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“Sign there, and there,” Dawn said, turning the form over for Buffy. “OK, congratulations. You’re officially divorced.”

Buffy signed, and pushed the papers back to her sister. She didn’t feel any particular rush of relief: she’d been divorced in spirit for such a long time now. “Still can’t believe you’re an attorney at law.”

Dawn laughed. “It’s been a decade. You might want to adjust.”

“Do you want a drink?” Buffy opened the refrigerator, thinking, as she did so, about adjustment. And whether she was any good at that.

“Isn’t it a little early in the day?”

“I wasn’t suggesting day-drinking. I’m a responsible adult, and I was going to suggest a responsible glass of orange juice. Healthy for all the family. I’d make you coffee, but you know what my coffee is like.”

Dawn definitely did know what Buffy’s coffee was like. She’d been there for Buffy’s whole at-home barista phase, circa 2007, and it hadn’t been pretty. “I was kind of hoping you would offer me a beer, but I probably should get back to the office.”

Buffy smiled. Dawn looked so polished in her sensible heels and her pants suit. She went out the door in the morning and didn’t do one single supernatural thing all day. Instead, she worked on women’s rights cases and changed the world without killing vampires. That was a thing, apparently.

She always gave Buffy insight into a whole other existence. “Back to the office! It sounds so official. I am proud of you, you know.”

Dawn put down her files again, and perched on one of the kitchen stools. “But...?”

“No ‘but’ here. The opposite. I’m just thinking about how I’m bad at adjusting. I’m – worse than June, honestly. This is why she’s having trouble. Maybe we should have stayed in Cleveland...”

“She’s fourteen, Buff,” Dawn said. “Wherever you are, it’s hard to be fourteen: figuring out you’re a magical key made of green energy, thinking about boys for the first time, being chased by a chaos goddess...”

“Some of those may not be as universal as you think.” Buffy was laughing.

“Well, she’s...” Just as Dawn spoke, the hall door opened.

“It’s me, Mom,” June called. She sounded even less cheerful than she had in the morning, which shouldn’t have been possible.

“How was your day?” Buffy said, as her daughter came into the kitchen, dropping her backpack and coat on the floor.

June’s face wrinkled. It was the same ick-I-hate-it face she’d been making since she was a toddler. “I hate every single person in Chicago. In Illinois.”

“There must be one nice person...” Dawn began, trying to be reasonable. It was the same mistake all childless adults made with kids.

“Honey, pick up your coat,” Buffy cut in, because June wasn’t going to be reasonable, and she was sick of picking up her coat for her.

June groaned. “What’s the point of doing anything? Life is meaningless.”

“I’m not picking up your coat, even if you’ve embraced nihilism. Do you want a snack?” Buffy asked.

June sat beside Dawn at the breakfast bar, resting her head in her hands. “Why do I have go to stupid magic slayer school? Why can’t I go to normal school?”

“I don’t think any kid has ever wished they didn’t have to go magic school,” Dawn said, rubbing her back. “There’s a whole genre of books dedicated to it.”

“I got in trouble for doing nothing. I just said I didn’t need to learn a bunch of stupid dodges from some dumb vampire because my mom had taught them to me when I was like, four, and I should be in advanced sword fighting.” June peered out from between her fingers. “It’s all a bunch of bullshit.”

“June! Don’t swear.” Buffy sighed. The whole swearing thing was a losing battle. “Look, I know it’s a big change, but...”

“Stupid Willow wants to talk to you,” June said. “I might run away from home.”

“Principal Rosenberg,” Buffy corrected automatically. “Oh, sweetheart,” she sat on the other side of June, and smoothed back the tendrils of June’s curls. Her own mom had always come down on her hard when she got in trouble in school: her policy had been to ground first and ask questions later. Buffy’s approach, when she’d been left alone with Dawn, had been erratic at best. That had turned out OK in the end, but only because Dawn was amazing. With June, she was always trying to figure out what the kid actually needed. June’s dad said she spoiled her, but Buffy didn’t agree.

“I could go stay with Grandma,” June said. “She’s cool.”

Grandma Ndoye was pretty cool, Buffy had to admit. She lived in Brooklyn and ran several successful boutiques, and she and June did complicated baking experiments in her gleaming kitchen, and she definitely understood how to parent a mixed-race kid better than Buffy.

Buffy was pretty sure that almost everyone was better at this than she was.

Still: “That’s not an option. Your dad’s taking you to see her at winter break, remember?”

