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On The Other Side

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He was home.

Wasn’t he?

Sure, he was back in what seemed to be his lonely, rickety cabin in the middle of the Connecticut woods, the outskirts just a few blocks away from the city. His attic seemed to be right where he had left it however long ago. There was a mess of stray papers and notes and science equipment scattered about the room. Hell, even that cursed radio was still there. He was still debating on whether or not that was a good thing, as music did fill the silence that hung in the air like a heavy sheet. He lifted a tentative hand to touch the left side of his face. He still had the cloth over his eye—or rather lack thereof. To be sure, he slid a hand under the cloth. Yep, scars still there. Lovely.

  There was dust and spider webs all over the place, probably more than usual since he hasn’t been here in so long. The room smelled strange, as he wasn’t used to it and there was a strong lack of chemicals. The door he had completed building moments before his life was altered for good was gone, only leaving the remains of papers and blueprints. The room looked like it was in a rather worse condition than before-not that it was saying much considering its already shabby state, but still. It all looked normal.

But there was the gnawing feeling that he was missing something.

Or rather some one .

“Guys?” he called tentatively. “W-Willow?”

He felt his gut twist in sorrow and panic as he scuttled across the rooms, the old floorboards creaking much louder than they used to with every step. He tried to push away the creeping shadow of Worst-Case-Scenario™ as he scurried down the creaking, loose steps.

“Willow? Webber? Wendy?” he called. “Woodie…Maxwell?” His stomach churned upon realizing what was going on, but he didn’t want to admit it. He opened the chipped door in hopes of finding his group outside. There was a storm of dust that was disturbed from the breeze entering the house.

He put off his search to get a good look at his rickety old house. It was just as dilapidated as before, but it was now threatening to collapse any minute. It was leaning like it was the Tower of Pisa. Some of the wood looked looser than ever, and the boarded-up windows were starting to fall apart.

He needed to clean up his house for his dear Willow.

His heart skipped a beat as he remembered the possibility that she could be…

“Willow!”

She couldn’t be back in her hometown, could she?!

But he was back here…Did the portal transport people back to the last place they were before arriving into the Constant?

No, no, no! This wasn’t how it was supposed to be! It wasn’t supposed to end this way! He-Willow…She was going to live with him! It would’ve been just them…He-he was going to marry her and everything and all the survivors would be there too, even Maxwell and Charlie…He couldn’t be alone anymore! He’s been alone for so long…

He’s spent the past few years trying to ignore the gnawing loneliness and estrangement of being a hermit scientist and letting the fury and pain of being rejected and hated by his family bottle up inside of him and denying that he gave a shit. And then he met Willow and Webber and everybody else and he finally had a family. He finally had people who genuinely cared about him and appreciated his science and his existence. He realized just how lonely and desperate for somebody he was. He’d even live with Maxwell if it meant not being alone anymore!

And Willow…he loved her more than anything in this damn world. He and Willow just…clicked. She was snarky and sarcastic and scolded him whenever he was being an idiot, but she had a soft, kinder side to her, and he knew she genuinely cared for him. She didn’t think he was a mad scientist and found his science obsession charming and admirable. In return, he didn’t think she was a crazy pyromaniac or some sort of monster for being immune to fire. He admired her, and eventually fell head over heels for her. He was never good with women in the first place, let alone social interaction in general, and his sudden new feelings for Willow reduced him to an awkward, flustered mess. He tried to write it off as some stupid schoolboy crush, but it was becoming increasingly harder to ignore the way his heart raced whenever he was near her and how he would turn as red and warm as fire staff gems every time he laid his eyes on her. He had countless moments of unconsciously staring at her wistfully.

So, when he found out she felt the same way, he was absolutely flabbergasted. He always thought she deserved better than a ratty scientist who lived in the middle of the woods and spent his days working on whatever crazy invention came to mind. Throughout their time in the Constant, they became closer and closer and spent more time with each other than anybody else. Whether they were goofing around, collecting or making things for survival, talking about whatever came to mind, cuddling, sleeping together ( LITERALLY! ), stargazing, gazing at whatever lovely scene around them, watching the sunset, sitting by a lake…making out…they were always around each other.

