had both forgotten about the curse. It was a mistake that
had cost Angel his soul. The slayer wondered if she could ever love anyone
else. If she would be capable of opening her heart to another ever again.
She quietly cried herself to sleep.

Xena returned home to find the house silent. As she passed the coffee table
in the family room, she saw a note laying there. She picked it up.

X,
Willow and I went shopping. Be back soon.

Love,
G

The warrior discarded the note and climbed the stairs to shower and change
clothes. As she passed the door to Buffy's room, she heard crying then a
shout.

"NO! NO, DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN!!"

Xena opened the door to see the slayer tossing furiously in her bed. The
woman rushed over and shook the sleeping girl. Buffy sat bolt upright,
panting for breath. She saw Xena standing next to the bed. Unable to contain
her sorrow any longer, the girl covered her face with her hands and let the
tears come as they would.

The warrior sat on the edge of the bed and took Buffy in her arms and tried
to comfort her.

"Shhh. It's okay." she cooed softly.

"No......No it's not!"

When she had caught her breath, the slayer told Xena everything that had
happened between Angel and her. The warrior looked at the girl with
compassion showing on her face.

"I'm so sorry, but it wasn't your fault."

"Yes it was! If only I'd remembered. If I hadn't tried to seduce him."

"Buffy, don't beat yourself up because you love him and wanted to show it."

"I don't think I'll be able to love anyone ever again." the slayer sobbed.

"Yes you will. The pain will go away. You'll love again. Trust me."

"How can I love? Everyone I've ever loved has been hurt. Merrick, my first
watcher died because of me. My first boyfriend, Pike was almost turned into
a vampire because of me. Everything I touch turns to shit!"

Xena sighed.

"There's nothing I can say that will take the pain away. But you will learn
to move on. Someday you'll find that special someone who will steal your
heart. You just have to have faith in yourself." she said.

"I know, but it's just so hard." Buffy said.

"I know it is."

The warrior stood.

"I'm going to grab a shower and a bite to eat. You hungry?"

The blonde shook her head.

"Okay. You may not feel happy right now, but please try to look happier in
front of Willow. She cares a great deal about you, you know. It's tearing her
up to see you like this and not being able to do anything to help."

"I'll try." the slayer promised.

Xena nodded and left the room. Buffy sat for a long time thinking over what
the warrior had said. She knew that Xena was right, but how was she ever
going to get past this? If only she could go back in time. Things would be
different. She sighed, got up and went downstairs. The sun was setting behind
some majestic hills. The slayer went out onto the patio and plunked down in a
chair.

A few minutes later, the slayer heard the front door open and close.

"Hey, sleepyhead." a voice said from behind her.

Buffy turned and looked behind her to see Willow standing in the door,
smiling at her.

"Hey." Buffy replied, putting on a smile that she hoped looked genuine.

The redhead walked over and sat next to her best friend.

"Sleep well?" she asked.

"Yeah."

They sat in silence, watching the sunset. Willow looked over at the woman she
loved. She reached down and took the slayer's hand. Buffy looked over at the
witch.

"Buffy, please talk to me. I hate to see you like this. I want to help you."
the redhead pleaded.

"I know, Will, but I have to deal with this on my own."

Willow nodded.

"If you need me or just wanna talk, I'm here." she said.

Buffy stood and walked to the door, before stopping and turning.

"Thanks. For everything."

She went into the house and climbed the stairs to her room. She had come to
a decision. She couldn't live with the guilt and pain any longer. She was a
danger to everyone she cared about. Merrick had died because of her. Pike
had almost become a vamp's midnight snack, and now Angel, someone who she
cared for more than life was dead by her own hand. She decided that everyone
would be better off if she weren't alive.

She entered her room and locked the door behind her. She went over and sat
on the bed and opened the nightstand and took out a bottle of pills. These
she placed on top of nightstand. Then, she took out a sheet of paper and a
pen. She began to write.

Willow,
I know that you will miss me, but this is for the best.
Everyone that is close to me is in constant danger, and
this last incident with Angel proves it. I can't go on
knowing that you or anyone else I care about could die
because of me. I just want you to know that I'm proud to
have had you as a friend. I have a last request to ask
of you and the gang. Keep Mom safe. If possible get her
out of Sunnydale. Give my love to everyone. I will miss
you all. Goodbye.

Your friend,
Buffy

She laid down the pen and picked up the bottle. She opened it and emptied
the contents into her mouth. It wasn't long before she began to feel very
sleepy. She collapsed on the floor. A tear rolled down her cheek.

'Goodbye, Will.' she thought as unconciousness overtook her.

Willow watched her friend go into the house. Her eyes began to well with
tears at the pain that Buffy had been subjected to in the last few weeks.
After she collected herself, she went into the mansion. As she entered the
family room Gabrielle came out of the dining room.

"Dinner's ready." she announced.

"Okay," Willow replied, "I'll get Buffy."

She went upstairs to Buffy's room and knocked.

"Buffy, dinner's ready."

There was no answer. She knocked again.

"Come on, Buffy. You need to eat something."

Still nothing. She knocked once again. Suddenly, she heard a thump. She knew
that thump anywhere. After being around evil and death for so long, the witch
had come to recognize the sound of a body hitting the floor.

"Buffy?"

She tried the door, only to find it locked. She hit the door with her open
hand.

"Buffy, are you alright?"

She didn't like this. Something wasn't right. She thought of how upset and
depressed Buffy had been in the last few weeks. A thought suddenly occured
to her. Her eyes widened. Buffy wouldn't. Would she? Willow ran to the top
of the landing.

"XENA! AUNT GABRIELLE! HELP!" she screamed.

Xena and Gabrielle, who were sitting in the dining room, heard Willow's cry.
They rushed out of the room and dashed up the stairs, taking them two at a
time. When they reached the landing they found a hysterical Willow.

"I came up to get Buffy, but she didn't answer....and I...heard.......
her.......I think......she's tried......to kill......." she broke down
completely.

Xena ran to the door and began to pound on it.

"Buffy, open the door."

She got no response.

"Buffy?" she said, pounding on the door again.

Silence.

"Stand back." the warrior said.

She took a step back and kicked the door. She heard it crack. She kicked it
again and it burst open. They rushed into the room to find Buffy unconscious
on the floor, still grasping the empty pill bottle.

"BUFFY!!!!!!!" Willow cried when she saw her friend.

Gabrielle rushed over to the phone and dialed 911 while Xena began CPR. The
redhead staggered back until she hit the wall. She slid down to a sitting
position as she sobbed and babbled incoherently. After hanging up the phone,
Gabrielle went to Willow. She helped her up and led her out of the room. A
few moments later, the paramedics arrived.

They loaded Buffy into the ambulance and raced toward the hospital.
Gabrielle, Xena and Willow followed them in the minivan. The warrior tried
to calm the hysterical witch. When they arrived at Sacramento Community
Hospital, they rushed to the admittance desk and inquired about Buffy.

"She's still in the emergency room. If you will please have a seat the doctor
will be with you as soon as possible." the nurse at the desk told them.

The three women went into the waiting room and sat down. The bard put her arm
around Willow's shoulders and gave her a reassuring squeeze.

"She'll be alright." she said in a soothing voice.

"I hope so." Willow said quietly.

After an hour, Willow began to pace. The redhead stopped and looked at the
clock that hung above the admittance desk. She resumed her pacing.

"What's taking so long?! Why won't they tell us something?!" she said in
frustration.

"Willow," Xena said," come sit down. They'll let us know when they can."

Willow returned to her seat and leaned forward, putting her hands over her
face.

"I just feel so helpless. I should have known that she would try this. I
should've seen it coming."

"No more of that talk! You couldn't have known she would do this. It's not
your fault." Gabrielle admonished.

Just then, a doctor approached them. When they saw him, they stood.

"How is she?" the witch asked frantically.

"She'll live, but she's in a coma. The first aid saved her life and possibly
prevented brain damage, but we won't know that for sure until she regains
consciousness." he said.

"Can we see her?" Gabrielle asked.

"Certainly. Follow me." the doctor said.

He led them down the hall and into a private room. There in the bed lay
Buffy. She had various tubes and wires coming out of her arms. The room was
silent except for the the quiet beeping of the heart monitor and the hissing
of the respirator. The three women stood beside the bed and gazed down at the
blonde girl. She looked so peaceful. If it weren't for the IVs and machines
hooked up to her, she would appear to be sleeping. Tears began to flow from
Willow's eyes as she took Buffy's hand in her own. Gabrielle placed a hand
on the wiccan's shoulder and gave it a squeeze.

"We're going to get something to eat. You coming?" the bard asked.

"No, I'll just stay here for awhile." the redhead replied without taking her
eyes off of her friend.

"Okay." Gabrielle replied.

The warrior and the bard left the room. Willow stood staring at the slayer
desperately hoping that she would wake up. She let go of her friend's hand
only long enough to retrieve a chair from the other side of the room. She
was so tired. The fear and worry had taken alot out of her.

