Chapter Nine


Buffy closed the door to the room that Xander was staying in. He was pretty shaken up by what happened. She used to tease Willow about how she always monitored Xander's moods, his health, his blood pressure. But when she left, Buffy took on that role. She hated to see Xander was in such pain. Using that gun hurt him so badly. It was against everything he believed in. It had taken him a while to calm down from that anxiety attack, but when he did, she had taken him to one of the rooms in the huge castle. Angel had assured her that the fang gang wouldn't be back tonight.

Buffy walked down the hall to Willow's room. She already had the layout of the place. Willow's room was by the stairs, Buffy's was a couple doors down from hers, Cordelia's was next to Buffy's, Giles' room was down the hall and around the corner. Angel's and Xander's rooms were at either side of Giles' room. As she walked by their doors, she thought of how lucky they were now. They had found long lost friends. Friends they thought were lost forever. And right now, she wanted to talk to her friend. She knocked on the door, causing it to open. The room was gorgeous. Everything was made of oak, including Willow's bed. There was a marble fireplace across the room, which lighted the room in a soft orange glow.

"Willow?" Buffy called out.

"Yeah?" came a soft reply from the terrace.

Buffy walked into the room and to the terrace and gave her friend a silly grin.

"Xander's all tucked in, and I read him a nice bed-time story," Buffy said.

"That's nice," Willow said absentmindedly.

"Hey, bestest bud. What's wrong?" Buffy asked with concern. There was an air of anger around Willow that she had never seen before. <Is she mad that the vampires almost killed us?>

"Nothing. Nothing's wrong," Willow whispered back in a choked voice.

Buffy laid her hand on Willow's arm to try and find out what was wrong, but didn't get the chance. As soon as Buffy touched her arm, it caused something in Willow to snap.

"How could you do this to me!" Willow screamed as she punched Buffy with her clenched fist.

Buffy went flying into the room. She wasn't prepared for the blow, especially from Willow. Willow stalked into the room, her eyes ablaze. She didn't change into a demonic being like vampires, but there was a difference. Her eyes shined with a deep red. And she had an aura of darkness around her.

Buffy staggered up and managed to get out a weak, "Willow...".

That was, before Willow decked her again, causing the slayer to fall to the ground.

"I thought you were my friend!" She screamed as she kicked Buffy. "You knew. You knew! You knew," she whispered as she fell to the floor, crying.

~ * ~ * ~

Willow saw Buffy slowly pulled herself from the floor. She could tell that it was hard for her to breath, but her healing power was already working on that. Buffy looked at her, who was already feeling guilty for her deeds. Willow saw that Buffy was already starting to feel better, but could tell that she was worried. <What had caused that? What did Willow attack me?>

Buffy crawled over to Willow cautiously and asked, "Knew what?"

Willow's sobbing lessened and she replied, "You knew I love him."

Buffy's brow furrowed and she asked, "Xander?"

"Buffy, I know," Willow whispered. "I know..."

"Know what?" Buffy asked.

Willow looked at her with the most intense expression.

"I know that you're in love with him."

~ * ~ * ~

Buffy listen to those six words and the world froze.

<Me. Love Xander? No, he was just a friend... Wasn't he? Sure Xander was handsome, funny, sensitive, and brave... But I love Angel. I cried herself to sleep so many times, trying to accept the fact that he was gone. But Xander is just my bud. Totally platonic.>

<Wasn't he?>

Buffy looked up at Willow, whose eyes had reverted back to the dark shade of brown. But that wasn't what got her attention. It was the expression of pure astonishment that Willow was directing at her.

"You didn't know." Willow realized.

Buffy shook her head and responded, "Willow, this is crazy. Xander is just my friend. I am not interested in him in any way."

But saying those words left a feeling of emptiness in Buffy. <Why was that?>

Willow shook her head and replied, "Buffy. As long as I've known you, you never lied to me. But, why do I get the feeling that you're lying to me right now?"

"Willow, that's silly," Buffy exclaimed.

"Buffy..." Willow started again.

But Buffy didn't let her finish. She looked at Willow sharply and said, "Look. I said that there is nothing between us. Those feelings Xander had for me two years ago was just a crush. He doesn't love me and I don't love him. Why are you continuing with this? It should make you happy that I am saying this."

Willow just stared at her. As if she could see the huge empty feeling that those words invoked.

"Fine," Willow said softly.

"Fine," Buffy echoed as she got up to walk out of the room. "Good night."

With that Buffy left the room, closing the door behind her. She let go of the breath that she had been holding as she left the room. She had hurried out of there in such a hurry. She had a feeling that Willow could see inside her. Her emotions, her feelings. But she would only see her love for Angel.

<Right?>

Then another question rose from her heart.

<Why was she crying?>

She realized that she had started to cry even before she closed the door to Willow's room. Buffy tried to dismiss it was a result of Willow's attack, or her sleepiness, or even jet lag.

But none of those fit the feelings she felt.

Pushing that thought out of her mind, Buffy headed towards her room to get a good night's rest and hopefully, some aspirin.

~ * ~ * ~

Willow sat on her bed. <What just happened here? Buffy was my closest friend.> She had not even apologized for her attack on the slayer. Willow could plainly see Buffy's feelings for Xander.

By the affectionate way she touched him.
By the loving way she brushed his hair from his face.
By the way she held him.

Willow felt the jealousy rise in her again, but this time she controlled it. Suppressed it. She had no right to be jealous over someone she couldn't have. Over someone who didn't love her in the same way.

Love.

Ever since she realized her feelings for Xander, she assumed it was love. But what if it wasn't? She was just a child when those feeling blossomed in her. Could those feelings be a crush? A crush that she just let get out of hand.

<No!>

A part of her that clung to her affectionate feelings for Xander screamed a definite refusal. Her feelings were real, they were genuine...

<As genuine as Xander's feelings for Buffy two years ago?> She had just assumed that his feeling were just a crush. A phase. But what if they weren't. <What if Xander truly loved Buffy?> Willow knew Buffy loved Xander. She could see it. But Buffy adamantly told her that she loved Angel.

But if she did, why did Buffy run out of the room so fast? Why did Willow sense the hurt in Buffy when she renounced her feelings for Xander?

Why did Buffy start to cry as she left Willow's room?