He eventually offered that she could stay with him, and even live with him. If she wanted to, of course! Willow teased him for being so timid and flustered about it and finally getting sick of being a hermit, but he could see her eyes sparkle in ecstatic joy. She was so happy, and it made his heart skip. She was so pretty, and so cute. She looked so innocent, but she always had a gleam of mischief sparkling in her fiery eyes and a sly smirk adorning her face. Her eyes always lit up—pun intended—whenever she was happy, especially if there was a fire. 

By God, he loved this woman.

But she was back in wherever she came from…! And she was homeless, wasn’t she? She couldn’t go back to living on the streets! What if she starved or got hurt or sick?! It was autumn, but what if he didn’t find her until winter? She would succumb to the cold weather!

Okay, Higgsbury, Willow is a very capable woman. She survived the hell dimension for quite a few years with him. She would be fine! 

Right?

He couldn’t take the risk.

He had to find her.

He wasn’t home. This wasn’t his home. Not without Willow.

Didn’t she mention a couple of times that she was from San Francisco?

Well, what was he waiting for?

He didn’t care that she was on the other side of the country. He had to find her. He refused to let things end this way. He couldn’t.

He had to.


 

Willow was tapping her foot at the side of the road impatiently, sticking her thumb out for what felt like forever. The smell of gasoline was making her dizzy as hell, and she was sick of standing still. She walked slowly down alongside the road, her arm and thumb still outstretched. Cars still zoomed past her, not paying her a second thought. She’s been invisible to people her whole life, with passerby pretending they didn’t see her and only occasionally giving her a couple of cents. This time, it was all the more frustrating.

She made sure that any cars that passed by would be going east. She knew Wilson lived in the middle of the woods in Connecticut or something. She would search the entire state for that dork if she had to. She couldn’t go back on the streets, she couldn’t! Her home was with Wilson, and that didn’t just apply to his stupid cabin. Wilson was her home. 

She took out one of the items in her pocket: a red gem that sparkled in the sunlight brilliantly. It looked like she was making a fire in her hands. Wilson gave it to her before they left, knowing she would love it. She held it close to her heart and sighed. She felt loneliness tug at her and burn fiercely in her gut. She missed the nerd already.

A growl snapped her out of her reminiscing. She realized her stomach was growling with hunger, but she wasn’t too concerned. She sort of got used to feeling hungry throughout her time on the streets and especially during the Constant. She wasn’t sure if it would be particularly easier or harder to get food now, as in the real world, getting food depended a lot on the kindness of strangers-whether it be to get money to pay for it or particularly nice vendors or bartenders who give it for free. But in the Constant, she had to forage for food, but it was technically free.

She was getting restless now. Her arm was held out dramatically in hopes it would be more noticeable. She felt like a child raising their hand as high as they could so the teacher could call on them, probably while yelling “I know, I know!” . She kept following the cars zipping by to keep her feet from aching from standing still too long. She had good stamina while walking, since she was used to always being on the move in the Constant and being a Girl Scout required a lot of walking, but standing seemed to drain her of all her energy. She was also hoping that walking would make some progress, however little. 

A half hour more passed by, but it felt like an entire day for her. Ugh, this was stupid! Why was it so hard to hitch a damn ride?

It didn’t take this long for the last two rides. Unfortunately, those two rides didn’t get her super far. She was only in some Reno place or something. She guessed that people didn’t want to pick up some homeless raggedy arson girl and be in the car with her for too long. She forced herself to grin, though she probably looked like she was taking a picture on a crappy day.

Finally, somebody slowed down and peered over to look at her.

“Hey, doll,” a slightly older man grinned at her. “You need a ride?”

“Yes!” Willow hastily climbed into the car, probably a rather unsafe idea but whatever. She dropped any sense of manners she had—which was rather small—and lounged into the seat, putting her feet up. The driver raised an eyebrow at her boorish behavior but said nothing.

“Where do you want to go, pretty?” The man was flirting with her, she realized, but she decided not to tell him she was taken. His attempts at hitting on her were amusing anyway.

“Northeast,” she replied curtly.

“Anywhere specific?” he sounded exasperated.

“Take me as far as you want.” He shrugged and continued driving.

After a few minutes, he introduced himself as Jose and asked for her name. 

“Willow.”

“Beautiful name for a beautiful girl.”

