Sundowning - Together Again For The Very First Time




"No, I'm not kidding Giles!" I said into the phone. "Just bring the others."
I narrowed my eyes even though he couldn't see me. "Whaddya mean what other? All of them! I'll explain when you get here, no it's nothing bad. The..opposite of that really."
Buffy's head rested in my lap. She was snoozing even though the two of us slept the entire day. Well..she did. I watched her. Watched her breath, watched her lashes flutter, watched the way the wind moved across the room to play with her hair spread out on the pillow. It wasn't until she woke up, hours later, smiled and kissed me without a word, it was only then that I could finally..really..believe.
Buffy was back. My Buffy was really, really back.
"What?" I said sounding outraged. "You think I'd be that stupid? I'm hurt Giles. Really. To think I'd use necromantic magic to try and resurrect Buffy, please. Shyeah right."
Buffy giggled into my lap and reached up with her hands to move her fingers over my throat and jaw. It tickled.
"No no.." I tried to stifle a burst of laughter. "I'm still here, yes, that's right. Call the others have them meet us..I mean me..at Buffy's house. Right, about an hour. Okay..see you then. Bye. Oh..and Giles? Give my love to Dawn."

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It's dark. They've all gone home. Happy, surprised. Xander stumbled out of here being dragged by Anya, wearing a big smile on his face. Anya was saying something about him having two months to catch up on.
Tara had just hugged us both, eyes brimming with tears. "The Goddess's blessings." She said.
Buffy nodded. "You have no idea." She said.
Tara turned to leave after giving us both one last hug.
"Tara!" I called after her. "Do..you...want to get together? Practice some..big bad mojo or something?" I shrugged.
She put her hand to her mouth and choked off a small laugh. "Yes Willow." She said, now she was crying, but in a good way. "I'd like that. It'll be fun. G'night."
Giles wanted to stay but it was, surprisingly, Dawn who insisted they leave. She'd tugged and tugged on his hand. I didn't understand her at first. Her family was back. Her sister was alive and here and she was still willing to be away from her so we...Buffy and I..could be together.
"C'mon Giles." She said. "Let's get outta here. You can help me pack my stuff."
"Are..are you sure that's wise Dawn?" Giles objected. "Buffy..might be..that is..I'm sure it would..."
"Everything Buffy needs is right here." Dawn insisted. "All romantic and yucky. Bleah. Sooner I get out of here the better. Let's _go_!"
She looked at me and gave me a slow wink. I mouthed the words 'Thank You'. Dawn smiled slightly, nodded a little and dragged poor Giles, still sputtering protests out the door.
Spike, who hadn't said much the entire evening just walked past us. Turning to Buffy he said. "I cannot say how good it is to have you back Slayer." He paused. "Really."
Buffy yelled out the door after him. "Love you too big guy!"
"Sod off!"
Now..now it's dark and we're alone. Me and Buffy. Buffy and me...er..I.

