Single White Slayer
Chapter 3 - Things Are Looking Up

written by Gileswench




"Hey, Tara, wait up."

Buffy hurried to the witch's side.

"Hi. What's up?"

"Could I talk to you for a minute?"

"You know you can. Anytime."

"I know. I just... feel kinda strange doing this, but here." She thrust a piece of paper into Tara's hand. "I drew you, so here's the ad."

"'SWF Wiccan seeks redheaded same for romance, magic. Must like cats, have offbeat sense of humor. I won't let the wolf in the door, but I won't be threatened if you do.' That's nice, Buffy."

"And I wanted to say something. It's probably way late to tell you this, but I wanted you to know how I feel." The girl paused to gather her thoughts. "See, Will and Xander have been my best friends since I came to Sunnydale. We've been through a lot together. Then last year... well, there was all kinds of badness."

"But you got through that too."

"Barely. And a lot of it was my fault. Then Oz came back and I thought Willow would get back with him and everything would be sorta the way it had been. And then Will told me about you. I wigged."

"I-I didn't know that."

"Yeah. Not the best Buffy moment on file. Anyway, that wasn't really what I wanted to say, but I needed to say it so the rest makes sense. Does that make sense?"

"Yeah, I think so."

"I guess I just wanted you to know, it wasn't that you were a girl. At least, that wasn't it really. It was more... I didn't know. Will had gone through this whole huge change and I was too wrapped up in my own stuff to even notice."

"You were going through a lot too, Buffy."

"I guess what I really wanted to say is, I'm happy for you guys. I'm really glad Willow has you. I never said it before, and I thought maybe it was time I did."

"Thanks, Buffy. And it's okay. I think he knew how you felt."

"He who?"

"Riley. You have to let go of the guilt. He's the past. Look for the future."

"Okay, you know I like you, Tara, I really do. But sometimes you're a little strange."

The two young women linked arms as they strolled to their next class.

* * * * *

Willow and Tara walked into the Magic Box.

"Hey Giles" the redhead called.

The proprietor gave a warm smile to the girls.

"Hello, you two."

"So, any date action yet?"

"Not yet. Still, it only ran for the first time today. I'm, um, going in back now. Buffy's warming up."

The Englishman was as good as his word.

"I don't think he's checked yet. He's afraid of the computer, you know."

"He's not afraid. Just sorta... shy."

Willow wasn't going to allow Anya to insult Giles in her presence.

"Anyway, if he hasn't checked by the time we close up tonight, Xander says he's going to check for him and accept any offer that doesn't seem to come from a psychopath."

"How would he know if it did?"

"Oh, and Willow, here's the ad I wrote for you." Anya presented the paper with a proud smile.

"'Lesbian witch seeks same for sex, help keeping spells from backfiring'. My spells do not backfire, all that often. And there's more than just sex with us, I can tell you!"

Willow blushed the same shade as her fiery hair as every head in the store turned in her direction.

"Tara, we're going now."

Mustering all the dignity at her command, Willow marched her girlfriend out of the shop.

* * * * *

"So, have you had any response to your ad?"

Buffy shook her head and stopped hitting the punching bag.

"Nothing. You?"

"Nothing."

"Have you actually checked yet?"

"Have you any respect for your elders whatsoever?" Giles couldn't help an amused smile, though he tried to hide it.

"Sure. It's just I know you, Giles. You think the whole thing lacks dignity and you're worried any woman whose ad you answer could turn out to be a demon or a vamp on the make."

"Thank you so much for finding an entirely new level for this to be alarming on."

"Grouchy."

"Get on with your exercises."

They smiled at one another before Buffy went back to pummeling the innocent bag.

* * * * *

That evening, when Xander arrived to pick Anya up from work, he handed Giles the printout of an email.

"See, Big Guy, the women are beating down your door for the romancing. You've got a response."

"Really? I- what do I do now?"

"Worry not, Giles; got it covered. Here's when and where you're meeting and how you'll know each other."

"Xander, this restaurant is terribly expensive. You might have consulted with me beforehand on this."

