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Disclaimers: Joss Whedon and ME own it all, too bad says I. Jess Matthews and others are mine.
Spoilers: None whatsoever. Will be slightly angst ridden but mostly a sappy, happy ending Song fic. Hope it works lol.
Distribution: Near Her Always and Willow's Lil Secret
Pairings: B/T, W/J
Feedback: It keeps writers going,good,bad or otherwise. So yes please!
A/N: I have not been in the closet for 20 years, except for my C/W addiction lol.Some music artists will be mentioned, but the title comes from Jeff Healey's song of the same name. My eternal thanks to those writer's who inspire my muse, and all the fans who eternally feed it. Thanks Also to my personal fave Terri Clark for No Fear, Jo Dee Messina for Bring on the Rain and of course Jeff Healey for Angel Eyes.
Rating: R for language, some violence and woman to woman smoochies. If it's not for you go somewhere that is else or get over it!


Angel Eyes





" See ya later Tara." Jess said as she hit the bottom of the manse's stairs. " Hey Jess, where you off too?" Tara inquired, as she finished the dinner dishes. " Gotta go to work, Tare." Jess replied offhandedly. Tara cocked her head in her friends direction, Jess's tone was off somehow. As though she was lost deep in thought.

Tara was worried, Jess had been preoccupied for weeks now, she was afraid it was going to get her best friend, or possibly her lover Buffy hurt, or worse killed while they were on patrol. Tara decided it was time to take the bull by the horns so to speak. " Jess, can we talk before you go?" " Uhh, sure Tara. What's up?" Jess stopped in midstride and turned to face the beautiful blonde she considered a sister. Jess took a quick peek from under her long sooty lashes, and knew she was in for trouble, Tara had the dead serious look Jess had come to dread. It meant Tara was going to ask questions Jess would rather avoid.

Tara led the way out to the sitting room, Jess took the club chair while Tara settled into the love seat." Umm so where's Buffy and Willow?" Jess inquired, hoping to forestall or avoid altogether the questions she knew were headed her way. While she knew what Jess was trying for, Tara decided to answer her question." They needed some best friend time, so they went for mochas, they should be home soon." Both of them were unware that the two young women in question were coming up the walk, and could hear everything from the open window.

"Tare, can I ask you something? Does it ever bother you how close Buffy and Wills are?" Sapphire eyes locked onto violet. " Bother me? Jess why would it? If it weren't for her friends, Buffy probably wouldn't be as successful as she has been at slaying and staying alive as she has. I thank the Goddess for that everyday." Jess's chin dropped to her chest as she realized she had so gone in the wrong direction to avoid what she didn't want to talk about.

Willow and Buffy looked at each other and wondered whether to continue on into the house, or leave quietly and come back later. This sounded pretty serious. Then Jess's next question reached their ears, and both women froze to the sidewalk.

" Tara, what did it feel like when you fell in love with Buffy?" Tara's eyes narrowed at that question, a thought she herself had been trying avoid began worming it's way through her conscious brain once again. **Goddess, I hope that question isn't going where I think, or there's bound to be heartache following it.** Tara had noticed glances Jess had been trying to hide while Willow was in the room with them, the past few months it had happened alot more often.

" Why?" Tara couldn't stop herself from asking. Jess sent her a mute plea, her normal tanned olive skin flushed a deep pink.The look in her eyes begging Tara not to go there just yet.Tara gave a sigh, then her eyes took on a faraway look as memory took over. " It was so many things, wonderful, exciting, freeing. No one had ever made me feel like that. I felt as though I could take on the world and win..." "Ummm, was it scary at all?" Jess quietly cut Tara off.

Buffy and Willow were seated on the porch swing by now, both knew they shouldn't be eavesdropping, but like the deer in the headlights frozen in place, neither was able leave.

" I mean you didn't even know if she liked girls at all, for hell's sake she dated Angel, and that soldier dude. I mean you always knew you were lesbian, but Buffy seemed so, I don't know...." Jess trailed off. " Straight?" Tara offered. " Yea I guess." Came from Jess softly.

" Jess, what's this all about? Are you upset that Buffy and I are together?" Jess's head snapped up as she heard the hurt seeping into Tara's voice. " No, no Goddess no Tara. I'm so happy you two found each other, you two fit like I don't know, parts of a puzzle I guess." Tara got up and settled herself on the arm of Jess's chair.

Running her fingers softly through long ebony waves Tara considered her next question, " Jess, who is it? Who's had you so preoccupied for weeks now?" Tara knew with a certainty that the answer would change everything for some of them.
Buffy turned to look at Willow and was surprised to see what looked like jealousy stain her features. Buffy shook her head, ** Naw why would Wills be jealous of Jess? Unless it's cause she doesn't have anyone yet?** Both heads snapped to the window as a name floated out to them.

Jess's hands twisted in her lap, she felt like she was watching the train coming and she couldn't get off the tracks. Drawing a ragged breathe she said, " Willow, it's Wills. Oh god Tara what am I gonna do?" Tara's heart ached for her young friend, this was worse than she had thought. She gently wrapped her arms around Jess's shoulders. The next question slipped out before she could stop it. " Are you going to tell her?"

Jess leapt from the chair as though hit by a cattle prod. " Tell her?How can I tell her? Even if by some miracle she turned out to be at least bi, what the hell would I say? Excuse me Willow, but I'm falling for you. Does it bother you I might be dead next week? Oh yea and I have absolutely nothing to offer you but hey what the hell huh!" Jess was pacing rapidly, her voice rising as she ranted.

Outside the window Willow and Buffy looked at each other, Buffy had watched as Willow had gone deathly pale at mention of her name. Then her face had gone redder than her hair, Buffy didn't know that was possible till now. She gently placed a hand on her friend's shoulder, " Wills? You ok?" Buffy whispered. Willow nodded her head yes, any answer she might have vocalized cut off by the sound of Tara' s voice.

