Willow stared at her anatomy textbook, stifling a yawn.It was nearly midnight, and she should have memorized all the bones in the hand by. But she thinking about how useful anatomy would be for healing spells. Which made her think of magic, which made her think about Tara, and that brought her back to that whole big wheel of confusing thoughts spinning around her head.
“Willow, can you help with an assignment?”
Willow sat down on the bed next to Buffy. “Sure, what’s the problem?”
“I have to pick a novel for my Lit paper. Every single one I’ve tried is about stuffy British people being all stuffy about whose father worked as a chimney sweep, and the woman are all treated like they’re idiots, and it makes me all brain-hurty. Do you know if there’s anything better on the list?"
“Ok, I’ll see if I can find something.” She looked over the list. Wow, the professor really liked British comedies of manners. “Ooh, you should read Mr. Pim Passes By. It’s British, but it’s making fun of all the stuffiness. There’s this amazing woman in it who’s clever and witty and stands up for herself and solves everyone’s problems. I think I have a copy of it somewhere around here.”
She checked her bookshelf, and there it was, next to Milstein’s treatise on locator spells.
She handed it Buffy, and had a moment of minor triumph at picking out a book from that list that Buffy might actually like. And then it hit her how dorky it was to be pleased with herself for something like that. Captain of the nerd squad.
"Something on your mind? You’ve been kind of quiet tonight.”
Willow had an automatic "It’s nothing" response ready in her head. She really didn’t want to talk about Percy.
But maybe Buffy would have some advice about the other thing on her mind. Buffy was sophisticated. She'd lived in LA and had tons of dating experience. Buffy probably already knew all about how this attraction stuff worked and would have something pithy and insightful to say about it.
She sat down next to Buffy again. "Buffy, have you ever been attracted to a girl?"
Buffy looked a little puzzled. "Once or twice. Why are you asking?"
"So there's this girl who I like. And lately I think I might, not just like her, but like like her. I know she likes girls, but that doesn't mean that she likes me, cause hello, not exactly a guy magnet so why would girls be different? I don't know how to tell her, or if I should tell her, 'cause things could get weird if she doesn't feel the same way. And what if I only like thinking about being with a girl and not actually being with a girl?"
Buffy gave her that indulgent look she had when Willow was in full babble-mode. "Will, you can drop the cryptic. I get it."
Willow was still trying to figure out what that meant, when Buffy kissed her.
Willow's brain was sending off frantic signals that she should stop and explain the miscommunication, but the rest of her wasn’t listening. Willow breathed in he light floral notes of Buffy's perfume, and Buffy's natural scent underneath it. As Buffy pulled her closer, Willow traced the angles of Buffy's shoulder blades, then trailed her hand down to the small of Buffy's back.
They sat cuddling close, tender kisses gradually getting rougher. Finally Buffy tensed and pulled away a little. "We should stop."
“Um, okay.” Had she done something awful? Did she she get too grabby? Oh, this was bad. "I'm sorry."
"You didn't do anything wrong, Will. I just got caught up in the moment there. And then I started thinking about the two of us, and how all of our relationships have been doomed. And I started to think that if we both got together, it would be--"
"Mutually assured destruction. I know." If it was anyone else but Buffy, Willow might have felt jerked around, and suspected that was just a line to soften the rejection.
"I just don't want to lose my best friend,” Buffy said.
“I’m not going anywhere, Buff. Let’s get back to studying.” And let’s pretend this never happened.
Willow stared at the anatomy textbook. Things had gotten even more confusing in her head. But at least one thing was now clear: her attraction to girls was more than theoretical.