Story: A Cinnamon Girl (chapter 2)

Authors: Pat Kelly

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Chapter 2

Title: Four-Six


"It's our best lead. *Only*," Buffy said a week or so later, trying to convince Satsu as she used the punching bag in the gym. "We should recon it."

Satsu held the other side, remembering their portal-ing into the well-funded, California military base. "We did. Sort of."

"Doesn't count while you're battling," replied the blonde as she round housed the bag.

"They don't like us--learned that much okay." The dark-haired slayer understood Xander's fear. "And if a girl got caught, or worse..."

"I'd make ‘worse' happen back," Buffy admitted, punctuating that promise with a hefty uppercut.

Satsu's brown eyes expressed a silent, ‘Exactly.'

"Mr. Harris wants to be careful. Wants *you* to be." She then said with concern, "So do I. Twilight knows you, Buffy. What if he was trying to get you angry and throw you off because--?"

"Because he knew I'd look for any excuse to rush in with a ‘Schwarzenegger'-style attack plan? From pre-politics?" Buffy questioned, interrupting. "To use on people."

She lowered her fists and stood there, out of breath. "Fine. *Mr. Harris* has a point. But hey, aren't you supposed to always agree how better *my* points are?"

Coming around the bag, the younger's gaze found its way to certain points, a pair of points, which due to the workout seemed to be pointing quite well. Then Buffy looked down at herself, and feeling a surge of self-consciousness and something else, crossed arms to cover them up. But in so doing, there was nothing to hide her reddening face with.

"Other points. Different points. Verbal points," Buffy clarified, noticing the towel draped over the horse and going to grab it. For to wipe sweat. "I need a yogurt."

"I'm sorry." Satsu lowered her head.

Seconds passed, and there was a finger under her chin, guiding it up again.

"For what?" Buffy asked.

"I made you uncomfortable."

"You didn't," assured the blonde. "Don't ever apologize for the looking at and the wanting. Causes a massive happy...honest. And makes me think I might actually be attractive."

Satsu wondered how Buffy could be such a confident slayer while having such a poor self-image. Not just physically, but also of herself as a person. Satsu could see it in her eyes--beyond her inspiring resume as a superhero, Buffy didn't think she had much to offer anyone.

She saw herself as this black hole, so she kept herself apart from most people in order to not bring them down. How much of that was a self-fulfilling prophecy? Probably too much.

"Tessa only took me down when we used to spar because she knew I'd always watch, um..." It was Satsu's turn to redden, but she concentrated on her point. "I'm kind of attracted to you. If I wasn't, my face wouldn't have bruised as easy."

"Or, you could've, I dunno, fallen on it maybe less?" Buffy gave her lips a thankful peck. "I wanna believe. Least, the hormones on parade, do. But my brain just remembers sex equaling pain."

Whatever she remembered, she winced because of it. "Anyway, there've been serious trust issues between mind ‘n body since. Nothing to do with--"

"Daniel Craig my patootie," a voice said abruptly from the doorway.

It belonged to a hurt-looking, Willow Rosenberg.

Satsu was willing to follow her girlfriend's lead at this juncture. As always. Miss Rosenberg was her friend--the redhead scared most everyone else. They respected her ability and were grateful for its help, while fearing at the same time.

Buffy wasn't scared of her, though. "Satsu, can you...? Willow and I hafta talk."

"Yeah." Satsu's hand slipped into the blonde's, and she felt it squeezed before exiting the room.



More silence.

Then, "You have girl-smoochies? Since when d'you have girl-smoochies?"

And with that question, and the way Willow asked it, Buffy again felt returned to high school. "How long've you been there?" She asked in return.

Willow looked guilty. "Long enough to see you and smoochies. With a girl." The next thing she said almost sounded like, well, the slayer couldn't tell. "She loves you, Buffy."

But it didn't sound approving, that's for sure.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Buffy wondered, defensive.

The redhead flinched. "Well, uh, you said how it's been a long year, and--"

"Yeah, it has. But you weren't here to know that; you have no clue what it was like. For me or Xander. Any of us. And just because you don't..." Buffy stopped herself, trailing off.