" Jess? Jess!" The ebon haired slayer stopped her frantic pacing at the command in her friend's tone. Refusing to look at Tara, Jess's eyes scanned the carpeting, the walls, her own feet. " Playing Devil's advocate here. Why do you think you have nothing to offer Willow?" Tara needed to know what Jess was thinking so she could help.

Jess gave a disbelieving snort at that. " Hmmm let's see, I'm a slayer with a lifespan approximately somewhat longer than your common housefly's. So guess that mean's forever is out. I barely finished grade five, I'm sure Willow would wanna be with someone that dumb....." " Jess you're not..." Jess waved a hand to silence Tara. " Tara at best I have street smarts, if I didn't I'd already be dead, but no way no how does that make me good enough. I mean look at my job, Willow's gonna get offers from every software company in the world. Oh yea honey does it bother you I work in a bar? Shit Tara, look at me and tell me I have anything to offer someone as beautiful, smart, sweet and sexy as Willow Rosenberg!"

Jess's shoulders slumped as the rest of what she was going to say died on her lips. " It's a moot point now anyway, once you tell Buffy she'll have to tell Willow." Tara felt her heart break at the resignation, bitterness and mostly pain that filtered through her friends words. " Jess....if you don't want me to say anything I won't." Tara was very uncomfortable with keeping something this important from Buffy, but Jess was already hurting too badly for Tara to want to make it worse.

On the porch Willow came out of her shock at everything she had just heard long enough to turn to Buffy. Her eyes like saucers, Buffy understood why Tara would offer to do that for Jess, but that didn't make it hurt any less. Then they heard what Jess was saying, and their admiration for the young woman's sense of honor went up another notch.

" Tara no you can't keep this from Buffy, I wish to hell you could, but keeping secrets is wrong. I don't ever wanna be a reason for any trouble in your relationship. Sides I know that it would destroy you to do that, you are one of the most honest people I know. I will just have to deal when Buffy and/or Xander try to rip me apart for wigging out Willow."

Jess swiped at eyes stinging with unshed tears, " Tare I gotta go or I'm gonna be late for work! Can we finish this later?" Tara reached for her friend and wrapped her in a strong embrace, " Sure sweetie whenever you want." With that Jess wheeled and flew out the front door, long legs carrying her to the harley at the end of the walk. She threw a leg over, kicked the engine into a growling roar and was gone. Her helmet forgotten, and not even noticing the two on the porch.

~~~~~~~~

Buffy turned to face Willow as the motor cycle sped from view. " Wills? Willow? Are you ok?" The stunned red head looked at her best friend, " Buffy am I dreaming? Or did all that just really happen? " " Umm yea it happened all right, do you wanna talk about it?" Buffy was worried, normally Willow would be in full babble mode by now. Whenever she was nervous or upset, she couldn't seem to stop, but now she had gone totally quiet.

" I, I need to go inside, I need to think. My brain is spinning." " Maybe we should talk to Tara, she knows Jess better than we do." Buffy suggested as she slung an arm around her bud's shoulders, and led her to the door. The redhead shuffled along lost deep in thought.

Tara tried to compose herself as she heard the front door open then close. " Hey sweetie, hey Will. How did the best friend time go?" Tara stopped dead as she came around the corner and caught sight of her lover and friend. One look at the two young women and she knew something was very wrong. " Oh Goddess, Buffy, Willow what happened were you attacked? Are either of you hurt?" Tara broke off as she could see no obvious injuries.

Buffy couldn't quite look her lover in the eye, " No Tare, not attacked." Tara took in the guilty flush on her lover's face, then flinched as Willow raised confusion filled eyes to hers. " Oh Gods no, you heard?" Buffy stepped towards her lover, eyes still downcast. " Yea Tara, we did. We didn't mean to listen, but we just couldn't make ourselves leave." Tara heaved a huge sigh, " Maybe it's for the best this way." The two lovers turned to Willow as they thought they heard her say something, but to low for either of them to catch.

" Wills did you say something sweetie?" Buffy inquired. Willow looked at her two friends, both of whom had worried looks on their faces. Tara took a short step back as Willow turned emerald eyes like lasers on her. Tara felt as though Willow was trying to read her very soul at that moment. The tone in which the question was delivered though, was very much that of a child seeking reassurance. " Did she mean it?"

Buffy stepped towards her best friend and opened her mouth to say something, when she felt a soft hand on her upper arm reigning her in. Willow's eyes never left Tara's, as she repeated the question. " For as long as I've known her, I've never seen her so serious about anything." Tara replied softly.

Willow released a breathe she was not even aware she was holding at the answer. Then with the suddeness of a long dormant volcano erupting the babble spewed forth. " Oh Goddess, I have to tell her, but what do I say? How do I say it? When should I tell her? Oh I have to tell her right away! I need you two to go with. I need support just in case. What do I do if she gets upset? Oh Gods!" Willow wound down as oxygen once more was an issue.

Buffy and Tara had stood dumbfounded at this stream of ultra babble. Tara's hand tightened at Buffy's waist. She turned somewhat glazed eyes to her lover, " How does she do that, and did you actually understand any of it?" Tara inquired with her half smirk. Shaking her head slightly Buffy looked at her best friend as she replied, " Don't know, and yes I got some of it I think?" Tara giggled at that.

" Willow, what do you have to tell Jess? Are you sure right now is a good time? Whatever it is can't it wait till tomorrow?" Buffy's mouth dropped as she realized she had just descended into babble mode herself. ** Gods, it's contagious.** She could feel Tara's body shaking lightly as she tried to contain her laughter. " Hey no laughing at me! Or your gonna be cut off babe." Buffy teased. Tara gave another giggle and stuck her tongue out.

Buffy turned back to Willow," So Wills what do you need to talk to Jess about?" " Ummm, Buffy promise you won't get mad at me? I need to talk to Jess first, but I promise you and Tara will be the first to know, no matter what happens." Buffy goggled at Willow she had never heard such resolve in her friends voice before. " Sure Wills, if that's what you want. You know I'd never get mad at ya."

The young wiccan gave a small sigh of relief, " Does that mean you and Tara will come with me?" Buffy glanced at Tara and received a tiny nod of acquiesence. " Of course we'll go. When did you want to leave?" " Give me 15 minutes, I just need to change k?" With that Willow ran up the stairs to her room.

The petite blonde relaxed into her taller lover's embrace. She turned worry filled hazel eyes to gaze into equally worried sapphire. " Tare, what now? I'm great at the slaying stuff, not so hot with the emotional things." Tara turned Buffy to face her, then leaned down and brushed her lips with a feather light touch. " The only thing we can do sweetie, just be here for both of them. No matter what comes next just be their friends like always."

Both gave small sighs as they curled on the couch to wait for their redheaded friend.

