Capturing the Moment

Author: Lysa <lysaharris[at]>

This piece is more or less a blatant rip-off from a scene in Kevin Smith's movie, Chasing Amy. I saw the scene and thought it would fit.



Rating: PG-13

Distribution: As long as you ask first

Feedback: Yes, please. No flames please, I'm fragile. lysaharris@f...

Pairing: Willow/Xander

Summary: This is a piece set in sometime in the nearish future after Season Seven.

Spoilers: Kind of Season Seven, not much.

Disclaimer: I don't own the characters mentioned in this story. They belong to Joss Whedon/UPN/Mutant Enemy etc. I also don't own the idea of this story, as I got most of it from the god that is Kevin Smith/View Askew/Miramax Pictures. I just saw the scene and thought it would work well for this. I have also used some of the dialogue Don't sue me. I have nothing. I just have serious issues when it comes to this pairing. No copyright intended on anything.

Notes: As I said, this scene is kind of stolen from the movie Chasing Amy which is pretty cool. When I was trying to come up with an idea for a piece of fiction, I thought that scene would work well here. At this point I have no idea what's going to happen in the show, but in my world both Anya and Spike were killed in combat, and the thing between Willow and Kennedy didn't work out.

Anyone watching Willow and Xander, innocently flicking ice cream at each other, through the window of the diner situated off the freeway, may be forgiven for thinking they were two very immature adults. But anyone watching probably hadn't been through what they had, and they probably didn't have to grab normality and innocence with both hands whenever possible. These two people, who although they were only in their early twenties, had been through over seven years of things that most people couldn't imagine in their wildest dreams, but to look at them, sat in this small, empty place in the late hours of the night, they both showed traces of the carefree teenage best friends they had once been all that time ago.

The past two hours had seemed to go by like a blur for Xander, as he sat back in the booth he and Willow were occupying, and felt the torn leather of the bench ruffle against his back. There had only been one or two other customers when they had come in, but now there were none. It was nice to have the place to themselves, even if the guy behind the counter who kept glancing at the clock didn't think so. They felt almost in the middle of nowhere, as the diner stood in the middle of an empty parking lot, and the storm-filled night disguised their surroundings, making them undistinguishable. The rain had begun not long after they had left L.A., and the way it had begun pouring down had made their journey twice as long. Stopping at the freeway diner had been the only viable option when tiredness had affected their games of movie quotes and the fact that Xander was driving made the other possibility of Paper, Scissor, Stone virtually impossible, as well as the fact that Xander stuck to his feeding patterns like an animal, eating every couple of hours to 'stop himself from wasting away', as he put it. Being away for the weekend had helped them to forget things for a few days, but now it was time to get back to reality, and the reality was that Sunnydale was where they belonged.


The past few months had been especially tough on the two, after watching the unfolding and climactic events of the First's eventual demise, allowing them the chance to realise all the full implications of what had happened. They had grieved, both for loved ones and those not-so-loved ones, but still didn't deserve what had happened to them.

Xander had, at one time, thought that when Willow had first returned from England, she had spent the time grieving for the person she loved. But he had discovered recently that this simply wasn't the case. When she had left Sunnydale, she had been a broken shell of a person that he barely recognised - but some part of him, deep down, at the same time was grateful that this event, albeit tragic and terrible, had brought him closer once again to her.

He had felt partly to blame when she and Giles had boarded the plane at Sunnydale airport, feeling as though he should have somehow known what was going to happen and stop it. After all, he was the closest to her out of everyone. Sure, Buffy had been their best friend for a long time now, but she didn't have the eleven or so years previous years to that, and no matter how long their friendships lasted, she would never be able to have that knowledge or perspective of them throughout their childhood and earlier part of their teenage years. Guilt had eaten away at him, and he had found he could barely look at himself in the mirror during those first few days when she had been gone. Buffy, Dawn...even Anya, had all told him at the time that he couldn't have prevented it, but that didn't change the rage inside he felt inside.

