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Summary: A Look at the Lifetime Relationship between the Slayer and the Hunter

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Supernatural > Buffy-Centered > Pairing: Dean WinchestersuperslayerFR1867381,87821244121,69917 Mar 0923 Aug 12No

Chapter 37: Real Men Wear Flannel

Buffy pried a smile on her face as Riley approached her after Psyche class. She felt the extreme agitation in her system break away as she watched the sparkle in Riley’s eyes. They had been chatting for some time outside the classroom as Willow patiently waited for them in the quad.

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” Riley replied with an endearing smile.

Buffy gave a warm smile. “See ya.”

Willow grinned as she noticed the sparks between the two. She fell into step with Buffy as they strolled across the quad.

“So you and Riley set up a date yet?”

“I think we’re going to try and plan for next weekend but you know how my schedule is.”

Willow nodded sadly. “Well, maybe demons will hold off on apocalypse until after you’ve had your first date.”

“Here’s hoping.”

“How was your weekend? I tried to wait up but it just kept getting later and later.”

Buffy let out a sigh, “Yeah, I went on a patrol and then just roamed around for a couple of hours. I ended up crashing at my mom’s.”

“Well, did anything interesting happen? How was that big breakfast your mom made for John and Dean?”

Buffy bit down on her lip at the thought of Dean.

“Uh…it was fine. I ate, I ran some errands, did some laundry…saw Dean naked….you know, the usual.”

Willow looked off and nodded until she replayed Buffy’s answer in her mind.


Willow widened her eyes in shock.

“You saw him naked?”

“No, not naked – just without a shirt on. No big deal.”

“If it’s no big deal then why is your face as red as your sweater?”

Buffy frowned, “It is not.”

She casually drew a hand to her face and felt the searing heat from her cheeks. She gulped.

“Uh, I’m just…hot- stupid weatherman said it was going to be freezing cold today.”

Willow flashed a skeptical look.

“You had the same reaction when you told me you saw Angel without a shirt on….was Dean in your bedroom too? What were you two doing?”

“Nothing,” Buffy affirmed. “Nothing at all.”

Willow recognized the irked expression on her face.

“And that bothers you,” Willow assessed. “Because Dean is clueless that you want him.”

Buffy gasped with horror.

“I do not want him,” she protested.

“You flinched,” Willow noted.


“You always flinch when you lie.”

“I do not,” Buffy replied, flinching.

Willow hardened her doubtful glare until Buffy cracked.

She sighed, “I think I’m just reverting back to when I was fifteen and I had this mad crush on Dean and I tried to conspire with Sam to get Dean to take his shirt off but of course, Sam refused saying something about a bro code. I caught a glimpse and I guess it’s still lingering in my mind a little.”

Buffy met Willow’s glare.

“Okay, okay. So it’s been on my mind a lot but it’s no big deal. He’s a hottie – I’ve always thought he was and sometimes I imagined what it would be like to…”

Buffy noticed Willow’s eyes scrutinizing her.

“But I’m so not now,” she affirmed. “I’m not…I’m not…..”

“Skipping around the house smelling his clothes with a goofy smile and fantasizing about him in surround sound what it would be like to make with the smoochies?”

“Absolutely not. No way! No, no, no, no….”

Willow pointed at her as her face flinched. She whimpered.

“Okay, okay, so maybe I had one very brief giddy school girl moment where I inhaled one of his shirts but I have not had one fantasy….I swear.”

Willow waited expectantly and widened her eyes.

“Wow, you really didn’t.”

“And I wouldn’t because I know that Dean Winchester will always show his true colors as a self-centered…ho bag chaser.”

She described the scene at the auto shop and the conversation in the car on the way home. Buffy rolled her eyes
again as the vivid memory stung her mind.

“You should have heard him go on and on and on about this chick,” she groaned. “She was full on dialing up the whole “I’m a total slut” charm and he fell for it hook, line and sinker. I mean she was probably lying to him about liking his music and his taste in cars and fun and…”

She clenched her hands into fists.

“She’s just so….stupid!”

She blinked with astonishment when she realized she had stomped her foot.

“Uh, okay, so I sounded like a four year old just then but I am not…”

“Seething with irate jealousy?”

