Candy and Flowers

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Willow Rosenberg heard the annoyed voice in front of her, her green eyes twinkling with mischief as she kept her attention on her computer screen. She didn't look at him, though her pulse did increase slightly from just hearing his voice. God, she couldn't believe she was so desperate that she'd resorted to this. She'd tried everything else, though, and knew that she would have to just give up if this didn't work. She had met Draco Malfoy in September, shortly after she had joined Giles in England. She had spent over a year traveling, spending a lot of time in South America before she and Kennedy had broken up after realizing that they worked much better as friends than lovers and then joining Xander in Africa before returning to the States for a while. She had finally grown tired of not having somewhere to call home, having enjoyed the travel but finding herself ready to find a new home. She had accepted Giles' invitation to join him in England. The headquarters for the new council was in London, but she was staying at Giles' estate near Bath. It was where she had stayed during her recovery from the dark magics over three years before. She liked it much more this time, occupying her time creating new databases for the Council and setting up the files electronically. It might be considered boring by most people, entering information and scanning text, but she loved it.

After she had settled in, she had been surprised to receive an invitation for dinner from a neighbor. She had never met the neighbors during her previous trip to the estate and had accepted the invitation eagerly. She had met Narcissa and Lucius Malfoy, a couple that were the epitome of upper class nobility. They were both gorgeous and in their early fifties, though neither would admit being older than forty. Willow had spent a wonderful dinner with them, learning that they were members of the true wizarding community, something that Willow was aware of following her previous trip to England. They used wands and their magic came from within, while hers came from the Earth as well as herself. She had been pleased when she had been invited for lunch the following day. They had become friends, something she later learned was surprising because the Malfoys were purebloods and normally dismissed witches such as herself as a waste of time. She was thankful that she'd not learned their normal opinion of muggles, as they called normal people, until she had already befriended them. As it was, she accepted that they had made mistakes in the past, much like she had, and had both changed as they grew older. They'd become great friends, the redhead often spending her evenings with the Malfoys.

She had met their son over Christmas. Draco Malfoy. Willow had been surprised at her reaction to him, having not been attracted to anyone, male or female, since her break up with Kennedy. He was definitely a Malfoy, possessing the same arrogance and good looks. When they had first met, eyes had held and she'd felt a spark when their hands had touched. She knew he had felt it, too, because his gray eyes had narrowed and he'd frowned before hastily distancing himself from her. They'd spent the evening arguing and debating over a wide range of topics, both of them opinionated and vocal and passionate. She'd enjoyed herself, wishing she had Faith's gift of seduction or Buffy's gift of flirtation. Instead, she'd been a bit lost, not sure how to go about pursuing him, especially considering he'd given every indication that he did not want to be pursued. She had seen him several more times during the holidays, lunch with his parents a part of her normal routine. Narcissa and Lucius had seemed pleased at the sparks between her and their son, Narcissa confessing that she had wondered if Draco would ever find someone to love. It seemed that he flirted a bit, dated occasionally, but never had any serious relationships. He lived in London and worked at the Ministry of Magic in a position that Lucius felt did not properly challenge his intellect. They had refused to listen to her claims that he was not interested in her, saying that the fact that he was avoiding her and doing his utmost not to spend time alone with her simply proved he had felt something and was now doing his best to avoid confronting the strange emotions.

Personally, Willow thought that they both had far too much time on their hands. Regardless, during the holidays, Willow and Draco had been forced together as often as his parents had deemed appropriate, which turned out to be a lot. Willow was partially to blame, never giving them much of a fight because she did like Draco. Not only was he one of the most handsome men she'd ever seen, but he was also intelligent and sarcastic and witty. His being a wizard and aware of magic was an added bonus. The Malfoys' plans had been for naught. When the holidays were over, Draco had politely told her it had been a pleasure before he had returned to London. That had been that. She'd had a chance but blown it. She just wasn't good at flirting and found it a bit humiliating to pursue someone that did not wish to be pursued, especially when his parents were acting as her very own cheerleaders. Narcissa had seemed disappointed that Draco had not swept Willow into his arms and kissed her breathlessly before running off to produce many grandchildren for her to spoil. Lucius had just smirked and told Willow that his son was smart, even if he sometimes acted like an idiot, and would realize how special she was.

