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It's Harder Than It Looks

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Summary: For those who say that rejection is the greatest aphrodisiac… no, no it isn’t. For every person accepted, there must be some rejected. Who didn’t get into school when Elle was accepted? X-over with Legally Blonde.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Movies > Legally BlondeCameronFR1312,158022,16115 Mar 0515 Mar 05Yes
It’s Harder Than It Looks


Author: Cameron

Disclaimer: What belongs to me? Absolutely nothing! The BtVS characters belong to Joss Whedon, and Legally Blonde belongs to Amanda Brown, Karen Lutz, and Kirsten Smith. I also don’t own Harvard (obviously). Anything else you may recognize, I don’t own that either.

A/N: Written as a response to the 2005 Movie Fic-a-thon for Jami, who requested Willow and angst. For anyone who’s ever received a rejection letter, I think that qualifies as angst.

Summary: For those who say that rejection is the greatest aphrodisiac… no, no it isn’t. For every person accepted, there must be some rejected. Who didn’t get into school when Elle was accepted? X-over with Legally Blonde.



"Willllooooowwww!" Buffy’s excited scream reverberated around the Watcher’s Center. "Mail call! It’s finally here!"

As soon as she heard that, Willow let out her own excited scream. She set off running, sliding down the stair banister instead of wasting time on silly things like stairs. "Where? Where? Where?" She couldn’t stop the babble spilling forth from her mouth.

Xander, Giles, and Dawn heard the screams, and quickly made their way to the front door, only to see Buffy and Willow jumping around the foyer, waving the envelope carrying the return address of the Harvard University School of Law.

As the excitement wore off, Willow stared at the letter in her hands. It was here, it was finally here. Her hands shook so bad that she couldn’t open it. She’d been waiting for this letter for months, ever since she’d sent in her application. She knew it was too late for regular admissions, but she guessed that she’d been waitlisted and this was the official notice that she’d been accepted off the waitlist.

"Well?" Buffy was just as excited as Willow was. "Are you in? Huh, huh, huh? Of course you are, what am I saying? Open it!"

Xander was on Willow’s other side, looking at the letter with a frown on his face. "Buffy, how about we let her have some privacy?" He took a step back, and motioned Buffy to follow him. The envelope was too thin. If it was an acceptance, there should be information about registration and orientation and it would come in a much fatter envelope. He was fairly certain that Willow was holding a rejection instead, and he knew Buffy well enough to know that she’d say something tactless before he could get her quiet.

Giles had apparently also reached the same conclusion. He nodded his head towards the door, and Dawn took the hint. She quietly headed to the kitchen to put together an ice cream extravaganza to dull the pain. These were the types of situations that called for massive amounts of premium ice cream. As she closed the kitchen door behind her, she could hear Buffy’s whining of "Come on, open it! Please?"

"I… I… can’t." Willow’s hand was still shaking. "You can open it."

"Yippeee!" Buffy’s squeal was enough to make both Giles and Xander wince. She eagerly tore into the envelope, pulling out a single piece of paper. "Dear Ms. W. A. Rosenberg, we regret to inform you that you have not been accepted to join the Harvard Law School Class of…"

She was interrupted by a wail from Willow as soon as she realized that it was a rejection letter.

"Wait, I don’t get it. It has words like ‘regret’ and ‘not’ in it. That can’t be right." The look on Buffy’s face was pure bafflement.

Deciding discretion was the better part of valor, Giles clamped a hand over his slayer’s mouth as Xander’s arms wrapped around the crying redhead.

* * * * * * * * * *

"I don’t understand." The spoon of cookie dough ice cream she was currently stuffing in her mouth muffled Buffy’s words.

"They don’t want me. No one wants me." Willow pouted, then reached for the carton of mint chocolate chip.

"That’s not right. Of course they want you." Xander tried to cheer up his Willow-shaped friend. "They just have so many openings, and I’m sure there’s some people that bought their way in."