In one moment, when it had all become too much, he had trashed half of his apartment in frustration, only stopping when he heard her voice. He hadn't heard the telephone ring at all, but her voice was something he would always be able to distinguish, no matter what the din. At first he had thought he was imagining it, that the Hellmouth was finally sending him over the edge, but it was real. The voice coming from the answer machine told him that she knew how he was feeling, and feels bad that it's because of her. She wishes he didn't blame himself, because it wasn't his fault. No one, not even him, could have stopped it from happening. It was the power inside of her melding with all the emotions she was experiencing, causing a short circuit to the 'don't kill people' part of her brain. But, it was him that stopped her. He was the only person in the world - short of Tara herself - capable of getting through to her. She tells him he has to stop putting himself through this, because she's going to need him to be strong when she comes back. She's going to cry, and shout, and scream, and he's going to have to be around to calm her. She tells him that she knows she never said it that day, because she couldn't, but she loves him, too. So, he had sat there on his own in the debris, and told himself to get over it. And he had.

When she came back, she had seemed almost back to her old self, only more nervous, jumpier almost, especially when it came to the supernatural part of their lives. But, they had barely had the chance to talk before the latest Big Bad had begun playing with them. This had been a long battle, culminating in a lot of deaths, including Anya and Spike, and destruction, but ultimately the world being saved again.

Then Buffy had moved to L.A. with Dawn to be with Angel in the hotel, with Faith taking Buffy's place and moving into the house with Willow. It was then they had both allowed themselves to be close again. Xander had learned that Willow's time in England had been the most important time of her life, and she'd had to work really hard to get her powers under control and learn that she had been pre-destined to have them. But that's what it had been. Work. No time to grieve for someone she loved, who died and would never be coming back. She had accepted that a long time ago, and she was under no illusions about that, but she'd never been given the chance to do what 'normal' people did in those situations. So while he had mourned for Anya, she did, too. And after a while, they had learned that life went on and they could live again, coping together by becoming as close as they had been before Buffy had arrived on the scene. They didn't resent Buffy for entering their lives - they loved her - but their lives changed when they had met her, and they would both separately found themselves wondering, at the most inappropriate times, what would have happened without that new girl introducing them to her private world. Death was an obvious alternative in that world, but maybe there was some alternate reality where Sunnydale wasn't a Hellmouth, and there were no such things as demons and vampires and witches.


So, here they sat in the empty diner, with the small man, who had been behind the counter for the most part during their couple of hours in the establishment, now turning off the lights around them, sending them not-so-subtle signals that he was ready to close for the evening.

"We better go," Xander said as he took some money from his wallet and threw it on the table, next to the bill that had been brought over half an hour ago, leaving a generous tip. He used his napkin to wipe off any traces of the ice cream splatters on his face and checked his sweater. "He looks like he's gonna start yelling at us any minute, and I can't really be dealing with the halitosis he looks like has right now." He stood up and put on his leather jacket.

"Okay, sure," Willow said a she pushed aside the sundae glass and collected her bag from the bench next to her, standing and pulling her thin denim jacket on.

Xander headed to the glass door at the front of the diner, and watched the rain fall, showing no signs of easing. "It doesn't look like it's gonna stop anytime soon," he said to her. When he got no reply, he turned to see her at the counter. "Uh, Will," he called to her. "It's customary to leave the restaurant after you've eaten your meal and paid."

"I'll just be a second," she told him as she continued a hushed conversation with the guy at the counter.

"What are you doing?"

"Xander, why don't you wait in the car?" she said as sweetly as she could manage. "Honestly, I'll be out in a few minutes."

"Okay," he said, knowing she wasn't about to let him on whatever she was doing anytime soon. He took another look outside at the rain and pulled up the collar to his jacket, tightening it against his body. He hesitated before he opened the door and hurried outside, half-running to the car parked a few spaces away in the empty lot.

A few minutes later she emerged, clutching a flat, rectangular object wrapped in brown paper.

Xander watched as she opened the car door and jumped in, the rain glistening on her red hair and pale face in the moonlight, even though the storm was still raging. "Please don't tell me you got a doggy bag," he said as he rolled his eyes and started the car.

Willow smiled broadly at him, not letting him know what she was doing, and stuck out her tongue mockingly. "Shut up and drive me home, boy." She said jokingly.

"Your wish is my command," he told her as he buckled up his seatbelt.