~~~~~~~

Willow was flying by the time she entered her room, this was like the buzz from a thousand mochas all at once. As she rarely drank and even more rarely got drunk, and drugs scared the hell out of her, mochas and their caffeiny goodness were her drug of choice. This was different though she didn't have the shakes, but it felt as though every nerve was electrified. Standing still was almost an impossibility as she paced her room trying to decide what to wear.** Goddess, she likes me, but I don't understand why? She told Tara I'm sexy and beautiful, but she must be crazy cause soooooo not.**

As Willow was going through her drawers she caught a glance of her reflection. Raising her eyes and looking straight into the mirror she reached up and drew her fingers over her image, "What is it she sees? Or thinks she does? Cause I just don't get it." She muttered softly to herself. Turning away from the mirror and her own confusion momentarily, she once again began a search for something to wear.

~~~~~~

Buffy stopped her pacing and asked Tara if she wanted something to drink while they were waiting. When she received a no she headed to the kitchen for a bottled water. Tara was meanwhile thinking about the night so far and wondering if they weren't all going to be in for a shock one way or the other. Just then she heard Willow call softly for her and Buffy from the top of the stairs, so she walked out into the hall.

Buffy came around the corner just raising the water to her mouth when she saw her lover frozen at the bottom of the steps, her eyes glued to whatever she was seeing. " Honey? What's up?" Her head swiveled to see what Tara was looking at just as she took a big gulp of water.The water promptly jetted out her nose and mouth as she swallowed the wrong way in sheer surprise. Coughing till her eyes started to water as Tara came out of her trance long enough to rub her back, Buffy couldn't take her eyes off her best friend.

Tara gave a low chuckle in Buffy's ear, " I think someone plans to bag her very own slayer tonight!" Willow had come half way down the stairs when Buffy had started to choke now she looked like a startled rabbit that wanted to bolt back to it's hidey hole. " Buff, you ok? Ummm do you two think this is too much? Maybe I should go change? Something with longer sleeves, or not so tight." Willow turned and Buffy vaulted the stairs and grasped her arm. " Nope! No way Wills you look great! Besides we don't wanna get there too late do we?"

" Tara don't you think Willow looks really good?" Buffy shot a pleading look at her lover, she knew if her friend went upstairs now she would lose her nerve for whatever she had planned. " I can honestly say I have never seen her look more uuumm hot." Tara mumbled the last word. Willow looked at her as her own eyes popped, " Hot? Buffy did she just say hot?" Unable to answer Buffy just nodded yes.

Willow for the second time tonight was struck silent as the two lovers walked her to the car between them. Finally they got on the road. As Tara drove Buffy leaned over and whispered in her ear, " Poor Jess isn't gonna know what hit her." Tara glanced quickly in the rear view mirror, then replied in a throaty whisper," One look at Willow I don't think she'll care." She smiled her little half smile and returned her eyes to the road.

~~~~~~~~~

Fifteen minutes later they pulled up to a well lit two story building just outside the city limits. Surrounded by a huge gravel parking lot on three sides. A medium sized neon sign read Wendy's. Willow and Buffy stared at the very different mix of vehicles, Harley's, Beemers, Suv's and rust buckets filled the entire space. "Tara, what is this place?" Willow asked. " This is where Jess works." Tara replied with a small smirk.

" What kind of bar is it though? It certainly seems to attract a mixed crowd." Buffy stated. Tara gave them a quick rundown as they approached the front doors." It's a Family bar, they have different types of music every night to please all types." Willow gave her a quizzical look." Family bar?" Tara chuckled somewhat evily, " It's mostly gay men and women hence Family. Although straight people are welcome here too." Buffy and Willow exchanged a quick glance.