June leant her head on Buffy’s shoulder. She was still young enough to look for physical reassurance from her Mom, even when she was mad at her. “I hate this.”

Buffy sighed, putting her arm around June. “I know.” She glanced at Dawn. “Are you busy? Maybe the three of us should have a pizza night.”

Dawn looked torn. “I have at least four reports to finish. But...”

But. Buffy had moved to Chicago in part so she could be closer to Dawn, as well as the wider community of slayers. The hellmouth in Cleveland was dormant: Buffy had stayed there too long, all things considered: Dawson, her ex-husband, hadn’t been happy there; neither had Buffy, but she’d clung on stubbornly.

Now, she and Dawn had agreed that they wanted to see more of each other. There’d been a tearful late-night conversation over too much pinot grigio about how they didn’t need partners and wanted to be family to each other, and in the morning it had still seemed kind of true.

June looked up at Dawn. She had the best puppy-dog eyes in the world when she decided to deploy them. Buffy was surprised that she was bothering though. She was much closer to the Ndoye family than to Buffy’s sister and extended network of friends, and she resented Dawn for being part of the reason they’d ended up in Chicago.

“You should stay,” June said, employing the eyes, and Dawn hadn’t had the years of training necessary to withstand that look.

Dawn sighed. “OK. I’ll call Carmen at the office, and then I’ll finish a few things on your laptop.”

**

“I don’t know if it’s working out,” Buffy found herself saying, in Willow’s office, at 11.45 the next day. “Any of it.”

Willow’s office was crowded with a mixture of papers, technology and magical detritus. A pestle and mortar, various herbs and dried flowers, and a magical tome sat on top of a pile of registration forms. Willow was neat and professional in a suit jacket and skirt, her hair pinned back from her face: calm in the chaos.

“Do you want the Principal Rosenberg answer, or the your pal Willow answer?” she asked, leaning back in her swivel chair.

Buffy bit her lip. “Both, I think?”

“OK.” Willow picked up a pen. “Principal Rosenberg answer: some kids love it here immediately. They’ve known they were different all their lives, and finally they’re in a place where they’re challenged and appreciated. They meet peers who understand them. On the other hand...” Willow idly rotated the pen in the air above her hand. It looked as though she didn’t even know she was doing magic. “On the other hand, some kids don’t find it so exciting. They may have grown up knowing what it means to be a slayer, or from a supernatural family, and they’ve enjoyed being faster and smarter and more special than the other kids. It’s hard for them to adjust to being one of many.”

“So you’re saying June doesn’t like being challenged?”

“Buffy, you know I love her, but she’s always been kind of a brat.”

“What?”

“Sorry.” Willow put down the pen. “That’s my answer as a friend. She’s stubborn, she always wants to have her own way, and she’s used to getting it, too. She doesn’t like that we’re pushing her harder here, and that she doesn’t feel like she’s part of a special elite. But she’s also had a big year, Buffy. You both have. She’s unsettled. We’re going to support her.”

Buffy let out a breath. “How do you do this?”

“Do what?” Willow casually levitated a mug off the top of a file. “Sorry, my magic’s always leaking out. It’s better to use it up.”

“Talk to parents like this. Figure out problems students are having. I... All the logistics. When I tried to be in charge of that first training facility we had, I felt like my brain was melting out of my ears.”

“Mm.” Willow put on her reading glasses, opening the file. “You’ve always been more of a doer, Buffy. That’s fine.”

“I think it’s the problem.” Buffy ran her fingers over the edge of Willow’s table. Somehow, it was easier to talk to Willow than anyone else. Even now, when they’d spent so much time apart, and changed so much. “It’s always been my problem. I can handle an apocalypse, but not going to work in the morning, or being” air quotes “emotionally present for my husband. Or, not fucking up.”

Willow took off her glasses again. Looking carefully at Buffy. “Honey, this is not my therapy hour. I want to go over June’s schedule with you. But we can go for a drink this evening.”

“God, look at me. Talking about myself when I should be worrying about my kid...”

Willow waved a hand. “You’re far from the most self-centred parent, Buff. Like I said, it’s been a big year. We can meet at Wilde’s when I get off work, how about that?”

**

They ended up meeting two nights later, because that evening a reluctant June was going to the school’s debate club, followed by a sleepover with Dawn.

Willow arrived after Buffy found a table, wearing a purple dress: not at all low cut, but clinging to her breasts and hips in a way that made Buffy’s eyes want to linger. She ordered a gin and tonic for herself, and Buffy felt kind of embarrassed for wanting something sweet and ridiculous like a daiquiri, so she ordered the same thing.

