Dressed in a pair of pale blue jeans, a cream silk halter and a fitted leather jacket, Buffy unlocked the door to her home on Revello Drive and let herself in, followed closely by an eager Willow. Calling out to check if Dawn was actually home yet, she turned to her best friend sheepishly.
“Sorry, just don’t feel like having two over-excited chicks bouncing at my heels,” she teased as Willow pouted, “Dawn would find this so cool.”
“Don’t you?” Willow asked, following the blonde up the stairs.
“Not really.” Buffy shrugged, “With my luck, someone hexed the rose or something in some cunning plot to kill me.”
“Or it could be someone who loves you and is…” Willow cocked her head in thought, her brow furrowing, “breaking into your bedroom to leave gifts and touch god only knows what. I see your point.”
Buffy nodded, pausing outside her bedroom door. “The last person to come into my room and leave me lovely little presents was Angelus. So, yeah, not big with the bedroom-based courtship right now.” She shrugged, “Or ever.”
“Still, the thought behind it is probably really romantic. And besides, a simple spell will tell us if the rose is cursed or not, plus anything else they leave you. You didn’t throw it out, did you?”
“No.” Willow cocked an eyebrow triumphantly, thinking she’d caught Buffy thinking it really was sweet. The Slayer quickly amended. “I mean, I didn’t know who it was from, did I? It could have been from Riley.”
Willow nodded emphatically, smirking. “Right. Your trepidation and nervousness are duly noted and recorded. Let’s check out the room, shall we?”
She pushed open the door and walked inside, an indignant Buffy Summers tailing her. “I’m not nervous, I’m… wary.”
Willow just gave her a pointed look, mincing idly towards the window. “So where’s the rose?”
“Uh, here…” Buffy picked up her diary, opening it guiltily and handing the redheaded witch the rose pressed between the pages. The lingering scent reached her nose and her eyes fluttered closed briefly before shaking her head at Willow’s smirk.
Willow took the rose from her friend, wrapping the ribbon loosely around her hand. The pressing between the pages helped to preserve the flower, and the bloom was almost faded. Glancing up at the Slayer, she murmured, “Cursus Revelio.”
“Nothing happened,” Buffy pointed out, confused. “What does that mean?”
“It means,” Willow lay it back down, unraveling the ribbon from her fingers. “That there is no curse, hex or charm on the rose. It was just a rose. And that…” Willow pointed at the bed. “…is another gift.”
Buffy spun around, her eyes falling to the covers. There, in the centre of the bed was a small piece of paper, folded once. Buffy glanced over her shoulder at Willow, who gave her a small, encouraging smile and went to pick it up. The paper was thick, almost parchment like, like a card. Unfolding it, she looked at the text.
The handwriting was elegant, slanted and done in black ink. She read it once, and then glanced up, handing it to Willow.
The redhead’s brow creased slightly as she lowered her eyes, reading aloud.
“Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal – yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!”
Willow stared a little longer at the page before handing it back to Buffy, smiling slightly. “Beauty is truth, truth beauty…”
“Wills? What are you, channeling?” Buffy clicked her fingers in Willow’s face, amused.
“Keats,” Willow stated with a smile, pointing at the piece of paper Buffy was fingering. “He’s sent you Keats. Ode to a Grecian Urn. I was quoting the final lines. It’s actually really sweet, he was speaking of the immortal beauty of an urn from Ancient Greece, of two characters painted on it… two lovers whose love would last forever, without spoiling it with actual physicality. It was pure.”
“Okay, Will do I need to get you a tissue, or are you going to stop drooling now?” Buffy quipped, rereading the extract in her hand. Tucking it in the pages of her diary, she screwed up her nose at Willow’s smirk and placed the book on the dresser.
“I’m fine. I’m just having a few issues with my best friend not being impressed by the fact that someone is sending her poetry. Keats, poetry!”
“God, maybe they’re wooing the wrong girl.” Buffy suggested with an eye roll.
“Ha!” Willow pointed triumphantly, “You said ‘wooing’. Not ‘stalking’. Besides, I’m totally taken.”
“So am I!”
“Yeah, but I’m taken by the wrong gender. Not interested in anyone with a penis.” She shrugged.
“Willow!” Buffy exclaimed, laughing. “Besides, how do you even know that this stuff isn’t from a girl?” She waved a hand towards her diary.
The witch shrugged. “Because guys are the ones who think girls need to be romanced. Women know what women want. It’s all a part of the stereotypes created by the yin-yang theory, paired with the ones inherent within both society and popular culture—“
“Okay, thank you Miss Pop Psychology,” Buffy held up her hands. “I get it. You are the only one getting lesbian love.”
“And don’t you forget it.” Willow grinned, her tongue between her teeth.
Buffy laughed before sighing, her diary catching her eyes, “Now what?”
Her friend shrugged. “Now, I guess we should head to the Magic Box. Giles called me earlier, said he had an idea on what to do about this big-wig, mega-evil skanky chick you fought.”
“And you’re just telling me about this now?”
Willow rolled her eyes, “Oh, c’mon. We have to wait ‘til closing to talk about it anyway. Anya would flip if we scared away any potential customers. Do you want to tell Giles about the, uh… mystery romantic?”
“Not particularly.” Buffy sighed, pulling her hair back and fisting it into a ponytail. “So we’re off to see the Watcher, huh? Hair tie?”
Willow simply quirked an eyebrow, grabbing something from off of the dresser and handing it to Buffy, “This should do the trick.”
Buffy only rolled her eyes and led the witch out of the room, tying her hair back with the ribbon from the rose.
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