Chapter 40 - Goodbye
It's Jenna who has the idea. We've been driving for hours, keeping to back roads, and Willow's changed the glamour on the van regularly so that there's no continuity of recognition. When we finally stop, we're in the desert somewhere. We did stop off at a Wal-Mart - or at least Jenna got out and we picked her up later. Since she's the least likely to be recognised, she got the job of picking up some more basic supplies.
It's dark, and I'm sitting, with my back to a large rock, with Zara in my arms, nursing her. Spike's close, watching, almost hypnotised by the sight. He's absent-mindedly rubbing his palm, and I take his hand and look, embarrassed to see the healing marks where my fingernails did their best to cut his hands to ribbons.
He just shrugs, letting me know in a gesture that it's not important. Jenna approaches.
"I've been onto the coven, and they've agreed to help, if you agree."
I look up, not sure what she's suggesting.
"I'd have thought that the kind of mojo that'd get these Defenders off our backs might be a bit dark for your lot," Spike comments.
"We can't help with that, at least, not right away."
"Well, what then?" I ask.
"They've agreed to grant you sanctuary."
"Who?" I ask.
"All three of you. The coven's in a large estate in Devon in the south-west of England. There's a cottage in the grounds, not far from the main buildings. We can protect you there, keep you safe until things are better here."
"Not sure I like the idea of running," Spike complains.
I squeeze his hand. I know what he means. I'm the Slayer, and I don't run from a fight. But, this is different. Zara's the priority, and Spike or me feeling a bit put out is beside the point.
"Ok," I answer Jenna. "But how're we going to get there? They're bound to be watching airports."
"I've got agreement that we can teleport. The four of us. The energy usage is going to be huge, but the whole coven's agreed."
"Is it safe?" I ask.
"Nothing's guaranteed" she admits, "but it should be fine. And, it's safer than any other option you've got."
There's a pause then, before she adds, "There's one other thing. I'd be better, safer, if your friends didn't know where you are. If they agree, I'd like to alter their memories. They'll remember dropping you off at a small town somewhere."
She can see the hesitation on our faces, so she adds, "I'll leave you to talk about it."
I nod, and she leaves us, approaching Giles, I assume, to describe her plan.
There's a long silence, broken only by the sounds of our daughter feeding.
"We've got to do it," Spike says at last.
"I know, but .."
"Yeah," he agrees.
"I know Zara wasn't exactly planned, but once I knew about her, I imagined taking her home, to my home, spending time with my friends, her growing up with them around. This is .."
"Different," he finishes.
Zara's fallen asleep again while we were talking. I place her in the sleep bag Jenna got for her, and get up. Leaving Spike to watch her, I go to Jenna.
"We're going to take you up on your offer," I tell her. "Just give me a few minutes to say goodbye."
She nods, and immediately sets about preparing for her end of the teleport.
How do I say goodbye to these people? They've been a part of my life since, well, it seems like forever ago. The news of the plan has obviously been shared. Giles is cleaning his glasses, Xander's eyes are strangely glazed, and Willow's openly crying.
I go to Xander first. "Say goodbye to Anya for me," I manage through the lump in my throat.
He nods, pulling me into a rough hug. Then I turn to Willow.
"Look after him," I ask, knowing that these two have been looking after each other for as long as they've been friends.
"I'll keep with the research," Willow offers. "Anything we can find out, we'll find it. Sooner or later, we'll find a way to stop the Defenders, or Blar or whoever we need to stop. You'll be home in no time."
She just managed that before the sobs overtook her. I can't watch her any more, or I'll start too. I turn to Giles.
"Take care, Buffy. As Willow said, we'll do all we can here. Hopefully it won't be long until you come home."
He's standing there so straight. It's no good, I've got to hug him. I do, and he responds, awkwardly at first, but then getting into it.
I drop my arms, then give Willow a hug too. When I turn, Spike's behind me, a sleeping Zara in his arms. He obviously doesn't know how to react, so I'm relieved when Giles holds out a hand to him. Spike shakes it, and finds that Xander's offering his hand too. When that hand-shake is over, Willow throws her arms round his neck, hugging him tight.
He looks embarrassed at the gesture, but I can see he's also pleased.
"Look after them," Giles demands.
"I will," Spike promises, putting his arm around my shoulders.
Jenna interrupts just in time - things are threatening to get mushier.
"I'm ready," she tells us.
"Where do you want us?" Spike asks.
We're arranged to Jenna's satisfaction. Zara's in Spike's arms, and he and I are standing face to face. I'm holding onto him. It seems familiar, like the position we were in when we had to say goodbye to Dawn. And, I so didn't need to remember that right now. Jenna comes alongside us, putting an arm around both of us.
"The spell will actually come from the coven," she tells us. "They're using me as the target. You'll feel a tugging, then a lot of wind. Just hold on to each other, and you'll be fine."
We do that, holding on tight. I look down at my daughter, impressed that she can sleep through something so momentous. I raise my eyes, and find Spike's blue ones staring at me.
"Ready, Love?" he asks.
"As long as we're together," I answer him, pleased to note the small smile this comment elicits.
As Jenna predicted, we're suddenly enveloped in a wind, and then there's a tugging feeling. Everything goes black.
And so ends Two for Joy. Now, you didn't expect resolution, did you? There will be another part to this fic, not surprisingly called 'Three for a Girl'. It may take a while to appear, though. I want to finish my other WIP (which isn't posted at ff.net), and I've just started a post-Chosen fic which I'll probably start posting when I'm surer about exactly where it's going. One thing's for sure - having two WIPs at a time is more than enough for me.
As always, if you've reviewed or given me feedback otherwise, many thanks. If you haven't … now'd be a good time! And, if you're curious about my other WIP, you'll have to visit my site - http colon slash slash inspiredbyspike dot bravepages dot com slash . It's rated R, and it's called 'Seeking Vengeance'.
(And if you've wondering why I've written it like that, then it's because trying to put web addresses in stories on ff.net normally results in the chapter not loading.)