She’d never been out of touch with Willow, in all the years they’d lived in separate cities, but it still felt strange to know she could see her any time she wanted. “It’s like being teenagers again,” Buffy said, sliding into the booth next to Willow.

“In no way is it like that.” Willow’s eyebrows went up. “We’re in a queer bar in Chicago, and we’re legally allowed to drink, and also... We don’t have to fight vampires and then do our French homework.”

“I hardly ever fight vampires any more,” Buffy said. “Usually I delegate. I should probably spend more time appreciating the ability to sit around drinking and not having French in the morning.”

Willow asked a question about Buffy’s training schedule: Buffy was still regularly meeting with the older trainee-slayers, as well as working on other supernatural threats. Buffy didn’t want to talk shop, though: she sipped her drink, and said, “I kind of feel like we have the apocalypses covered, you know? Maybe the demons were never really the problem. The world’s so fucked up by humans that I can’t even think about it...”

“If we hadn’t saved it all those time, it wouldn’t be here to fuck up.”

Buffy sighed, leaning her cheek on her palm. “Do you ever want to just... cull some people?”

“No.” Willow’s tone was cold.

“I don’t mean, like... Nice people. Just, sometimes I think some of the demons aren’t wrong. There are people we’d be better off without.”

“I don’t want to kill anyone. Honestly, I’m not even sure about the demons any more. No one gets to decide who should and shouldn’t live. Not even gods.” She sounded tired. “I thought you agreed with me.”

“I do.” Buffy played with her hair, smoothing down the strands that were fizzing out of her bob. “I guess I’m a little darker than I used to be. As I get older, I’m less sure of everything. Nothing feels good and right and just any more. It all feels terrible.”

“I know.” Willow shut her eyes for a moment, palm resting on the table. “I do know, Buffy. I have so much power. So much. Way more than you. There’s so much I could do... Sometimes I have to open a doorway to another world, and sit down in another dimension, so I know I’m safe from doing anything I’ll regret in this one.”

Buffy placed her hand over Willow’s on the table. “Can I come next time?”

“I don’t know. Will you complain about the weather?”

“I can’t make any promises.”

Willow laughed. “Yeah, that’s you.”

They were quiet for a moment. A group of young women at the next table were hugging and laughing, clinking drinks. Buffy watched them, feeling a tightness in her chest: she didn’t know if she was jealous of their joy, or wanted to protect them from harm.

Willow slid her hand out from under Buffy’s in order to pick up her drink. “In my office... I didn’t mean to brush you off.” She swallowed, playing with the swizzle stick. “I’m glad you’re here. I’m glad we can be closer.”

“Me too. Everything feels... unstable right now. It comes spilling out of me, even when I’m trying to think about something else.”

“Like me, with magic.” Willow gave a small smile. “That was part of it, you know, why it didn’t work with Kim. We tried so hard, but...”

“You try and try, you end up exhausted,” Buffy said, eyes travelling back to the group of girls. “I’m so glad I’m not twenty-two again, but also... I don’t know. I feel like my whole life happened before I was twenty-five, and now I don’t know what to do.”

“We packed in a lot. We’re... It’s hard to relate to anyone. We’re not even like the young slayers or witches, not really.”

They hadn’t talked about this before: or, only very rarely. Usually, the facade of normal life stretched over them, and their meetings were full of conversations about partners, about work, about housing. Those things mattered too, Buffy thought, but this was different. This was something they could only say to each other.

The other people who had been there: Giles, Xander, Dawn, had found their own niches, their own ways to be normal. But not them. “Yes,” Buffy said, and she was looking at Willow, really looking at her: the soft wrinkles on her forehead, the curve of her chin, the familiar line of her lips, the intensity of her gaze. “We’ve gone farther, somehow, haven’t we? Beyond what... Other people can feel.”

“When you’ve seen how powerful you are, how deep the supernatural runs in you, it’s.... It’s all pretending. Sitting in a bar, going to work. You know you’re forcing yourself inside a shape.”

“And it hurts,” Buffy said.

“And it hurts.”

Another group of people pushed their way inside, loud voices, clad in windswept business casual. Looking at them made Buffy feel as though she really was from another world. What’s keeping me here? June. And anything else...?

“Do you want to dance?” she asked Willow.

“This isn’t the Bronze, honey,” she said, laughing. “Do you see a band?”

“We could go somewhere. I want to... move.”

