Four Times Satsu Didn't Have Smoochies With the Scoobies (And 2 Times That She Did)
Satsu answered the knock at her front door, and was confronted with a face out of what felt like a whole other life.
There was an awkward silence as the two of them just stared at one another, across the gulf of years that had separated them. "Hey," Willow finally said.
"Hey." After another awkward moment, Satsu remembered her manners and moved aside to un-block the doorway. "Come in. Please."
"Thanks." Willow stepped inside, and gave the small apartment an admiring once-over as she was led toward the living room. "Nice place."
"Thanks. It's comfortable enough, I guess. I don't need a lot of space."
Willow took the offered seat on the sofa, and her host sat down across from her. "I actually rode on a cable-car to get here," she said with a grin. "I've always wanted to do that."
Satsu smiled back. "Cool, but you know you can't call yourself an official San Francisco tourist until you've walked across the Golden Gate Bridge, right?"
"Oh. Well, that sounds fun, but I probably won't have time. I'm only in town for today. What about you? How'd you end up here?"
"This is home," Satsu said simply, and only then did it dawn on her how little Willow knew about her--and vice-versa. Or how little she and Buffy had known about each other's pasts. "My parents are from Nagoya, but I grew up right here. My dad was transferred back to Tokyo when I was thirteen, but I think I'll always feel more comfortable here than there."
Willow nodded, but didn't reply. Satsu wondered why she was here and what she wanted, but there was no way to blurt that out without sounding rude. "How's Kennedy?"
"Oh, fine. She's back at the hotel with the k**s." But the mention of her caused Willow to glance around the apartment again, and Satsu knew that she was too polite to come right out and ask if Satsu had anyone, and was looking for any photos s**ttered around that might give her a clue. But she wouldn't find any. There hadn't been anyone since Buffy.
They spent a few minutes talking about old times, old friends, battles won, and battles lost. For a while they both carefully avoided talking about that one final battle, or that one particular old friend, but eventually they reached a point where they couldn't ignore it any longer.
"You know that it was five years ago tomorrow, right?" Willow reminded.
Satsu hadn't realized that. She'd done her best to put that part of her life completely out of her mind, in fact, but now here was part of it back again, sitting there on her sofa. Satsu felt the old wounds on her heart threatening to break open again, and for one brief moment she hated Willow for bringing all those memories back to her. "No, but I guess that sounds about right."
"That's why we're in town, actually," Willow said, beginning to speak a little faster, and obviously nervous about this part. "Dawn lives in Vallejo now, so we're just picking her up, and we're all going to fly down to LA together. You know… to visit the grave. We thought… you might wanna come, too."
Satsu couldn't help but be touched by the thought, misplaced though it was. "Thanks, but I shouldn't. It's not like I'm a member of the family or anything. I'm not even an ex-girlfriend." She hoped she'd kept any trace of bitterness out of her voice.
"You never got over her, did you?"
Okay, apparently not--bitterness broadcast, loud and clear.
"I'm an idiot," she admitted, and slumped in her seat. "Yeah, sure, I knew right from the beginning that it couldn't go anywhere. Her being not-gay was only one reason why not. But a stupid little part of me still hoped.
"But that's not what really hurt," she explained. "It was the way things went after we were done. We parted on good terms, and I thought we were going to stay friends. Really friends, not the fake, 'I hope we can still be friends,' you always feed your latest ex. But then she just totally shut me out. It was… hard to deal with."
"But that didn't have anything to do with you!" Willow told her. "That was just the way she was. Things were starting to get bad, with Harmony, and Simone, and Twilight, and when things got bad Buffy pulled away. From everyone. Every time. But then the crisis would pass and she'd open up again. God, I'm so sorry--I can't believe I didn't explain that to you at the time. I should've realized how much you were hurt by it. But she really did care about you a lot. I know she did. Even talked about you in her sleep."
"Yeah, well… thanks."
Willow tried again to talk her into coming along with them, even mentioning that Dawn would like to see her again. But again, she politely declined, even though she got the gist that Dawn would like to more than see her again. Willow was disappointed, but respected the decision, and got up to go.
"Hey, you're Jewish, right?" Satsu asked as she walked her back to the door.
"When you visit someone's grave, don't you leave some rocks on the headstone to show you've been there?"
"Uh-huh. Did you want me to leave a couple for you?"
"No. I was hoping you might give her something else." Satsu was blushing now, and she couldn't meet Willow's gaze, but she wanted to do this.
"Of course. What?"
Before she could lose her nerve, Satsu leaned in and gave Willow a kiss on the lips. When she saw the redhead's eyes start to widen, she hurriedly added, "Make sure you tell her it was from me."
"I will," Willow promised, still sounding a bit kerfuzzled. Satsu knew she'd feel a little funny bending down to kiss a headstone, but she'd do it. Because she knew it was important to Satsu. "Okay, so… goodbye, then."
"Goodbye." Satsu watched her walk down the hallway and turn the corner, and that was the last she ever saw of her.
Or any of them.