“Sure,” she rolled her eyes. Jose flinched out of the corner of her eye. He kept on driving.

“What are you going northeast for anyway?”

Willow decided she didn’t want to tell him that she was going to live with her dorky boyfriend, so she decided on something more laconic. “Moving,” she answered tersely.

“Oh!” he grinned. “Where are you moving? New York? Perhaps New Jersey?”

“I’m going to move to Connecticut.”

He replied by going on a tangent about one time he visited Connecticut and where she should go, but she didn’t exactly pay attention. She didn’t care about some tourist shit. All she needed was her Wilson—and fire.

Speaking of, she began fiddling with her lighter, wanting something to do with her hands. She was beginning to lose her mind from all the standing and sitting around doing nothing for hours on end. She had to resist the overwhelming temptation to stick her hands into the fire if she didn’t want this weirdo running away and screaming into the distance. So, she settled for simply flicking it on and off.

“Do you want a cigarette, ma’am?” he asked, glancing at her lighter from the corner of his eye. He was going to get into an accident or something if he didn’t stop glancing at her.

“No thanks,” she murmured.

“Why are you carrying a lighter, then?” Jose inquired with mirth in his tone, as if it was more of a jest than an actual question. “You plan on burning something?”

Her reply was monotone and deadpan. She was staring off into the distance as she flatly spoke. “ The bodies .”

He suddenly went as white as a ghost and stared at her with wide eyes, wild with utter terror. She was pretty sure his heart must’ve stopped or something. Good lord, was it priceless! She had to swallow back her laughter to keep herself together to make it more intense. After 2 seconds, she burst into giggles, tears streaming down her face.

“You should’ve seen your face!” she guffawed. Her flute-y laughter was interjected with snorts. “You looked like you were about to have a heart attack .”

His face fell. He rolled his eyes and turned back towards the road. “Hilarious,” he grumbled, probably still grumpy from being scared half to death—no pun intended.


 

Eventually Jose dropped her off somewhere in Wendover. He was pleasant, though he did flirt with her a bit throughout the ride. She was too amused at his attempts to tell him the truth. He even gave her his trench coat in case of rain, or in case it got chilly or something when she went north. She accepted it almost immediately, which seemed to catch him off guard. Perhaps he was expecting her to decline at first? Well, she was dirt poor and it would be nice to have something useful on her. Besides, she now had somewhere safe for Bernie and more room for her lighter and the gem. It was getting quite uncomfortable having them stuffed in her skirt pocket. 

Willow’s next ride was fine—apart from the fact that it was a full car. Despite the passenger’s seat being taken and there being three kids in the back, they still offered—and insisted—to drive her. She ended up cramped against little kids she didn’t even know. They stared at her with bug eyes, and the silence hung over them like a heavy blanket. The parents, however, obnoxiously oblivious to how awkward they felt. They seemed friendly enough and all, but the silence made her feel physically uncomfortable. 

She was more than happy to hop out of there as soon as the car came to a stop.

The next ride was hardly any better. She was waiting for a while, as it was in the middle of the night, until a scratched-up car was driving down towards her. She was immediately wary as soon as she noticed how the car would veer off the center ever so slightly and overcorrect itself. She was kind of hoping the driver wouldn’t notice her. She inwardly sighed when the driver swerved to her side, going over the curb in the meantime, and overshot her. She was almost relieved when they passed her only for them to make an abrupt stop.

“Hey! Woman!” the driver slurred. “Y’need a ride or somethin’?”

She was certain this driver was zozzled out of their mind. 

Her inner voice told her that she should probably avoid this ride. She could hitch another, she could go a few hours without going anywhere, right? She wouldn’t be going anywhere if she was killed, after all.

But being the stubborn fool she was, she decided to accept anyway. The sooner she got to Wilson, the better, right?

As soon as she opened the door, she was overwhelmed by a wave of the sharp stench of alcohol. The man beside her reeked of moonshine. The musky, bitter smell radiated off his whole sweaty body. He gave her a loopy, yellow-stained grin.

“S’ where ya headin’, bear-pussycat?” he giggled at his own stupid joke. She flinched as she smelt the alcohol on his breath.

“Um,” she swallowed. “Just...give me a fifteen-minute ride, at most.” She wanted to get out of the smelly car as soon as possible.