A few hours later, when they returned to the room, Xena and Gabrielle saw
Willow with her head on Buffy's lap. She was still holding the slayer's hand,
but was sound asleep. The two women stood, gazing at the scene. Gabrielle
spoke.

"I'm worried about Willow, Xena. She's such a sensitive girl. Earlier today,
she admitted that she is in love with Buffy. I don't know how this is going
to affect her. She's taking it so hard."

The warrior gave her lover a gentle squeeze.

"She'll be okay. She's just like her aunt, tough. She'll get through this and
be stronger for it." Xena reassured her soulmate.

"I hope you're right." the bard replied solemnly.

Gabrielle walked over and lightly touched Willow on the shoulder. The wiccan
stirred and slowly opened her eyes. She looked confused for a moment before
she realized where she was. She looked at the slayer, but Buffy hadn't moved.

"Come on, Willow, it's time to go." the bard said gently.

"No! I won't leave her."

"We have to go. The hospital will call us the minute that there's any
change."

"But what about Buffy? What if she wakes up and I'm not here for her." Willow
argued.

"She'll understand. You need to rest. You won't do her any good if you're in
here for exhaustion."

The witch sat silently gazing at her friend for a few moments before nodding
and reluctantly standing. The ride home was a quiet one. Willow stared
vacantly out of the window. When they arrived home, Gabrielle led her niece
up the stairs and into a guest room.

"Willow, I want you to try and get some sleep."

The redhead sat down on the bed and sighed.

"I feel so helpless. If only I could turn back the clock. None of this would
have happened." she said, hanging her head.

"Willow, stop beating yourself up. You couldn't have known any of this would
happen. It was Buffy's decision. You may be a witch, but you're not a mind
reader. I'm not saying that what Buffy did was right, but I do know what
she's going through. When I lost Xena, I considered committing suicide so
that I could be with her again. But, then I asked myself if that was what
Xena would want, and deep in my heart I knew the answer was no. Xena would
want me to get on with my life. It's the same with Buffy. She wouldn't want
you feeling sorry for yourself. She wouldn't want you blaming yourself for
something you had no control over."

The bard sat on the bed next to the wiccan and stroked the red hair of her
niece.

"Please get some sleep. If not for me, then for Buffy."

"I don't think I can sleep, but I'll try." Willow responded.

Gabrielle stood and tucked Willow in. She walked to the door and turned to
say goodnight. She stopped as she saw her niece sound asleep. A sad
expression crossed her face as she turned out the light and closed the door
as she left. The bard went downstairs and entered the den. Xena had just
finished pouring two glasses of brandy. She handed one to her lover.

"Thanks." the bard said.

Gabrielle wasn't much of a drinker, but tonight she needed something a little
stronger that tea. She took a sip and sat down in a recliner.

"I don't know what to do, Xena. I can't believe that Buffy would do something
like this. Willow is absolutely worried to death about her, and I know that
there's nothing I can do or say that will ease her mind."

Xena sat in another chair.

"All we can do is be there and be strong for her."

The bard nodded and drained her glass. She reached for the decanter and
poured herself another shot. Soon, the bard was quite drunk. She staggered as
Xena helped her up the stairs and into their room. She passed out on the bed
as the warrior undressed her and covered her. Xena removed her own clothing
and slid into the bed next to her lover. Sleep was long in coming,
but eventually the warrior slipped into slumber.

The next morning, Xena awoke to the singing of the birds. She looked to her
left. Gabrielle was still asleep. The warrior slipped out of the bed and
threw on a robe as she left the bedroom. She stopped at Willow's room to
check on the girl. The redhead was sleeping deeply. Xena closed the door and
descended the stairs and headed for the kitchen. She had just sat down to
eat breakfast when the bard staggered in.

"Ugghhhh....my head! Did you get the number of the bus that ran over me?"
Gabrielle moaned.

Xena smirked at her companion.

"Good morning, love. How are we feeling this fine morning?" the warrior
teased.

"Like I've been trampled by a stampede of centaurs." the bard said, heading
over to the coffee maker.

She poured a cup of coffee and sat next to her soulmate. She sipped the hot
liquid. She sighed as the caffine began to hit her system.

Upstairs, Willow tossed and turned before finally waking. She sat up and
shivered as her dreams of that night replayed before her eyes. She had been
standing in a dark room alone with Buffy. Suddenly, the slayer had taken
out a bottle of pills and swallowed them. Willow tried to stop her, but was
unable to move. It was as if she were glued to the floor, all she could do
was watch helplessly as her friend fell to the floor. Then, the scene had
shifted to Buffy's funeral. The redhead stood beside the open casket, saying
her last farewell to the person that had been such a big part of her life.
Suddenly, Buffy's eyes opened and stared at Willow.

"It's your fault," the dream Buffy accused, "you should have been there for
me. You should have stopped me. I trusted you!"

Then, the witch had awakened. Sobs wracked her small frame as she remembered
the horrible nightmare. The girl got up and dressed. As she was heading
downstairs, she passed Buffy's room. She entered and just stood in the
doorway. As she turned to leave, she noticed the letter on the table beside
the bed. She went over and picked it up. Tears began to flow anew as she read
the slayer's suicide note. How could she? How could Buffy think that everyone
would be better off without her? Willow was worried about Buffy, but at the
same time she was angry with her. She was also angry with herself. She knew
Buffy better than anyone. She should have known that the slayer would feel
responsible for everything that had happened. She placed the note into the
pocket of her robe.



Chapter Two

Willow composed herself and went downstairs and into the kitchen. Xena and
her aunt were already there, sitting at the table. They looked up as she
entered. Without a word she went over to the coffee pot and poured herself
a cup, then she sat at the table between the two women.

"Did you sleep?" Gabrielle asked.

Willow nodded.

"I know why she did it." the redhead murmured.

"What do you mean?" Xena asked.

"She left a suicide note on the table in her room. I just found it."

Qillow removed the letter and handed it to Xena who read it silently. The
warrior shook her head as she passed the letter over to her soulmate.

"Poor girl." the warrior said quietly.

Gabrielle read the note and sighed as she put it down.

"I know the burden she feels. In the old days, my enemies would do anything
to get to me....even if it meant getting to me through Gabrielle or my
mother." Xena told Willow.

"But what can I do," asked the witch," to make her see that we made this
choice? That everyone of us made the decision to fight with her. That we
care for her and would die for her. How can I make her see that we all
knew and accepted the risks that we would be taking?"

"I wish I could answer that." Gabrielle said.

"The responsibility that Buffy has is huge. She has had to grow up very fast.
She's seen things that noone should ever have to see. This is her destiny.
She can't escape it, but you and your friends could. I think that in some
deep corner of her mind she feels that you and the gang are helping her out
of obligation. She might in a way regret becoming friends with you, because
you feel obligated to help her and that puts you in danger every night." Xena
speculated.

Willow was silent for a moment.

"I never thought of it that way." the redhead said.

The witch sipped her coffee as the three sat in silence, each lost in their
own thoughts. When she had drained her cup, Willow went upstairs to shower
and dress. As she stood in the shower, Willow silently prayed to the Goddess
for the strength to make it through this trying time.

When she came downstairs, they got in the minivan and drove to the hospital
to visit Buffy. As they entered the room, they could see that there had been
no change. Willow returned to her chair by the bed, taking the slayer's hand.
Her aunt and Xena decided to give the girl some time alone. They quietly
slipped out of the room. The redhead gazed at her friend's unconscious form.

"Please wake up, Buffy. I miss you." the girl whispered.

All was dark. Buffy found herself unable to see or move. She heard Willow's
voice, but it sounded distant and slightly muffled. She tried to call out to
her friend, but found that she could not talk. She wondered if she were dead.

Willow squeezed Buffy's hand.

"I miss you, Buffy. I love you, more than the world. I've finally found
someone that I can be myself around. One who doesn't judge me on my looks or
my shyness. One that I can trust implicitly. That person is you. I want to
share my life with you and be with you forever, but you need to wake up. I
need you......" the witch confessed.

Buffy listened to the voice. Willow was in love with her? As she processed
this information, she realized that she had grown to care a great deal for
Willow, more than a friend should. She admitted to herself that she was head
over heels in love with her firey haired friend. Why hadn't she seen it
before? She realized how much she had put Willow through. She kicked herself
for what she had done.

'I thought that by killing myself I would save her from my eventual fate, but
I've inflicted pain on her without realizing it. I love you Willow and I will
be with you.....I promise.' the slayer thought to herself.

Three hours later, Willow, Xena, and Gabrielle returned home. Gabrielle
prepared dinner, but Willow just pushed her food around her plate.

"Willow, honey you have to eat something." the bard pleaded.

"I know. I'm just not very hungry." Willow answered.

"May I be excused?" the redhead asked.

Gabrielle nodded and Willow left the dining room. The bard turned to Xena.

"I'm worried about her, Xena. She hasn't eaten in two days and the only time
she sleeps is when she passes out from sheer exhaustion. If this goes on much
longer, she'll be joining Buffy in the hospital."

"I know, but there's not much we can do." Xena replied.