Two very large muscle boys guarded the doors and took the $2 cover charge. Both broke out in wide smiles as Tara walked up arm in arm with Buffy, with Willow walking beside them. " Hey Tara come to hear Cat tonight?" One asked. " Sure did Richard, I'd like you to meet my partner Buffy and our good friend Willow." Both bouncers stepped forward and shook hands, the second one Tom got a funny look on his face when he saw Willow. As the women entered the bar Willow was sure she heard the one named Tom say, " Dick do ya think that was Angel Eyes?" She never did hear the other's reply.

~~~~~~

It was very apparent as they moved into the bar proper that tonight was country and western night, cowboy hats and boots were the norm as well as jeans, chambray shirts and many string ties.For some of the women it was long, short and every length between denim skirts and more. Buffy and Willow felt somewhat out of place until Tara pointed out quite a few others dressed similarily to themselves.

Willow took in the huge dance floor in front of the stage ringed by leatherette covered half circle benches and very sturdy wooden tables. The lighting was low but comfortable. Just then they heard Tara's name called out from a table almost directly across from the stage.

Tara looked over and waved, " C'mon you two ya gotta meet Caro and Tessa, their a real trip." Willow and Buffy followed obediently in her wake. When they reached the table they were cheerfully greeted by a shorthaired stocky brunette, and a gorgeous raven haired woman with eyes almost as blue as Tara's.

The brunette quite blatantly checked out Buffy and Willow, then practically purred at Tara," Hmmmmm nice taste in women Tare, first Jess now these two. Any more surprises up your sleeve?" She gave a low chuckle, then a loud ow as Tessa slapped her upper arm. "That didn't hurt ya big baby and stop teasing Tara's friends, at least till they know you better." She gave a low husky laugh at the looks exchanged by the two women.

" Don't mind Caro you two she loves to tease new people." That said she introduced her lover and good friend,to the two sitting watching. Caro then apologized to Buffy and Willow and scooted over to make room for them to sit down. Willow had been scanning the interior and had not yet spotted Jess.

" Tara, I don't see Jess anywhere. Are you sure she's here?" Willow inquired softly. Caro started to answer her when a look from Tara stopped her, apparently the blonde was planning something. " She's here Willow I am sure we will see her soon, don't worry."

Buffy leaned over and whispered in her lover's ear while Willow was distracted, " Sweetie what's going on? You have that sexy little I know something you don't grin." Tara just smiled wider and told Buffy she would have to wait and see, Buffy settled back in her seat with a small hhhmmphh.

The waitress came over and took everyone's drink order and promised to be back promptly. Just then the MC came on stage to re-introduce that nights performer. " Ladies and Gentleman, welcome to Wendy's. For those of you that were here earlier your fave is back. For those that have just arrived may I present Cat!" As a spotlight hit the stage, and the lights were lowered just a little more, the crowd started a thunderous round of applause, and the continuous chant of Cat, Cat, Cat.

Willow turned to Tara." Wow who is this Cat? She must be something else." Willow had to shout to be heard. Tara looked at the beautiful redhead next to her and replied, " See for your self." A huge grin broke on her face as Willow turned towards the stage and saw "Cat" appear. Almost sliding off the bench in shock she stared at Jess.

Buffy leaned over and whispered that she didn't know her lover had such an evil streak and she kinda liked it. Tara just shot her a leer.

Willow was mesmerized at the sight of the gorgeous young woman on stage, and shivers slid down her spine as Jess began to speak. Her smoke and whiskey voice reaching right inside her.

" Evening everyone. Ok thank you now sssshhhh." Jess made quiet down gestures with her hands and the crowd started to settle. " Glad to see all the regulars here and welcome to all the folks that haven't been here before." She barely glanced over the crowd as she softly strummed her guitar. " Ya'll ever have one of those days, if it's gonna go wrong it does and there's nothing you can do but pray tomorrow will be better. This first song say's it best." Her band started playing softly behind her as she began to sing.

Another day has almost come and gone
Can't imagine what else could go wrong
Sometimes I'd like to hide away somewhere and lock the door
A single battle lost but not the war (cause)

Tomorrow's another day
And I'm thirsty anyway
So bring on the rain

It's almost like the hard times circle round
A couple drops and they all start coming down
Yeah, I might feel defeated,
I might hang my head
I might be barely breathing- but I'm not dead

Tomorrow's another day
And I'm thirsty anyway
So bring on the rain

I'm not gonna let it get me down
I'm not gonna cry
And I'm not gonna lose any sleep tonight

Cause tomorrow's another day
And I am not afraid
So bring on the rain

As the last word of the Jo Dee Messina song trailed off the crowd applauded softly, this was not a song you cheered you just respected the pain it spoke of. Willow's eyes were filled with tears she wouldn't let escape, Jess had sounded so sad as she sang it made the young wiccan want to burst into tears.

She turned to Tara," So this is what Jess does? But she's wonderful how could she be ashamed of this? " Tara wordlessly shook her head unable to answer. Buffy just sat in awe, none of them had known Jess held this kind of talent, Giles was gonna be in heaven when he found out.

As the applause stopped Jess addressed the crowd once more. "Ok I promise no more sad stuff, now ya'll ready to rock this joint for the next half hour?" The yell in response was deafening. Jess launched into some Allan Jackson, followed by Martina, Faith, Shania, Tobey Keith and a host of others. She had the crowd eating out of her hand.

The five young women at the center table were bopping along, Buffy and Willow just cause they couldn't help themselves, neither would say they were fans of country. Having a close friend who had an awesome voice helped.

As Jess announced her last song before the break, Willow stood and excused herself. Buffy gave her a look, which Willow shrugged off with a smile." I'm just gonna freshen up Buff be right back k?" Buffy gave her a smile and went back to her girlfriend's very soft lips.

Before she walked off she looked at Caro. " How did she get the nickname Cat?" Caro raised an eyebrow and explained, " When Cat, I mean Jess first started here all the women took a liking too her. One night one of them said that Jess reminded her of a large cat. The eyes and the way she moves, all quiet and kinda gliding ya know? Well it stuck and ever since then she goes by Cat, I mean here at least." Willow gave her a smile and thanked her then headed off. Caro turned to her girlfriend, " Babe if that ain't Angel eyes I'll eat my bandana!" Her girlfriend stared at Willow's retreating back. "Hon, for once I am not gonna bet against you."

~~~~~

Willow's head was filled completely by thought's of Jess as she strode across the bar. ** Or maybe I should say Cat.** A small giggle escaped her at that. Her mind's eye could not let go of that first sight of Jess onstage. Long lean muscular thighs encased in well worn denim. The white chambray sleeveless shirt that caressed her curves, and was undone for the first three buttons, showing off tanned cleavage. Willow gave a slight involuntary gasp as that image filled her head.

She was so lost in thought she never saw the eyes that followed her, nor the owner of those eyes get up and trail her.

~~~~

Jess thanked her audience as she finished her last song. Then she jumped off the stage and headed straight for the bar, she never noticed her friends at the table. She was lost in memory of the talk her and Tara had earlier.
Tara and Buffy decided to go let Jess know they were here, and order more drinks for the table. Tessa assured them they would hold the table. They walked off arms wrapped around each other.

~~~~

Jess had gotten her Corona and was trying to avoid giving her boss Wendy an answer as to what was bothering her. Wendy was the best to work for and you could rely on her if you needed to talk, but Jess didn't want to discuss what was on her mind with anyone right now. Just as she was gonna blow Wendy off with another excuse, one of the regulars came running up. Mickey was a tiny, cute as a button, dirty blonde. Right now though she was in a major panic.

