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Buffy picks Willow up from the airport. Friendship ensues.

08/11/15
An Airport in California


The rush of planes leaving, coming to and fro - the buzz of conversation was almost a din in this airport, a hundred thousand things happening at once. And admist the chaos, there was Buffy Summers - tucking her hands into the pockets of her leather jacket, her eyes hidden away behind sunglasses. It was... kinda nice to be back in California. At least this part of California.

You know, a non-Hellmouthy part. 

Buffy had been on a quest of sorts - gathering up the now-activated Slayers (all Willow's fault), and trying to put some sense of organization into them. That had a moderate amount of success so far. What might have drawn Willow here, you know, besides a big yawning loneliness for the Buffster, was that Buffy had a problem recently. An Angel problem (wings not fangs). 

Big mystic mojo was going down, and as much as Buffy hated watchers, well... she needed someone who knew the score. Hence the call for Willowing. 

And hence why she was here, dressed kinda casually in bell-bottoms, a blouse with a fluffy white collar, and a pair of boots, the Slayer kinda lingering nearish one of the food places as she waits for Willow's arrival here in the airport. She kinda expected customs to take a little while, maybe.


        For her part, Willow had to check three times before she was sure she wasn't going back to a Hellmouthy part of California. And then another time. Because really, it's kind of hard to be sure, especially given how long she's been gone again. 


        She hadn't meant to leave Buffy all lonely-like, but she'd had things that she had to take care of, so off she went on a plane, to try again to sort herself out after... Well, after a magic /that/ big. 


        And she hasn't actually had to deal with this kind of Angel anymore, either. 


        For her part, Willow is wearing one of her eternal fuzzy sweaters, stepping around in that and a long skirt and boots as she fiiinally makes her way out of the terminal area after the nightmare that was customs. 


        You forget one little bottle of newt eyes and they make everything a production! 


        "Ah..." 


        Besides, the last time she came into town, it didn't exactly start off so nice. 


        "Oh!!" She stops as she sees her friend standing, "Buffy! I, uh... Should've known I'd catch you by the food!" Pause. Mortified look. "Oh, no, I mean, not because... But... because it's just... A good place to.. be!" 


        ...She hadn't exactly given a lot of notice before she left again.


        Yes, the last time Buffy really remembered Willow was - after the whole Sunnydale thing. Where had Willow gone? Buffy had no clue. There was something older, more beaten down - more weary, in Buffy's eyes when she looks up and spies Willow coming her way, but the smile on her lips was genuine. 

        Buffy steps forward, stylish heels clacking against the airport floor. "Hey, no worries, Will - I mean, airport food is great stuff, isn't it?" she says, with that easygoing sort of demeanor that made it difficult for most people to tell if she was joking. Just listen for the syrupy sweet tone, that was a big tell. 

        "I thought you'd be hungry after a flight, is all. I bought you a sandwich, too!" A beat, and Buffy steps forward, offering a hug. "...but I ate it." 

        A bit of moisture at the edges of her eyes. "...it's so good to see you again, Willow - thank you for showing up. Things are getting end of the world crazy again."


        The way Willow did it, not a lot of people had much clue. She worries only more to see that look in Buffy's eyes, though, right up until her best friend actually smiles. 


        ...She doesn't usually have much trouble with the sarcasm. 


        "Oh, totally, all the time I think, 'Wow, I really need to go to the airport for those tasty nummies!' right?" Pause. A sandwich?? 


        Willow's eyes go all big in appreciation, and don't even stop being that way when Buffy says she ate the sandwich. ...Actually, she kinda forgets the sandwich as she steps up and hugs Buffy close. 


        "I'm sorry that I left so suddenly! I... I should have been here sooner! I--" The emotion is mostly in Willow's voice, instead, though she stops. "...Right." 


        She steps back after a moment, "...End of the world stuff. Big surprise. ...OK we can talk before my jet lag kicks in. First the end of the world, then everything that's been going on with you!"