Willow sat on the patio and pondered over her dream of the night before. She
had decided not to tell Xena or her aunt about the dream. She knew that they
were worried about her as it was without adding more burden to them. She
sighed. What was she going to do? Without Buffy life was meaningless.

Tears began to flow from her eyes as she thought of all the good times that
she and Buffy had together, all of the sleepovers where they had spent the
night watching tear-jerking romance movies and talking about boys. She
resolved that when the slayer was out of the hospital, she was going to tell
her that she was in love with her.

A week passed with everyday being exactly the same. They would visit Buffy
in the hospital, then Willow would spend the rest of the day in her room,
blaming herself for not stopping Buffy. Gabrielle took Willow to the mall,
the movies, anything to try and take her mind off of Buffy, but nothing
worked. Willow would forget for a few moments, but she always sunk back
into her depression.

Gabrielle began to notice that Willow had lost weight and had bags under her
hazel eyes from lack of sleep. This worried the bard even more. Her niece was
wasting away before her eyes and she didn't know what to do about it. She had
taken to checking on Willow throughout the night. When the girl finally did
sleep, Gabrielle watched her toss and turn as if she were being haunted by
some terrible nightmare or memory.

Xena was distressed to see Willow suffering and she knew that it was
affecting Gabrielle at a very deep level. She did her best to comfort and
support her lover, but she knew that the bard would not be happy until Willow
had returned to her normal self. Even though Xena knew that Buffy had thought
she was helping Willow by trying to kill herself, the warrior couldn't help
cursing the girl for her selfishness. When the girl was well again, she and
Xena were going to have a nice long talk.

Gabrielle sat in the den, reading a book. She looked up as Willow walked in.
The redhead sat down by the fireplace and gazed at her aunt for a moment
before she spoke.

"Aunt Gabrielle, can I talk to you?"

"Of course," the bard replied, putting down her book, "what is it?"

"I can't get Buffy off my mind. I keep wishing it were me laying in that
hospital bed and not her. She doesn't deserve all the pain that she's had to
endure. It's partly my fault. If I'd never performed the spell that gave
Angel his soul back, then Buffy wouldn't feel so guilty about killing him.
He would've just been another vamp. I think that Buffy is angry with me for
giving her Angel back only to have him die at her hands......"

Gabrielle stood and went over and sat beside her niece and put a hand on her
shoulder.

"None of this is your fault. You were only trying to help. Buffy knows that.
I don't think that she blames you at all for what's happened. She knew that
he was a vampire and she knew the risks." the woman consoled.

The witch thought about that for a moment.

"I guess you're right. I just wish Buffy were here. I miss her."

"I know you do, Willow."

Just then Xena rushed into the room.

"The hospital just called. Buffy's awake." she said.

They rushed to the hospital and into the slayer's room. They found Buffy
sitting up in bed listening to the doctor.

"Buffy!" Willow shouted, rushing over and hugging her best friend.

"Hey, Will." Buffy said weakly.

"It's good to have you back." Xena said, smiling.

"It's good to be back."

"How are you feeling?" Gabrielle asked.

"A little groggy and starving." the slayer replied.

"Xena and I will go see if we can get you some food." the bard said.

The two women left Buffy and Willow alone as they went into the hallway.
Willow and Buffy sat in silence. It was the redhead who broke the silence.

"Why did you do it?" she asked quietly.

"Honestly, I don't know. At the time all I was thinking about were the people
I care about........all the danger I put you guys in every night. I thought
that by killing myself, everyone would be out of danger." the slayer replied.

"Buffy, we knew the risks we were taking when we decided to help you. We
accepted those risks, and while there have been alot of scares and more close
calls that I'd care to count, I wouldn't trade any of it for anything."

"Willow, can I ask you something?" Buffy asked.

"Shoot." Willow said.

"Did you mean it.....when you said that you love me.....that you needed me?"

Willow was silent.

"You heard me?" she asked.

"Yeah, but I couldn't say anything. Did you mean it?" the slayer replied.

The witch looked her friend in the eye.

"Yes. With all my heart I meant every word. You probably don't want to have
anything to do with me now. You think that I'm pervert don't you...........?"

"Shhhhhh."

Buffy took her friend's hand.

"When I was laying here, all I could do was think. I started to remember all
the good times we've had together, and I realized that I've grown very close
to you, closer than a friend should. I guess what I'm trying to say is that
I love you too, Willow Rosenberg. I want to spend my life with you. You're
the reason I'm awake now. When I heard you say that you loved me, I realized
all the pain that I put you through. I was determined not to leave you alone,
so I fought and fought to come back to you, because I love you so much.
There's always been something missing in my life. I never knew what it was
until now. It was someone whom I could love unconditionally, someone who I
didn't have to lie to, someone who knows what I am and still loves me just
the same. That someone is you Willow. You are what's been missing in my
life."

"Buffy......." Willow whispered as tears began to flow down her cheeks.

They embraced not only as friends, but as lovers.

"When I get out of here and get back to my old self, I'm gonna show you how
much I love you." Buffy said.



Chapter Three

Four days later, Buffy was released from the hospital. They all noticed the
change in the blonde slayer. She was happy again, smiling more. That was
good. Willow hadn't seen Buffy smile in so long that she had begun to wonder
if her friend had forgotten how. The two young women were inseparable.

"I'm so glad to see them happy again." Gabrielle said one afternoon as she
watched the girls talking on the patio.

"Me too." Xena agreed.

Buffy and Willow sat on the patio talking about their feelings for one
another.

"Can I ask you something?" Buffy asked.

"Anything." Willow replied.

"How long have you been in love with me?"

"Since the day you came up and asked me to help you with your homework."
Willow responded honestly.

"Why didn't you ever say anything?"

"Because I was afraid that you would think that I was some sick pervert and
wouldn't want to be friends with me anymore. I couldn't bear that. You saw a
nerdy wallflower and decided to befriend her. Noone had ever done that for me
before. I didn't want to lose that friendship. You've brought so much to my
life."

"Let's make a promise right now," Buffy said, "no more secrets. We tell each
other exactly what we're feeling from now on. Deal?"

"Deal."

Without another word, Buffy leaned in and kissed the redhead on the lips. She
poured all of her heart, soul and devotion into the kiss. Willow moaned and
pushed her tongue into the slayer's mouth. They explored every inch of each
other's mouths before the need for oxygen forced them to part.

"Wow." was all Willow could say.

"Yeah." Buffy agreed.

"What will we tell the others?" Willow asked.

"We'll worry about that when we get back to Sunnydale. Right now, all I want
to do is taste those sweet lips of yours."

Their mouths crushed together once more as they melted into each other. The
slayer ran her hands through her lover's firey hair. It was so soft.
Everything about Willow was soft.

"I hate to break up a good thing, but dinner is ready." a voice said.

They broke the kiss and looked over to see Gabrielle standing there, smiling.
The lovers stood, and holding hands, they went into the house.

The four women chatted happily as they ate. Gabrielle was glad to see Willow
happy again. She knew that her niece and the slayer were soulmates. Xena
smiled as she observed the way the young women looked at each other. She
remembered the way she and Gabrielle had acted when they first discovered
their feelings for one another. Willow was just what Buffy needed. After
dinner, Buffy and Willow listened as Xena and Gabrielle told them tales of
their adventures in Greece. Willow visibly tensed as she listened to how her
aunt had almost died at the hands of a poisoned arrow when they were fighting
the Persians. The slayer took her lover's hand and gave it a small squeeze
to ease the witch's stress. Gabrielle glanced at her watch.

"Well, I think we've bored you enough for one night. I'm going to turn in.
Goodnight."

"Goodnight." Willow replied, kissing her aunt.

"I think I'll join you." Xena said with a grin.

She rose and followed the blonde up the stairs. The new lovers sat on the
sofa gazing at each other.

"I must be dreaming." Willow whispered.

"What do you mean?" Buffy asked.

"I've wanted this for so long, and now it's happened. It's too good to be
true."

"You're not dreaming, Will."

The redhead kissed her friend gently, lovingly. She cupped Buffy's cheek
and massaged the flesh with her thumb. The slayer moaned as she felt her
temperature begin to rise. Willow's lips tasted like the sweetest honey.
The slayer couldn't get enough of Willow. Buffy sighed as her lover began
to suck on her earlobe. Buffy was in heaven. She could finally give herself
to someone completely. There was no curse that would strip away Willow's
soul when they made love. She didn't have to keep her slaying a secret like
she had to do with her previous boyfriends. The slayer was surprised when
Willow pushed her back onto the sofa. Willow was usually so passive, that
this sudden act of aggression took the slayer off guard. Not that Buffy was
complaining.

The redhead's hands roamed the firm athletic body of the slayer, cupping a
breast, teasing a nipple through the girl's shirt. Meanwhile, the witch's
mouth attacked Buffy's neck and worked it's way down to the hollow of the
blonde's throat. Buffy arched as the sensations flooded her body. Willow
knew how to push the slayer's buttons that was for sure. Suddenly Willow
stopped and sat back.