“D’aw, nodda lil’ further, babe?”

“Fifteen-minute ride.”

“Come onnnn...”

“A fifteen-minute ride, please!” she snapped.

He gave in, and she was launched back into her seat—from the inertia of it, Wilson would say—as his foot slammed on the pedal. He swerved back onto the road. He kept swerving left and right, as if he was a snake or something. Willow was getting a bit motion sick, and she squeezed her lighter as she flicked it on to observe the pretty flame, trying to block out the world where she was stuck in a car with a guy who was half seas over.

The ride seemed to last forever. Time flies when you’re not having any fun, she supposed. Or the only one not having fun, in this case. He made turns that were far too wide, making her slam into the door. It was getting old at this point. She began tapping her foot and flicking her lighter on and off.

Eventually, she decided she had enough of these shenanigans. The guy was probably far too impaired to tell what fifteen minutes was. She’d have to take initiative.

“This is my stop,” she stated.

“Ittiz?”

“Yes, please let me out.”

He mumbled a simple “‘kay”, and there was a delay in his reaction before he lightly pressed the break. His foot was like jelly and it made the car stop, go, stop, and go. He was finally able to actually press the damn thing, and the car jerked. She mumbled a thank you as she bolted out of the car, leaning on it as she was hit with a wave of motion sickness. 

She was done hitchhiking for the night.


 

It rained on the 2 nd night of travel. She slept under the awning of some café, using the trench coat as a blanket and snuggling with Bernie. Signs of civilization was starting to become few and far between and the grass looked more barren. According to drivers and signs, she was in Wyoming now. She wondered if she could hitch a ride on horseback.

So now she was near some sort of gas station. It was nighttime now—probably about midnight—and she knew there would be very little cars around. Perhaps she would have more luck by being near a common stop for cars. She wanted to take out her lighter, but she didn’t want to scare off any potential drivers.

Sure enough, she was lucky to have the first car that passed her by pick her up. It was a raggedy, middle-aged man with a beard lined with a few silver hairs. She moved aside a newspaper sitting on the passenger’s seat and sank into her chair. He was rather quiet and only asked her where she was going. She brushed it off as him just being tired. But he was giving off vibes that made her feel rather uneasy. She was probably just being paranoid.

She suddenly felt…oddly homesick.

While the Constant was basically a hell dimension, it allowed her to leave all of this shit behind. She didn’t have to trudge along the streets and be ignored by everyone who passed by. She didn’t have to pickpocket or beg for money on the streets so she could have something to eat. She had a family there and people who cared about her and wanted to keep her safe. She had Wilson, a person who loved her more than anything. Someone who didn’t look at her as a crazy pyromaniac. She remembered when she confessed her love to him, and how completely aghast and flustered he was, but the way he looked at her…

Wilson would look at her with his ice blue eye that chilled her to the bone and yet held so much warmth in them at the same time. His eye was filled with so much love and affection. She still couldn’t believe that eye was looking at her. Her of all people…

She tucked her hand in her pocket and squeezed the red gem, its warmth pulsing in waves. It reminded her of the several moments where Wilson was snuggled up against her and they were melting in each other’s warmth. They were always so happy to simply be next to each other.

Soon.

The driver seemed to go off the highway, but she didn’t care. What did she know about driving anyway?

She was lost in her daydreams for most of the ride. She fell forward from the inertia when the car stopped. She was far too lost in thought to notice. In the back of her mind, she disregarded it as a red—

Bam!

She slammed against the door, almost falling out of the car. Her teeth gashed her tongue, and the taste of iron filled her mouth . She was stunned for a second before she realized that the driver was yanking her coat off and digging around in her pockets. Her arm was still in one sleeve; he was practically holding her up by her barely-on coat. She tried to yank it back from him, but his grip was too strong. and he used that same hand to grab her arm as well. He was squeezing her wrist as if his hand was one of those blood pressure monitors.

 He finally pulled out a red gem. Her red gem.

“Wonderous…” he whispered in awe. Her nose scrunched up at the smell of his whiskey and cigarette breath. “This must be worth a fortune.”

Oh no ! She was  not letting him take that.

