A/N: And here's the one the title actually came from.
She dragged him out of the house in the middle of the pre-zombie research marathon that had sprung up out of nowhere after Faith and Josie had hit the road again.
He’d been waiting for it, actually, since about the second hour. Neither she nor Dean had the patience necessary to sit down and drag though thousands of pages of musty old books. Sam and Bobby both loved it, he could see that, and he was sure the other two were good at it, too, but they had too much energy to like
Bobby, apparently used to Dean’s hyperactive ways, kept sending the kid on errands. Find that book. Get me a beer. Check this. Cross reference that. Nice, bite sized orders that gave Dean an outlet. It might have been funny if they hadn’t been researching honest-ta-God, freakin’ zombies
But they were.
Buffy, who would have probably bitten Bobby’s head off and spat out a clean skull if he tried to order her around, simply sat still until she couldn’t anymore and then grabbed Victor by the sleeve and told him, “I need shampoo. Move.”
And now here they were, in a drug store, buying shampoo and several other things that Victor had not been forced to buy since his last wife had run for the hills. He toddled after Buffy docilely, mind sort of blank as he watched her throw boxes and bottles into the little basket she’d picked up at the entrance. Shopping for toiletries. It seemed… mundane.
After the week he’d just had, it was balm to his soul.
“Pick a color.”
“Huh?” He jerked, almost jumping as he braked hard to avoid running into the short blonde, who had stopped to look at him quizzically.
“A color,” she repeated, waving a handful of foil wrapped toothbrushes at him. She waited until something like realization dawned and then flung them into the basket where they scattered and nicely boxed in the deodorant.
He shrugged, not really caring what color. Anything was better than the cheap, ruin-your-gums thing he’d picked up at the very first motel after Monument. “Whatever,” he told her, noncommittally.
“Oh, no,” she denied, wagging a finger way up in his face. “It’s tradition. Everyone gets a color. Dean’s got manly blue.” She pointed at one of the things in her basket. “Sam’s got crazy green,” another, “and I’ve got sexy red.”
Victor wasn’t quite sure how anything about a toothbrush could be sexy but he managed to ask instead, “What’s Singer’s?”
“Huh? Boring white.” Somehow, she made it sound like that was a nasty thing to be.
Blue, green, red and white.
Manly, crazy, sexy and boring.
“Don’t care,” he told her, turning away. “Pick whatever.”
“I’ll give you purple,” she threatened, sounding way too serious. He turned to face her again and was mildly surprised to realize how far down he had to look when they stood so close. She was tiny, tiny, tiny, her hair in a low ponytail, her eyes narrowed with a gravity he didn’t understand.
Her shirt was too big and her jeans were reddish brown from the dust that never seemed to settle at Bobby’s place and the last vestiges of a bruise were fading from where Faith had landed a hit on her cheekbone the day before.
Tradition, she’d said.
Pick a color. Pick a place here.
Blue like the silences Dean seemed to thrive on, the familiar, comfortable ones of people just breathing the same air, no expectations. Green like the hope Sam never seemed to run out of and red like… red like blood. White like an old man who really didn’t give a damn but indulged the youths.
Pick a color. Pick who you want to be in this screwed up little family.
Victor ran through everything his interior-design-obsessed ex wife had ever told him about colors and settled on –
It was the only one he didn’t know crap about. Orange. Nice, clean and bright. It meant absolutely nothing to him. Buffy nodded, dropped the purple she’d been waving around back on the shelf and picked up an orange, carefully placing it in between the white and red, like it belonged there.
Victor felt a surge of vertigo and decided that maybe he should have tried harder to stay back at the salvage yard and keep researching.
This whole drug store thing was as normal as could be but the rest?
The rest was fucking nuts.