        There was a lot of strength in Buffy's arms - and the woman was a little on the firm side to hug. Perhaps because Buffy was hugging a bit tighter than normal. But it was a hug that softens soon enough, Buffy pulling away, letting her hands kinda slide down to Willow's forearms. "We've been through a lot together, Will. But sometimes, you need to take some time to figure things out on your own - did you get a chance to do that?" she asks, tilting her head a bit owlishly with the question. 

        "And if you seriously don't like airport food, there's a taco stand like fifteen minutes from here that is to /die/ for," she says. Although she pauses a bit, crinkling her nose and kinda scowling. "...although not literally." 

        Willow's rush of apologies, Buffy kinda skims over them all. "I'm just glad you decided to help," she says. "So thank you," she adds. A end of a moment. 

        "Well, actually, it's at that taco stand that I got a visit from angels... feathers, not fangs. You know much about those?" she asks, reaching down to help Willow with the luggage, choosing the largest bit and kinda easily lifting it up, before turning and starting a slow walk out of the airport.


        Willow, however, feels like the same old noodly nerd she's always been. Just like before, the strength she actually has isn't always very obvious. She smiles back at Buffy and for a moment the awkwardness all seeps right back out again. "...Thanks. I think so. I mean, enough, anyway. I can't just stay in some musty old library the rest of my life, right? Ha ha... ha." 


        Ha. 


        "Oooh, tacos!" Willow answers, and then pauses. "Yeah I guess that's something we have to make clear still, isn't it? Just regular, non-death tacos, then. That sounds great." 


        Willow smiles back again at the thanks, but... Then it's back to the way things are supposed to be. 


        "Wait. Angels? ...Not Angel but /Angels/? We're talking like, descend from the heavens, speak out spooky prophecies, angels?" Willow looks down at where her luggage used to be, "Oh thanks!" and brings along the other one behind her, and the bag she'd set down. It has little wheels on it! 


        "I uh... Well my arts usually run a little darker than angels, but I've read a little."


        "Mmhmm. Descend from the heavens sort of angels - and this one had a spooky prophecy about the end of the world. And, you're gonna love this one..." says Buffy. Buffy had a vaguely cavalier sort of attitude about this whole thing - speaking aloud in a busy airport about angels and demons. 

        "...is it involves another Hellmouth," she says, putting an air of false perkiness in her tone. 

        With that statement, though, she moves on, "Regular non-death tacos. Unless you order the ones with cream cheese - it's a slow death of the arteries," she says then, easily flipping the luggage over her shoulder to kinda hang it there. "And you bet. Um... I guess I should've asked - do you need help with your luggage?" she asks, pointing at the suitcase over her shoulder. 

        "I met this angel guy - Castiel - twice now. It wouldn't shock me to run into him at the taco stand, but he... gets around," says Buffy. Reaching the doorway of the terminal, Buffy smiles as a man holds the door open for the pair, even if her attention only briefly remains on him, before glancing back towards Willow. "So, um... what do you know? I'd imagine they aren't very slay-worthy."


        Willow doesn't exactly bat an eye at the talk, either. Instead, she tilts her head, "Really?? Well I mean, I know there's others out there, I guess it only makes sense. I mean, we just closed the one, we didn't get rid of the hell dimensions or something." Pause. 


        ...Willow almost sounds excited. 


        Oh, there's no almost. 


        "Ooh, yes, the well-known scourge of the arteries. Terrible." Beat. "...Oh, aah... Well..." 


        /Need/? Maybe not. Should have...? 


        "Thanks, Buff. I wasn't sure what I'd need so I brought a bunch of stuff. And you wouldn't believe how many times I had to go all mojo, I mean, come on, what's the big harm with bringing in some pickled bat wings? They're useful!" 


        "Castiel. Well that's the right kinda name, anyway. Little surprising, I thought they were mostly all eyeballs and six wings, but..." She waves to the guy in passing herself. 


        "Not usually gonna be slay-worthy--I mean, it wouldn't help anyway. They're just messengers--that's the whole point behind the angel thing. What's important usually is whoever's /sending/ them. And yeah, yeah, sure, almighty, but you'd be surprised how many gods clam up about the whole polytheism thing."


