*tap* *tap* Hello? Anybody there?
I realise I've not exactly been here much lately either, to be honest. But I've just written fic! - Actual Season 4 Buffy fic. With a hint of meta. It's a sequel to my earlier South of the Border, in which Buffy comes home early from patrol, discovers something which surprises her (though perhaps it shouldn't have), and has to decide whether it would be more awkward to go back and talk to Willow about it, or flee to Mexico under an assumed name and disappear.
The premise of this fic is that she womanned up and went to talk to Willow...Alternatives to Exile is set two weeks after that conversation.
Title: Alternatives to Exile
Characters: Buffy, Willow
Setting: Early Season 4
Rating: 18 (Sexual references and imagery)
This fic is dedicated to all the college students who have ever found themselves having to share their actual bedroom with a roommate.
Alternatives to Exile
Buffy blinked her eyes open and stretched beneath the covers. Her slowly-wakening brain gradually filtered through the incoming sensations and her memories to tell her where she was. It was morning, she was in her bed, it was Tuesday, she had classes in a couple of hours' time. The sun was coming in through the cracks in the curtains, a bird was singing outside the window. The noise that had woken her---
There it was again. Buffy hesitated, then smiled in mingled amusement and embarrassment as she recognised it.
In the bed opposite, Willow gave a little gasp, then moaned once again. Buffy felt herself involuntarily burrowing further under the covers, hot-faced.
It wasn't that Willow was doing anything wrong. Of course not. Perfectly natural behaviour, nothing to be ashamed of, everybody does it. Buffy does it. She did it last night, in fact. It's just... did Will have to do it now?
I mean, yes, they'd talked about this before. It had been a pink-faced, embarrassed-laughter, hesitant conversation, but they'd approached the subject like mature adults and Buffy was proud of herself for that. Two young people sharing a bedroom in college have to, well, make allowances for certain things. Make rules, set up a system... Technically, Buffy realised, that meant she had given Willow permission for what she was now rather obviously and noisily doing.
Buffy stifled a groan, hoping that Willow wouldn't realise she was awake yet. Or hoping that her groan would be muffled by Willow's own noises. But most of all hoping that Willow wouldn't interpret Buffy's groan as a sign that she too was touching herself.
After The Incident two weeks ago, when Buffy came home unexpectedly early from patrol and caught Willow in an extremely flagrante state of delicto, they'd had The Talk to avoid future awkwardnesses. Mostly The Talk had involved a mutual agreement to give each other space and alone-time when requested. Warming to the theme, Willow had gone on to suggest a complex scheme of code-words and secret signs to tell each other when they wanted privacy, and for how long. She'd almost forgotten her embarrassment as she started elaborating on the details.
Buffy thought her enthusiasm was sweet and very typical, and felt guilty at turning the idea down. Frankly, though, she was afraid she'd never remember half of Willow's system and get the other half wrong. Instead she'd said boldly that they didn't need code-words, they could just be honest with each other. They both knew that the other...masturbated (Buffy almost stumbled over the word, but told herself firmly it would be hypocritical and ironic to hesitate at it now), and so they had no need to hide the fact from each other.
Willow had been so impressed at Buffy's apparent openness and emotional maturity, she'd felt even more guilty. Couldn't Will see she was faking this? But she couldn't go back now; and indeed the conversation had escalated. They'd started talking times, details. Buffy now knew that Willow's favourite time of day to get herself off was early evening, after she got home from school or classes; which wasn't a fact Buffy had ever imagined she'd need to learn.
Oh, and apparently Willow occasionally liked to masturbate early in the morning as well, before she got up. The continuing noises from the bed opposite made that quite clear. Buffy wriggled: her bladder had chosen that moment to remind her that she wouldn't be able to stay in bed all day. How much longer was she going to be?
Willow moaned twice, in quick succession, then panted; the bedsprings creaked. Did that mean she was getting close to orgasm? Or not? Buffy's face was crimson. She shouldn't be thinking about things like that. She shouldn't have to think about them.
But she'd agreed to this. Kind of. By default.
The problem was reciprocity. It was no trouble for Buffy to agree to make herself scarce for an hour or so after classes finished. There was plenty for her to do: go to the cafeteria, the gym - God, even the library. She could adapt her routine: no bother at all. She wouldn't even have to ask what Willow got up to in the guaranteed time she had the room to herself each day.