“I’m not jealous. I’m just concerned that he’s falling for the wrong girl…he barely knows her and he actually
entertained the idea of marrying her just because she happens to be stuck in the same era as him…she’s just gonna chew him up and spit him out when she’s done and he’ll be crushed…and then he’ll be in need of comfort…”

Her voice trailed off as Willow noticed the hard lines on her face had suddenly softened into a silly grin.

“Tender, loving comfort from me and I’ll comfort him way, way into the wee hours of the….”

Her eyes widened in alarm.

“Oh - my - god! What am I saying?!”

Buffy scowled with disgust.

“I sound like a…like a…like a she Dean! I’m bad! Bad Buffy!”

She slapped herself on the wrist several times.

“Bad, bad Buffy! I can’t think of him that way…I can’t.”

Willow eyed her best friend. “Who says you can’t?”

Buffy gasped in shock. “Will! You’re supposed to be discouraging me right now. You’re supposed to tell me that I’m a moth to the flame, that I’m a minnow diving into the shark tank, that I’d really be a fool to knowingly start up anything with that certifiable heartbreaker, that he’s a mistake waiting to happen…”

“That you’re totally over the whole falling for bad boys thing when you’re really not?”

Buffy hitched her head, “Yeah, exactly.”

She opened her mouth when she rethought Willow’s comment.

“No, I am over the bad boy thing. I am….but Dean isn’t really a ‘bad boy’ – I mean, so what if he occasionally hustles college kids out of their lunch money and carries a fake badge around and I’m pretty sure he knows how to hot wire a car but that doesn’t make him a bad boy….”

Willow rolled her eyes. “Right, he’s a real pillar of the community.”

Buffy sighed, defeated.

“Okay, so he’s kind of a bad boy but that doesn’t mean I am going to fall for him or have feelings for him. This is just a silly and…disturbing attraction from seeing his body….”

Willow pointed to her face. “You’re matching your sweater again.”

Buffy whimpered as she fanned her cheeks.

“God! I really hate him for doing this to me! He probably got stabbed on purpose just so he could show off his…fabulous body…UGH!” she barked.

“Oh, you’ve got it bad.”

“I do not,” she protested.

Willow eyed her watch. “Oh, so why have you been venting about him non stop for the past…eighteen minutes and twelve seconds?”

“I have not! Have I?”

Willow nodded.

“Well, don’t I always vent about Dean?”

“Not with this much underlying passion.”

Buffy widened her eyes. “What underlying passion? There’s no passion! Dean and I are passionless! We’re bland, blander than the blandest thing you’ve ever tasted! We’re….”

Willow still wasn’t buying it. Buffy stopped and sat down on the grass, feeling her knees buckling beneath her.
Willow joined her and brushed a gentle hand on her shoulder.

“What are you going to do?”

Buffy swallowed a dry lump in her throat and shook her head. “I – I don’t know…I think Dean is leaving tomorrow sometime so I just need to keep these thoughts in check until he leaves town…I got over my crush once, I’ll get over it again.”

“I was asking about Riley.”

Buffy snapped her eyes up to Willow.

“What about Riley? I like Riley…he likes me…”

“But you like Dean too.”

Buffy scoffed, “I do not like Dean….well, not like him like him…”

Willow dished out tough love, hardening the skepticism on her face. Buffy sighed.

“This is so awful,” she lamented.

“Yeah, poor you being in love with two guys,” Willow groaned.

Buffy was taken aback by the bitter tone in her best friend’s voice.

“Sorry, residual weepy Willow coming out I suppose…”

Buffy brushed off her cynicism. “I’m not in love with either of them. I like Riley a lot and I hope at some point it will grow into something more but Dean….he’s a storm of pain just waiting to blow through my heart if I let him….”

Buffy looked at Willow inquisitively.

“You can’t honestly think that Dean is capable of having an honest, lasting relationship with a girl. You know him, he’s got a telephone book sized list of conquests and I’m not about to be added.”

Willow sat back and said with heartfelt honesty. “He already has an honest, lasting relationship with a girl.”

Buffy drew another scowl. “With Miss Sex Kitten? I hardly think so.”

Willow huffed, “No Buffy, I was talking about you. You’re the one girl who knows who he really is behind that annoyingly charming exterior and yet you still choose to maintain a relationship with him. You’ve even been adamant about him continuing to be in your life despite how often he may annoy you. And he keeps coming back here to see you. Shouldn’t that tell you something?”

Buffy let out a breath as her scowl faded.

