The Moonlight Series

By Sunfire

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Part 15: Shopping

Laughter filtered through the air as the unlikely friends sat on the couch, watching TV and eating 'breakfast' as was their newly formed routine. As the show ended Willow got up and began cleaning up the plates. "Well pet, what would you like to do now?" Spike questioned as he rose as well, following her into the kitchen.

"I don't know, is anything open this late, or early?" She said while cleaning the dishes and putting away the leftovers. "Humm, lets see. It is 8:00pm now, so we can go see a picture if ya'd like. The only other thing I can think of that's open is the mall. What would ya like to do ducks?"

"Well we just got finished watching TV so I don't really feel like a movie. A trip to the mall doesn't sound too bad though. I am tired of fuzzy sweaters and overalls. I was thinking about getting a new wardrobe to go with my outgoing, semi-bad girl, pissed off at everyone, look." She said smiling. "I didn't make the slightest bit of sense just then, did I?"

"Not completely, but I think I follow ya. Hey, maybe you could get something like what you wore that one year for halloween?" Spike commented offhandedly. "Anyway, we better get goin' if we are going to get you a whole new wardrobe before the stores close in three hours." After grabbing her purse, Willow started out the door, Spike right behind her.

"What do ya think about this one?" Willow asked as she modeled the hip hugging black jeans shorts and black tank top that stopped just above her bellybutton, for the blonde vampire. "Looks nice, you should get it." He said as she headed back into the dressing room to try on yet another outfit. She came back out a couple minutes later in a spaghetti strap white tank that clung to the top of her frame and had an upside down V shaped slit that ran down the middle of her stomach starting an inch above her naval, and brown skirt that ended mid-thigh. "I really like that one luv, it's flirty, yet classy, very you I'd say." He remarked as she turned around, holding her arms out for appraisal.

"Well, that's the last one, I'll go get back in my clothes and we can buy this stuff, grab a bite to eat, an' head home." With that she headed back in the fitting room. "I'll met ya at the register." Spike told her as he slipped out the nearest door.

When he rejoined Willow at the cash register and she paid for the clothes she glared at him as he helped her pick up the bags and take them out to the car. "What?" He asked, looking at her innocently. "You know exactly what." She snapped back. "I just took a nip." He said defensively "Besides, he was a homeless man, no one'll even miss 'em." "Just because no one will notice he is gone, doesn't make him any less dead Spike." She said icily, giving him a look so deadly he might have thought her a vampire, had he not known otherwise.

"All right, all right, if it'll make you happy I won't kill my meals anymore, but if they really piss me off I can't be held responsible for my actions. Just don't look at me like that, you're givin' me the wiggins, or however you say it." He said with a sigh as they loaded the bags into the back seat. "Thanks!" She said with a smile. "Lets go to Taco Bell, I am starving, then we can go home so I can put away my new clothes before Leno starts."

When they got back to the apartment Willow went into her room to put away her purchases. Spike stood in her doorway for a minute as she hung up the last item. "Show's 'bout to start luv, why don't we go watch it, unless you'd rather do something else." He said, a mischievous look on his face as he tilted his head towards the bed. "Thanks, but some other time k?" She said, giggling; used to his suggestive comments. The pair was about to exit the room when Willow's lab-top beeped from its place on her desk, signaling that she had received an e-mail. "Why don't you go ahead and I'll catch up with you as soon as I see what's up, I've been expecting a message from an online store." Willow said as she headed over to the desk and sat down in front of the computer.

Spike muted the TV and turned around as she entered the room, a frown marring her pretty face. "What is it, my little pixie? What's wrong?" He asked, using his pet nickname for her, as he rose from the couch and strode over to the petite red head, placing his hands on her shoulders.

"The e-mail, it, it was from Buffy. She wanted to know why I hadn't been at school the past few days. She said she went to my house looking for me, and wanted to know where I was and why I hadn't returned her calls." She explained as she took a set on the couch across from the vampire. "I don't know why I am surprised. I knew I couldn't hide from them forever." She ran a shaking hand through her hair and over her face. "I guess, I, well, I don't know. I just don't know if I really want to face them, yet, I guess."

"Well, if you don't want to see them, you don't have to." He told her, putting a reassuring hand on her arm. She shook her head, the light reflecting off her hair making it shine.