" Jess! Jess! Come quick Bryn's got some women trapped in the bathroom, and she's pretty drunk!" Buffy and Tara were just approaching and overheard. Jess gave a low growl, " Bloody Hell ! How many times do I have to tell her to leave women in here alone." "Jess ya better hurry, the redhead looked plenty scared!"

Jess froze at that as Willow was the first person she thought of, but it couldn't be she didn't even know where Jess worked. " Ok, Mickey keep your shirt on I'm gonna go take care of Bryn once and for all." Jess headed for the ladies at a run.

Tara and Buffy shared a startled look. " Omg, it's gotta be Willow!" They said almost in sync. They both ran for the bathroom.

~~~~~

Jess fought her way through the gawkers that always seemed to materialize when violence was gonna happen. Jess was disgusted by Bryn's treatment of other women, but she still had to be careful. Too much slayer strength and she'd end up in jail for murder. She burst through the door and yelled at everyone to clear out.

Bryn had the poor woman backed against the far wall and was looming over her. Jess couldn't even catch a glance as the mirrors were tiny and not positioned right. Also when Bryn stood in front of someone you could'nt see them for Bryn's enormous size. She reminded Jess of that football player William ' The Refridgerator' Perry. At 5'11" and 250 pounds of solid muscle, Bryn pretty much scared everyone. Jess wasn't afraid only because of her speed and strength.

" Ok Bryn back the Hell off right now! Ms. are you ok?" Jess almost hit the floor in shock, when the woman answered her. " I am now that you're here Jess." "Willow????" Jess shouted. " Yeah Jess, it's me can you help please?" The sound of fear now tempered by relief tore at Jess, no way was this bitch gonna hurt her Willow.

Bryn turned to look over her shoulder at the constant thorn in her side. " Well, well it's Ms. knight in shining armour. Get your own girlfriend and leave me and my new friend here alone Cat, or your gonna regret it."

Jess was frozen, if she wasn't very careful Willow could get badly hurt. But if she didn't do something soon well what she would face would be a thousand times worse.

Bryn must have been holding willow's wrists and tightened her grip as she let out a yell of pain. That jolted Jess, " Bryn if you don't let her go I am gonna have to hurt you!" The huge woman let go of Willow and turned around slowly, but because of her bulk Willow was still trapped behind her. " Just what do you think you are gonna do Cat? I am going to swat you like the annoying flea that you are!" Bryn roared.

Before either combatant could move a voice came from behind Jess. " Need some help with this ape Jess?" Buffy's voice was colder than ice. Bryn got one good look at the petite blonde and let out a nasty laugh. " Girl I could use you for a toothpick, Jess don't have a hope in Hell. You want to help her go for it."

As Buffy started to move past Jess, she was stopped by the rage in Jess's voice. " Buffy I don't need your help but I will need you to get Wills outta here, once I move the ape as you so aptly put it." " Alright Jess it's your show." Buffy waited for Jess to make her move.

Without a sound the huge woman sprang at Jess, her speed was astonishing for one so large and she caught Jess totally off guard. Jess turned her head aside at the last second, if the blow had of connected it would have broken her neck. As it was her knuckles slid off Jess's left cheekbone, digging a furrow with the ring Bryn was never without. Jess snarled at the sharp pain as she hefted Bryn and tossed her into one of the stalls.

Having learned already Jess never took her eyes off Bryn trying to get out of the stall. She just tossed instructions to Buffy over her shoulder. " Buff, is Tare here?" Her friend answered, " Yea, I'm here." " Great the two of you get Willow back to your table, cleaning up this mess ain't gonna take long." She never once turned to see if Willow was ok, she knew their friends would watch out for her and she had some garbage to put out.

Bryn came out of the stall with a bellow, but this time Jess was ready for her. She ducked the other woman's rush, and spun into a sidekick that caught the big woman right in the gut. Bryn went flying out the door and hit the far wall. Before Jess could reach her she was already up on her feet. Jess's rage made her lose her focus, the bigger woman grabbed her and threw her headlong onto the dance floor.

As Jess skidded to a stop in the middle of the floor, she did a kip up and was once again facing Bryn. The larger woman eyed her as she gave a hoarse cough, " Ok ya got some cute little moves Cat, but once I finish with you, I am gonna tie your little blonde friend into a pretzel, then finish getting to know that sweet little redhead."

Willow wanted to help Jess but Buffy held her back. " Wills don't distract her. She needs to do this." Willow turned her back on the floor, she couldn't watch especially if Jess got hurt. Buffy and Tara kept an eye on the action.

Jess lost all reason at Bryn's threat and rushed the bigger woman. No one could make out exactly what she was saying as her voice had dropped to husky growl at this point, but Bryn's eyes went wide then narrowed. She tried to get out of the smaller woman's path, but it was as if Jess had become a heat seeking missile. She did a 180 flip over Bryn's head and shot out a foot that caught Bryn right under the jaw as she turned. Bryn's head snapped back, her eyes crossed and she hit the floor.

Jess launched a brutal kick into her ribs as she yelled at her, " When a woman says No she means No! If you ever lay your filthy hands on one of my friends again I Will break you in half! Especially if you ever even think about going near my Willow again! Am I clear?" When Bryn just looked at her out of dazed eyes, Jess wrapped her fist in the collar of the other's shirt and shook her violently. " I said are we clear?" She shouted in her face. Bryn just nodded as her voice and her jaw wouldn't allow her to answer. Jess dropped her on the floor and wiped her hands on her jeans as though they were covered in slime.

As Dick and Tom approached Jess handed them a $20 dollar bill. " Pour this creep in a cab, even I wouldn't let her walk out here at night." The two got Bryn under the arms and dragged her out.

~~~~

Tara alerted Willow that it was over and Jess appeared to be fine. Willow turned around and faced the floor, she wanted to rush out and hug Jess, but then her shy self made an appearance. So she stood and waited for Jess to make her way to them.

Her mind awhirl Jess walked in the general direction of where she knew the others would be, her head was down as she tried to figure out why tonight of all nights Buffy and Willow were here. She was pretty sure Willow wouldn't want to be anywhere near her if she knew the truth, so what were they doing here. She'd have to play it cool for now, make sure the redhead was ok.