"Okay," he said finally as they neared Sunnydale. He had been trying to drop hints for the past hour between their games to find out what she what she was carrying, but she was having none of it. "I give up." He told her.

"What do you mean?" she asked innocently as she clutched the item to her lap.

"Come on," he said, urging her. "You know you've been dying to tell me what that thing is."

"More like you've been dying to *ask*," she corrected with a grin.

"That's neither here nor there," he said with a shrug. "What is it?"

"Well, I was gonna wait till we got back," she told him as she turned over the object. She unwrapped the brown paper carefully and threw the rubbish onto the back seat of the vehicle. She held up a dark wooden picture frame and showed him the painting of two gulls amidst the ocean.

Xander glanced at it, being careful not to take his eyes from the road ahead and recognised it almost immediately. "Is that the picture from the diner?" he asked her, an element of mocking in his voice. "Don't tell me you actually paid money for that."

"Hey!" she said as she tapped his arm.

"Since when did you become an art collector?" he asked her. "Not that you can call that art..." he added under his breath.

"I'm not," she told him as she held the picture in front of her and looked at it. "I just like this one. And anyway, I've seen the kind of pictures you call 'art', remember? Need I remind you of the time you paid me to clean your room, freshman year of high school? I still have nightmares about the things I saw..."

"No, no," he said quickly, his face reddening in embarrassment. "You don't need to remind me at all." He flashed her a grin. "Anyway, how do you know I haven't grown out of them?"

"Because you're Xander," she said simply.

"Ha, ha," he told her. "So, where are you gonna hang it?"

"I'm not going to hang it," she told him. "You are."

Xander looked at her, a confused expression on his face. "You want me to hang it for you? Ah, I get it," he said proudly. "You want a pro on the case, huh? Hey, I'm glad to do it, but I wouldn't go telling any of your friends about it. They'll probably think you're setting the feminist movement back a couple of years."

"No, silly," she told him as she rolled her eyes. "I want you to hang it at your place."

"You bought me a painting?"

"Don't sound so surprised. We used to give each other stuff all the time when we were younger."

"Yeah, stuff like Chocolate Hurricanes, Chicken Pox...that kind of thing."

"No, Xander, I used to give *you* Chocolate Hurricanes. You never shared. You gave *me* the Chicken Pox because you didn't wanna stay home from school on your own."

"But Chocolate Hurricanes were my favourite," he said feebly. "Anyway, the point is, thank you for the painting, but why? I don't mean to sound ungrateful--"

"Then be quiet," she told him.

"Seriously, Will?"

"Okay," she told him. "I *seriously* wanted to give you something to remember me by. After all this time, I finally feel like we're best friends again. Before this, it was like the only times we saw each other was when it was Scooby business. I mean, I know there was the Bronze or whatever, too, but we never did anything together, just you and me, not like we used to. Things have been so great lately...I didn't think I'd ever get past that empty feeling, where it feels like a black hole is where my heart used to be, and I know you feel like that, too. But now...things have been so great, and I don't want either of us to forget it. So, I want you to hang this somewhere in your apartment where you'll always see it--"

Xander opened his mouth to speak.

"Not the toilet," she said quickly. She looked over at him and he closed his mouth, grinning sheepishly at her. "I want you to hang it so that whenever you look at it, you think of me, of us, and of this time in our lives it captures. It's a gift from me, to you, to remember us."

Xander looked over at her, seeing her smiling at him with such adoration and respect for her best friend, and took a deep breath as he quickly pulled the car over to the side of the road, ready to risk everything in this moment.

Willow smiled, confused, as she looked around the deserted, dark streets. "What are you doing, Xander? Why are we stopping?"

He turned to face her. "You know how sometimes things happen that are beyond your control, and sometimes you don't even realise that they're happening until you're past the point of no return, and then, you try to forget, but it doesn't work and--"

"Xander!" she said suddenly, placing her hands on his arms to stop him. She quickly unbuckled her seatbelt and placed the picture on the back seat. "What are you babbling on about?"

Xander looked down at her hands, and then into her eyes. "I love you," he told her seriously.

"I know," she told him with a grin. "I love you, too."