“But how could anything really work? I mean, we drive each other crazy sometimes.”

“Relationships take work and arguing with such fervent passion can make things exciting…”

“But I don’t want exciting!”

She sulked.

“Not exciting in that kind of way. I just meant, drama free. I haven’t exactly had a great history of stable relationships with normal guys.”

Willow sighed. “Join the club.”

Buffy drew a guilty look. “Sorry, I’m being selfish. It’s just – I kind of hate the idea of getting involved with someone who is a known heartbreaker. I would wonder if I’m demented.’

“Well Dean is not an axe murderer or a vampire,” Willow noted. “He’s never tried to kill you, that’s a plus.”

“No, he’s just….Dean.”

“You accept him for who he is and he accepts you for who you are. There’s no secrets, no lies, no drama.”

Buffy drew out a breath as she absorbed Willow’s words. Willow paused outside another classroom.

“I have to go,” she said. “I’ll meet you for lunch and we can talk about this some more if you want.”

Buffy nodded as she departed in another direction.

Later, Buffy and Willow relaxed on the grass and ate lunch. Willow noticed Buffy’s far off look and drummed up an idea. She dug into her bag and retrieved a notebook.

“We can do a comparison chart,” she suggested.

Buffy shifted her eyes to Willow with great wonder.

“A what?”

“A comparison chart between Riley and Dean, you know, listing their qualities. We can make a cute little legend with hearts and stuff.”

Buffy cocked her head. “Do you really want more homework?”

“Well, how about a simple list of pros and cons? Sometimes visual assistants help me see things more clearly.”

Willow drew a line down the middle of the notebook page.

“Okay, let’s be vain and start with the looks factor. Who wins that category?”

Buffy gulped, “Uh, that’s kind of a tough one.”

“Be scrutinizing,” Willow advised.

“Um, they’re both attractive….but if we’re comparing, Riley is – wholesome, take home to meet your mom attractive.”

Willow made a note.

“And Dean is – a sneak out of the house because your mom forbid you to see him attractive.”

“Considering your history, I’ll give Dean a slight edge. Okay, next, availability?”

“Are we talking emotionally? Because Riley wins that one hands down.”

“How about geographically?”

“Riley of course, I mean he’s here and Dean is – everywhere.”

Willow made more notes.

“Okay, how about trust. Who do you trust more?”

Buffy pondered the question for a long minute. “Well, I feel like I can trust Riley because he seems so solid, you know? It’s still kind of early though.”

“And Dean? You must trust him. You’ve known him a long time.”

Buffy let out a breath. “It depends on what I trust him with. In a fight to the death against a demon – absolutely, one hundred percent I trust him with my life. I don’t know if I trust him with my heart….I just don’t know.”

“But you said he had a girlfriend before.”

Buffy shrugged, “Yeah but I really don’t know the history – he could have been with her for a week for all I know.”

“Still, it shows he’s capable.”

Willow made a note.

“Okay, to keep with the vain theme – how about fashion sense?”

Buffy was grateful for the lighter topic and giggled.

“Well,” she teased. “I guess Riley’s style is ‘Joe College’ campus casual but classic and Dean is….Salvation Army
meets Lumberjack Weekly with a little “throw it on and hope it is clean” mixed in….”

She snickered for a short minute.

“Although he does look really good in those flannel shirts – and god do they always smell nice and….manly….like a pine forest where he’s chopping wood with those nice arms and well toned torso, sweating and….”

“Sweater face,” Willow replied pointedly.

Buffy gulped and fanned her face.

“I think that says it all,” Willow said.

“What if I’m just being silly? What if I wake up tomorrow or a week from now and I realize I was just reliving my stupid crush and I’ve lost my chance to explore something with Riley?”

“Well, maybe you need to explore this some more to find out,” Willow advised. “Try going out with Dean some night when he is here, just talk, hang out and see how things play out and don’t let yourself get hung up on anything….see if this is a real attraction or….if it is just something brought on by your extreme animosity toward the girl who knocked you off his pedestal.”

Buffy opened her mouth and balked. “Will!”

“Come on Buffy, you hate when he doesn’t pay attention to you,” Willow assessed. “When Faith came to town and hit it off with Dean you went ballistic.”

Buffy frowned, “I did not!”

Willow glanced at her with skeptical eyes.

“You did so,” she replied firmly.

