Buffy wanted to kick herself. She'd gone shoe shopping, worked out, eaten an enormous dinner and then walked the streets of Sunnydale until the sun went below the horizon. The churned up feeling that the Aarzoo demon had filled her with was finally starting to dissipate to an easier level to deal with and the memory of her earlier immaturity was making her wince with each moment that she relived it.
What the hell had been her problem? She knew it was most likely just stress that had come out due to the extreme jolt to her system from the demon's power, but that still didn't change the fact that she'd acted like a tantruming child in front of her friends.
She'd actually looked Willow and Xander dead in the eye and told them that, basically, they didn't have any problems. Had she been serious? Xander's ex-fiance had gone back to being a vengeance demon while the love of Willow's life had been killed in front of her, causing Willow to kill the man responsible and almost end the world. Buffy may have her fair share of extreme problems, but her friends were right on the misery boat with her and she'd acted as if she was rowing the whole thing alone.
Buffy wriggled her toes in her new boots, choosing to wear them on her walk home so they'd be adequately broken in before work tomorrow. When dealing with the problems of teenagers on a Hell Mouth, the last thing one wanted to worry about was stiff and uncomfortable footwear.
She could feel the energy in her system ebbing and she knew that she needed to get down to deciding how to use her wish. Her head was feeling clearer now and she felt more comfortable making a solid decision.
She knew she didn't want to waste the wish on something related to money or finances, despite what she'd said earlier. Her comments really had been intended to be tongue in cheek when she'd made them earlier, before she'd had her selfish meltdown. Money was something that would work itself out somehow, it always did. She wanted to wish for something that would be a bit more difficult to obtain through ordinary means.
Which left things with a little more weight and substance to them, like world peace and global warming and stuff.
Who was she kidding though. She had seen enough in her life to know that wishing for something as general as "world peace" would most likely bring a whole host of enforceable consequences along with it. Everything hinged on balance in her experience and shifting the balance of the earth completely to one side would most likely cause it to grind to a halt if it was done in an inorganic way, like through a sudden wish.
She was going to have to keep it simple, keep it more personal. She thought about her life and what was missing. Her mind drifted to Angel and Spike and her complicated love life and she quickly chased the thoughts away almost as quickly as they'd set in. Supernatural and love hadn't really ever been a mix that worked for her. If she was going to sort out her crazy love life, she wanted to do it with everyone's free will perfectly intact.
A thought struck her. What if she could wish for something that could help someone she loved? She was the slayer and, at the end of the day, she knew that she could handle anything that this world or the next was prepared to throw at her. But, what if this was her chance to help someone in a way that didn't involve punching or kicking?
An idea, so pure, so perfect, struck her in that moment and she knew without hesitation that she'd made up her mind. She picked up her pace, eager to get home where she could make her wish and watch it all play out.
Willow glanced up from her book as she sat cross-legged in the middle of her bed to see Buffy standing in the doorway. "Hey."
Buffy smiled softly and took a step into the room. "Hey. Whatcha readin'?"
Willow closed the book so Buffy could read the title on the cover out loud. "Practical Uses of Herbs and Tinctures."
She turned a questioning glance toward her friend's face and Willow explained. "I'm looking into magic free ways to help with things like sleeplessness and grief."
Buffy's heart turned over in her chest a bit and she sat down on the edge of the bed. "Will, I'm sorry I acted like you didn't have any problems earlier. I was just all caught up in the weirdness of the moment. I don't feel that way at all."
Willow nodded, a weary smile touching her face. "I know Buffy. You were pretty revved up from that demon power. I know you didn't mean to act so-"
Willow's voice trailed off and Buffy smiled, finishing the sentence for her. "Bratty?"
Willow chuckled. "I was going to go with impish."
Buffy nodded, her own chuckle coming out. "Oh, much better."
Willow's smile was genuine as she felt any residual tension from the argument earlier leaving her. They were able to patch things up and move on in a way that only old and true friends could and she was eternally grateful that she had people in her life that she could always count on to be there in the end.
"So," She began "have you given any more thought on how you'll use your wish?"
The look on Buffy's face melted into one of pure mischief and she held up her foot for Willow's inspection. "Like my boots?"
Willow looked down at Buffy's feet and admired the new leather boots that graced them. "Very nice. You get those today?"
Buffy nodded, the mischievous look in her eye never fading as she got up and walked to the full length mirror to admire them. "Yup. They're the comfiest boots I've ever had."
Willow's eyes grew shadowed as annoyance began to grip her anew. "Buffy, are you trying to tell me that you spent your wish on a new pair of boots?"
Buffy turned around to face her friend, the expression on her face one of pure surprise. "What would be wrong with that? Footwear is a practical necessity."
Willow's expression was one of pure disgust. "You wished for boots? Buffy, I know that wish was yours to make but, I have to say, that is the single most selfish thing I have ever heard!"
Buffy smiled wider and walked over to the side of the bed. "Oh, you're just mad because you think I didn't get you anything. Stand up, I have a surprise."
Willow stared at her as if she'd lost her mind, but complied by slowly rising from the bed and standing in front of her friend. "Close your eyes and hold out your hand."
Willow obeyed. Despite her high level of annoyance, she was starting to get a little intrigued. "Okay, now don't peak. Promise?"
She nodded her head and waited. After a moment, she felt the warmth of a hand taking hers. Her skin tingled unexpectedly at the contact and her heart began to pick up speed.
"Open your eyes sweetie."
The voice that met her ears was deep and familiar and Willow's eyes flew open as her heart slammed against her ribs. The hazel eyes of her soul mate stared into her own.
Tears sprang sudden and hot to her eyes and she gulped air. "Tara?"
Tara's eyes were filled with tears as well despite her huge, slightly off kilter smile and she reached up to cup Willow's face. "I'm here Willow. I'm here."
Willow threw her arms around her love, burying her face in her shoulder. She was warm and alive and really here. They sobbed in each other's arms and Willow peered over Tara's shoulder to look in Buffy's face as she stood in the doorway, a small smile of pure happiness touching the slayer's lips as she watched the reunion unfold.
"Thank you. Thank you." Willow whispered through her tears, the joy in her heart so intense it was almost painful.
Buffy nodded and gently pulled the door closed to give the lovers the time together that they deserved. As she made her way down the hall toward her own bedroom in her new shoes she sighed happily. She had killed a demon, righted a universal unfairness and bought a pair of killer boots. All was right with the world.
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