"Not it," Xander frowned, talking to himself as he rummaged through the bathroom cabinet. His fingers grazed over the items as he read the labels. "Vitamins... more vitamins," he paused to read over the label, "nope, not it."
Groaning in frustration, he moved to the next item, "Va-definitely, not it," he cut himself off, and pushed the box aside in horror. After five more minutes of fruitless searching, he found what he was looking for and dashed down the stairs, nearly colliding with Buffy as he disappeared into the backyard.
Biting her lip to keep from laughing, Tara smiled, wondering if her girlfriend's face could get any cuter. Turning her nose up in disgust, Willow continued to stare as Anya picked at her teeth. The squeaking noise the blonde made as she sucked her tooth, was becoming too much for the slightly green-faced redhead, to handle. Honestly, it was only Tara's presence and Xander's childish grin, which saved her from strangling the other woman on the spot.
"Did you find it?" Willow asked hopefully as Xander flopped down on the bench across from her.
Nodding, Xander teasingly waved the item in front of Willow, whose eyes tracked back and forth, transfixed. The redhead reached for the bottle, but the young man quickly pulled back. "Give me," Willow pouted. Calculating his movement, she reached across the table, snatching the bottle before Xander could react.
As the sucking became louder, Willow frantically tried to open the bottle of antacids, but found herself struggling with the child, safety lock. Refusing to let the little piece of plastic get the best of her, she began gnawing on the bottle, trying to pop the lid. Turning her head to get a better angle on the cap, she caught the look on Tara's face, and froze, suddenly realizing how crazy she must've looked to the blonde.
"Um, do you want me to try?" Tara flashed a sweet half-smile, laughter dancing in her eyes. Sheepishly wiping the cap on her shirt, Willow's knuckles slid against Tara's palm.
"Thanks," the redhead smiled, trying to hide the embarrassment in her voice as Tara opened the bottle on the first attempt.
Watching as her lover downed two of the pills, Tara's hand boldly strayed to Willow's stomach, simply resting. Despite the heat of the afternoon sun, Willow could feel small goose bumps rising along her arms as Tara's hand moved across her body.
Taking a final gulp, the redhead drew the glass away from her mouth, allowing a small trickle of water to escape, dripping onto her shirt. Enjoying the calming gesture, Willow's eyes drifted to Tara's hand and she smiled slyly before catching the blonde's eyes. They stared at one another for what Tara wished could be forever, but only ended up lasting a few seconds.
Unknowingly interrupting their private getaway, Anya continued talking until both girls finally registered her words. "...so how about it?" She finished.
"Huh... w-what?" Tara cleared her throat as the fog disappeared from her mind. She looked back to Willow, but the redhead only shrugged, having not been paying attention either.
Anya frowned as she considered both girls, then it became clearer. "Ooh, you were having one of those moments, weren't you?" Not waiting for an answer, she went on, more animatedly, "Xander and I have moments too... usually after we-."
"So, Anya," Xander nearly shouted, breaking his girlfriend's train of thought. "That food was... great," he virtually choked out the last word. "What was in it?"
"Family secret," her eyes twinkled mischievously. All the possibilities behind Anya's smile had Willow visibly shuddering at the thought. "So, like I was saying," Anya stopped and frowned again, "what was I saying?" She asked her boyfriend.
While Xander scratched his head, raking his brain, Willow took the moment to turn back to Tara. "Are you having-." "Movies!" Xander called out, his sudden volume making the pair jump a little. Tara shared a sympathetic look with her girlfriend as the redhead sighed, looking as if she wanted to scream.
"Movies," Xander repeated, happy with himself. "Watch," he threw in another word, obviously enjoying the way his mind worked, yet the looks he received, quickly dulled his excitement.
Shaking her head at her boyfriend's lack of eloquence, Anya got straight to the point. "Come with us to the video store," though meant as a question, the words came out more forcefully than intended. "Xander has too many late charges, and we want to use your card," she finished.
Willow, though already annoyed with Anya, refused to get into an argument over the way the other woman barked orders at them. Instead, the redhead smiled, offering two simple words. "Say please..." Anya looked at her as she were mad, but nonetheless, grumbled a low, distinct ‘please'.
With a teasing smile, Willow deliberately stayed silent, wondering if she should make Anya beg. And from the sly look Tara was sending her, she knew that the blonde was probably reading her mind.
And so began the begging.
Faith continued to lean against the kitchen door, "So how have you been?" She asked, watching as Buffy emptied the dishes into the sink.
