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Summary: AU season 4. Riley wants to help Willow after Oz leaves. Series complete.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
BtVS/AtS Non-Crossover > GeneralLucindaFR1375,5000123,36210 Sep 0318 Feb 04Yes

Vanishing Words

Author: Lucinda
mostly harmless, with someone being very sad.
pairing: Willow/Riley #16 on QPC)
Disclaimer: I do not hold any legal rights to the show or characters of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Distribution: WLS, NHA, Quickie Challenge, Yourmission, Bite Me please? anyone else ask first.
set AU season 4. There is no Initiative. Buffy and Riley were NEVER involved.

She had been so happy when the quarter started. He could remember noticing it from the start, almost tying with her red hair for the first thing he'd noticed. Her blonde friend had been nervous, but the red haired girl, Willow, had just been... happy. As if life, the universe, everything had been perfect. It radiated from her, the sort of flowing good cheer that should have inspired pages of poetry, and would have if he could write any.

But Riley Finn wasn't a poet. There were many things that he was, but that list didn't include poet. He was a fan of hockey, and of country music. He could mangle the German and French languages with the dreadful accent of someone who's learned the language from books and instructors instead of native speakers. He was the assistant to Professor Walsh.

She'd talked with him before the classes, asking questions. Not the sort of questions of someone just trying to flirt with the TA, but the sort of questions of someone that was actually interested in learning more. She'd got this wonderful gleam in her eyes when she was so caught up in the discussion that she forgot to be shy...

Oh yeah, he had a crush.

But he hadn't decided that he liked her because of her sweet smile, or because of the adorable way that she'd blush and look away, nibbling just a little on her lip while tucking her hair behind her ear. It hadn't been because of the supple curves of her body that he could follow despite the soft sweaters and long skirts. Although those were all wonderful things.

It had been the way she was just so darn happy. The way she tried to help everyone around her to feel better, do better. The way that she looked for the best side in every discussion, every project, every person.

She wasn't happy anymore.

It was as if something inside of her had been broken, or as if the glass of Willow had been cracked, allowing all her happiness to drain away. She hadn't radiated much of anything, instead sitting silently, almost huddled into herself, eyes darkened with pain and sorrow. Her friend Buffy seemed almost annoyed by it, as if Willow shouldn't be so upset, shouldn't be so unhappy. Willow hadn't been asking any questions lately, although her work was still as thoroughly researched and carefully presented as before, there were the occasional tear blotches on the writing.

He wanted to help make her smile again. To help her find that joy in life once more. Riley wanted to help Willow feel better about everything, to have her smile at him.

But every time he tried to say something to her, to offer some sympathy or a listening ear, the words got all tangled up, withering away to fumbling noises that held no meaning. It was embarrassing, really.

Somehow, he was going to find a way to help Willow. Even if the words did vanish, even if she just looked at him with those pain filled eyes. Even if the rest of his dorm mates joined Forrest in teasing him over the quiet red head.

Willow was worth it.

end Vanishing Words.
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