A/N Thank you to buffyalora15vampr, Melanie, NoFx1018, melluvben, Kari, KaraBella, Katie, mistymidnight, Branci and BAshipper101 for your reviews, some of them I found quite helpful when thinking how I should write this chapter.
Also, this is the final chapter I think, but I might write a sequel.... Eventually, but only if you guys really want one.
Disclaimer: Last chapter.... So this is the last time I'll write it in this story.
Summary: Buffy's just a normal girl who's lost her way in the world, but what happens when another lost soul captures her heart, and refuses to give it back?But It Feels So Right
It had been one, maybe two hours since the jury had called their recess, and Buffy was feeling a bit, well, antsy. She wanted, no, needed to know how this was going to end, it wasn't fair that they couldn't just tell everyone the verdict right then and there, and end the case once and for all.
She sighed, and lay back against the pillows on Angel's bed. She hadn't gone back to her house in a long while, even though now it was just her mother that occupied it. She couldn't bear to see her mother. It hurt her to think that she might have been the reason she had started crying in the courtroom, that it was all her fault all of this had happened.
No. It wasn't like that. She had to keep telling herself that. This was no more her fault than it was her mother's, Hank Summers was the one to blame, and now, instead of finding herself afraid of him, she found herself not even able to call him her father anymore. She didn't think he deserved to be anything more than dirt at this point in his life, and she had to make sure that he got what was coming to him.
Thirty years in prison is what Gunn had told her he would get for the abuse, and that seemed to satisfy her, even though she believed he deserved life. At times, she had asked Gunn questions about what it would be like for him in prison, of course, Gunn said he didn't know, seeing as he had never been there. But she couldn't help but wonder what it was going to be like for him.
Buffy shook her head. That wasn't the only question she needed the jury to answer for her. She needed to know if she was going to be able to stay with Angel until she turned eighteen. Which was in a couple of months, anyway. She wasn't really sure what she was going to do if she had to go live with her cousin and aunt in Los Angeles.
Yawning, she blinked a couple of times, and turned over to look at the clock. She had to be back in the courthouse tomorrow at six thirty, sharp. It was just too painful to watch the clock all day, seeing as it was only about half past five in the afternoon right now.
She got up and stretched, bored with just sitting there. Deciding that it would be fun to get out of this room for a little while might do her some good, well, as long as Angel was there too.
Then again, He'd done his disappearing act earlier, and she hadn't seen him since they'd gotten back to his house. She sighed, and left the room, wandering down the hallway, and downstairs to the kitchen.
She found Spike sitting at the table, writing something in a small black book. She sat down next to him, and looked over his shoulder.
"Whatcha doing Spike?" she asked, and he jumped, quickly closing the book.
"Nothing." He turned to look at her, wondering how she'd managed to sneak up on him like that.
"Really, 'cause it looked like something...." She said eyeing the little book he held in his hand.
"It's nothing, really." He told her, hiding the book in one of the small pockets on the inside of his duster.
She rolled her eyes at him, "Right Spike. You're writing in a small black book, a diary maybe?"
"No way." He said, looking at her like she was crazy, "The difference between guys and girls is that guys don't keep diaries, or do a lot of things that girls do for that matter."
"Oh, and the fact that guys are guys and girls are girls." Buffy said.
He shook his head, "What ever you say, pet. Just seriously, you really shouldn't sneak up behind people like that."
"I'll keep that in mind Sir Jumps A lot." She said, smirking at him, as she stood up, "Oh, by the way, have you seen Angel lately, I've kind of been looking for him."
"Nope, haven't seen the poof as of late. You might want to check out side though; I think I might have seen him out there earlier." Spike said, nodding towards the door.
Buffy nodded and got up, she figured Spike was just guessing about where Angel was because he didn't want her hanging around while he was doing.... What ever it was he was doing. She shook her head, it didn't really matter Spike was free to do what ever he felt like doing.
She opened the door, and moved into the backyard, enjoying how the warm air greeted her as she left the house. She smiled when she saw Angel sitting under the small cherry tree in his yard.
The tree didn't have any cherries on it any more, but it was still a great to sit in the shade on a hot day, or just a great place to sit in general. She walked over to him and sat down next to him.