Eyes on the floor she strode towards the others, then something caught her eye. **Hmmm, nice legs.** She thought as her eyes slowly took in the sight before her, long legs covered in black denim that was tight enough to qualify as wet paint. Tight slender thighs, and really toned abs. Jess tried to look away, what would Wills think if she saw her checking out some woman. It was useless though her eyes were drawn back to what she was seeing. As her eyes raised to waist level Jess inhaled sharply, the denims were hip huggers, and the woman had to be wearing a cropped top cause there was much flesh to be seen. ** Mmmm nice flat stomach, cute belly button too.** A small grin escaped at that.

Buffy and Tara watched as Jess unknowingly checked out there best friend's body, it took everything not to break into laughter at the expression on her face. They watched in anticipation of what would occur when she finally looked all the way up.

Willow could feel the heat rising as Jess lazily perused her body, a sharp jolt of arousal thrilled her at the smile on Jess's face. She couldn't move if her life depended on it, so she too waited for Jess to look up.

Jess's eyes slowly left the flat tummy and slender hips, and continued up. What she saw next stole her breathe away. The woman was indeed wearing a deep cranberry colored crop top. Sleeveless as well as a very low cut neckline which revealed a small but extremely appealing cleavage, and a hint of firm breasts. The skin was pure porcelin, with a scattering of freckles. At this point Jess could no longer look away she was mesmerised. ** Oh Gods, please please don't let Wills catch me doing this.** Then a voice penetrated the haze she was in.

Tara and Buffy were in such hysterics now that they had to sit down or fall down. Willow had been calling to Jess for at least a full minute now. Tara caught the small head shake as Jess came out of her daze, she nudged Buffy and whispered, " Wait for it this is gonna be priceless." The two sat motionless as they waited for Jess to realize who she was ogling.

Willow was dumbfounded, Jess was so entranced with her chest that she had not heard Willow call her name. Then it hit her ** Oh she is staring at my chest and can't look away, Yay me!** Willow started blushing at this naughty thought, or about as naughty as Willow ever got.

All three watched the flush rise up Jess's neck as she started to raise her eyes to the person calling her.**Goddess, I am sooooo busted. I can't believe Wills.......** The thought trailed off as violet met emerald and Jess's jaw headed for the floor. " Wil W Willow?!" Neither young woman heard their two friends crack up at the look on Jess's face.

Jess turned brick red as she realized she had been checking out Willow all this time, then she went deathly pale cause Buffy was gonna maim her if not outright kill her. " Wow Wills, I mean ummm you really look nice, umm oh gods Wills I am soooooo sorry I, I oh crap just shoot me now please." Jess's chin dropped to her chest waiting for Willow or one of the other two to lay into her.

Then she heard a small voice, " Do you really like what I'm wearing?" Jess's head snapped up to look Willow right in the eyes. She knew if she blew the young woman off with some half hearted nicety it would destroy what was left of her ego, but if she told the truth it would probably destroy the friendship. Jess heaved a huge sigh and opted for the truth. " Willow you look amazing, I am sure you have given every woman in here fantasy material for at least a year."

Jess was sure she had died at some point or this was a wonderful dream, as she took in what the redhead said next, " I was kinda hoping for just one woman to notice." Willow blanched as she realized what she had just said. Even Buffy and Tara could not move as they watched things unfold. In her head though Buffy was telling her best bud to go for it.

Jess locked gazes with the gorgeous woman in front of her. " Wills you know don't you? That's why you're all here tonight? Was it.." She glanced at Tara. Shaking her head no, Willow explained what had happened, how her and Buffy had overheard it all. Blushing furiously she apologized for evesdropping. She was surprised when Jess just smiled. " Aren't you upset?" " Naw, how can I be it was no one's fault. Also Tara didn't have to be the one to tell ya both."

Then Jess closed her eyes and called up her courage, she had to know if she had just misunderstood what Wills had said. She opened her eyes and looked at this woman she was so in love with she could see no one else. " Will color me clueless here, but I had a short list of options as to how this was gonna go when you found out. You showing up here dressed hot enough to melt a snowman in the middle of an arctic blizzard, while very much of a turn on and a favorite fantasy, not an option I had considered."

Willow's eyes shot wide open and she began to smile, " So what were these options?" She inquired as she took a couple of steps closer to Jess. Jess gulped as Wills got closer, close enough to touch and now her scent wafted over Jess, strawberries and something uniquely Willow. " Umm a) You freaked and never wanted to speak to me again.b) You had a mini-wig but said we could still be friends. And c) my personal fave but only in my dreams you said you felt the same."

Willow took that last small step right into Jess's personal space. "What about option d?" Jess blinked as she tried to respond, but she was having trouble breathing never mind thinking. Especially with Willow so close their bodies were almost touching." Uhh option d? What might that ...." Jess never finished the sentence as Willow closed the miniscule distance between their lips and kissed Jess.

Jess froze and then began to return the kiss out of pure instinct, as she had never been kissed before. Lips slid over lips softly, tasting, testing out new textures. Her hands having a mind of their own came up to lightly grasp Willow's slender waist and pull her even closer. Willow smiled into the kiss and slid one hand into Jess's silky hair, curling at the nape of her neck. Logical thought went out the window as the kiss went on, both girls were reacting now only to sensation. Soft lips, teasing little nips from teeth, the taste of strawberrys and coronas which somehow went together well.

Both pulled apart reluctantly as the need to breathe could no longer be ignored. Forehead to forehead they stood trying to calm their racing hearts and straining lungs. Jess broke the silence first," Wow, I gods I don't just wow!" Willow looked deep into her eyes and seconded that wow and raised her an intense. Both broke out in chuckles.Then Jess pulled back slightly and gazed once again into desire darkened eyes. " So if that was option d? Does that mean there's an option e?" Willow cocked her head as she took in the look in this beautiful girl's eyes, need, desire, and at this moment a touch of fear. What could she possibly be afraid of? " What would option e be?"

