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Here's a ficlet for [livejournal.com profile] velvetwhip, who requested "Willow and a parasol".

It has also become my [livejournal.com profile] still_grrr submission for this week's "air" prompt. Hurrah!


Umbrellas and Other Insecurities

The last was a parasol. It sat in the top of the stall, purple and yellow, turning gently in the breeze.

The first was a Snickers Bar, in the 7-11. Willow saw it and thought of Kennedy, who liked peanuts. Then she hesitated – and moved away. She and Xander finished buying all the soda and hot dogs they could carry, and walked back to the bus, leaving girlfriendly candy bar offerings on the shelves where they belonged.

The last was a parasol. It went with them to every beach along the coast, a splash of colour in the miles of sand.

The second was a motel card offering breakfast in bed – just tick the things you wanted and deliver it to the lobby, for a small additional fee. They could have stayed in their room and had pancakes, eggs, and orange juice. But Willow said nothing, the card was left un-ticked, and the two of them had breakfast downstairs with everyone else.

The last was a parasol. Kennedy’s eyes lit up, and she was too surprised to smile, so she kissed Willow and forgot to say thank you, and that was enough.

The third was a book, in a Los Angeles mall. Kennedy had flicked through it, looking interested. And when she left to use the restroom Willow realised there was just enough time for her to buy the book, hide it in her backpack, and surprise Kennedy with it that evening after dinner. But she didn’t.

The last was a parasol. One night, in a tiny hotel in Japeri, Kennedy pulled it out and started twirling, purple and yellow with small splashes of red, and they watched the colours until they forgot how dingy the walls were.

The fourth was a camera. Unbought, and probably stuck in the Duty Free store forever.

The last was a parasol. Exactly the same as one of the teeny drink umbrellas at the café in Paranaguá. They made jokes about baby umbrellas and adopting, and laughed all the way through lunch.

The fifth was a beach towel, with palm trees and waves and RIO in bright gold letters. Willow bought it that morning, and by midday had realised how stupid it was – getting your girlfriend a towel? It was stupid. So she said she’d bought it for herself, and tried to forget she hadn’t.

The last was a parasol. In Kennedy’s favourite colours – except she confessed, weeks later, that she’d never really liked purple that much. Then she blushed and kept walking, the parasol twirling proudly in her hands.

The sixth was a bracelet – and Willow reached for it instantly, it was perfect for Tara, she’d love it.
But this was Kennedy. Tara was gone. The bracelet was left there, and Willow was distracted all afternoon.

The last was a parasol. The wind almost turned it inside out, one day in Joinville – they had to buy red twine and fix a couple of joints that had worked loose. Kennedy commented that it clearly had ambitions to be a kite, and one day it would determinedly sail away on the breeze and be a kite, manufacturing be damned.

The seventh was a leather keyring shaped like a dolphin. Still stuck in a marketplace waiting to be sold.

The last was a parasol. It cost way too much, although the man probably could have been bargained down if she’d known how. And the money didn’t matter, not really.

The eighth was a hat, in ridiculous shades of pink.

The last was a parasol. It got wet in Santos, sandy in Poá, and almost stolen in São Paulo. Kennedy punched the thief in the face, retrieved the parasol, and calmly returned to her drink.

The ninth was a bunch of sunflowers. Kennedy would have liked them. And Willow knew she’d like them – but…
She would have really liked them.

The last was a parasol. Willow saw it from across the marketplace, waving in colour, seven stalls away, and knew.

The tenth was a set of windchimes. Kennedy was busy buying fruit, and Willow rejoined her, frustrated. Then almost turned and went back for them – they’d tinkle and swing in the breeze, and Kennedy would smile. Instead, they bought cantaloupes.

The last was a parasol. When Buffy visited them, she thought it was Willow’s – but Kennedy smiled quietly, said “I kinda like it”, and left it at that.

The eleventh was a pirate copy of Gone With The Wind. It cost two dollars – but supporting piracy is wrong, and what if it was really a front for an organised crime syndicate?

The last was a parasol. Purple for lilies, royalty, passion, and pride. Yellow for sunshine, sunflowers, and happiness. And tiny bits of red for… decoration.

The twelfth was a silk scarf, and Kennedy would have loved it. The thirteenth was a kind of spicy fruit tea, and they would have drunk it together and made faces. The fourteenth was a pair of sandals – and maybe Kennedy would have hated them, but maybe she should have had a chance to find out. Shouldn’t she?

The last was a parasol. And Willow bought it.



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