Eating the Middle

Xander smoothed back Willow’s hair as she lay against him. It was something he never did without remembering the day she lay sobbing in his arms as the darkness bled from her on the hilltop. Her hair had crackled against his fingers then, wind-whipped tangles, static charged and wild. Now it was damp and warm from the bath and she was smiling.

“It’s been a year, Xander,” she said, letting her fingers dance downward. “Getting bored yet?”

A year since she'd come to him, crying angry, hurt-filled tears over Kennedy's decision to leave - and ended up comforting him as his grief for Anya finally surfaced. Xander couldn't regret any of what had happened if it led to Willow in his arms but he sometimes wished he'd - no. No wishes.

Willow's hand managed to miss anything interesting as it travelled south and Xander grinned, shaking off the memories, good and bad, in favour of the now. “This is a trap, isn’t it? Somehow, no matter what I answer will be wrong and you’ll end up making me pay for it.”

She tickled his thigh, her fingers moving up until they hit the spot that she just had to brush lightly with the very edge of her nails to have him squirming. “Don’t know what you mean.”

His hand came down and wrapped around her wrist, holding it still. “Oh, yes, you do. And I’ve got the perfect answer.”

“Does it involve poetry?” Willow said hopefully.

Xander stared at her. “In what strange dream world are you living in, where you ask that without smiling? Unless you don’t mind something on the lines of, uhm, ‘Roses are red, violets are blue, you’re my own little Willow and I love you.’”

“Xander, that’s so...”

“Cute?” he offered.

“Not quite what I had in mind.”

“Oh. And the Xan-man strikes out again. Still, poetry was your idea, not mine.”

Willow pulled her hand free and brought it up to touch his face. “And what was your answer going to be then?” she asked.

Xander knelt up beside her and ran his finger around a nipple, watching it harden. “I was going to do the definitive, accept no substitutes, survey and find out how many kisses it takes to cover you from head to toes. That will prove that I’m still vitally interested in every scrap of you and be fun for me too. No losers, no siree.”

Willow frowned. “Won’t it be hard to keep track of where you've been?”

Xander arched an eyebrow. “You couldn’t do a spell? Make each kiss show up in pink or something?”

“I could,” Willow said, “but I won’t.”

Xander sighed. “Guess this is going to take quite a while then...”

He wriggled down the bed and picked up her foot, kissing her toe. “One,” he said solemnly.

Willow giggled. “Why are you starting at that end?”

“Two...are you trying to make me lose count, woman? Head to toes; have to start somewhere.”

Willow leaned back and spread her legs slightly. “The Xander I knew used to always eat the middle first.”

Xander’s eyes narrowed. “I’ve matured. Grown up. Got all restrained and full of willpower. I save the good bits until last.”

Willow let her fingers slide down between her legs, rubbing and teasing herself as he watched. She brought her hand to her mouth and licked it clean. “Whatever you say, Xander.”

“You’re convinced I’m predictable and easily manipulated, aren’t you?”

“Going to prove me wrong?”

Xander’s reply was muffled.

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