Title: Kiss Me Deadly
Summary: Sometimes it's the little things that have the biggest consequences.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them from Joss et al.
Distribution: My site, the usual lists, anyone with previous permission. Anyone else - just ask.
Feedback: Yes please! It makes me happy and keeps me writing.
Author's Note #1: This story was inspired by a vignette written by Aaronlisa, and has been written with her permission to expand on it. ( Alternate Realities: Willow #2 )
Author's Note #2: I played around with the timeline a bit during Season 2 for this story. Pretend that Willow and Oz had been dating for a month or so when Phases occurs. (Dialogue borrowed from both Phases and Becoming I & II courtesy of www.buffyworld.com )
Author's Note #3: Thank you to my tireless betas for holding my hand through the months it has taken me to write this story.
See Awards this story has won.
Kiss Me Deadly
Willow bounced on the balls of her feet in front of the school. It was Monday morning and Oz would be showing up soon. Oz… her boyfriend. She barely suppressed a girlish giggle at that thought. She, Willow Rosenberg, head of the geek squad, had a boyfriend. And not just any Joe-shmoe boyfriend, but one who was a musician.
A small part of her still wished that Xander could be her boyfriend, but she was happy with Oz. He really seemed to like her and want to be with her. He even noticed that she was a girl and not just someone you're friends with.
Ever since they had started dating a few weeks ago, they had spent at least a couple of hours together everyday. But this past weekend Oz had to go with his parents to visit his aunt and uncle. Oz had been excited to see his little cousin Jordy, who he hadn't seen in over a year. He had been looking forward to getting to know his cousin better.
Oz saw Willow waiting for him and let a tiny grin quirk his lips. He'd missed her more than he thought he would while he was gone. He didn't know what it was about Willow that enthralled him so thoroughly, but whatever it was, he didn't care, so long as she wanted to be with him too.
Oz picked his way through the throng of students taking their time entering the school. Casually, he stepped up next to Willow, just standing there, looking out at the street. After a minute or two he finally said, "What are we looking for?"
Willow nearly jumped out of her skin when someone spoke directly next to her. She spun to yell at her spooker, but squealed instead, jumping into Oz's arms with an excited, "Oz, you're back!"
Oz wrapped his arms around his bouncing girlfriend, relishing the feel of her in his arms.
"So it would appear."
"Why'd you sneak up on me like that?" Willow pouted prettily, pulling back a little, but staying within his arms.
"Didn't think I was," he answered, knowing he had, but not planning on telling her that.
Pulling Willow a little closer, Oz dipped his head, kissing her softly. He could feel Willow smiling into the kiss as she wrapped her arms around his neck.
Willow still couldn't believe that there was a boy who wanted to kiss her. She knew she was smiling, but she couldn't help it. It was still so new to her. She didn't know what she'd done to deserve Oz, and wasn't really sure that she did, but who was she to complain when he was kissing her in front of the whole school.
"I missed you," Oz confessed when the kiss ended. Embarrassed by his confession, Oz took Willow's hand in his and started for the doors to the school. "So what'd you do all weekend?"
Willow followed Oz into the building. "Oh, the usual. Partied all night, slept all day…" At Oz's raised eyebrow she relented. "Okay, I went to the Bronze with Buffy and Xander and did my homework." After a beat, she quietly added, "I missed you too."
"Now that sounds more like my girl." They had reached Oz's locker and he stopped to get his books for the day.
'His girl,' Willow repeated the words in her head, loving the sound of it. As Oz gathered his books, Willow looked around the bustling hallway. There were other students at their lockers; some preening in front of mirrors, some hiding the things they didn't want teachers and parents to know they had, some just getting books. At the end of the hallway a group of football players were tossing a ball back and forth as they cruised the halls.
"All set," Oz announced, closing his locker.
"Ready to get some learnin'?" Willow lightly asked.
"With that sentence, I think you need it more than me," he teased.