"That, that’s not all," she took a deep breath before she continued. "...and I doubt you're gonna to like it." He lifted her head so that she was looking at him instead of her lap. "What is it luv? It's ok, you can tell me." "You promise you won't be mad at me?" She asked him shyly. "Of course I won't get mad at you, now tell Spikey what's wrong and I'll make it all better." He tucked the hair back behind her ear, while she smiled slightly at his remark. "Something happened. Faith, you know the other slayer?" He nodded his understanding and she continued. "Well, Faith and, umm, Faith and, uh, Angel, um, and now, there are kinda, Ang, Angelus issues now."

"What?! You mean the wanker's back?!!" Spike stood abruptly. "D-d-don't be mad at me, please, I'm, I'm sorry." Willow apologized. "Oh, it's ok pet, I'm not mad at you. Why would think I would be mad at you?" Willow studied the hard wood floor closely as he sat back down and put his arm around her. "I, I don't know, it's just, the whole, killing the messenger, and I am so used to being the messenger, and you're my only friend right now, I didn't want you to be mad, I didn't want to be alone, again." "Breathe Will, breathe. It's ok, I'm not mad, and you are NOT alone. I'll always be there, 'k?" He said as he pulled her into his arms and held her against him.

*Why do you care so much about what he thinks? You have been alone most of your life, why should it scare you so much now?* She asked herself. *Duh. Because you like him, a lot even though you're just friends, and the very thought of him being upset at you terrifies you way more then it should. Especially since you have only been friends for two weeks, and he is a soulless vampire who has tried to kill you numerous times. Anyway, why would he want you, plain, dull, Willow, when he could have a beautiful, sexy, woman?*

*Why does the thought of her being upset in any way scare you? Why do you find it so impossible to ever be mad at the beautiful, sweet, kind, innocent little witch? Wow, where did that come from? She's your friend, just your friend, even if you would love to kiss her soft, pink lips. Besides, she wouldn't think of you like that anyway. She probably thinks you're a monster.*

Neither one wanted to end the embrace, both content to be so close to each other. "I'm sorry, about that. Anyway, maybe it would be a good idea if I went to school on Monday. I have missed two weeks already, and with this new Angelus problem I am probably needed to be net-girl." Willow said, reluctantly removing her head from its position against his hard chest.

"Are you sure? Because it's ok if you're not ready."

"No, it's ok. I have to face them sooner or later anyway, might as well get it over with. Besides, what if they need my help?" He smiled at the girl across from him. *She is so caring.* "I can be mad at the assholes later, right now dealing with Angelus is more important than the fact that they have lied to me, used me, and ignored me for weeks." Willow said, anger apparent in her voice. "That still doesn't mean they get to copy my homework though, nope, they can do their own," Spike laughed at her last remark.

"You look tired, why don't you go to bed and we can talk some more in the morning." She nodded and headed off to bed after giving him a quick hug.

That night two separate people, fell asleep both remember how it felt to be in the other's arms, both sure that the other could never share their newly growing feelings, neither aware of how very wrong they were.


Part 16: Back to School

Spike woke up and made his way sleepily into the kitchen to make himself a cup of coffee, only to find one awaiting him on the counter. "Willow, have you been up all day?" He asked as he downed the cup and poured himself another. "Ya. Just getting ready." She said, uncertainty heavy in her voice.

"Are you sure about this luv?" He made his way over to her and sat down next to her on the couch. "Ya, I'm just a little nervous, I haven't seen them in two weeks, ya know?" She turned to face him and he took her hands in his. "I know. And it's ok that you are nervous. Just

remember to not let them get to you. If they start treating you bad again, or try to use or take advantage of you, which considering who we are talking about will probably happen, just put your foot down. Anyway, I have lost my train of thought and am just rambling and have no idea where I am going with this so I am going to shut up now before I make a fool of myself, which judging by the look on your face I have already succeeded in doing, so I am going to be quite now."

"Oook. You do that." She said, with a small smile and a slight chuckle. "I better go to bed if I am going to be able to get up and go to school in the morning." She said, getting up from the couch and ruffled his hair as she walked by. "You know, you are really cute when you ramble. "Funny pet, real bloody funny." The sound of laughter followed her into her bedroom.

Willow stood in front of the library doors listening to the sounds of Buffy training, and the occasional grunt from Giles as the slayer got in a good hit, followed by a joke from Xander, offbeat and ill-timed as usual. She took a deep breath, trying to steady her nerves, and walked through the doors, head held high and determination in her step.