        The guy that was holding the door open for the two women pauses, his face kinda falling when he hears the talk of Hellmouth. Slowly, he shuts the door behind himself, hastily entering the airport. What kids talk about these days... 

        "Yep! All fiesty and raring to go. There's something about magic, and end of the world, and the Powers That Be wanting people like me and you to stop it..." a beat. "...I should have taken notes, huh?" she says. 

        A beat, though, as they talk about mojo - the Californian evening wind kinda playing with the edges of Buffy's hair. She pauses a bit, frowning, "You don't have to go any mojo if you're not comfortable doing that - but I dunno. I feel... I always had you and Giles and Xander. It's a little harder doing it on my own," she says, her tone of voice a bit serious. 

        "...and all he said was the Powers That Be."


        Willow basically doesn't even notice the dude. 


        "Oh, wow, so he's one of those? I mean you hear about the Powers and all that, but--" Pause. Willow does a sort of almost-smile at Buffy, that expression that means she's thinking something like 'oh Buffy, you are great but I remember your homework'. "...It's fine. I can take some notes when I find him anyway. Maybe there's some info on this one in some of the books I brought..." 


        Buffy almost certainly has one of the book bags. It's... got a lot of books in it.


        The wind ruffles through Willow's hair, too, red strands briefly upset by all the outside stuff. "I--I can handle it, it's fine," she says, but... 


        "Well, you don't have to anymore, okay, Buffy? I'm not going anywhere now. It'll be like old times!" 


        Pause. 


        "Um.. the good parts of the old times. Hopefully less... pain, and death, and blood."


        Buffy had a look, from long ago, whenever she had to have Giles or Willow or (in the direst of circumstances) Xander help her out with homework. It was the 'oh wow i am so helpless thank you you are the best person ever' sort of look, with a wide smile, open eyes, and a hint of teeth. She was kinda doing it now. This is why you do your homework, kids - it looks goofy on an adult. 

        "Well, that's the trick - finding him," says Buffy. "He's just kinda... shown up whenever he wants to. The first time was all angely, and the second time, well..." Buffy says, lifting the book bag for Willow to rummage if she wants. "He was kinda talking to pigeons, you know? On a park bench," says she.

        A beat. Buffy lets her eyes search Willow's features for a moment after she says what she does. Looking for... something there. "Well, if you ever get into trouble again, just let me know, ok? No... hiding of trouble until it turns into a crazy vampire in a corset or something, alright?" says Buffy. 

        "Well, it can only get better from here, right?" she tells Willow.


        When Buffy would ask /Xander/ for homework help, Willow would give a totally different kind of look. But this one always gets her; it's enough that even when she thinks Buffy ought to do her /own/ studying she still ends up helping, so she smiles back a little goofily herself. 


        "...Hmm, I see. Well, mysterious guy showing up whenever he feels like it, just sorta like 'Oooh, who needs reliable communication? Cellphones are sooo modern!' Gosh it's just so--" 


        "Um, right. Focus. ...Pigeons. ...Well, I mean, usually if it's a bad something it'd be eating the pigeons, right?" 


        She doesn't go for the books yet--she'd rather save that for having a better workspace. But... 


        What Buffy finds there is a little worry, and a little resolve. She at least means it. But... she sighs a little anyway, still slightly troubled when Buffy actually mentions her trouble. 


        "Right. No trouble-hiding. I'm gonna be a trouble-transparent zone, okay? Promise. And--" 


        She frowns. "H-hey! I mean it was only once that that happened! And it was a long time ago! And..." 


        Ahem. Right. 


        "R-right! Only better from here. And..." 


        Willow glances forward again, toward the path, "...And I really missed you, you know?"


        Buffy always had a good excuse! Saving the world! Slaying! Come on - it was just high school. 

        It wasn't as though she was going to live to see her twenties anyways, right? 

        And she didn't. But that's a story for another time. 

       The goofy smile was mirrored in Buffy's face, giving strength to the smile that was already there. "Yeah, I know. Mysterious guys showing up with some dire warning - if it makes you feel better, he wasn't as cute as the last five hundred guys that did that with me. He was more... mmmn. Grizzled. And old," says Buffy, shrugging her shoulders, her free hand still lifting bookbag - until the appropriate amount of offering time elapses, and she lowers it again. 