She tried kicking him, but it was hard to do that when you were sprawled out across the chair. He seemed to notice her wiggling and clumsy kicks and scooted away, still admiring the gem at all angles.

She glanced around for anyway she could fight back or escape. She only had one hand free, so she was handicapped. Her heart felt like it was going to beat out of her chest. He-he wasn’t going to kill her, was he? Or leave her on the side of the road unable to get help for herself? Moreover, would he take the coat itself? She couldn’t care less about the old thing, but her lighter and Bernie? Those were her entire world for her whole life. And she would rather die than let this prick take Wilson away from her. He was the center of her universe, all she had…

 A sudden remembrance hits her, and her eyes dart to the newspaper, crumpled on the sheet.

With one clumsy hand, she reaches inside the pocket of her trench coat to snatch her lighter. Before he could protest, she flicks it on, and holds it against the paper…

The fire paints the newspaper jet black as soon as it touches. Her hand is shaky, and with every subtle movement the paper gets a new streak of black, as if her lighter was a paintbrush. Suddenly, the entire paper erupts into searing flames. The mugger drops her trench coat as he lets out a gasp.

She doesn’t hesitate to grip it and fling it directly at his face.

If there’s anything the Constant taught her, it’s how to fucking fight back.

He screeches in agony as soon as the newspaper slaps him. He tries brushing it off in a panic, but all he gets is a burnt hand…and burnt legs.

She snatches the trench coat and the red gem, gripping the ladder close to her for a second, and climbs over the door, where she ungraciously faceplants to the ground. No time for that though. She scurries on her feet and darts off, as if she’s a robber escaping the fuzz. She was a mouse escaping the cat.


 

After about a couple of hours of walking, she flops down under another awning and passes out almost immediately. She’s used to staying up and waking in the middle of the night when there was danger, but the adrenaline rush and distress of losing things close to her drained her. Perhaps when she got out, she decided she could finally relax now; she wasn’t a beast at bay anymore! But life was never that fucking simple, was it?

If it was, she would already be with Wilson. Hell, she wouldn’t have even been in that hell dimension. She wouldn’t be trapped in that fucking orphanage. She would’ve had a family and a life and—

No. No use crying over it now.

Her eyes fluttered open drowsily, forgetting where she was for a second. She blinked away the sleep. In the back of her mind, she had wisps of dreams of her Wilson and memories of the Constant.

She realized she was in Cheyenne. Perhaps it wasn’t a smart idea to escape a robber she just roasted like bacon by going into the capital city, but she was fine, so she guessed it didn’t matter.

She decided to ask for some money before she went back to hitchhiking. She went up to a random stranger—a man who looked dead inside—for some change, whom then pushed by her claiming he was busy. Typical.

She wished she had her can with her and didn’t have to hold out her hands and ask for money aloud to nobody in particular. She probably looked like she was talking to herself.

So, she turned to her last resort.

She spotted two women who were deeply engaged in a conversation, likely ranting about some stupid shit. Her bag was resting behind her back, draped along her shoulder. Exposed. It looked like a Deerclops sliced it open. Inside of the bag, her eyes caught the coveted object: a wallet. She crept up from behind like the slick Terrorbeaks who haunted her as a child. She pretended to sneeze—not too loudly as to alert them—as her other hand snuck behind the baggy sleeve and pulled out her wallet. She used her hand to search for it as she tried keeping her focus on her sleeve so she wouldn’t rouse suspicion. She pocketed the wallet inside her skirt and continued walking, silently praising herself for succeeding and snickering at the women for being so damn oblivious.

She stopped at the first restaurant she saw, and as soon as she sat down, the waiter came over and demanded she got out.

“What?” she said aghast. “Why?!”

“You’re disturbing my real customers,” he hissed.

“But I have money—” 

“I don’t care,” he snapped, ripping the money from her hands. Willow let out an angry “Hey!”  

“I’m sick of all you bums leeching off of us,” he continued. “Always coming here and ruining the meal for everyone else.”

“Give me my money back, at least!”

“It’s my tip for dealing with you ,” he growled, making Willow flinch as if he physically hit her. “Get the hell out of here!”

