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Walkin’ My Baby Back Home
By Colleen

Sequel to The Date

Because some people asked nicely, a sequel to "The Date".

She walked along the suburban road, her arms wrapped around her chest. If she’d known the night would be chilly, she would have worn a thicker jacket. “Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t know you don’t like Thai. You should have said something before we went in the restaurant.”

His hands were thrust into the pockets of his slacks, as he kept step beside her. “Thought it was what you wanted. Until you barely touched your dinner.”

“I like to know what I’m eating. Pad Thai has too many little bits and pieces.” The wind was cool. “What I wanted was Italian, but you know, garlic in everything.”

“I like garlic.” They walked in silence as they turned onto Revello Drive. “Why’d you pick that movie?”

“You didn’t like it?”

“Not into romantic comedies at the moment. It was all right, I guess.”

She spun and pointed a finger at his chest. “You laughed. When her brother fooled him into swearing in Greek, you laughed.”

A smile played at the corner of his mouth. “Maybe that was funny. And I have to admit,” his expression grew serious again, “the way she loved him, changed herself for him...”

“Yeah, but he liked her anyway. Even in the restaurant when she was all plain Jane.” She stopped and looked at his face, their eyes holding for a moment, before he turned away.

“Just a movie,” he stated. They were in front of her house now. “Home safe and sound.”

“Right. Like I need an escort.” They stood in awkward silence. “Hey, you want to come in for a minute?”

“It’s late, Buffy. Not tonight.”

She nodded. “But at least come out back and meet the new addition.”

Intrigued, he followed her into the yard. The pen was new and homemade; the occupant chewing quietly on a piece of lettuce. “It’s a rabbit.”

“Dawn wanted a pet. She rescued it from a neighbor. Or, more precisely, her friend’s grandma, who happened to be in the mood for rabbit stew. I figure it will teach Dawn responsibility.”

“Rabbits don’t do much. Not an exciting choice.”

“True.” She sat on the porch steps. “But I figure if Anya ever goes vengeance again, hey, secret weapon.” She patted the place beside her and he sat down. “If you have a minute, I have a few things I wanted to say.”

He folded his hands in his lap. “If you must.”

“I don’t know what I expected tonight,” she began. “I thought we could get to know each other better, really talk. But you’re not one for talking anymore, are you?” She looked at him, but he didn’t respond. “I’ve been thinking. Not doing much but thinking. Last year, well, it wasn’t just your fault.”

His eyebrow raised, but he didn’t move.

“I was a mess, last year. Not just last year. You loved me, and I didn’t want to be loved. Couldn’t love. And it wasn’t just the coming back from the dead thing. That was an excuse. It was the dad leaving thing, and Angel leaving, and Riley leaving. Relationship suckage and me, good friends. And then you left. But you came back.” Again, no response. “I treated you like shit, and you came back. You got a soul, and you came back. Crazy, maybe. But you came back.”

He started to stand up. “I should leave.”

“Don’t. Please.” She waited until he was sitting beside her again. “I know you think it was your fault. That you hurt me. Well, hey, I hurt you too. And you really thought I loved you. And maybe you wouldn’t have been wrong, if I hadn’t been so screwed up.”

He tilted his head. He was listening.

“Well, like I said, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. Head hurting thinking. And what I think is, maybe I can love you now.”

There were tears in his eyes, but all he said was, “Because I got my soul back.”

“No,” she said, resting her hand on his, “Because I think I got mine.”

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