**

They walked, two people singularly unafraid of walking alone at night. It wasn’t really night, anyway: it was dark, but it was only eight thirty, and the sound of their footsteps was lost to the sound of traffic. How much of her life had Buffy spent following sidewalks and wandering into cemeteries, listening for danger?

June messaged her: lukewarm on debate club, enthusiastic about shawarma at Dawn’s. Do you want me to call you? Buffy texted. Reply: We’re watching Schitt’s Creek!

She missed Cleveland, suddenly: not anyone she’d left behind there, but the streets with which she was so familiar, the trees in people’s backyards and on sidewalks that she’d come to see as old friends. The maples she’d often pulled branches from in order to kill vampires. Their sweet smell. The chestnuts in the park: June had taken her first steps under one of those, though Buffy could never remember which it was.

Chicago had its own rhythms. She hadn’t lived in such a big city since she’d left LA as a teenager. She’d thought it would be a good place for June, a place where she wouldn’t feel confined, where she’d have space to learn about herself, but Buffy felt detached. This wasn’t home: nowhere was. This unfamiliar street didn’t need her, and she didn’t need it.

“Maybe we were just being arrogant, at the bar,” Buffy said. “We’re insignificant.”

Willow slowed a little. “I think it’s all true. We’re insignificant. We’re arrogant. We’re powerful.”

“I don’t know if that’s inspiring or depressing.”

Willow laughed. “I’m hungry. Let’s pick up potato pancakes at the Polish place and go back to my apartment.”

“I didn’t know you lived nearby.” Buffy wasn’t familiar with the layout of streets yet, though: Willow could have told her they were almost anywhere in the city and she would have believed it.

“I’m not taking you out dancing. I know it’s Friday, but it’s been a long week. So I’ve been leading you to my place instead. It’s all part of my dangerous plan.”

“It doesn’t sound very dangerous,” Buffy said.

Willow shrugged. “Who knows what’s dangerous?” She brushed her fingers against Buffy’s wrist: a sudden warmth, a gesture Buffy couldn’t interpret. “What would my life have been like if I’d never met you?”

“Wouldn’t you have turned into a sexy vampire?” Buffy said.

Willow’s laugh surprised her. “I’d forgotten that. Fuck. I was a great sexy vampire.”

“I’d hate to have to kill you, though.”

The Polish deli was warm and steamy. They nodded to Willow like they knew her, and she glanced at Buffy. “Want me to order, or do you have preferences?”

“You order,” Buffy said. She was looking at the cakes: pieces of dense, yellow cheesecake, mounds of pastry filled with cream, fat doughnuts, strawberries piled onto slices of chocolate.

Willow stood beside her as they waited for their food. “I used to come here all the time when I was breaking up with Kim. There’s something about sour cream and potato pancakes that make me feel at home, even though my Mom never made anything like this.”

Buffy drew a heart in the condensation on the window. “You know I’m bi?”

A pause. Willow snorted. “Holy non-sequitor, Batman.”

Buffy shrugged. “I know. I... I was thinking about it. I wondered if you’d... If I’d told you.”

“I think New Year’s 2010, when you were staying with Kim and me for a few days. We got pretty drunk and you cried a lot and told us you wished you’d kissed girls in college.”

“Oh god.” She didn’t remember. “That sounds like me.”

“In your defence, you were very busy in college, and you only went for, like, a year and a half. You didn’t have a lot of time to find yourself.”

“I think I was mad that I didn’t have more lesbian romance before I got locked into my heterosexual marriage. God.”

Willow linked her arm with Buffy’s. “I hear forty-two is the new twenty-two. You’re basically a college kid all over again.”

**

“Your apartment is very witchy,” Buffy said. She was lying on Willow’s couch, looking at the herbs hanging in bunches from the ceiling. There were glyphs and sigils painted on walls and doors, and Willow had lit an unsafe amount of candles. It felt more like a historical witch’s cottage than an apartment.

“Well, I’m very witchy.”

“My place isn’t very slayer-y.”

“You could put more knives on the wall.”

“I’m not sure it would create the home-y atmosphere I’m going for. I don’t want June to feel like she has to be a slayer when she grows up.”

Willow paused. “She’s already a slayer.”

“Yeah, but like... Rona doesn’t do a lot of slaying. She’s more into the academics. June could be like her. I want her to know she has choices.” Buffy folded her hands over her stomach. “It wasn’t always so witchy in here.”

