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Normal Is Just a Word by slaymesoftly
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Chapter Seven

Joyce was dressed for bed but still awake, and she fussed over Will's bloody knuckles while Buffy went for the first aid kit. Their eyes met over Buffy's head as she began pulling out supplies and muttering to herself about what was missing. While Will washed his hands, assuring Joyce that most of the blood was from someone else, Buffy laid out the items she wanted and waited calmly. As soon as his hands were clean and dry, she quickly and efficiently evaluated the damage and handled them with the calm manner of an experienced ER nurse.

Will sat with an ice pack on his one swollen knuckle and ointment on his barked ones, exchanging looks with Joyce who was clearly fighting panic at seeing Buffy handle fight injuries in a way that indicated they were neither new nor bothersome to her. Joyce was opening her mouth to comment when Will shook his head, his eyes pleading with her to ignore what she was seeing. She gave a tight nod and wished them 'goodnight', taking her worries about Buffy's state of mind off to bed with her, leaving the discussion to the man she was coming to trust.

" 'nother set of good skills you've got there, pet," he said mildly. "I'm guessing they come from the same place?"

Buffy sighed, closed the first aid kit and came to stand beside his stool.

"I guess so—if, by that, you mean lots of TV when I wasn't aware of watching it."

"Because anything else is unthinkable?"

Her eyes flew to his. "Of course, it's unthinkable! I was crazy, Will. Not living in a... a...."

"An alternative universe?"

"What are you saying?" she whispered.

"Nothing, love. I'm just trying to figure out what the options are. I'm afraid that sooner or later you're going to find yourself with knowledge or a skill that can't be explained away by background TV, and I don't want you to go to pieces on me when that happens."

"You think that world is real?" Buffy stared at him as though she was beginning to think he was the former mental patient. "Will, I've worked really hard—and taken some heavy meds—to convince myself that Sunnydale doesn't exist, and now you're trying to tell me it does? Do you want me to be crazy?"

"No, pet, no. I don't." He dropped the ice pack and pulled her into a loose embrace, spreading his knees so that she could get closer to the stool. "I want you to be happy. And that's not going to happen until we can suss out why and how you know these things that you shouldn't know, but the other Buffy would. I'm a science fiction writer, pet. It just popped into my head. I'm not saying there is such a place; I'm just throwing it out there as one potential, if highly unlikely, option."

Buffy leaned in to rest her head on his chest. "I don't want it to be real," she whispered. "I want to be here. With you and my parents and a nice normal life."

"And you will, love," he whispered back, his breath stirring tendrils of hair over her ear. "I'm not going anywhere, and I'm not letting you go anywhere, either."

"Promise me?"

"With all my heart..." he drew a cross over his chest, "and hope to die," he added with a small smile.

"Don't say that! People die all the time in that other world."

"We're not in that other world, are we?" he purred in her ear. "We're right here, and you're all warm and soft and...." He pushed her gently away. "And I'm going to have to leave before I get myself in trouble with your parents."

"What trouble? They're in bed and I'm...." She moved back to him, making no attempt to avoid the growing bulge nudging her thigh. "I'm right here."

He groaned and pulled her closer. "Yes, you are. You most definitely are." Even as he murmured to her, he was running his lips down her neck and smiling at her little gasps of anticipation. "But I don't want our first time to be on your mother's kitchen floor—even if she is asleep."

"Point," Buffy gasped. "That wouldn't be appropriate at all." In spite of her agreement, she continued to press up against him, raising her lips for another one of his bone melting kisses. They were soon breathing hard and running their hands over each other's body, while continuing to kiss without letup. If one of her parents had not flushed the upstairs toilet, Buffy had no doubt that they would have ended up on the kitchen floor—or possibly the countertop.

However, the sound reminded them that they were not alone in the house, and with a shaky laugh, Buffy pulled away and straightened her clothes.

"Guess we'll have to take a rain-check, huh?"

He nodded wordlessly, picking up the ice pack and pointedly placing it on his crotch. Buffy blushed and turned away, laughing in spite of herself as he chuckled behind her.

"Sorry, pet," he said, not at all apologetically. "Got to do something so I can walk out of here."

She turned around and grinned at him. "I guess this is another one of those things I got from TV, huh?"

