Today is the day that the star of the story has been looking forward to for the last couple of weeks. Today is the day they're leaving Sunnydale and heading off for Northwestern University. Buffy woke up very early this morning at the ungodly hour of seven thirty. She pouted for a while because it was the first morning in the last couple of weeks when Faith wasn't with her. Her better half stayed the night at her foster parents' house for one last dinner with the people she'll always consider family.

After she moped for a good fifteen minutes she got up and took a shower, and got dressed in a casual outfit. Since they're going to be in the truck for so long she went for complete comfort. Nothing about the t-shirt-jeans-sneakers combo is for looks. After applying a little make up she packed what little belongings were left in her room and put them in the duffle bag. She got a little nostalgic as she stood in the doorway of her bedroom. She thought of all the good times she had in there.

'I remember when Faith got all Romeo on me and climbed up to my window because she needed to see me. Then we got caught making out and Mom grounded me for like two months, which was so unfair! I didn't know Faith was going to show up like that, and it would've been totally rude to make her leave. I kind of wish we had waited until after the summer ended to have sex. Then it would've happened here. Then again probably not because Mom would've paid Dawn to spy on me or something.

And I remember lying on the bed just holding hands. We would stare up at the ceiling and just talk for hours about nothing in particular. And then I asked if she ever wanted to have kids and she almost choked on her own spit. Now that was really funny. I think I'll mention kids a little more often just to see what she does. I mean, we're going to have a life together and eventually I do want a little hoodlum running around causing trouble. Those were some good times.'

Then she ate breakfast with her family and had to fight back the tears when her mother started to cry. Although if you ask me they were tears of joy at the thought of the annoying blonde finally leaving the house. 'Would you shut up? This is a really important day for me and you're totally ruining it with your bad attitude. Can't you just be happy for once in your life?' When you die I'll be happy. 'I can't believe you sometimes. Maybe you should go to a therapist or something. It's obvious you have a lot of issues. Sometimes you can be so ugly.' Your face is ugly. Ohhhhhhhh, burn.

"Honey, is everything alright?" she hears her mother ask, and the sound of her voice snaps the little blonde back into reality. "You've been a little spacey this morning. Do you need to go lie down for a while? Because there's nothing wrong with staying for an hour to two longer then you plan." She smiles a little bit at the way her mom is acting. 'See, she wants me to stay. She's trying to find an excuse for me to stay longer.'

"Thanks, Mom, but I'm fine. Today is just such a big day and it's hard to wrap my brain around." Well if you had a brain it would probably be a little easier. "I'm sure once Faith gets here it'll be a little better." Buffy and her mom are going over a list of things that the blonde will need when she reaches the campus. There isn't enough room in Faith's truck to pack more then what she already has and new supplies for the dorm will be needed. "I don't know about this one, Mom. Do I really need a new table lamp?" The list isn't very long but this isn't so much about the list as it is spending some last minute mother-daughter time together.

"Yes, Buffy you do. There isn't room for the one you have, and your roommate might not bring one. And you'll need a brightly lit desk for when you study for all of your classes." 'Oh yeah, 'cause that's going to be so much fun.' "You'll probably be too busy keeping up on your schoolwork to go partying. And if you do party you'll be responsible. No drinking, or taking any drugs."

"Of course not. You're right, I'll be too busy doing my work to go partying." The older blonde doesn't look very convinced. She sighs a little bit and rubs her forehead. She's been debating with herself all morning on just how much wisdom to pass on to the younger Summers. She doesn't want to encourage her daughter to misbehave but she doesn't want her going in blind, either.

"Well, just remember that for every drink you don't have, drink two glasses of water, and take some aspirin before you go to bed. And if you need to get sick, from all of the alcohol you didn't have, don't fight it or it'll just be worst." 'Wow, she's actually telling me this isn't she?' Buffy asks, and raises her eyebrows in surprise. "Never eat chips from a communal bowl because you never know who else has stuck their hand inside. And remember, never take your purse. Put your id in your back pocket, along with a little cash, but don't ever take your purse with you because you might lose it, and it'll be impossible to get back." 'Wow, this is actually pretty good advice.'

"Ok, no purse. Got it," she says with a little smile. She looks into her mothers smiling eyes and the two have a little moment. 'I just realized I'm going to be too far away to see my mom when I need to. I know for the most part I'm grown up, but sometimes I still need to talk to my mom. Maybe I should have stayed here and gone to UC Sunnydale. It's a pretty good school, and it's close to here. Faith would've been able to stay here to see her foster family. Maybe going to Northwestern will do more harm then good.'

"And I know you don't like confrontation, but don't be passive aggressive with your roommate. If she's doing something that bothers you just sit down and talk with her about it like adults. Don't leave little notes like 'Buffy's food Do Not Eat', because that will only make the situation worst." 'Ok that sounded really silly but I can see where she's coming from.' The little blonde nods her head and lets out a tiny sad sigh. "Oh sweetie, everything is going to be ok." She smiles a little when her mother gently lays a hand on her cheek. "Once you get used to everything it won't be so scary."

