A Time To Love

Author: Lysa <lysaharris[at]fsmail.net>

Yes, people, I'm awre that this has been done about a million times before, and you can almost guarantee that they're all better than this, but I don't care. Sue me (actually, please don't. I don't have anything.) This is pretty angsty but ends on a cheesy note.


Please feedback me

Rating: PG

Feedback: Please be gentle. Feedback to lysaharris@f...

Pairing: Willow/Xander

Spoilers: Season 3

Distribution: Realistically, I can't see anyone wanting it, but if you do, ask me first.

Summary: Again, I know that this has been done before, but this is my take on the situation. This is about what could have happened during 'Consequences', after Willow found out about Faith and Xander.

Disclaimer: None of the characters mentioned are mine, they belong to the devil incarnate Joss Whedon and UPN/Mutant Enemy etc. Don't sue, I have nothing. No copyright intended.

Authors Notes: This is another one of my twisted ways of keeping Willow and Xander together - the way they should be. Obviously, alternate events happening here which differ to the episode mentioned in the summary.

Xander's mother's car rolled to a stop outside of Willow's house, just underneath the street lamp, and Xander honked the horn to let her know he was waiting. There had been a time when he would have simply just walked inside, announcing his arrival, like he had done so many times over the years. But this was different. He did think about getting out of the car and knocking, but that thought rapidly vanished when he saw her at the front door. He steeled himself for more silence as she got into the car and fastened her seatbelt, without saying a word. She had been like this all day. Giles had sent them out looking for Faith, together, and this is what they'd had to endure. He didn't know silence could so deafening, and he certainly didn't know that he and his best friend would one day drift so far apart that he didn't know if there was even a chance their friendship could be repaired. He felt her eyes on him, and he turned to face her with a grin - not just a grin, but the patented 'make Willow happy' grin. But she did nothing. She just turned away, staying silent as he pulled out of his parking space.

Willow tried to concentrate on the view from the window, but was finding it increasingly difficult to keep the tears out of her eyes. Her emotions were raging inside her, making her furious one minute and absolutely distraught the next, and it was becoming harder and harder for her to form a logical thought. Her mind kept conjuring unwanted images of them in her head, and she closed her eyes as tight as possible to rid herself of them. That grin he had given her when she had gotten in the car almost made her forget what he had done. Almost. It was short journey to the library and she tried to convince herself that she could make it, but her heart was telling her otherwise. After spending all day together she knew she couldn't take any more.

"Willow, I--"

"Stop the car." She said suddenly, taking off her seatbelt in the process.

"What?" he asked, confused.

"Stop the car, Xander," she told him again, her voice threatening to break at any moment.

"Why, do you see her?" he looked out of the windows, trying to get a better view of the people passing by.

"No, I don't see her," she told him. "I just want you to stop the car."

Xander looked at her, but she refused to make eye contact as she held her head down at an angle, her hair covering her face.

"Willow, I'm not going to stop the car. It's after dark. You don't know what's out there."

"Yeah, well, I think I'll take my chances." She said coldly.

"Willow, what's going on?" he demanded from her.

"Nothing is going on," she lied. "I just need to get out of this car." She leant over to open the door, and she felt him move across her, his hand holding the door closed while he kept one hand on the steering wheel and his eyes on the road. "Xander..." she tried to hold herself back physically, trying to reduce the bodily contact, and held her arms up above him.

"Just wait a minute," he told her impatiently as he pulled the car into the brightest-lit area of the street he could find. As he did, the door was opened and she had bolted, before the car had fully stopped. He quickly secured the parking brake, and went after her. "Willow!" he called after her.

Willow looked back at him, before breaking into a run.

"Willow!" he called again as he tried to match her pace. His long legs soon caught up with her weary ones and he stood in front of her, blocking her way out of the alley she had somehow unwittingly directed them into.

"Get out of my way, Xander," she said pleadingly, her voice showing signs of falter as tears sprang into her eyes. "Please..."

"Not going to happen," he told her as he refused to move. "Where are you running to? What's going on here?"