"What is?"

"Not being totally wigged by what you're doing, and knowing what it is you're doing it to."

"Not following you, love." He set the ice pack on the counter and stood up, trailing her out to the front hall.

"Don't you remember what I told you a long time ago? About how many boyfriends I've had—and when?"

He frowned, and then his face fell into a surprised smile. "You haven't had any—not in the real world. Not since you were—"

"Fourteen," she said. "Well, fifteen, I guess. But by then I already thought I was off in the world of slaying vampires, so not much time for boys—even imaginary ones."

"Then you're..."

"I guess we'll find out, won't we?" she said, wrapping her arms around his waist and resting her head on his chest. "I wonder what I'll 'know' about having sex?"

"Jesus, Buffy! I forgot all about that. If this is rushing you...."

She shook her head against him, too embarrassed to look up, but determined to make him see how much she wanted it. "It's not rushing me. It feels right." She stepped back and trying to control another blush said, "Just not on the kitchen floor, okay?"

"Got it. No floors. Not yet, anyway." He leered at her, the warmth in his eyes putting the lie to his wolfish expression.

With much kissing and breaking apart, and kissing again, they managed to say goodnight. Will suggested they rent a movie and spend a quiet evening at his apartment after work the next evening. Left unspoken was the obvious reason for going there rather to Buffy's house. After another promise from Buffy that she really really wasn't feeling pushed or pressured, he tore himself away from her lips and left the house, turning to wave at her before getting into his car.

Buffy floated up the stairs, humming and never noticing her mother peering out of her bedroom. Joyce smiled to herself at Buffy's good mood, and went back to bed, much more comfortable about her daughter's mental health than she had been earlier.


The following evening at the shop went more smoothly, with enough business to keep Marcia solvent, but with enough breaks in the busy spells for Buffy and Will to talk, and for Buffy to add a few things to her notebooks. She was glad Will had forgotten his question about what she had written down the night before. No sooner had the fight been over, than she'd been struck with how completely familiar it felt fighting with Will by her side. Without identifying why it was familiar, she'd felt it was important to write it down while it was fresh in her mind.

Once she'd calmed down from the arousal brought on by Will's kisses and roving hands, her sleep that eventful night had been full of dreams she struggled to remember when she woke up. She'd jotted down the highlights when she awoke, and was now spending her free time filling in the missing information. Into her book about her life in Sunnydale, she entered what she remembered of her dream—in which Spike and she ended up fighting on the same side against a group of vampires. The fight dynamics were so similar to what had just occurred that it was easy for her to understand why it had felt familiar.

She already knew that delusion Buffy and Spike fought well together. That Buffy had enjoyed her fights against him when he was trying to kill her, and she'd enjoyed fighting with him at her side after he got his chip and demons became his only painless outlet for his need for violence and bloodshed. That she could feel as relaxed and confident with Will at her side was both comforting and frightening. The more he seemed like Spike, the harder it was to keep telling herself it was only a coincidence. And yet, there was no logical—or illogical—explanation for it.

As they closed up the store the following evening, Buffy could feel her heart rate go up, anticipating an experience that, in real life, was going to be new to her, but in her mind was something with which she was quite familiar—if not exactly brimming with experience. She caught Will looking at her, the hunger in his eyes barely concealed and she gave him a tremulous smile back.

Will closed up quickly and they walked out, their hands tightly linked as they almost ran to his car. He stopped for a quick kiss that turned into something very different before they remembered where they were and broke apart laughing.

"I was going to ask you if you're sure, but I'm going to take that kiss as a yes," he said, brushing his lips across hers again before opening the door.

"I think 'yes' would be a good translation."

The drive to his apartment was only fifteen minutes or so, but it seemed like forever to Buffy. If she was bothered by how much she wanted to make love to Will, in spite of theoretically having no idea what that really meant, she shoved the thought down firmly. She was determined that nothing would spoil the night for her. When he showed her the movies he'd rented earlier, she just nodded, already sure that she wasn't going to be watching any of them.

I don't care if we get attacked by real vampires, if Angel shows up, if Will's neighbor looks like Giles—I'm going to sleep with my boyfriend and Sunnydale can just fall into the Hellmouth.

