Title: Get On With It
Disclaimer: All in fun.
Pairings: Not sure yet - possibly BF.
Time: Post 'Chosen.'
Rating: T...may develop into M.
A/N: Haven't decided where to go with this yet but I really want to develop it into something! This is all I've written at the moment. Any feedback is appreciated + ideas for where it could go.
Chapter One - Away From the Sun
Standing on the edge of that broken world, that was once a place of darkness, and of death, she allowed a smile to breeze across her face. She could finally move on.
And after the all familiar tone of her sister Slayer's voice asked her what she would do, she felt everything would be easier. Everything.
Now she wouldn't have to go through the motions, because those motions were lost when Sunnydale was too. Now she really could start a fresh. Sunnydale was finished.
She thought of those three previous words over and over in her head as the group chattered irrelevantly about what they would do tomorrow; and the fact that the prospects of living til tomorrow now seemed good, until they inevitably piled back into the yellow and dusty bus, each one filled with a sheer drink of contentment, now that the big bad was dust.
Then it was just her remaining. Her and one other poor soul, understandably in the same place as her emotionally, perhaps a little more cheerful and buoyant having just found out that her potential partner had not died from a terrible stab wound finding its way from one side of his abdomen to the other. She in fact was feeling that her life might begin to look up, as much as it had always kind of been a downhill journey. She took a few steps forward, to stand beside her sister Slayer, and perhaps share a thought or two. It had been awkward for the two ever since her surprise return back to Sunnydale; after all she was meant to be confined to a five by five foot cell for the rest of her life…in LA.
She nudged the petite blonde coolly, aligning her vision in a parallel position to the blonde's. 'You alright?' she uttered, hoping silently that the blonde didn't mind being disturbed.
It seemed she had perhaps been daydreaming, as she stayed silent a moment, before being nudged by the tall brunette again, when she sucked in a fast breath of air and met the brunette's gaze, a questioning look occupying her.
She nodded a few times, prior thoughts disallowing her to voice her emotions. In truth, she wasn't okay. This was the first time in many, many years that she honestly, truly was free. No demons to wake up to, no apocalypses to stop. She didn't even have to be a slayer anymore if she didn't want to be. There was now a world full of capable selves to take care of that. She really could live. The thought of that gave her nervous tingles. How was she supposed to deal with that? Now that her life was going to be filled with normal things such as buying a house, getting a job, living a life, she realised that the security blanket that was her calling that she'd been wrapped in had been sucked into that pit hole, just like all of the other evils that were dead and gone forever.
And there was no way that she could tell Faith all of this. Although it did become apparent to her that perhaps her sister Slayer was feeling the same. She offered her a timid smile as she gazed into her eyes, only able to hold that eye contact for a few seconds before she decided it would be best that she didn't initiate a conversation between her. She grabbed hold of the door handle and hiked herself up into the bus, Faith following closely behind.
Since her last look at Sunnydale was now just a memory, it was time to concentrate on the remainders. All the potentials in the bus, the injured ones, the ones who had survived. Her eyes scanned over the girls, all scared; all tired.
'So where now, Buffy?' came a meek, willowy voice from beside her. Vy.
She couldn't answer her right now. So she opted for a gesture. A shrug. She continued heading up the aisle of the bus, towards the older generation of Scoobs. 'Giles,' she called, almost inaudibly. Giles caught the calling, and turned to look at her, having positioned himself comfortably in the driver's seat already.
Buffy leant against the dashboard in front of her to speak to him, purposely lowering her voice so that the others wouldn't hear. 'Maybe we should head to LA or something, Angel's. He's got a big enough place for all these girls to catch some rest. And maybe we can head to a hospital as well. Wood and some of the other's need some medical attention.'
Giles nodded in agreement, turning the key in the ignition as he did. Time to begin a journey. Both physically and mentally. Buffy looked up from Giles and back down at everyone on the bus, once again. First Willow, and Kennedy, in each other's arms, Willow's voice speaking soothingly into Kennedy's ear, and Kennedy's eyes glowing at her every word. Then Xander. His eyes, his self, so far away, probably thinking about Anya. Andrew; the same, still wondering why he made it and she didn't. Dawn, perhaps confused, perhaps contented. Then potentials. Shannon, Rona, Vy…potentials, just a handful but there were so many. So scared, so skilful and so scarily destined. Only their destiny would be more of an anti-climax because the centre for evil had been crushed.
