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Wilderness

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Willow watched in fascination as Amy nibbled on another cracker, nose scrunched, hands pinched on either side gripping the morsel.

“So, Larry’s dead?” Amy reiterated, scooting onto a cushioned stool next to Willow.

Willow nodded. “And gay. Was. I mean, he came out.” The revelation seemed to take the wind out of Amy much more than the knowledge of his death.

“Wow. That’s really sad. The dying, I mean.”

Willow took another sip of coffee then pushed the mug back away from the lip of the kitchen’s center countertop. After yesterday’s mishap, she was diligently attending to the whereabouts of her coffee.

“It is. A lot of people died at graduation; we, um, had to blow up the school.” Willow looked sideways at her friend; the look a snapshot of the horror filled one-day war at Sunnydale High School.

Amy straightened her spine and sighed with a shake of her head, “Well, I guess there was some upside to being a rat.” She pushed past the current conversation and grinned at Willow. “So you still with Oz? Oh god,” brown eyes widened, “he didn’t die too did he?”

“No. To both those questions. I was seeing someone; someone not Oz.” Willow trailed, a sharp and icy dagger piercing her soul as she realized that she was about to speak the words for the first time, “We just broke up a few days ago actually.”

Amy placed her hand over Willow’s, reading the unmistakable ripple of pain, “Oh, sorry. Did I know him?”

“Her, actually,” Green eyes skirted to Amy’s face, searching for a reaction then deciding the reaction didn’t matter, “and no, we um, we met my freshman year of college.”

“Wow, again. Any more surprising news? Are you pregnant? Did you join a cult? Did Jonathan become the new Bond?” Amy replied; brown eyes dancing with mirth assuring Willow that the information had been filed and accepted.

“No, nothing like that.” With a shake of her head, Willow changed the subject. “What are you gonna do? Are you going to see your dad?”

“Not sure,” Amy grimaced into a shrug before meeting Willow’s eyes directly, “what does he think happened to me?”

Willow shifted, nursing her coffee for a few moments. “We told him the truth. We couldn’t think of anything else that would worry him less.”

“I guess I should go see him. How long has it been? I mean, rat time does not fully line up to human time.”

“A little under three years.”

“I definitely have some catching up to do.” Amy stood resolved, a false bravado her eyes couldn’t help but betray. She smoothed out the lines in the jeans Willow had found for her. The jeans she had hesitantly handed over after Amy had failed to button any of Willow’s first offerings. Placing her hands in the pockets, Amy realized that these must have been the girlfriends’ clothing. She hoped Willow’s ex wasn’t the jealous type.

Willow walked her new and old friend to the door, “Amy?”

“Yeah?"

“You wanna maybe catch up some more tonight? I know I could use some Bronze shaped distraction.” Truth was Willow didn’t want to be at the house at night, Buffy would probably be out anyway and Dawn was awkward and shifty and overly sweet after yesterday’s tiff and it all reminded her that Tara was gone.

“Sure. Meet you here at 8?”

“Sounds good. And good luck.”

“Thanks, Will. See you later.” Willow shut the door, fetched her coffee and made her way back up the stairs. There was a chapter on sense acuity and transmutation just waiting to be read.