"You know what I mean," Willow hit him lightly on the chest.
"Yeah, I do."
Deciding it had been too long since they'd kissed, Oz remedied that situation. Willow was a little self-conscious kissing Oz in the middle of the hallway at school, but as his lips parted and his tongue darted out to tease her lips, she quickly forgot. Feeling bold, Willow opened to Oz's silent plea.
Oz couldn't believe that Willow was letting him French kiss her. She usually insisted on keeping the PDA to a minimum. He usually wasn't for it either, but whenever he was with Willow, he wanted to show the world that she was with him. Slipping his tongue into her mouth, Oz eagerly explored the recesses. When he started to retreat, pulling back slightly so that they could both get some air, Willow followed, her tongue now eagerly exploring his mouth.
They were so completely absorbed in each other, that they didn't hear the football team nearing them. The distant call of, "Go long," was lost to them. Therefore, they were extremely startled when Larry crashed into them as he made to catch the ball. The jolt caused Oz to accidentally bite down on Willow's tongue.
"Ow," Willow exclaimed as Oz pushed Larry off them.
"Watch where you're going," he growled.
"Hey, sorry man," Larry blithely apologized, picking up the fallen ball and tossing it back to the guy who'd thrown it.
Turning his attention back to Willow, Oz brushed a lock of hair off her face. "You okay, baby?"
"You bit my tongue," she complained, quietly. "But otherwise, yeah."
Willow captured the hand of his that had been in his hair and started towards her first class. Noticing a band aid on one of Oz's fingers, she asked, "What happened? You're hurt."
"Oh, it's nothing," Oz said dismissively. "My cousin Jordy just got his grownup teeth in. Does not like to be tickled."
Three days after the incident in the hallway, Willow eagerly anticipated the full moon rising. She'd always loved gazing at the moon through the telescope her parents had gotten her for her twelfth birthday.
She could understand why people were so superstitious of it for thousands of years. She'd always loved stories of Diana when she was growing up. Maybe it was the feminist in her that found special joy in a goddess being representative of the moon - goddess of fertility, woods and forests, and of animals. Goddess of the hunt and protector of children.
For some reason, she was especially aware of tomorrow's full moon. She could practically feel it in her bones, the rising of the full moon. She brushed the thought aside as she assigned the feeling to being with Oz after their two-day separation.
Willow and Oz were nearly inseparable at school. Aside from that kiss in the hallway the other day, they weren't too touchy-feely in public. Today, however, they could barely keep their hands off each other. They even met up in the back stacks of the library before the Scooby meeting to make out, something they only rarely did.
When the voices of their friends penetrated their lust-filled haze, they straightened their hair and clothing, going out to join in the research. Willow settled in front of her computer, hoping this would be a quick research session. She was too antsy to sit still for long.
Oz kissed the top of Willow's head, running his hand through her hair one last time before saying, "See ya tomorrow, babe. Better get to Dingoes."
"Bye, Oz," Willow reluctantly said, turning her head to nuzzle into his hand for a little longer. "I'll see you tomorrow."
He couldn't resist giving her one last kiss before leaving. He didn't know what had come over them today, but he most definitely wasn't going to complain about Willow being more frisky than usual. He idly blamed it on the phase of the moon.
Buffy's voice pulled Willow's eyes from the door Oz had just exited through.
"I see someone's been getting smoochies," Buffy teased. Willow blushed in response. "I'm right, aren't I?"
"Yeah," Willow admitted, ducking her head behind the computer monitor. "There's been really good smoochies."
"Willow," Xander said in mock-surprise, "you hussy."
"Shut up, Xander," the redhead admonished her oldest friend.
"Yes, please do," Giles agreed, entering the room from his office.
'Saved by research,' Willow thought.
"So what's the sitch?" Xander asked, ready to get out of there to go meet Cordelia. She promised to borrow her daddy's car tonight… Xander's eyes glazed over with thoughts of what they would do in that car and he pulled his chair closer to the table.