When no answer was forthcoming Willow asked again. " Jess, what is option e?" Jess replied in an almost soundless whisper," Both of the above, c and d, with lots of d." Willow took Jess's chin in her hand and raised her eyes to meet Willow's own. Her other hand still resting at the back of Jess's neck, she pulled Jess into kiss her again. Just before their lips met, she whispered, " E sounds really wonderful to me." She felt the sigh escape Jess, then lips met once again and the world faded away around them.

Neither of them had noticed at least ten minutes ago when Tara and Buffy had left for the dance floor, and Caro and Tessa were studiously ignoring them so they wouldn't be embarrassed. Both women were sure that the singer and her redhead didn't have a clue in any case.

Jess was slightly startled when she felt Willow's tongue playing along her lips, then she opened up and let her in. Willow went slowly to give Jess time to adjust, then smiled when the younger woman started sucking on her tongue. Someone let a low moan escape but neither knew which, and didn't really care right then. The kiss deepened, tongues dancing and mating, teeth nipping at tender lips. So to say Jess was startled when someone tapped at her shoulder would be somewhat of an understatement.

She whirled around and almost scared the hell out of poor Mickey, meanwhile Willow was still held safely in her arms and laid her head on Jess's shoulder. " Mickey what is it? Can't you see I am occupied right now?" The poor little blonde was quaking in her shoes. " Umm yea and I am really sorry Cat, but Wendy said to tell you it is time to start your last set." Jess just stared at her, her brain just would not compute. " My last set? Oh Hell my last set. Damn it!!! Willow sweetie I am so sorry but I gotta do this, half hour then I am done for tonight ok? Willow gave her a wistful smile then shooed her off.

All of a sudden Jess ran back to her." Willow I know what I told Tara tonight but I gotta ask anyway, do you wanna be my girlfriend?" The hope in her eyes was palpable. Then there it was full on Willow Grin, Jess was dazzled, " Does that mean yes?" Willow kissed her quickly. " It means Hell yeah, hurry and do your set I miss you already."


Jess practically did Xander's Snoopy dance all the way back to the stage. Buffy and Tara returned to the table laughing themselves senseless at the younger girls unrestrained glee. Then they began to bombard their witchy friend with questions. " So is she a good kisser?" From Buffy. " So are you gonna be my sister - in - law now?" This from Tara. Willow just gave them her big old grin. Buffy just about fell over," Oh my." Not understanding what was going on Tara asked." What oh my? Buffy?" Meanwhile Willow could not have stopped grinning if she had too under threat of torture.

