Why Willow/Xander ...|
Someone once said that friends make the best lovers. If there's
support for this statement on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, then it
surely lies with Willow and her best friend, Alexander Harris.
No exact date has been given as to when Xander and Willow first met,
but it dates at least as far back as their first day of Kindergarten
together, when Xander comforted a distraught Willow after she broke
the yellow crayon. What *is* known is that they spent practically
their entire childhoods together, forming a close bond over that time
that has lasted well into adulthood. Their only other friends up
until tenth grade were Jesse and Amy Madison. And, thanks to
decidedly poor family lives, the two were essentially alone in the
world (outside of each other) for most of their childhood.
A major shift in their relationship occurred when Willow and Xander
entered puberty, as Willow began to fall deeply in love with Xander,
who remained oblivious to both her feelings, and his own. Despite
this, Willow remained devoted to Xander, hoping that one day he'd
notice that his best friend was quickly becoming a very beautiful (if
horrifically shy) young woman.
Their lives changed again when they met Buffy Summers, the Vampire
Slayer, and began helping her save the world. Jesse died and was
turned into a vampire, which the two were able to deal with
surprisingly well, but Xander quickly became infatuated with Buffy,
who was in no way interested in a romance with Xander (and was, in
fact, trying to push her new friends together, with little success).
Romance nearly followed just prior to their junior year of high
school, but a vampire and the return of Buffy from her summer
vacation quickly ruined the chance for a Willow/Xander love affair.
As 1998 came along, Xander began a lusty relationship with Cordelia
Chase, the onetime object of Willow and Xander's mutual disdain. A
heartbroken Willow soon fell in love with Daniel "Oz" Osbourne, a
guitarist in the local band Dingoes Ate My Baby. Both relationships
developed with some level of normality (as far as can be had with
Sunnydale's resident Queen Bitch and a werewolf) until Willow was
nearly killed while attempting to restore the curse on Buffy's
boyfriend, the vampire Angel. As Willow lay in a coma, Xander
professed his love for Willow, only to have her call out for her
The incident was soon ignored by Xander, and their friendship
continued until the two decided to try on clothes for the Homecoming
dance in each other's presence. Willow and Xander kissed, and began
sneaking behind Cordelia and Oz's backs until they were eventually
caught. The incident nearly destroyed their friendship, and managed
to completely derail Cordy and Xander's relationship-in this world.
Cordelia's need for vengeance attracted the attention of the
Vengeance Demon Anyanka, a patron demon of sorts for scorned women.
Cordy's wish for Buffy to have never come to Sunnydale resulted in a
darker world where the Master was able to exit the Hellmouth and walk
the Earth again freely. Ironically, while Willow and Xander did die
in the resulting upheaval, they were reborn as vampires-who as much
in love with each other as they were evil. This alternate world was
eventually destroyed, and things returned to their normal course of
events, although Anyanka was now the human Anya Emerson.
Willow and Xander's friendship continued to crumble at this point, as
Xander lost his virginity to the rogue Slayer, Faith, again crushing
Willow when she eventually learned of the tryst. Willow deepened her
affair with Oz, eventually consummating the affair the night before
their graduation from high school, and Xander drifted off by himself,
eventually leaving Sunnydale for a summer.
The strained friendship between Willow and Xander further crumbled,
as Xander quickly entered a relationship with Anya upon his return to
Sunnydale, and Willow buried herself in her collegiate studies after
her breakup with Oz. At this point, Willow fell in love with another
woman, Tara, and Xander and Willow's friendship soon bottomed out (as
did both of their friendships with Buffy and Giles), thanks in part
to the interference of Spike.
However, Spike's gambit (done at the behest of ADAM, the Initiative's
Frankenstein-like creation) failed, and the four core Scooby Gang
members quickly rebuilt their friendships, Willow and Xander
included. Things became strained between the two again as Xander's
wedding plans with Anya progressed to their tragic conclusion, and
Willow became heavily addicted to magic. All was forgiven, though,
once Xander told a vengeful and grieving Willow that he loved her
just as she was about to destroy the world.
As a fanfic writer, there's certainly a lot to work with in regards
to Willow and Xander, both in the past, and in the future. They have,
and continue to, love each other very much. It's not a stretch of the
imagination by any measure to see their freindship growing into a
full blown romantic affair. However, there are a number of things one
must keep in mind. They include:
1) *Never* discount Willow and Xander's previous lovers.
Many fics (especially those written when the "Tara is really a demon"
rumor was still alive and well) tend to dismiss Willow and Xander's
current love interest simply to ensure that the two are conveniently
single at the start of the tale at hand. Although there are
exceptions, taking the time to show the breakup in question is always
a good idea. Another recommended step for writers dealing with the
current post-Tara state of affairs is to not dismiss Tara as an
"experiment" (more on this later).