Her eyes continued looking over each and every individual, pausing to have a thought about each. Still, she hadn't learned all of their names. But she was aware of a few she did know that were missing. Amanda, for example. Her gut strained to think. She didn't have to die. But so didn't a lot of other people. Soon her gaze came to rest upon Faith. An interesting sight. Beside Wood, holding a cloth to his wounded stomach, and a nervous look in her eye. Buffy's mind rested on the thought of them having each other for just a moment, and that was when she realised. Spike. He really was gone.
It must've been four or five hours since she'd been awake, her senses a dull murmur and a mesh of confusion and anxiety ever since those last hours back in Sunnydale. Her eyes came open to a continuous moving field; just grass; grass…grass…a gas station. Then grass. They were nowhere. Just as they had been when the bus parked outside of Sunnydale. Nowhere. She was achy, like post-nap achy. And she was a little disorientated. At first she didn't realise she was on a bus, until she looked at her immediate surroundings. Oh yes. It took her a moment to re-absorb the day's events. Quite eventful. She found herself shuffling in her seat to get a little more comfortable, when her eyes rested on Faith and Wood once again, their seat a few back from her on the adjacent side of the bus.
She couldn't help but wonder what the future might be like for the two of them. Faith was showing definite signs of wanting to stay with him, to perhaps have something with him, and she couldn't help but think that this was odd of Faith. Her usual 'get some, get gone' routine perhaps had been grown out of. Maybe Faith was beginning to think realistically too.
She perhaps was staring for too long, because moments later, Faith was staring right back at her, maybe a little concerned at Buffy's continuous gaze. A smile crept its way up onto Faith's lips, understanding, friendly…warming.
Again, she couldn't hold that gaze once she knew Faith was looking back at her, and relinquished it to her upturned palms, bloody, dirty, in need of a thorough scrub, just like the remainder of her body.
She didn't have a chance to ease herself out of the nervous feeling she'd gotten from making eye contact with Faith as Willow had slipped into the free space beside her, offering a couple of words she guessed.
She tapped Xander's shoulder, his snoozing form momentarily troubled, though eased up from its brief seize of being disturbed. 'You okay?' she mouthed to him and he nodded a little, before assuming his previous position.
Now me, Buffy thought, guessing that was Willow's reason for sliding into the seat beside her. 'Hey,' she started, her expression reading the same question that Xander had been asked.
'Hey, Will,' she said, her throat dry and her tone gravely.
'Are you okay?' she asked after a few seconds of the two sitting in silence, to which the blonde slayer nodded.
She released a sigh, obvious in how she honestly was feeling. Tired, defeated, worried. As much as the war was over, there was still everything else. Fixing the wounded, finding a place to stay. The rest of their lives.
'So LA, huh? Gonna see what they think of us…' she mused, having just passed a signpost saying 'LA, 34.'
I nodded. 'I guess. Just gotta hope Angel's okay with us moving in for a while.'
She smiled. 'I heard he was in Sunnydale for a little while.'
It suddenly dawned on her that she hadn't told anybody about Angel offering to help. Only to Spike.
'Yeah…I heard Spike mumbling something about him a couple of nights ago. Didn't sound very positive…'
I raised my eyebrows momentarily. 'Uh, yeah…Angel and I er…kind of…had a moment. I think Spike saw. I think he was jealous.'
Willow visibly frowned, seemingly calculating some possibly misconstrued error of the state of Buffy an Angel's relationship.
'A vampire, creature of the dark; evil and peroxide gets jealous because he doesn't have dibs on the slayer, jealous cos perhaps the better vampire – might I add more sensible in his choice of hair colouring – makes a classy reappearance to snuggle up to the slayer. Hmm. It's really a comic situation.'
Apparently not as comical as Willow thought, or perhaps Buffy would have laughed, smiled, or maybe even acknowledged the aforementioned statement. Instead, a perturbed and quietly affected expression settled upon her, and when Willow saw this, she placed a hand upon the blondes, and offered a slight crease of the eyebrow, showing the small slayer that she knew what she was going through her mind,
'He did a very brave thing, Buffy. We all felt it,' she uttered meekly, tightening her grasp a fraction once her sentence was through.