"What's wrong?" Buffy asked, noticing the uneasy expression on Willow's face.

"I've...........I've never been with anyone before........." the girl
mumbled.

"Will, we don't have to do this if you're not ready."

"I'm ready...it's just that I've never been with a man before, much less a
woman. I'm not sure what to do."

"I've never been with a girl before either, so don't be ashamed. As for what
to do, just let your instincts take over. Maybe we should wait. You can talk
to Gabrielle. She's got experience with pleasing a woman."

"You think we should wait?" asked the witch.

"It's up to you. I can wait if you're not sure." Buffy replied.

Willow nodded.

"It might be better if we wait. I don't want our first time together to be a
disappointment because I don't know what to do."

"Willow, you could never disappoint me."

They embraced and the slayer stood.

"Come on, let's get some shut eye. I think that it might be awhile before we
get another decent night's sleep." Buffy said with a twinkle in her eye.

Willow chuckled and followed her soulmate up the stairs and into their room.
The next morning, Gabrielle returned to work at her publishing house. Xena
sat lounging on the sofa, channel surfing. Buffy was in the back yard, going
through her training routine. Willow sat off to the side, mesmerized as she
watched the fluid movements of her new lover. Buffy glanced over to where her
friend sat and stood looking at the petite redhead.

"Like what you see?" the slayer asked with a grin.

"Oh, yeah. Come here, you big hunk of slayer you." the witch replied.

Buffy walked over to where Willow sat. The redhead grabbed the slayer by
the back of the head and pulled her down into a passionate kiss. When they
parted, they gazed into each other's eyes.

"I love you, Will." Buffy said.

"I love you too, Buff. Now kiss me!"

Their lips crushed together once more. Willow moaned into Buffy's mouth as
she felt the heat and dampness beginning to form between her legs. Buffy ran
her fingers through her friend's firey hair. She luxuriated in the silky
smoothness of Willow's skin, and the taste of her lips.

They walked into the house hand in hand. After sharing another kiss, Buffy
went upstairs to shower, while Willow rummaged through the fridge for
breakfast. Xena entered the kitchen. She stood talking to Willow as the girl
prepared breakfast for Buffy and herself.

"You two make a great couple." Xena commented.

"Yeah. I've been in love before, but nothing like this. Buffy is the one I
want to spend my life with." Willow replied.

"Good for you. Hang on to her. That kind of love doesn't come around often."
the warrior said.

"Thanks." the redhead replied.

"I need to get to the dojo. I'll see you later."

"Okay. Bye." Willow said as Xena walked out of the kitchen.

A few moments later, Buffy came downstairs. She came into the kitchen and
sniffed the air.

"Mmmm...something smells good." she said.

"Breakfast is served, milady." Willow said placing two plates on the table
and serving the omelets and bacon.

"I didn't know you cooked, Will." Buffy said, sitting down.

"I have many skills." the witch replied doing her best Xena impression.

The slayer giggled.

"You need to work on that impression."

"Gee, thanks!" Willow said in mock indignation.

She sat and the two women ate in silence. When they had finished eating and
had cleared the table, Willow turned to Buffy.

"What do you want to do today?" she asked.

"How about we go sightseeing?" Buffy suggested.

"Sounds good to me. Just let me get my sunglasses." the redhead replied.



Chapter Four

The two girls arrived home three hours later to find Gabrielle sitting in her
study, sipping lemonade and reading. Buffy went upstairs while Willow went in
to talk to her aunt.

"Willow! You have a good time?" the bard asked upon seeing her niece.

"Yeah. It was great. Can I talk to you for a minute?"

"Sure. What's up?" Gabrielle asked.

Willow shut the door and sat in front of the desk. The witch took a deep
breath before speaking.

"Well, umm.....well you know that Buffy and I told each other how we feel....
and well.....ummm....I...." the redhead babbled.

"Willow, what is it?"

"Well, I wanna.....show Buffy how much I love her....but I've...never been
with anyone before........how do I.....how do I please.....a.....woman?"
Willow continued, blushing with embarrasment.

Gabrielle noticed Willow's blush and grinned.

"Willow, don't be ashamed about being a virgin. As to how to please a
woman......all I can tell you is to experiment. Follow your instincts. The
most important thing is to pay attention to your partner. They'll tell you
what they like or don't like. Trust me, once you start it will come
naturally."

"Thanks." the witch said, hugging her aunt.

"No problem. Don't wear her out too much." Gabrielle said with a grin.

Willow smirked and went through the door. She began making plans. It was her
first time with anyone, and it was the first time for both of them as a
couple. She wanted to make it special. She decided that she would give Buffy
a nice romantic candlelight dinner. She wanted it to be a surprise, so she
needed to figure a way to get Buffy out of the house long enough for her to
get everything ready. She went off to find Xena to see if the warrior had any
ideas on how to get the slayer out of the house for a few hours. After some
discussion they agreed on an idea. That night Xena and the slayer would go
out on patrol. They also talked to Gabrielle. She and the warrior decided to
go to a movie so that the two new lovers would have the house to themselves.
After this was decided, the bard and the witch went grocery shopping.

After her shower, the slayer came downstairs and entered the living room.
Xena was sitting in an easy chair, channel surfing.

"Where's Willow?" Buffy asked.

"She went shopping with Gabrielle." the warrior replied.

Xena put down the remote and looked at Buffy.

"Buffy, I've been thinking. What say we go patrolling tonight? It's been
awhile since I've gotten to bust a few heads, and besides, what would Giles
say if we let you get rusty over the summer?"

"I don't have any stakes or weapons." the slayer said.

"Don't worry. We do. After what happened in Sunnydale, Gabrielle and I
thought it best to be prepared in case anymore bloodsuckers decided to take
a shot at her."

"Okay, sounds like a plan." Buffy agreed.

With that taken care of, the two settled in to watch television. When Willow
and Gabrielle returned home, Xena got up to help with the groceries. She shot
Willow a thumbs up to let her know that everything was going according to
plan. The redhead smiled.

Later that evening, when the sun had set, Buffy and Xena set out on patrol.
As soon as the door had closed, Willow swung into action. She began preparing
the meal, while Gabrielle set the table. The witch smiled to herself as she
chopped the vegtables. Was Buffy ever going to be surprised!

When the food was ready, Willow dished it out and set the plates on the
dining room table. She put some soft music on the stereo. Gabrielle went
outside a few moments before Xena and the slayer returned. Soon, Buffy and
the warrior came up the walk.

"Ready for that movie, Xena?" the bard asked as the two women came up to her.

"Sure am." Xena replied, taking Gabrielle's hand.

The bard turned to Buffy as they walked toward the car.

"We'll probably be out late. Don't wait up for us."

"Okay. Have a good time." Buffy answered.

The blonde entered the house. She looked around.

"Willow?" she called.

"In here!" Willow called from the dining room.

Buffy followed the sound of the voice and suddenly stopped just inside the
dining room. There was Willow, wearing a dark red evening dress. To her
right, the table was set with a white tablecloth, two candles burned brightly
on top of it. A vase of flowers stood between the candles.

"Will, what's all of this?"

The redhead smiled.

"It's for you." she said.

"Will.....I don't know what to say. You didn't have to go through all of this
for me." Buffy said quietly.

"No, I didn't. I wanted to."

"But, why?" the slayer asked.

"Because," Willow replied, "I want you to know how much I cherish you. I
wanted tonight to be special."

"So, the patrol was just your evil, diabolical plan to get me out of the
house, huh?" Buffy said with a grin.

"Actually, that was Xena's idea." Willow responded.

"Let's eat before the food gets cold." she said.

Willow pulled Buffy's chair out for her. The slayer sat down and Willow went
around the table and took her own seat.

"It looks delicious." the slayer commented.

"Thank you, and if you're real good, I've even got a special dessert for
you." the witch replied.

They gazed at each other as they ate. Willow put down her fork and reaching
across the table, took Buffy's hand.

"Buffy, you've brought so much into my life. I never thought that I would
ever be loved. I mean what would anybody see in a shy little wallflower like
me? I'm nothing compared to Cordelia. But, you looked beyond that and saw the
real me. You showed me what it was to be loved by someone as much as you love
them. I wanna thank you for that. I can't imagine my life without you in it."

She stood up and walked around the table until she was standing next to
Buffy. She knelt down until she was looking Buffy in the eyes.

"I'll love you forever. Nothing will ever change that. I want to spend my
life with you, but I need to know something first." she said.

"What's that?" Buffy asked.

"Buffy Summers, will you marry me?" Willow asked.

Buffy sat stunned and speechless. Willow had just asked her to marry her. She
was estatic. She loved the petite redhead with all her heart and she wanted
nothing more than to spend her life with the sweet, compassionate Willow. The
slayer nodded.

"Yes," she whispered, "yes, I'll marry you, Willow Rosenberg."

Willow pulled Buffy to her feet and embraced her, placing a kiss on her lips.
Tears of joy flowed from her hazel eyes.

"You've just made me the happiest woman in the world." she said.