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Xander and Anya was the first too arrive. The front door opened slowly and poked his head around the corner.
"Will?" He called.
"Living room!" I shouted back.
He stepped around the corner from the hallway cautiously, like a timid ..mm..squirrel? Like something ready to bolt at any second. The way I had treated them all since..well, I couldn't blame him for being skittish.
"Willow." He said, he was trying to be 'Good ol' Xander, with a everpresent smile and glib tone. It..was a good effort but, in all honest I could only give it two and half stars. "Giles called, said something was up? You wanted to see us?"
I leapt up off the sofa and practically tackled him. "Xander!"
He nearly did run but I had him pretty good by then. "How ya doing Xander?" I smiled up at him, I could see the confusion warring with a sense of relief. He was being careful. After so much hellmouthy stuff I couldn't blame him.
"Wills?" He asked. "I..that is...are you..okay? Finally?" Relief seemed to have won the war.
"Well, she's hugging you isn't she? She's smiling at you too Xander. It's just a guess but that looks like 'All Right' Willow actions to me."
Xander glanced over my shoulder. "You might have a point there BuffyyeeeeaaaAAAAHHH!!!"
Now he did jump out of my hug and nearly clear across the room. Buffy was sitting in the far corner of the sofa, her legs crossed and an amused smile on her face.
"Was it something I said?" She asked, looking innocent as a new born babe.
Xander was bent over, one hand pressed to his heart, taking deep breaths.
Anya came in behind him and looked at the scene.
"Buffy." She said. "Hey, you're alive!" Anya shot across the room, yanked Buffy from her seat, an impressive feat considering lack of Slayer strength, and pulled Buffy into a fierce hug.
Xander just stood in mute witness to this ...presentation of very surprising affection between the two. I probably looked a lot like him. Eyes wide, jaw gaping.
"I'm so happy to see you!" Anya burbled squeezing Buffy so hard her eyes bulged. Buffy gave a little half laugh and ..reluctantly put her arms around Anya shooting me a look that cried 'Help!'. I started to smile.
"Uh..thanks..Anya.. It's um..good to see you too." Buffy said still glancing at me.
Anya let Buffy go so suddenly she fell back into her chair and spun to face us. "That is how you do it right Xander? That's how I was supposed to act? I did what you said and just let the feelings tell me what to do, didn't really ask why, just.did what you said. That's right isn't it?"
"Yeeeeaaahh.." Xander nodded slowly. "But..next time..maybe a little less zeal okay?"
"Oh." Anya glanced at the floor. "Well the..zeal..was ..um.. well I just wanted to make sure." She pulled down the collar of her sweater to reveal a small crucifix dangling from a golden chain. "I..I pressed it up against her. She didn't burn. She's..uh..clean. She's human."
"That's not all you pressed up against me." Buffy grumped crossing her arms.
The words slipped out unbidden, embarrassing, , but not regretted. "I'll make it better later." I said.
Xander shot me a look, I think he was still stunned. "Innuendo..whoa." He said. "I..I gotta sit down. No wait, first I have to hug Buffy, then I have to sit down."
Buffy stood up and walked over to him. "I'll save you the trip." She said and moved to give him a hug but Xander's hands on her shoulders stopped her.
"I just want to be clear," He said. "I'm not wearing a cross okay? Okay. Hug now."
They did. And kept on doing it for a few moments until Xander's legs suddenly gave and he collapsed onto the sofa. "Uh oops." He said still looking slightly buzzed. "Seems the Hug part overlapped the 'having to sit down' part of my schedule." He paused. "Sorry."
Buffy knelt down next to wear he was sitting. "I missed you Xander."
"Yeah.." He said quietly. "Me too. That is..I missed you, not me. I'm always here so it's hard to miss me. Unless you're not me and as I'm always here I won't ever miss me. Unless I'm dead but, as you're sitting right here Buffy, I don't think that's quite the permanent thing it once...my God!" He swung his head around to look up at me. "She's really back! Isn't she!"
"Yes." I smiled down at him. "She's back..really honestly and lusciously. Did I say that uh..whoops?"
"Yoohoo..guys! Topic of conversation right over here." Buffy said waving her arms. "Third person speech not required but thank you for playing."
"I..I don't understand." Anya finally said. "Buffy's back and we're all surprised? This..doesn't happen often?"
"Not fully back Anya no." Buffy says. "If someone backs..er comes back..usually it includes a wicked set of dentures and a not-so-sunny disposition. Or shambling about mumbling for brains."
"Aaahh.." Xander said. "Well..actually that's not quite how zombies behave."
"Oh?" Buffy asked eyebrows raised. "And this is known because?"
"Eehhh.." Xander hedged. "Something I read. Anyway..Giles and the rest are coming?"
"Yes, any second now." I replied.
Xander rubbed his hands together gleefully. "I have me," He said mischievously. "An idea!"
Buffy rolled her eyes. "We're in trouble." She mumbled.
Scoobs..back together again.

