Third Time's The Charm
by Jennifer-Oksana

Things had a way of working out on their own if Fred just let them. She wasn't sure if that flouted the Second Law of Thermodynamics or not, because entropy was definitely more complicated than the average Joe thought. Chaos, entropy--all of these things worked out in the end.

For example.

The sound of Willow's canvas duffel bag hitting the hotel floor with a solid thump woke Fred up from a late-summer afternoon research daydream; when Fred looked up from some extremely esoteric commentary on a magic spell, it was all she could do not to squeak.

"Willow!" she greeted the other woman, sounding far too much like a thirteen-year-old girl with a crush on Jordan Knight for her own good. Not that Fred had ever crushed on Jordan Knight, because he was a New Kid on the Block, and that would just be wronger than a thing that was wrong--and boy, she even babbled in private monologue, didn't she? "How are you? Long time no see."

"I'm okay," Willow answered, looking a little pensive. "Is Angel around?"

Of course. Willow had come to do big things. Fred smiled bravely. "Oh, he's out working on a case with Charles," she said. "Is there big evil around? Some portent of--"

Willow shook her head. "No, it's nothing serious," she said. "I was wondering if he could use another employee. I--I had to leave Sunnydale. Too many bad memories starting to get under my skin. And I think I could probably do some good here, what with Wes going off with Faith and Dawnie and Andrew and..."

She trailed off, looking at Fred with big, trembly eyes. Wow. There was really just Fred almost couldn't breathe. It was like the first time--oh, wow--that she'd touched one of those lightning gloves while she was high on ganja; it was like the time when she was eight and she'd licked a battery after rubbing her shoes against the carpet at school for two minutes. This little bell was just going off in Fred's head, and she was trying to make it stop, because Willow was seeing someone and Fred didn't really see girls and Willow was walking up to her and Fred's heart was doing the double dutch and...


Somehow, between one heartbeat and the next, Fred had gotten embroiled into a long, sweet, rabid kiss. Willow's hands were in Fred's hair and Fred was trying to find each and every one of Willow's fillings, kissing Willow harder than she'd ever kissed anyone in her whole life, even harder than when she'd kissed Charles when they got back together before falling back apart. This was how intense the kiss was, and Fred's head was going to spin right off if she wasn't careful, because this was right and oh so very wrong.

"But you're seeing someone," Fred gasped when they pulled apart, surprised at how hard it still was to breathe, surprised at how her heart kept thud-thud-thudding in her chest.

"Not for a while," Willow answered, looking wild around the eyes. "I should have maybe asked before I did that. Shouldn't I have?"

In response, Fred pulled Willow in for another, rather short kiss that left them both messy and with flushed cheeks and swollen lips and gloss smeared damn near everywhere.

"Guess it's okay then," Willow said with a little squeak when Fred let go. "Be still my tongue. Or heart. Or--oh, wow, that was kinda Freudian slippy of me, wasn't it?"

"Little bit," Fred agreed, feeling like she could maybe levitate right out of the hotel, if that wasn't counter to most everything she knew about physics. "Did I do it okay? That was only my second kiss with a woman, and I think I got it right, but--"

"We'll research the proper techniques together," Willow said wryly, slipping her hand into Fred's. "But...really? Only your second girl-girl kiss? So you're not--you weren't--before?"

Fred squeezed Willow's hand and grinned.

"No, I'm not a lesbian," Fred said. "Though I think my new girl is. I think I'm one of those damn bisexuals. Because I have to admit, working in a place like this is good only for the man eye candy. Besides, haven't you dated boys before? I seem to recall you implied that you did in an email or two."

Fred lifted Willow's hand to her lips and gave it a delicate little kiss. Willow laughed, though her eyes were a little serious.

"Yeah, I did," Willow agreed. "I had the greatest teenaged boyfriend ever. Oz. He was great--he was smart, in a band, a werewolf, which wasn't so great--but he was. He was my first. But--boys? They just don't do it for me anymore, you know?"

"Okay," Fred said. "We'll just have to agree to disagree on that."

"Agreed," Willow said. "You like boys, I like girls. It's balanced."

"And as long as we like each other--that's okay," Fred said with a loopy little half-grin.

Willow nodded before leaning in for another kiss. This one was soft and lasted long enough to make Fred glad to know that Willow believed in thorough and painstaking research the same way she did.

"Wow," Willow said, eyes shining. "Wow. I think I need to have much much more kissing with you soon."

Which pretty much summed it up for Fred.


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