But vice-versa was the problem. See, Buffy's favourite time of day for it was not day at all, but last thing at night. Especially if she'd been patrolling; nine times out of ten she'd come back home keyed up and tense and very, very, very horny. Change-of-underwear horny. These last few weeks sharing her room, first with Kathy and then with Willow, never being able to get herself off when she wanted to, had left Buffy in a miserable, frustrated stew of sexual tension.
But she couldn't kick Willow out of bed in the middle of the night, could she? Worse still, quite often Willow was already asleep if Buffy came back late from her patrol, and waking her up from her beauty sleep just to sexile her into the corridor would be even worse.
Then Willow had said, in a slow, patient voice, that if she was already asleep there was no need to disturb her, was there? Buffy should just go ahead and masturbate anyway, and Willow would never know. Unless Buffy was too loud and woke her up, of course.
Buffy was quite taken aback by the suggestion, and questioned Willow closely on whether she was sure, if she was really okay with it and not just saying that to be polite - but in truth, Buffy was delighted by such a simple and obvious answer to her problem.
Willow clearly picked up on that, because she not only assured Buffy it was okay, but added with an impish grin that even if she wasn't asleep yet, she would pretend to be so that Buffy could go ahead. But then she'd blushed suddenly, hotter red than she had during the entire conversation, and looked down at the floor, and Buffy had been afraid she was about to change her mind again.
To avert that, Buffy quickly thanked her very sincerely, then launched into an explanation of how she felt after patrolling, and why this mattered to her. All highly personal and revealing, of course; but after all Will was her best friend and it wasn't the first time they'd talked about intimate things together.
It worked too, because Willow was interested and sympathetic and even amused in the right places. There was one awkward moment when she had a wide-eyed epiphany, which turned out to relate to something she remembered Faith saying last year. That raised questions and memories that Buffy really didn't want to get into now; but luckily Willow was no more keen than her to dwell on the subject of Faith.
However, the conclusion Willow had reached was that Buffy's post-patrol horniness must be a mystical Slayer thing. Buffy didn't think that was true... no, she had to be honest with herself. She didn't want it to be true: didn't like the idea that her emotions were supernatural in origin and not really hers. But she had a nasty suspicion Will was right - although after spelling out her idea Willow had gone on to babble excitedly about mystical energy and the link between eros and thanatos and lots of other things that Buffy just let wash over her without really taking them in.
Still, the upside was that Willow had now managed to convince herself, with no further prompting from Buffy, that her best friend's libido was Important Slayer Business and something to do with Destiny and maybe even the Source of her Power, or something like that, and so of course Buffy should be free to seek sexual release whenever she got back from patrol and Willow wouldn't dream of standing in her way.
Buffy felt even more like a fraud, since she still wasn't convinced that her feeling horny every night had anything to do with being the Slayer. But nor did she want to spend the next four years at college in a state of sexual frustration; so she agreed to Willow's suggestion.
In fact, they went on to agree that Willow didn't need to pretend to be asleep or anything like that, because by that point they were carried away by their mood of honesty and openness. Buffy just had to promise to be discreet.
And, of course, because she was fair-minded she assured Willow that the arrangement should work both ways. For Willow to do it in bed too, if she wanted to. Willow had blushed and nodded and said okay and looked at her hands, and Buffy had been convinced she'd never, ever take her up on the offer.
There was a sudden rapid-fire series of gasps from the next bed, and the springs protested vigorously. Buffy risked a cautious peep of her eye out from the protective cocoon she'd wrapped herself in, and saw the bump that was Willow's body under her blankets moving and writhing urgently. Her hips were pumping up and down; her face - fortunately - was turned away from Buffy, nothing to see but a mass of tousled sweat-darkened red hair burrowing into the pillow.
The incongruous thought struck Buffy that for the first time in her life, she was about to watch another woman come. She had to admit, she was actually curious as well as all the other stuff: embarrassed and awkward and wanting it to be over so she could finally get up herself. She found herself wondering what Willow had thought earlier, when the same situation was reversed.
Buffy had, of course, felt incredibly nervous the first time she came back from slaying After The Talk. She'd been a coward, and prolonged her patrol far longer than normal, visiting two extra graveyards outside her routine. She'd found a vamp in the second, too - but the fight had left her even more pumped up and horny by the time she reached the campus again.
Would Willow be asleep? Yes, thank God, she was. And not pretending either, unless she was a much better actress than Buffy suspected; her breathing was slow and regular. Even so, Buffy almost didn't go through with it. How could she? But they'd talked about it, and Willow had said it was okay, and she was asleep, so...
