Title: Pretended Love
Disclaimer: I, of course, own nothing. BtVS belongs to Joss, ME, ect. I'm not sure who owns The Pretender, but it sure isn't me. *sigh*
Distribution: Just tell me if you want to take it.
Feedback: Feedback is always appreciated.
Spoilers: None really. Now and forever: No Spuffy!
Summary: The Centre wants Willow. Will Jarod be able to save her?
Author's Note: It's finally done. This story took a lot out of me. I can't count the number of times that writer's block struck. I'm just glad to be done with it. I'd like to thank all of the wonderful people who sent me feedback. It's the reason I was finally able to finish this. You stuck with this story even when it was ages between updates. Thanks you all for the support.
-2 days later-
"So, everyone's gone?"
Jarod and Willow walked through the park together, enjoying a beautiful day.
"It looks like the Centre won't be bothering me again," Willow responded. "I can't thank you enough for your help."
Jarod smiled. "You helped me too. The Centre thinks I'm dead. That gives me a lot of freedom."
"Well, as long as you keep a low profile, you should be fine."
Jarod was silent.
"You're not planning on really keeping a low profile are you?" she asked.
Jarod shook his head. "I'm going to be careful. But I don't think I can give up on what I've been doing. I can't stop helping people. And I can't stop looking for my family."
Willow frowned. "You put yourself at a lot of risk, Jarod."
"So do you. So do all of your friends. You could walk away from that anytime, but you don't."
"I guess your right." It wasn't like Willow could really disagree with him. She had opportunities to leave Sunnydale before, and she hadn't. She couldn't even imagine walking away from her life, no matter how dangerous it was. How could she fault Jarod for doing the same thing.
"I just wish you could stay here in Sunnydale for awhile." Willow looked down at the ground, blushing.
Jarod stopped walking and took Willow's hand. He leaned down and kissed her gently on the lips.
They looked at each other for a long moment, than began walking again.
After a long silence Jarod spoke again. "I've been thinking of contacting Sydney."
Willow was surprised. "Are you sure that's a good idea?"
"It's probably not," Jarod said, shaking his head. "I'll have to find a way to do it so no one else in the Centre has a chance of finding out. But I feel like I should. Despite everything that's happened, Sydney is a good man. And he was like a father to me for years. I know I can trust him."
"Just be careful."
"I will. I promise."
"Jarod..." Willow began to speak, then stopped.
"What is it?" Jarod asked.
"I...I...I really want you to stay." Willow bit her lip. "I mean, not forever, cause I know you have other stuff you want to do. Stuff you have to do." Willow spoke quickly, her words almost running together. "But there was the night...in your motel room. And I think we really shared something, and I'd like to see what might happen between us."
"If you're going to say no, please just do it quickly. The sooner my embarrassment starts the sooner it can end."
Jarod smiled. He reached out a hand and gently stroked Willow's cheek. "I'm not planning on saying no."
"Really." He pulled her into another kiss. "I can't promise you anything. I haven't had the best luck with relationships. And I don't know how long I'll be able to stay here. But I really like you, Willow. And I want to give this a try."
A huge grin spread across Willow's face. "That's good enough for me."
They stood together, letting the bright California sun wash over them. Then they started walking again. This time hand-in-hand. Neither of them were sure of what would happen between them. But for now, the future looked bright.