Are You Okay? by Karen Upchurch
Summary: Percy catches up with Willow after she overhears him talking to Laurie.
Categories: Willow/Percy Characters: Percy, Willow
Genres: None
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes Word count: 1536 Read: 1317 Published: 09/07/03 Updated: 09/07/03
Are You Okay? by Karen Upchurch
Are You Okay?

by Karen U



Percy West wandered around the UC Sunnydale campus, determined to find Willow Rosenberg. He and Laurie had left last night's party before all the excitement occurred, but Percy had heard that it was Willow who found the body. He hadn't been able to squelch the almost overwhelming concern that had welled up in him when he found that out. Laurie, of course, made some snide remark implying that he cared for the redhead more than he did her, and Percy hadn't bothered to try to convince her otherwise.

It simply wasn't worth it.

Sighing, Percy stopped on the sidewalk, his eyes darting all round him, searching for the elusive redhead.

And then he saw her. She was alone, a fact that angered Percy. After all, she had found a dead body the night before. Shouldn't someone be with her?

"Rosenberg!" he called, surprised when she didn't stop. He'd seen her steps falter; he knew she'd heard him. "Rosenberg! Hey, Willow!"

Willow turned as she felt a hand on her shoulder. She knew exactly who it was; she'd seen him before he'd even called to her. She just didn't want to deal with him. Why the hell was he searching her out anyway? To make fun of her some more? With a frustrated sigh, Willow looked up at Percy.

"What?" she asked, startled by the concern in his eyes. What was going on? Had something bad happened that she didn't know about"

"I just... I heard about last night..."

Last night? Had he found out she'd overheard what he said to Laurie? No, that couldn't be it. The only people she'd told about that were Buffy, Xander, and Giles, and they weren't likely to mention it to him.

"What do you mean?" she asked cautiously.

"The body... I heard that you were the one who found it. Are you okay? Should you even be going to class today?"

"I'm fine. Don't worry about it," Willow replied turning to go.

"Wait!" Percy said as he grabbed her shoulders. He carefully turned her to face him, and he kept his hands on her, gripping her shoulders gently. "Are you sure you're okay? I mean, from what I heard..."

"It's not like I haven't found a body before," Willow murmured under her breath, but Percy still heard her.

She had found a body before last night? But when...

Sophomore year. It came to him in a flash. The kids that were found in the student lounge, slaughtered. He'd known Cordelia Chase found them - Cordy had been the most popular girl in school at the time, so everybody knew that - but he hadn't known what the name of the second girl had been. He was now certain that Willow was the second girl. That shocking revelation was followed by a second discovery that was almost equally as startling to the jock.

Sometime during his thought process, Percy had slid his hands down Willow's arms and was now holding her hands in his. Their fingers weren't intertwined or anything, he was simply gripping her hands, rubbing circles on the back of them with his thumbs. The contact wasn't much, but it felt right.

Which was weird.

Willow seemed to discover their hand predicament shortly after Percy did, and she would have stepped back in surprise if Percy hadn't tightened his grip slightly. She looked up at him, perplexed, then remembered what he had said to Laurie the night before.

{ What, Rosenberg? Yeah, right. She's just some egghead who tutored me a little in high school. I mean, she's nice, but come on. Captain of the nerd squad. }

Then right after that, when Laurie had persisted... what was it he'd said? Oh, yeah.

{ No, I like my women hot. Call me old fashioned. }

Percy saw the wall drop down over Willow's features and was nonplused. A moment ago, she had seemed as confused as he was, and now... nothing.

?Willow? Is there something wrong? Do you want me to walk you back to your dorm?? he asked, correctly assuming that her strange behavior had something to do with the night before.

Of course, he thought the "something" was the dead guy.

The look she gave him changed from indifferent to cold as she pulled her hands from his. "Are you sure you want to be seen with an egghead like me? People may think you're part of the nerd squad, what with me being the captain and all."

Damn.

Percy's words came flooding back to him, and he knew she'd heard him. He'd never meant for her to hear them.

He hadn't even meant them.

"I'm sorry," Percy said before Willow had the chance to run off.

She turned to glare at him.

"Sorry for what you said, or sorry you got caught?"

"Both," he whispered. He couldn't believe she'd heard what he'd said. He'd only said it to soothe Laurie; he hadn't meant to hurt Willow. Even at the time, he'd felt guilty about saying those things. He found himself fervently wishing he could take them back.

Willow laughed hollowly before commenting, "Well, at least you're honest."

"You should have never heard what I said."

"You should have never said it."

"I know."

Willow sighed and ran her hand through her hair. Percy ached to tuck the hair that had fallen in her face behind her ears, but he didn't dare. She'd probably send him flying five feet like she had in the Bronze that night so long ago.

"Look, Percy, we were never exactly friends back in high school, so why don't we go back to that? You know, pretend we don't know each other. Because we don't, not really."

"I don't think I can do that," he muttered, looking down at his shoes. "I don't think I want to."

Willow's brow furrowed as she took in what he said. "I don't get you, Percy."

"Yeah, well, the feeling's mutual, Rosenberg. I mean, you're supposed to be an annoying geek, but you're not. And then there was that whole throwing me across a pool table and nearly choking me to death thing."

"Which definitely improved your studies habits," Willow added absently, causing Percy to smile. She may still be mad at him, but she hadn't walked away. He still had a chance to fix things.

He didn't dare to dwell on why he felt the need to.

"Yeah, I guess it did. But then, after that, you were sweet and nice and all that again."

Willow nodded, then looked at Percy, biting her lower lip. "Percy, why did you say those things last night?"

"Laurie was jealous of you."

"Of me? Why?"

"What do you mean, why? She thought I was flirting with you."

"But why did she think that? I mean look at her, and then look at me. There's obviously no contest." She shrugged, then saw that Percy was staring at her. "What?"

"You're right; it is no contest."

"Gee, thanks-"

"You would win hands down."

"-as if I hadn't been insulted... What?"

Percy smiled sheepishly. "You would win hands down. And maybe Laurie saw that last night. I see it, too. It took me long enough to figure it out, but hey, I never was a quick study."

"Percy..."

"Hey, it's the truth. I know that much." He stared at his shoes, trying to figure out what to say next, not sure how she would react to the question he wanted to ask. She seemed okay now - a little embarrassed because of what he"d said maybe, but still okay - but five minutes ago she'd been pretty damn upset with him. After taking a deep breath, Percy finally spoke.

"Look, Rosenberg... um, Willow... I never really said thank you... you know, for helping me out last year. And I wanted to. Say thank you, that is."

"You're welcome."

"No! I meant that I wanted to, well, take you out to say thanks. Like, dinner or something."

"Dinner? With you?"

"Yeah. To say thank you, and to say I'm sorry..."

"Yeah, that's a flattering invitation. I feel guilty, so let's go out."

Percy covered Willow's mouth with his hand, forcing her to let him finish. "But mostly so I can get to know you better. If you want to."

Willow smiled slightly, and Percy took his hand away from her mouth. He watched as the redhead took out a slip of paper and scribbled something on it. She handed it to him. "My phone number. Why don't you give me a call, and we'll discuss the details. I'm late for my psychology class."

Percy watched her walk away, smiling.

A date with Willow. That was sure to be interesting.

He just hoped she didn't throw him across the table.


End.
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