"There doesn't appear to be much vampiric activity at the moment," Giles admitted, sounding way too disappointed in the other library occupants' opinions. "We'll need to keep an eye out for any mayhem Angelus may be planning, but other than that--"
"Cool," Buffy interrupted. "So does that mean we get the night off?"
"After you patrol, yes."
"I can live with that," Buffy excitedly agreed. Turning to Willow, she asked, "Pick you up after patrol?"
"Sounds like a plan," Willow agreed with a grin. "What about you, Xan?"
"I've, ah, got plans," he admitted, still not comfortable talking about his relationship with Cordelia in front of Willow.
"Oh, okay. It'll be just us girls then," she said with false brightness.
"Don't sound so sad about it," Buffy jested. "It'll be great. We'll be able to have some long overdue girl talk about a certain musician. I'll be at your house to get you some time around 9pm."
"It's a date," Willow agreed.
Buffy rang the doorbell, again. It was 9:15. She knew she was a little late, but didn't think Willow would take off without her. They hadn't even discussed where they'd go tonight.
It was times like this that Buffy really noticed how often Willow's parents were out of town. If they'd been like normal parents, then they'd be home to answer the door if Willow was in the bathroom or something.
Buffy walked around to the back of the house to see if Willow left her balcony door open. If she did, then she could either shout up or climb up to it and get in that way. She was really starting to get worried now. It wasn't like Willow to not answer the doorbell, after six rings.
Sighing with relief upon seeing the open door, Buffy quickly scaled the trellis and alighted on the balcony. Willow's parents must have been idiots, or really trusting, to let their daughter have a room with such easy escape-ability. Then again, Willow would never use this as a means of leaving the house; she was too much of a good girl to do it.
"Hey, Willow, you gone deaf?" Buffy called out as she entered her best friend's room. Only Willow wasn't there.
"Oh, God, no!" Buffy squealed upon seeing the torn remnants of Willow's outfit from that day scattered across the floor.
Her immediate fear was that someone had broken in and raped and kidnapped her best friend. It was something that Angelus would do - and he'd been granted access to Willow's home before.
Scrambling for the phone next to Willow's bed, Buffy shakily dialed Giles' number, holding back the tears threatening to overtake her.
"Giles," she squeaked out when he answered, finally losing the battle as tears slid down her cheeks. "Willow's missing."
He wasn't lost. At least that's what Spike kept telling himself. Although, the closer to dawn that it got, the harder it was to believe.
He'd prowled these woods often before that blasted organ fell on him. Then again, he'd been living at the factory at the time, not some posh mansion with more windows than any vampire lair should have. He shouldn't complain though. His room at the mansion had its own porch, by which he was able to escape the wheelchair his sire and grand-sire thought he was confined to.
What Angelus wasn't aware of, was that Drusilla had gone against her precious Daddy's order not to help Spike. No, she couldn't stand to see her childe in so much pain; so when Angelus was out terrorizing the slayer, she would slip into Spike's room and feed him - now strengthened with her own sire's blood. That potent mixture had completely healed Spike's broken back, allowing him to sneak out and create his own mischief.
Unfortunately, tonight's mischief might have a dusty ending if Spike didn't find his way out of these woods soon. He paused and scented the air. There… he thought he smelled something familiar to his right. He quickly started moving towards the familiar scent, for on its heels was the scent of sunrise.
Spike stopped short as he entered a clearing. Lying beneath the trees was not what Spike had wanted to see.
'A werewolf!' he wanted to shout in frustration, but did so only in his head for fear of drawing its attention. 'Bloody perfect.' He gestured wildly, pacing at the edge of the clearing. 'Any other surprises for ole Spike?' he mentally asked the ether.
In answer to his question, the werewolf slowly began to morph back into human form. Spike watched, transfixed, having never observed this transformation in person before.
