Thanksgiving Day 2007
"Great," Seeley mumbled as his doorbell rang. It would have to ring when he was in the middle of making the gravy. "Can you stir this while I get that?"
"Sure. Are you expecting someone?"
"No. It could be Parker's mom bringing him by to see me. Or a neighbor needing to borrow cream for their pie."
"Oh okay, cool."
He kissed her lightly. "I'm sorry. I've hardly had the chance to talk to you this morning and you got in so late last night. I was barely awake when you got here."
"It's okay. It's not every day I get to ride in a limo so I'm not complaining. Go answer the door. I've got the gravy."
He walked to the door, clutching the kitchen towel he had draped over his shoulder with one hand as he answered it. He'd never done the Thanksgiving dinner thing before. When he'd found out Buffy wasn't going anywhere for the holiday he'd invited her without thinking it through. It was a project, particularly when there were only two of them eating. So, he'd settled on game hens instead of turkey. He had to admit that he liked the way his place smelled, homey. Like his mom's kitchen. Those thoughts only served to puzzle him as he wondered if those memories were real or manufactured.
"Camille," he said unable to hide his surprise at the sight of her.
"Don't you look domestic. Is that a new fashion statement?" She tugged on the towel for good measure.
"Just making dinner."
"I came by to see if you wanted to go out for a bite to eat."
"I already have that taken care of, but thanks."
"Aren't you going to invite me in?"
"I'm kind of in the middle of something here."
"You haven't called."
"I've been busy catching up. I took a few days vacation."
"I know. You dropped off, didn't even have your cell on."
"That's why they call it vacation. And I checked my messages."
"Seeley, this is bubbling." He winced, but not before catching the look of censure on Camille's face.
"I've got to get that or it's going to scorch."
"Don't let me stop you. What is it? Gravy?"
She stepped inside, which shouldn't have surprised him. She wasn't the type to turn tail and run. He walked to the kitchen and turned off the burner, setting the saucepan on another burner.
"Camille Saroyan, Buffy Summers."
"Hi, nice to meet you."
"Likewise," Camille said coolly. "Isn't this homey?"
Seeley saw Buffy's questioning glance. She probably thought Camille was Parker's mom and wondered where his son was. He settled everything on the stove for the moment, checked the game hens to be sure they were still cooking away. And they were.
"I'll be right back, Buffy."
"Okay." She looked a little worried. He couldn't blame her. He hadn't expected Cam to show up on Thanksgiving. It wasn't as if they were serious that it would have been an unspoken commitment.
"I would have called first had I known you had company. She's a little young. Then maybe that's your preference. Young and naïve. Who is she?"
"That's not fair. You don't even know her."
"No, but I know the type. What's the matter, Booth, need someone who's less of a threat?"
He chuckled lightly. She had no idea. "No, Camille. I'm going to pretend you didn't say that. I think it's best if you go before we say things we regret."
"Were you with her on your vacation?"
"I went to see her, yes."
"And you didn't have the decency to tell me."
"There's nothing to tell."
"I guess we have differing opinions there."
"I'm not going to argue with you about this. What I do with my time is up to me."
"We had sex."
"You really know how to let a woman down gently."
"I didn't show up at your door and insult your guest. You knew it wasn't going anywhere. Or is it just that you figured you'd get tired of me and call it off first?"
"Don't expect me to be waiting for you when this fizzles out."
"Because it will fizzle out. You're a born wanderer, Booth."
"That's enough," he said, walking to the door and opening it. "You can go now."
"Happy Thanksgiving, Buffy," she called out politely. The undertone was pure venom and ice. Good thing he didn't have to work with her every day. He locked the door and returned to the kitchen.
"That's okay. Is it just me or was that like majorly uncomfortable? I take it that wasn't Parker's mom?"
"No. Not exactly."
"Someone confused on your plans for the day?"
"No. We work together sometimes. We had a relationship. Well, sex really. We did have a relationship in the past."
"You don't owe me an explanation. What you did in the past is the past."
"Well, I do when the past shows up at my door when I'm trying to impress you with my cooking acumen."
He chuckled softly, glad she seemed to be all right. "Never mind. I'm sorry. She shouldn't have just shown up like that. We weren't that involved."
He handed her plates for the table, which she took and managed to find the flatware on her own.
"So how was your flight?"
"Good. I've never done the late night flying thing before. It's pretty flying over the city."
"And your bed is comfortable?"
"Yes. It's not, you know, my bed, but it'll do for the weekend."
"And in case I forgot to say it before. Thank you."
"You're welcome. No sense in both of us being alone on Thanksgiving."
"Something tells me you would have found company."
"Not company I want. And I get to show you D.C."
"Which is cool."
"I think so."
"Can I see your office?"
"Sure. Well, the areas visitors can access." He took her into his arms. It surprised him how easily she went to him. She felt right in his arms, too. "I'll even show you my gun."
"Oh, well, what more could a girl ask for?"