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The lights are off.
The lights are off when I walk into her..our..bedroom. I finish toweling off my hair and give it a quick shake. There is no breeze coming in from the open window, and the light shining through is from the neighbors backyard party. The loud thumping music and the occasional yelled 'wahoo' doesn't exactly add to the romantic setting either. But she's here. Sitting on the bed, Buffy, dressed in a simple bathrobe, like me, sitting on the bed. Her hands clasped together in her lap, thumbs idly rubbing over each other.
She looks lonely. That's why I'm here.
"Willow?" She looks up at me. "I missed you."
"I showered as fast as I could." I say.
"I know. Me too. Sit by me would you?" She pats a spot on the bed beside her. She...looks afraid. Anxious...
I sit by her and try to take her hands in mine but she pulls them away. I'm momentarily hurt until she slides one arm around my waist and rests her head on my shoulder. It's nice but not what I was expecting. Usually I'm the one resting.
"Buffy?" I ask. "Is everything..are you okay?"
She's silent for a few moments, then I hear her sniff a few times.
"I..." She stops. I hear her take a few deep breaths, something's wrong, something's very wrong... "I'm a terrible person." She whispers horsely. That's the last thing she gets out before she quietly starts to sob into my shoulder, pushing her face into the material of my bathrobe.
I do the only thing I can, put my arms around her and slowly begins to rock back and forth as she continues to wail.

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We barely had time to put Xander's plan into action before Giles, Dawn, Tara and Spike showed up at the front door.
"We're a tad late." Giles said. "We had to wait for...uh..the sun to set."
"I'm so sorry I have such a powerful aversion to bursting into flame." Spike snarled. "Just color me touchy."
"Yes..quite." Giles replied wearily.
"Hi Willow." Dawn said. She was standing next to Spike who seemed to hover about her protectively.
"Dawn." I said in my best monotone voice though in truth I was fit to burst. "Good to see you all, c'mon in." And I moved out of the doorway to let them enter. Tara gave me a pained smile as she walked past which I forced myself to ignore, even though I really wanted to throw myself at her feet and beg for forgiveness..okay..maybe not that extreme but I felt, and still feel, that I really owed her an apology.
Giles, Tara and Dawn entered the living room where Xander was sitting on the sofa with Anya curled up next to him. Spike hung back in the hallway, just staring at me. I met his gaze without blinking and we remained like that. After a second or two he very deliberately took in a lung full of air and held it. I saw his eyes narrow...then they nearly bulged out of his sockets.
He opened his mouth to say something but I cut him off with a tiny shake of my head.
"You gotta be kidden'" Spike whispered.
"Shhhhh." I softly replied. "Have a seat Spike and, please, don't say anything."
With a nod and a mumbled "You owe me Red." he sat down in the last available seat. Of course he put his feet up on the table.
"That chair is a recliner y'know Spike." Xander said, pointing a finger at him.
"Maybe." Spike nodded. "But this is more comfy." And crossed his legs, leaving scuff marks on the table.
"You live to be a pain in the ass don't you?" Dawn asked.
"It is a driving passion of mine bit, yes." He smiled at her cheekily and waved his hand in a lazy circle. "Course it's part of the charm."
Dawn just snorted and shook her head. She was, when the chips were down, stronger than I was. She accepted Buffy's death and moved on with her life, allowing herself to be happy, to mourn surely, but she let it go. She was better than I was, she was truly Buffy's sister. Now..now I was going to give her her reward.
Spike and Giles were sitting in soft, comfy chairs across from the sofa where Dawn, sitting between Xander and Tara were. Anya had moved to sit on the floor in front of Xander, leaning her head against the front of his legs. Xander was running his fingers through her hair from time to time and she always responded to that with a smile.
They all sat like that for a bit, looking at me, silent as I stood in the entranceway, arms crossed, leaning against the frame.
"Xander." I said. "Ready?"
He nodded. Giles sat up. "If I might ask..." He began.
"All the answers y'need are right here G-Man. Dawnie." Xander said handing them each a folded piece of paper. Giles frowned slightly as he opened his up and began to read. Dawn looked a little more excited.
The silence stretched impossibly long. "Uh..I'm afraid I don't quite understand." Giles finally said. "Is says. 'WS with exp seeking W. For G&W, with occasional S&R'. Is this some sort of code?"
"Yeah." Dawn said. "And what's with SWS seeks YS to SHW, GIA, and PM?"
"Easy." Said a voice from the kitchen. Buffy strolled into the room with a tray of glasses and several bottles of coke. "Giles's note says 'White Slayer with experience seeking Watcher for Guidance and Wisdom with occasional Scoldings and Recriminations.' Your's Dawnie, says 'Slayer Without Sister, seeks Younger Sibling to Share House With, Get Into Arguments and Property Mismanagement.' You can keep Mr. Gordo though." She put the tray on the table and shoved Spike's feet out of the way. They landed on the floor with a thud.
"Anyone want a coke?" Buffy asked holding up one of the bottles in one hand and two glasses in the other.