        "Trouble transperant, you better," says Buffy. "Or I'll be /so cross/," she says, her tone of voice light. But the sentiment was real. 

        "Yeah, sorry. There's a statue of limitations on teasing you about summoning weird yous from other dimensions." A beat. "Or was that Xander that did that? Let's blame him, he's not here," she says. 

        The last thing said - well, that really softens Buffy's features, her lipstick-painted lips turning up into a smile. "Well, Will. You know I'll always look out for you when you need it. Here, or... whatever comes after here."


<OOC> Willow Rosenberg says, "Iiiiiii'll............ give you ice cream!!"


        Buffy always had a good excuse! Saving the world! Slaying! Come on - it was just high school. 

        It wasn't as though she was going to live to see her twenties anyways, right? 

        And she didn't. But that's a story for another time. The goofy smile was mirrored in Buffy's face, giving strength to the smile that was already there. "Yeah, I know. Mysterious guys showing up with some dire warning - if it makes you feel better, he wasn't as cute as the last five hundred guys that did that with me. He was more... mmmn. Grizzled. And old," says Buffy, shrugging her shoulders, her free hand still lifting bookbag - until the appropriate amount of offering time elapses, and she lowers it again. 

        "Trouble transperant, you better," says Buffy. "Or I'll be /so cross/," she says, her tone of voice light. But the sentiment was real. 

        "Yeah, sorry. There's a statue of limitations on teasing you about summoning weird yous from other dimensions." A beat. "Or was that Xander that did that? Let's blame him, he's not here," she says. 

        The last thing said - well, that really softens Buffy's features, her lipstick-painted lips turning up into a smile. "Well, Will. You know I'll always look out for you when you need it. Here, or... whatever comes after here."


        ...A lot of stories, really. 


        "A /little/ better. Like, a tiny bit. I mean, they really come out of the woodwork when it comes to you. I never get the weird broody messengers. And like, I'm a witch, I should /totally/ be getting weird broody messengers too!" 


        ...Grizzled and old, though? 


        "I will!" Willow smiles a little more strongly at Buffy's support anyway, even if to an outside observer it might not sound quite as support-y as she takes it. "...Thanks. I'm really doing a lot better, though." 


        Willow actually outright pouts about this whole statute of limitations thing, though she brightens at the suggestion. "Perfect. Blame the one who isn't here, a sound policy as always." ...Maybe she'll get to see him again sometime, too. 


        "...And I wanna be able to help. I can't just... leave all this stuff for you to deal with alone. We've seen too much for that."


        "Maybe we can check into it when you're in town. I mean, maybe not the wierdest broody messengers - but maybe we could scare up a raven or two?" says Buffy, giving Willow another smile at the thing she says. And with the way their luck was going - well - perhaps sometime will be sooner rather than later. 

        "Do you have any idea what he is up to these days? Xander, I mean," she asks, kinda drawing the thought from the cloud of questions that danced around her mind. A beat. "I... appreciate that more than you know," says Buffy. "I don't know if I can handle some of the things we've seen, but you know - it's never been /just/ me handling it," she says, glancing back towards Willow with a smile. 

        "...and I am so glad you're on that team now, for however long you are here," she adds.


        "Ravens sound nice," Willow says, still perhaps slightly miffed over the whole thing. It doesn't really last, though; it's hard to stay all broody when she's seeing Buffy again after so long! 


        Except... For with that question. Willow hesitates. "I, um... I kinda didn't... Tell him that I was going? So I'm not really... sure. You know, in the way that I don't know at all. That kind of not sure." 


        But... "You're great, Buffy. You've already handled so much. ...Just let me know anything I can do, okay? I mean, maybe work up to the whole world-changing magic rituals if we're gonna do that again, maybe start with like. Coffee. Do you need coffee? I can do coffee."