Will ushered her into his small apartment, taking the notebooks from her and placing them on a small table.

"No Sunnydale tonight," he murmured, pulling her close. "It's just Buffy and Will"

She giggled and rubbed her face on his shoulder. "That's exactly what I was thinking when we pulled into the parking lot. The hell with Sunnydale. I'm about to have sex with my boyfriend."

"Your boyfriend is about to make love to you," was the gentle correction as he led her towards his bedroom.

"That's what I meant," she mumbled, embarrassed that she'd sounded so clinical about something that clearly meant a great deal to him.

He shrugged and sat on the bed, pulling her over to stand in front of him.

"Don't know if that's what you meant or not, but I do know that's what you're going to get." He tugged gently until she sat down beside him. "I'm not taking this lightly, Buffy. I want you to know that. Want you, yeah. Can't deny it. But that's not all I want. I want Buffy. I want her ups and her downs, her giggles and her tears, her dreams and her nightmares. I want this to be the beginning of something important. Something good."

She put her hand on his cheek and swallowing a familiar urge to keep her thoughts and emotions to herself, she said, "I know it will be good. I think you're the best thing that has ever happened to me—in this world, or any other."

Without further talk, except for Will's murmured endearments, they began to make out, moving quickly from sitting up on the edge of the bed to lying side-by-side so that their hands could roam. Buffy had thought she wouldn't be able to stand it if he stopped kissing her—until he ran his lips down her neck to her chest and sucked a lace-covered nipple into his mouth.

With a muffled gasp, she arched into him, her mind going blank of everything but what his mouth was doing to her. She wasn't even aware that she'd shed her clothes until she felt his warm skin against hers. His mouth was everywhere, leaving wet, open-mouthed kisses and swipes of a tongue that had to be longer than normal. Her head was tossing from side to side as he worked his way down her body, her "Oh, God! Oh, God!" all that could be heard when he buried his face and put his tongue to good use.

While she was still recovering from the shuddering orgasm that had caught her completely by surprise, Will grabbed a condom from the nightstand. He guided her hands as she willingly assisted him in putting it on. She forced herself to ignore the voice in her head whispering that she'd never even seen a condom up close, let alone touched one, and really shouldn't have felt so comfortable with its use. She told the voice to shut up and sighed as Will slid up her body, pushing gently, but waiting until he could see the encouragement in her eyes before starting to nudge his way in. They both flinched when he encountered what was left of the small physical barrier that Buffy—if she were being honest with herself—hadn't really expected to be there. A brief memory of a much larger man gently forcing his way past her maidenhead was quickly wiped out by Will's gasp when she pulled him towards her, wrapping her legs around his waist.

"God, Buffy. I want you so much..." She could feel him trembling as he fought to resist his urge to plunge into her.

"Just do it," she murmured. "I want you too. Do it, Will."

With a relieved groan, he pushed harder, easily parting the tiny piece of flesh and sliding into her. They remained locked together for several minutes, Will waiting for her to give him some sign that she was ready for more, Buffy basking in a familiar and at the same time, totally new sensation. The phrase "joined as one" suddenly took on real meaning for her as she surrendered to the feeling of completion she got from being so intimately connected to a man she was becoming more and more sure was someone she could love.

"Can't wait any longer, sweetheart," Will said, his hips beginning to move gently. "You feel so good. Like honey and Heaven you are," he whispered. "Could stay in you forever."

Less articulately, Buffy whimpered and began to move her own hips, meeting his increasingly powerful strokes with her own upward thrusts of her pelvis. He seemed to instinctively know exactly where and when to roll his hips against hers, sending her into another frenzy of calling upon God to witness her complete surrender to sensation. As Buffy felt herself falling over the edge into another, more intense release, she bit his shoulder to keep from screaming. His own shouted, "Buffy!" as he jerked against her brought a small smile to her face—a smile that grew broader as his hips kept working until he collapsed atop her body, breathing so hard she wondered if he was going to lose consciousness.

Eventually, his breathing went back to normal and he stirred, rising up on his elbows, but keeping their lower bodies connected. Buffy gazed up into loving eyes that now looked nothing like the identically-colored ones belonging to her imaginary vampire. Will rested his forehead against hers, whispering, "I love you, Buffy Summers."

