Disclaimer:  Joss and Mutant Enemy own the characters that are used in this story.  Also associated w/ WB

A Watcher's Decision
By: Katie

It is my job to watch.  In my years of watching over Buffy, I have seen many things that I would rather not have.  Demons, monsters, the occasional power-hungry human.  However, none of these creatures had the potential to
wound my Slayer as deeply as the scene I witnessed tonight between Willow, Buffy’s best friend,  and Angel, Buffy’s one-time lover, now “friend.”

For a long time, it had been easy to deny the growing closeness between the two.  At first, I thought was imagining it.  Oh, I knew that Angel occasionally went to Willow for information he was unable to find himself.
We all rely heavily on the hacker’s computer skills.   And I was also aware that Willow found the vampire
attractive.  After all, she is a normal teenage girl, and as Jenny Calendar once dryly observed, Angel is not hard to look at.  Then I began noticing changes.  They were subtle at first.  Willow would laugh at jokes Angel made, the ones that went directly over Buffy’s head.  Angel became more protective of Willow, often walking her home from our late night research sessions at the library.  He said that he rested easier, knowing for certain that she reached her house safely.

Then, the signs became more blatant.  I began to notice that Angel’s eyes were focused more often on the red-headed figure seated at the computer, than on the research material in front of him.  Willow violently lost her
temper one evening when Cordelia teasingly commented that the hacker had been “checking out Angel’s ass” as he left to patrol with Buffy.   Their physical contact also increased.  Fingertips would linger a moment longer
than necessary when exchanging books.  Angel often rested his hands on Willow’s shoulders as he leaned over her, reading from her computer screen.  She would lay her hand on his arm or hand as she spoke to him, gestures I would regard as insignificant, had they come from anyone other than this shy, reserved creature.  In the graveyard a few nights ago, after a joint effort by the two resulted in the staking of a particularly stubborn vampire, Willow
joyfully threw her arms around Angel, who returned the embrace a little too tightly, a little too long, for my peace of mind.

Still, I managed to push back my suspicions.  After all, Willow and Angel were friends, I told myself.  And to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t entirely objective; I feel a certain paternal instinct when it comes to Buffy, Willow. Xander, and even Cordelia. However, that was before what I saw last night.

 I had been in my office, rooting through my files in search of a tidbit of information I was sure would throw some light on the latest evil threatening Sunnydale.  Buffy and Faith were at Willy’s, “cajoling” some information
from their favorite snitch, and Xander and Cordelia had, as usual, abandoned their work for a utility closet
make-out session.  Since Angel and Willow were still diligently searching for a way to conquer our foe, I didn’t mind the others’ absence. Eventually, I found the nugget of wisdom I was looking for, and started back to the main section of the library, my attention still half focused on the ancient book in my hands.  I opened my mouth to speak, glancing up as I did so, only to feel the words die in my throat.  Before me, stood Willow and Angel, kissing.  Willow was stretched up on her toes, her arms around his neck.  Angel had one hand settled low on her waist, the other firmly cupping the back of her head, fingers tangled in her hair.  I abruptly stepped back into my office, stunned.  In my haste to back away from the private moment, I bumped against my desk, sending a stack of
discarded books crashing to the ground.  Hoping that was enough to startle the couple apart, I again exited my office, my eyes trained on the tome in front of me.  “W-Well, I believe I have what I was looking for.  This should
at least get us started on ridding us of our problem.  What about you two, did you find anything of interest?”

I finally dared to look up at the teen and vampire.  They were standing apart from each other; Willow had blushed a deep red, and both looked rather guilty.  They silently shook their heads in response to my question.

“Then perhaps we should call it a night, eh?  We’ll all meet back here tomorrow after sunset.”  I couldn’t resist adding, “Willow, are you quite all right?  You’re rather flushed.”

“I-I’m fine, Giles,” she stammered and flashed me an embarrassed smile. “Just a little tired.”

At this Angel quickly volunteered to walk her home.  A part of me wanted to insist he not, but I knew I needed some time to ponder just how much I should interfere in their affair.  So I merely nodded, noticing the way he
immediately laid hand on the small of Willows back, his thumb tracing a small, comforting circle against the thin
material of her shirt as he guided her out of the library.

And now, I wait for the return of my Slayer, wondering what I should do.  I know that she certainly still harbors feelings for Angel, and I know with the same amount of certainty that their love can never work out.  However,
with Willow and Angel...  There is a connection that runs deep, a part of which comes  from the soul restoration, a part of which has always been there.  Who am I to try to sever that connection?  Yet I swore to first and foremost protect my Slayer from all harm.  In protecting the relationship between Willow and Angel, do I break my oath to Buffy?  The arguments whirl in my head, giving me no rest.  Soon, I will have to face Buffy.  Soon, I will
have to make a decision....

The End.