She wanted so, so badly to set the tablecloth on fire and launch it at him—maybe the stupid vase would shatter in his face with it—but from the corners of her eyes, she could see the customers gawking at the scene. With a sigh, she got up and stormed out of the stupid restaurant. But not before turning around and giving them the good ‘ole middle finger.

Fuck this town, she decided. She shook her head. I survived longer periods without food. I’ll be fine.

She ignored the hunger pangs in her stomach and the slight lightheadedness of being hungry as she stormed out of Cheyenne. She stomped along the highway, took a deep breath, and faced the road with her thumb out again. If she had to keep this up for any longer, her thumb would be stuck that way forever. Ironically, Wilson was the one with a natural hitchhiker’s thumb. She would sometimes put pressure to see how far back it would go and it was so weird and gross! She unconsciously smiled at the thought, her frustration waning and her hunger forgotten.


 

Wilson was driving down the highway, emptiness weighing him down as if he was wearing a robe made of lead. He felt so lost, and so alone. Before the Constant, he probably would’ve been disgusted by his sudden attachment to people. But honestly, if the Constant taught him anything, it would’ve been how goddamn lonely he really was. He always tried to deny it; he didn’t need anybody, all he needed was science and lab rats to experiment on. He was great company for himself, he lied. He didn’t give a shit if his family wanted nothing to do with him and gave him money to go to America to distance themselves from him. He didn’t care if they hated him and he was nothing but an embarrassment and a disappointment.

But no matter how much he lied, deep down, he was truly, sickeningly lonely.

Being in the Constant, especially prior to meeting the other survivors, brought that into perspective. True, he was always more introverted and spent the majority of his time cooped up in his house, likely giving himself severe vitamin D deficiency, but back then, he could’ve just stepped outside. He could’ve talked to an employee at the shops or waiters at a restaurant. He could’ve struck up a conversation with the mailman. Sure, he didn’t have the best reputation and often had people burning holes into his head and pulling their children away as if he was some dangerous criminal, but he could still have a normal conversation with several of the people he ran into. Isn’t it funny how humans yearn for something more if they can’t have it? 

Humans were odd creatures, for sure.

With his misanthropic attitude, introverted nature, lone wolf personality, and deviance from the norms he grew up around that were imbedded in his character his entire life, he was the odd one out, the outsider, the black sheep. He grew up in a high-class family of bankers, lawyers, and business men, and had always adored and pursued science. His family criticized him for it and tried to persuade him to be “normal”, but he was unwavering in his passions and dreams. He resented his family, and he was pretty sure it was mutual.

Taking his reserved demeanor into account, he was horrible in social situations. He hated having to talk to his family or some other rich asshole his family wanted him to meet. He wasn’t good at communicating with people, he was awkward and shy, and he was rather quiet. He didn’t have a lot of practice holding a normal conversation, as most of the conversations with his family or at formal parties—he wanted to gag just thinking about them—would always deviate towards criticizing him and reminding him of just how much of a disappointment he was, and how he should be trying to court a woman, not “playing with chemicals”. Ugh.

Speaking of women, he was horrible with them. He had very little experience with women that weren’t family members or family friends. The number of women he actually spoken to could be counted on one hand. He had some experience with courting, courting that ended in catastrophe and led him to firmly believing that true love wasn’t meant to be his. He was confused by his feelings for Willow at first—like he said, love wasn’t his expertise—but when he figured it out, he was, admittedly, intimidated by it. Not only did he think it was some silly crush that didn’t mean anything, but he was scared of falling in love. He was worried that if he pursued a relationship with her, he would just be setting himself up for failure.

He could not silence the voice in his head telling him that this is another romance ending in disaster.

That he would never see her again.

Maybe this was all Their fault. Maybe They wanted them to be separated and never see each other again. Maybe this was one final attempt to make them miserable.

Once again, I’ll have to fight back against Their plans.

Hopefully.

His thoughts were a bad thunderstorm, with dark gray clouds blocking any sliver of sun from passing through and pouring with thunder booming and echoing for miles.

Wilson and Willow always hated the rain. Willow hated water period. And it would mess up Wilson’s hair.

God, why did everything remind him of Willow?

He let out the umpteenth sigh that hour as he gazed blankly at the road ahead of him. This was arduous. He should be at home with Willow, doing science, not driving around aimlessly, looking for someone when he didn’t even know where she was.

