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Closet Conversations by angelskuuipo
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Author's Notes:
Written for the lovely Gabrielle, in honor of my sixth writing anniversary. Maurice (yes, I call my muse, Maurice) wouldn’t let me do the overt shippy thing, but I hope you like this, sweetheart! Thanks be to Elisabeth for the beta.

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Willow wasn't sure how long she'd been stuck in the supply closet. She'd left her watch in her room, but she was pretty sure it had been hours. She was just glad that if she had to be stuck in a closet that it at least had a light, so she wasn’t blind as well as trapped. When she heard the lock click and the door started to open, Willow jumped to her feet and launched herself at her savior, not caring a whit whom it might be.

The figure oofed and then Willow found herself pressed face first into one of the shelving units. Before she could say anything she heard the damning click of the door locking again.

"Oh, poop," she muttered.

Her savior turned assailant let her go with a confused, “Willow?”

She turned around slowly. “Hey, Riley. Fancy meeting you here.”

He still looked confused. “Why are you laying in wait in the supply closet?”

She shrugged, trying to play it cool. “Oh, you know, just hanging around waiting for someone to let me out of the impromptu prison.”

She didn’t think it was possible, but he managed to look even more confused. “Huh?”

Willow sighed. “The door closed on me and I’ve been stuck in here for the last…what time is it?”

“Seven-thirty.”

“I’ve been stuck in here for the last three hours.”

“Didn’t you try to open it?” At the look on her face, Riley held his hands up in defense. “Okay, stupid question.”

“Ya think?” Not the nicest tone of voice to take, but come on! She was hungry, she had to go to the bathroom, and now she was locked in the closet with her best friend’s current crush. That made for a cranky Willow.

Riley’s lips twitched, but he didn’t smile, which was a good thing in Willow’s book, because then she’d have to kick him or something. And my, but wasn’t she just feeling violent today?

Instead, he rubbed his hands together and turned to the door. “Okay, let’s see what we can do about this.”

Two hours later…

Willow snorted in laughter then grimaced. “Oh, ow, don’t make me laugh, Riley. I have to go to the bathroom so bad and laughing is definitely not helping.”

Despite still being stuck in the closet and the almost overwhelming need to relieve herself, Willow was having a great time. It had been beyond funny watching him try to open the door. There was a pile of destroyed paper clips in the trash can from where he’d tried to pick the lock. The look of disbelief on his face that he hadn’t succeeded had been priceless. Riley was funny and sweet and they’d been having fun getting to know each other. A little voice in her head kept saying he was also really cute, but she was trying to ignore it. She wasn’t ready to give up on Oz returning yet and Buffy had already kinda sorta staked a claim on her closet buddy.

He winced. “Sorry, and thanks for the reminder. Okay, quick, tell me something outrageous that’s happened to you.”

Without thinking, Willow said, “My vampire doppelganger from an alternate reality came through one time and I had to pretend to be her to save a bunch of people at the Bronze. Leather is very binding.”

Riley blinked at her.

Willow looked at him and then realized what she’d said. “Crap,” she muttered under her breath then gave him a bright smile. “You meant something true, didn’t you? Nothing outrageous has happened to me. Unless you count dating a musician.”

“You know about vampires,” Riley said flatly.

“Don’t be silly, Riley. There’s no such thing as vampires.”

“Willow.”

She slumped against the shelving unit. “Not everyone buys the Gangs on PCP and death by BBQ fork. But then having one of your best friends since kindergarten get turned and try to kill you is a great eye-opener.” She looked at him curiously. “How do you know about the night life here?”

Riley squirmed and Willow knew it had nothing to do with his bladder. Her eyes narrowed at him and he became more uncomfortable. “Riley?”

“I can’t tell you.”

She raised one eyebrow at him and he looked away. She thought about it for a minute then asked, “Do you have anything to do with those commandos we’ve been seeing around campus lately?” Riley paled, but didn’t answer, which was answer enough. Willow shook her head. “You guys have no idea what you’re dealing with.”

His head whipped around then and he glared at her incredulously. “We know plenty! We’re working to save people from HST’s and doing a damn good job of it.”

“You’re killing indiscriminately and playing with forces you know nothing about! Not all demons are bad, Riley. Some are just trying to lives their lives, same as us. And the behavior modification chips you’re shoving into vampires? That is beyond cruel.”

He narrowed his eyes at her this time. “You know Hostile 17.”

Willow blinked then snorted. “If you mean Spike, then yes. We go way back. See, this is what I’m talking about. You assign numbers to these beings that have lives, such as they may be, and personalities, and feelings. They aren’t chattel and you people need to stop experimenting on them. If they’re dangerous, kill them. If they’re not, then leave them alone.”

Riley shook his head. “It’s not that simple.”

“Yes. It is.”

He scowled at her. “Someone has to protect these people!”

Willow nodded. “I know and we do. We’ve saved this town more times than you can count and we will continue to do so.”

“Who’s we?”

She shook her head. “Not my story to tell.”

He glared at her in frustration, but she put on her Resolve Face and he backed down.

Willow sighed and played with the hem of her shirt. “I think we should change the subject.” Riley grunted and she rolled her eyes. “Look, Mr. Pouty Pants, it’s not just me I have to worry about. I’ll talk to the others when we get out of here and we’ll see if we can come to an agreement.” She looked at the door and glared. “If we get out of here.”

“Mr. Pouty Pants?”

“Your bottom lip was sticking out.”

“It was not!”

Willow gave him a small smile and he couldn’t help but smile back. “You’re a lot different than I thought you were, Willow Rosenberg.”

She looked at him with a raised eyebrow. “I don’t know if I should take that as a compliment or not.”

“Take it as a compliment.” He leaned towards her and brushed a strand of hair from her eyes. She blushed and looked away.

Before she could say anything there were sounds outside the door. Both she and Riley stood up and she noticed that he moved into a fighting stance, just like Buffy would have. He also moved slightly in front of her, just like Buffy would have. It was…disconcerting. The door opened and the janitor jumped at seeing them. “What the hell are you two doing in here?”

Willow scowled at him. “Trying not to pee our pants, Mr. Judgmental! That door lock is broken and we’ve been stuck in here for hours!” She moved forward at a quick, if somewhat stilted pace. She really had to go to the bathroom. She also wanted to get away from Riley. He confused her and she so didn’t need that right now. “Bye, Riley! See you in class tomorrow!” Then she was gone.

Riley took a few precious minutes to explain the problem to the janitor then took care of his own needs. We he entered the Initiative base Dr. Walsh was waiting for him. “Did you learn anything, Agent Finn?”

“Not as much as I hoped, ma’am, but I did learn a few things.” Actually, he’d learned plenty. He just wasn’t sure what to do with the information.

Willow Rosenberg confused him and he didn’t need that right now.

-30-

Skin Design by Amy



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