        Buffy was walking into a conversational minefield - and she didn't really know it. Well, she could - Willow did this whole thing when she got miffed. It was really pretty cute, but Buffy wasn't going to call her on it. She wets her lips with her tongue, and nods her head. Xander. He was a Thing, alright. 

        "Met another witch, too, while I was here. Had a Book of Shadows, I guess - it seemed a Thing," she says. 

        A beat, though - Buffy just smiles her way through the offer of help and the praise, kinda lifting her chin and smiling a little brighter. "I love coffee. Let's do coffee? And bagels. I'm kinda hungry," she says.


        Willow doesn't seem to notice her miffedness, or lack thereof. She's a little busy worrying about Xander, in that moment. Definitely still a Thing, even if not exactly the same kind of Thing he used to be? 


        "Ooh--like, real witch? That sounds exciting! I wonder--" Pause. "Er, I mean... Maybe... I'll run into her, too. You know. We can have very dignified talk over... stuff." 


        Willow beams, though, having already forgotten all about the tacos of moments ago in favor of coffee and maybe bagels. "Great! I could kinda use some coffee, too, and somehow I didn't bring any of /that/ in all this stuff. Siiigh."


        "Well, um..." Buffy says, holding her bookbag holding hand at about hip-height. "More like... little things. And he's a he. Are there such a thing as he-witches?" she asks, tilting her head to one side. "Well. Or warlock. Or a wizard. Maybe I found Harry Potter?" 

        A beat. 

        "He was playing guitar in the park, maybe that would be a good place to run into him," she says. A beat. "Well, that's why they have a Starbucks on every corner, right? So we can get our fix no matter where we go," she says, her smile lifting the corner of her lips.


        "...Oh." Wait. A little witch? ...A young witch! 


        "Oh! ...Well sure, there can be. Totally witches! Well I mean, usually. I guess you could get a warlock or something too, but the whole thing gets into a whole lot of really weird semantics. But being a witch is different from just casting a couple spells." 


        Pause. "...Well I did spend all that time away at Hogwarts," Willow says, and keeps a straight face for half a second before grinning like an idiot over the joke. 


        "Hmm, though, okay. ...Gosh, guitar, too. Well I might as well keep an eye out. It's important to look after the next generation." Willow nods firmly, Very Serious. 


        "You know I hear they're thinking about putting Starbuckses in the next dimensions over, too, just to make it all convenient-like."


        "He called himself a witch, so we'll go with that," says Buffy. "Unless he's saying witch as a thing because he doesn't know he's actually a sorcerer of the realms, or a... I don't know, I'll just trust you on that whole thing," says Buffy, giving Willow a grin. 

        The Hogwarts joke gets a Look of 'are you serious' from Buffy - but when Willow can't keep that smile in, Buffy can't help but smile as well. "You're totes House Gryffindor, aren't you?" says Buffy, smiling herself. 

        "That's my Will - always keeping an eye on the poor helpless types that need her," says Buffy, kinda airily. "...speaking of that, do you tweet?" she asks. 

        "Are they? Let me guess - Starbucks is actually owned by a bunch of demons or something?"

        "It's usually a pretty good way to go. I mean, unless they're some kind of monster trying to et into your confidence or something. But that's probably not happening." Pause. "...Probably." Beat. "Right! Totally myy department!" 


        It /almost/ worked and that's the important thing about the Hogwarts joke. "Oh, no no, I like to move /away/ from the danger, maybe hide. So I don't know, I'm probably a--...A Willow running away with things again. Am I babbling? I think I'm babbling." 


        ...Willow knows that tone. "Huh? Oh, right. Of course I do! Modern witch, that's me, keepin' up with all the technology! ...Hee hee, that rhymed. But, um, yes. ...Gosh, when you put it that way it sounds kinda--" 


        Ahem. 


        "Nah, but demons do tend to have pretty good business sense. When they aren't just ripping everything to pieces, anyway."

        "You're like a babbling brook, Will," says Buffy, lifting her chin to gesture towards a car. It was... an old car. Buffy and money never were fast friends, and she spent what she had on fashion, mostly. But it ran, and it was a good car. "You wanna drive, or you want me to?" she asks, giving Willow a sly grin. 

