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Title: Holiday of a lifetime

Author: Sarah

E-mail: taraka66@hotmail.com

Disclaimer: The characters belong to Joss Whedon, WB and Mutant Enemy. I've just

borrowed them.

Summary: Willow and Xander meet after a long time apart.

Rating: PG 13 (I guess!)

Author's notes: This is set eight years in the future.  Buffy, Willow and Oz

graduated from College four years ago.  Other than that no dramatic differences

from the existing time line.

Dedication: To everyone on the wxfic and Xanderships, especially those of you

who have been so kind about my previous stories.  Also dedicated to Willow and

Xander because without them who would I write about? * * * * * * * * * * * *

Part Eight

Willow looked at the bruise in the mirror.  It was a mixture of purple and black

and was the same size as the tennis ball that had hit her yesterday.  She winced

as her fingers gently pressed the edge of the bruise.  She had really enjoyed

their game yesterday, at least until the accident.  She smiled at the memory.

They had decided earlier that morning to spend the day on the beach.  Willow

wanted to wear her new two piece bathing suit, but she wasn't quite so sure now.

Her bruise could easily be seen between the two garments and Xander would notice

the result of yesterday's game.  She didn't want to hurt him again, so she

decided to compromise and kept her bathing suit on and wore a baggy tee shirt

over the top.  If she kept the tee shirt on Xander would never see the bruise.

While they had been looking for the tennis rackets yesterday, Willow had

discovered a bucket  and spade.  She had remembered the sand pit at kindergarten

and how much fun it had been to build sandcastles.  Today  she was going to

build a fantastic sandcastle, one where the knight and his princess could live

happily ever after.

She found Xander waiting patiently, picnic basket, books and towels balanced

precariously in his hands.  Willow picked up her bucket and spade and took the

books and towels from him. Then they left the cool confines of the house and

went out into the glorious sunshine.

As they walked, the leaves gently rustled and the birds sang their songs to one

another.  Willow enjoyed the sound of nature, because in L.A the sounds of

nature  consisted of horns, engines and voices.  You would never hear the cry of

an animal in the heart of that city.  At times it seemed as though you weren't

an individual, just part of a crowd which continually moved throughout the

streets.

Willow could now hear the peaceful rumbling of the ocean as its waves carefully

caressed the beach, renewing their eternal friendship.

They chose a place beneath an old large palm tree. Its trunk had been twisted

and turned by the wind and its huge leaves acted as an umbrella, shading them

from the strong rays of sunlight.

Xander lay back on his towel preparing to read from one of the many text books

he'd brought with him.  Willow decided to build her sandcastle.

After surveying the beach for the best spot for her sandcastle, she finally

found a place not too close to the ocean but not too far away.

She carefully mapped out her plan in the sand and began to work.  As she worked,

she completely lost track of the time.  She carefully dug, balanced and sculpted

her castle, spending a long time ensuring that each new tower was perfect.  She

carefully dug a moat around her finished structure and stood back to admire her

fairytale castle.

She smiled at her work, pleased with the effort and the result.  It had been

almost as much fun as when she had been a child.  Although then she'd built

sandcastles with Xander, but today he'd had better things to do.

She glanced at her watch and was shocked to find that she'd spent over two hours

working on her masterpiece.  She glanced over her shoulder at Xander.  He

appeared to be asleep, probably tired from all of his reading.  As she watched

him an idea popped into her mind and sent ripples of a plan through her, just

like a penny dropping into a pool.

She picked up her bucket and spade and walked cautiously towards his sleeping

form.  As she got closer she could hear him snoring slowly.  He had a smile on

his face and his arms cradled his text book.  She smiled as she carefully began

to work one spadeful of sand at a time.

At one point she thought she'd been caught, when he'd stirred in his sleep,

mumbling "Mom, I don't need a blanket I'm a big boy now."

