Buffy remembered all her important first kisses. The very first one was with a boy named Jess at her thirteenth birthday party. They were playing Truth or Dare and later she realized how badly they managed to fulfill the dare. But at the time, the tentative-sloppy meeting of lips was like finding Eden, naked and new and full of wonder. They even dated for a week after that.
Then there was Tyler and their first kiss. She knew a little better by then and she could tell his technique was damn near perfect, smooth and practiced. It was a satisfying kiss that promised something more. That something more was never delivered though Buffy was soon too far into her new responsibilities to really regret it as anything more than the loss of her innocence.
Her first kiss with Pike was different. It was like walking on the dark side, a mark of change, the beginning of her new life. It was a little euphoric and a little dangerous. It was also a little steady, so necessary when she felt so lost. She knew it was transitory even then, just coming down from an adrenaline high, but it was sweetness in the midst of the bitterness of her duty.
And then there was Angel.
Their first kiss made her forget all her other first kisses for as long as it lasted. It was velvety and deep and she could only liken it to smooth dark chocolate sliding across her taste buds. And fire. Fire just beginning to kindle.
The first kiss after he came back from hell held the whole inferno. It was banked down and caged. It hurt and it sucked her right back into everything she felt for him. It hurt so much but she simply couldn't not kiss him.
Their first kiss after she came back from the dead hurt more though. She didn't think it could but it did. She went to see him. She owed him that much. And for a moment the world took on color. She could taste life in the feel of his cold tongue. She could taste the flames she thought she left in her grave. And she thought if her soul was improperly fastened with a happiness curse, it would have flown and she would have been glad for it. His didn't fly though. Maybe that's what hurt so much. Still, it was so beautiful while it lasted. Beautiful and complicated and alive.
That was what she was trying to recapture when she and Spike first kissed. But that was just shades of black, desperate, seeking, but so very lost. She felt alive, yes, but it only reached her first layers, leaving her locked out and alone inside. It marked a new ending in her life, and a new beginning. A beginning she didn't want.
She grew up since then she thought. She kissed other... men, mere mortal or otherwise. But she didn't note those kisses. She didn't classify them. She didn't dissect them. Some days she thought she'd never have another kiss worth adding to her list. Willow would reassure her over the phone from whatever exotic location her road trip took her. But late at night Buffy was sure Willow was wrong.
She was sorry for doubting her at the moment.
At this exact, sunlit moment when a tingle began in the pit of her stomach, that tell-tale Slayer warning sense that this time rang a subtler tone, a tone she knew too well but couldn't now believe.
Across the way in Sunnydale park she saw a man. A tall man with dark, careless hair and bright, brown eyes. Noon-light accented his pale features in a way that was almost familiar but Buffy couldn't dwell on that because he crossed the space between them faster than she could begin to process and she was getting another first kiss.
One for the catalogue.
It spun her, her breath catching somewhere between her throat and her solar plexus, her toes straining as she clung to him, and her mouth... Well this was true Eden. She knew Angel in that kiss, knew the feel of his skin, the new heat of his body, the coffee tinged taste of his mouth. She knew the pumping of his blood, feeling the rapid thumps under her hand, placed right on his heart. She knew his heart.
She felt alive.