She was going to say things if she continued. Things she wouldn't be able to take back.

Willow obviously wanted to tear down what remained of their...whatever they had between them these days. "Wha...what don't I?" At least she was hesitant about it.

"Forget it, Will." The blonde went over to the small sofa underneath the window.

Talking was hard.

Willow suddenly just sat down on the spot where she'd been standing, apparently unable or unwilling to support her own weight anymore. "I don't like here. How're we here?"

"I'm guessing life," Buffy said in a sigh directed at the window. "You got witchy and gay and powerful...I got dead, some girl came back after and got Tara dead...and then somewhere, we stopped knowing each other. So shutting up? Safer."

The redhead's objection to that took a little too long to arrive. "She died because of me. I did it."

"Which you couldn't've if you didn't pull me out, ‘cause then there'd be no me for Warren to shoot," Buffy pointed out. "Tara would still be alive, you'd be happy. And now you're keeping Kennedy away so I can't kill her too."

She finally looked the witch in the eye. "That isn't what hurts, though. Know I'm a curse; not new, or wrong. But even we are, I'd still choose my best friend. No matter what."

She watched Willow's eyes avert from hers. "Thought it'd always be vice-versa'd."

"'t not versa'd," came Willow's soft, confusing, double-negative answer. "That was for ‘Girlfriend Only' ears. You weren't supposed to hear."

Buffy asked cynically, "That makes it not true?"

"I dunno," Willow sighed. "Nothing makes sense anymore."

Hearing this, the slayer had the feeling that she'd been right about something. The same something that made her bite her tongue a minute ago. Screw safe. Where had it gotten them?

"This is the right club then," she told her friend, trying for a small smile. "But just because you don't love your girlfriend doesn't mean I can't love mine. Does she know about ‘Snake Lady'?"

Willow's head snapped up and her mouth opened, but nothing came out. For someone so powerful, she had nothing to fight back with. "No. Goddess no."

Both women quieted a while until she asked, "I'm gone a couple weeks and she's your girlfriend? You can't be gay now. I'm gay now."

Because of course, she thought it made her unique. Made her special. Same with the Craft. Before them, Willow had never thought very highly of herself. At least they had that in common.

Anyhow, clearly further discussion of Kennedy wasn't to occur, which was just fine.

"If I am, somebody better clue my dreams in," Buffy blushed. "I dunno know what I am--kinda the point. But I know I like her."

"Or maybe you just like her liking you," Willow posited, boldly.

All right, so Buffy wasn't the only one with gloves off. "It's nice to have someone liking me again," she conceded. "I've been ‘Honest, Upfront Buffy' the whole time. I didn't promise Satsu anything. We're just trying this."

Here she started to grin.

"What?" Willow's curiosity made her question.

"M' just thinking about..." Without realizing it, Buffy's thinking became words. "Her grandfather? He was a fisherman. Like, the far out, And she went to live with him after her parents kinda...disowned her, so she's big on, uh, fish trivia.

"Anyway, we were watching the Discovery Channel last night, and they must've gotten their facts mix-y, because it was the first time I saw her, you know, mad. *Mad* mad. She always keeps her cool. Why she's my best slayer. It was..."

"Cute?" Now the redhead grinned too.

Oh, was Willow there? Buffy felt immediately shy. "Maybe."

That grin on Willow's face possibly meant she was starting to be won over. "Did she tell you about her grandfather?"

"Learned plenty of interesting facts and tidbits. About all the girls. Been living with ‘em for a year. It's not like Sunnydale--that's what you haven't seen," the blonde insisted. "Will, I didn't rob that bank because power's corrupting. I robbed it so every, single slayer who joins, is gonna have what they need to fight, live, not starve...and be able to have downtime when they don't die. I had to.

"Doing that spell made it my responsibility; I get what we did. Swore I wasn't gonna be the Council. I was gonna care who they were, and help them."

