Summary: Sometimes it's the little things that have the biggest consequences.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them from Joss et al.
Distribution: My site, the usual lists, anyone with previous permission. Anyone else - just ask.
Feedback: Yes please! It makes me happy and keeps me writing.
Author's Note #1: This story was inspired by a vignette written by aaronlisa, and has been written with her permission to expand on it. (Alternate Realities: Willow #2)
Author's Note #2: I played around with the timeline a bit during Season 2 for this story. Pretend that Willow and Oz had been dating for a month or so when Phases occurs. (Dialogue borrowed from both Phases and Becoming I & II courtesy of www.buffyworld.com)
Author's Note #3: Thank you to my tireless betas for holding my hand through the months it has taken me to write this story.
Three days after the incident in the hallway, Willow eagerly anticipated the full moon rising. She'd always loved gazing at the moon through the telescope her parents had gotten her for her twelfth birthday.
She could understand why people were so superstitious of it for thousands of years. She'd always loved stories of Diana when she was growing up. Maybe it was the feminist in her that found special joy in a goddess being representative of the moon - goddess of fertility, woods and forests, and of animals. Goddess of the hunt and protector of children.
For some reason, she was especially aware of tomorrow's full moon. She could practically feel it in her bones, the rising of the full moon. She brushed the thought aside as she assigned the feeling to being with Oz after their two-day separation.
Willow and Oz were nearly inseparable at school. Aside from that kiss in the hallway the other day, they weren't too touchy-feely in public. Today, however, they could barely keep their hands off each other. They even met up in the back stacks of the library before the Scooby meeting to make out, something they only rarely did.
When the voices of their friends penetrated their lust-filled haze, they straightened their hair and clothing, going out to join in the research. Willow settled in front of her computer, hoping this would be a quick research session. She was too antsy to sit still for long.
Oz kissed the top of Willow's head, running his hand through her hair one last time before saying, "See ya tomorrow, babe. Better get to Dingoes."
"Bye, Oz," Willow reluctantly said, turning her head to nuzzle into his hand for a little longer. "I'll see you tomorrow."
He couldn't resist giving her one last kiss before leaving. He didn't know what had come over them today, but he most definitely wasn't going to complain about Willow being more frisky than usual. He idly blamed it on the phase of the moon.
Buffy's voice pulled Willow's eyes from the door Oz had just exited through.
"I see someone's been getting smoochies," Buffy teased. Willow blushed in response. "I'm right, aren't I?"
"Yeah," Willow admitted, ducking her head behind the computer monitor. "There's been really good smoochies."
"Willow," Xander said in mock-surprise, "you hussy."
"Shut up, Xander," the redhead admonished her oldest friend.
"Yes, please do," Giles agreed, entering the room from his office.
'Saved by research,' Willow thought.
"So what's the sitch?" Xander asked, ready to get out of there to go meet Cordelia. She promised to borrow her daddy's car tonight… Xander's eyes glazed over with thoughts of what they would do in that car and he pulled his chair closer to the table.
"There doesn't appear to be much vampiric activity at the moment," Giles admitted, sounding way too disappointed in the other library occupants' opinions. "We'll need to keep an eye out for any mayhem Angelus may be planning, but other than that--"
"Cool," Buffy interrupted. "So does that mean we get the night off?"
"After you patrol, yes."
"I can live with that," Buffy excitedly agreed. Turning to Willow, she asked, "Pick you up after patrol?"
"Sounds like a plan," Willow agreed with a grin. "What about you, Xan?"
"I've, ah, got plans," he admitted, still not comfortable talking about his relationship with Cordelia in front of Willow.
"Oh, okay. It'll be just us girls then," she said with false brightness.
"Don't sound so sad about it," Buffy jested. "It'll be great. We'll be able to have some long overdue girl talk about a certain musician. I'll be at your house to get you some time around 9pm."
"It's a date," Willow agreed.
Buffy rang the doorbell, again. It was 9:15. She knew she was a little late, but didn't think Willow would take off without her. They hadn't even discussed where they'd go tonight.
It was times like this that Buffy really noticed how often Willow's parents were out of town. If they'd been like normal parents, then they'd be home to answer the door if Willow was in the bathroom or something.
Buffy walked around to the back of the house to see if Willow left her balcony door open. If she did, then she could either shout up or climb up to it and get in that way. She was really starting to get worried now. It wasn't like Willow to not answer the doorbell, after six rings.
Sighing with relief upon seeing the open door, Buffy quickly scaled the trellis and alighted on the balcony. Willow's parents must have been idiots, or really trusting, to let their daughter have a room with such easy escape-ability. Then again, Willow would never use this as a means of leaving the house; she was too much of a good girl to do it.
"Hey, Willow, you gone deaf?" Buffy called out as she entered her best friend's room. Only Willow wasn't there.
"Oh, God, no!" Buffy squealed upon seeing the torn remnants of Willow's outfit from that day scattered across the floor.
Her immediate fear was that someone had broken in and raped and kidnapped her best friend. It was something that Angelus would do - and he'd been granted access to Willow's home before.
Scrambling for the phone next to Willow's bed, Buffy shakily dialed Giles' number, holding back the tears threatening to overtake her.
"Giles," she squeaked out when he answered, finally losing the battle as tears slid down her cheeks. "Willow's missing."