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15 October 2013 @ 10:50 am
When You Need a Friend  
When You Need a Friend
Rated PG
A short post-NFA friendship ficlet written for Gabrielle

Kennedy’s whiny, bratty, self-important attitude had been wearing unbelievably thin lately, and she just needed somewhere—someone—peaceful for a few minutes. Just to recharge. Strange then, she thought, that she found herself standing in the hall outside his room. Her hand hovered indecisively, inches from the smooth timber. Like most of the new Council instructors he lived within the complex. And although they’d exchanged smiles, sometimes even a few words since he’d shown up nearly six months prior, they’d never really been close. Not close the way he’d been with Buffy, that is—although Buffy had never held his soul in her grasp; never felt it pervading her, its warmth encompassing her until she didn’t know where she ended and he began. So maybe, when you looked at it that way, they had been close, she told herself with a nervous giggle. Steeling herself, she knocked; a little too sharply—brisker and more urgent than she’d intended.

The door opened and he looked at her with a puzzled frown, before his eyes softened, their warm chocolate depths lighting as a smile gently curved the corners of his mouth.

“Willow.” He ducked his head shyly for a moment, before it snapped back up. Panic lit his features as he turned quickly away from her, scanning the room. Breathing a quick relieved sigh, he turned back to his guest. “Come in,” he offered, stepping back and holding the door wide.

They sat uncomfortably for some time before each moving to break the silence simultaneously. After mumbled apologies and awkward smiles they went back to staring uncomfortably at the floor.

“Are you alright?” Angel finally burst out. “Not that there needs to be anything wrong for you to visit...” he added hastily as she opened her mouth to answer. “Visitors are nice... and you, you’re nice and... Drink!” He shot to his feet. “I should get you a drink. Would you like that—one—I mean?”

She couldn’t help but smile, he looked so—cute—all flustered and nervous.

“Drink would be nice,” she told him, trying to keep the laughter out of her voice. “Tea, if you’ve got it. The herbal kind, not the stuff Giles drinks.” She screwed her face up, her nose wrinkling delicately.

“Tea, right. I think I have some.”

“Angel,” she called, stopping him as he headed for the little kitchen. “I’ll help.” She followed him out into the kitchen, quickly locating the cups while he set the kettle to boil. They worked around each other seamlessly, the awkwardness forgotten as they set about the routine task.

“So how do you like teaching?” she ventured. “It must seem pretty boring after, you know, the big corporate life.”

“It wasn’t as much fun as you’d think,” he replied bitterly.

“Yeah, that’s pretty much what Spike said,” she muttered.

Angel flinched.

‘Way to go, reminding him about Spike and Buffy,’ she admonished herself. She knew the two vampires pretty much avoided each other as much as possible, and with Spike and Buffy living in their own flat rather than in the council’s complex, that wasn’t so hard to do. “I’m sorry... I didn’t mean...”

“No. No, it’s okay,” he cut her off. “It’s just, well we lost some good people—good friends—that day.” He sighed, and slumped despondently against the wall. “I don’t know how much Spike’s told you.” He looked at her sadly through lowered lashes. “I made some bad calls... did things that...”

“Who hasn’t?” she murmured, cutting into his brood fest. “You do the best you can, that’s all any of us can do. And sure, sometimes our best isn’t all that good, and sometimes people get killed, or flayed alive...”

His head shot up.

“Long story,” she answered his unspoken question. “Look, what I’m saying is... Giles wouldn’t have let you guys in if he didn’t think you deserved it. And he sure as hell wouldn’t be letting you near any of the trainees.” She stepped forward, resting her hand gently on his arm. “Would it help to talk about it?” she asked gently.

He caught her gaze, holding it steadily, his face inscrutable as he studied her. He must have seen something that assured him of her concern.

“That would be... nice,” he told her quietly. With a quick glance at the clock on the wall above the microwave he added, “It’s a long story, next time maybe? It’s getting late.”

“Oh, of course.” Willow quickly gulped down her tea. “I should go...”

“You don’t have to.”

“No. I should, really. I’ve got an early class.” She stifled a yawn and smiled apologetically.

“Angel.” She spoke quietly as he showed her to the door. “If you ever need a friend... You know, someone to talk to...”

He lifted his hand, hesitating for a moment before brushing the hair gently back from her face. “Thank you. That means... more than you could know. You too, I mean if you ever...” His voice trailed off.

With a quick nod and a last smile, Willow turned away; heading back to her room, not exactly lighter than when she’d arrived, but a little less weighed down.

the end
velvetwhip: Boats by alwaysjbjvelvetwhip on October 15th, 2013 01:38 am (UTC)
The fact that you wrote this for me will always mean so much! It's super swell! I love the idea of the two of them reaching out and finding each other, even as friends.

Kiki May: Good facekikimay on October 15th, 2013 07:21 am (UTC)
That's really cute. I like your Willow's voice.
zodiac_signzodiac_sign on October 15th, 2013 10:05 am (UTC)
Very nice! They should be friends.

Well done!
(Deleted comment)
Butterflysnogged on October 26th, 2013 09:24 pm (UTC)
This was really sweet.
Great job!