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Buffy was out patrolling, and Willow was...well, they didn't talk about Willow, and Dawn didn't like to wonder where she was.

Xander and Anya had left a message, saying they might be by later. Dawn thought Anya was probably kissing Xander's neck while they left the message. So she wasn't expecting them.

Tara was here, though.

They played Monopoly for awhile, until they both admitted that they didn't really like playing it, and they switched to Scrabble. Dawn suspected Tara was letting her win, because "apoclypi" wasn't really a word.

Tara smiled at Dawn, and Dawn felt warm down to her toes.

"Want to make milkshakes?"

Tara was always coming up with ideas like that.

There was chocolate ice cream, but no vanilla. Dawn wondered out loud if they could conjure the right kind, and Tara's eyes got this sad look to them, and she just shook her head.


"Yeah, Dawn?"

Dawn touched Tara's hand. "Do you miss her?"

Tara tried to smile. "Sometimes. When I'm not thinking about her. I miss her in between."

The milkshakes came out thick, because they ran out of milk. So they used spoons and ate them in the kitchen.

The clock turned to midnight, and Dawn wished Tara a happy new year.

"You have chocolate on your nose," Tara said in response.

Dawn reached up to wipe it away, and Tara stopped her. Their fingers were still linked as Tara leaned in and kissed the tip of Dawn's nose.

Dawn closed her eyes and breathed in sharply. When she opened them, Tara was still close, blinking rapidly and trying to say something.

Dawn kissed Tara quickly, as if she had been dared or it was spin-the-bottle.

"Happy New Year, Dawn," Tara finally said.