Buffy sighed, completely defeated. “Okay, okay. So I like being the center of attention but – in my defense Dean does come here to see me and not…Jasmine….what kind of name is that anyway? It’s probably her stripper name.”

She moped.

“Oh, what am I going to do? I like Riley, I really do and my stupid girl brain keeps seeing Dean half naked in my living room….what do you think I should do?”

Willow bit her lip, “I’m in my own dilemma now. I feel like there are two good teams at the Superbowl and I don’t know which team to root for.”

Buffy slumped, completely lost in thought.

“Just don’t be like Xander and me – we were with people we cared about when we – got lost in the moment with each other….”

“Yeah,” she said softly.

“Hi ladies.”

Buffy and Willow looked up to see Riley. Buffy eyed Willow’s list and quickly covered it up with one of her books.

“Mind if I sit with you?”

“No, please,” Buffy answered.

Riley settled down onto the grass next to Buffy.

“So it looked like you two were having a pretty intense conversation. I hope I wasn’t interrupting.”

“No, no. We were done,” Buffy replied.

Buffy cut out of her last class, too distracted by her discussion with Willow earlier to concentrate. She inhaled several deep breaths and tried to collect her thoughts as she strolled away from campus and toward downtown. She stopped by the Rise and Shine motel and spotted the Impala in the parking lot. She let out another breath as she knocked on the door. After a few minutes, the door swung open.

“Hi,” she said.

She looked Dean over and noticed his weary eyes. It was obvious he had not slept much the night before. She swallowed her disapproval.

“Hey, I thought you were going to call before you stopped by.”

Buffy peered behind him, expecting to find company in his bed.

“Is this a bad time?”

“No, it’s just….I haven’t really gotten around to cleaning the room up…if you can stand the mess, come on in.”

He widened the door as she brushed by. The bed was a tangled mess of sheets and the dresser contained empty cartons of takeout and liquor bottles. Buffy frowned when she noticed a dark pink lipstick stain on the neck of one of the bottles. She took a seat on a lone chair in the corner of the room and eyed the pile of gun parts spread over a table by the window. Dean sat down behind the table and continued to religiously clean individual pieces. Her eyes shifted to the television where Jeepers Creepers was playing.

“This is what you do during the day? Clean your guns and watch horror movies?”

Dean paused in his task and met her eyes.

“What did you think I do? Sit around watching The View filing my nails? I’m not Sam.”

She watched as he ran a brush inside the chamber of a pistol. Her eyes fixated on how the brush rhythmically sloped in and out of the chamber. Her mind suddenly flashed on an illicit image very similar to the repetitive movement of the brush in the chamber.

Dean noticed her dazed expression.

“Are you okay?”

She gulped away the fleeting fantasy that had bombarded her mind.

“Um, yeah, I’m fine,” she replied. “So, what else were you planning on doing?”

She winced at the last word in her question as another graphic image filled her mind. Dean shot her a strange look as he finished up cleaning out the chamber.

Thank god he stopped doing that.

“Why, do you have something going on you wanted to drag me to?”

She shrugged, “Not really. I just thought we could spend some time together.”

She flinched as her body responded to the last word.

“I mean….um…”

Dean paused from putting together a pistol to study her.

“Is something wrong?’

Buffy bit her lip and took a deep breath. Stupid girl brain.

“I was just hoping we could…go to the Bronze tonight and just…hang out and stuff.”

He peered through the chamber of a revolver before snapping it shut with one, quick flick of his wrist. He set the revolver aside and began assembling another gun.

“Yeah, okay. I’ll give Jaz a call.”

Buffy swallowed her dismay. “You’re going to bring a date?’

“Well, Jaz is here until tomorrow and she doesn’t know anyone in this town.”

“Is that why you’re sticking around? To be with her?”

“Is this a problem? I figured you were going to bring Mr. Ro….Riley along.”

She gulped. “Uh, no I didn’t really ask him.”

“Oh,” he said. “Well don’t let me stop you.”

She let out a breath as his cell phone hummed on the window sill. He swiped up the phone and noticed the caller ID. He smiled.

“Hey, I was just talking about you….no, no, it’s all good….”

He pushed his chair from the table and wandered into the bathroom. He shut the door behind him so he could talk privately. After several excruciatingly long minutes, Buffy heard the door creak open. She noticed his goofy smile.

“Did you need something?’ he asked.

She was struck by his absentmindedness.