"Now for your dessert." Willow said, kissing Buffy again.

"What do I get for dessert?" Buffy asked, intrigued.

"Me."

They kissed passionately, hands roaming up and down each other's body. Buffy
broke the kiss.

"Are you sure..." she asked.

"I've never been so sure about anything." Willow replied.

The slayer bent down and lifted Willow off of her feet. Buffy carried her
fiance up the stairs and into her room. They fell onto the bed, kissing and
caressing. The blonde nibbled on Willow's neck.

"Ooohhh...Buffy.....take me....make me yours." Willow gasped.

Buffy began to slowly undress Willow, kissing the soft skin as it was
revealed. The witch was in heaven. She could feel the slayer's strong hands
gently caressing her, stoking her passion. Soon, Willow was completely nude.
Buffy kissed her way down the compact body, stopping to tease the rosy
nipples with her tongue before enveloping them and suckling gently. The
redhead arched into the mouth that was bringing her such sensations.

The slayer moaned as she tasted Willow. She switched to the other breast,
sucking and gently raking her teeth on the hard pebble. Willow moaned and
wound her hands in the golden tresses of her lover. Buffy continued kissing
a trail down Willow's body until she reached the triangle of red hair at
the junction of her thighs. She skipped over Willow's center and kissed her
way up the inside of one thigh, then the other before returning to the
treasure that awaited her.

The aroma of Willow's arousal made the slayer giddy. She flicked her tongue
across the labia, causing Willow to gasp and arch up for more contact. She
explored every crease and fold with her tongue, before dipping into the
dripping cavern. Her tongue massaged Willow's insides as her arm came across
the witch's hips to hold her in place. Buffy was driving her insane. Willow
gasped and moaned as Buffy found her clit. The slayer slowly circled her
tongue around the swollen bundle of nerves.

"Buff.....Buffy....please.....I need you.....inside me....." Willow begged.

Buffy moved up and kissed Willow's mouth as she inserted one finger into the
tight wetness. The redhead moaned into the mouth of her lover as she felt the
digit enter her. Soon, Buffy added two more fingers, causing the witch to
grind against the hand that was giving her such pleasure.

"Do it Buffy, make me a woman." Willow gasped.

"It'll hurt a little." Buffy warned.

"I don't care. Do it. My innocence is yours along with my soul."

Buffy kissed her lover as she drove in deep, tearing through the thin barrier
of Willow's virginity. The witch groaned into Buffy's mouth. The slayer
slowed her motions, allowing the pain to subside. Willow's grinding hips
signaled the slayer that the girl was ready to continue. Buffy began a slow,
deep rhythm. Willow could feel her climax approaching. Suddenly, fireworks
exploded and her body convulsed. Buffy felt Willow clench around her fingers
and began to massage the girl's clit, trying to draw out the orgasm as long
as possible. Soon, Willow went limp, gasping for breath.

"Wooooowwww....." she sighed in satisfaction.

Willow kissed Buffy passionately.

"Your turn." she said.

She quickly divested Buffy of her clothing and began to massage and roam up
and down the athletic body. She sucked on an earlobe as her hands began to
play with firm, ripe breasts. Instantly Buffy knew this was where she wanted
to spend her life, wrapped in the safe arms of her lover. The redhead moved
to the slayer's neck as Buffy moaned in pleasure. Willow latched onto a
breast and sucked hard, causing Buffy to pull her closer. As she sucked, one
of her hands slipped between the slayer's legs and began to caress the
wetness. The slayer ground her hips against the small hand.

A few moments later, Willow's tongue replaced her hand. She lapped up Buffy's
juices eagerly. The slayer tasted wonderful. The blonde nearly shot out of
the bed when Willow closed her mouth around the slayer's clit. She flicked
her tongue across the nub until Buffy cried out, squirting her girlcum into
Willow's waiting mouth. When the orgasm subsided, Willow moved up and kissed
her fiance.

"I love you, Will." Buffy whipsered.

"I love you too, Buff."

Holding each other, they drifted into sleep.



Chapter Five

Buffy woke to the sensation of a warm body next to her. She looked over and
saw Willow sleeping peacefully beside her. The memories of last night came
flooding back to the slayer. She smiled as she lay there, watching her
soulmate sleep. The sunlight filtered through the window, lighting up
Willow's hair and making it seem as though it were on fire. Buffy decided
then and there that she had never seen anything as beautiful as the redhead
and never would again.

Willow moaned, stirred, and slowly opened her eyes. The first thing she saw
was Buffy's smiling face. She smiled.

"Good morning." Buffy said.

"Morning." Willow replied, stretching and yawning.

"You sleep well?" the slayer asked.

"Uh huh. You?"

"Like a rock."

"What time is it?" the witch asked.

The slayer looked at the clock by the bed.

"Noon. I suppose we should get up and join the waking world." Buffy replied.

"I don't want to. I wanna stay right here with you." Willow complained.

"I know. I do too, but we have to get up. If for nothing else then to tell
Gabrielle and Xena the good news."

"Ohhhkay." Willow pouted, getting out of bed and wiping the sleep from her
eyes.

Buffy went back to her room to shower and dress. Fifteen minutes later, the
lovers met in the hall. They descended the stairs and entered the kitchen to
get something to eat. Xena came in from outside to get a drink. She smiled
as she saw Buffy and Willow.

"So the lovebirds decided to rejoin the living, I see." she teased.

She looked at Willow.

"So how'd it go last night?" she asked.

"Perfect." the redhead replied.

"Good. If you need me I'll be in the backyard." Xena said after getting a
soda out of the fridge.

The warrior went back outside as the two girls sat down to enjoy a late
breakfast. They gazed at each other as they ate and occasionally they fed
each other. At that moment they were the only two people in the entire
universe. As they cleaned up the breakfast dishes Buffy embraced Willow
from behind and rested her chin on the witch's shoulder.

"I want to thank you for last night. You don't know how much it meant to me."

"You're welcome," Willow responded, "and it meant alot to me too."

The redhead giggled.

"What?" Buffy asked perplexed.

"Just thinking about the gang. I was worried about how we were going to tell
them that we're lovers. Now we have to tell them that we're getting married.
They'll never see this one coming."

Buffy laughed.

"I know what you mean. Can you imagine the look on Giles' face when he hears
the news?"

Willow fell to the floor laughing.

"Actually, I can imagine the look on his face, and it's sooooo funny!"

Willow picked herself up, wiping tears from her eyes. They finished up with
the dishes and went out onto the patio. It was a warm, sunny day. The weather
matched their mood perfectly. Buffy stood thinking to herself. She still
couldn't believe it. A few weeks ago, she had been so distraught over Angel
that she had tried to end her life. Now, here she was starting a new life
with her best friend. For once Angel was in the back of her mind and she was
finally at peace.

"Penny for your thoughts." Willow said.

Buffy shook herself out of her thoughts and looked at Willow.

"Huh?"

"What were you thinking about? You were a million miles away." the redhead
asked.

"Oh. I was just thinking about how everything's changed so much in the last
few weeks. I mean I was ready to die because I couldn't handle the guilt. I
thought that I'd never be able to give my heart to anyone again. Then you
snuck in and stole it. Now here I am a few weeks later engaged to the most
beautiful person in the world. I feel more at peace than I have for a long
time. Kinda ironic, huh?" Buffy said.

"Ironic? No. Love is a powerful force, Buffy. We always find it when we need
it most. In a way I think fate meant us to be together. I used to have an
empty place inside. I went out with Xander and then Oz, but neither could
fill that empty space, but you have. I feel complete when I'm with you."
Willow replied.

Buffy blinked as her eyes began to tear up.

"I don't deserve you, Willow. You're too good for me, but I'm glad I've got
you. With all the evil I see everyday sometimes I just feel like giving up.
You give me the strength to go on."

They embraced and held each other for a long time, letting the tears come as
they would.

Later that night, as the four women sat around the dinner table, Willow
cleared her throat and stood, pulling Buffy up with her.

"Aunt Gabrielle, Aunt Xena. Buffy and I have something we want to tell you."

Xena and Gabrielle looked puzzled, but gave them their undivided attention.
Willow looked at Buffy for a moment before continuing.

"Buffy and I are engaged." she said.

The two older women sat in stunned silence. The silence was soon replaced
with sounds of congratulations.

"Congratulations. I know you two will be very happy." Gabrielle said, hugging
Willow and Buffy in turn.

Xena stood and picked up her glass.

"A toast. Here's to Buffy and Willow. May they always be happy and may their
love never wane or die." she said.

"Hear, hear." Gabrielle agreed.

"So when's the big day?" Xena asked, smiling.

"Actually, we haven't even thought about that yet." Buffy said.

"We don't even have rings yet. It was kinda the spur of the moment thing."
Willow said.

The group talked long into the night. Buffy caught herself nodding off. She
shook herself awake and stood.

"Well, I don't know about you guys, but I can't keep my eyes open anymore.
I'm going to turn in. Good night."

"It is late," Gabrielle said as she stood,"I'll see you two in the morning."