He let out a gasp of surprise as fur receded, revealing long auburn hair; pale, creamy flesh; small, perky breasts; and long, shapely legs. Looking back to her face, Spike now knew what the familiar scent he had been following was… the slayer's little friend… the werewolf.
"Well, well, well, what do we have here?" he muttered to himself, creeping towards the sleeping girl. Squatting down, he brushed the hair away from her face for a better view, confirming visually what his other senses were already telling him. He'd seen this girl at Halloween, dressed more provocatively than he'd ever seen her dressed before. Caught his attention, it did. Seeing her naked though… Spike wondered why she bothered with clothing at all.
Feeling the sun's rays filtering through the leaf canopy, Spike was harshly reminded that dawn had arrived. Scooping the redhead into his arms as if she weighed nothing, Spike rushed off to find the nearest shelter he could. Ten minutes later he came to a cave and made a dash for its welcome protection.
Willow had remained asleep throughout the journey, but shortly after being set down on the cold, stone floor of the cave, she began to wake. She was dimly aware of the fact that she wasn't in her bed, and she was freezing. She reached to pull a blanket back over her, but she felt nothing except her own bare flesh.
Slowly, Willow cracked open her eyes, sitting up quickly upon seeing the cave surrounding her. She was even more shocked to see the vampire watching her with amusement dancing across his handsome face.
"Spike, what are you doing here?" she squeaked. "And where is here, exactly?"
"Not getting burnt to a crisp," he blithely answered. Gesturing to the cave, he continued, "'Here', is a cave in the woods."
"H-how did I get here? Did you kidnap me? What do you want with me? And why am I naked?"
"Didn't snatch ya," Spike said, trying to sound offended. "Found ya sleeping in the woods. You were covered in fur at the time, but that went away when the sun came up."
"Fur?" Willow looked puzzled. She didn't own anything made of fur. She was against people wearing the skins of animals. Eyeing the long, black coat Spike was currently patting down in search of cigarettes, Willow hesitantly asked, "Can I, um, borrow your coat, to cover up?"
"Why? It doesn't bother me seeing ya sittin' there starkers," Spike leered.
"Yeah, well it bothers me," Willow pouted. She ran her hands over her arms, trying to warm them against the chill of the damp cave.
Spike rolled his eyes at his own softness. He made a show of taking his coat off and tossing it to Willow.
"I want that back," he warned her. "Got a lot of sentimental value, it does."
"I'll give it back, just as soon as I get some clothes." Willow hurriedly put the coat on and then stood to find her way back home.
"Um, where do you think you're going?" Spike asked, his hand on her ankle stopping her.
"Home?" Willow asked uncertainly. "I've gotta get dressed and get to school. I don't know what I was doing out here, but I've gotta go. I'll bring your coat back after school."
"Was that going to be before or after sunset?" he asked, his tone making it sound like he knew something she should.
Knowing she was going to regret going along with it, Willow said, "Before. Why? What difference does it make?"
Spike studied his chipping black nail polish, purposely not looking at Willow as he spoke. "Well, if you were plannin' on bringing it back after dark, I'm afraid you'd end up ripping it to shreds. 'Sides, never did get along with werewolves all that well."
Spike finally lifted his eyes, smirking at the look on Willow's face. Her mouth was hanging open and she blinked at him in confusion.
"I'm not a werewolf," she vehemently denied. "Werewolves are big and hairy…" she recalled Spike's words about her wearing fur when he found her. She backed up, bumping into the wall behind her and slid down until she was sitting. "No, no, no, no, no."
"'Fraid so," Spike said. "Who would have thought that the slayer's little friend was a beastie?"
"I'm not… How can I be a werewolf?" Willow asked Spike, tears filling her eyes.
Spike shrugged. "Got bit."
"Bit? But I'd know if a giant dog-like creature bit me," Willow insisted. "And I wasn't."