The three occupants of the library did a double take as the figure entered the room. She stood in front of them dressed in tight black pants that flared at the bottom over a pair of black heeled sandals, and an equally tight forest green tanktop. A metal chain link belt that hung elegantly from her hips and a black velvet choker with emeralds dangling from it finished the ensemble. Her hair was in a tight ponytail with strands framing her face. She had on thin black eyeliner, dark green eyeshadow, and silver lip gloss.

"W-Willow?" Buffy asked, not believing that the person in front of her was the computer hacker. "You, you....what... happened to you?" "Are you ok?" "Why didn't you return my calls?" "Where have you been?" Why are you dressed like that?"

She was bombarded with questions from the two stunned students and equally flustered librarian. She held up her hand, stopping the flow of question. "Nothing happened to me, I am fine."

Xander, as tactful as Cordy stood up and walked over to Willow looking at her as if she sprouted horns. "Why haven't you returned our calls, me and Buff have called you about 50 times.?!"

"Jeez Xander, chill out. I was busy, I'm sorry but my life doesn't consist of waiting around my house to come running whenever you call me." Willow responded, still upset at them for their behavior two weeks ago.

"You don't have to be so mean. You had us worried, I went by your house and you weren't there, where were you?" Buffy questioned Willow as she hopped up and sat on the check out counter.

"I was at a friend's." Buffy and Xander just looked at her like her horns had been joined by a tail and pointed ears. "What? I'm not allowed to have other friends?" She asked from her perch on the counter.

"No, it's not that. We just didn't know..." Buffy said defensively. "You didn't know what? That I had other friends? Well, I do. The world doesn't revolve around you. Just because you are the slayer doesn't make you that much better than me."

"Leave her alone. What got into you Will? I mean you disappear for two weeks without so much as a word, and you come back all bitchy? And dressed like a tramp. I mean, what, did Cordilia loan you her clothes or something?" Xander said, getting up and standing next to Buffy.

"Bitchy? You guys have been treating me like shit for weeks. Ordering me around like your personal servant, and the minute I try to stand up for myself and make my own decisions I am a bitch? You are pathetic. And I do not look like a tramp!" Willow jumped down off the counter and walked over to them. "I like my outfit. Just because I am not dressed like the goody goody you think I should be doesn't make me a tramp. I am tired of you. All my life I have lived up to everyone's expectations, doing just what everyone wanted me to do. Well, I'm tired of it. I don't want to live up to everybody's standards anymore. I want to be my own person, and if you have a problem with that, then tough shit! I'm out of here." Willow turned on her heel and marched out of the library.

"What was that? That was not Willow. That couldn't have been Willow" Buffy said as she turned to look at her watcher, a bewildered look on her face. "Something happened while she was gone, and I am going to find out what." Before the words were out of her mouth the blonde had grabbed her jacket and was headed after Willow. She followed her to the front of a small apartment complex across town and waited outside while the red head went inside.

Willow stormed into the apartment, slamming the door loudly and throwing her backpack on the ground. "I hate them. I HATE them!" Spike came into the room at the commotion and hurried over to his small roommate.

"What? What is it luv? What happened? Are you ok? Did they hurt you?" Spike asked her as he guided her over to the couch. "It's nothing. It's just Buffy and Xander. Ahrrgg." Willow told him. "They were all upset because I hadn't called them, because nothing is as important as them, I am suppose to dedicate every second I have to them." Sarcasm heavy in her voice. "They asked where I had been, and I told them I was with a friend and you should have seen their faces. It was like they were flabbergasted that I could possibly have any other friends." Spike had a feeling of utter happiness at the thought of her referring to him as a friend to the slayer. "Then they said that I looked like a tramp. Buffy wears little tiny skirts and tops. I know I can't pull off the 'sexy look' but still! It's ok for Buffy and Cordy to dress like this, but not for me. Maybe it's because they are pretty and look better in 'sexy' clothes. I know I'm no Buffy or Cordelia, but I don't look THAT bad." She finished, her eyes wide and her fists clinched in anger. "They are supposed to be my friends. How could they be so mean?"

"It's ok pet. They are just being assholes. Don't listen to a word they said, they don't know what they are talking about. They have no right to be mad at you. You, on the other hand have every right to be upset at them for the way they have been treating you. And you are way too hard on yourself, you are way better than Buffy and Cordelia because you have a terrific personality to go with your great looks."

