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Drowning In You by BloodEnvy
An Eyre Affair
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Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap… The end of Buffy’s pen went up and down on her note book, her head in her hand as the professor droned on and on about ‘the thematic implications of the power of nature in the Romantic Movement, with a particular focus on Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre’.

Possibly the worst book in history, she thought to herself, smiling sheepishly as the brunette in front of her turned to give her an annoyed stare. Halting her tapping, she sighed, glancing over at Willow. The red head was, of course, scribbling down notes as fast as her hand would physically allow. Half the class was. Her notes, on the other hand, consisted of the title: Nature- Jane Eyre, and not much else.

And here she thought that English Literature would mean that she’d have to read a few cheesy novels, with maybe a limerick or two for extra credit, and make up an opinion at the last minute when it came to exams. Instead, she was reading two hundred year old novels about love and nature and ghosts, that instead of being interesting, described one little beam of light in three freaking pages, and learning about the ‘moral and thematic implications for modern day society’.

Last time she listened to Willow when it came to choosing courses. First, a psychology class that was run by a professor who had turned out to be a Dr Frankenstein and had tried to kill her, and now this: a class involving the actual Frankenstein.

And there wasn’t even her boyfriend TA-ing to keep her distracted.

She didn’t really understand Jane Eyre, anyway. Jane moves in with this Rochester guy, and falls in love with him. That would be perfectly understandable if she was actually attracted to him. She doesn’t find him good-looking, and they fight about everything. Where’s the chemistry in that? She thought, running her fingers over the cover of her copy of the novel.

Take me and Riley, Buffy mused to herself, we’re in… we love each other, don’t we? And we find each other hot. We don’t fight or argue over every little thing. He doesn’t pretend to be someone else when I’m around… well, except for the whole I’m-an-Initiative-soldier thing, but that was necessary. I mean, I couldn’t tell him I was the Slayer, either.

Her brow furrowed. Would he have told me? I mean, if we hadn’t caught each other slay-handed? Every time I’ve found out the truth about the guy I like, it’s been an accident... Angel didn’t mean to show me his vamp-face the first time we kissed, and Parker definitely didn’t want me to know he was a cheating bastard. Even Riley, he didn’t mean for me to see he was a soldier. Sure, I hadn’t told him I was the Slayer, but I would have, once I knew we were going to be together. Would he have—

“Buffy…? Are you coming?” Willow’s voice cut through her thoughts, and she looked up to see the red headed Wicca standing over her, holding her books. Half the class were already filing out the door.

“Oh, yeah. Sure.” The Slayer stood, gathered her things and hastily followed her friend into the halls.

“Thinking deep thoughts?” Willow asked, a quirky smile on her face.

The Slayer dithered for a moment before deciding not to talk to Willow about the little mental uncertainties she’d just had. Instead, she settled on: “Jane Eyre is stupid.”

“You’re just saying that because you haven’t finished it yet.” Willow reasoned, tucking hair behind her ear. “It’s actually pretty good.”

“I finished it three days ago, Will.” She corrected, rolling her eyes as they entered the cafeteria.

Conversation broke off as they paid for their meals, Willow grabbing two cans of diet coke from the fridge by the register. They found a free table and sat down, silent while Willow chewed on an oversized burger.

Toying with her desert-based lunch, Buffy people-watched absently, smiling at Tara as she joined them. “And I meant the girl, not the book.”

Willow broke off her greeting kiss with Tara, blushing slightly under Buffy’s amused eyebrow quirk. “Huh?”

“Jane Eyre. The girl is stupid. Not the book.” Taking a spoonful of her frozen yoghurt, she added as an afterthought, “Well, the book too, but mostly the girl.”

“Ok, you’ve peaked my intellectual interest with the obvious start to a literary debate. Let’s hear it.” Willow grinned teasingly, sipping her coke.

Buffy snagged one of Tara’s fries. “It’s not a debate. I’m just… stating an opinion.”

“One that Willow is going to disagree with just for the sake of getting you talking literature,” Tara gave Buffy one of her endearing crooked smiles and a wink.

“Point,” Buffy conceded. “I just think she’s stupid.”

“Hey! I am not,” Willow pouted, offended.

Buffy laughed, “Not you, dummy. Jane Eyre. She’s an idiot.”

The redheaded witch looked relieved, and missed Tara’s smirk. “In what way.”

“Falling for a guy you hate? How unrealistic is that?”

“I don’t know, maybe it’s opposites attract?” Tara suggested, chewing a fry.

“Oh come on, they hate each other! That would be like Xander falling for—“

“Cordelia?” Willow interjected, her eyebrow arched triumphantly.

Buffy pouted, brow furrowed. “Okay, smarty. Bad example. How about, uh… Giles falling for—“

“Miss Calendar? Watcher and techno-pagan?” Willow suggested, “They weren’t exactly falling all over each other the first time, remember?”

“Aw, phooey,” Buffy scooped up a spoonful of yoghurt in thought. “Ok… um…”

“Face it, Buffy. Maybe love is just best found in places you least expect it.” Willow smiled at her friend, interlacing her fingers with her now-blushing girlfriend’s.

“A-ha!” Buffy straightened suddenly, pointing a finger triumphantly. “It would be like me and Spike falling in love!”

Willow opened her mouth, before closing it with a snap, biting her lip. “Okay, unfair to remind me of the spell-that-wasn’t, but you got me there.”

“Thank you!” Buffy pushed her empty dish towards the middle of the table, slouching back in her seat with a huff. “Jane and Rochester is like me and Spike: completely unrealistic and impossible.” Buffy tried to squelch the feeling that she was trying to convince herself more than she was Willow. Stupid vampire, putting stupid ideas in her head and confusing her, why couldn’t he just leave her alone?

“Okay, you may have just ruined the story for me, but I see your point.”
Tara stayed quiet, musing silently over her remaining fries. She’d seen the look Spike had been giving Buffy in the Magic Box, and sometimes… the banter between the two of them reminded her of kids in a school yard- mean and nasty on the surface, but only to hide true feelings while getting the other person’s attention.

Then again, she hadn’t known the gang for as long as Willow, so it was probably better to just take the collective word for it. Willow had filled her in on the Angel-history, and Spike didn’t have a soul. And according to Willow, that made it impossible to love.

She frowned slightly and rejoined the conversation as it turned to Buffy’s need for new butt-kicking-but-still-fashionable shoes. Teasingly siding against Willow, who was playing devil’s advocate, she quickly suggested they make an afternoon of it, insisting she needed a new pair of jeans.

Spike and Buffy? Tara thought to herself with a shake of her head. I must being going crazy.

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