Chapter Thirteen - Course of Fate

The hushed voices of her students mingled with the clacking of keyboard keys and the loud printing of paper. Willow stopped typing long enough to glance over at her students to make sure that not too much talking was going on. Before turning back to her computer, she was able to pick up the words, Buffy and Xander, from the various conversations scattered around the room. Not since word of Xander and Cordelia going out had spread across the school, and the fact that it was he that broke up with her, did such a commotion arise from the students.

Willow had to admit that although she hadn't reacted like most students, the news that her best friends were dating had surprised her just as much. Initially, she hadn't been very happy when such information reached her. It wasn't as if she had been longing for him because she didn't and hadn't for awhile, it was just that when he and Cordy broke up the idea that *they* might have been possible lingered in her mind. Although, Oz made all the lingering go away to the extent that she no longer thought, let alone want, such ideas, they all came back, momentarily, when Buffy told her about them.

She had wanted to talk to her about something else, but as it occurred, Buffy's news came first, and it made her feel that what she had to say would not help matters much at all…

… "Willow," the slayer said as she tapped her best friend's shoulder to gain her attention, "Hey."

"Oh…Buffy…I was just looking for you," the redhead replied with a grin as she turned around to see the familiar face, "I have to tell you something."

"Um…so do I," she said and then chewing on her lower lip, she looked around the campus and continued, "Why don't we sit down?"

They walked towards a nearby bench and sat in silence for awhile, before Willow finally said, "Why don't you go ahead? You look like it's pretty good news."

"I'd like to think it is," she said with a smile as she fiddled with a pen in her hand, "I'm not sure how to tell you this, Will, um… but…uh…Xander and I are going out."

Willow blinked in surprised and found herself rendered speechless, "Uh…um…God, Buffy…uh…um… that's…wonderful."

"Really?" she said with raised eyebrows, "Cause well, y'know…I was kind of worried that since you used to…"

"That was a long time ago, Buffy," she replied with a weak smile, "And you two are my best friends, and if you guys are happy, then I'm happy for you. Besides, he's a great guy…when he's not…"

She smiled and breathed a sigh of relief, "No need to explain…I know all too well the mind and mannerisms of Alexander 'Xander' Harris."

"I just hope you do," Willow joked and this time she really smiled, as she got over her shock, and was beginning to see that perhaps, they're dating wasn't that bad of an idea, after all. Still, she couldn't help but recall the last time Buffy had met with such feelings, "But what about Angel?"

"What about him?" she replied with a sad, half-hearted shrug, "I mean, of course I loved him, but…I don't know…it just doesn't seem real to me anymore…now that he's gone. Maybe things happen for a reason, Will, maybe all of these things were meant to be…like I was destined to be the slayer."

"So, does that mean that you think you and Xander are foretold?" her friend couldn't help but point out.

Buffy smiled slightly, "Well, I don't know about that…did destiny bring us together? Sure, things happened that brought us closer, but whether it was through the hands of fate…that's kind of hard to say. All I know is what I'm feeling for Xander right now…it's different from all the crushes, relationships, and flings I've had in the past. This is not some weak-in-the-knees, I'm-falling-apart concept were talking about here. It's more than that…it's like every time he holds me, kisses me… even when he just talks to me I get this wonderful feeling that never really goes away. I even get that way when I'm just thinking about him. I mean, at first I had to say to myself that I was crazy and this was Xander…my friend, but later, it just made me think about him more, and the more I thought…the more I felt, and the felt…the more I…"

As her obviously fallen friend trailed off, Willow said, "I know what you mean Buffy, you don't have to bother explaining it to me…it's all right. I better go…I have to get my lesson plans ready for tomorrow."

"Wait… what was it that you wanted to tell me?" Buffy asked when she stood up to leave, but she met upon another pause from her friend.

"Y'know, never mind…it's not important right now," she said while shaking her head with a nervous smile…

…Never had Willow felt more surprise than in those ten minutes of conversation. Her mind had been full of contemplation about Xander, Buffy, Xander and Buffy as a couple, and than the thought of almost telling her about- RING! RING!

She jerked when she heard the bell ringing loudly and stood up, "Class, make sure that you finish your spreadsheet by Friday and I'll need it on disk, as well as, a printed copy."

A few groans could be heard from her pupils, but she just gave them a smile and a look that made them laugh. As she saved her document and shut down her computer, she looked up to see that Xander had walked into the room.

"Hey," he said with a grin as he walked towards her, "Is the teach too busy to talk to an old friend?"

"Hi, Xander," Willow said as she turned off her monitor and sat down in her chair, "What's up?"

"Just the usual," he replied casually, but despite his breezy tone, a broad grin lay apparent on his face.

"Oh…I don't know about that," she retorted eyeing him carefully as she stood up from her chair and walked towards him, "I've been hearing some pretty interesting things about your usual. So…how's all of this seeming for you?"

"God, Willow, it feels like…like …oh, I don't know…like I'm walking on air," Xander said with a sigh, "As if I'm on top of the world and nothing can bring me down. I wake up, I think of her and go to sleep, and I think of her. I mean, I did that before, but all that time in between waking and sleeping and dreaming that's all I was doing… thinking… dreaming. But now when I wake up and smile because she's on my mind, that smile doesn't fade, Willow, because for some miraculous, wonderful, phenomenal reason… she loves me."

Her smiled widened at his happiness, "I'm sure she does…and I'm happy for you, Xander…both of you."

When she walked back to her desk and continued to clean up, he turned and said, "Aren't you going to lunch?"

"Yeah…in a few minutes," she replied as she placed a stack of papers into her backpack, "You go on ahead, and I'll meet you, Buffy, and Oz, there."

When he left, closing the door behind him, Willow sat down taking in the silence of the empty room. She sighed as she thought about her friends' descriptions on how they felt for each other…as if they were at a lost for words for it all. She understood. It was often like that between her and Oz and she hoped that nothing was going to ruin what her friends had.

Her eyes fell to her cloth handbag and she lifted it up from the desk drawer as she bit her lower lip. She opened it carefully and pulled out the object that was plaguing her constantly. She sat there, just staring at it, and wondered what were the hands of fate doing now to them. Were they going to further deplete their lives of love and replace it with sorrow and pain as they had done so in the past? She didn't know what path destiny was to take them, all she knew was no matter how much she didn't want to…now matter what problems it might lead to…she had to show Buffy this…this yellow disk.