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Her sobbing stopped a while ago. The only thing to break the silence is still the loud base of the neighbors sound system. Every once in a while she sniffles. My bathrobe is soaked clean through with tears but I don't mind. My arms are tired of holding most of her weight as I sill rock back and forth, making comforting sounds. Caressing her face with my fingers. I don't mind that either.
After a while I work up the courage to speak, to actually say something.
"Why," I swallow. My throat has gone dry. "Why do you think you're a terrible person?"
Buffy doesn't say anything for a long while. I'm content to continue rocking her, being there. It's for her of course, but it's for me too. To feel her in my arms, know that warm feeling is coming from the one person who I can let this close. It's her body heat, it's her hair cascading over my hand, it's all her.
Here, now and that's good enough, for the moment.
"I didn't die for you." She croaks.
"What?" I ask a little puzzled. "I..I don't understand Buffy."
"I didn't die for you." She says again. "I didn't jump into the vortex to stop it because it was the right thing to do, or because it would save everything, prevent the end of all things. That didn't matter. I died for me Willow."
She takes a deep, shuddering breath. "I was tired, I hurt and it just didn't seem to stop. I was greedy, and self centered, I left you. I broke my promise and, at the time, I didn't care. I died for me Willow. Not you, me. I don't..I don't deserve you."
She quietly begins weeping again.
I don't even think. I don't have too.
I slowly push her from my embrace and she moves away, not fighting back, she doesn't protest in the slightest. She probably believes it to be her punishment, that I'm going to leave her. Buffy is so many incredibly, wonderful things, but sometimes she can be strangely dumb.
She's sitting, hunched over, head hung low, maybe so she can't see me leave, she expects me to stalk out the room angrily. She's in for a surprise.
I reach over and take her face in my hands, tilting it up, forcing her to look at me, to look me right in the eyes. One of my hands cups her chin, with the other I caress her cheeks.
"Buffy Summers," I whisper, my face mere inches from her own. "You are guilty of the crime of being a human being, despite also being The Slayer. As you have been judged, so shall you be condemned. This is your punishment."
I move forward, easing myself through the little space that separates us.
She has just enough time to whisper a feeble protest.
We haven't kissed since early this morning, by the pond. Those were anchors, reaffirmations that what was happening was..happening. This one is... healing. Wherever, whenever, I was in that ...in..at? 'Somewhere Else' the ..collection of misery that I had was dispatched. Smacked aside like an errant, if somewhat ugly, tennis ball. I was better after that. Even when I first believed the whole thing to be a dream, I was still better. When I had Buffy back for real, I was even more...better.
Now, now I'm best. We have achieved bestedness!
It's a light kiss, a hint of lips meeting, then pulling away, then moving together again, not caressing, now touching, now opening, breath is being shared. My thumbs move over her cheeks, wiping away fresh tears that I can touch, that are real. Maybe they're needed now, but not for much longer. We have better things to do than cry. I say we, because I think I'm crying too.