With that, the group went upstairs to go to bed. Willow and Buffy held each
other as they lay in Buffy's queen size bed. The slayer fell into a deep
sleep. Willow lay there relishing the closeness and watching her lover sleep.
Soon, slumber overtook her and she fell asleep with dreams of their new life
dancing in her head.

Willow awoke the next morning to find the bed empty. She sat up and yawned
before getting out of bed and heading for the shower. Afterwards, she went
downstairs for breakfast. When she reached the bottom of the stairs, she
noticed that the house was very quiet. She searched the house and found that
she was alone. She resumed her journey to the kitchen. As she ate, ideas for
their wedding began to flash through her mind. They would have to decide on
which type of wedding to have. Willow being a wiccan, wanted to have a
handfasting. The witch began to worry about her parents. Ira and Sheila,
being very conservative Jews would probably disown her when she delivered
the news that she and Buffy were getting married.

She pushed those thoughts to the back of her mind and once again began to
plan the perfect wedding. After breakfast, she decided to go for a walk. The
day was overcast, so she decided to take an umbrella with her just in case.
The air had the chill of rain in it as she made her way to the park. The
sounds of children playing drifted to her ears as she walked along. When she
arrived she found the park full of children playing and families having
picnics. She sat on a bench and watched the activity bustling around her.
Willow wanted to have children someday, but she knew that it would be
impossible for her and Buffy to conceive a child together, but there was
always the option of adopting a child.



Chapter Six

She was shaken out of her thoughts as a light rain began to fall. She stood
and opened her umbrella before starting for the mansion. As she walked toward
home, her thoughts kept drifting to when they would announce their engagement
to their friends and families. Willow knew that her parents would disown her,
but oddly she didn't care. Of course it would hurt her, but she was willing
to be disowned if it meant that she would get to marry the love of her life.
Buffy's mom Joyce, would probably understand. After finding out that her only
daughter was the Slayer, there probably wasn't much that could shock Joyce
Summers anymore. Giles would be flabbergasted and Xander would be in
emotional shock.

Xander Harris had made it no secret to Willow that he had a huge crush on
Buffy. That confession had hurt Willow because she had a huge crush on
Xander. He on the other hand, only looked to her as being the sister he
never had. Whatever happened, the redhead was going to marry Buffy one way
or the other.

As this last thought crossed her mind, she walked up to the mansion. She
closed the umbrella and stepped inside, closing the door behind her. Off in
the family room, the hacker could hear the TV playing. She walked in and saw
Buffy sitting on the sofa watching music videos. The witch sat down next to
her new fiancee.

"Hey." she said.

"Hi, Willow. Have a good time?" Buffy asked.

"Until it started raining. Where were you this morning?" the redhead replied.

"Gabrielle and I went looking at some wedding rings."

"See anything you liked?" Willow inquired.

"A few. Tomorrow I'll take you to see them, then we can decide."

"Oh goody, rings!" the hacker said with a huge smile on her face.

Willow put her arm around the slayer's shoulders and the blonde girl laid her
head on the redhead's shoulder. The slayer felt completely at ease around her
fiance. Buffy sighed as her lover began to nibble her ear.

Willow looked down at the blonde head resting on her shoulder. She couldn't
hold out any longer. Buffy was just too damn sexy! The hacker began to nibble
her friend's ear and kissed her way along the firm jawline until she came to
the full succulent lips. As she engulfed the willing mouth with her own, the
witch could taste the slight watermelon flavor of Buffy's lip gloss. She
sighed into the slayer's mouth.

Buffy groaned when Willow pressed her lips against hers. The slayer's arm
snaked up and came to rest on the back of Willow's neck as she slipped her
tongue into the witch's mouth. Their tongues dueled as the kiss became deeper
and deeper. Their bodies melted into each other until there was not even an
inch of space between them.

Finally, they parted and gazed at each other. Buffy smiled at Willow.

"Down, Willow. Down, girl. Save it for the honeymoon." she teased.

"Ooooohhh, just you wait little Miss Slayer. I'm gonna work you to death on
our honeymoon!" Willow retorted.

"I can't wait!" the slayer returned.

"I wonder how things are going back home." Buffy said half to herself.

"I'm sure they're managing just fine." the hacker answered.

"I just hate being away this long. Something disasterous could happen and I
wouldn't be there to stop it."

"Relax, Buff. Giles can keep things under control while we're gone. Even
slayers need a vacation once in a while." Willow reassured her lover.

"I guess you're right. I'm here to relax and have fun, not worry about demons
and vamps."

The redhead looked out the window.

"The rain stopped. Wanna go out and get something to eat?" she asked.

"Sounds good." Buffy replied, standing.

They walked out the door and headed down the sidewalk. They walked around
town, looking for a good place to eat when they came to a chinese resturant.

"How 'bout chinese?" Buffy asked.

"Sounds great." Willow agreed.

They went in and sat down. A waitress came over and took their order. The
two lovers talked as they waited for their food.

"We still need to decide what kind of wedding we want to have." Willow said.

"What do you mean?" Buffy asked a little puzzled.

"Well, do we want a traditional wedding or a handfasting?" the redhead
replied.

"Good question. What kind do you want, Will?"

"I'd like to have a handfasting, but if you want a traditional wedding, I
can go along with that too." the witch answered.

"A handfasting it is. But you're going to have to show me what to do." Buffy
said.

"No problem." Willow said happily.

As they finished this conversation, the waitress returned with their food.
Buffy had a time trying to use the chopsticks before she eventually gave up
and picked up a fork. Willow seemed to have no problem eating with the two
wooden sticks. They ate and chatted. When they finished their meal, they
broke open their fortune cookies.

"What's yours say, Will?" Buffy asked.

"Advert narrow-mindedness with calm, poise and balance." Willow read.

"What the heck is that supposed to mean?" Buffy asked.

"Beats me. What does yours say?"

Buffy read her fortune.

"Expect the unexpected."

"Kinda vague." Willow said.

"Yeah. Ready to get outta here?" Buffy asked.

"Whenever you are."

They walked out onto the busy sidewalk. The sky threatened to open up again.
The two lovers hurried home, trying to beat the storm that they knew would
come.



Chapter Seven

They arrived back at the mansion just as the rain began to pour. They stepped
inside the luxurious house and closed the door behind them. The two young
lovers spent the rest of the day relaxing and talking. They had no clue as to
what lay in store for them. Later, after a scumptious dinner prepared by
Gabrielle, the two went upstairs and into Buffy's room. Since, they had
become engaged, they had been sleeping together. As they changed for bed, the
slayer was mesmerized by the sight of the wiccan's nude body. Willow was
absolute perfection.

The witch turned to find Buffy staring at her and drooling. The redhead
laughed.

"Umm, Buffy?" she said.

"Wha...huh?" the slayer said, shaking herself out of her trance.

Willow pointed at her.

"You're drooling." she said, trying not to laugh.

Buffy, wiped her chin and smirked.

"My mouth isn't the only thing drooling." she said in a husky voice.

"Oh, really?" Willow asked, raising an eyebrow.

The blonde sauntered over to her and took the redhead's hands in her own.

"Well, I'm up for some smoochies." Willow said in a coy voice.

"Ooooh my little witch, I've got much more in store for you than smoochies."
the slayer said evilly.

"What did you have in mind?"

Buffy pulled Willow down onto the bed and began to caress the creamy white
skin. Willow purred as she felt herself becoming more and more aroused.

A few hours later, they lay holding each other. Their skin had a glow about
it.

"Wow, that was great." Willow sighed in satisfaction.

"Yeah. I didn't know you were that limber, Will."

"I do have more talents than hacking and witchcraft."

"I can't wait to find out what else you can do." Buffy said, seductively.

"Well, you'll just have to wait til tomorrow. I'm bushed. Goodnight." the
witch said turning over.

"Goodnight, my love." Buffy returned, closing her eyes.

Soon, the two lovebirds were sleeping soundly.

The next day dawned clear and bright. Willow awoke to find Buffy still
sleeping beside her. The witch just lay there watching her blonde lover
sleeping. Willow was glad that she had finally gotten the courage to
tell Buffy how she felt. The redhead slipped out of bed being careful
not wake her soulmate. Slipping on a robe, she left the bedroom and went
downstairs to the kitchen.

She walked in to find Gabrielle just sitting down to breakfast. The bard
looked up as the witch entered.

"Good morning, Willow. Sleep well?"

"You have no idea." Willow replied with a coy smile.

Gabrielle smiled back.

"Oh, I think I've got a pretty good idea."

Willow walked over to the counter and removed a bowl from a cabinet. Into
the bowl she poured some cornflakes with lots of milk. She went to the table
and sat beside her aunt. They chatted as they ate.

"Buffy found some wedding rings you might like. How about we go look at them
today?" Gabrielle suggested.

"Sounds great." Willow agreed.

Gabrielle finished eating and placed the breakfast dishes into the
dishwasher, then she turned to Willow.

"I've got to go to the office for a few hours, but when I get back we'll go
look at those rings."

"Okay," the redhead said,"bye."