In the event, Buffy's fingertip had barely touched her clit before she was convulsing in one of the most intense orgasms of her life. Maybe it was the slaying; maybe it was the six previous weeks of frustration; maybe even it was the danger of knowing that Willow was right there in the same room, not five yards away from her. Buffy never knew how she managed to stay quiet; and having merely taken the first edge off, she had to stay quiet for quite a while afterwards as she made up for all the lost time.
She was, however, feeling much more relaxed and happy the next morning as she innocently asked Will, "I didn't wake you last night, did I?"
Willow had casually shaken her head and said no - then blushed and giggled and asked in a much different tone of voice, "So you did it then, huh?" That at least reassured Buffy that she had truly been sleeping, not pretending.
She thought about giving an airy, teasing denial - "I don't know what you mean" - but then decided that a straightforward nod and a hasty changing of the subject was a better idea. Honest, open, and swiftly - very swiftly - moving on.
But the ice had been broken, and the next night when she got home late she only hesitated for a moment. The night after that she didn't hesitate at all. By the end of the week she'd slipped comfortably back into the same nightly routine she'd enjoyed while living at home.
Whether Willow was doing the same in her own time wasn't something Buffy liked to ask: but she kept her promise of giving her roommate some private space every day. And one evening she arrived back in their room and saw a flash of bright purple out of the corner of her eye, and realised that Willow's vibrator was lying out in the open on top of her bed - which looked distinctly rumpled. Buffy said nothing, and busied herself with putting her notebooks and pens back into her desk, and when she next looked up the sex toy was nowhere to be seen and Willow was innocently straightening the blanket, and they both pretended nothing had happened.
But in an obscure way Buffy felt reassured: it wasn't just her. Willow was doing the same.
Two days later Buffy got home from patrol with butterflies in her stomach and nipples poking a hole in her t-shirt... and Willow was there, still awake, reading something in bed. She jumped up in alarm when she saw Buffy, and stammered awkwardly and avoided saying anything direct.
Buffy tried to conceal her disappointment, and keep everything casual; and Willow made small talk about whether she'd killed anything that night; but the atmosphere was full of unspoken questions. Buffy undressed quickly, got into bed; Willow put away her book and turned out the light. They said goodnight.
Then a long pause.
Should she say something? Should she ask if the agreement still held? Would Willow think it was funny or be offended if Buffy asked her to hurry up and go to sleep? Should she just not bother tonight? ("No", said her body back to her in urgent tones.) Would it be more awkward to say something, or just go ahead and do it?
Buffy slid her hand inside the front of her pyjamas, through the sodden tuft of hair to brush against the taut hardness of her clit. She bit her lip to keep from gasping aloud. Was Willow listening? Of course she was listening, what else could she be doing lying there in the darkness a few feet away?
Her finger moved down as if by instinct, the tip sliding without the slightest resistance into the warm, moist opening of her vagina. She wriggled it further inside, feeling her heart skittering in her chest, her breath coming faster. She couldn't not do this now. The slippery wet tip of her finger, released again, skated around the hard nub of her clitoris then scraped right across it. At the touch she grunted, deep in her throat, like she was fighting again.
Willow, in the opposite bed, made a noise that sounded half like an embarrassed laugh and half like a sigh of relief.
Relief? Buffy guessed she'd been caught in suspense too, not knowing whether to say anything. Not knowing what Buffy was going to do. Now she knew, although Buffy couldn't say whether she was pleased or bothered - and no way was Buffy going to ask her.
The best she could now, it seemed, was just go ahead. So she did. Willow stayed silent. Buffy half-wished she'd start masturbating too, so Buffy wasn't the only one doing it: but that would be incredibly embarrassing to suggest and probably kind of gay too, and she didn't want to risk offending her roommate. She remembered how bothered Will had been at her vampire counterpart's non-heterosexuality, after all.
After she came, she lay there drowsily in the sheltering darkness, catching her breath. Then Willow said in a soft, amused tone of voice, "G'night, Buffy. Again." Buffy had smiled and replied, "Night, Will", and it almost hadn't been awkward at all.
Willow moaned again, louder and longer than ever before, and it ended on a ragged gasp. Her body arched beneath the bedclothes, her head whipped from one side to the other - Buffy almost ducked by instinct as Willow faced towards her, but her friend's eyes were screwed tightly closed, her mouth wide and panting for air. Then Willow's body went limp, and she released a long, tremulous sigh.
Buffy wondered if this would be the appropriate point to say, "Morning, Willow!"At least she could get up now.