He smiled with a soft laugh. "My point exactly." He kissed her just as the timer went off.
"So did your study partner get over seeing us together?"
"Yeah. He was a little frosty at first, but he was fine yesterday when he took me to the airport."
"That was pretty decent of him."
"He's a decent guy."
"What do you mean?"
"Camille showing up."
"Yeah, totally. If she had come to get an earring or underwear she'd left the night before last I might be upset."
"Just making sure," he said, taking the pan with the game hens out of the oven.
"It smells really good. I've never had game hens. They're so tiny. Like little chickens."
He smiled, wondering if he'd ever seen such a sincere look on someone's face before. He'd noticed that watching her. She was a genuine person. What her face and eyes told you were pretty true to what she was feeling. Either that or she was the world's best actress. For someone who had experienced and seen the things she had she had a remarkably good outlook on life.
"I guess now we eat."
"Good, I'm starving."
Buffy collapsed on Seeley's couch. She couldn't remember the last time she'd walked so much. All day yesterday and today that's all they did was walk and look at things. She never realized just how much there was to see in Washington D.C. And she knew she hadn't seen it all. They'd done the big stuff that was open, though.
It was chilly, not bad enough to make walking outside uncomfortable. It felt nice to be inside and to know they didn't have to go anywhere else for the night. They were going to order Chinese take-out, which was fine with Buffy.
"I don't want to go home tomorrow."
"Well, that's always nice to hear."
"Yes, you're a very capable tour guide. You get the Buffy Summers stamp of approval."
"Well, that ranks right up there with Zagat."
"It does, doesn't it. My name sounds better. I think anyway."
He joined her on the couch, handing her a cup of hot chocolate. "Marshmallows!"
"What's hot chocolate without marshmallows?"
"That's what I think. My mom was always stingy with them."
"Well, no stinginess here."
"I can see that."
"What were you thinking about?"
"Just now. The smile on your face. You were thinking something."
"Yeah, I guess. I was thinking about Spike and how my mom made him hot chocolate."
"Spike. The other vampire?"
"Right. At the time I didn't think it was very funny because he could have killed her. But he didn't. I guess I should have seen then he was different."
"What are your friends doing for Thanksgiving?"
"I don't know. They're doing the English thing I guess."
"Doesn't anyone come to see you?"
"Sure. It just didn't work out this time. I'm in the middle of the term and they don't want to disrupt my studying. I'm too close to finishing. And, hey, they have jobs and stuff."
"Right. I hate when work gets in the way of fun."
"When will I see you again?"
"I don't know. I do the family thing for Christmas. Do you have plans for New Year's?"
"No, I'm pretty planless at the moment."
"Well, then consider yourself with plans for New Year's."
"Will do. What should we do?"
"Well, I guess it would be my turn to visit you."
"This is going to get expensive for you, isn't it?"
"It's okay. As you can see, I don't live beyond my means. I can afford a few plane tickets."
"Yeah, but one of these days."
"Let's not worry about that."
"Well, you're the one spending the money."
"It's just money."
"Speaking as someone who didn't have any after my mom died I can attest to the fact it's fairly important."
"Sure it is, but it's meant to be spent. And I want to spend it on this. You. Let me check with work and find out if I can take vacation. If not you might have to come here."
"That'd be fine."
She sipped the hot chocolate. It was good. He made it with milk not water. It made it tastier.
"My friend Willow was pretty shocked when she saw your picture."
"Mm, your pretty mug is easy to find."
"It is, huh?"
"Yeah. I think she thought I was exaggerating the resemblance."
"What did she say?"
"She and Giles are looking into some things for us. Unfortunately, no one from Angel's team made it out of LA so we have no idea what was going on."
"You're welcome. You know I don't care."
"I get that, yeah. I do have to wonder if I didn't look like him if you'd be here now."
"We wouldn't have had any reason to talk outside the case."
"Oh right. I don't know. And I wasn't really in the market for a relationship."
"Why is that?"
"I was enjoying my Buffy time. And I want to finish school."
"So the distance might actually be a good thing."
"Unless I rack up telephone bills I can't afford, yeah."
She finished her hot chocolate and stood to take the empty cup into the kitchen and rinsed it out.
"I've had a nice weekend. You do a nice Thanksgiving."
"I think it was the company."
"Mm," she said, returning to the couch. "I think you're probably right."
"That's me. So, if anyone finds out about us could you get in trouble?"
"I was just thinking about Camille. I met you while you were working a case."
"You were questioned briefly during a neighborhood canvass. You weren't a witness, a suspect or a person of interest."
"Well, that's good to know."
"To the murder case."
"Oh, good thing you clarified."
"So, no, it wouldn't be a problem. And I'm not trying to hide you. We just spent the last two days walking all over the nation's capital. Not a way to be discreet."
"Oh, I know, I was just thinking."
"We're fine, Buffy."
"So Chinese food."
"Glad you're so easily pleased."
"I'm not real picky when it comes to food."
"So there are things you're picky about?"
