Buffy was a single woman. She was a happy single woman, confident in her life. Until, he showed up with his suits and a homemade axe. He'd only stayed at a hotel for a week, before Dawn declared that he was moving into Andrew's old room. There was a heterosexual man, close to her own age, living in her Rome flat and walking around in a towel.
Damn, he had nice abs.
Buffy averted her eyes and went back to loading her dishwasher. She tried to think about whether or not she should add a rinse aide.
When Gunn finally went into his room to dress - and really how many people sorted through their mail while in a towel - Buffy slammed the dishwasher shut. She really needed to go to the gym and run a few miles on the treadmill.
"Doing anything today?" Gunn, a dressed Gunn, asked. Damn, he was fast like a vampire. Except that she'd seen him in full sun: Buffy's first rule of inviting men into her home. The second should've been that they had to be gay, gay, gay. That was why Andrew had been excellent roommate.
God, did he smell nice. "Nothing," Buffy responded. "We need more food and laundry soap so there was plans for an exciting trip to the grocery store."
"I heard that you have to pay for carts here."
"It's true." Rome also made people pay to use public bathrooms, but Buffy would let Gunn figure out that one himself, just like Dawn and Giles had made her. Though she'd broken off the handle before they'd even considered handing her their change. "Wanna come with?"
Gunn was the type of guy who held doors open for women, and Buffy couldn't help wonder if it wasn't Cordelia who ingrained that in him or if he'd had other women in his life. He wasn't exactly open about his past before meeting Angel or really even when he'd worked with Angel. So Buffy smiled and let Gunn hold open the door for her.
When she lived in California, Buffy'd always liked convenience. She was sold on the idea of one-stop shopping, especially with how often her clothing was ruined and they ran out of cereal on the same day. But since moving to Rome, she enjoyed the open air markets and going into the little shops that stood hidden behind them. And she'd successfully argued with Gunn that they were both strong enough to carrying their groceries home and that they had enough laundry soap to wait until tomorrow.
Plus, Buffy really liked the idea that Gunn knew enough about wines that she didn't have to hunt and guess and hope not to make a horrid face when she took a sip. She really should've taken up her neighbor Roberta's offer to take a wine tasting class together.
Gunn was asking for samples, and Buffy didn't know why she'd never thought of that. Of course, Gunn's Italian was about 50-times better than her own. "Buffy," he said and handed her a little plastic cup, "what do you think?"
Buffy tried to swirl it around in her mouth like she'd seen on Sideways. It wasn't too sweet or too dry and reminded Buffy of fresh flowers. "Oooh, I like."
"Compreremo due," Gunn said to the shopkeeper. He placed his hand on Buffy's back as the shopkeeper rang them up and chatted in rapid-pace Italian with Gunn. His hand felt warm and comforting. The whole day had been a little too much of the normal that Buffy used to long for.
Normal never stayed for long, and as they were exiting the shop, Buffy spotted a Pestra demon. She'd taken out a nest of them a week ago and hadn't been entirely sure she'd gotten them all. Unfortunately, she turned out to be right.
"Demon," she muttered as she shoved her bag of groceries into Gunn's hands and took off down the alley. The demon looked to be going away from the market, instead of toward it, which made killing it just that much easier.
The demon spotted her and growled, stopping in its tracks. "You know, I have far better things to do on a Saturday afternoon than chase after demons," Buffy said. She gripped her stake tightly as she kicked the demon's chest.
It managed to reach out and strike her face, leaving a long, slightly bleeding claw mark as it fell against the brick wall. She wasn't exactly in the mood for cleaning blood out of her new jacket. Buffy punched it in the face and then stabbed in through its heart.
As she pulled out her stake, it was covered in demon goo and she tossed it in the trash. Once upon a time, she would've cleaned up the body herself, but instead she made a call to the Roman Branch of the Watchers Council. They were really much better at hauling away the bodies than she was.
Buffy turned to see Gunn running toward her as she held her cell phone to hear and explained where she was and what she needed. She grinned as she put her cell back in her pocket. "I got the bad guy."
"I can see that." Gunn sat down the groceries and wine at her feet. She could hear his ragged breathing. "Call the Council?"
"Yep." Buffy nodded. "One demon body pick-up on its way, and I believe that we have more shopping to do." She picked up the groceries and handed Gunn the wine, before linking her arm through his. Buffy felt him tense, but then relax, as she tugged him back toward the market and their flat.
Typically, Buffy would've felt nervous about this. However, she was still living on the adrenaline high of slaying. Almost home, she let go to Gunn's arm to check out a booth full of fresh flowers. She'd started keeping flowers on her dining room table as part of her almost normal life, and the tulips she had were starting to sag. "What do you think?" she asked Gunn who she felt move in behind her.
"Personally, I like variety." Gunn picked up a bundle of flowers that looked wild and as if they'd grown together in an untamed valley. "We'll take these," he said, paid the clerk, and placed the bundle in Buffy's arm. He also leaned down and kissed her.
As the flowers brushed her neck, Buffy kissed Gunn back. His lips were soft and teasing against her.
"That okay?" Gunn whispered when their lips parted.
"Very much of the good." Buffy blushed a little bit when she realized that almost everyone on the street was staring at them, or maybe it just felt that way. And maybe, Buffy decided, she could also learn to be a happy, dating woman. Gunn definitely was a good start.