The following Saturday, Draco returned to the Manor. His presence had surprised his parents who were not used to him coming home except for holidays. He'd spent the evening meal arguing with Willow, his lips curved into a pleased smirk as they had carried on a heated conversation. He had walked her home that evening, at Lucius' insistence, and they had continued their conversation in her drawing room beside the fire. He had returned home at dusk, only to show up at her door a few hours later with an invitation to lunch from Narcissa. It seemed his parents were still playing matchmaker, and he was still resisting. He left Sunday evening, this time with a polite smile and handshake. He was back Friday evening. The weekend went much the same as the previous, hours of conversation about so many different things and spending time with his parents, plus the attempts by his parents to give them chances to be alone. That weekend, he had volunteered more personal information about himself when they were sitting beside the fire at her house. She had learned that he shared his parents' view of muggles, which wasn't surprising since that was how he had been raised. She heard that he had opposed Voldemort during the War, acting as a spy for the good guys. Lucius had followed his example, more out of a desire to be on the winning team and protect the Malfoy name than out of a sudden affection for muggles or muggle-borns. She had learned that Draco had been shocked to realize that his parents had befriended her, a muggle-born witch, and that he found it somewhat amusing the way they seemed to dote on her. That Sunday, he had left her with a friendly smile and a handshake.

He returned to the Manor Friday afternoon. The weekend had been very pleasant, this time him asking her questions about her life and answering questions she asked. On Sunday, he had left her with a friendly smile and a kiss on her hand. Each weekend since, Draco had returned home to visit his parents. He had become her friend, but he still didn't seem to be interested in anything but friendship. He didn't flirt with her, he didn't attempt to kiss her, she never caught him looking at her with lusty eyes or anything remotely resembling naughty thoughts. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for her. She had been attracted from the moment they met, but now, after nearly two months of getting to know him, she was starting to fall in love. She figured she'd end up with a broken heart, but she'd had to do something to let him know what she was feeling. Lucius and Narcissa had assured her that they believed their son was falling in love, Narcissa was already thinking about a wedding, which was ridiculous because Draco hadn't even tried to steal a kiss much less ask her out for a date. Only Narcissa Malfoy would start planning a wedding because she was convinced it would happen, not caring that the couple in question wasn't even a couple. Lucius just smirked when Willow complained about his wife's silly behavior, usually content to let Willow ramble on about his son and her confusion while he assisted her with her work. He had admitted that he was a bit bored not having a job and he seemed to enjoy the research as much as she did, so he had become her assistant. She knew it was strange to consider Lord Lucius Malfoy as her assistant, but it was true. He had the title and everything in the Council records.

This weekend was when she had decided to finally do something to let Draco know she was interested, just in case he was blind and too stupid to see the obvious signs that she was falling for him. Faith had suggested simply writing the words Take Me Now on her naked body in whipped cream and wait for him in his bed to give him the idea, while Buffy had suggested sexy lingerie. While both ideas definitely fueled her fantasies, Willow had decided that they were both a bit too much, not to mention humiliating if he ended up just laughing at her like she expected. As it was, Dawn had given her the perfect idea. Something simple and sweet, just an idea that she was open to more than friendship without the humiliation of the slayers' suggestions. It was Valentine's Day and perfect for her plan. She had been relieved when he had arrived for the weekend visit that was becoming routine, much to his parents' enjoyment. That morning, she had sent over her gift, having already told Narcissa and Lucius what she had planned. They had been pleased that she was going to finally speak up and had been more than willing to help. She guessed that they had given Draco the gift since he was standing in the doorway to the study and demanding answers.