This was one area where she felt absolutely confident. "I'd rob it over. You can hate me for it, but I would." With a deep breath, she pushed off the sofa. "Need a shower. My smell says so."

"I don't hate you, Buf," Willow said as the petite woman walked by. "There's all this Kennedy stuff and brand new ‘You' stuff, and my brain wants to make it fit inside. I'm really trying. ‘Cause I miss you."

"I do, too. There's this best friend I miss more though," Buffy returned the sentiment, before halting at the door. "Might not've figured out who's in here, or why I'm wanted as a girlfriend, but, pretty sure who I have smoochies with doesn't answer much. ‘Gay,' ‘Straight,' ‘The Slayer'...I just wanna be ‘Buffy.'

"But however you feel about Kennedy, you have to eventually tell her the what and the why it happened. She deserves it, and c'mon, have secrets ever worked in this family?" She smiled here. "Maybe after you explain it to her, I can be next. Kinda like to get to know who my Willow is these days."

Then she walked out.



Satsu just came back to collect the last of her things. As soon as she'd stepped inside the room she'd shared with other slayers of her generation, cardboard box in hand, she was met with cold stares. All but Leah and Rowena cleared out.

"What did I do?"

"Besides shaggin' the boss?" Leah asked, her Scottish accent sounding disbelieving that Satsu wouldn't know.

"We don't...we aren't...*shaggers*," Satsu said bashfully and somewhat defensively, walking past her friends to her now, old bed. "You guys know how I feel about her."

"Sure, *ve* do," Rowena said, blonde hair escaping from under a backwards, baseball cap.

She followed as the box was set down.

Leah too, adding, "And the young ones just turn all giggly."

"But dey," Rowena resumed, throwing her thumb behind her and toward the door, "figure this is how you climbed your vay to da head of Buffy's class. Now you think you're better than us."

"Well she's not bloody better than me." Upon making that pronouncement, Leah smirked.

"I'm not," Satsu agreed seriously, very respectful of their skills. "Buffy put all three of us in charge."

Because they could handle themselves as well as the responsibility.

"So why am I the only one pissing people off?" Then here came the sarcasm. "Both must be having sex with her too, right?" And the thing was, she wasn't even. Regrettably.

"We ain't the ones off to her bedroom ev'ry night, are we?" Leah said by way of explanation.

"I just wanna help make her happy." Satsu turned and sank herself down onto the mattress. "Not my fault they don't understand."

"'Ey, me and Ro could give a rat's arse--"

Rowena continued, "--but it's not just about vhat you and Buffy vant."

"Like yeh said, we're in charge. They need ta respect you. ‘Specially her. Else it all goes to hell, and that tit in the mask wins." The redheaded native looked many levels of fearful of that outcome. "I cannae give this up, Satsu."

"Neither can I." Satsu had the same fear, she did.

Their connection, their it felt, what it meant, was indescribable. They were a family. Closer than a family. To see it splintered...


Rowena gave her a sympathetic smile. "You vanna be with her? Make them understand. Fast."

How could two people exploring such a personal, private, so far good--if still complex--thing put so much in jeopardy? Like simply beginning a relationship wasn't complicated enough. Just because she held Buffy during sleep didn't mean the other parts had gotten easier.

"I'm still just trying to talk to her without sounding like an idiot," muttered the Japanese girl.

Not to mention trying to discover what she was *allowed* to say now that their relationship had changed.

"Or scaring her away," she also added aloud.


"You? Scary?" Xander scoffed, staring at his bay of monitors. "Where would someone get a wacky notion like that?"

There was a Buffy-shaped blonde to his right, leaning back against the panel. When he looked at her, her eyes rolled.

"You wanna talk scary? Two words: ‘Doctor,' ‘Phil.' ‘Code Red' wiggins are given. Oh, he's got ‘em plenty wooled with his charming, southern-guy accent and poor man's ‘Donahue' routine...but the Eye sees all," he said ominously.

"There's why you need to get out of the castle. With Renee. Sharing Mexican. I mean, last week it was Judge Alex and how you can tell he's secretly evil ‘cause of the good-looking. Why didn't Willow ask if *you* were gay now?" Buffy teased him, then looked thoughtful. "Wait...does Europe even have Mexican?"