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"Buffy?" Giles gaped. "I..uh..wha..."
Buffy narrowed her eyes at him slightly. "What's the big?" She asked. "So I offered you a coke, what is it with you British types anyway? Tea, tea, tea, tea, tea...try something surgarishly bubbly every once in a while."
"My God." Giles said still staring. "It...really is you?"
"BUFFY!!" Dawn screamed. She was wrapped around her sister in a heartbeat. I could tell you how she was crying tears of joy, I could tell you how she was laughing and sobbing, screaming, and crying, giggling, hugging, holding and a score of other adjectives. Not one would even come close though.
She was radiating joy, great heaping waves that shot around the room and burrowed into the heart of everyone. Looking back on it, I'm not so sure it was just her joy. She is The Key, who knows what that kind of ecstasy could produce.
Xander and I glanced at each other. He looked content. Ever since that horrible night, I'd watched him get better, recover his equilibrium and get on with his life. Their lives actually, his and Anya's. Course he had been changed, he had recovered his balance but's axis had shifted a bit. Now it looked like it had shifted back to what he once had been. He caught me looking at him and we shared a smile; both under the case of thorough case of the warm and fuzzies.
I noticed Spike out of the corner of my eye, he was resting his head in one hand, staring at the scene. His features were set in a permanent scowl and he appeared to be grumbling. The eyes gave him away though. Were they bright and shiny? Dancing with hidden amusement and maybe a little regretful longing?
Come on, this was Spike. Even his eyes were bored.
He glanced in my direction. "Lookin' for something?" He mumbled.
"Confirming a theory." I said back quietly.
"That being?"
"You really don't not care." I said.
"Course I care." He said shrugging his shoulders. "I care that Summers is back and I care that, once I get this techno thingie in my head out; it's Government Issue recall, can't last that much longer, that'll I'll have a chance to wack the bitch."
"Liar." I said.
He shrugged again. "Maybe. The Bit's happy though. Good enuff for now. Eh?"
I turned in and drank in the scene. Giles still just sitting is his seat, hands folded together as he too watched the goings on. Occasionally he'd smile a little bit wider and shake his head. Dawn was just ..an entire menagerie of expression and talk. The complete ensemble of being human, and getting back something..irreplaceable. I knew, and still know, the feeling. Xander and Anya also were just watching the Summers sisters reunion special, smiling at them, then at each other.
"Yeah." I said nodding. "It's good enough for now."


Giles stood up. "Eh..excuse me." He fumbled. "I..must..er..go to the kitchen to..find..something or other. Tea perhaps. I'll be right back." He ducked out of the room.
"Giles?" Buffy asked, looking confused.
"Relax yourself Summers." Spike breathed. "He's just gone off to be utterly british. S'not you."
"Oh." Buffy nodded. "Course."
"Buuufffyyyy," Dawn whined. "I was telling you how the gang took me on patrol!!"
"They did what?" Buffy's sweeping glare took us all in.
Xander laughed that 'I must talk fast now, or I shall die' laugh of his. "Oh..ah..well, it wasn't my idea and..er..by speaking up I've made myself the center of attention haven't I? Uh..whoops?"
"Scuse me." I said. "I'll be right back." Discretion being the better part of valor.
"You're not off the hook Wiccan!" Buffy shouted after me as Dawn continued telling her about her very first staking. I'd have liked to have heard the story too. I'd missed that night. I'd missed lots of nights.
I entered the kitchen and found Giles leaning against the counter. He had taken off his glasses and was staring off into space at nothing. He had his arms crossed and just seemed to appear very relaxed though his eyes were shiny. An unopened bottle of champagne stood next to him patiently.
"Giles?" I hesitated, I didn't want to spoil his moment.
"It is a wonderful feeling." He said slowly. "To have your faith in the general goodness of things restored."
I didn't have words enough to agree.
"Ah, Willow." He said, noticing me. "I thought something a bit more celebratory than carbonated beverages might be called for. Do you have any idea where the ice bucket is?"

