Giles doesn’t say anything as he walks into the room. It’s silent in a way he’s not used to – a silence that doesn’t mean someone has a secret they’re trying desperately to hide, that doesn’t mean that someone is dead or under a spell or changed into a flesh-eating demon. A silence that’s simply…silent.
“Is anyone here?”
“In the back!”
He sighs and follows the noises that he can now hear as well as the scent of popcorn that will no doubt earn a sharp reprimand about butter on the books, and then an argument regarding the fact that it’s oil not butter, and really of all people, he should know the difference since the doctor’s decided his cholesterol will kill him before a vampire does.
“Willow, how many times have I told you…”
“Yeah, yeah.” She waves her hands in the air to quiet him. “But I promise to wash my hands before handling anything that was printed prior to the birth of your great-great uncle Cedric, but I’m eating this popcorn and you’re going to have to do some mighty powerful magic to stop me.”
“Yes, well.” He glances at the bag in her hand and takes a deep breath. “I might be willing to pretend I hadn’t noticed if you share that with me.”
“You’re going to pretend you didn’t notice by eating it.” She considers for a moment then shrugs. “Makes perfect sense to me.”
He moves to sit next to her on the large, broken down couch they’d salvaged from a condemned building. Xander had done a bit of carpentry and a few of the slayers had shown the ability to sew and upholster and so it looked halfway decent and, unlike the first few days, didn’t feel as if every spring was targeted to the softest parts of your anatomy when you sank down onto it. “Where is Buffy?”
“Patrolling with Cherise and Dani.” She opens the bag and takes a deep breath before offering him the first bite. “Dawn’s studying with Miguel. Faith’s doing…something I don’t want to know about with Robin and Xander’s winging his way to Bangladesh.”
“How’s the new eye?”
“Sparkly and twirly, but he told me he wasn’t about to have his eye be a baton, so it’s undergoing some work. Right now he’s got the patch on.”
“Ah.” He digs into the bag, grease and salt covering his fingers. He takes a handful and closes his eyes. “And you?”
“Taking the night off.” She takes a handful of her own. “Well, if you don’t count brewing the new healing poultices and researching the rumor of the Monkey Gods of Zimbabwe.”
“And really, who does count those sorts of things.”
Willow offers him a smile as she curls toward him, relying of his comfort and giving freely of her own. “Exactly.” She holds the bag out to him and shakes it. “More?”
“Do you promise not to tell?"
“Cross my heart and hope…” She stops as he places a finger over her mouth.
“That’s more than enough of a promise.”