        "But babbling brooks aren't a bad thing. I missed you a lot too," she says. "And your babbles." 

        "I want to tweet. You know. Branch out the Slayer looking thing. I think I missed like 90 of modern technology cooped up with Giles," says Buffy. And why learn things when you have Willow and Giles there, all learny already! "And fashion sense, and everything else. Remember that..." Buffy pauses a moment, flashing back to a spiffy demon with a golden voice. 

        "...nevermind."


        "A babbling brook? Well I--" Oh! Driving. "Aah, um... I'm still kinda used to driving on the wrong side of the road now. I don't think I should drive. ...Also I'm not sure I could drive this one. Are you sure it runs?" Willow looks dubiously at the old car. 


        "...Well, aww, when you put it that way I guess I could be a little happy about it." She smiles anyway, a small smile that sticks with her. 


        "You want to tweet??" ...Ohhh. "Ohhhh," she repeats from her own thoughts. "That would help a lot! But are..." ...Willow remembers being the one to be learny, and she can't very well discourage Buffy now! "We'll bring you into the modern world yet! Soon you'll have... emails instead of axes! I mean axes are nice and all but they don't let you communicate much. Unless what you're trying to communicate is violence. Or firewood." 


        "Or..." Maybe this babble was a little targetted. "You sure that's a nevermind?"

        "It runs! Sometimes," says Buffy perkily. Stepping to the back of the car, and setting suitcase down readily, Buffy fishes out her keys, and opens the trunk - and it was clean, mostly. There was rust along the edges - and a whole arsenal of stakes, a crossbow, a sword, and an axe are in the trunk as well. 

        Buffy kinda pushes the suitcase inbetween axe and.. is that a shotgun?

        "I /do/ want to tweet. You know..." she pauses a moment, sounding a little dubious about the whole thing.


        "It runs! Sometimes," says Buffy perkily. Stepping to the back of the car, and setting suitcase down readily, Buffy fishes out her keys, and opens the trunk - and it was clean, mostly. There was rust along the edges - and a whole arsenal of stakes, a crossbow, a sword, and an axe are in the trunk as well. 

        Buffy kinda pushes the suitcase inbetween axe and.. is that a shotgun?

        "I /do/ want to tweet. You know..." she pauses a moment, sounding a little dubious about the whole thing. "Axes are great! They get my point across very well. I have Mr. Pointy still, my first love," she says. "And this is Mrs. Slashy," she says, tapping an axe. Leaning towards Willow, she whispers to her, "...they think I don't know they're together yet. Even if they are both my true loves." A beat, and she clears her throat. This was a little weird. 

        "It's... a super-nevermind, Willow. We should go get our coffee now," she says, quickly closing the trunk after Willow gets everything in there.

Staying Connected.


        "Is it the kind of run where you get out and push?" Beat. "...Aww, I'm sorry car. I don't mean to be all dubious about you. I'm sure if Buffy likes you you run just fine!" 


        ...Though she is even more dubious about all the rust, though not so much about the weapons until--


        That is a /shotgun/. 


        "R-right, definitely time to shotgun," Willow answers Buffy about what she's saying, and then works on the rest of her stuff, though in practice that might be handing things to Buffy. 


        "...Ooh, so it's some kind of secret affair? I always wondered about Mr. Pointy. Was it lonely being a stake?" Pause. 


        ...Maybe a little weird. 


        "...If you say so. But if it becomes not a nevermind then I'm alll ears!" Pause. "...Ugh I remembered that ear demon thing. Let's go get coffee."

        Buffy gives Willow a /look/ when she talks bad about her car. "It's a good car," she repeats with a fervency. And when they finally climb into the thing, the inside was nice. The fading seats were covered with a blanket of happy sunny colors, even if one could see the foam nibbled away at the edges, and the dashboard had one of those dancing bobbing flowers on it. 

        Slipping her keys into the ignition, Buffy pauses a moment. "And are you against shotguns? I mean... shotguns are harder to carry around than a stake, but sometimes... well. I haven't used it very much." Except as a club. That once. 