"Rule number one when looking for romance, Giles, never take a girl to Mickey D's on the first date. Trust me, she'll be impressed with this place."

"Bloody well better be, at the prices they charge. All right, since you've committed me, I'll go."

"Oh, and while I was scanning the ads, I saw this one and answered it for you. She sounded pretty interesting."

"I thought you were only going to hold answers to my ad. When did you become my social secretary? And how do I get you to stop?"

"When you're making with the big time smoochies with some cute thing, then I'll stop. Meantime, you're stuck with me."

"Wonderful."

* * * * *

Buffy opened the door and was nearly knocked over by an excited Willow.

"Look! You've got two dates!"

"Hello to you, too. Two? How do I have two dates?"

"Well, one was an answer to your ad and one is an ad that I answered for you. He just sounded really nice. And, okay, I know you didn't say I could answer any but look what he wrote. He's taking you to a really fancy place for dinner and then a movie at the revival house and so I said yes 'cause I know you like old movies. Here's all the details. And the guy that answered yours sounds really sweet. He's taking you to the symphony. It's a Mostly Mozart concert and I know you like Mozart."

Buffy sat with a thump.

"I never thought it would work."

"But it did. You're popular, Buff!"

"As long as I don't have to be a Cordette. Oh my God! I have to get to the mall! I need new datewear. Come on, Will!"

The two girls raced out the door.

* * * * *

Xander was surprised at the timid knock on his door. When he opened it, he was even more surprised to find Tara standing alone.

"Hey, Tara. What brings you to my lonely doorstep minus your better half?"

He stood aside and the witch entered.

"I - um - I drew your name. For writing the personal ad. I thought I'd bring it by since Willow is out with Buffy. I hope that's okay. That I came by without her."

"Sure. No big. Can I get you anything?"

"Oh, no. I'm fine." She pulled a slip of paper out of her pocket and handed it to the young man. "Here it is. And I should probably go." She turned, but before she could reach the door, a firm hand on her arm stopped her.

"Tara, did I do something to upset you?"

"No, Xander. You didn't do anything."

"Did Anya say something then? I know she and Will don't get along very well."

"They really don't. But no, she didn't say or do anything to me."

"Then what's the rush?"

"I - I just didn't think..."

"That I'd want you around? Tara, you're my best friend's girl. And it looks like that's gonna be the case for at least a while."

"Yeah, but that doesn't mean you have to be friends with me. It's okay, really."

"Why wouldn't I want to be your friend? Do you really think I threaten the brothers of girls I don't like on a regular basis? Trust me, I did that as much for you as I did for Will."

"You mean that?"

"I do. And I think it's time you and I got to know each other a little better, and I know just the way to do that."

Tara watched him with no little trepidation as he went to the closet and rummaged through it. She sighed in relieved amusement when he pulled out a videotape she recognized.

"I hear through the grapevine that you're a fellow Trekker. So, why don't we bond over the crew of the Enterprise saving the whales?"

"I'd like that. Star Trek IV is my favorite, y'know."

"Somehow, I thought it would be."

He popped the video into the machine and went to get snacks while the FBI warning played.

* * * * *

"Why did you say I'd be wearing a red dress, Will? It's so not my best color. You could have said blue or yellow or something I actually look good in."

"Sorry. I panicked. It just seemed like a good idea at the time. Y'know, red sorta stands out and everything."

Buffy opened the door of the dressing room and pirouetted for her friend.

"How's this one?"

"Are you sure you don't look good in red? 'Cause you look really great in that, and I'm pretty sure it's red."

"Really? You're not just saying so you don't have to see me turn into a tomato anymore?"

"Nope. This is definitely the one. Of course, you may want to have paramedics standing by in case this guy has a heart attack."

"Great. So now I'm trying to induce cardiac arrest in some guy I've never met and probably won't even like."

"So, if you don't like him, don't go out with him again. But if you do, or if you meet another guy you do like, you've got the heart-stopping dress at the ready. It's practical on so many levels."

"This guy better be worth it."

Read the next chapter: Someone To Watch Over Me