“No. I just – I should get home and tackle my homework…..I’ll see you at the Bronze later?”

“Yeah. I’ll meet you there.”

She swallowed her hurt when he didn’t offer to pick her up like usual. She headed for the door and looked back to see he was rifling through his clothes.

“Geez, I’ve really got to hit the Laundromat,” he muttered.

She was quite taken aback at seeing this new side of him. She was starting to wonder if there really was more behind that cocksure smile, like a real guy searching for happiness. She had taken such a pessimistic view of his bedroom conquests over the years but had never really considered his desire to find love. She was almost fascinated by his display of commitment to seeing this new girl for all the days she was in town. Maybe Dean was turning a new leaf. Maybe, just maybe, she wasn’t going to take such a huge risk with her heart after all.
As she pushed through the door, her mind continued to delve into the mystery of the man she thought she had figured out.

Buffy craned her neck as she spilled out of a throng of people lounging around the coffee bar. She sighed in disappointment when she spotted Dean and Jasmine playing pool. Willow ambled in behind Buffy and saw her glum look.

“I take it he brought his date,” Willow replied.

The longer Buffy observed Dean with Jasmine, the more she began to debate her feelings. She leaned against the bar counter and let out a reserved sigh.

“Maybe this is just a fleeting feeling,” she said. “Dean looks pretty happy with her. And he should be happy; he’s had a tough life….it’s just…..”

“You still like him,” Willow gauged.

Buffy slumped against the bar. “Well, I care about him a lot, I do and I’m thinking these – impure and inappropriate thoughts about him lately but hey…look at him, a girl can’t be blamed….maybe I am just jealous that he’s spending so much time with this girl while he’s here.”

She glanced over at Dean whose congenial smile had gradually faded away. After a few minutes, Jasmine hugged him and disappeared into a crowd. Buffy drew concern when she noticed the widespread disappointment that flooded his face. She weaved over to the pool table as he went back to playing. She leaned against the pool table as he sent a striped ball into a corner pocket.

“Your date left kind of early,” she noted.

Dean shifted his eyes from his next shot.

“You spying on me?”

Buffy let out an irked sigh. “No, I just made an observation. Is everything okay?”

Dean leaned over the table and gauged his next shot.

“I guess,” he said sullenly.

She didn’t like the bleak tone in his voice. “You don't look okay.”

Dean let out a loud breath as he straightened.

“She had to take off earlier,” he said flatly.

“And you didn’t want to leave with her?”

“Well, she’s getting on a plane bound for – Australia and then Japan and….all over the world. She’s working on her dad’s international tour…..”

“Oh….you could go with her, I mean, maybe your dad will let you take a few days off like he does when you come out to see me….”

“Uh, she did invite me to go with her…..”

Dean paused as he grew apprehensive.

“But Australia is – really far…..”

He shook off the horrid images spinning through his mind and tried to get back to his pool game.

“You don’t think you’ll get back in touch with her?”

Dean studied Buffy for awhile before his eyes drifted back to his shot.

“I don’t see the point,” he said. “She flies all over the place and sometimes she stays in her parents’ vacation home in Fiji.”

Buffy noticed the genuine disappointment and hurt on his face.

“I’m sorry it didn’t work out,” she said.

Dean sunk his shot and let out a long sigh. “Yeah well, such is the story of my life.”

Buffy twisted around to see Willow sitting at a table.

“Wanna come sit with us and have coffee? We can drown our sorrows in a chocolaty treat.”

“No thanks,” he replied. “I just want to finish my game and then maybe call it a night.”

“Well, how about a dance?”

“I don’t dance,” he answered succinctly.

“You can sway, can’t you? Come on, it’s a slow song and it sounds old…you like old songs, don’t you?”

Dean recognized the ballad by Foreigner and eyed the couples on the dance floor.

“Thanks but I uh….really just want to hang out here for awhile.”

Buffy snatched his wrist. “Come on Dean, you look like you could use a friend right now and that’s what I am….so dance with me.”

When she saw the reluctance thicken on his face, her brows knitted into an intimidating frown.

“Do not make me hurt you,” she taunted.

After a long minute, Dean set the pool stick down and let Buffy guide him through the throng of people in the club. Buffy stopped in a small space in the crowd and took his hands. She laced her fingers through his and began to rock slowly to the music.

“If it’s worth anything,” she said. “I really am sorry it didn’t work out. You seemed happy.”