Up ahead, he noticed some hitchhiker with dark hair. He didn’t pay any mind to it; hitchhikers were all over the place. But as he drove by, the hitchhiker in the corner of his eye…

Wait...

Oh my God, that could be—

Abruptly, he stopped in the middle of the road and swerved around, earning him several middle fingers, angry shouts, and an orchestra of “ahooga”s. Wilson didn’t notice that, however, as he went in the opposite direction and swerved to the side of the road and onto the grass. It would be ungentlemanly to block everyone else, after all. He rushed out of the car and ran to the hitchhiker.

His Willow.

He could recognize those gray, fiery eyes and that charcoal black hair anywhere. He recognized her lovely face and the clothes underneath her oversized trench coat. His heart seemed to skip.

“What the hell are you doing, you creepy fuck—” She paused as Wilson made his way over to her, falling to his knees. His heart ached as she spoke with the same fierce, sharp voice that never failed to bless his ears. Her silver eyes flashed with indignation before softening as she came to recognize the man before her.

“Wilson…” she breathed. He tried to utter her name back, but his voice was caught in his throat. She hadn’t changed one bit. Her jet-black hair, tied into two pigtails, was still as lovely as ever. Her face had a smudge of dirt or ash on it. It was exactly like her. Tears welled up in his eyes.

There was a long pause before he scrambled to his legs, and they ran towards each other. They wrapped each other into an embrace, holding each other as if they could lose the other at any moment. The world was melting away from them, and the cars zooming by went silent. Nothing else mattered; it was just them with their arms wrapping each other like warm sweaters in their own little world.

Wilson buried his face into her neck, melting in her warmth. Willow nuzzled him and dug her face into his fluffy hair. A sob threatened to escape his throat.

“I thought I…” he was mumbling into her neck, and his voice was breaking, strangled by a cry escaping his lips. It sounded like he came down with a case of laryngitis. He took in a shuddering breath and held her closer. “I thought I lost you…”

“You’re not getting rid of me anytime soon,” she jests, drinking in his scent. It was an odd scent and oh how she missed it.

He just holds her closer. She smells like wood fire, and he missed being able to nuzzle into her neck and breathe in her comforting scent. He traced her spine slowly with shaky fingers. Her arms are wrapped around his chest, while his are wrapped around her waist. She kissed the top of his head, nearly drowning in his mess of hair. Her shirt was damp with tears. Soft breaths brushed against his ear as she whispered sweet nothings and shushes. It just made him bawl harder and hold her in his arms as if she could slip away at any moment if he let go.

His legs were trembling and weak. Wilson held on to her as if any moment his jelly knees would buckle. She settled for resting her chin on his shoulder and ran a hand through his wild, fuzzy hair. She smoothed out the scruff on his head just so it could pop back into place, and she giggled. He slid his hand into her silky, charcoal hair slowly and wrapped it around his fingers, twirling it. His shaky, soft breaths tickled her, and she melted against them like ice cream in a crock pot. Butterflies swarmed in the pit of their stomachs.

Eventually, Willow pulled him away; Wilson was still hugging her, but she’s now able to look him in [his blue eye]. Her soft hand cupped his face, and anxiety fluttered in his chest despite how badly he wanted to be close to her. She gives him a mischievous smile before pulling him into a kiss. He nearly stumbled backwards, but he kept himself grounded. She pulled him closer by the back of his head. He kissed her back, his face going beet red and searing. He continued to graze her back with his fingertips as she used the one hand that wasn’t cupping his face to stroke his hair. She meant the world to him. Their hands were intertwined together

And just like that, they parted. Wilson stared lovingly at the demigoddess caught in his embrace. She was so unbelievably precious to him. He buried his face back into her neck and planted a delicate kiss on her neck. She chuckled slightly; he remembers that she was ticklish. So, he decided to kiss all over her neck and collarbone. She giggled and squirmed more, but he had her trapped in his arms. He peppered her with kisses all over, and they both sink into each other’s loving arms.

Eventually, he decided to grant her mercy. They pressed their foreheads together, staring longingly into each other’s eyes. 

Wilson let out a breath. “I don’t want to be apart from you ever again...”

She smirked and rested her head on Wilson’s chest, listening to his beating heart.

“Never again.”