Disclaimer: Willow and Angel and the rest to the BtVs gang belong to joss, The Wb and Mutant enemy, not me. The Song Lonely too long, belongs to patty loveless we think...

Lonely Too Long

She sat uneasily at her kitchen table, and for the first time in nearly five years, she felt uncertain of herself in her own home. She moved about making a breakfast she wouldn't eat and trying to fathom what had happened last night. It started out like any other evening. She'd gone to the Bronze, as Xander had insisted, saying that they had to go for old time's sake. She'd given in, wanting for a moment to relive a night from their shared past. The only thing missing had been Buffy.

Buffy had been gone for five years. Long deadly years that had taken their toll on Sunnydale. People at least had become smart enough to leave, or perhaps new ones merely quit coming; Willow was never sure. Buffy had left senior year after the return of Angel and their bittersweet parting.

Willow had always remembered Angel with fondness. He'd always been there, watching from the shadows protecting them. She hadn't seen Angel since he'd left for L.A. back in September of her first year at college eight years ago. She had graduated with honors, found her work allowed her to stay at home, and bought a home to stay in.

Xander always said the house was too big for just her. He had been right and this morning it seemed even larger. The young woman picked up the clothes that lay where they fell last night intending to wash and dry them. She was still antsy, and she couldn't help it. Last night had been, well, something she had never dreamed of, and she still trembled with the memory...her body awash with remembered sensations. She hadn't known she could feel that way.

She moved to the coffeepot, poured herself a cup and absently turned on the radio. She smiled as soft strains of music filled the kitchen. Something sad and smoky for the moment. She didn't regret last night and wouldn't trade a second of it, but where did it leave them.

They had met at the Bronze after the gang left, had sat talking until the club had closed, finally coming to her house, where they had talked more over late night coffee. With not even alcohol to blame, she couldn't contribute her actions on lowered inhibitions - not that it would have happened had she been drinking. She knew him well enough to know that he would have stopped had he thought she wasn't with him one hundred percent. She had been and no fault could be found with him. She looked up and smiled softly. He was standing there in the bedroom doorway, looking far too sexy, sleep tousled and warm. His dark hair was all in disarray as though she had only lately run her fingers through it in a fit of passion.

He was watching her, and she realized with some relief that he was as uncertain in the morning light as she was. She could hear the song that had begun to play and somewhere in her mind she realized the irony. It was as though the whole world knew what happened last night, and they were giving them the okay.

Well Good Mornin'
Tell me how'd you sleep last night
You're still smiling
So we must've done something right
Don't feel guilty
Because you turned to me last night.

He walked over to her in the kitchen, and his eyes locked with hers. They seemed to ask permission before he leaned down to claim her lips in a tender good morning kiss. She liked it, could get used to it, and she wondered if he was feeling the same things. How long had it been for him? How many women were there in his long line of lovers? Were there many mornings like this for him? Did he know them as he knew her?

We ain't done nothin' wrong
We've just been lonely too long
No we ain't done nothing wrong
We've just been lonely too long

He drew her into his arms, and she sensed his need to hold her. Was he afraid that she would disappear in the suns early morning light? She had half feared that last night had merely been another dream starring a familiar face. That the loneliness had become too much and she had in her mind turned to the comfort she had always found in his warm brown gaze. She remembered every moment they had spent last night...his first tentative kiss...the shocked hunger that had erupted between them. They had sought something and found it in each other. She rested her head against his chest and listened to the sounds of silence. She clung to him, to the memory of his flesh beneath her fingertips, as he'd brought every hungry, lonely fantasy she had to life with stunning intensity.

It's only natural
When you've been too long in the dark
To Look for comfort
And to warm yourself by the fire
We're just afraid
That we might get our fingers burned

He stared down at her. He wanted to speak, and she could see it in his eyes. She understood. Like her, he feared breaking whatever spell had woven itself around them in the hours of the night. She smiled, tenderness engulfing her and feelings that had always been there came to the surface as feelings sometimes do. It wasn't wrong anymore. Once to love him would have been betrayal of the worst kind, but Buffy threw away his love. He was fair game assuming that he wanted her. She stared into his eyes once more unsure. Had she read more into this? Was last night just a casual one-night stand with an old friend? Somehow she doubted that he found anything that they had shared casual, but she wanted to be sure. All she had to do was find the courage to ask. Taking a man to bed was easy; facing him in the morning was hard. Really hard when he looked at you with the same uncertain eyes you looked at him with.

Nothing's wrong that can't be cured with a new love
All you need is someone like me to be sure of to be your

She clung to him and her arms held him close, and he was certain he'd been right. He hadn't believed there was anything casual about the night before, but he hadn't wanted to say aloud the myriad of emotions eating at him from within. She was his savior, his anchor, and his angel. She opened herself to him heart, mind, body, and soul. She had asked for nothing last night...no promises or commitment...and he feared he misinterpreted her actions. Maybe she had expected to wake up alone, but he couldn't do that. She wasn't some nameless woman he used to ease needs too long denied. She was his friend, maybe his best friend, maybe his love.

I'll be waiting
I'll be waiting right outside your heart
And I'll be watching
For the slightest sign of a spark
And I'll be here
If you should want to turn to me
'Cause ...

"Willow?" he whispered, fear making his voice light. She smiled knowing he was scared. So was she. A relationship wasn't usually started on a night of passion like the one they had shared. Of course it wasn't like they were strangers who had never met; they knew each other. True, time had separated them and guilt had kept them from seeing what might have been when the fires first stirred, but there was nothing stopping them now. No one would be hurt by them stealing a little piece of their own heaven. She smiled warmly at him.

"Stay," she whispered against his skin. "Don't leave me again. I have missed you so much," she continued, taking the plunge off the edge - might as well be open about it. She had felt this a long time ago, and she saw the shock in his eyes...the surprise.

"I never knew," he whispered, shocked.

"Neither did I, at least not until this moment. I think I've been waiting for you forever." She smiled softly as his mouth touched hers.

We ain't done nothin' wrong
we've just been lonely too long
Oh we ain't done nothin' wrong
both been lonely too long
Just been lonely too long


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