"We have to get to the library. Giles is expecting us..."

"Unless the world's ending - again - in the next few minutes, I'm not going anywhere. Tell me what's wrong."

"What does it matter to you?" she yelled suddenly.

The tone of her voice surprised him. It was cold, angry and bitter. It was like it hadn't come from her. "It matters a lot, Willow. You have been like this all day, and it's scaring me."

"Yeah? Well, you could've fooled me, Mr. I-Lost-My-Virginity-To-A-Homicidal-Maniac. I'm supposed to be your best friend, Xander, and you couldn't even tell me one of the most important things that had ever happened to you. I had to find out stuck in a room with you, Buffy and Giles. If she hadn't gone all Psycho and killed someone, you wouldn't have even told me."

"That's not what's bothering you here, is it?" he asked her. "It's not that I didn't tell you, but who it was with."

"I guess I always thought you were the type of guy who'd wait until the right person, the right time, to come along. I guess I was wrong, huh?"

"Looks like."

She stood in front of him and crossed her arms over her chest. She tried to get past him but he blocked her, matching her movements with his own.

"I think it's time we got this out in the open," he told her. "I don't know about you, but I think today has sucked. There are plenty of other things I could have been doing with my time."

"Yeah, like sleeping with slayers..." she said under her breath.

Xander looked at her. "Okay, so it looks like we're not going to get any talking done right now since you've lost all reasoning," he said as he turned his back and began to walk in the direction they had come from. "So, I suggest that you get back in the car with me, and we'll just carry on pretending that everything's fine and..."

"YOU SLEPT WITH HER!" She exploded so suddenly it scared her.

Xander felt every hair on his body stand on end with the pain in her voice, and he stopped. He could hear her silently crying and silently cursed himself for not knowing what this would do to her. Maybe you did know, a voice inside him said. Maybe you did know and did it anyway, just for some kind of reaction. For some kind of sign that she still cares. "I know..." he said quietly.

"You slept with her, Xander, and you let me carry on being semi-nice to her!" She took a deep breath. "How could you...?"

"You took biology, Willow. If you didn't pick it up, you have some serious problems."

"This isn't the time for joking. God, what is with you and slayers? If Kendra had let you, you'd have been in--"

"Don't say it, Will. Bitchiness isn't you."

"Yeah, but maybe it should have been. Maybe it might have made you pay me more attention. It certainly worked for Cordelia..."

"I think me paying you more attention is where this entire thing got screwed up to start with."

"Yeah," she agreed with a smirk. "It was you deciding that you wanted what you couldn't have."

He turned around with a confused look. "I'm sorry, was I the only person there at the time? Do you seriously think that I saw you that night and said 'hey, Willow's happy for the first time in years. Let's spoil it and break her heart'?"

"No, not exactly. But let's face it, all I was to you was a crush. It was exciting, new, sexy..."

"Well, you should know. YOU CHOSE OZ!" He yelled back at her.

"What did you want me to do, choose you?"


The answer shocked her, and she found herself speechless. She certainly hadn't been expecting that. "What...?"

"I wanted you to choose me."

"But...after Cordelia...you didn't want me to choose you. I didn't think..."

"That I wanted you? Well, I did. But I saw that look in your eyes when Oz and Cordy found us. You didn't want me."

"Did you even ask?"

"What was I supposed to do, tell you and then have you reject me?"

"Yes, Xander. It's called fighting for what you want."

"Look, when I slept with Faith..."

"Don't talk about this, please..." she pleaded as she covered her ears with her hands.

"You have to know that I didn't do it to hurt you," he told her gently, trying to make eye contact. He wanted her to know that he meant it. "It just...happened. It was an accident."

"Do you want me to crack the joke about you tripping and falling on top of her?"

"No, that's one's been done to death."

"You know what hurts the most...?" she asked as tears clouded her eyes again. "That night when you...I told you I loved you."

"You didn't mean it that way. You couldn't have. That night...you could have almost died, and you guys didn't even have the decency to tell me what was going on. How do you think that made me feel? Do you think I could have lived with myself if anything had happened to you?"