"Kind of like high school, right?" I ask and she nods her head. 'Only in high school you get to go home after a long day of dealing with teachers and other kids. But this is college, not high school. All of the drama of cliques and sitting at the 'cool' table is long gone. I'm going to make some friends that I have a lot in common with and they'll be cool with my relationship with Faith. And who knows, maybe they'll be a little older and know where all the good parties are. I think Faith would like that a lot,' she thinks and jumps up when she hears the doorbell ring.

She runs to the door and just beats Dawn from answering it herself. 'What is with her? I swear, she has a crush on Faith, she just doesn't want to admit it,' she thinks and glares at her little sister and then opens the door with a big smile on her face. The smile gets a little bigger when she sees Faith standing there with a single white rose. 'Ahhh, she's so sweet it's almost scary.' She steps out onto the porch and gives the brunette a big hug. Now that her better half is here she's feels a little less nervous a lot more excited.

"Hey baby, what took you so long to get here? I thought you said you would pick me up at nine-thirty?" she asks with a little pout on her face. The pout disappears when Faith kisses her. It's a pretty chaste kiss compared to some of the others that they've shared, but since Dawn is standing there watching them Faith doesn't want to take it too far. She knows how noisy Buffy can get when she's really enjoying herself. When they pull back from the kiss the blonde has a little smile on her face. "Is that for me?" She looks down at the flower with a hopeful look on her face.

"Sorry babe, but no. It's for your mom." Buffy gives her a weird look and Faith just sighs a little bit. "Do I have to explain this to everyone?" Buffy just nods her head, and then smiles at her fiancé's irritated look. "I figured since I'm runnin off with her oldest daughter, her precious little baby girl." That part is said in a baby-ish tone and it makes Buffy chuckle a little bit. "That I'd buy her a white rose as, like a symbol of truce. Giving her a white flag woulda been a little weird. And come on, who doesn't love getting flowers?"

"That's true," Buffy says and she gets a really sappy smile on her face. "You're just so damn sweet sometimes, I just wanna eat you up." She wiggles her eyebrows a little bit and they both chuckle a little bit. The laughter stops when they hear Dawn making a gagging noise behind them. "I didn't mean it like that." Yes you did. 'Ok, I did but she doesn't need to know that.' But she already knows. She made a noise suggesting what you and Faith do in the bedroom grosses her out. That means she knows. 'Oh just stop up. You're so annoying.'

"So did you wanna hang out for a little while longer or just hit the road?" the brunette asks and Buffy is suddenly hit with the reality that this is the last time she'll be at her mom's house. At least until November when she comes back for Thanksgiving. Faith can see the worry all over her face and she's quick to comfort her. "Don't worry, B. You're gonna be too busy falling asleep in class, and studying your ass off to be thinkin about how much you miss home."

"Yeah Buffy," Dawns says and then gets a sly grin on her face. "Besides it wouldn't hurt if you lost some of your ass." Her older sister whips around and gives her a death glare. That only makes the preteen laugh with evil joy. "What? It's not my fault you haven't done anything lately except sit around and eat junk food all day." It's true, she has put on a little weight stressing about what college life is going to be like. When Buffy starts to pout Faith is quick to jump in.

"Don't listen to her B. You're perfect," she says and gently wraps her arms around the shorter girl's waist. She lets her freehand slip down and she firmly cups the blonde's slightly bigger ass. She leans in so she can whisper into her ear. "Besides I like that it's bigger. It gives me something to hold onto when we trib." She chuckles at Buffy's blush and the littlest Summers gets a look of confusion on her face.

"You just said something about sex, didn't you?" Before either teen can reply the matriarch of the house shows up and she doesn't look too happy at what her twelve-year-old just said.

"Faith," she says and crosses her arms over her chest. "We were wondering when you were going to show up." She raises an eyebrow, and watches as Faith squirms a little bit. She really has no problem with Faith. Especially since she's been able to see how much the girl really does care for her daughter. She just likes taking her down a peg or two since she's always been very cocky.

"Yeah, I woulda been here on time, but things at Bill and Judy's got a little emotional. Tanner didn't want me to leave. Took Bill and Marcus both to pry him off my leg." She smiles a little bit at the memory of saying goodbye to her family. She never really thought they cared about her that much. Being in the foster system has taught her not to trust when people say they love her, or care about her. 'Because it's just something adults say so you'll trust them. Most of them don't really mean it.' "Here," she says and holds out the flower. "I got that for you."

"Oh it's lovely. Thank you, dear. Not that I mind, but what's the occasion?" Joyce asks and brings the very pretty flower up to her nose and she gives it a little whiff. She smiles at the musky smell and she watches as the brunette blushes about two shades of red. 'The only time I've seen her blush that hard when was I caught her with her hand down Buffy's pants.' She smiles a little more because Faith blushing is always a cute thing to see.

"It's sort of a peace offerin. We haven't always gotten along, and I don't wanna leave if there's any bad blood between us." The older woman looks a little surprised at Faith's maturity since the teenage girl is always joking around at every chance she gets. It's very rare to see her like this, that's for sure. "Plus I'm gonna be comin back with B durin the holidays and I was hopin I'd be able to stay here." She looks a little nervous on this one. She's spent the last couple of weeks here at Buffy's but the other day Joyce walked in on the two of them during a quickie and now she's not so sure if she'll be allowed inside.

