"Are you okay to get home, Willow? Xander," Giles asked once he had closed the passenger side door of his vehicle for Ms. Calendar.
"We're fine," Xander offered cheerily. "A walk will do us good, help clear the lungs from the smoke."
"Right," Giles said with a glance at Willow as if confirming with her that she felt the same as Xander.
"Thanks, Giles, but we'll be fine. Have a good night."
"They're so cute together," Willow said when it was just Xander and her standing alone.
"Who? G-man and Ms. Calendar?"
"I was talking about Buffy and Angel, but those two, too."
"Buffy and Angel," Xander said with distaste. "I don't know why you like that guy, Will."
"I think it's sweet, Xander," she said with a shrug and began walking in the direction of their homes. "Vampire and slayer, dark and light, even their hair color shows them as opposites."
"Hair color, now there's a reason to have a long term relationship with someone."
"You're just mad because Giles and Angel have someone to take home and you don't." Xander's walking home with her did not count, though Willow would have loved for it to. She would give her eyeteeth to have Xander look at her the way he and Angel looked at Buffy, or Giles did to Ms. Calendar.
"No, that's not it at all. I mean, if he was worthy of her it would be all right."
"Would anyone who isn't you be worthy of her?"
"What a question, Will. Of course not, because other than Angel she'd have to lie to any guy but me."
Willow sighed softly. She had seen a brief glimmer of hope over the summer, but Xander was back to pretty much ignoring Willow once again. She was beginning to think it was hopeless, that no matter what she did Xander would just never notice her as more than a friend.
"I guess you're right," she said solemnly. It was hopeless.
Sure, she could change the way she dressed, alter her appearance and be more bubbly like Cordelia and her friends, but then that would not be her. One thing Willow was sure about, she wanted someone who liked her for who she was – geeky science girl and everything. She did not mind a little give and take, but she could not pretend to be something she was not.
So, why was she good enough to be Xander's friend but nothing more? Why were people – guys – nice to her but never anything more? The three of them had talked about the fact that they were doomed from ever having a normal relationship. This was perhaps true, but at least Buffy and Giles were having a relationship. Any relationship had to be better then none at all, unless it was really terrible.
Buffy and Angel might be a little unconventional, but as far as Willow could tell there was little else wrong with them. Angel certainly was not pressuring her or taking things too fast, if anything he was the one being cautious and taking things slower than Buffy would like him to. And Giles and Ms. Calendar, Willow thought the two of them were cute. She could not see where the potential for badness was between the two of them.
"Maybe it's just the two of us who are doomed," she said aloud.
"Me and you. Giles and Ms. Calendar have the potential to be happy and so do Buffy and Angel once he deals with loving her."
"Why would it just be you and me though?"
"I don't know. I'm not a slayer and you're not a watcher?"
"Hmm," Xander said as if he was thinking over what Willow had just said.
"I was just thinking," she said with a shrug.
"Don't think so much, Will. I know you won't hurt your brain, but you hurt mine coming up with thoughts like this one."
"It's okay, Will, it's just I'm depressed enough."
"Yeah," she said softly. Xander had technically seen more action than Willow had of late, even if that action was from a praying mantis shapeshifter and a Buffy trying to induce jealousy in someone else.
They got to the part of town where it was time for them to split up and go their own way the rest of the way home. "You going to be okay, Will?"
"I'm fine. I'll go home and feed my fish, maybe read a book," she shrugged. "I'll be fine."
"Okay, I'm going to go home and try and not think about what Buffy and Angel are doing right now."
Willow shook her head and stifled a laugh. "Good night, Xander," she said before embarking on the rest of the way home alone. She glanced at the moon, partially obscured from view by a few cumulus nimbus clouds and wished on a star that Xander would notice her. Even just for a few fleeting moments she would like to have him look at her the way that Giles looks at Ms. Calendar and Angel looks at Buffy.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com