"Like that makes it better. You’re saying they don’t want me because I’m poor." Willow eyed the hot fudge, thinking that maybe more chocolate would help the situation.

"That’s not what he meant." Buffy defended Xander. "What he means is that, um, well… some people are legacies, and the school had to let them in so they don’t tick off important parents?"

"So my parents aren’t smart enough for me to go to law school?"

Buffy reached for the hot fudge herself. "I can’t think of an argument against that. Doh, you really should be going there. Yeah, it sucks. But hey, this gives you more time for patrollage with me – lucky, lucky you." She beamed at the thought. "And oooh! Shoe shopping! That place in the mall… you know the one… they’re having the most excellent sale this week and I saw just the cutest…"

Tuning out Buffy’s babble on the cute new shoes, Willow tried to drown both her sorrows and her bowl of sugary goodness in caramel.

* * * * * * * * * *

A few weeks later and Willow still hadn’t recovered from the rejection letter. It was her first real failure. Well, first academic failure at least – she was used to magical failures. The letter had been given its very own ‘shelf of shame’ in her room, and she couldn’t stop looking at it.

It was just so unfair. They didn’t even give her a chance – she didn’t even get an interview before they rejected her. Not fair! What did the people who were accepted have that she didn’t?

She glared at the offending piece of paper before pulling the covers back over her head.

* * * * * * * * * *

A group of concerned friends congregated in the hallway outside of Willow’s room.

"Has she not come out yet?" Buffy whispered.

"Not yet." Xander whispered back. "I’ve been bringing her food each meal and making her eat. You’re going to have to go force her to get out of bed and shower."

While Buffy and Xander planned the intricacies of the "rescue Willow from herself" plan, Dawn banged on the door instead.

"Get up! Enough of this! Willow Anne Rosenberg, can you hear me? You’ve got to the count of five to get out of bed and open this door. One… two… five. Time’s up. We’re coming in."

With an apologetic look at Xander, who was going to have to repair any damage she did, she gave the door a quick kick. Before she could kick the door again, the lock turned and Willow opened the door. "Way to channel the inner Mrs. Summers, Dawnster. Very good impression." She gave Dawn a slight smile.

"Nah, she would have bribed you with hot chocolate with little marshmallows instead." Dawn responded. "Now, you’re going to get showered and dressed. Get packed too, we’re taking a little field trip."

* * * * * * * * * *

Almost eleven hours later…

"When you said a little field trip, I thought you meant to a candy store or the mall." Xander teased Dawn. "Maybe a movie, but not this for sure."

She gave him a brief smile as she whipped the car into traffic on Massachusetts Avenue. "Well, it’s better to get a direct answer on why they were stupid enough to not take our Wills rather than keep guessing." She abruptly pulled into a parking lot, accidentally cutting off another driver and barely avoiding a wreck.

"I can’t do this." Willow was shaking in the front passenger’s seat, but it was hard to tell if it was the thought of facing the admissions board or from Dawn’s lack of driving skills.

Dawn gave her a pointed look. "Of course you can. You’ll march in there, and ask to speak to someone whose head’s not up their…"

Xander quickly interrupted Dawn. "Or you could be polite and ask them if there’s an admission’s counselor you could speak to."

"Well, if you want to be polite, you could do it Xander’s way. Frankly, I like my way. Shows more of the jurisdictional potential, assuming that ‘jurisdictional’ actually is a real word."

"Dawnster, I think we let you spend too much time with Anya. Bit too blunt there."

"And here I was going for ‘rude’ rather than ‘blunt’. My bad."

Willow had to laugh at the antics of her friends. She could do this. She deserved an explanation at least.