"Of course Faith," Joyce says with a small smile. "You're always welcome to stay on the couch." She chuckles a little bit at the dejected look on both of the girls' faces, and she rolls her eyes a little bit. "You two are so gullible. I'm only teasing dear. Just as long as you keep your..." she pauses a moment to figure out exactly how to word this with a twelve-year-old standing next to her. "Affection for each other in the bedroom instead of in my kitchen I have no problem with you staying here."

"Ewww! You guys had sex in the kitchen? I'm never eating in there again." Joyce and Faith laugh at that, but Buffy looks very uncomfortable. 'I don't want my little sister knowing stuff like that. It isn't right. It's bad enough my mom walked in on it. I knew we shouldn't have done it. It's all Faith's fault.' Excuse me? It was your idea. 'No it wasn't. I wanted to go upstairs where there's a nice lock on the door.' No, that was Faith's idea. You didn't want to wait. 'Whatever you're insane.' Do I need to cut to a flashback? Because I will.

"Just let me get my bag, and then we should get going," the little blonde says. "If we wait too much longer there might be a lot of traffic." She runs inside and grabs her duffle bag, and the list of things she'll need off the dining room table. She stuffs the list inside one of the pockets on the bag, and heads back outside. When she gets there she sees her mother standing on the porch with tears in her eyes. She instantly gets teary eyed, and wraps her mother in a huge hug.

"Be safe," she whispers and gives her daughter a kiss on the side of her head. "And remember to get good grades. I'm not paying a small fortune so you can party every night." She laughs a little bit and gives her mom a kiss on the cheek. After they pull back from the hug Joyce leaves a kiss on her baby girl's forehead. 'She's acting like I'm never coming back again,' she thinks and walks over to her little sister. She takes a moment to just look at the girl standing in front of her.

She notices the changes that have been happening over the last few weeks as nature has been taking its course. Her hips are starting to take shape, starting the formation of an hour glass figure. Her legs have gotten impossibly longer, and a training bra is needed for her budding breasts. 'Great, I'm leaving a cute little sister and when I get back she's going to be a bitchy teenager complete with pms and an obsession with boys. Why can't she just be little Dawnie? I like her just the way she is.' She pulls her sister into a big hug, and she smiles a little when the little brunette hugs her back just as tightly.

"Don't grow up too much while I'm gone, ok?" she says with a playful smile. Her smile gets a little bigger when she hears her baby sister sniffle. "Ahh, don't worry Dawnie. I'm going to write you letters all the time. And I'll make sure to call as much as I can, ok?" She gently rubs the younger girl's back. "Besides there is one really good thing to all of this that you're forgetting about." They pull back from the hug and Dawn wipes away the straying tears that are trying to escape down her cheeks.

"What's that?" she asks and sniffles again. The tip of her nose is turning really red and Buffy has to bite back the urge to call her Rudolph like she used to when they were younger. 'Wow, I was a mean big sister. Maybe that's why she's such a pest. Nah, I don't that's it. I think she was put on this planet just to annoy the hell out of me.'

"You can't read my diary when it's in Illinois." They both laugh a little at that. Buffy gives her one more hug and when they pull apart they walk down the walkway to Faith's truck. It still looks like a beat up piece of crap, but she's spent almost all of her money she's gained in the last couple of years fixing it up. There's no guarantee it'll get them all the way to Illinois but dammit they're going to try. When they reach the end of the walkway Buffy's mother hugs her yet again. The tears are gone, but are threatening to make another appearance.

"I love you," Joyce says and smiles when she hears her daughter say it back. She pulls back from the hug and gently brushes some of Buffy's hair out of her face. She leaves a kiss on her daughter's cheek and then opens the door for her. Buffy hops in and puts her bag behind the seat. The older woman then closes the truck door, and she looks over at Faith who's already sitting in the driver's seat. "Faith…" she starts, but she can't finish because of the lump in her throat.

"I know, Mrs. S. I'll take care of her," she says and starts up the truck. It comes to life with a loud roar like sound, and some of the neighbors' dogs start barking wildly for the interruption of their mid morning naps. "We'll see you guys in November." They all wave goodbye and Faith starts off down the road. She glances over at the blonde sitting next to her, and she can't help but smile at the little pout on her face. "Oh, come on, B. It's not like we're never comin back. Besides, girlfriend, you're a college girl now. College girls are all about the giddy joy, and flashing people with video cameras." Buffy starts laughing and Faith joins in.

"I guess you're right about the giddy joy part. It's time to just grow up and face reality. It's not like I was going to live there forever." 'Because if I want to start a family with Faith then we're going to need our own house. If we're going to learn to be quiet when we make love then we're going to need lots and lots of practice, that way we won't wake our children up. And it would be totally embarrassing to do all of that practicing with Mom and Dawn in the house because they could walk in on it. I think I'm going to like college after all.'