She heard the front door close as the bard left. Willow was surprised that
Buffy wasn't up yet. She must have really tired her out last night. The witch
finished eating and went to check on Buffy.

She walked into the room and found the bed empty. She heard the shower
running in the adjoining bathroom. She quietly stalked over to the door and
pushed it open just enough to see into the room.

There was Buffy, in the shower. Her back was to the door, so she didn't see
the hazel eye peeking into the room. Willow pushed the door open and slipped
silently into the room. She snuck up behind Buffy and slipped her arms around
the slayer's waist.

"Morning, Will." Buffy said without turning around.

"You knew I was there?" Willow asked a little surprised.

"Yeah. I am the slayer after all." Buffy replied.

"Oh, yeah. I forgot those senses of yours." Willow said.

The witch kissed her friend's shoulder and placed her chin on the same
shoulder.

"Gabrielle said that we're going to look at the rings when she gets back."

"Good. I found one I know you'll absolutely love." Buffy replied.

The slayer turned around and taking Willow's face in her hands, she gently
kissed her fiance.

"Go on, Will. I'll be out in a minute." she said.

Willow smiled at Buffy and went out to wait for her fiance in the bedroom.



Chapter Eight

A few minutes later Buffy came into the bedroom, still drying her hair. She
draped the towel around her neck and looked at her friend.

"Sleep well?" she asked her lover.

"You know I did, silly." Willow replied.

Buffy dressed as Willow sat on the bed with a far away look on her face.
Buffy turned and said, "Whatcha thinking 'bout, Will?"

The witch shook herself out of her thoughts and smiled at Buffy.

"I was just thinking that its too bad lovemaking isn't an Olympic event. We'd
take the gold everytime." she said with a grin.

"Will, you're incorrigable!" the slayer teased.

"I know." the redhead jibed back.

"But I love you anyway." Buffy said, leaning down and kissing Willow on the
forehead.

Buffy went downstairs in search of breakfast with Willow following behind
her.

As the slayer ate, the redheaded wiccan stared at her.

"What?" Buffy asked, "Am I drooling again?"

Willow laughed.

"No, I just love watching you move. You're so graceful and beautiful. You
even make eating look like poetry in motion." the witch replied.

Buffy blushed and turned away like a shy teenager.

"Will...."

Before she could finish, Gabrielle entered the room.

"You guys ready to go see those rings?" the bard asked.

"You bet! I can't wait!" Willow replied enthusiastically.

The slayer hurriedly finished eating and cleaned up the breakfast dishes.
The three women got into the minivan and drove downtown.

They arrived at the jewelry store about noon. As they walked in, Willow noted
that it looked like a very expensive store to be shopping in. They walked up
the the counter.

"Good day, Miss Hope. May I help you?" the clerk asked.

"Hello," Gabrielle replied, "we'd like to see the rings we were looking at
the other day."

"Very well."

The man reached under the counter and removed a section of the display and
placed it on the counter. Buffy pointed at the two matching wedding bands
that she wanted Willow to see. They were gold and inlaid with diamond chips
in the shape of a dolphin. Willow's eyes grew wide as she looked at the
rings.

"Oh, Buffy they're beautiful!" she said in awe.

"I know how much you like dolphins, and these rings just cry out Willow."
Buffy said smiling broadly.

"But...But we can't afford these..." Willow said.

"Don't worry about it," the bard said, "consider it your wedding gift from
Xena and I."

The bard turned back to the counter.

"We'll take them." she told the clerk.

As they walked out of the shop, the redhead took her aunt into an embrace.

"Thank you." she said on the verge of tears.

"Nothing's too good for you, Willow."

The witch turned to Buffy and kissed her passionately.

"You have good taste. Thank you."

"I'd do anything to make you happy, Will. When you're happy then I'm happy."
the slayer replied with a huge smile.

Later that night, after they had finished dinner, Willow went out onto the
patio and stood gazing at the stars. Buffy was in the kitchen helping
Gabrielle clean up and Xena was in the study reading. The wiccan admired the
bright twinkling pinpoints of light that dotted the sky above her. As she
stood there gazing at the stars, she thought she heard a rustling in the
hedges off to her right. She looked but she didn't see anything.

"Hello?" she said, walking slowly toward the hedges.

Just as she reached the edge of the bushes, a hand reached out and clamped
itself firmly against her mouth. Another hand reached out of the bushes and
grabbed her arm. She was drug into the foilage. Before she could see who had
grabbed her, the redhead fainted.



Chapter Nine

After she and Gabrielle had finished with the dinner dishes, Buffy went out
to the patio to talk to Willow. The patio was empty. The slayer looked
around, but there was no sign of Willow. Thinking that maybe her lover had
gone upstairs, the blonde went back into the house and up to their room.
Willow wasn't there. As she came back down the stairs, Buffy ran into Xena.

"Have you seen Willow?" Buffy asked.

"No. Why?" Xena answered.

"She was out on the patio, but when I went out there, she wasn't out there.
I thought maybe she went up to our room, but she's not there either."

The two women went into the den and asked Gabrielle if she had seen the
witch. When she replied that she hadn't, Buffy began to worry. The three
made a careful search of the house and grounds, but Willow was nowhere to
be found. They met by the front door after conducting their search of the
grounds.

"Something's happened. She wouldn't leave without telling us. I don't like
this." the slayer said worriedly.

"Come on." Xena said, leading them toward the minivan.

They drove all over town, but after five hours of searching, they were no
closer to finding the wiccan. They arrived back at the manor exhausted, but
unable to sleep. Buffy sat in her room, trying to keep from going out of
her mind as she worried about Willow. Finally exhaustion overtook her and
she drifted into a restless sleep.

The next day, they went to the police station and filed a missing persons
report, then they once more searched the town. It went on like that for three
days. The fourth day dawned with still no sign of the redhead. Buffy was sick
with worry, and Xena paced ceaselessly. Gabrielle was silent and withdrawn.

'Where could she be? Is she alright?' the bard wondered.

Willow groaned and opened her eyes. At first she had no idea where she was.
Slowly things came back to her. She was in a crypt. She was chained to a
wall. She didn't know how long she had been a prisoner. She knew that she
had been kidnapped by a group of vampires and that the only reason she was
still alive was that they knew she was a friend of the slayer's and they
were using her as bait to lure Buffy to them. Live bait was better than
dead bait.

She looked above her head, where her wrists were chained to the wall. Her
arms ached and her throat was dry. She could tell that it was day by the
small amount of sunlight seeping in under the door to the crypt. The witch
struggled to free herself, but she knew that it was useless. Willow had
been experimenting with telepathy before they had left Sunnydale. She once
more tried to contact Buffy.

'Buffy....' she thought, concentrating on an image of Buffy in her mind.

On the other side of town, Buffy sat bolt upright in bed.

"Willow?" she whispered.

She jumped out of bed and went downstairs. She ran into the study, where
Xena and Gabrielle sat brooding and thinking. They looked up as the slayer
rushed in.

"Willow's alive." the slayer announced.

"We hope she's alive too." Xena said.

"No. You don't understand. Willow is alive!"

"How do you know?" Gabrielle asked.

"Willow's been experimenting with telepathy for a few months. She thought
that it would help if we could communicate without talking, that way we
couldn't be heard if were were staking out some vamps. Just now, while I
was sleeping, I thought I heard her call my name. It was distant, but it
was definately Will." the slayer explained breathlessly.

"Did she tell you where she was?" Xena asked hopefully.

"No." Buffy answered dejectedly.

"Buffy, we all want Willow to be alive and well," Xena said, "but are you
sure you weren't dreaming?"

"No! I wasn't dreaming. It was Will." the slayer maintained.

"I still want to know who would want to kidnap Willow." Gabrielle said.

Suddenly a thought occured to Buffy.

"Oh no." she whispered.

"What?" Gabrielle asked.

"We've been going on the assumption that it was a person that kidnapped Will.
What if it was a vampire? They must know that the slayer is in town. What
better way to draw out the slayer than to kidnap her best friend? They
must've been watching us, waiting for the right time." the slayer explained.

"That certainly does make sense." the warrior agreed.

"Okay," said the bard, "vampires might have taken Willow, but that still
doesn't tell us where she is."

"No," Buffy replied, "but it gives a us a good place to start looking."

Xena picked up on Buffy's train of thought.

"I'll get some weapons." the warrior said, leaving the room.

When they were equipped, the trio left the mansion and drove to the first
of the city's graveyards. They searched thoroughly, but they saw no sign
of vampires. At the second graveyard, they interrupted a vampire who was
feeding. After a beating by Buffy and much questioning by Xena, they were
convinced that the bloodsucker knew nothing of Willow or her kidnapping.
The slayer staked him and they resumed their search.

Meanwhile as Buffy and the others searched, Willow was awakened by cold water
on her face. She opened her eyes and saw three vampires standing before her.
One was tall with blonde hair. He was dressed in a leather jacket, blue jeans
and a teeshirt. The other two cowered behind him so the witch deduced that
the vampire standing before her was the leader of the group.

