Xander Harris was suffering from a rare bout of nervousness. Although his recent transformation had endowed him with the ability to look at situations with more logic, and controlling his emotional reactions, some things were far too deeply ingrained as to change. In this case, over a decade of experience had taught him to fear Willow's anger, and the sight of watery eyes and pouting lips was usually enough to bring about near-instant obedience. She had been his best friend since kindergarten, and her recent distance had caused a considerable amount of pain no logic could soothe. He knew he needed to confront her on it, but at the same time, was afraid that he might lose her completely in the end.
As Willow was making every effort to avoid being alone with him, Xander enlisted Buffy's help in arranging some alone time between the two of them. A simple note about a fictitious Scooby meeting at the library had the girl rushing to the library after school.
Inside, the library was strangely quiet. Instead of the whole gang being there as expected, Xander sat alone at a table, hands folded in thought.
"What's going on here? Buffy said there was a meeting?" Willow placed her hands on her hips. "You'd better get with the explaining, Mister!"
"It just seemed like the best way to make sure you'd come here. Ever since Halloween, you've been avoiding me." He stood up, looking into her eyes. "We've been friends for so long; it really hurts when you don't want to talk to me. I know I'm a little different, but I'm still me. I'm still Xander, and I still need my best friend."
Willow took a step back, crossing her arms. "I don't think so. You may look like Xander, but you're not. You don't act like him, you don't talk like him. You don't NEED me anymore. You're smart enough to do your own homework now; heck, you're smarter than anyone else here. Why do you even want me around anymore?" Her eyes were starting to water.
Xander took a moment to really look at his friend. She was starting to shrink in on herself, trembling. He understood the reasons behind her insecurity; all the years he spent with her had shown him a girl who was very insecure with her own place in life. Her parents were psychiatrists, successful but distant. The few times he had seen them, they had pressed upon her the need to succeed, to be the best. At school, she didn't fit in with the popular crowd, so she tried to be the best academically. Having him as a friend had become a prop for her to rest her wavering self-esteem upon. He was nice to her, loyal, and needed her. She was the smart one, the tutor who helped him understand what came so naturally to her. A lot of her childhood identity was based around that particular dynamic. Now, however, everything had been turned upside-down.
"Willow," he started, "I know this is hard on you. I won't pretend that I haven't changed. I know I have. It's kind of weird having Spock's memories, but they've helped me so much. However, no matter how much I change, I will still be your Xander-shaped friend. Even if I can understand the homework now, I still need you. You mean more to me than just homework help. Now that I can actually understand the math and science, maybe we can talk about it as equals now."
Tears started to run down Willow's face. "Do you really mean that?" she asked.
Xander pulled her into a hug. For a second, she resisted, then sagged into his arms. "Always. I will always need you, no matter what. I know I'm changing and I want you to be a part of that. Even if I'm good at science and computers now, you still see things differently than I do. I'd love to work with you. I miss being a team. Can we work this out?"
She nodded, arms tightening around him. "I'd like to try. It's just been so hard, and you've just been so...Spock, I just didn't know how to talk to you anymore. It was like the logic came in, and took away my friend."
"I know I'm not as carefree as I was before, but the logic has only calmed my emotions, not taken them away. I'd like to think of myself as being around a quarter Vulcan only, since Spock was half and he is only a part of me; which is a good thing because I could never pull off that hairstyle, or the goatee. I mean, could you imagine ME with that scruffy thing? Never. No way, no how. No face-fur for the Xan-man."
Willow giggled. "Ah, hah!" Xander cried. "There's the sound I've been looking for! I still have it! Which means, young lady, that you win a prize!"
Willow pulled back, managing a slightly shaky smile. "Oh?" she replied. "And what might that be? Is it a can of turtle wax? Because that's what it usually is. And if it is, can I trade it for what's behind door number one?"
He laughed. "Nope, no turtle wax for the lady. Never did understand why you would want to wax a turtle. Nope, instead you get your very own, new and improved, not tested on animals, Hairblaster!" He pulled out a travel-sized hairdryer blaster, presenting it to her with a flourish.
"Oh, just what I always wanted!" she cried, pretending to swoon. "A hairdryer. I shall cherish it always!" She giggled. "Seriously, Xan, what's up with the hairdryer? It's a little girly for you to be carrying around, and I already have one you know."
"This is my latest project. I've been trying to recreate some future-tech weapons out of current materials, and the hairdryer seemed like the best shape for focusing the blast. I guess I could have made it look more like a gun, but I don't want to be stopped by the cops. I'm making everyone in the Gang one, and I want you to have this one. Even though it needs a lot of work, it'll give you some more protection. That's what I've been doing recently, trying to come up with things to help keep us safer." He looked deep into her eyes. "I'm doing what I can, but I could use some help. My workshop is plenty big enough for two. Would you like to help me?"
Willow poked him in the chest. "Sure I'll help, but don't think I'm letting you off the hook for this Mister! If you start becoming Mr. Logical and being all stuffy, you'll regret it!"
He laughed. "I'm sure I will, Will. I'm sure I will."