"I think I love you, too," she whispered back. "If I hadn't been crazy for the past five years, I think I'd be sure of it."

He snorted and rolled off her sated body, pulling her with him to lie with her head on his chest. "That'll do me for now, love," he said, dropping a kiss on the top of her head. "You'll let me know when you're sure, yeah?"

"Yeah," she agreed softly. "I'll let you know." She squirmed against him, one leg draped over his thigh as she asked tentatively, "So, can we do that again sometime? I think I liked it."

His body shook with laughter as he pulled her completely on top of him and began to nuzzle her neck. He pulled off the used condom and dropped it over the edge of the bed. Buffy watched with interest as he opened another packet and placed it within easy reach.

"Just give me a few, pet, and I'll see what I can do about that."

"You mean we can do it again...right now?"

A brief memory of a night spent in spell-induced non-stop sex with Riley flitted through her brain and was immediately discarded. She admitted to herself that she'd expected all her memories of sex with her imaginary lovers would turn out to be unrealistic. It was a pleasant surprise to learn she'd been wrong.

"I'm pretty sure with you around, I could do it all night. Might need to rest a bit between goes, but I can't imagine not rising to the occasion anytime you want to, sweetheart."

"Cool." She snuggled against him, feeling his cock stir against her leg. "I don't think I knew that. Or believed it, anyway."

"Guess that other Buffy wasn't as smart as you thought she was, huh?" he murmured, pushing her down until she was once again where he could slide into her. He gently urged her to sit up until she was riding him, wriggling her hips around and experimenting with different angles and positions. The expression of absolute devotion on his face smothered the inhibitions and embarrassment that had come over her when she realized what she was doing, and she gave him a shy smile as she unintentionally squeezed his cock.

"Oh, Jesus! Like that, love. Do that again, Buffy." His eyes had rolled back in his head and she giggled, reveling in her new found power over him and determined to make him as mindlessly turned on as he'd made her. She sat on his hips, alternately squeezing her vaginal muscles and rotating her hips, her hands planted on his chest and an expression of complete concentration on her face. Her hair hung down on either side, tickling the skin of his chest and stomach as she moved around on him.

Before long, his hips were thrusting up and he was muttering incoherent obscenities as he held her down tightly. It briefly occurred to her that his fingers were probably going to leave marks on her hips, but she quickly dismissed it as unimportant and not something anyone would ever see. She watched with almost detached interest as his face clenched and his eyes closed in ecstasy. Before she could register that he'd climaxed and was softening within her, his hand was between them, quickly rubbing her to her own third orgasm of the night.

She collapsed on his chest with a small moan, lying limply in his arms as he held her in place and stroked her back. After several minutes, she felt him stir to life again and she sat up abruptly.

"You've got to be kidding me!"

He laughed and pulled her back down to snuggle against him. "I told you, pet. It's what you do to me. But if you're too tired or sore, we can wait. There's always tomorrow."

Buffy ran a quick mental check over her condition, and squirmed into a more comfortable position on him.

"I'm not tired," she said gamely. "And I'm not really sore, either, so..."

"What does 'not really sore' mean," he was quick to ask. "Did I hurt you?"

"No, not really. And don't worry about it. I have a really high pain threshold."

"And you know this...how?"

"Doctors used to tell my mom that all the time when I was growing up. I broke a bone in my foot one time when I was skating, and I finished the whole program before I even noticed it," she finished proudly. "So, a tiny little tear in something that was meant to be torn? Not even worth noticing."

Seeing the relief on his face, she tilted her head and asked, "What did you think I meant?"

"Nothing," he said quickly. "I just wanted to be sure it was really you talking and not some flashback to somebody made of tougher stuff."

"I'm made of tough stuff!" she protested, more bothered than she cared to admit that his first thought had been of the "other Buffy" as they'd taken to calling her delusional self. However, his actions within the following few minutes drove any thoughts of her alter-ego and that life completely away. No matter how intense her memories of the disastrous night with Angel, the regrettable night spent with Parker, and the sweet love-making she'd enjoyed with Riley may have been, they couldn't hold a candle to the real, live, and more than willing man now making love to her again. By the time they fell asleep, wrapped in each other's arms, there was no room for thoughts of anything except how perfect her life was now.

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