"Whhh...What do you want?" she asked, trying to sound brave.

The blonde vamp gave a coarse laugh.

"What do I want? What do I want? I want the Slayer, that's what I want. I
know that you are her friend, otherwise you'd be dead now. But I won't
disappoint you. After the Slayer is dead, I'll make sure you die too."

"Buffy will kick your butt!" the wiccan said, struggling against the chains
that bound her.

"I don't think so. I have a little surprise waiting." the vampire said
cryptically.

His two companions snickered. The trio of vampires turned and left they
crypt. Willow blinked as tears began to flow. She had to warn Buffy, but how?
She wasn't even sure if her attempt to contact her fiance had worked. She
felt so helpless. Silently she prayed to Brigid for help. She was faint from
hunger. The vampires gave her water to keep her alive but that was all. Soon,
exhaustion overcame the redheaded woman and she sank into oblivion once more.

It was near dawn and they still had three more graveyards to search. Xena
decided that they should call it a night. With the vamps going to ground for
the day, they would find no clues until nightfall. They drug themselves to
the van and climbed in. The drive home was silent. Each was lost in her own
thoughts. Buffy was kicking herself.

'I should've been there! I could've protected her! Is marrying her the best
thing for her? I love her, but becoming my wife will only make her even more
of a target than she is now. Willow, where are you?'

They arrived at the mansion and went to bed. Sleep was hard in coming.
Buffy's last thoughts of consciousness were of Willow.



Chapter Ten

Buffy tossed and turned as she was haunted by nightmare after nightmare,
each one involved losing Willow. The slayer sat bolt upright her body
drenched in a cold sweat, stifling a scream. She had to find Willow. She
got up and dressed. When she was fully dressed she went downstairs and
out onto the patio where Willow had been the night she disappeared. She
made a careful search of the surrounding area. She was just about to give
up when she spotted some faint footprints leading from the patio to some
hedges on the far side of the yard. Buffy followed these to the hedges
where they disappeared. She stepped into the bushes and saw signs of a
struggle. The slayer silently vowed to lay some serious pain on the vamps
that had taken her love.

Buffy went back into the house to see Gabrielle coming out of the kitchen
carrying a cup of coffee. The slayer told Gabrielle what she had found
outside.

"That still doesn't tell us where she is." the bard pointed out sadly.

"When I find those bloodsucking son of a bitches, I'm gonna make them pay.
They'll be begging me to stake them!" Buffy said angrily.

Gabrielle could tell by the determined look on her face that Buffy meant
every word. Xena soon joined the two women downstairs. She went into the
kitchen and grabbed an orange and began to peel it. She went into the
family room and flopped down onto the sofa. It was obvious that the warrior
hadn't slept. They made plans to resume the search that night. Soon after
sunset they prepared to hit the streets once more. They were in the family
room when a rock shattered the picture window and landed with a dull thump
next to the sofa. Gabrielle picked it up and saw a note tied to it. Setting
the stone on the table she opened and read the note. The bard looked grim
as she passed the note to Buffy. The slayer read the note aloud.

"Slayer, if you want to see the redhead again come to Van Adams Cementary at
midnight alone. Any tricks and the redhead becomes food."

Buffy crumpled the note in her fist as fire flashed in her eyes. She began
hiding stakes in various places on her person. They still had three hours
until midnight. They spent those hours coming up with a plan to get Willow
back alive.

Midnight found Buffy walking into the Van Adams Cementary. She reached the
center of the graveyard and waited. A few moments later, five vampires
stepped out of the shadows. One of them was holding Willow, who looked weak
and near to fainting. Buffy knew that the bloodsuckers were only using her
fiance as bait. That was why Willow was still alive, live bait worked much
better than dead bait. She also knew that if she couldn't defeat these
monsters they would kill Willow. The redhead had served her purpose.

"I'm here. Now let her go." Buffy said.

"Not so fast. Neither one of you will be leaving here alive." said a blonde
vamp who appeared to be the leader of the group.

"You may be the Slayer, but we outnumber you little girl." one of the vamps
said with a laugh.

"Guess again." the slayer replied.

She whistled. Suddenly, Xena and Gabrielle dropped from their hiding places
in the trees. The vampires were surrounded. Xena neatly decapitated the
vampire that was holding Willow. The witch immediately ran and hid behind a
headstone. Gabrielle dusted two more of the bloodsucking demons. The lead
vampire gave a growl of anger and changed into his "gameface". The two
remaining vampires rushed the slayer, who grabbed one and swung him toward
Xena, who staked him. That left the leader. The two women advanced on him
angrily.

"No," Buffy said,"he's mine."

The vampire punched the slayer in the face. Her head jerked to the side under
the force of the blow. She turned her head back and stared at the vampire.
She laughed.

"That all you got?" she asked calmly.

She punched the vampire, breaking his nose. Buffy landed a rapid fire assault
of kicks and punches to his body. She grabbed hold the vamps left arm.

"You picked the wrong person to mess with." she said, snapping his arm.

He cried out in pain as he heard the bones in his arm crack. Buffy grabbed
the right arm.

"You also picked the wrong girl to kidnap."

Snap! She broke his right arm. She kicked his leg, breaking the kneecap. The
vampire fell to the ground, writhing in pain. Buffy stomped on the other leg,
breaking it also. She took out a stake and straddled the fallen bloodsucker.

"You made a fatal mistake messing with the lover of the Slayer." Buffy said
before she staked him.

The blonde vampire crumbled to dust beneath her. She stood and ran over to
where Willow was coming out of her hiding place. The slayer threw her arms
around her lover and lifted her off the ground in a fierce embrace. The witch
threw her arms around Buffy and hugged her just as fiercely.

"Okay, oxygen becoming and issue." the redhead said.

The slayer released her lover and their mouths crashed together in a
passionate kiss.

"You don't know how worried I was about you." Buffy said, tears flowing
freely from her eyes.

"I can guess." Willow replied.

"I thought I'd never see you again."

"Well, here I am. Thanks to you, my hero."

Gabrielle and Xena came over and threw their arms around the redhead. Soon,
all four of them were weeping with joy.

Two weeks later, Buffy and Willow boarded a plane and returned to Sunnydale.
A few days after their return they sat in the library. The Scoobies were
all in attendance. The two lovers decided it was time to announce their
engagement to their friends. They stood and cleared their throats. When they
had everyone's attention, Willow took a deep breath. She looked over at Buffy
and took the slayers hand.

"Buffy and I have something important to announce."

She felt Buffy give her hand a reassuring squeeze.

"Buffy and I are getting married." she said quickly.

The silence was deafening. The Scoobies sat in utter shock. Willow had been
right, the look on Giles's face was hilarious. Xander looked at the two women
as if they had sprouted an extra head. Oz displayed no emotion whatsoever. It
was Cordelia that broke the silence.

"It's about time." she muttered.

"What?" Willow asked confused.

"I said it's about time. Anyone can see that you've got the serious hots for
each other." the cheerleader said smugly.

The watcher recovered from the shock long enough to utter a congratulations
to the couple. Xander just babbled incoherently. It took him a couple of days
to come to terms with the engagement, but when he finally came around he
hugged Willow and Buffy, wishing them congratulations. They weren't out of
the woods yet. They had told their friends, but one task remained. They had
to tell their parents. Buffy's mother, Joyce took the news rather well,
however Willow's parents had gone ballistic. They disowned her and kicked her
out of the house. It was a sad and hurt Willow that moved into the Summers'
home. Buffy was furious at Willow's parents. Their daughter was getting
married to someone she loved very much, why couldn't they be happy for her?

A month later they stood before their friends and family and exchanged their
vows. Xena and Gabrielle were there, along with the Scooby gang. Willow's
parents were conspicous by their absence. The reception lasted long into the
evening. Buffy and Willow slipped out and went back to Buffy's house where
they made love for the first time as a married couple. As they lay in each
other's arms after making love, Willow asked.

"So, how does it feel to be Buffy Summers-Rosenberg?"

Buffy smiled.

"It has a nice ring to it, and if I'm gonna be saddled with someone for the
rest of my life, I'm glad it's you." the slayer replied.

They kissed a slow, unhurried kiss. Soon, the newlyweds were sound asleep,
wrapped in each other's arms.

The next day, Giles stopped by. After they had invited him inside, he handed
Buffy an envelope.

"A wedding gift from the council." he said.

Buffy opened the envelope. She covered her mouth in surprise as she saw the
contents of the envelope. Speechless she handed the envelope to Willow, who
looked shocked then smiled broadly. The envelope contained two first-class
plane tickets to the Bahamas.

The watcher smiled as he watched them slowly recover from the surprise.

"They've also reserved a bridal suite at the Hilton." he informed them.

"Oh my god....." Buffy said, regaining her ability to use speech.

They hugged the watcher.

"I don't know what to say." the slayer said.

"Well," Giles said,"even the council had to admit that you've earned a
vacation."

A few days later they boarded the plane. They held hands as the jetliner took
off and set a course for paradise.

FIN

    

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