"You don't have to say that, just to make me feel better. I know I could never compare to someone to like Buffy or Cordelia." Willow said despairingly, looking at her lap.

Spike took his index finger and pulled up her chin so she was looking at him. "I am not saying these things just to make you feel better, I am saying them because they are true." He took her hand and lead her to the mirror in her room. "Look in there and tell me what you see." He said pointing to her reflection in the glass.

She felt really dumb, but took a deep breath and did as he told her. "I, I see Willow, plain ol' boring Willow. Number one nerd of Sunnydale High. A girl who has let people walk all over her, her entire life and never said a word."

Spike took hold of her shoulders and turned her to face him. "You really believe that don't you?" She nodded solemnly. "Oh Will," He softly stroked her check with the back of his hand. "how could you think that?"

"Because, it's true. Ask anyone." The calm acceptance with which she spoke sent a chill down his spine. *How can she not see how gorgeous she is? How great? She told me about how that Cordelia girl and her friends tormented and criticized her, but I never know that she actually believed what they said.*

"Well, let me tell you what I see. I see my best friend. The only person that has looked past the demon, and saw me, and accepted who I am without questions or judgement. I see someone with a great sense of humor, someone who I can talk to about anything and I know she'll listen and understand. I see a compassionate, sweet, loving, trusting, understanding, capable, intelligent, independent, strong willed, beautiful young woman."

"You really believe that?" Disbelief and hope evident in her voice. "Yes, I do, I truly do." A single tear ran down her cheek which he wiped away. "Now I think it would be a good idea if you didn't go to school tomorrow, ok pet?" "No!" She said, whipping the tears away angrily. "I won't hide, like a scared little girl. I won't let them run me out of school, I won't let them have that much control over me. If I do it will mean I am giving up and letting them win. I won't!"

"There's my girl. Now what do you say we go have a good time and forget about them?" She nodded enthusiastically. "All right, now what shall we do? Oh, I know, why don't we go buy a nice big ice cream cone and go see a picture."

The duo left the apartment and bought ice cream cones at the stand a block down. However, they were unaware of the figure following them as they made their way to the movie theater.

Buffy watched as Willow exited the high priced apartment complex with someone. *Who is that guy she's with? What a sec, he looks familiar, is that? No, it couldn't be, SPIKE? Why is Willow with Spike?* She continued to follow them at a distance and saw them stop and get some ice cream before they kept going.

Willow licked happily at her chocolate cone as Spike ate his strawberry. "Spiiiike?" "Yessss luv?" "Can I have some of your ice cream?" "Depends pet, can I have some of yours?" "Sure." They stopped and exchanged cones. "Ok, that's enough pet, now give it back." "No! Just one more bite." "Pet, give me back my ice cream." "What are you going to do if I don't? Huh tough guy?" "Wiiiillow. I want my ice cream back." "You are such a big baby."

He tried to take the cone out of her hands but she pulled away trying to keep it out of his grasp, but leaned back a little too far and the cone fell out of her hand and landed with a splat on the pavement. "Oops." Glaring at her, he looked at the chocolate cone in his hand, then back at the hacker who was now doubled over in a fit of laughter. "Hey ducks?" Willow looked up at him and was met with her ice cream that Spike pushed into her face. "Heyyy. You got chocolate all over my face, meanie." Spike just laughed at he took in the sight. Willow walked over to him, grabbed the edge of his red silk shirt and wiped off her face with it. Spike looked at her, his eyes dancing and devilish grin formed on his face. "Oh your going to pay for that." With that Willow tore off down the street letting out laughter and high pitched squeals, with Spike hot on her heels, chuckling. Due to his vampiric speed he caught her easily and grabbing her, then he lifted her into the air and spun her around, after he stopped he lowered her slowly to the ground, still holding her close to him.

When her feet touched the ground they were nose to nose. Her face was red and her breathing heavy from the chase. He leaned in, closing the gap between their faces, and lightly touched her lips with his own. He pulled away slightly and looked at her. Willow opened her eyes to find Spike looking at her. He gave her a small smile which was returned by one of her own. "Was that ok?" Spike asked, feeling shy and uncertain for the first time in decades. "Oh ya." She answered breathlessly. "Good, we better go, or were going to be late for the picture."


Spike put his arm around her shoulders, holding her close to him as they walked the last two blocks to the theater. Buffy followed them until they disappeared inside the theater. She then turned around, heading straight to Giles'.

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