Dean was a little taken aback by the sincerity of her condolence. He was even more speechless when she dipped her head on his shoulder affectionately. He was surprised when the scent of strawberries, not vanilla or coconut, flooded his lungs.

She changed her shampoo.

He shut his eyes for a moment and tried to stamp back the feelings that wanted to crawl back into his heart.

“I gotta take a little time…A little time to think things over…”

Dean swallowed down a hard lump in his throat as he realized his efforts to block out the sensations in his body had failed miserably. He had tried so hard to get her out of his system the past couple of weeks but nothing he did seemed permanent, everything was just a temporary distraction from the obvious.

“Now this mountain I must climb…Feels like a world upon my shoulders

Buffy broke her hands away from Dean and slipped her arms around him instead. Dean looked down at her as she clutched him closer. He let out a long breath as the warmth of her body soared through him. This much platonic contact from her was going to kill him if he let it go on too long.

”And through the clouds I see love shine…It keeps me warm as life grows colder”

Dean struggled to keep his eyes open as he felt himself getting lost in the moment. He didn’t want his mind to wander off into a futile fantasy.

“In my life there's been heartache and pain….I don't know if I can face it again…”

He bit back the storm of urges vying to control him.

“Can't stop now, I've traveled so far…”

He kept fighting.

“To change this lonely life…”.

Then his arms instinctively wrapped around her waist. He cursed under his breath.

”I wanna know what love is….I want you to show me…”

Buffy hitched her head up when she heard Dean rumble inaudibly. She looked at him for a long moment and was struck by the intense gleam in his eyes as he regarded her.

“I wanna feel what love is….I know you can show me…”

Buffy was caught up in the weight of his gaze. She saw a deep flicker in his eyes that unwound her to the core.

”I've got nowhere left to hide”

Buffy swallowed a gasp hanging in her throat when a jolt of fire coursed through her veins. Her heart quaked as her body ached with longing.

”It looks like love has finally found me”

Dean watched her eyes and was startled when he noticed a flash of something he had never seen before. He told himself his mind was playing tricks on him again. He told himself he was dreaming when her mouth was only a few inches from his and drawing closer. He told himself he was just fantasizing about her again.

”And I wanna feel, I want to feel what love is….”

Buffy gulped when the intensity and length of Dean’s gaze made her knees start to buckle.

“And I know, I know you can show me”

As she looked at him in a new light, she was completely blown away. Her body sunk into his as she drew her mouth to his.

Dean silently swore to himself when she leaned closer as if to kiss him.

If I’m dreaming, this is gonna kill me.

Buffy came within a half inch of his mouth before she froze and staggered out of his hold.

“Uh….coffee, need caffeine….lots and lots of caffeine….”

She stumbled off into the crowd as Dean assessed her for a long minute. He shook his head hoping to break from his waking dream but nothing happened. He was still standing on the dance floor, surrounded by the same people, watching a girl he’d known for so long walk away from him, leaving him completely dumbfounded. Had he just imagined the fire he had seen in her eyes? He must have. He shook his head again. When she had been wrapped within his arms, he had felt a different vibe from her, a vibe he usually felt from most girls who had shown interest in him. Or had he imagined that too?

Dean drew out a breath as he tried to figure out what had really happened.

Buffy fanned her cheeks as she impatiently waited at the service counter for her coffee. She swept around when she heard someone call her name.

“Riley, hi, I – I thought you weren’t going to make it.”

Riley beamed a smile.

“I skipped out on my lab early. I hoped I would catch you.”

Buffy swiped up her coffee and took a long sip as the music in the club changed to a fast paced pop song.

“I really like the music here,” he commented.

Buffy fell into a light conversation with Riley. After a short time, she felt the tension in her body wash away.

Dean eyed the coffee counter as he wandered over to Willow. She perked up when she saw him.

“Hey Dean, did you and Buffy have a nice….dance?” she asked.

Willow feigned an innocent look even though she had been secretly watching them on the dance floor.

Dean shifted his eyes to Willow. “Uh, it was….interesting. Can you let her know I’ll talk to her tomorrow before I head out of town? I’m gonna take off.”

Willow masked her disappointment. “Oh, sure. Have a safe trip.”

He flashed her a smile before his eyes drifted back to the coffee counter. He stared at Buffy in wonder for a long minute before he headed for the door.

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