2) Silly/funny/romantic/etc. memories from Willow and Xander's past
are your friend (and also your worst enemy).
Willow and Xander have goads of history. Use it. But use it *wisely*.
One memory per fic is a good standard. Just remember this: don't
overload the "major days" of their friendship (i.e., the first day of
Kindergarten and their 8th grade cotillion). Restraint is always the
better part of valor.
3) Buffy=The Voice of Reason.
Buffy loves both Willow and Xander. As such, she wants to see them
both happy. If your fic takes place in Seasons 1 or 2, Buffy will be
actively pushing for the two to get together. In later seasons, she
simply wants them to be happy, whoever they go out with. Plus, given
her lovers (Angel, Owen, Parker, Riley, Spike, etc.), she can be the
source of some really great advice.
4) Giles=Dad, and Joyce=Mom.
Giles and Joyce are the only parents that all of the cast, Xander and
Willow included, have ever had. If one (or both) are present, and you
need a more authoritarian voice, go with them. Strange as it might
sound, Moms and Dads have good advice, too. On the other hand, you
can freak them out even more than Buffy by having Willow and Xander
going at it in an excessive manner. :)
5) Willow and Xander need to grow up.
It's not so much the case coming into Season 7, but if you want some
W/X 'shippage, you need to mature one or both of the two. Some of the
best Willow and Xander fanfics take place in the future, believe it
or not. Many of the other good ones dispense with the BS and throw
difficulty and loss right into their very not ready faces. But the
key factor is adversity. What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger,
and all that.
6) Learn from the "masters".
There are a lot of really, really, *really* good writers out there in
W/X land that are worth reading, including (but certainly not limited
to) Sarah Jones, Christi Mallasch, Nikki, Palaskar, Rae, Pete Milan,
Michael Bujanowski, Loki, and Pete Meilinger. Educate yourself and
know where people have taken the 'ship, and, more importantly, where
After you've followed these suggestions (or laughed at them because
you think they're stupid), one issue is left: Willow's sexuality. As
of this writing, Joss Whedon and Marti Noxon have decided against
further exploring Willow's sexuality beyond her being gay, largely in
the wake of the hell they caught from Willow and Tara 'shippers after
Tara's death. Thing is, you're reading this in the hopes of getting
advice writing Willow/Xander fanfic. So, either Joss has proved to be
a big fat liar (again), and Willow's sexuality is being questioned
(meaning this essay needs a bit of updating), or Willow's gay and
only gay in canon.
Without going off on my thoughts of the decision itself, I'll say
this much: the evidence implies succinctly that Willow is bisexual.
So, in the crudest possible way to put it, she gets off on guys and
their guy parts just as much as she gets off on girls and their girl
At the core of this argument lies our initial hint that Willow might
be gay: Vampire Willow. When we first saw her in "The Wish", the
character was very much involved with the Vampire Xander, with both
getting off on torturing Angel (which seems like VampXander's idea-I
wonder why..... ;)). In "Dopplegangland", VampWillow hits on
everyone-including her human counterpart! Gender is certainly not a
barrier for her, and as we learn from Angel, a vampire's personality
is a reflection of the personality of the human that once inhabited
Moving forward, we have Anya's accusation to Willow in "Triangle"
that Willow might eventually steal Xander away from her, which was
followed up by the infamously nervous line, "Hello, gay now!"
Similarly, Oz pointed out to Willow in Season 3's "Amends" that
things may *never* be over between her and Xander. Apparently they
give off a vibe or something, because Oz and Anya have connections to
supernatural forces, to say nothing of the fact that they're pretty
darn smart, especially when it comes to people.
Willow has made other ambiguous comments-getting angry that Xander is
just figuring out that "smart chicks are hot" in "The Gift", taunting
Xander with the dreaded ".....for the rest of your life" in Season 6
in regards to Anya's more.....annoying habits, and the "it's good I'm
gay now" comment during their tender moment in "Hell's Bells" implies
that there's still some latent attraction for guys (and Xander in
However, Willow's sexuality is not a light subject. This is someone's
*sexuality* here, not their favorite color. Who Willow finds sexually
attractive is at the core of her character, and therefore dictates
the success of your fic. I'm not saying you should muddy up a fluffy
fic with the sexuality question, but any serious fic taking place
between seasons 4 and the present demands that you at least address
My last word of advice regarding Willow and Xander fanfic is this:
have fun. Xander is easily the silliest character in the Jossverse
when he wants to be, but he's also one of the sweetest, loyal, and
troubled characters as well. His relationship with Willow is unique,
and perhaps one of the few truly deserving of the moniker of "soul
mates". This pairing is for hopeless romantics, but there's
definitely nothing wrong with that. :)
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.