"Satsu holds her own." He got them off his tangent before it went out of control. "And right there? Far as he's daring to mosey into ‘Special Gal-Pal' territory, before naughty thoughts are unstoppable."

He got a light glare for that. "Y'know, you could try not worrying about how you'll mess up, and instead, try thinkin' about why ya might not want to."

"Willow thinks I just want sex."

Xander choked on his own saliva, bringing his hand to his throat. "Good god, Buffy! If I had water? Cue spit-take."

"I mean, I *do*, to an unhealthy degree, but..." She put her head in her hand. "She loves me so much. And I care about her, and like seeing her wake up, and...I'm trying a lot to like sushi."

She walked away from the panel, then turned around. "Just wanna know that if I get to where I could back, I'll be able. My track record isn't the greatest. What if I can't?"

She stared at him then, as if waiting for a response.

"Oops. Thought that was a private monologue," he grinned.

She was sheepish. "Sorry."

He walked to her, and put a hand on her shoulder. "Don't got any answers, friend of me. Will either--even if she thinks she does. But keep keepin' your pointy-sword wielding woman in the whole truth and nothing but the, and she'll be glad. No matter where it ends up, stay friendly."

Others could benefit from his cardinal sin with Anya.

Next he pointed to his viewer of the world. "The Eye? It sees a heart in a right place. A happy place." Beat. "A breast place."

She slapped his arm.

In the spirit of practicing what he'd preached (re: truth) and all that, he said, "Think you should know, though? The sisterhood's been all a grumble ‘bout you two. Can see it turning ugly without some ASAP damage control."

"Damage control" was a deliberate choice of phrase, rather than, say, "break it off cold turkey." Because for one, he, an authority-kinda-figure similar to Buffy, had an interest in a fair, slayer lady himself. If he were to frown upon Buffy's budding relationship while still working on getting his buds to bloom, he would be "Xander Harris: Cycloptic Hypocrite."

For two, Buffy was smiling again. She was breaking herself out of the same, old cycle he'd been pushing her to break out of for years. His best friend had something good going in her life, and he didn't want her to lose that. If she did, he knew she'd just retreat deeper.

Yes, he was aware larger issues were arising. Everything they were building was on shakier-than-usual ground. But his best friend was happy.

After eight years of guy-people he didn't, uh, like much--except for Riley--Satsu was a girl-person he did like much. The kind of uncomplicated (yet delightfully un-normal), daylight-walking person Buffy needed. He saw the big picture--that was his job. Except he also saw the little pictures within the bigger. The blonde earned the right to be selfish once.

So, damage control was his first resort, cold turkey his last. For both of them.

"Oh," Buffy uttered, paling. "I knew this. Before we made out, I knew. Then I forgot, and didn't wanna remember."

Naturally, she immediately went to the extreme scenario. He knew that look. Inside her head, she was already starting to retreat, because she was stupid to enjoy anything or anyone with the weight of an army on her shoulders, and there was too much at stake.

Both hands were on her shoulders now, as he stared her in the face. "Okay, you're gonna make me do my ‘In case of emergency, break glass' thing." Saying that, he squeezed his lid shut and bit that bullet. "Me watcher, you slayer, so you listen...for wise as Yoda I is."

Her eyebrow arched. "Watcher?"

"Trust me, after this, the glass is meeting ye old ‘Superglue,'" he swore. "All you gotta do, is show ‘em you aren't gonna play favorites. That in the field, you won't treat Satsu any different. Be the leader you are, and remind ‘em why they oughta follow."

He let her absorb his advice.

"Now ondelay! Help pick up pieces--I think I want a scone."


A few nights later, Buffy took a squad of five slayers plus herself to give an assist to the London group. A sizeable nest of Tarmac (or was that Tarnak?) demons holing up in a rundown flat in the Surrey suburbs, were picking off locals regularly. The slayers were nearing the end of what'd been a grueling fight against a bulky species with skin apparently as hard as rock.