"No," he told her as he tried to come to terms with what he was doing, and to find the right way of putting it. "I love you. And not in a 'she's my best friend' kind of way, and not in a 'Willow's dressed up for Homecoming and she's all grown up' kind of way, although that's what you'll say it is." He felt her hands move from his skin and she turned back in her seat so that she was facing the front windscreen again. "Very simple, very true...I am completely in love with you. And I know that right now I'm risking our friendship, and believe me, that is the most precious thing in the world to me. The last thing I want to do is hurt you, Willow, but I can't take this any more. And if bringing this to light means that we can't be friends any more, then that will all but kill me, but I have to be honest with you, I have to let you know how I feel about you. God, we've known each other for so long, and I never expected this to happen. I mean, I've always loved you, be in no doubt about that, but it was always the look-but-don't-touch, from-a-distance kind of thing that I could store away inside of me and only think about when I really had to, and I've felt that way forever. You think I never saw you, Willow...but I did. I more than saw you. I know that you loved Tara, and I loved Anya, but there is something there between us that just isn't going to go away. I know you feel it, Willow. I know that you're so afraid to love again for fear of what might happen if it doesn't last or if it's taken away from you. But I also know that when you've loved someone that strongly, you need to love again. I don't know if it could ever be me on the receiving end of that love, and I know that you've made your choices as far as your sexual preferences go, and maybe crossing that line isn't an option for you. But you haven't stopped me yet, which means that you're at least thinking about this, and all I'm asking is that you consider this for just a minute. I know that I'm piling all of this on you at a time when you really don't need it, but you should know that whatever the outcome - which, by the look on your face is to be the inevitable rejection that I'm so familiar with - I have never felt like this before. I'm telling you this because, even if we never speak again after tonight, you have to know that I'm a better person for having you in my life, for loving you...and I'd never need to look at a painting to remind me of that."

Willow looked at him with more hurt in her eyes than he had ever seen before, struggling to comprehend what he had told her, and swiftly grabbed her bag and bolted out of the car.

Xander let out a huge breath of frustration as his head dropped back onto the headrest of the seat. "Is it something I said...?" he jumped out of the car and went after her, finding she was already halfway down the street and drenched from the torrential rain. "What are you doing out here?" he yelled to her over the sound of the rain hitting the ground around them. "It's raining cats and dogs."

"I don't care!" she yelled at him as she carried on walking.

"Aren't you even gonna comment?"

She whirled around so fast she startled him, and he stumbled back. "Yeah, here's a comment: Get. Lost!"


"No, don't 'Willow' me, Xander! You can't just say my name like that, like you did when we were teenagers, and expect me to just accept this. This is so unfair of you, and you know it!" she turned and charged forward again.

"It's unfair that I'm in love with you?" he asked her ridiculously. "Tell me about it. I never asked for this."

"Neither did I!" she yelled as she turned again. "It's *unfortunate* that you're in love with me, Xander. But it was unfair of you to tell me! You know who I am!"

"I know that this is an upheaval for you--"

"An 'upheaval'? Christ, Xander, do you know what an under exaggeration that is? You want me to suddenly give up everything I've known for the past three years just because you think you have some kind of a crush? I'm gay, Xander! GAY! You got that? Now leave me alone!"

"Willow, it's after dark..."

"I don't care," she said as she turned and began walking again, knowing he was behind her. "I have stakes, crosses...I just want you to leave, now!"

Xander watched her walk away determinedly, tears springing to his eyes as the rain beat down on him. "I love you...!" he yelled again. He dejectedly turned back to where the car engine was still running and the front head lamps shone, and kicked a cardboard box he was passing in sheer frustration. He put his hands to his head and pushed his sopping hair back. As he reached the car, he felt something jump on his back and he almost fell into the car in surprise. As he turned, the figure dropped and took his lips in the most animalistic, passionate, wanting kiss of his life. He felt her arms wrap tightly around his neck and he pulled her closer to him, feeling her body against his, both wet from the rain.

The kiss eventually broke and she hugged him fiercely.

"Does this mean I have to hang the painting?" he asked playfully.

"You'd better," she told him seriously, her voice breaking from the sobbing that had begun a few minutes earlier.

"I love you," he whispered into her hair.

"I love you, too..." came the broken reply, before she took his lips again.

The End