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"You deserve this Slayer." I mumble gently scraping my teeth along the curve of her neck. "You've earned it."
"You've earned love." I kiss her neck.
"You've earned respect." Moving lower I kiss the top of her collar bone.
"You've earned friends." My hands slide down the material of bathrobe, it's not easy in the dark but I manage to undo the knot holding it together.
Finally.
I move my fingers along the smooth surface of her belly. Her breath catches in her throat with a 'hic' sound.
"You're earned passion." I dip my head a bit lower and nibble just above the swell of her breast. The hic sound becomes a quit hum, growing and waning in intensity with the increased pace of her breathing.
"And you've earned this." I whisper. "Buffy. I love you. Always." And I move my lips, sliding over the rise, cresting the top and catching her between my teeth. Lightly..ever so lightly.

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The bottle of Champagne..actually it was empty now, sat on the table surrounded by unopened and, now warm, bottles of cola.
We all had had some of the champagne, even Dawnie, though she had to do some serious pouting to go about getting permission. Even Spike had chipped in in her defense.
"Just think how awful it would look, seven glasses of brightly colored bubbly and one glass of sullen coke. Okay, so it's fizzes, big whoop. Jeeze Summers, you only come back from the dead once..if I have anything say about it... let the lil Bit live a little."
So Dawnie had a half glass of champagne. Spike had three.
"Just..just how did this all go about happening?" Giles finally inquired.
"I'm not really sure." I said. "It's...surreal. Beyond the capacities of or limitations of ..us."
"Easy there Willow." Buffy said leaning against me. We were both seated on the sofa. Dawn, Xander and Anya had moved to the floor with Tara at the other end. Spike merely snarled if anyone tried to take his seat. "You're going to blow something critical.
"Well..this is just..unheard of." Giles insisted.
"Oh oh." Xander crowed. "Book Man is excited. Prepare for a royal grilling!"
"I think it should be documented Xander, yes. That..uh..isn't a problem is it?" Giles said shooting a glance at Buffy and myself.
"Well..I can give you some basics now." Buffy says. "It was..nice." She gets a far away look on her face. "Willow was there, I was young, so was she. We were playing. I taught her to jump rope and she taught me how to make a cat's cradle."
"Willow was there?" Giles asked. "You mean a copy or simulicrum don't you?"
Buffy shook her head. "No. It was Willow, my Willow, friend, companion. It was her. Then Willow came and me and Willow and Willow went home."
Xander looked confused. Indeed everyone looked confused. "Care to run that by me again?" Xander asked.
Tara spoke up. "I..I think I understand. Maybe..as much as I'm able I mean." She paused, looking thoughtful. "It was paradise, and there were all things there, even if they existed elsewhere. Our rules don't apply do they?"
Buffy shrugged. "I don't know for sure. It was..dreamy..not..it's sorta outta touch right now, the memories I mean."
"All that we are, or ever will be, is just a dream, within a dream."
We all looked startled at Spike who had just finished speaking.
"Not quite right Spike." Giles said. "But a fairly close approximation to Poe's work."
"Really?" Spike asked. "Poe eh? I just got it from a fortune cookie one time."
"Oh I love fortune cookies" Anya burbled. "One time I met a woman in the bathroom of a chinese restaurant, her husband had cheated on her of course something about her best friend; funny how it's always the best friends. If Xander's best friend is female I'm going to very, very..
"AHEM!" Buffy interrupted. I echoed it with an 'Ahem' of my own.
"You two don't count. I'm talking about another best friend of the female persuasion." Anya waved us off. "Now where was I?"
"I'm not sure." Spike grouched. "I passed boredom when I sat down."
"Yes, anyway the wife wished that justice would prevail. That's pretty opened ended so I decided to use my form of justice. His fortune cookie read, 'Something very sudden will surprise you.' And he suddenly was surprised by an oncoming truck!"
You'd think we'd get used to her but Anya is..and was..an acquired taste. So far only Xander has managed to make do.
"Ha!" Xander forced a smile. "That's my fiancée always a barrel of outrageous, homicidal chuckles!"
"Oh look." Spike said. "There goes the point on top of that passing car."