* * * * * * * * * *

An hour after announcing her presence at the admissions office, Willow was still sitting on the hard wooden bench waiting for someone to talk to her. It wasn’t the most comfortable bench in the world, but it was better than being in the car with Dawn behind the wheel again. Since it was going to be a while, Dawn had decided that she and Xander were going to go in search of coffee, leaving Willow there all by herself. She’d already read all the posters on the announcement board three times. She knew that she’d gotten the letter late in the summer, and that she’d moped around for a while, but she couldn’t believe that Dawn had the bad luck to bring her here on the first day of classes. It made her bad mood just further increase. Willow looked at all the anxious first years filing past her, trying to size up her competition. She just couldn’t see what made them so much more desirable to the admissions board.

Just when she thought she’d be stuck there forever, reading notices of ‘used books for sale’, a tall dark-haired man sat down on the other side of the bench.

"Oh, excuse me. I should have asked if this seat was taken?" He gave her a shy smile. "My name’s Emmett."

"Go ahead and sit." He looked friendly enough. "I’m Willow."

"Trying to get registered for classes?"

"Actually, trying to learn why I’m not registering for classes." At the look of confusion on his face, she explained. "Didn’t get accepted. My friends told me the best way to get closure would be to get an answer on why I got rejected."

"Gotcha." He smiled again. "Although I can’t see why they wouldn’t want you."

They carried on a conversation for another twenty minutes before he was called into the office. She returned to sitting in silence before the door to her right finally opened, and the secretary stuck her head out the door. She gave Willow a disapproving glance before announcing that there was a counselor who would see her.

* * * * * * * * * *

All she wanted to do was find a place to hide in and cry, or scream. Screaming was a very valid option. She’d been rejected for stupid reasons. They hadn’t liked her personal essay. Apparently, written essays were just passe. A majority of the incoming class – that she should have been part of! – had done video essays. She hadn’t even realized that had been an option! It said on the application to write a thousand word essay – she assumed they meant that the essay was something should be written, silly her. Also, the lack of the high school transcript bugged them to. She had no clue they’d do a background check to find that. It wasn’t her fault that Sunnydale High School had been destroyed – twice. Well, technically, it was… but it’s not like they knew that.

She knew she was sending waves of negative emotion into the hallway, so she tried to calm herself and center her emotions. She’d regained control, but very tenuously when a woman’s shriek of "Warner!" disturbed her. She turned to see a blonde that reminded her greatly of Buffy addressing another student.

The man who was obviously Warner looked at the blonde incredulously. "You got into Harvard Law?"

She gave an airy laugh. "What? Like it’s hard?"

* * * * * * * * * *

Elle and Warner’s reintroduction was cut short as a petite redhead started banging her head against the bricks of the hallway.

They both looked at her funny, then shrugged. They had both heard law school would do funny things to you, but she was seriously disturbed. Must be a third year student.

* * * * * * * * * *

"Start the car, we’re going home. Now." Willow was obviously upset.

"Willow, old friend oh pal of mine, explanation?" Xander asked as Dawn started the car.

"The problem wasn’t me. It’s them. It’s so entirely them."

"Okay." Xander couldn’t argue with that.

"What are we going to do now?" Dawn had to ask.

"Same thing we do every night, take over the world," they both looked at her, "or maybe I could just apply to a different school."

"Yeah, we don't need no stinkin' Harvard! Oh! I know, you can go to a real school- Cambridge!" Dawn suggested.

"A real school?" Xander frowned.

"Well, if its good enough for Giles..." Dawn replied.

"I don't know... maybe that’s not so good either."

All three of them pondered the issue until Willow finally replied with a "or maybe I can just patrol and shoe shop with Buffy."

"Good idea."

As they were driving away, Willow stared forlornly at the quad she would never have the chance to walk, at the oak tree she would never sit under, at the blonde ditz who would never be her classmate. Well, if she was never going to see them again....

Across the quad came a shriek "Oh my Gawd! Get them off of me! Get them off of me!"

"God, Elle, what is your damage?"

As the blonde kicked off her once pastel pink pumps, the now chartreuse flip-flops bounced off the path, landing in front of a squirrel. "I hate New England fashion!" the blonde shrieked.

The End

You have reached the end of "It's Harder Than It Looks". This story is complete.

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