“You’re sure?” Willow asked, voice brittle and small.
“It’s not him,” Xander said resolutely, squeezing her hand.
They were sitting in a loose triangle in an abandoned corner of the library, just her, Xander, and Buffy. Giles was playing look out, though he’d deny it if anybody asked.
Willow took a deep breath and bowed her head. The relief
she felt was startling but the idea that Jesse hadn’t gotten to rest peacefully, that someone had brought him back, had been making her physically ill.
“He looked happy,” Buffy offered. “If lecherous could be called happy.”
Willow snorted, thoroughly amused at Buffy’s continued awkwardness with guys on the normal end of the scale. If they weren’t easily impressed with supernatural gifts and a pretty face, she didn’t seem to know what to do with them.
“But he’s just Duke Crocker from Haven Maine, small town freakdom, USA,” Xander said, rolling his eye at Buffy.
“I thought it was a pretty place,” Buffy argued, scowling.
“It was like Sunnydale redux, complete with weird happenstance,” he said, shaking his head. “It gave me the wiggins.”
“Fine,” Buffy said, shrugging. “It’s none of our business, anyway, unless they lose control or try to end the world.”
Willow let the argument roil around her, her mind focused on the one thing that mattered: Duke Crocker was not
Jesse McNally. She closed her eyes and centered herself, opening them and watched as magic passed between them. Buffy and Xander wouldn’t notice the gold current, had never noticed from the time she’d first learned to see it. Auras weren’t really her thing, the golden current that moved between them really the only the she’d ever managed to spot without spells and enchantments.
She sighed, squeezed their hands, and let go, physically and metaphorically. The magic would still be moving between them but she couldn’t see it anymore. That was okay, though. Everything was where it should be.