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Her back arches a bit, but I don't let go. Buffy threads her fingers through my hair, one hand pushing away, the other pulling me closer, it's kinda nice.
My right hand is still slowly tracing lazy circles on her belly, I'm using her navel as the center, I start there and slowly, slowly move outward, the first circle is small, then I move it back toward the center, I start over, spiraling out a bit farther before moving back toward the center, repeat..lower this time..back in..
She's started to shudder. I release her nipple from my mouth, using my other hand to wipe away the sweat that is matting her hair to her forehead. I move so I'm lying directly next to her, my body, I shrugged out of my own robe long ago, nestled next to her own. I roll her over on her side with out stopping the ever growing spirals along her belly.
I move again a bit more so I'm spooning her perfectly.
"Can you feel it?" I whisper, running the tip of my tongue along the nape of her neck. "Good things. Can you feel them?"
Lower, and back..back toward the center. I slide my left arm under her head so she's resting on it like a pillow, and wrap my forearm around so these fingers can dance along with the rest.
"Good things." I whisper again, nipping her earlobe. "All for you."
"Oh." She gasps.
Lower still..slowly...round n'round.
"I love you." I say.
She grabs my left hand and pulls it to her face, she starts kissing it rapidly, finger tips, fingers, my palm. She finally sucks two fingers into her mouth for an instant before going back to kissing them. I've beginning to have a hard time concentrating.
"Oh." She gasps between kisses. "Oh..."
Finally, low enough. I touch her. I touch her again..after so long.
"AH!" She pushes at the bedding with her feet, her legs bending and going straight, sliding around and catching. I can hear the material tearing.
"Ah..ah..Oh.." She keeps going.
"Love you." I repeat. "Forever n'ever' n'ever." With every whispered ever I move my hand, just enough, just right.
"Oh..nn.." She's whimpering, she never was very loud. Quiet, controlled, Buffy. "Ssss.." She inhales between clenched teeth.
I drag teeth along her jawline, down her neck and to her shoulder.
"Oh God!"
"No." I whisper to her. Just right, tiny circles..tiny..tiny..circles."All Willow."
"Willoooww.." She breathes.
Her upper arm reaches back blindly and her hand caresses my face, almost desperately, to make sure I'm really here maybe. I'm here, I'll always be here.
I bite down hard where shoulder meets neck and pinch just a teensy eensy bit with my fingers.
Her back arches away from me, her fingers, seconds ago running through my hair, clench into a fist and hold me tight. Her other arm, I can't see it, but the sheet is being pulled out from under me. Her legs snap together trapping my hand, her mouth is open, loud heaving breaths with tiny whimpers from the back of her throat.
"Oh Willow!"
"My Willow!"
"Oh Willow!"
"Willow."
"Willow."
"Willow." She whispers one last coming back down.
She lazily rolls over, wrapping one leg around my own, nestles her hands between the two of us and rests her head on my shoulder.
"All good things." I say holding her close.
"Mmmhmmm." She says lazily. "S'all..good things.."
And her breathing is quiet, and regular and she's falling asleep.

