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Neat Little Boxes by angelskuuipo
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Author's Notes:
Warnings/Spoilers: Post-Chosen; deals with sexual orientation/identity confusion

Prompt: Willow alone ... sometime post show shocked that she finds someone male attractive enough to get her wanting to have sex with him. Perhaps she's not only confused but reassessing how she feels about bisexuals ... like say she thought before that they just hadn't made up their minds or something equally possible for her because she likes things in boxes that resemble black and white thinking. If it isn't one then it is the opposite. You can have her make as many realizations as you want based on this new gray thinking.

Written for Pickamix in honor of my 10th Writing Anniversary. This prompt intrigued me greatly. I tried to do some research and got a little frustrated with what I found, or didnít find as the case may be, so itís not as in depth as I had wanted it to be, but I do hope you like it. I did my best to treat the subject matter with the respect it deserved and it is not my intention to offend anyone. Thank you, Velvetwhip, for the beta. Any remaining mistakes are my own.

Written: January 25, 2014
Word Count: 1,512
~*~*~*~*~*~

With the chaos that was generally her life, Willow tried very hard to keep certain aspects neat and tidy; namely, her personal life. She had decided long ago that there would be no waffling back and forth between men and women. Yes, pretty much everyone went through some manner of an experimentation phase, and that’s what she told herself Oz and Xander had been. With those spectacular failures under her belt, it was obvious boys hadn’t worked. Then she’d met Tara, and it all made sense, and from then on she was a lesbian and proud of it. She’d never looked back. She’d never wanted to look back.

Willow had never really understood bisexuals anyway. To her, they seemed indecisive and maybe a little greedy. Relationships were messy to begin with, so why would anyone want to complicate them more by throwing all the different gender emotional responses into the mix whenever the urge took you? That was a roller coaster she just didn’t want to ride.

Now, though, the new witch who had just joined the Council, Damien Harlow, was doing his best to make her want to get in that line.

He was…amazing. Handsome, powerful, confident, plus he had an aura of peace around him that made anyone who spent more than five minutes in his company feel more relaxed than they had in ages.

Willow wanted him like she hadn’t wanted anyone since Tara. No offense to Kennedy or Laura or Maggie, but Tara had been her precious girl, her world, and no other woman had come close to making her feel that way again; which was probably why she’d been single for the last five years.

To Willow, Damien had the same intangible quality about him that had drawn her to Tara and that terrified her.

The bad thing was that he didn’t even know he was throwing her carefully aligned world out of whack. She was on the verge of an epic panic attack and had no idea how to stop it. She was not supposed to feel this way about a guy! Despite the power she wielded, most of her life was outside of her control; so she tended to hold fast to the few things she could- namely her body and her emotions. She had to be able to own something. She had to.

~*~

It all came to a head a week later when she and Damien were working together in the spell lab. Willow was jittery and making little mistakes she had no business making. She finally threw down her pen in disgust, closed her eyes, and took a deep breath to try and calm down.

When she opened her eyes, Damien was standing in front of her, a look of such sweet concern on his face that Willow had to blink back the sudden sting of tears. He reached out and brushed her bangs out of her eyes; Willow broke. She caught his hand and leaned into his touch, pressing her cheek against his palm. He breathed in sharply and she wondered what expression was on her face to make him look at her the way he was.

Slowly, giving her plenty of time to draw away, he leaned down to brush a chaste kiss against her lips and she let him. Willow felt a spark of energy flow between them at the gentle contact and she pulled back, wide-eyed.

Before he could say anything she babbled out something about having to go and she bolted from the lab. She really needed to think.

~*~

Over the years since Sunnydale, Willow had rediscovered her love of computers and technology and had finally managed to find a balance between magic and the mundane. With the way she was feeling right now there was no way she’d be able to meditate, so she turned to her other source of relaxation- her laptop.

Obviously there was something between her and Damien; it wasn’t one-sided or all in her head, so she needed to figure it out. She needed it to make sense and find a way to accept that she might not be as gay as she thought she was.

Let the research commence.

Two hours later Willow was more confused than when she started. She couldn’t find anything that really described what she was feeling. Demi-sexual maybe came closest, but it still wasn’t right. She’d been mostly physically attracted to her other partners as far as she could tell; well, they’d been pretty and the sex wasn’t bad, or at least she hadn’t thought it’d been bad. There hadn’t been any complaints about that on either side. She just hadn’t had the strong emotional connections to make the relationships last like she had with Tara.

Tara. She kept coming back to her girl- her girl who’d been gone for more than ten years. Willow was absolutely positive that if Tara hadn’t been killed they would have worked things out and would still be together today. Maybe that was what she needed to focus on: what it was about Damien that reminded Willow so much of her first real love.

There were no physical resemblances between them. Aside from the obvious difference of Tara being a woman and Damien definitely being a man, their coloring and shape were completely different. Okay, so it wasn’t the physical that was drawing her in, although Damien was definitely nice to look at with his dark hair and eyes and his olive skin and…she was getting off topic.

Alright then, what else could it be?

Damien made her laugh. That was always a good thing. Laughter was hard to come by in their world sometimes. Tara had made her laugh, too. Her girl had had a wicked sense of humor, though she rarely let anyone see it. Willow thought Spike might have been the only other person to get to see that side of Tara.

Damien was in control of his power. He was very aware of possible consequences and acted accordingly; just like Tara. Tara had tried so hard to teach her that, but Willow had been too blind and arrogant and desperate to prove she was strong and make herself useful to listen at the time. She’d learned the hard way what had come so naturally to them.

Damien was calm, but he wasn’t boring. Tara had been an oasis of peace in the craziness of Sunnydale, but had had a mischievous side that kept Willow on her toes and she’d loved it.

The similarities and parallels came faster and faster as Willow let her thoughts go. What it all boiled down to was Damien was similar to Tara in all the ways that really mattered.

Maybe that was the key for her acceptance of this new variable in her neat little boxes. She needed to look more at the personality than the packaging. Maybe that’s what she’d been missing all this time.

~*~

Willow hesitantly entered the spell lab and saw Damien bent over one of the work tables. There was tension in the line of his shoulders and she bit her lip in consternation, knowing she’d put it there.

At the scuff of her shoe on the floor he looked over his shoulder and stilled when he saw her.

Now or never, Willow.

“So, I wanted to apologize for running out on you earlier,” she stated nervously. “I had a lot of thinking to do.”

Damien turned and leaned against the work table. Willow was relieved to see that he didn’t cross his arms or his ankles. His body language was open and receptive and, even though he didn’t speak, it gave her the courage to go on.

“I like you,” Willow said baldly. “I like you like I haven’t liked anyone since I met my first girlfriend over a decade ago. I was convinced I would never be attracted to another man and then I met you and you are…everything I loved about her and I didn’t know how to handle that. And when you kissed me I felt a spark that I haven’t felt since her and it scared me, so I ran. I’ve spent the last few hours restructuring the way I see myself and please say something, because I could go on and on and on if you don’t.”

Damien just stared at her for another moment before he pushed off the table and walked- well, more like glided, damn he was smooth- towards her. Willow swallowed and looked up at him when he stopped in front of her. He stared down at her with a mysterious little smile on his lips as he took her hand.

“I like you, too, Willow,” he finally said. “Have dinner with me?”

Willow blinked and took her courage in both hands. Her neat and tidy boxes had been rearranged and she still wasn’t sure she liked it, but she wasn’t going to let that stand in her way of being happy. So she squeezed Damien’s hand and smiled as she said, “I’d love to.”

-30-

Skin Design by Amy



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