“Yeah, Kim liked the minimalist look. I thought I did too, but...” Willow shrugged. “Sometimes you hit forty and you just decide to lean into being a middle-aged witch cliche.”

“That sounds nice.” Buffy closed her eyes. She felt sleepily full of potato pancakes, the taste of dill at the back of her throat. The couch seemed to sink around her.

She heard the rustle of Willow standing up. Then she was on the couch, arranging Buffy’s feet on her lap so she wouldn’t have to move her legs. “I missed you,” Willow said, and when Buffy looked at her, she seemed more like the younger self Buffy remembered so well, the open-hearted kid who was a shadow now. What would her life have been like if she’d never met Buffy? If she had never learnt to be a witch?

“I missed you, too. I really did, Wills.”

“So much happened. I’ve only...” Willow sighed. “I was afraid, when I heard you were moving back. I thought: Someone who really knows me. Someone’s going to really see me. It seemed... awful.”

“But there’s nothing...” Buffy raised herself onto her elbows. “I want to see you. There’s nothing... Nothing I could see that’s bad.”

“I’m lonely. And I don’t know what I’m doing, and I think all the choices I made were... Wrong. That I’ve lost everything that’s important and I can’t pick it up again.”

Then Buffy was hugging Willow: the softness of her hair against her cheek, the heat of Willow’s body. “Me too, honey. Me too.”

Willow’s fingers tangled in Buffy’s clothes. “I know.”

Her head fit under Buffy’s chin. Her breath tickled Buffy’s throat. She felt small in Buffy’s arms – her body soft, lacking the musculature of Buffy’s own – and fine-boned. The wings of her shoulder-blades pressed into Buffy’s palms. She smelled of herbs (rosemary, rue) and of candlesmoke. Buffy kissed the top of her head, the silky hair, the places where white and grey met red henna.

Willow drew in a shaky breath. She tilted her head up, looking at Buffy. “Sorry. Emotions equal bad. Should I – make some coffee?”

Buffy kissed her instead, as naturally as smiling, as though she’d been doing this for years. As though – as though they had always fitted together, and kissing was a language they’d always known. Willow responded to her, mouth capturing Buffy’s, tugging Buffy’s lip between her teeth. Her hand settled in Buffy’s hair, pulling the hairs of her nape between her fingers.

As suddenly as they’d begun, they stopped: Willow drew away, folding herself back into the couch. Buffy wanted to reach for her, to clutch at her, and had to hold herself back.

“God, Buff. What are we doing?”

“It’s...” Buffy’s heart pounded, her throat dry. She didn’t want to stop. She didn’t want to stop. “I liked it.”

Willow, pink-cheeked, looked at her hands. “I wasn’t the girl you wanted to kiss in college.”

“I think you kind of were. And Faith, and Tara. But I... Didn’t realise.”

“Someone should say this isn’t a good idea,” Willow said.

“I don’t want to.” Buffy thought she was pouting. She remembered, suddenly, her husband saying, “That doesn’t work on me. Be a grown-up: don’t pout.”

“This isn’t a good idea. There.” Willow sat up, unfolding her legs. “That’s out of the way.”

“Can we go back to kissing?” She felt plaintive. Needy. She wanted to bury her face in Willow’s chest, her fingers between Willow’s legs. She wanted to taste her. She wanted to know what Willow’s body felt like naked against her own. She was dizzy with it.

“What if...” Willow shut her eyes. “I’m an adult. I make good decisions 365 days a year.” She gripped Buffy’s hand. “Do you want to see what I’ve done with the bedroom?”

**

Buffy had had sex with women before. There were the two women before she’d met Dawson, one right after the destruction of Sunnydale, an older woman who’d picked her up at a bar, and had made Buffy feel so fucking alive she didn’t know how to handle it. Then Elena, for the four or five months she’d lived in New York before the move to Cleveland. She’d only slept with her a handful of times, but God... She still remembered the feeling of Elena’s breasts under her hands, the heat of her skin against Buffy’s, the taste of her, how fucking delighted Elena had been when Buffy put her mouth to her vulva. It was intoxicating. And then Shawna, twice, once before she broke up with Dawson and once after.

So it wasn’t new. It wasn’t like she’d never done this.

And yet, as Willow took off her dress, as she sat at the edge of the bed, Buffy was... overwhelmed by her. She felt like she’d never kissed anyone before, like this was a discovery. Her mouth flushed from the kissing on the couch, and the kissing against the bedroom door, the bite of teeth. She was sweating, even though she was just wearing her sensible underpants and her shirt.