The brunette glanced through the window again, seeing the four friends engaged in a conversation. Every now and then she would catch the subtle way in which Tara and Willow looked at each other, or how they always found a way to touch. A part of her, couldn't help but to envy the couple. Envy. It was a strange feeling, but certainly not foreign. She had always longed for that kind of connection. Back in high school, there was never any doubt about her own sexuality. It was an open secret... at least to her. Now, being back in Sunnydale, only made her heart ache even more.
"Good." Buffy's answer broke through Faith's inner turmoil. "I mean, not win-the-lottery good, but it hasn't been bad." She paused, looking up, "what about you?"
"Could be worse," Faith shrugged.
"Well, you look great," Buffy smiled, "I mean, you have all your limbs, so that's always a good sign, right?" She turned toward the girl, oblivious to the hope which quickly faded from Faith's face.
"Yeah," Faith quietly agreed before changing the subject. "So um, I haven't seen your mom around. Is she out, or something?"
"Oh, I forgot you weren't...," the blonde cleared her head, "She got a job offer from some museum in New Orleans after graduation. The pay was good and they had better benefits, so she took it. I stayed so we wouldn't have to sale the house, and then Willow moved in with me. It made things easier, since she was always here anyway."
Faith only nodded, and the room lapsed into silence again. "You're kinda quiet," Buffy smiled, teasingly, "the Faith I knew...couldn't stop flappin' her gums for one second."
"I think you're confusing her, with Anya," Faith joked, earning a nod of agreement from the blonde.
"No, but seriously," Buffy frowned a little, "what's with the non talking... that's not like you. I mean, it must've been exciting... going to all those different places. Heck, the farthest I've gotten out of Sunnydale, was through the Travel Channel."
"It's overrated, believe me," Faith smirked. "You go to one place, get bored... go to another. It's all just-."
"Why didn't you write?" The offhanded question caught the brunette by surprise. Faith searched her mind for an answer, but came up blank. There wasn't any excuse she could use, at least nothing Buffy would ever believe.
Truthfully, the answer was simple. Rejection. A feeling that Faith wasn't prepared to face yet. She knew that if she'd written Buffy, it wouldn't have been just an innocent letter, but a confession. Emotional words that Faith only had the nerve to utter to an unseen face, on a parched sheet of paper. It was safer that way...but for whom?
It was only Xander knocking on the glass window that saved Faith from lying. Buffy signaled for him to wait, and focused back on Faith. "Look, whatever the reason," she paused, "I'm glad that you're back. But don't think for one second that you're getting off that easily. We're gonna talk... really soon, and I want to know everything."
"Scout's honor," Faith promised.
"You weren't a scout."
"No, but I can make one hell of a fire." Buffy rolled her eyes at the double meaning.
"C'mon, let's go." She playfully pulled Faith along.
The video rental store was empty, besides the thin, weary looking clerk behind the desk. The six made their way into the store, splitting up as they searched the different genres.
"What do you feel like watching?" Willow asked, skimming through the titles. "Mushy romance, or hack ‘em up horror?" She weighed the two boxes in her hands.
"H-Hack them up?" Tara laughed.
"Yeah, all of these movies are the same," she set the boxes back. "Some creepy looking dude chases after some idiot in the woods... whoops, she trips over a pebble, then bam...she's hacked into a million pieces."
"Very entertaining," Tara smiled, lightheartedly. "What about this?" The blonde held the box up for Willow to see.
The redhead squeaked, excitedly. "It's Smegal," she slurred the name, emphasizing the S and E. "Isn't he cute?"
Tara giggled, bunching her nose and bobbing her head as she thought, "Yeah, he's cute in um, an ugly sort of way."
"Precious... my precious," Willow whispered in a low tone as she stepped closer to Tara. Leaving no room for air, she closed the space, pressing her lips to Tara's.
Welcoming the softness, it felt like days since they'd kissed. Lips overlapping, the smacking noise combined with heavy breathing, echoed through the nearly vacant store, only stopping when the girls noticed a couple of heads peeping from around the corner of the video stand.
Blushing, the twosome endured the awe's, and distinguishable snickers from their gathered audience.
"And you wanted to rent porn," Anya snorted, slapping Xander on his chest. Crimson with embarrassment, Willow grabbed the Lord of the Rings DVD, and shuffled off toward the register, a mortified Tara at her side.
"Wait, don't leave, it was just getting good," Buffy teased as she and Faith followed the couple.
"Xander... close your mouth," Anya walked away, leaving the entranced, young man behind.
A short time later, after stopping at the store for snacks, the gang made it back to Buffy's house, crowding the living room as they got comfortable for movie night.