When she walked in and saw Buffy packing, something inside Willow broke. She did not want to believe it was her heart because best friends were not supposed to break one another's hearts.
She got out of the van, barely giving Oz the chance to kiss her good night and went inside. Her parents were either not at home or asleep. What else was new? But tonight she was grateful because she did not want to deal with them.
She went to her room, closing the door behind her and stared at the floor. She was not ready to go to sleep. Her feelings were still jumbled. She felt betrayed. She had felt lost without Buffy over the summer. It was not fun doing the slaying in Buffy's absence, but that was not what hurt so much. None of them had to do it, Giles had made it clear that anything they did was strictly on a voluntary basis. Even Cordelia had volunteered.
Willow walked to her desk and carried her lap top to her bed, accessing her word processor. She was not sure exactly what she was doing, she just needed to be busy.
The night had gone worse than she expected. Buffy had figured out Willow was avoiding her, but she had been so afraid of spilling her guts and scaring Buffy off that she had just chosen not to see her. She could not come back and expect everything to return to normal. Three months was a long time. Forget the slaying, Willow had needed her best friend. She wanted to talk about Oz and everything that had happened before Buffy left.
She had been so sure the spell had worked. Willow had never felt anything like it before in her life. She doubted she would again. The magic whipped through her, using Willow as its vessel. For a few brief moments, Willow felt connected to something, welcomed, as if it was embracing her. It was something she severely lacked in her life that it had left her feeling a little confused once she was back to normal.
But then Buffy was gone. Willow had been left with a head injury, Xander's arm had been broken, and Giles had been tortured. She shuddered, not wanting to think of the things Angel without his soul might have done to Giles. Buffy had left without even checking to see if her friends were okay.
They had always helped one another, they had always been there for one another, and the one time there were potentially serious injuries Buffy had abandoned them. Tears fell from Willow's eyes as she thought of Oz sitting by her hospital bed. He had not said how worried he was, but he did not have to. Willow saw it clearly in his eyes. She had wanted to see that in Buffy's eyes, too.
She wanted to believe that Buffy had not been so self-involved that she forgot about her friends, but maybe that was what happened. She was the chosen one, they were not. And maybe when the chips were down they did not matter as much to her as they all thought they did.
The phone rang next to her bed, startling her. She wiped her eyes with the pads of her fingers and picked it up. "Hello?"
"Hi." It was Oz and, as it always did, just hearing his voice made her smile.
"Pretty intense night."
"Yeah. I guess we needed it. I hope things can go back to normal now."
"Yeah," she said, sniffling as fresh tears fell from her eyes. "I'm glad she's back and she's all right. I can't help but be mad at her, though. I spent this whole time wondering if I failed and Angel killed her because of me."
"I know," he said simply. "If it helps, I do think she feels bad."
"I know and that just makes it worse. If I had been able to get the spell done faster maybe she wouldn't have had to kill him."
"Maybe," Oz said. "Then again, maybe not."
"You don't think I should have restored his soul either. You've never said so, but I can tell."
"He hurt us. All of us. He killed Miss Calendar. A slayer is dead because of him."
"All bad things."
"Things he'd probably never have been forgiven for."
"I suppose," she said, starting to feel a little better. He was right. Why had she never talked to him about this before? She was too afraid that she had failed Buffy and in essence failed everyone because she had not lived up to their expectations. She had been so confident, too confident, but that was no longer the case. She was used to falling low of her parents' expectations, she could add her friends to that list. Why should that be any different. "Thanks," she whispered.
"You all right now?"
"Yeah," she said. "I think I can go to sleep now. Thanks."
"Good night," she whispered, feeling close to him despite their physical distance.
She hung up the phone and glanced at her computer again. She had started typing a letter to Buffy. The delete key was a wonderful tool. She no longer felt compelled to write her best friend a nasty-gram. It would take time, but Willow believed things would eventually get back to normal. They had to.
As normal as things could be for Sunnydale anyway.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com