"What if I did mean it that way?"

"Did you?"

"It doesn't matter."

"No, of course not. The sensible, morally superior Willow wouldn't tell her best friend of thirteen years that she was in love with him and then walk away, would she?"

Willow stared at him a moment without saying anything. She waited for him to turn his back and begin walking away again. "You did it..."

Xander stopped in his tracks again. Her voice had been barely a whisper, but he heard her. "What did you say?"

"You heard me."

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"I know it was you."

"What was me?"

"You wanna play dumb? Fine. I know that when I lay in a coma in the hospital, you held my hand and told me you loved me. I know that when I woke up asking for Oz, you stood back and let me have that time with him."

"I just wanted you to be happy, Willow."

"I know you did, and I thank you for that. But now I need to know...did you mean it 'that way'?"

He turned to face her again. "Willow, this isn't the time..."

"Xander, just answer the question, okay?" she told him as she walked towards him. "For so long, I was so in love with you...and you barely even knew I was alive."

"Will, you've always been the most important person in my life, you know that."

"Yeah, but I wanted to be more. Then finally I find someone who can love me for just being me, and you blurt out that you love me when I'm unconscious."

"Willow, why do you think I love you? I know you better than Oz ever could. I love you for being you. That's why I don't like that you've changed since you've been with him. But hey, I wouldn't be me if I didn't screw things up. How did you find out it was me, anyway?"

"Oz and I were talking, and I mentioned it. He just kinda gave me this look...it was the same look he had when he found us in the factory. I just worked it out from there." She waited for him to respond, but he stayed silent, infuriating her. "Look, the point is that I need to know. I need to know how you feel about me."

"You want the truth?"


"You were right when you said that I didn't see you. It took Oz coming along to make me jealous enough to even consider my feelings towards you. When I saw you in that hospital bed...I felt as if I was dying. It was that moment when I realized what I had been feeling for so long. That moment changed my life. I love you, Willow, I do. I never wanted to hurt you or Oz or Cordelia, but when I kissed you that night in your room...everything just seemed to fall into place, you know?"

"I do know," she admitted. "That's the problem."

"The thing was, I realized that I had been in love with you for so long, I couldn't remember not loving you. That's what confused me." He took a step towards her. "So you did mean it 'that way'?

"Yeah, I did."

"So what happens now?"

"Xander, I can't do this now." She told him truthfully. "I can't hurt him again."

"So we just have to deal, right?"

"Afraid so." She stepped towards him. "After everything that's happened...I owe it to him."

"Do you love him?"


"Almost doesn't count."

"I don't love him like I should."

"Then why stay with him?"

"Because he's who I need to be with, Xander."

"He's the one who's not gonna hurt you, right?"

"He can't hurt me...not like you can."

He hung his head down. "I never wanted to..."

"I know you didn't mean or want to, but you did. Over and over. I can't take that again. Not now."

"You always hurt the one you love, Willow."

She couldn't help but smile at him. "I believe that everyone has their own place in the world. Someone pre-destined to love you and vice versa, and a time and place for that love. I don't think this is ours."

"I know." He looked up at her. "Do you think it ever will be?"

"I hope so. I have to believe that, one day, it will be our time. There are too many things to keep us apart right now."

Xander nodded. "So, can I give my best friend a hug?"

Willow watched him for a moment. All of the pain of the last few months was right there in his face, and she wondered if she had the same expression. She wanted to feel his arms around her, so she stepped forward into his inviting arms. She felt his arms around her back and she closed her eyes and she snaked her arms around his neck. She held him tighter than she had held anyone in her life, and when she let go she felt another piece of her heart break again for him.

Xander held her face with his hands, and looked into her eyes. "Soon..." he whispered as he kissed her forehead. "We'll have our time, Willow, and it's going to be perfect."

He held out his hand for her and she gladly took it, quietly walking with him back to the car. Maybe this wasn't their time right now. But he was right. It would be soon, and it would be perfect. What else could it be?

The End.