Though their brains squished easy, provided they were jabbed proper.

Satsu had hers on the ground and looked down at it a second, before she thrust her blade into its face. She removed the sword swiftly and cleanly, already paying her victim no mind. Her eyes found Buffy struggling on the ground with the remaining--it was overtop her girlfriend.

She ran over to help just as two-inch, dagger-esque weapons shot out of its knuckles, and stabbed Buffy above her right breast, straight through her clothes.

Right before she got to the blonde, one of the London slayers was there, and Satsu felt a sharp pain in her back. Something now stabbed her, but didn't reach through to her front. She collapsed forward, and by the time she managed to turn to view her attacker, Leah and Rowena were making it pay. It was the Tarnak she'd taken down...with a gouged eye.

She didn't get the right part of the brain. But meanwhile, Buffy had recovered, and somehow, off came her demon's head. All slayers not Satsu gasped in awe.

"All clear, Ma'am," Leah declared, panting.

"Nice work," said Buffy, and walked over to her girlfriend, who was still on the floor. There was a flash of worry in her eyes. "How bad?"

"I can make it back," Satsu answered as the blonde pulled her up and inspected the injury.

"Good. Got lucky." Beat. "You're outta the rotation ‘til I decide you're in."

Satsu gaped. "What?"

"You got blindsided because you didn't make sure your guy was actually, totally dead. Put yourself and the squad in danger that shouldn't've been. Can't afford mistakes like that being made--you oughta know this. So you're benched," the leader in Buffy ordered.

"I was trying to..." Satsu began, but then straightened up. "Yes, Ma'am."

"Better move out." Buffy turned her attention to the others, pressing her palm against her wound. "Probably woke the neighborhood."

They followed the order. Well, Leah and Rowena started to approach their friend.

"Go. Give Liz the rundown," Buffy told them. "We'll catch up."

The two girls gave Satsu a "Sorry" look.

"Are you crazy?" Buffy quietly exclaimed as soon as they were alone.

"I..." Satsu took a gingerly step. "Maybe a little."

"'Cause you do know. Which means you did all that on purpose," the blonde accused. "So I'd hafta..." She tapered off. "*Are you crazy*?"

Talk about taking one for the team. Satsu said nothing. Just smiled.

Buffy did, too. Gratefully. Then she wasn't, her eyes somewhat shiny. "Never, *ever* again. And you're still benched."

Then they walked out together. Very, very slowly.



Once word of Satsu's probation spread, the girl received understanding sympathy from all corners. And for the two weeks she was sidelined, she was asked if Buffy denied her "other" things, too. It was kind of torturous--for them both.

So maybe Buffy let this happen because of having to overhear how interest in their relationship had increased. Maybe it was realizing how much the possibility of Satsu's death scared the shit out of her, and how much she...loved her for doing the crazy thing she did. Whoa.

Was that what she was feeling? Besides the cold air on her currently naked self?

"That was...that *Way* better than with clothes on," Buffy pronounced, but at low, post-coital volume.

They laid on their sides in her bed, heads on pillow, just...looking at each other.

"Truth..." In a small, insecure voice, she asked, "...was I okay? An-and remember, ‘spontaneous' means no planning, no time--"

Satsu touched her lips to her girlfriend's wordlessly, and they began trading quick kisses. Kisses that steadily grew in intensity, and could've led to where they'd just been. But the blonde used what little, higher brain function she had access to at this point, to not let her body make her forget the question. The important question.

"You aren't answering. Why aren't answering?"

‘Finding took too long. I know it did. But I wasn't expecting all the complicated. What's funny? Went in sorta confident. Mean, I have, she has...we both have. So, um, familiar. Especially lately. The problem? Forgot about angles and where they're different. She coulda been *so* easily pulling a ‘Meg Ryan'...probably was...probably sucked, or...oh. Should've more, maybe...'

Even with her internal doubt, to Buffy, she seemed content. Content was good.

Satsu's hand moved Buffy's hair to reveal the ear that had hidden underneath, and her nails followed along the curve. "Thought I was," she said. "You were amazing."