"Rosenberg, I asked you a question. I do hate being kept waiting," Draco drawled lazily as his gray eyes moved over the gorgeous redhead that was attempting to ignore him. Silly girl, as if she could ever ignore him. He'd tried that and it hadn't worked at all. When they'd first met, he'd felt something he had never felt before the moment he looked into her beautiful green eyes. He had tried avoiding her, ignoring her, running from her, yet he hadn't been able to stop himself from thinking about her. His parents hadn't helped, doing their best to constantly bring the two of them together. He had never imagined the day when Lucius Malfoy would encourage his son to pursue a relationship with a muggle-born witch, no matter how intelligent and beautiful, yet his Father was one of her biggest fans, even working for her! He'd gone home to London, expecting to forget about her and later laugh about his reaction. Instead, by Friday evening he was pacing his flat and remembering her laugh and how pretty she looked when she smiled and how smashing she was when she was arguing with him. He'd returned to the Manor the next morning, instantly seeking her out. Every weekend since, he'd returned to his parents' home.

The attraction he felt when they first met had grown with every passing day. Not only that, but he found himself missing her when they were apart and telling her things he'd never told anyone and enjoying simply sitting with her beside the fire in a comfortable silence. He had never been in love before, so he wasn't sure if it was supposed to feel like this, but he imagined that it might. When he'd woken that morning and found his parents waiting for him, he'd known something was different from the pleased smirks on both their faces. It was then that they had given him Willow's gifts. She'd given him a Valentine's Day present. He had left the Manor with a smile on his face and realization in his eyes, ignoring his Father's sarcastic comment about it taking him long enough and his Mother's chattering about a wedding of all things. Now, he was standing here rather impatiently waiting for her to look at him and tell him what he wanted to hear.

"Patience is a virtue, Malfoy," Willow said sweetly, trying to concentrate on her computer screen. She was scared to look at him, she hated to admit, not at all sure if he was pleased with her subtle declaration. You couldn't tell by his voice or tone, Draco always sounding a bit like a pompous snob even when he was talking about his past.

"Yes, I am aware of that Rosenberg. Unfortunately, it is not a virtue that we Malfoys tend to possess," he said as he moved from the door to her desk. He recognized the contraption she was looking at, knowing it was a computer, some muggle device that he'd never encountered personally. Gray eyes followed the cord coming from the back of the box, seeing that it was plugged into a long strip with a pale green light. A slow smile crossed his face as he used his foot to turn the switch into the opposite direction, rewarded when the screen she was looking at instead of giving him her attention went black.

"Draco! Damn it, you can't turn off computers that way!" Willow turned to glare at him.

"Now that I have your complete attention, I shall ask only one more time. What is this?" Draco asked as he showed her the gifts she had left for him. He watched her cheeks turn slightly pink as she looked away from his curious eyes, that being all he needed to see to confirm that his suspicions were correct.

"Candy and flowers," Willow said softly, "I thought even a Malfoy would recognize two common items."

"Willow, Willow, Willow," Draco moved behind her desk, his fingers moving along her cheek as he raised her head, "what am I going to do with you? Insulting a Malfoy is a very serious offense, you know?"

"It is?" Willow whispered softly, her lips curving into a shy smile when she saw the look in his eyes.

"Very serious," Draco said solemnly, his eyes meeting hers as he said, "I'm afraid that it is going to require a kiss for me to forget about the insult."

"A kiss?" Willow said, not able to say anything else before his lips brushed against hers. It started off slowly, just a brushing of lips against lips. Then, it deepened, his hand moving to tangle in her red hair as he explored her mouth with his tongue. When he released her, they shared a smile, both a bit surprised by the intensity of their first kiss.

"Willow, would you like to have dinner with me tonight?" Draco asked, a voice in his head adding on the lines, and for the rest of our lives, though he hushed it and concentrated on arranging the first date before he let her know that he was in love with her.

"I'd love to," Willow smiled, her green eyes gleaming with mischief as she said, "if I'd known insulting a Malfoy resulted in kisses from you, I would have tried that sooner."

"Only for you, love," Draco laughed softly, "everyone else can just get hexed for insulting a Malfoy. You know, I've never received candy and flowers before. Thank you for the gift."

"I think I like my gift better," Willow said as she looked into his eyes. "You're much better than candy and flowers," she whispered before she caught his mouth in another kiss.