Title: What are We Doing?
Author: Jinni (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Genre: BtVS/Highlander Crossover.
Disclaimer: All copyrights remain firmly in the tight grasps of their copyright holders. I do not own these characters, only the contrivance known as a plot.
Distribution: WLS, WLF, NHA, BMP, Aislin, TTH, TQC. No one else.
Author’s Note: TQC Response: http://quickie.moonlitpaths.com
Note2: For Sophia_Ken’s birthday.
Note3: Sequel to “Demons We Share”
Willow rolled over in bed, her arm encountering something altogether too warm and too flesh-like to be just another pillow or sheet. She cracked her eyes open with some difficulty, attributing the flashing pain in her head to the inordinate amount of alcohol she had drank the night before, and looked at her bed partner. She remembered him now, the man at the bar. The one with the soulful dark eyes that seemed to be just like her own. He had seen both hard and dark times, it was written plainly in the lines of his face, the little creases of worry. They hadn’t spoken much the night before, in the bar; only enough to know that, in each other, they found kindred souls.
She sighed, turning back over so that she could slide out of the bed. He was still asleep and she wanted to leave it that way for a little while. They had come back to this room, his hotel, and had slept together. Not sex. Just sleep. She was still in her bra and underwear, a matching set she was glad to have worn now in light of all that had happened. And he was still in his boxers, she assumed.
The bathroom tile was cold beneath her feet, and she hurriedly stepped on the mat next to the shower so that she wouldn’t have to feel the biting chill longer than necessary. She reached into the shower stall, turning the water on. First hot, then cold. Just a little cold. She needed to warm up this morning, to get rid of the chill in her soul – if that was even possible. It had been too long since she felt warm inside, though last night, sleeping in Adam’s arms, had been close. The closest she had gotten since Tara’s death, for that matter.
A part of her felt guilty for that, as she stripped down and stepped under the warm spray of water. She shut her eyes, letting the stinging drops pelt her face as the steam permeated her lungs, warming her up inside as well as out. What was it that she had thought she was doing, coming here with a man she just met, falling asleep in his arms as if she had known him all her life? How smart was that? Suicidal she may be at times, but her pride kept her from acting on it. How had last night been any different than actually taking her own life? She had walked out of that bar with someone she didn’t know, someone who could just have easily killed her? And why? Because it ‘felt right’.
She snorted, leaning against the side of the shower, the water still beating down, leaving pink marks on her skin. What did ‘feeling right’ have to do with anything in her life? Her and Tara had ‘felt right’, too. And they had broken up before getting back together, only to have Fate deal them a bad hand when Tara was killed. Did ‘feeling right’ really account for anything in this world? It didn’t mean a damn thing in the end. Certainly not enough to make her think anything was ‘meant to be’. The only thing that was certain in life was death; she had come to find out.
So what to do about the man currently sleeping in the next room? He had seemed to very nice when they first met. He had listened to her spill her soul, even if it was in a very sheltered, halting way; and then he had done the same. When they came back to his hotel room it was to talk some more; and had only ended with them falling asleep in each other’s arms.
She had not violated Tara’s memory. She had not slept with him in the carnal way. And she didn’t know if she could ever bring herself to, even if it was what her body wanted. He was handsome, so there was no problem there. She had never fully stopped enjoying male flesh – so that wasn’t a problem, either.
But he wasn’t Tara. He wasn’t her soul mate.
And that was the crux of the matter. What was she doing getting involved with him in any way when she would never, ever be able to commit to him? He had mentioned only that he wanted her friendship, someone to understand him the way he needed to be understood. Yet he had said relatively little about himself.
Sighing, she reached down and twisted the knobs on the shower, watching as the water slowed to a trickle before turning off entirely. She stepped out of the stall, toweling herself dry before her underwear and bra back on. The rest of her clothes were next to the side of the bed she had slept on. She supposed she would need to go back out there now. She wasn’t really in the mood to deal with him yet, though.
When she left the bathroom it became immediately apparent that ‘dealing with him’ wasn’t going to be something she could put off. He was sitting up, jeans already on though his shirt was nowhere in sight, leaning forward, with his head in his hands, elbows propped up on his knees.
“Um – hi,” she murmured, blushing when she became all too aware that he was looking at her only in her underwear and bra.
“Good morning.” His smile was warm, if not a little hesitant. He had just the faintest edge of accent to his voice and it rolled through her ears like the most pleasant of music from the greatest of orchestras.
“Morning,” she echoed, taking a seat next to him on the bed and pulling the blanket up around herself. She looked at him through a thin veil of red hair, discreetly relearning his features.
“Yeah.” She laughed over their silence. They had spent the night in each others’ arms and now couldn’t even have half a conversation?
“Last night was nice.”
Willow looked up at last, her eyes meeting his. “All we did was sleep, though.”
Adam smiled. “Yeah. That was the nice part.”
“What are we doing?” She voiced, clapping a hand over her mouth as she realized the error of what she had just said. Sure, it needed to be asked, but not then, perhaps not even like that.
“We are . . . becoming friends.”
“Good friends?” She prompted with a quirk of her eyebrows. “Because, believe me, I’ve never slept half-naked with any of my ‘friends’ before.”
“I’d like us to be good friends, yes.”
She paused, meeting his eyes evenly. “I can’t guarantee that I’ll ever want to be more than friends, Adam.”
That wasn’t his name, she remembered that much from their conversations the night before. He had another name, one as old as time, but he did not use it in day to day conversation and, to tell the truth, she didn’t want to know it. Not because she didn’t want that type of trust to happen between them, but because she didn’t want to be responsible for knowing something so serious. Names held power – and a name that old held a lot of that power.
“Friends is enough.” And there is truth in his eyes when they meet hers. “I like just having someone that I can talk to.”
And, the truth was, that Willow felt the same way, though she hadn’t known it until he spoke the words aloud. It had been something special to be able to tell him, in brief and cloudy detail, of her own sins the night before.
“Me too,” she whispered.
“So – are we still on about the traveling? Come with me? I’ll show you the world.”
Willow laughed, almost feeling it deep in her heart. What else was there for her in this world? He understood her. To hear him talk he had lived just about as evil a life as she had. He knew what it was like to feel that pit of darkness within one’s soul and still feel the need to get up in the morning and try to go on with things.
She licked her lips, smiling shyly at the handsome stranger she was so willing to go along with; abandoning herself to his care without a look back.