"I can live with amazing," Buffy said back with a sated smile, her eyes half-closing at Satsu's light touch. "What was I scared of again?"

"How do you feel?" Satsu wondered at that, somewhat anxious.

"Not in pain," came the answer.

Through all that spontaneity, Buffy's mind didn't have time to argue with her body. Sexual healing (thank you, Marvin Gaye) had begun. Being with Satsu was the absolute, polar opposite of...what was previous. She felt clean again.

"Also, top of my head? Grateful. Lucky. Relaxed/comfy." She inhaled then exhaled--yep, entirely relaxed. "Glad for you nudging, that I let myself accept it, and that I got to make me wanna be."

Buffy's hand found Satsu's at her ear, and their fingers locked together before both hands came to rest between them over blanket.

"I want us to have other fun. ‘Leaving the weapons at home' fun," she went on. "Been forever since I had a life, and you're why I all suddenly want one again. Not that sure how I'll manage, or how other, this-century people do, but ‘wanting' is a major theme."

There lay one, dumbstruck, naked Asian. "I was really that good?"

She sat herself up then, as did her partner in sex.

Brushing the hair from her face, she was more talking to herself. "Because I can't, um, remember exactly what I did." Then her lips quirked to form what Buffy could only describe as a goofy grin, which Satsu wasn't so known for. "Really?"

Possibly the girl wasn't as forgetful as she claimed.

Buffy kissed her, then smirked. "Yeah, you really"

She was noticing now, that when Satsu sat up, the blanket didn't come with. And earlier? There'd been more doing than looking, so she admired.

"Girls are pretty."

"Hey..." Satsu's attempt at a self-conscious reaction was weak. She didn't try to pull the blanket up near fast enough.

"What, you're allowed to have eyes wander but mine can't? Double standard much?" Buffy mock-huffed, playing along. "Guys are pretty too, y'know..."

"I knew you didn't just...turn gay." Apparently Satsu didn't get when her girlfriend wasn't serious.

Or the blonde was an idiot for teasing around that topic at this stage in the relationship. Buffy's eyes didn't wander from those dark ones staring back. They asked forgiveness, and for Satsu to understand that *this* was the serious part.

"Not exclusively. But until you're tired of me, I am." Then following that promise, she pulled her section of blanket down. "Here, go wander-crazy."

Satsu lost it first, but Buffy wasn't far behind. Laughing couldn't be helped. Not that Buffy wanted it helped. On the contrary, it was welcome. Her head dropped onto Satsu's shoulder once it was impossible to keep up.

"I'm not getting tired of you," said Satsu with a promise of her own.

"Can we forget that I brought my stuff into the pillow talk? It was going great." Buffy lifted her head, looking for reassurance. "I'm taking steps though, right? Forward? Like tonight. *Big*, wonderful step."

She ran it back in her head, and regretted the "step" motif. "'re not a step. You're Satsu--hot, cool, ‘n good-smelling. Now in nudity."

For the second time, she cursed her idiocy. "Steps're walked past--stay present. Please."


Satsu silenced the worried blonde with another kiss, and hoped Buffy got the message this time. This was her being reassuring, getting across that she understood. Any uncertainty about where their relationship was heading, tonight's activity and pillow talk wiped out. She wouldn't have called it "amazing" if Buffy had just done what was necessary to satisfy a long unsatisfied sex drive.

The Japanese slayer went into it half-expecting that to be the case, despite the last, close to two months. Had that been the ultimate goal, Buffy wouldn't have really needed to *do* anything. Satsu would've given her what she wanted because she loved her and wanted to give her some kind of happiness, they would've ended their...whatever, then gone on as before--straight girl and foolish lesbian.

She was honest about the details being fuzzy. What she remembered however, was how passionate. How enthusiastic, which more than made up for Buffy's learning curve. For someone with that previously mentioned, denied, sex drive, Buffy seemed more interested in her. Exploring everywhere. Satsu remembered *that*.