"Coulda been while it was in human form. Werewolves are shape shifters after all. 'Side from the three nights around the full moon, they look like anyone else. Can even go out in the daylight. Been biting anyone lately?"
"No, no one's bitten me…" Willow's eyes glazed over as she watched herself kissing Oz in the school hallway. A football player bumped into them, causing Oz to bite down on her tongue. She gasped, "Oz."
"What's that?" Spike asked, not sure what she'd said.
"My boyfriend, Oz. He bit me last week while we were…" she trailed off into a blush.
Spike's leer was firmly back in place. "Didn't know you had it in ya."
"We were kissing," Willow insisted, gaining a raised eyebrow from the vampire. "But he isn't… he would have told me… we were together during the last full moon at night and he was regular old Oz."
"Maybe he just got bit too," Spike offered, getting tired of the girl's denial. He knew what he saw. How it came to happen didn't matter to him.
Willow scrambled to her feet again. "I've gotta go. I've gotta talk to Oz."
"My coat," Spike prompted.
"I'll bring it back before dark. Promise." Pulling the coat tight around her, Willow ran out of the cave, heading straight for her house and some clothes.
"You better bring it back," Spike grumbled, lighting one of the cigarettes he'd lifted before relinquishing his coat. It was going to be a long day.
Willow ran all the way home, clutching Spike's coat around her naked body. She ran to get away from the vampire and his theories. She ran to the safety of her home. She ran in order to get clothed and get some answers from Oz.
When she reached her house, Willow realized that she didn't have her keys with her. The front door was locked, so she obviously hadn't left that way last night. She moved around to the back of the house and breathed a sigh of relief that her balcony doors were open. Climbing the trellis was harder than she remembered, but that could have been because she was barefoot and her feet hurt from running around the woods and streets without shoes.
Willow was shocked at the state of her room when she got inside. Her clothes from yesterday were torn to shreds and strewn about the floor. Although, it looked like some pieces had to be missing. She had no idea how she was going to explain to her parents about the shattered lock on the door.
'Well, duh,' Willow told herself, 'the clothes must have gotten ripped when you were all shape-shifting into a werewolf!'
Willow shook her head at that crazy notion and slipped out of Spike's coat, heading for the shower. Maybe after she was warm and clean, she'd realize it was all some kind of horrible nightmare.
Clothed and with her feet bandaged, Willow left for school, not realizing that it was a good hour before she usually got there. She needed answers, and what better place to find them than at the library?
Pushing open one of the double doors, Willow was shocked to find Buffy, Xander and Giles in various stages of pacing, sleeping and researching.
"Hey guys, what's everyone doing here so early?" she asked.
Three heads shot up and before Willow knew it, she was being crushed by Buffy's hug. Xander soon joined in, once he realized that her standing there wasn't a dream.
"I'm happy to see you too," Willow said, trying to pull out of their embrace. "Um guys, if you needed me for research, all you had to do was ask," she joked.
"Willow, we were so worried," Buffy exclaimed, taking a step back, pulling Xander with her. "I went to your house last night, as planned, and found your balcony doors open, your clothes torn, and you were gone. I thought the worst… that Angelus had you."
Willow's eyes grew large. She had completely forgotten that she was supposed to meet Buffy last night. For obvious reasons, she was a little preoccupied this morning.
"Nope, not kidnapped," she agreed, but didn't want to admit to what had really happened.
"I tried calling Oz, even went to his house, but he was AWOL too. His parents didn't seem very concerned though."
"He had band practice last night, remember," Willow suggested. Internally, she was wondering if he was a werewolf last night too.
"Oh, right, I forgot," Buffy admitted.
"But that's not the worst of it," Xander spoke up. "I was… out last night, and we were attacked by a giant dog. If I hadn't known better, I would have thought it was a werewolf," he laughed a little hysterically.
Willow paled. She'd attacked Xander? "Oh God, Xander. Are you okay? I'm so sorry."