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"I really have to go." Tara said glancing at the clock on the wall. "I don't want to understand..it's just.."
"It's cool Tara." Buffy interrupted Tara's self admonishment. "It's not like this is a weekend pass or anything. I'm sticking around for the duration."
"Duration being until you leap into the next multi-dimensional stew or will you pass on that?" Spike suddenly asked.
"Spike!" Dawn cried. "Shut up!"
Spike actually looked chastened. Spike..actually..looked..chastened!
"Er.." He said. "Is that anyway to talk to your protector?"
"It is when they're being an asshole!" Dawn countered.
"Dawn!" Buffy shouted and looked at all of us again. "What have you been letting her get away with anyway?"
"Uh..heh.." Xander said. "Look at the time. Anya honey, aren't you sleepy?"
"No." She said. "I want more champagne."
"I have a bottle at home." Xander said.
"You mean we won't have to share?" Anya asked.
"Nope." Xander replied with a nod and a nervous glance at us.
"Great" Anya leapt to her feet. "Buffy, so glad you're back from the dead. C'mon honey!"
Xander stumbled out of here being dragged by Anya, wearing a big smile on his face. Anya was saying something about him having two months to catch up on.
Tara had just hugged us both, eyes brimming with tears. "The Goddess's blessings." She said.
Buffy nodded. "You have no idea." She said.
Tara turned to leave after giving us both one last hug.
"Tara!" I called after her. "Do..you...want to get together? Practice some..big bad mojo or something?" I shrugged.
She put her hand to her mouth and choked off a small laugh. "Yes Willow." She said, now she was crying, but in a good way. "I'd like that. It'll be fun. G'night."
Giles wanted to stay but it was, surprisingly, Dawn who insisted they leave. She'd tugged and tugged on his hand. I didn't understand her at first. Her family was back. Her sister was alive and here and she was still willing to be away from her so we...Buffy and I..could be together.
"C'mon Giles." She said. "Let's get outta here. You can help me pack my stuff."
"Are..are you sure that's wise Dawn?" Giles objected. "Buffy..might be..that is..I'm sure it would..."
"Everything Buffy needs is right here." Dawn insisted. "All romantic and yucky. Bleah. Sooner I get out of here the better. Let's _go_!"
She looked at me and gave me a slow wink. I mouthed the words 'Thank You'. Dawn smiled slightly, nodded a little and dragged poor Giles, still sputtering protests out the door.
Spike, who hadn't said much the entire evening just walked past us. Turning to Buffy he said. "I cannot say how good it is to have you back Slayer." He paused. "Really."
Buffy yelled out the door after him. "Love you too big guy!"
"Sod off!"

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

I'm standing in front of the open window. A breeze is finally blowing into the room, I'm all hot and sweaty. That's okay though, the air feels wonderful. I feel whole..stuffed even. I'm looking out into the sky, trying to see some stars through the light clouds and bright lights of the party that's still going on. Don't they ever get tired of that song?
Buffy fell asleep a little while ago. She's still sleeping I think. The sheets are a mess, torn and twisted all around her. The covers are half on, half off the bed. Yet, she looks so comfortable, so at peace.
I want to see the stars, I want to thank them, those behind the stars. I want to let them know how much I'm thankful. For Buffy, for me. I want to thank one little boy with white hair and golden eyes. He didn't just give me back Buffy though, he gave me back me. Oh sure, there's that whole Free Will stuff he mentioned..mentioned a lot actually. But I still feel grateful.
I'm also considering a small curse to place on the neighbors stereo. Something to make it explode..safely of course.
"Willow?"
I turn my head. She's lying on her back, resting on her elbows, one knee raised a little. I can see her eyes in the light. Wish it were moonlight but right now the bright sparkly blue Buffy eyes are good enough in any light.
"Yeah Buffy?" I ask.
She lifts and hand and beckons me back to the bed with the crook of a finger and half smile.
I lie down next to her and she rolls on top of me. Her arms are on either side of my head, her blond hair hanging free, the tips tickling my face, neck...all over. Her breathe is hot, sweet...heavy.
"It's your turn my Willow."


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