Part Nine

June 2008

"Thank you," she whispered.

"You're welcome. I'm glad it was a surprise."

"It was. You're the best boyfriend a girl could ask for."

"That's good because you're stuck with me."

"Such a sacrifice, too."

"Would you two quit with the mushy stuff. We're supposed to be partying, living it up."

Buffy rolled her eyes and glanced at Xander.

"What? It's kind of creepy seeing you kiss him. I know he's not Dead Boy, but alarm bells clang in my head at the thought."

Buffy understood where Xander was coming from. She kept waiting for things to blow up in her face. Not only had she spent the six days with Seeley after they'd made love without any catastrophes happening but she was happy. She had just graduated from college. Her things were packed and tomorrow she was leaving for Washington, D.C. Her house had sold so she had nothing holding her to Columbus.

Seeley hadn't gotten any real memories back. He continued to have dreams but that was the extent of it. They were memories in a way she supposed. And she couldn't help but wonder if there was a reason he didn't remember. She did her best to answer what questions she could. Oddly, he and Giles had formed some sort of long distance bonding as Giles had access to Angel's history that Buffy didn't.

Things were probably better without him remembering all of the bad things he'd done. She didn't begin to understand it. She'd told him about Connor. She had to. As far as she knew, he hadn't done anything with the knowledge. She couldn't blame him. At least she couldn't be accused of keeping something pretty major from him.

The only thing Giles had found while researching Seeley's situation was a prophecy about a vampire with a soul Shanshuing. Giles wasn't sure what exactly it meant, but the general interpretation seemed to imply that he would die to live again as a human. As she herself had proven over the years, prophecies were tricky things.

His explanation for Buffy and Seeley finding one another again was far less complicated. Fate. Angel got his reward for his participation in the Apocalypse. To be human again. Buffy got hers. To be with the man she loved. Forever. And this time they had a legitimate chance at forever. She loved this man. Seeley, whether he had parts of Angel inside of him or not.

He kissed her and she smiled brightly. He had insisted on a dinner to celebrate her graduation. She had been pleasantly surprised that he'd arranged for Giles, Willow, Xander, Dawn, Faith, and Robin to get to Columbus. He'd done it behind her back. She tried to act as though she didn't care about graduating, but she was thrilled. She never thought she'd actually do it. The odds were stacked against her. And yet she'd done it. And now here she was, surrounded by her friends about to drag her hot boyfriend to the dance floor.

She'd felt pretty good after defeating the First. But that didn't compare to this. There had been tremendous loss. Spike, Anya, and many of the potential slayers had died. Today was all about goodness. There was no suffering, no one had died. They could have fun, kick back, celebrate. It was a wonderful feeling. She had no idea what was going to happen when she got to D.C. She was moving in with Seeley until they could find something bigger.

She wasn't sure how busy things would be for her slaying-wise there, but Giles agreed with her that she was to a point where unless it was something she stumbled across she was done. Seeley didn't mind that she was strong. In fact, he said he looked forward to getting her to his gym so they could spar. She looked forward to it, too. There was something about a man who wasn't afraid to get his ass kicked by his woman that was endearing.

He let her lead him to the dance floor. Willow, Xander, Robin and Faith joined them. Giles stayed at the table, not that she was surprised by that. They were here tonight to have fun. Tomorrow they would scatter around the world again. She had no idea when she'd see them again. Email kept them close but it wasn't the same. She even found that she missed Faith of all people.

She was glad to see she wasn't the only one hit by the happiness bug. Buffy couldn't remember ever seeing Faith look happier. Maybe defeating the First had altered the whole doomed thing they seemed to have going on the hellmouth. Or, maybe it was just getting away from the hellmouth.

The music went from a fast song to a slow one and Buffy went instantly into Seeley's arms.

"I can't believe how perfect this night is. How perfect this whole year has been."

"Me either. I told Rebecca about you."

"You did?"

"Well, you'll be living with me I kind of had to."

"Oh right. And?"

"She's surprised and wants to meet you before letting Parker come over."

"Understandable."

"I thought so. I'm glad you agree."

"I'd do the same thing if he were my son."

"You have nice friends."

"They are pretty great. Thanks for saying so. I wouldn't be alive today if it weren't for them. All of them."

"I'll have to thank them then."

"They're my family."

"So that means they're my family, too."

"It does?"

"Well, when two people get married they blend families."

"Married?"

"Mm, yes, did I forget to mention that little detail about your moving in with me?"

"Why, yes, Special Agent Booth, you withheld pertinent information."

"Confiscate my badge."

"I was thinking more along the line of your cuffs. I don't think I can do much with your badge."

"You have a naughty streak, Miss Summers."

She kissed him deeply.

"So, tell me again about this plan."

"You, me, marriage, kids, a house, a dog."

"I like the sounds of that. I can't wait to get started."

"Me, too, Buffy, me, too."

The End