"Aside from a little freaked about nearly being dog chow and then finding out my best friend was probably kidnapped by the worst vampire in history, I'm fine."
"Willow, what are you doing here so early?" Giles carefully asked after having quietly observed the interaction between the teenagers. While he was greatly relieved to see Willow alive and well, some of her comments, along with her early presence in the library, had him a little concerned.
"I, um, I…" she trailed off, not knowing how to explain her bizarre morning.
"What happened to you last night?" Xander asked his own question.
Just then, Oz burst into the library, his eyes immediately finding Willow and pulling her into his arms, and away from Xander.
"You're okay," he breathed into her hair before pulling back enough to hungrily kiss her.
When he finally released her lips, Willow quietly said, "I think we need to talk, in private."
"Agreed," he said, then realized that they had an audience.
"Um, Giles, can we use your office for a little while? Just to talk, I promise," Willow hurriedly added.
Looking between Willow and Oz, he figured that it would be best to let them resolve whatever was going on. Hopefully then the rest of them could be clued in as to what was happening.
"Of course," he smiled.
Willow pulled Oz into the office and closed the door, much to Buffy's annoyance and Xander's relief.
"What'd you do that for?" Buffy turned on her watcher. "She was about to spill the beans."
"Yeah," Xander eloquently agreed.
"I thought it best to let them discuss the matter first. From the looks in their eyes, I believe that they each hold a piece to this puzzle. Once they have it sorted out, they will be better able to share it with us."
"Oh," Buffy pouted. She sat back down at the table and proceeded to glare at the closed office door.
Inside the office, Willow was kissing her boyfriend. It was like yesterday; now that they were together, they could barely keep their hands off of each other.
Abruptly pulling back, she exclaimed, "Talk! We need to talk."
"I know," Oz agreed. This morning he'd woken up in the woods, naked, with no idea of how he'd gotten there. The last thing he remembered was getting ready to go to meet his band-mates, then feeling the moon rise, and then nothing.
After he'd gone home and gotten dressed, his thoughts had immediately turned to Willow. In all honesty, he'd been thinking of her since waking up, after realizing where he was. He'd gone to her house and found her tattered clothing on the floor, but a wet towel on her bed. Finding her book bag missing, he assumed correctly that she'd gone to school early.
"I'll go first," Willow started, pulling Oz from his thoughts. "So, um, how long have you been a werewolf?"
"A what?" he asked, a hint of amusement in his voice. She sounded so serious that it would have been impolite to laugh outright.
"A werewolf. How long have you been one?" Willow repeated.
"What makes you think I'm a… werewolf?"
"Because I was one last night. And you're the only person who's," she whispered the next part, "bitten me lately."
"Wait a minute, I haven't bitten…" Much like Willow had done just a short time ago, Oz suddenly remembered accidentally biting her tongue while kissing her.
"When were you going to tell me?" Willow nervously asked, her voice sounding pained at what she implied was his distrust.
"I didn't know," Oz quietly admitted. He stared at his finger, the one that until this morning had been sporting a bandage. "Jordy?" he whispered.
"What's your cousin have to do with this?" Willow asked. Her eyes followed Oz's to his finger and her eyes suddenly widened. "You think when Jordy bit you he made you a werewolf?"
"That's the only thing I can think of," Oz said. "He's the only… person who has bitten me."
They were both quiet for several minutes, each thinking about how something so meaningless at the time could be so life-altering.
"How did you know?" Oz asked.
"Know? Know what?" Willow questioned.
"How did you know you were a werewolf last night? Do you remember it? 'Cause I have no memories of last night. Although I did wake up naked in the forest," he admitted.
Willow blushed slightly at the mention of Oz and nakedness. "Uh, no. Last night is pretty much a blank. Someone, um, kinda found me… naked in the forest this morning. He saw me change back."
"He?" Oz virtually growled. Rage and jealousy reared their ugly heads at the thought of some man seeing his mate naked. Wait, mate?
