It was weird, this longing Buffy had. She thought about it all the time, always in the back of her mind, no matter where she was or what she was doing. Packing her carry-on for another apocalypse in another far off place -- it'd be there. Fighting with Dawn over who had to talk to the landlord about the leak in the bathroom? (Dawn, of course: if she could learn Sumerian, like, overnight, she could pick up Italian) It'd be there.
All day, all night, all the time: shopping. For housewares. With Angel.
It made no sense. It made less than any tiny, miniscule particle of sense, because when had she ever wanted to buy fancy casserole dishes? Or worried about valances and throw pillows? After her mom had died, she'd been trying to hard to hold everything together that she hadn't had time to think about shower curtains and paint colors. And she hadn't really wanted to do much home decor...whatever, because that really would make her the mom.
And the first year after Sunnydale, she'd been all over the world, partying in Italy -- when would she have stopped to go 'Oh, I should buy a mirror for this wall in my crappy apartment in Rome that I share with my sister and Creepy Andrew so that we can keep an eye on him, it would really open up the room'?
Plus, while thinking about Angel all the time made more sense than not, Angel + towels? She was boggled. By her own mind. Not fair.
But there was the thought, all day, every day: curtains, coasters, paint colors and towels.
She couldn't stop thinking about all the ways in which she and Angel could decorate a house -- their house. A house with big fluffy towels, perfect for drying off with after a long, hot shower that followed some gooey oozy demon-killing. Towels in yummy ice-cream colors, like chocolate brown and raspberry pink and maybe some grey or black ones thrown in to give contrast and depth of feeling, because it would be Angel's towel closet too, and what if they had people over and someone opened the closet door and saw the yummy ice-cream colors and was confused, because those weren't Angel-broody colors, or what if Angel felt left out of the whole towel extravaganza and then she couldn't talk in into those adorable flowered mugs she'd seen online?
This was getting to be a problem.
It was getting to be a really really big problem, as Buffy realized when Faith had to throw her out of the way of a Rashmah’ok’s magic sword during a routine patrol. She’d been so distracted by the idea of baseboards painted in a similar but contrasting trim to the living room walls that she’d let the wriggly thing a little bit too close to her. Clearly, something had to be done. And Buffy was the kind of girl who got things done.
A plane ticket to L.A. it was.
When she got to the airport, carry on bag stuffed full of boots and Italian jeans and swishy tops that she could still fight in, Buffy gave in to her urge to buy out the English section of the airport’s magazine rack of all the home décor magazines. Of course, they didn’t have much that she didn’t already have: she’d gotten the taxi driver to stop off at the English bookstore and she’d cleared them out too.
What else was a Council Credit Card for? (“For items related to your daily life, and Slaying, Buffy. I can see how that would include a fair amount of clothing and shoes – I do know you, but four hundred euros for three pillows?” Buffy could hear Giles’ voice, clear as day, inside her head. She’d have to talk to Willow again, see if she hadn’t been fooling around with telepathy without telling people.)
The plane ride was horrendous, the only saving feature the back-to-back-to-back episodes of home improvement shows on one of the channels.
When the plane finally touched down in L.A, Buffy rushed out of the airport, and into a cab. She told the driver where she wanted to go – she just, knew somehow, where Angel was. It was really weird – but not as weird as the urgings that kept yelling “Butter yellow china! Crown moldings! Marble tub!” over and over in her head.
And when she got to the alley, and saw what was going on, she was so glad that she had thought o pack at least one huge towel. Angel and his friends were covered in the blood and guts of hundreds and hundreds of demons – and somehow, they all seemed fine.
“Buffy?” Angel’s face was a study in confusion. One minute he’d been slicing the heads off the last of the demons and the next, Buffy was standing there, a brown bag in one and a pile of magazines in the other. He wasn’t as surprised, when he thought about it, as he walked towards her, as he might have been: the whole time, in the back of his head, he had been picturing…a closet? Filled with…sheets? And blankets? And towels?
He reached her, and as he stumbled, falling at her feets, as she reached into her bag and pulled out the biggest, pinkest towel he’d ever seen, Angel said, “We’ll have to talk about the paint colours. I can’t live in a house with flowered wallpaper.”
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Summary: There were things Buffy thought about when she thought about
Angel. These thoughts, though...were new.
A/N: Thanks so much to Lee, for the inspiration! And to Lia, for the beta.