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Fire Extinguisher

It’s no use. For the fourth night in a row, he’s restless and wakeful. He’s tossed and turned for thirty-five minutes – he’s a stickler for accurate measurements – and he’s ready to give up on the idea of sleep. All he can see when he closes his eyes is Willow in the path of that car.

It happened four days ago and she’s safe, thanks to him, so he should be calm and relieved, not punching his pillow into different shapes because his gut is tied up in knots, but he’s a mess, and he’s bothered by the fact of the state he’s in almost as much as the reason itself.

Riley Finn is order and discipline and logical choices. Even Buffy – okay, she’s a little bit chaotic, but she’s exactly the kind of girl he’s supposed to want. Hot, independent, not overly intellectual but smart enough not to be an embarrassment, hot… and yeah, hot comes up twice on the list, but he’s young and fit, a campus leader as well as a rising star in the Initiative, and maybe it’s arrogant, but he knows he’s good-looking. The kind of trophy girl everyone envies him for having is what goes along with his role in life. Buffy is that girl in every way.

Willow… she isn’t. Sure, she’s pretty – okay beautiful, to him - but she doesn’t have the kind of looks that set the guys in his outfit to drooling and it’s not like she even dresses to emphasize what she’s got. As for her brains – way too intellectual. Smarter than he is, that’s for sure. Hell, she’s probably smarter than Walsh and that’s just not allowed. As for independent…

He saw her today, torn to pieces over that wimpy loser, Oz, and she’s definitely not the kind of girl you can keep at arm’s length. When she loves, she’s all in. Calling her from Iowa next summer to say it isn’t working out and they should start seeing other people but, hey, he hopes they can still be friends? No way.

What frightens him is that he’s pretty sure he wouldn’t want to.

Buffy might be hot, but Willow? She’d take a flamethrower to life as it’s supposed to be.

He sits up, head in his hands, feet on the floor, and the word ‘no’ echoing in his head. His decision is made.

He’s going after Buffy for all he’s worth. And just to make sure he burns every bridge that would take him where he shouldn’t go? He’ll ask Willow to help him woo her friend.

Problem solved in pure, logical fashion.

But he still can’t sleep.

The End.
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