"Yeah." Willow wanted to curse herself for saying so much. But she knew she had to tell him the whole truth. "Actually, it was Spike." She winced in preparation for his reaction.
"Spike!" Oz yelled, causing the heads out in the library to lift and look towards the office. Only Giles' hand on Buffy's arm and a shake of his head kept her from barging in on them.
"Shhh," Willow tried to calm her boyfriend. "I know. I don't know why he moved me, but he did. I didn't even know he could walk again. But I woke up in this cave in the woods shortly after dawn and he was sitting there, smoking. Guess he stayed out past bedtime."
"Did he hurt you? Try to take advantage of you in any way?" He was barely able to ask this last question. "Did he bite you?" The thought of anyone else biting his girl was infuriating.
"No. He didn't do anything except give me his coat and tell me I was a werewolf. I didn't want to believe him, but why else would I be sleeping naked in the woods with no memory of how I got there, and have torn clothes on my bedroom floor?"
Willow was nearly hysterical by now, so Oz pulled her into his arms. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to sound all jealous. But he's a vampire, he can't be trusted."
"I know," Willow sniffled. "Unfortunately, what he said makes the most sense. And how weird is that?"
"Very," Oz agreed.
"Do you think…" Willow began in a small voice. "Do you think Giles knows of a cure for lycanthropy?"
"I sure hope so. I can't imagine having to become an animal one night a month, forever."
They started to head back to the main room. "And here I thought that tonight was the full moon, not last night," Willow observed.
By the time Willow and Oz had emerged from Giles' office, it was time to go to class. The couple promised that they would try to explain everything at lunch time and were reluctantly allowed to leave the library, a sullen Buffy and Xander following.
Willow dreaded the approaching lunch hour, but knew that she had to tell her friends the truth. But how do you tell your best friend, who is sworn to kill monsters, that you're now a monster yourself?
She and Oz entered the library together, heads held high, hands tightly clasped. There were two chairs facing the table, with Giles, Buffy, Xander and Cordelia sitting on either side.
"Feel like we're facing the Inquisition?" Oz leaned over to whisper in Willow's ear. She silently nodded her agreement.
"Please, have a seat," Giles motioned to the chairs. Still holding hands, they sat, facing their friends.
After several tense minutes of silence, Cordelia said, "Is someone going to tell us what happened to Willow last night and what that has to do with the hole in the roof of my daddy's car?"
Xander groaned at his girlfriend's tactlessness, but had to agree that he wanted to hurry up and get to the point.
Oz squeezed Willow's hand as she prepared to speak.
"Okay, we have something to tell you guys, and it's kind of shocking," Willow said.
Noting the joined hands and remembering the way Willow had wanted to talk to Oz first, Xander's jaw dropped as he came to the conclusion that, "You're pregnant?!?"
Willow's eyes widened in surprise, not realizing how her choice of wording could have led to such a conclusion. "No! Goodness, no. Not even. I think we're werewolves."
"Phew," Xander breathed. "Wait, what?"
"Werewolves?" Giles perked up. "Are you quite certain?"
"Pretty much, yeah," Willow answered. "Someone saw me change back this morning."
"So what makes you think Oz is one too?" Buffy asked, not sure how to react to this news.
With a blush, Willow admitted, "He's the only one who's bitten me."
Xander was out of his chair and had punched Oz before anyone had realized he'd moved. "How dare you start dating my best friend when you knew what could happen to her?"
Putting herself between the two boys, Willow said, "He didn't know. He just found out today too."
Xander didn't look ready to believe her, but glumly took his seat again.
"Have you been bitten lately, Oz?" Giles asked, getting back to the task at hand.
Oz held up his finger. "My cousin Jordy bit me last weekend."
"You didn't waste any time, did you?" Xander grumbled.
"Cut it out, Xander," Cordelia reprimanded her boyfriend. She really hated when he got all protective of Willow.