        Clearing her throat, she turns the key. And the car rumbles twice... and nothing. 

        "It /is/ a secret affair. But I'll steal him back from that bi... ...bad woman," says Buffy, clearing her throat. Another turn of the keys, another rumble of the car. "I think we have something bad to remind us about... anything. Ear demon had major wig factor, though," says Buffy. 

        She must not get mad at the car. If she cranks it too hard, she'll break the key thing. She must not get mad at the car. If she cranks it too hard, she'll break the key thing. She must not get mad at the car. If she cranks it too hard, she'll break the key thing. 

        Buffy's eyes widen, and she gently tries it again.


        Willow nods right along. 


        ..She may not actually believe it and this may be completely obvious, but she will let Buffy have her car dreams for now. 


        And the blanket /is/ very sunny. 


        "Oh! Oh, no, I was just kinda surprised, that's all. Shotguns, a_OK with Willow!" ...Maybe not quite that okay. But she isn't inclined to try and press against Buffy's weapon choices, either. 


        The car doesn't start. Willow just sort of puts her lips together, in that expression where she's not going to say anything but it's really obvious that she's thinking about saying something. 


        "...Right! That home-wrecking axe has to learn her lesson," Willow agrees, though she... sort of pauses, and looks down at the car again, and then at Buffy. 


        "..." 


        "...You uh... You want me to give it a jump?"


        "It started just fine getting here! Just one more..." Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! says the car. "AUGH!" Buffy brings up a finger. "No magic, Willow!" she says, her frustration just a bit evident in her voice. 

        Buffy wasn't looking at her, but she says, "You're making that face, aren't you?" she says. Turn key. BrrrrrrRrrRrrrRrr! "Yes, yes she does, which means she has to go out with me double on patrols, even if she is a little harder to carry than Mr. Pointy! He fits right in a pocket." 

        "So, um... it's nice weather out here in California, isn't it?" 

        BrrRRrrarRRrrr!


        Willow immediately imagines an elaborate scenario in which this happened a bunch before Buffy showed up at the airport, too. But she was all ready to help anyway, right up until--


        "Okaaaay, if you're sure," Willow answers... Though she is a /little/ disappointed. Just a smidge. A bit. 


        "That's definitely a suitable punishment. Tootally." 


        The car keeps trying. 


        "Well it hasn't been even a little gloomy since I got here! ...Not that I've been here... long." 


        Pause. 


        "...Are you /sure/?"


        "I am /so/ sure right now, Willow," says Buffy, bringing up her foot, her face twisting a bit with effort and she... kicks the front part of the car. 

        The car starts right up, the rumble of the thing a little stronger than most cars, but more a... i need to be repaired rumble, and less a wow powerful engine rumble. 

        "See? You don't need magic!" says Buffy, all traces of frustration gone in a nanosecond. "We can gloom it up if you wanna feel like you're back in Sunnydale again. But hey - it's even safe to walk outside here. Uh. Mostly," says Buffy, glancing behind herself as she puts the car into gear. The brakes squeak a bit.


Well, when all you have is a hammer... 

"Okay!" Willow is less sure but she totally knows that voice, and sits back to relax. It's at least better than being on the airplane, anyway. Besides, she kinda likes sitting down now that she's here. The car is a little more comfortable than she expected! But... 


        But... 


        "That doesn't sound..." 


        But Buffy just sounds so happy with it! "Oh, I really shouldn't mess with the weather, that has all kinds of consequences." Pause. ...Oh, maybe not that kind of glooming it up. "...Yeah, safe unless you get too close to rogue cars." Siiigh. 


        She's smiling anyway. "It'll be nice! I kinda missed the warmer weather too."


   "No, no, I didn't mean changing the weather, I meant glooming it up, like..." 

        Buffy pauses a moment, her voice taking on an airy, drawn-out, daydreamy Britishness. "...oh - I do wish it would rain. Darkness and rain go best in a nighttime sky where the stars are all dying, one by one." 

        "There? Feel any gloomier?" says Buffy, her Slayer senses tingling as she makes a turn or two, the flower bobble bobbling quite a bit. 