“God, Will. You’re...”

“Not bad for middle-aged?”

Buffy pushed Willow back, onto the bed. Willow let her. Let her straddle her, too, Buffy’s thighs on either side of Willow’s hips, the warmth of Willow’s body bracketed by her. “You’re everything, Willow, God,” Buffy said. “Look at you.”

Her hand travelled over Willow’s breasts, down to the soft mound of her stomach. Freckles on her shoulders, on her breast-bone.

Willow raised her head, meeting Buffy in a kiss, and another kiss, until Buffy was melting down against her. They tangled together. “I want you,” Buffy murmured, “I... All of you, the way you taste right now, I want to fuck you now and I want it to be all y-you’re thinking about it tomorrow because you’re still sore from it, and the next time I see you, you remember how I taste, and I...”

“Jeez, Buff, who taught you to talk like that?”

Buffy laughed, resting her forehead against Willow’s. “I mean it.”

Willow’s face softened. She brushed Buffy’s hair back, her thumb running along Buffy’s cheekbone. “Have you done this before?”

“With a woman? Yes, but... But you never know what anyone likes until you experiment.”

“Very true.” Willow nipped Buffy’s jaw. “And you never know if she’s going to like levitating or having her arms immobilised or spanking until you...”

“Until you what?”

“Ask her.”

“I’m pretty sure I’m going to like all of those things,” Buffy said. “What about you?”

“Feel how wet I am, Buffy,” Willow said. “You could probably get your whole hand inside me.”

Buffy had thought she was in control, but suddenly she felt like she might black out. “Fuck.”

Willow pushed Buffy off her, but only so she could spread her thighs. Buffy’s breath caught in her throat. She’d never wanted anything so much. She pressed her hand against Willow’s vulva, the soft hair tickling her palm, and she was so slick that Buffy could have slid her fingers inside with no effort at all.

“Good,” Willow said, and bit Buffy’s throat again. Fuck. Fuck, she couldn’t show up tomorrow with a goddamn love-bite, but how did Willow know how much she liked this? How the press of teeth against skin, the blood pooling against tongue, made her body tense with pleasure?

Buffy slid two fingers inside Willow, and heard Willow moan, as she scratched her nails down Buffy’s back. “Harder,” Buffy said, at almost the same moment as Willow gave her the same instruction.

Willow made a sound: a gasp, a laugh. “What do you want, Buffy?”

Buffy wanted it all: she wanted scratches, bites, she wanted Willow on top of her, telling her what to do; she wanted to lie between Willow’s legs and draw orgasms from her until Willow was whimpering and begging. But for now: this. The slick heat around her fingers, the press of Willow against her skin. The jagged breath. And more, and more.

**

Dawn got up early to jog. Ugh! She asked me to come with her.

Do you want breakfast? D’s back, she’s making eggs.

Can we go to the movies later?

Mom?

Are you picking me up?

Buffy found her phone in the living room. 10.45. That was... Later than she’d said to Dawn. But not so late that it was going to be a big problem. She sat naked on the edge of Willow’s couch, holding the phone and her pants, as if she didn’t know what to do with either of them.

She scrolled through the messages from June. She felt like she’d been unmade last night. Movies sounded good. She could fall asleep in there. She bit her lip, trying to remember how to text.

Stayed with Willow. Be over in 40 mins. We can talk about going to a movie after you do your homework. Love you

Buffy shut her eyes for a moment. Right. Pants, coffee. Her mouth hurt from kissing. Her shoulders ached in the way that meant she’d been on top of someone, and her nipples stung in a good way.

“Are you having a sexuality crisis?” Willow asked as she crossed the living room to the kitchen. She was wearing a blue silk robe patterned with moons, and she’d pinned her hair up onto her head. How did she look so good when Buffy felt like she was made of goo?

“You may have ruined me for every other human on the planet,” Buffy said. Paused. “And vampires, too.”

Willow laughed. “Well, I feel very smug.”

“I have to go pick up June. God.” Buffy tugged at her hair, which was sticking up at the back. “I’m not sure I’m going to be much of a Mom today.”

“You can wing it.” Willow came over, hands tracing down Buffy’s back. “You might want to put clothes on first.”

Buffy leant her head on Willow’s satiny shoulder. “Should we talk about what this means?”

“No. No way.” A pause, and then, more carefully, “But we should do it again.”

“I can work with that.” Buffy felt a surge of happiness suffuse her, from toes to ears.

“Coffee before you go?”

“God, yes.”