"But Giles," Willow turned to the watcher. "Don't werewolves only come out the night of the full moon? Last night was the night before the full moon, traditionally known as... 'the night before the full moon.'"
Slipping into Watcher-mode, Giles excitedly acknowledged, "The accepted legend that werewolves only prowl during a full moon might be erroneous."
"Or it could be a crock," Cordelia added.
"Unless the werewolf was using last year's almanac," Xander added.
"Looks like Giles has some schooling to do," Buffy said.
"Yes, I must admit I-I am intrigued. Werewolves, it's... it's one of the classics," Giles said, sounding almost giddy. "I-I'm sure my books and I are in for a fascinating afternoon."
"On that note, we need to get back to class," Willow said, strangely wanting to avoid doing research on her own condition. Normally, she would be the first to pull up a book, but she wasn't ready to hear that this might be permanent.
Willow tugged Oz out of the room, sensing his desire to be far from the foreboding books as well.
"He's going to find a way to make it better, right?" she nervously asked him.
Not wanting to have to lie to her, Oz simply said, "We'll be okay."
Giles was practically bouncing as the teenagers entered the library after school. There was a large earth globe with a smaller moon globe attached to it by a bar sitting in the center of the table. Once everyone was seated, he proceeded to demonstrate the phases of the moon.
"And, uh, while there's absolutely no scientific explanation for lunar effect on the human psyche, uh, the phases of the moon, uh, do seem to exert a great deal of psychological influence. And th-the full moon is, is, seems to bring out our darkest qualities," he explained.
Giles paused to make sure that everyone was following what he was saying. "Y-you see, uh, the-the werewolf, uh, is such a, a potent e-e-extreme representation of our inborn animalistic traits that it e-emerges for three full consecutive nights: the full moon and, uh, the two nights surrounding it."
"Quite the party animal," Xander quipped.
"Quite," Giles dryly agreed. "And it, uh, acts on-on pure instinct. No conscience, predatory and, and aggressive."
"In other words, your typical male," Buffy summed up.
"On behalf of my gender, hey," Xander defended.
"And a big hey over here," Willow added.
"Yes, let's not jump to any conclusions," Giles agreed.
"So, what you're saying is that Willow and I are going to turn into animals three nights every month," Oz stated, clarifying the situation.
"To be succinct, yes," Giles admitted, removing his glasses to clean them.
"I-is there any way to stop it?" Willow nervously asked, tears making her voice thick. "Is there a cure for it?"
Giles' eyes softened as they met hers. "I'm afraid not. I can continue my research, but nothing that I've found thus far has indicated a 'cure'."
Willow sniffled, trying to blink back the tears. She didn't want to be a werewolf. She wanted to be a normal, human, girl. She just got her first boyfriend, after all. She was well on her way to being normal, and now this had to happen.
Suddenly she stood up. "I… I can't be here right now."
She started to flee the library, Giles' voice causing her to pause near the door. "Willow, please be back here before the moon rises. If we want to make sure that you don't cause harm to anyone, I'm afraid we'll need to lock you in the book cage."
Horrified at the thought of being locked up like a stray dog at the pound, all Willow could do was nod dumbly as she ran from the room.
Oz moved to follow her. When Giles called out to him too, he cut him off with, "We'll be here."
He caught up with Willow on the front steps of the school, pulling her in a hug and letting her cry on his shoulder as he ran his fingers through her hair. It seemed to have the calming effect he desired.
Wiping her eyes, Willow pulled back. "Sorry I got your shirt all wet."
"I'm sorry, Oz. I know we should probably stick together, but right now I just need some time alone to think. I promise I'll be back before the moon rises. Okay?"
"Yeah. I could use some time to process myself. I'll see you in a couple of hours," Oz agreed.
Willow kissed him softly before turning in the direction of her house. If she hurried, she'd be able to get Spike's coat from her house and make it back with a little time to spare.
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