        "Yeah, where did you come from? You said Britain, right?" she says. "Did you see Giles when you were there?" she asks. "And it's totally safe - just everyone else drives like a maniac in California."


       Willow shudders just a little. "OK totally gloomy. I could go without hearing from /her/ for a while." beat, "Though that was pretty good, Buffy. Have you been taking up poetry lately? Getting a little more literary?" 


        Willow's 'this car is kind of a rough ride' senses are tingling instead. 


        "Mostly Britain, but I kinda went all over there. I stayed some with the Coven again... and I got to see Giles a little. But I had to kinda... go out and be with the elements, you know?" 


        "I dunno, I haven't seen you aim at any pedestrians yet. It's kinda tame here by comparison."


"Poetry?" says Buffy. A beat. "No, but I saw a rerun of Romeo Must Die the other day - does that count?"

        "Why? Do you have any recommendations?" she asks, glancing towards Willow. She would never, ever ask a watcher for their recommendations, by the by. The car goes over a pothole like it was hit by an artillery shell. Buffy was still all smiles. "How did that go? I mean... do you need a coven? Is it a bit like a book club? Are there any covens around here you might want to... you know... witch it up with?" she asks. 

        "And if I aim at a pedestrian, they are a vampire. Probably."


"That totally doesn't count even a little! ...Just because you're out of school doesn't mean you shouldn't--" 


        Willow blinks. Buffy's asking for recommendations? Buffy's asking for recommendations! "Oh--oh, do I? Do I! Oh my gosh, okay, I had--I had an indexed list for this, I just ghave to get it out of my stuff, and..." She's briefly distracted by the pothole as, "Aah!" 


        Oh. Right. 


        "Well, this is, um... The one I stayed with before. They help me out in this whole centering thing, but they also kinda look at me like I might rip one of their heads off any minute. So, you know, kind of--kind of a wash." 


        Witch it up with? 


        "...I dunno, whenever I go looking I just find the whole college circle 'Earth Mother empowerment' stuff without any /mojo/, you know?" 


        "...Do vampires usually walk around in daytime these days?"


    Buffy kinda glances at Willow. Oh, she couldn't find her indexed list - Buffy was having a hard time keeping the disappointment in. "Sorry about that pothole," she says. "The roads around here! They should fix them," she says. There was a Starbucks nearby, come to think of it, and Buffy turns into the drivethrough, and politely waits in line. 

        "Is that something you need a group of... um... people to help with the centering?" she asks. "I mean, it was like when my mom brought me to Sunnydale High - I had a bad rep from burning down the gym, you know? So I moved to Sunnydale, and it was all better. Uh. Mostly," says Buffy. 

        "Maybe guitar kid... Aidan... maybe Aidan will know where the real mojo lurks here in town," says Buffy, kinda leaning forward in her seat so she could peer at the menu. "Or maybe Castiel - he has angel stuff, maybe he can... uh... angel things around," she says. A beat. 

        "Not usually, but maybe they have better sunblock here?"


Now that Buffy's said it, though, Willow's not letting go. She is /latched/. Super-latched. "Right! The roads! The roads are..." Oof. She's a little queasy from that one. 


        But ooh, drivethrough. 


        "Nah. They're just... They're really wise, you know? They know so much." ...And they were the ones Giles took her to see after the whole 'almost destroying the world' thing to begin with. "I'd say better! Totally better. I mean, sure, we kinda blew up the school eventually, but..." 


        "Angel around does seem like a verb that makes sense. I'll keep a lookout anyway." 


        Willow is about to talk about sunblock too, but the drive-through has space for them all of a sudden, and she lets Buffy order. Buffy totally has it handled. This coffee thing. It's fine. 


        ...But Willow may have fallen asleep sitting up by the time the order's through.


"Yeah - but... Sunnydale blowing up wasn't totally our fault, I mean..." 

        Buffy pauses a moment, glancing from the menu to Will, to back again. A little sigh leaves her lips - a sigh that fades into a smile. 

        When Willow wakes up, they would be at a hotel, with bagel and coffee. And Buffy insisting on carrying luggage up to her room.