"Hey Angel." She said, smiling at him.
He smiled back at her, and kissed her lightly, "Hey."
She pouted when the kiss ended, then looked at him. "I'm sorry."
He looked surprised at her words, "About what Buffy?"
"In court the other day, I know you really didn't want to do that." She explained, "So I'm sorry I made you testify...."
"Buffy, listen, I didn't have to testify if I really didn't want to, and you have to stop being sorry. Just accept that I'm not just doing this because you want me to, I'm doing it because I want to help." He said, seriously, wrapping his arms around her.
"Then thank you." She said, snuggling against him, and closing her eyes, "Thank you so much."
He smiled again, and held her close to him, both happy for her, and happy that this was almost over. They both needed some time to relax, and get this whole thing off of their minds.
Buffy and Gunn both stood in the courtroom, eagerly waiting for the jury to reappear and take their seats. The Judge sat quietly, watching the door the jurors would come through with their verdict.
Buffy ground her teeth together anxiously, occasionally glancing over at Hank and his lawyer to glare at them. She felt like she knew what was going to happen, that really annoying feeling in the pit of her stomach was telling her something. The same thing that the back of her mind was trying to tell her.
What if they lost?
But she pushed all those thoughts away, and focused on thinking she was going to win. Thinking that the evidence they had had been enough, and that she wouldn't have to live with her father ever again. That she could finally have a life free of abuse.
The jurors reentered the room, and filed into their seats, the last one to come in handed the bailiff a small sheet of paper, which he walked over to Judge Mathew. The Judge took the paper and looked it over. The whole courtroom regarded him anxiously, waiting for him to say something.
"I find this case in favor of Mr. Gunn and his client, Miss Buffy Summers." He said, and Buffy's heart leapt, she had won, "But the jury has also decided that because Miss Summers is still a minor, even by a couple of months, she must stay in the custody of family."
"Seeing as her mother, Joyce Summers, has lost the privilege of having custody of her daughter, and her father, Hank Summers, has been found guilty of both physical and mental abuse to his daughter, will be serving three sentences of ten years in prison." He paused and looked over the paper, then continued, "Miss Summers will be sent to live with her only living relatives, her aunt Glory, and her cousin Dawn in Los Angeles, California."
Judge Mathew banged his gavel, "I here by declare this case closed, and the clients to do as the results have indicated."
All the joy Buffy had been feeling disappeared, and she felt almost empty. She didn't get to stay with Angel, they only person she really trusted? And was instead going to stay with relatives that she had never really met? How could that have happened?
She looked at Gunn, who frowned at her, "I'm sorry Buffy. I tried as hard as I could to get you to stay here in Sunnydale, I even tried to play the 'she has to finish school' card, but it didn't work." He explained, "You'll be aloud to come here as often as you want to see friends and even your mother if you want to, but you can't move up here until you're eighteen or if your aunt moves up here, permanently."
"You mean there's no way I can stay here, and live here?" she asked.
"I'm sorry Buffy, but no, you can't."
Buffy looked down at the ground, tears in her eyes. Everything always had a draw back didn't it. She had won, but she had to leave, how could this be considered fair?
Feeling a pair of strong arms wrap around her waist from behind, Buffy looked up, and turned her head to see Angel looking down at her solemnly. She turned herself around in his arms, and buried her face in his chest. But she didn't cry, she didn't think she could. The shock of the case not coming to the right conclusion was enough to keep the tears in her eyes.
She took a deep breath, and looked up at Angel. He wiped her eyes with his thumb, and kissed her forehead.
"Sh... It'll be alright Buffy." He said, "I promise, they can't keep me away from you."
"But Angel.... I have to leave...." She stated, but he didn't let her finish.
"Just think, only a couple of more months, then you're going to be eighteen, and school will be over, and you can come back home." He told her as they both left the courtroom for the final time.
She tried to smile at him, but it only came out half way, and not a very good indicator that she was actually happy.
He took her by the shoulders, and looked her directly in the eyes, "You still my girl?" he asked, wanting to know if she'd try to move on in the time they'd be apart.
"Always." She promised, and leaned up to kiss him.