"Yes, there are a few."
"And I fall within your strict parameters."
"Good to know. That should keep me on my toes."
"That's me, always thinking."
"I saw pictures of your ex."
"You're a living picture of my ex."
"No, your other ex. The Army guy."
"There were some of the two of you in your file."
"Oh." She wasn't sure what to say to that. "Should I ask what kind of pictures?"
He laughed then. "Why did you do something you're afraid I might see?"
"There were no risqué pictures. You were sleeping or in bed in a couple and I admit I tried awfully hard to determine what you might or might not be wearing in said photographs."
"Did he not meet your picky standards?"
She chuckled lightly. "No, it was kind of a wrong time and place thing. I wasn't ready for what he wanted. Add on to that my mom getting sick and realizing the person after Dawn was a god. My plate was full. He'd been drugged and when that stopped, his strength went away. He wasn't wimpy but he was a distraction at times on patrol. I was worried he'd overdo it not realizing he had limitations. He started feeling sorry for himself and he needed me to reassure him. I just couldn't do it. They say that we all have one that got away. I think he was mine."
"Do you regret it?"
"No. I don't think I could have been what he wanted me to be. He would've had a problem with my being stronger. Anytime I would have gone patrolling with Spike he would have taken it personally. And I just wasn't ready to get married. That wasn't the focus of my life. Getting through each day was. I didn't want to leave someone widowed or kids without a mother."
"Very smart. It sounds like you've given up a lot to do the right thing."
"It comes with the gig."
"But even now when there are others you're still on call."
"Which means you have an out, could turn your back."
"I couldn't do that. It's in me. When I was traveling abroad. It didn't matter where I went. If I came upon something that needed dealing with I dealt with it. I'm the slayer. There are others now, but it's who I am. That's one of the reasons I'm in Columbus. There's a hellmouth in Cleveland and I needed to be close to it. Not super close. I lived on one for seven years, I had my fill. I couldn't leave the girls that are there defenseless. It's one thing to read in a journal what I did, the things I saw, but to actually see me living and breathing drives home the point a little more."
"I get that."
"Thanks. Didn't mean to ramble there. I'm guessing the photographs were courtesy of Maggie Walsh."
"Yeah. After she died the photograph surveillance stopped, at least of you. There were write-ups, your defeating Adam."
"She tried to kill me."
"She did what?"
"I'm not sure why. I think it was because she had the backing of the government. She had access to computers and research and funding. All I had was a watcher, a witch, your average American boy, and some books. I had Angel to help in the beginning and Spike in the end. But pretty much it was left to me, grit and strength and guesswork. Yet I still got the job done."
"Cut the nose off to spite your face."
"Yeah, something like that. I don't think she was a bad person. I think she had a bad idea and I'm glad I was there to stop it. Chipping those demons and vampires, whatever the cause, was wrong."
"I haven't talked about that in a long time."
"I'm glad you feel comfortable enough to talk to me about all of this, Buffy."
"It's weird. I'm supposed to be secretive. Hush hush. It makes it difficult to form friendships. Forget relationships. I dated a couple of guys besides Angel in Sunnydale during high school. Too much work. Too much deception."
"Well, I guess I'll have to do my best to make sure you don't regret telling me your secrets."
"I already don't, Seeley."
"You're so pretty, Buffy."
"I am not."
"You are. It blows me away that you're single. That you're here with me. That had I let someone else do the neighbor canvass we wouldn't be sitting here."
"It is kind of freaky, isn't it?"
"I want you to know that I'm not going to see Cam anymore. For sex."
"I just want you to know that. I don't want you going back to Columbus wondering what I'm doing and who I'm doing it with. I work with her, though, sometimes quite often."
"I get that. And I'm not asking you to."
"I know you're not asking me to do or stop doing anything. I like you. A lot. I'm not going to ruin this by being on a different page as you are. You've indicated you haven't been dating anyone."
"No, I haven't."
"So, we're both in the same place. No questions, no confusion. If you meet someone you want to see, just tell me. I'd understand."
"I won't. I don't work that way."
"I don't think I will either."
"Well, it occurred to me that while I've stayed with you and you've stayed with me we haven't progressed beyond kissing."
"I just don't want you going back to Columbus wondering if that somehow means I'm not attracted to you. I am, I just. I've done everything wrong to this point. I have a chance to do something right. I want to do it the right way. And that means getting to know you."
She blinked. Was she hearing him right? He wanted to wait to have sex? That was ideal to her, because really sex to this point for her was way overrated. She imagined under the right circumstances, with the right person she might be convinced to think differently. He was right, rushing into it wasn't the answer. She couldn't wait to tell Willow about this conversation. "All right."
"I'm not being too honest? Scaring you off?"
"Okay, good, because I can't say I haven't thought about it."
"It's fine that you think about it. I'm not much with the having random sex. Other than one person I've only been with people I've been pretty serious with. I just don't do casual."
"You wouldn't and you shouldn't. You deserve better."
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com