Friends or More?

by Jessica Brumley
Third in the St. Patrick's Series

"Ugh, I swear if I study anymore my brain will explode. I am in need of some serious fun. How 'bout it Willow? Up for a little Bronzin' tonight?"

Willow looked up from her textbook into the expectant gaze of the Slayer. "Sure! Oh wait, I can't. I promised Patrick I'd go to his apartment tonight."

"Willow, need I remind you that the Dingoes are playing tonight? This will be the fourth time you've missed them play in a row."

Willow cringed slightly at the gentle rebuke in Buffy's tone. "Oz understands. He knows that Patrick needs to feel accepted. Patrick is my friend am I'm going to be there for him. He still has nightmares you know."

Buffy stood up and stretched her legs. "Yeah, I know. Angel told me."

"See? I just want him to be able to get over this and be at peace. That's what a good friend would want for him. Hey, I'm late. I'll see you tomorrow okay?"

Willow gathered her things and walked out of the library.

"It stopped being about friendship a long time ago," Buffy whispered in the empty room.


"Monet? You can't mean that! Monet was a joke compared to da Vince. Just look at the textures. Monet's are completely strangled. They are a mass of confusion stemming from a delusional mind."

"Angel, I can't believe we are supposed to be the same person here. Monet was a genius. I mean, just LOOK at his use of colors. What you see as a result of a delusional mind, others, like myself, see as a look at humanity's nature. I give up on you! You have no taste in art"

"No taste in art? You know as well as I that I spent over 50 years studying art! Gods! What won't you put your faith in? I bet you still go for all that fairy stuff we used to believe when we were kids!"

"Just sprites." Patrick said with a self-conscious chuckle.

"You thinking of Buffy? She's just like a little pixie. But don't you go thinking that way. She's mine" Angel finished with a good-natured growl.

"No, I was actually thinking of Willow. Just look at her. She's petite, she's got all that red hair, those green eyes, and dainty features. Just like out of a storybook. I can just see her with wings, flicking in and out of places, helping anyone in need." Patrick's voice trailed off, his eyes staring at an unseen picture.

"You think that much of her? Less than a month ago you couldn't even stand the sight of her." Angel said with his eyebrows raised.

Warning bells went off in Patrick's head. < I went too far > "She's one of those friends you can always count on." Patrick replied with a careless shrug praying Angel would drop the subject.

With a quiet, "That she is" Angel acknowledged Patrick's wish to move on to a different subject.

Patrick sighed inwardly with relief. He mentally strengthened his shields so he would never again come so close to revealing all the admiration and desire he held for Willow. "So, what do you think of van Goghe?"

Part 2/2

"That isn't a word! I know for a fact it's not!" Willow sputtered, "I can't believe you Patrick! You are 243 years old and you're stooping so low as to cheat at Scrabble?"

He couldn't help what happened next. She was so infuriated at such a trivial occurrence that she reminded him very much of an angry kitten. Willow had never resembled Alissa more. Patrick threw back his head and laughed.

Willow stopped mid-rant at the sound coming from Patrick. At first she couldn't place it but realization soon dawned on her. He was laughing! A good, hard laugh. The tone was sweet and full of good nature.

Without thinking, Willow threw herself into his arms. Patrick nearly jerked back in surprise but he restrained himself, luxuriating in the simple act of holding her. To feel her arms wound in nonchalant abandon around his neck brought him happiness he couldn't even begin to explain.

"You have a wonderful laugh Patrick." Willow murmured, "But I still say mellifluotic isn't a word."

Patrick contented himself with a chuckle into Willow's hair.