The morning after that night, Buffy had done her best to act entirely normally, and she got the strong impression Willow was doing the same. No big deal, nothing to see here, move along. Next night she'd nearly decided that once was enough, they'd proved their point, no need to do it again. Her body disagreed, and it offered orgasms as an inducement to change her mind. Buffy gave in.
That was enough. It became routine after that, not spoken about but accepted. At least Buffy hoped that Willow accepted it: she'd say something if it bothered her, surely. And of course, Buffy reassured herself, if Willow ever wanted to masturbate in bed Buffy would offer her exactly the same courtesy and acceptance Willow gave her.
That was the theory. In practice? It was all far more embarrassing than she'd thought it would be.
Willow pushed back the bedclothes, and Buffy took that as her cue to get up too - almost. But then she froze in shock as Willow did the last thing she expected. She pulled off her pyjama top and slung it in the vague direction of the foot of the bed. Buffy had a brief impression of pale breasts swinging with the motion of Willow's body, hard pink nipples jutting out urgently; then Willow was laying back down and pulling up the sheet again, and the glimpse was lost. But the rearranged bedclothes revealed more of her body than before, and Buffy could clearly see the slight but steady rhythmic motion of her bare right shoulder, in time with the more pronounced motion under the covers about halfway down her outstretched, supine body. She started moaning again, slower and softer than before.
Buffy swallowed a flash of anger.
This wasn't fair. She needed to get up, she needed to pee, she wanted her breakfast. She had work to do today. ("Willow doesn't", Buffy suddenly remembered. "Her class was cancelled today; I remember her telling me.") Buffy knew her anger was irrational. Willow wasn't doing anything Buffy herself hadn't done, and Willow never complained.
"But it's different," Buffy's inner three-year-old whined. "She's doing it in broad daylight!"
"Does that matter?" replied her older self, "We're still both in bed, and technically I was still asleep when she started."
"Yes, but she's being greeeeedy! How many orgasms does she need?"
"As many as she wants." Buffy told herself firmly. Then snorted with laughter at the absurdity of it all. This was no good; she had to get up. If Willow was embarrassed, serves her right.
She pushed back her own sheets and swung her legs over the side of her bed. Willow's soft moans stopped abruptly. Buffy looked over and Willow's eyes met her own; her friend's face was pink, but Buffy noted with approval that she hadn't curled up in a ball, dived under the covers, or tried to hide under the bed.
"Don’t stop on my account!" she said.
She was pretty sure that Willow would reply, "Stop what?" or maybe, "I wasn't doing anything!" She wasn't really expecting Willow to reply, "Um, okay" and promptly start up that rhythmic arm movement again - but she did.
To cover her embarrassment Buffy explained that she had to get up, she had classes, she was going to the bathroom. Look! She held up her towel and washbag as if she had to prove that statement to Willow.
Willow smiled at her reassuringly, but then looked concerned. "Is this bothering you? I'm sorry if it bothers you. Um, I didn't wake you up, did I? I was trying to be quiet."
Buffy had a brief moment of alarm: if this was Willow trying to be quiet, how loud would she be if she were making noise? To cover her confusion she put on her dressing gown and assured Willow brightly that she'd leave her in peace while she went for a shower. She wondered if there was a non-awkward way to ask, "How long do you need?", then decided there wasn't.
She was just about to escape through the door when a stray thought popped into her brain and without thinking, she asked the question.
"How come you're not using your vibrator? I thought you always used it."
Willow sat up in the bed to stare at her, and for a moment Buffy saw that her left hand was clamped tightly around her left breast, until she released it to pull the sheet up around her neck again. She blinked a couple of times, took a deep breath, then replied in a small voice, "I didn't want to wake you up."
Well, you did. "Is it really that loud?"
"Um, kinda. Depends where I--, uh, how I use it."
Buffy certainly didn't want to hear the details, but she assured Willow that she should go ahead and use it. If she wanted to. Um, not that it was any of Buffy's business. Please tell me if you want me to shut up now.
Willow chuckled. "It's okay, Buff. You're being very considerate. I don't have to use it every time, you know. But, uh, if you're going for a long shower…?"
"A very long shower," Buffy nodded vigorously.
Pause. Buffy wondered if that was her cue to leave. She decided it was definitely her cue to leave.
Willow pushed back the covers - she was, naturally, stark naked under them - and rolled onto her belly to reach out to the bedside cabinet. She opened the drawer and pulled out her vibrator. It was even bigger and even more purple than Buffy remembered.
She was in the shower so long, the water turned cold, and she had to skip breakfast or be late for class.