Willow pulled her hands back quickly and smiled as realisation dawned.  When

Xander had been about six he had refused to have a blanket on his bed.  He

wanted a Scooby Doo duvet cover just like Willow's.  His Mom had insisted that

he kept the rabbit blanket he'd had as a toddler.  He had sulked for days until

his mother had finally relented and allowed him to have the duvet cover he had

so desperately wanted.

She waited until he'd settled, then she continued her work cautiously and

carefully.  After about half an hour, she stood back and admired her

masterpiece.

Her second castle was more impressive than her first, she thought, because her

knight in shining armour well... in sunglasses, was now a permanent resident.

She wished she had a camera to immortalise this moment.   Buffy would have loved

to have seen Xander at the base of a sandcastle.  The only parts of his body now

exposed were his toes, shoulders and head.

She sat down to admire her work and wait.  She desperately wanted to see his

reaction when he woke.

She didn't have to wait long.

"Willow!" he exclaimed.

She looked at him with a huge grin.  "What?" she teased.

"I seem to have grown a sandcastle during my sleep!" he stated as he began to

try and wiggle free from his prison of sand.  "You know how much I hate getting

sand between my toes!"

"Well I didn't cover your toes," she smiled, knowing that she'd probably pushed

it as far as she dared.

"When I get out of here, I'll . . . .I'll . . ."

"What?"

"I'll think of that when I catch you!"  He began to fidget with more force,

sending the walls of the sandcastle crumbling and falling.

Willow decided that it was time to put a little distance between Xander and

herself.  She would need the extra ground when Xander broke free.

She turned and began to run, knowing that he wouldn't be far behind her.  Her

mind quickly processing the best route of escape.  She headed towards the sea,

zig zagging and constantly changing direction in the hope of confusing him.

She glanced quickly over her shoulder and saw him closing the distance between

them.  She tried to run faster, but she was running out of breath.   She made a

last desperate attempt to escape and plunged into the surf, hoping he wouldn't

follow.

She knew her plan had failed when she felt his hand on her shoulder.  She

slowed, knowing that he was about to exact revenge.   His other hand firmly

grasped her other shoulder, and he turned her to face him.  His chocolately

brown eyes bored into her own.  She quickly glanced away from his eyes, taking

in his appearance.  His once white tee shirt was covered in sand and so were his

shorts.  She couldn't help herself, she broke out into a fit of giggles.

"You dare to laugh at me?" He asked with false anger in his voice.

"I couldn't resist," she smiled, hoping the smile would help him to forget about

revenge.

"You're going to pay!" Xander vowed as his fingers prepared to do their worst.

He began to tickle her ruthlessly.  Her knees eventually gave way, and she found

herself sitting in the sea, the waves lapping at her shoulders.

Xander towered over her, his eyes shining and a broad smile on his face.  "I

think we're even.  I'm covered in sand and you're wet!"

"Hhmm, I'm not sure we're quite even yet!"  As a puzzled look crossed his face,

Willow quickly moved her arms and sent a torrent of water straight towards his

torso.  His tee shirt and shorts were now wet and the sand changed to soggy

clumps hanging from the wet material.

After the initial shock of her actions, Xander retaliated.  They both launched

water at the other until they were soaked to the skin.

"You look like a bedraggled puppy!" Willow exclaimed trying to suppress a

giggle.

"Well at least that's better than looking like you forgot to take your clothes

off before having a shower."

She slapped his arm.

"Ouch!  I see you haven't lost your touch."

She grinned back, "Some things you never forget."

They called a  truce as they walked back towards their towels.  Xander stopped

and admired her castle.

"You should have been an architect Will, you could have made a fortune," he

stated seriously.

"I don't think there's much call for luxurious palaces today.  There aren't many

knights and princesses around."

"I don't know," Xander smiled, "You've always been my fairytale princess, and

you deserve to live in a beautiful castle with your prince.  But you don't seem

to have found him yet."

"Hopefully he's just around the corner." Really he's standing next to me, she

thought ruefully.

* * * * * * * * * * * *