Buffy furrowed her eyebrows, contemplating Willow's words, and the actual event. A moment of warmth, truth, pure elemental grace, that would stay with her; that would forever be her final moment with him. In his purest form. She tilted her head as that image of concentrated golden light reflected from that special pendant came back to her, reminded her of how it hung proudly from his neck, and crumbled the underworld, destroyed the many evils that could potentially have destroyed the entire world.
Willow noticed Buffy unresponsive, thoughtfulness, and silently decided it was time to leave her alone. 'Let me know, you know. When you're ready to talk,' she said to her quietly, watching her for any response, though was hardly surprised when there came none.
And that was the joy of Buffy's friends. They always just knew. And in this particular case, they all knew it was time to move on, that they had no other choice but to do so, and that in doing so, maybe there was a better life out there for them.
It took no genius though to figure out what was going through their minds. Anxiety, disbelief, perhaps. Reality. But each of them had something to hold on to, as Buffy saw, looking around at everyone on the bus once more. And she couldn't help but notice how Faith's hand clung to Wood's. Perhaps finally she did have someone. A small tingle penetrated Buffy's body, in just knowing that.
The drive to LA was long and exhausting, even a little nostalgic for Faith, as she remembered this was the place she was supposed to spend the rest of her life. But as the small group of fighters rode down street upon street, the will to rest and to forget was growing stronger upon them.
Xander had changed over from driving to allow Giles some rest, although Buffy had seen the unchanging expression upon him; anxiety, fear. And she knew that would bring about insomnia. She gazed at him, long and slow, taking in his indolent form, and the subtle reflection of perhaps a glint of satisfaction. After all, their days of war were finally over.
The night was beginning to settle in, a marvellous navy blue and polished purple defining the sky, free of cloud, but the sun under temporary suspension as the glowing moon had its turn. An unpropitious and noiseless shift had exercised itself for quite some time on the bus. Those who had settled in to sleep, or quiet contemplation had remained that way throughout the journey. All of the enthusiasm and vehement attitude from the potentials had dissipated, as if this event would forever remind them of their ignorance in looking upon the world; now they had a duty, and as they had all discovered earlier on, it was not all happiness and smiles. It shook them, changed them, forced them to literally grow up. And in such a short space of time, too.
Xander's memory of how to reach Angel's was transparently indented in his mind. Not that he often visited, but he had marked it down as the second most important place next to Sunnydale in needing to be to fight. It was the second front. Knowing where it was had always been a priority.
A few lights surrounded the large abandoned place; accentuating its remaining features in its abandonment; the overgrown bushes and beautifully structured shape of the hotel.
Suddenly the keys were out of the engine and people were shuffling, waking, murmuring. Xander took this opportunity to rest for a couple of seconds, whilst Buffy rose from her seat to explain the situation to everyone. And as her weary self employed an explanatory tone, she thought of how everyone upon this bus would at last be able to rest. Soon there were people piling off the bus, and collecting just outside. Faith and Wood were among a handful of people left, knowing that the next stop for them was the hospital.
For a moment Buffy wondered why Faith had not gotten off the bus. But then as her eyes caught Buffy's own, a perceptive understanding filled her. She quietly nodded and headed off the bus, and soon Xander was turning the bus back on, and heading for ER.
She couldn't help but watch as the bus disappeared from her view. Only this time she wouldn't have to worry if those on the bus would return. Or maybe she did. Some were wounded pretty badly, for instance Wood, but she decided that if they had survived for a whole day on a hot and stuffy bus with little to no medical attention, they would live.
She took definite footsteps towards the entrance of the hotel, and tentatively pushed the doors to once she reached them. Through all of the anxiety over what was next for her and everyone else, she was still feeling iffy about Angel. After the entire cookies discussion she'd felt that maybe there was something she may have started between them, especially considering the pressing question in her life now had become, "What Next?"
It was as if the Angel crew knew. They were a handful of them just inside the foyer, chatting maybe, and the moment she and the others entered, their eyes were on her, portraying the same look. They'd made it.