Buffy looked at her lover and replied, " That is what is known affectionately as Willow Grin. Willow only ever does that when she is completely happy with her world and everything in it. From the width and brightness of that particular grin I would say yes to all of our questions and then some." Buffy gave her bud a huge hug and whispered to her," If that grin ever goes away I will cheerfully kill her for ya." Willow gave her a look of warning, " No hurting my girlfriend! Ever!" Tara and Buffy were speechless, they just smiled at Wills and both hugged her at once and offered their congratulations.

~~~~~

The MC introduced Jess for her last set. She looked down to where Willow and the others were sitting and broke out in a huge goofy grin. Willow just grinned back. Then someone in the audience shouted, "Hey Cat what happened?You been acting like you lost your best friend all night. Now your grinning like you just got lucky or something!" Much loud laughter followed this, because this young manand the rest had not seen Jess and Willow smooching and word had not yet made it all the way around the bar. Jess looked down and shouted out, " Wouldn't you just love to know Tad? Keep guessing dude!"

In a hurry to get back to Willow, Jess immediately swung into her first song. For the next half hour Jess raised the roof, her exuberance infected the entire crowd. Wendy was in great spirits cause when her star performer was happy, her customers enjoyed themselves more and of course the bar benefited.

Jess coaxed Tara up on stage to help out at one point. Needless to say Buffy and Willow were in stitches watching Tara play a lounge lizard to Jess's Shania singing If Your Not in it for Love ( I'm Outta Here). Their mouths fell open in awe though at how well the two danced together. The crowd gave Jess's ' Big Sis' a rousing round of applause after. Tara waved her thanks then got the hell back to her table and her lover. Buffy begged Tara to teach her to dance like that, Tara gave her an evil little grin and said maybe if she was very good.

Willow gave a sigh of relief when Jess announced that she was gonna be doing her last song of the night. She missed kissing her and having her near already, and had felt like the night was never gonna end. Then Jess called for quiet cause she had something to say before she did the song. The crowd fell silent as they watched the young singer pull up a chair for a minute.

" I have worked here for awhile now and I gotta tell you, all of you are amazing people.Before I never knew that people could watch out for each other the way you all do, and you have watched out for me too. Some of you have just watched me, you know who you are." Waves of laughter greeted that remark as true as it was. " I asked so many of you what your favorite saying or motto is, and most of you have the same one. Friends are the Family you choose for yourself. Well I didn't choose, but I am thankful they chose me. Now I'd like you to meet some of my Family who are here tonight."

" My big sis Tara who most of you know." Tara waved as applause broke out. " Her partner Buffy, who is a good friend as well as a sis-in-law I guess. Wave to the nice people Buff." Buffy stood and sketched a short bow and then waved, this earned her a round of laughs. Last but never least especially to me, c'mon stand up hon." Willow reluctantly stood, egged on by Buffy and Tara. " This is.." As people got a good look at the slender redhead Jess was drowned out by the muted roar, Angel Eyes it's Angel Eyes, over and over again. Willow stood there stunned. Buffy looked at Tara who just shrugged.

Jess had the good grace to look embarrassed as she tried to calm everyone down.Then someone called up to her as Willow sank into her chair, " Cat it is her isn't it? It's your Angel Eyes." Willow's gaze locked on Jess waiting for her answer. " Yea it's my Angel Eyes, except she usually goes by Willow." The crowd started cheering at this, then Willow was astounded at everyone yelling their congrats to her and Jess.

Jess finally got them to settle." The reason I introduced my family is because of this song, when I lose my faith and can't find any strength they are always there for me. I think you will get this better than anyone." She stated as she looked at her family, the people she loved and who loved her back. " This is one by my personal fave Terri Clark."

I want a road stretching out before me
I want a radio in my ear
I want a full tank of absolution
No Fear

I used to hit every wall there was
I used to run away from love
All I ever wanted was right here
But I had to reach way down inside
I had to have faith I'd find
No Fear

I want the world to just keep on turning
I want the dawn in my rearview mirror
I want to hear my own voice singing
No Fear
And when I need two arms around me
And there's no one near
When I'm alone let the only sound be
No Fear

I used to hit every wall there was
I used to run away from love
All I ever wanted was right here
But I had to reach way down inside
I had to have faith I'd find
No Fear

I want peace ,Love and Understanding
A stogie and an ice cold beer
Don't want to live afraid of dying
I used to hit every wall there was
I used to run away from love
All I ever wanted was right here
But I had to reach way down inside
I used to stay up all night long
Wondering what I was doing wrong
All I ever needed was right here

But I had to reach way down inside
I had to have faith I'd find
No Fear

The bar erupted as she finished the last chorus, when she looked over her family were clapping wildly and giving her the big thumbs up. Willow just smiled like the angel she so made Jess think of.

Jess thanked everyone for coming to Wendy's and said she would see them sunday for Rock and Roll revival night. Then she signaled to Willow she just had to put away the equipment then she would be there. She then went over and wrote out a note for the D.J Christophe, he looked at it and gave her a nod. With that Jess jumped off the stage.

Meanwhile Willow had turned those emerald eyes on everyone else at the table as she stood waiting for her girlfriend. " So can someone please explain about Angel Eyes, and why everyone in this bar but me seems to know what it means?" She looked first to her two friends, but neither of them knew what it was about. Caro had a smirk on her face, but it died as soon as those big green eyes turned her way. " If you know what that was about, please tell me."

Jess came up behind Willow and slid her arms around her waist and rested her chin on her shoulder. " Hey gorgeous." She whispered in her new girlfriends ear. Willow half turned in her arms to search her eyes with her own. " Hey what's wrong Wills why no smile?" " I need someone to tell me about Angel Eyes, please?"

Jess knew she had to tell her, she just hoped Willow didn't get upset with her. All of a sudden Caro spoke up. " I'll explain Willow. Remember I told ya earlier that when Jess first started here, all the women took a liking to her?" Willow just nodded yes. " Well it was more than that, practically all of them at one time or another hit on Jess." Willow's eyes darkened at that.

Caro raised a hand to try and placate her." Jess turned every single one of them down, she tried to be nice but some just wouldn't take no for an answer. So one night when this one woman was being real pushy, Jess told her there was only one woman she wanted. If she couldn't have her then she was gonna be alone for the rest of her life, cause no one came close to her." Willow turned to look at Jess again who just gave her a soft smile, then she turned back to Caro. " Is there more?"

" Yea this bit.. sorry this woman didn't believe her thought she was making it up. So Jess started describing her dream girl." She looked at Jess as if to say you want to do this part. Then Willow heard Jess's low husky voice behind her. " She's got silky hair like living fire, almost believe you'd burn your hands if you touched it, but it'd be worth it. The body of a goddess, curves in all the right places and then some. A smile that would melt the most frozen or hardest heart. Soft kissable lips, a really cute nose. But her eyes they are pools of emerald green you would gladly give your soul to drown in, they see right into you and you don't care as long as they are directed at you. She has the eyes of an angel."

Everyone stared at the young woman who had just stated in the only way she knew how, that she loved the redhead in her arms and always would. Willow turned to her tears running down her face, Jess reached up and softly wiped them away with her thumb. " That is why no one bothers me anymore, they know I have given my heart to the woman with the Angel eyes." Willow leaned forward and kissed Jess softly, but this was different from the ones before. This was about love, yes the passion and desire were there, but love overtook them all.

" That is how everyone knew you were Angel Eyes, cause the description was dead on." Caro finished quietly. Willow turned and smiled at her and thanked her for explaining. Then the D.J hit the music and everyone headed for the dance floor. Jess held out her hand to Willow, who slipped her own into Jess's. " Dance with me Wills?" "Everyday for both our lives." She smiled as Jess led her to the floor.

As she took her goddess in her arms she smiled and told her to listen to the next song carefully, cause she had always hoped to have someone to play this for. Then she gave Christophe the high sign.

Christophe announced a special request, " This song is for My Angel Eyes, my first, my last and my only. Love Cat." Everyone clapped softly at that. Jess looked at her woman and began to sing to her along with the Jeff Healey tune.

Girl, you're lookin' fine tonight,
And every guy has got you in his sights,
What you're doin' with a clown like me,
Is surely one of life's little mysteries.
So tonight I'll ask the stars above,
How did I ever win your love,
What did I do, what did I say,
To turn your Angel Eyes my way?

Well I'm the guy who never learned to dance,
Who never even got one second chance,
Across a crowded room was close enough,
I could look but I could never touch.
So tonight I'll ask the stars above,
How did I ever win your love,
What did I do,what did I say,
To turn your Angel Eyes my way?

Don't anyone wake me if it's just a dream,
Aw, she's the best thing that ever happened to me,
All you fellows, you can look all your life,
But this girl you see is leavin here with me tonight.

There's just one more thing I need to know,
If this is love why does it scare me so?
Must be something only you could see,
Cause girl I feel it when you look at me.
So tonight I'll ask the stars above,
How did I ever win your love,
What did I do, What did I say,
To turn your Angel Eyes my way.

The two young women swayed to the music, then Willow raised her head from Jess's shoulder." I think I should be singing that to you." She whispered as Jess's lips closed on hers. Then the world went away, and the two of them danced.
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The authors own nothing. Joss, UPN, WB, etc. own Buffy, the show, the characters, the places, and the backstory. The authors own any original plots.