"You know, Buffy, you deserve someone you don't have to change for."
"I wasn't going to change for Owen."
"No, but you were going to force yourself to read something you wouldn't have ordinarily read for him. Not that I would be upset seeing you pick up a book, but you shouldn't do it for a boy. You should do it because you want to read Emily Dickinson or whatever."
"I know, Will," she said with a shrug.
"You need to find someone who you don't have to hide from."
"Which rules out everybody, so I'm destined to be alone I guess."
Willow's laugh sounded forced even to her. "You're not going to be alone, Buffy. Just because it didn't work out with Owen doesn't mean it won't with everybody else."
"Right, and who is going to understand when I have to run off like I do all of the time?" Buffy frowned. "I can see it now, ‘gee, honey, I know the movie doesn't end for an hour yet but I have to go now.'"
"Yeah, well, it won't be easy, I never said it would be easy. But maybe if you found a guy, the right guy, you wouldn't have to hide everything from him."
"Will, you and Xander aren't even supposed to know. I can just see Giles now if I were to get a boyfriend and want to tell him that I'm the Slayer. He'd freak."
Willow had to agree with what Buffy just said. Though freak might be too strong a word for what Mr. Giles would do the sentiment was accurate. Willow had never met anyone British before and Mr. Giles both amused and astounded her at times. "You're probably right," Willow finally acquiesced to her friend. "But that doesn't mean it can't be done. Other Slayers must have done it."
"No, Will, they haven't. I'm the only one who has even stayed living at home with my mom. At least that I've heard about. Slayers are pretty much alone, aside from her watcher."
Willow took a long sip on her drink, her eyes widening when she saw a familiar figure lurking in the shadows underneath The Bronze's stairwell. How she had missed noticing the man Buffy called Angel until recently, she was not sure. He was a hottie, but even with the limited light available in The Bronze, Willow could tell this hottie only had eyes for Buffy. "I can think of one guy who's pretty cute and already knows who you are."
"Will, I don't like Xander like that, you know that. Besides, even if I did, you liked him first I could never do that to you."
"Not Xander," Willow said, extremely relieved to hear Buffy say that. Now if Willow could just get Xander to notice her instead of Buffy, she might be okay. She doubted it would ever happen, though. How could she compete with a girl who had superpowers? Sure, she could hack into any computer in Sunnydale and many outside of Sunnydale, too, but that did not seem to promote admiration and lust.
"No one else knows, Willow. Unless you're talking about Giles, and if you are, ewww, he's way old enough to be my father."
Willow laughed, her eyes darting from her friend to the mysterious guy who was obviously taken with her. "I think there's someone you're forgetting about," she said, cocking her head to get Buffy to look in Angel's direction.
Willow had to admire the discreet way Buffy glanced in Angel's direction and managed to scan the rest of the club to make it look like she had not been looking at him at all. Willow wished she could pull things like that off.
"Are you kidding me, Willow?"
"Well, maybe," Willow said, unsure of herself. "What's wrong with him? He knows your secret."
"And he's also kind of creepy. No thanks. If it's him or staying single, I'll stay single. He can be all cryptic with the talk and doom and gloom with someone else."
"He is kind of cute."
"Well, yeah, Willow, sure he's cute."
"And he likes you."
"He so does not, Willow."
"Sure he does, he's been watching us the entire time he's been here. And you should have seen the look on his face when you were here with Owen the other night."
"Willow, I came here to have you cheer me up not to think about work."
Willow shook her head slightly. "If you look at him and think of work, Buffy."
"Willow, we're not friends. So he gave me a cross."
"That happened to help save your life."
"I doubt he knew that it was going to so soon after he gave it to me, Willow."
"Maybe not," Willow said with a shrug.
"Other than the cross, he's done nothing useful."
"I guess you're right. At least he doesn't seem to be here to tell you of another prophecy," Willow said. "You don't need a boyfriend anyway."
"No, I don't," Buffy said, but the enthusiasm Willow heard in her friend's voice did not reach her eyes. "I've been without a boyfriend until now, I can do it. It doesn't mean I have to like it, though."
"Well, you have me and Xander to keep you company when you want to do stuff. I realize it's not the same, it's not a date, but it's something."
"Yeah, Will, it is, thanks," she said.
Buffy looked over Willow's shoulder as Cordelia and the other girls at her table started giggling. She wondered sometimes if Buffy resented that she had befriended Willow and by doing so gave up her chance to be sitting at Cordelia's table. She did not want to ask her, afraid of what the answer might be.
"Let's go dance, this sitting at the table talking about boys in our lives, or lack of them, is so not cheering me up."
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com