Disclaimer: I don't own the characters of Buffy or Harry Potter.
Willow tapped the table nervously. It was partly her own fault that she was so keyed up-- most people don't arrive an hour early for a date. Well, a friend date. Maybe.
She'd run the bookstore in London for two years, yet beyond the normal customer interaction, she hardly talked with anyone. It wasn't that she didn't want friends, but having to leave her last close circle of friends made her wary of getting close to anyone again. What if their lifestyle wreaked as much havoc on her wellbeing as the nightly exploits of the Scooby gang?
But... she missed it. She missed having someone to share a pizza or talk about the day's events. She really wasn't looking for love. A kindred soul would do. Then there was the other problem. Wanting to have a best friend was one thing, but actually finding one was virtually impossible for Willow.
She glanced up at the clock. Ten minutes left to wait.
It was sort of funny, actually. She'd tried the usual route of going to bars, museums, parks-- any place she might meet new people. Shyness is a funny thing, though. You walk into a room full of strangers, and it's the most terrifying thing in the world. Just thinking about it, Willow felt her chest tighten and her stomach turn. People usually looked friendly, but she'd never figured out how she was supposed to start a conversation. Wait next to a person until he noticed her? Break in on another conversation with an opinion? The moment she even thought of it, she could feel her cheeks blazing scarlet, and she lost her nerve.
True, she wasn't as shy as she once had been. Buffy, Xander and the others made her bolder, more willing to speak out and try new things. Without that support, though, it was daunting. Not that she wanted to go back. Leaving had been the thing that kept her sane. It was just difficult sometimes.
Five minutes left.
Weirdly, it was in her bookstore-- the place she felt most at home-- that she felt the first true connection with someone. Well, literally. He'd pinned her to the floor in the shock of being woken up after dozing with a book. Instead of just ending it there, though, there'd been the apology coffee. It wasn't just the coffee that warmed her that day. The human contact, just the sheer joy of having a friendly conversation without having to work up enough courage to face down a lion-- it was coffee for the soul, she supposed. She'd felt at home with him too. They'd had a lot in common, though mostly, they spoke in generalities.
And now it had come to this. An actual friendly meeting with no apologies. He'd be there any moment now. The door opened, and there he was. Willow grinned and waved him over.
"Ready for some pizza?" she asked.
"Starved," Harry replied.