Buffy's having a really strange day.
Chapter eight: only two more to go after this one, and you can probably guess what's about to happen. Characters, in order of appearance: Buffy, Willow, Dawn and Xander. Rating 15. 1,385 words. Chapter One is here.
Chapter Eight - in which Buffy makes plans for the evening
As it turned out, Willow had indeed worked out the counterspell. Except that for some reason, she was really reluctant to tell anyone what it was. In fact, when Buffy came back upstairs, she found her in the middle of trying to get rid of Dawn.
"Come on, Dawnie. Don't you fancy going for a sleepover at one of your friends' tonight?
"Not really. I'd rather stay in with you and Buffy."
"I, uh, don't think... er, your sister might not want you here for this."
"Like she ever does... anyway, shouldn't we be calling him my brother now?"
Willow looked thoughtful for a moment, then heard Buffy's strangled gasp of outrage from the doorway, looked up, met her eyes and smoothly changed what she was about to say.
"I, uh, think Buffy still identifies as a woman, so it's more respectful to acknowledge that and call her "she". And we're getting away from the subject, which is you not being here when I, uh, when I... use potentially dangerous magics. Yup. You don't want to be caught in the backlash and turned into a boy yourself, do you?"
"Well, uh..." Willow thought desperately. "How about going to Xander's then? Uh, or maybe he could take you to the Bronze?"
"Willow!" hissed Buffy, but her friend just gave her a frantic headshake then turned back to Dawn.
"It's a live music night! I'm sure there's someone good playing; it's incredible how many famous indie groups pass through Sunnydale. Go on, you'll love it! Please?"
"Buffy? Are you okay with this?"
She really wasn't, but somehow arguing with Willow didn't seem wise just now. So she surrendered gracefully. "Xan was working today, but I think he'll be home by now. I'll give him a call. Let's hope he's not already got a date for the night."
"Xander? What are the odds?"
"Depends... any giant bug ladies in town lately?"
"Hush, you two. Dawn, make sure you're home by..." She saw Willow cringe and shake her head, "Uh, make sure you're back in Xander's apartment by midnight."
Fortunately Xander was indeed free for the night, and if he had a problem with caretaking a sixteen-year old he was careful not to show it. When he heard what was up he did insist on driving around in person to collect Dawn, making no secret of the fact that his real purpose was to goggle in astonishment at male Buffy.
Before he arrived Dawn got changed into some party clothes - under sisterly supervision to make sure they were nicely chaste and unrevealing - and put together an overnight bag. Buffy intercepted and recaptured her favourite skirt, firmly overruling Dawn's argument that she "Didn't need it any more 'cause of the whole maleness thing." There was a brief outbreak of open warfare when Dawn discovered "disgusting man stubble" all over her razor, and Buffy had to promise to buy her some more. (Razors, not stubble.)
But then Xander arrived, and after the third variation on the theme of him "always wanting more guy friends in his life", Buffy practically chased him and Dawn out of the house. Ordering them to "Have fun!" as an afterthought.
And then she turned back to Willow, who now seemed to be trying to fade into the wallpaper and not be noticed. Buffy folded her arms across her chest and waited for an explanation.
"Uh, it's really extremely embarrassing. Um, are you sure you'd rather not stay this way after all?"
"Positive. C'mon Will, spill it."
"Uh, when you hear this you'll definitely want to stay a man. And by the way, did I mention already that I'm really, really sorry?"
"You soon will be. Come on. Who do I have to fuck to get off this boat?"
Willow blinked in astonishment. "How did you know?"
"How do I know what? That? It was a movie quote, I... oh no. Oh no. Will. Please tell me you're kidding."
Willow shook her head meekly.
"How? What? Why? And most urgently of all, who?"
Willow didn't answer that directly, just blushed and flashed a smile that vanished as soon as it appeared.
Buffy sat down, rather hard, on the bottom step. Then looked back up at her resident witch.
"You'd better explain this one slowly and carefully."
"Uh, have I already said sorry? Because I am."
"Willow. Explain. Now. Please."
"Uh, well, you know how I cast the spell on RJ because I was in love with him, well actually we all were so it wasn't just me, and I wanted him, just like you did, so I cast the spell on him to change his sex so I could go to bed with him, and so that was the objective of the spell, and when Hecate twisted it onto you it still had the same condition, so I can't break the spell until I've had sex, with you rather than with RJ, because that's how it works." She took a breath, looking slightly blue. "Have I said sorry yet?"
"Oh God. Are you really sure about this? There must be some other way, surely?"
"I haven't found one, and I've spent the last two hours searching. But I can keep going if you like? I mean, I might find some other counterspell eventually..."
"How likely is it? Honestly?"
"Honestly? Not so much. Buffy, I don't like this any more than you do, please believe me."
"Oh God. This is a nightmare!"
"Hey, I'm not that bad in bed."
Buffy snorted with laughter, almost against her will. "I didn't mean that. I just - I don't know what to do!"
"You, uh, don't know how to have sex? I heard different."
"Yes, but I'm a man now!"
"Did notice that, yeah."
"And you're gay!"
"But... you can't sleep with me as a man, it wouldn't be fair, we'll have to..."
"Buffy! Please don't make my decisions for me. You can turn me down, but you can't tell me not to even offer. I've chosen to do this and you don't have to if you don't wanna but I do."
"You do? You actually want, uh, want me with the manness and the thing, and, and the sex?"
"How does that even work? What happened to Willow the gay woman?"
"She's still here. But I have had a boyfriend before, remember? I won't burst into flames if I see a naked man. And - and I think I owe this to you anyway 'cause it's all my fault, but it's not just that. I do really want to do this."
Willow blushed. "Um, curiosity? I - uh - I've been wondering most of the day what it would be like. Ever since this morning when I saw your, uh, saw you." She quirked an arch smile. "Besides, this may be the only chance I ever get with you; tomorrow you'll be back to straight womanitude and you won't fancy me anymore."
"What makes you think I fancy you now, eh?"
"Oh, I've seen the signs." Willow smiled, then took a deep breath and sat down next to Buffy. She took her hand into her own, held it a moment. Buffy could feel the warmth of her body against hers. "C'mon. Buff. We really do have to do this, so we may as well enjoy ourselves. You're my best friend, and I love you, even if it's not really in a sex way, but it doesn't mean I've never thought about it and if you- mmmmphll!"
Buffy had decided that decisive action was best.
When they broke from the kiss Willow blinked a little, then snuggled up on Buffy's shoulder. "I take it that's a yes, then?" Buffy considered her answer, but her thoughts were being badly distracted by the strange wonderful bewitching sensation of Willow's breast pressing up against her arm. And that was weird because normally she'd have hardly noticed it but now it was the entire focus of her attention; that and the thud of her heart and the heat spreading through both their bodies, each to each, and so before she could lose her nerve she tilted her head in the direction of upstairs, and when Willow nodded they stood up together and climbed the stairs arm in arm.
On to Chapter Nine