The single, truly vivid memory was watching Buffy watching her. Her girlfriend was fascinated. That had easily been the most intimate experience in Satsu's life.

Plus, the look in that hazel? Immediately took it beyond purely physical. She wouldn't guess to where, but she'd known then that Buffy didn't want this to be over after tonight. She didn't have to fear scaring her away. So, all amazing.

And, "Was I okay?" kind of had her wanting to cry.

"That was a ‘stay' vote," Satsu spoke up, just so there was no confusion.

"People should vote more," Buffy smiled, relieved, then glanced behind her at the panties flung over the right, headboard post, and her skin visibly flushed. "How'd they get there?"

"I wasn't really paying attention," Satsu answered, starting to grin.

Buffy leaned over her side of the bed, presumably to see where else they'd discarded in their wake. "Oh my god. Kyoko and Mr. Gordo had sex. Look."

Satsu got on her knees and crawled over next to Buffy so she could see down to the floor. Just because they were lying sort of next to each other didn't mean...

"They couldn't have. She's a...and he's You don't know that."

"Fine. They didn't. Meaning they weren't too busy, and saw *everything*."

Satsu bit her lip, seeing Buffy's point. "Yeah...they had sex."

Buffy nodded. "Can you believe it?"

The bedroom door creaked open. "Okay, probably nothing to worry about...but there seems to be a wolf and/or panther situation I should bring to your--"

That voice wasn't either of theirs, was it? Satsu gave Buffy a wide-eyed look--she was rather exposed. Buffy, quick-thinker in a crisis that she was, cleared away the sheets and blanket on the soon-to-be reoccupied side of the bed, and Satsu quickly scrambled back so Buffy could throw them across her.

"*Oh merciful Zeus!*" Xander exclaimed, now at the foot of the bed.

"*Xander, get out of here!*" His best friend exclaimed right back.

This part was amazing, too. Amazing that it was happening.


"*Oh my god! Buffy, what are you doing!?!*"

It was at this point, with Dawn's face taking up the entire window, that Satsu had an obvious yet bright idea. Instead of trying to feverishly grab clothes to protect modesty--which was all but hopeless as soon as Andrew walked into the bedroom--why not hide under the covers until everybody left? Even if that appeared to be a pipe dream.

"My girlfriend! Go away!" Though muffled, Buffy's voice carried through the layers of fabric.

In their hiding place, they were back to the same position when the pillow talk started--their heads lying next to each other.

"Geez. Wasn't ‘stuffed animal togetherness' traumatic enough?" She whispered. "Are your grandfather and my mom here too?"

"Buffy!" Satsu was horrified, and put her hands over her face. "Stop!"

"Uh, stop what?" They heard Xander ask, and then, "Ouch." Go Renee.

Buffy brought a finger to the other girl's lips. "Ssh!" Beat. "My mom woulda loved you."

Satsu smiled. "Jiichan let me go because he saw you had a good heart...but it was sad. Between his garden when your hand touched my back, and later at dinner when you thought a shamoji was, uh, something else," An embarrassed blonde learned the paddle was for rice-cooking, "I knew I was gonna have a crush. But after he said that? I wanted to fall in love so bad."

"He was sweet," said Buffy.

And whether she was worthy or not, the girl next to her certainly made Buffy feel like she herself was.

Her fingertip touched the top of Satsu's nose, and followed down the bridge. "I remember we were still moving in, the castle wasn't uber-crowded yet, and you were outside practicing by yourself. Wearing that shirt with the midget, ninja hippo. Add a sunrise, plus fast, glint-y swords, and...I couldn't not look at you. Hello, buried crush."

Buffy told herself it would stay that, but then she liked talking to her number one fighter too much. At some point she could tell Satsu's idolization of her went away, and was replaced solely with respect. When that happened, they became friends. Close friends. Then it grew until tonight, when they became lovers.

Both girls wanted their visitors gone to become again.

"Why aren't they leaving?" Satsu asked pointlessly.


Did something just crash through the ceiling?

"Hi, ‘Why,'" Buffy greeted.

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