Chapter 9

A/N: I acknowledge the fact that I do not own BTVS and KTE, damn it. I also recognize that I do not own any of the recognizable characters of either show. However, any original characters are mine to use and abuse as I see fit.

Thank you to all that have taken the time to read my story, left reviews, and/or added me to a list or alert. It was incredibly kind of you to do so. I really do appreciate the helpful comments or the quick pick-me-ups that have been left. Thanks.

Warnings: I think I only cussed once or twice in this chapter.

The next two weeks flew by in a blur. He spent the time, when not at work, getting his bank account information transferred to San Francisco, switching his cell phone number to a San Francisco area code, and trying to convince his parents to leave Sunnydale.

Much to his disappointment, his parents refused to listen to his words, claiming that they were fine where they were. However, Tony and Marie both proclaimed that they were happy for their son that he was leaving to go out and start his life away from Sunnydale. They knew that Sunnydale held no real future for their son and wished the best for him. Sadly, Xander knew that he had no choice to accept their decision, no matter how foolish it was. He did make sure that his mother had his new cell phone number. It was the best he could do for them under the circumstances.

He spent the remainder of his time working during the day and going through his belongings at night. The others didn't call him to go to the Bronze, go on patrol, or help with research. It hurt knowing that the others already considered him gone and out of their lives, but he knew that it was for the best. It made the break easier for him; easier to leave his old life behind.

He also spent time on the phone talking to Emily. She asked how his day had gone, what kind of television shows he liked, what his opinion on the latest political shenanigans taking place in Washington were. She was sincerely interested in what he had to day. Xander also asked her about her likes and dislikes. It was nice to just talk to another person about normal stuff, and to have one's feelings honestly reciprocated.

She offered advice when asked, cared about his feelings, and treated him as something more than a Zeppo. There was a respect and closeness between them that didn't exist between him and Anya, or even Buffy and the others.

Finally, Saturday rolled around, his departure day from the Hellmouth. Much to his disappointment, nobody bothered to see him off. His mom and dad were busy sleeping off a night of heavy drinking and would not be available for an eight in the morning departure time. The girls, Buffy and Willow, were still pissed at him for leaving and refused to do anything to encourage his desire for independence, least of all, say good by. However, the two people who did show up were the last ones he would have ever expected to see him off.

Giles and Dawn came by. They showed up, despite the early hour and despite the semi-crappy way he had treated Dawn.

"Does Buffy know you're here?" Xander asked, looking between the middle aged man and the young girl.

Dawn shook her head. "No, but Mom does. Thanks for coming to say good-bye to her the other day. That was real nice. I'm sorry that I missed you then. Buffy won't talk about you leaving at all and is being a bitch about everything," she cringed slightly at Giles' heavy sigh. "Anyway, I just wanted to tell you good luck and Giles said he'd bring me."

Xander scuffed the toe of his tennis shoe on the ground. "I'm sorry that I was so short with you back at the magic shop. I was mad and I didn't mean for it to come out the way it did."

Dawn didn't say anything, but instead wrapped her too skinny arms around his torso and squeezed as hard as she could. By the time they broke apart, Dawn was openly crying and Xander felt tears form in his eyes.

Next was Giles.

Xander stuck out his hand. "Thanks for bringing Dawn and well, thanks for, well, everything. For a stuffy Brit, you aren't too bad."

"You've come a long way Xander in the time we've known each other. I know I've been a bit short with you lately, but I honestly thought it was for the best to keep you out of things," Giles replied, clasping Xander's hand warmly. "The others' pride is hurt Xander, don't judge them too harshly."

"It's not a matter of me judging them; it's their judgment of me. I'm tired of being a third wheel to Buffy. I have a chance to change my life, for the better, and it's time for me to move on," Xander said, his voice even. "Take care of yourself, the both of you."

"Be careful Xander. San Francisco can be a strange place sometimes," Giles advised.

"Yeah," was all he would say in response; there didn't seem to be much more that he could say.

After that, it was all very anti-climatic. The car was packed, the tank full of gas (no half pack of cigarettes though), and his shades were on. With a cheerless sigh and smile, he took one last look at his childhood home. Once that was done he climbed into his car and started the engine. He slowly backed out of the driveway and started the long drive to his new life.

He passed the graveyards where he had spent countless nights on patrol with Buffy, the approximate spot where he had staked Jesse, the near-by park where he and Willow had passed many of their childhood afternoons playing hide and seek. Driving past the high school was cheerless, seeing the burnt-out shell that he helped create. He drove past the Bronze, recalling all of the times he had gone there with the others. All in all, it was a memory trip that brought back so many memories, both good and bad

Finally, he made it outside of the city, speeding past the sign thanking people for visiting Sunnydale and asking them to come again. Snorting in half-disgust and half-amusement, he vowed that by leaving Sunnydale, he was leaving everything behind, starting fresh. No more Buffy and the Scoobies, no more weekly Apocalypses, no more Hellmouth crap he thought. No longer the Zeppo, he vowed as he tore his eyes away from the rear-view mirror and concentrated on the road ahead of him and his new future with Emily and the Kindred.

The End (for now).

A/N: Thank you to everyone that wrote such kind things in their review. I really appreciate it. It was fun to write and helped stave off the insanity that comes with my life.

I tried to fix the harshness between Xander and Dawn. It's a tad cheesy, I think, but I did agree with what the others said about it and wanted it to be less harsh. Besides, the character of Dawn seemed to me to be one to not carry grudges against others and Giles was the father figure, and I figured he would want to see his "son" off, despite everything. Originally, nobody came to see Xander off and it was very anti-climatic.

I do have a sequel in mind and have it already outlined (its amazing what one will do in boring staff and professional development meetings to keep from screaming due to boredom). I do plan on showing Xander being Embraced and Xander will be a darker character, hopefully without going over the top and being clich├ęd about it. I promise there will be lots of swearing, pissy attitudes, and a massive meltdown between Xander and the others. Any opinions, questions, concerns, etc. about this? I always appreciate constructive criticism and ideas. I'll probably work on it over the holiday breaks. Anyway, thanks again for coming along on my wacky trip into BTVS crossover fan fiction. Thank you and have a blessed day.

Cheers (and merry Christmas and a happy New Year's to all)!

Shannon K