Okay...I know I said I'd have another chapter before the grand(ish) finale, but a lot of people seemed to think Chapter 28 was the end. So, I'm assuming that that was a good place to stop, and...I'm stopping. I'm getting good reviews, I sure don't wanna push my luck! If you want, I can put in another chapter detailing what else went on at the hospital; it wasn't that interesting.
Until then, please enjoy the epilogue. And thanks for reading.
(By the way, in case you're wondering, the info Giles wanted Buffy to find was an entry he'd made about the upcoming Cruciamentum. Wesley and Traverse are gonna get a nasty surprise.)
The bus radio was playing a slow, mournful tune that perfectly fit the day. It was a cloudy, gray day. It would probably rain, soon. Buffy, Willow, Xander, Oz, and Cordelia all sat near to each other in the old, beat-up Greyhound Bus as it rumbled on its way towards Los Angeles.
"The winter here's cold, and bitter.
It's chilled us to the bone.
We haven't seen the sun for weeks.
Too long, too far from home."
"What are you going to tell your Mom, Buffy?" asked Willow.
Her mother had never come to the hospital. Never visited. Never called. Buffy smiled blandly. "If she reads the note, that's what I tell her. What are you going to tell your's, Will?"
Willow smiled just as blandly back at her. "I just told her I'd keep up on my school work. She told me not to do any drugs. I think she sorta blocked out the argument at the hospital. She's in mom-denial."
"Mine don't give a damn," said Xander simply, staring out the window. "I told 'em I wouldn't get arrested and I'd come back alive."
"I told mine I was going on a college trip," said Cordelia. "Mom was on the phone and wouldn't have heard if a meteor had hit the house, so I'm good."
"And mine are out of town anyway," said Oz.
"I feel just like I'm sinking
And I claw for solid ground.
I'm pulled down by the undertow.
Never thought I could feel so low."
"But what about you, Buffy?" asked Willow.
Buffy shrugged, staring out at the rolling landscape. "No clue. My Dad's in L.A. Maybe he can back me up. Or take me in."
"Don't say that, Buffy," said Willow earnestly. "She's your mom. You've just gotta give her some time to understand."
"Of course, the fact that you didn't even bother to tell her where you're going might give her a heart attack," said Cordelia dryly. "Which would render the entire problem moot."
"Shut up, Cordy," said Xander idly.
"Kendra can explain things to Mom. Kendra can look after Sunnydale, too. It's a plus of having an extra Slayer on the rota. I left most of my weapons, and Giles', and all of his books," said Buffy confidently.
"Oh darkness I feel like letting go.
If all of the strength and all of the courage I know I could love you much better than this."
Come and lift me from this place
I know I could love you much better than this."
"Los Angeles," Buffy murmured. "City of a million souls. It's where it all started for me. The Slaying. The fighting. The tough stuff."
"Good a place as any to start looking," said Oz.
"For two evil bloodsucking vampires," said Xander.
Buffy smiled fondly at her friends. "Yeah…but I think with me…with us…they bit off way more than they could chew."
"Full of grace…
Full of grace…
"You know…" said Cordelia musingly. "I wonder if you'll get a new Watcher. I mean, whoever runs this whole show doesn't seem too keen on a Slayer wandering around without someone nagging her."
"That's true," Xander said.
Buffy shrugged. "I probably will get a new Watcher someday."
"And…?" asked Willow tentatively.
"And you know what? I don't need him."
Buffy stared hard at her friends. "I've done all that I did the last few months without a Watcher. I don't need another one. I don't want another one. I don't want to see another one die. But if the Council insists…" She grinned. "I'll just have to do a little re-training, now won't I?"
Xander nodded. "Right. Teach him how to do things the Scooby-way."
"We have a way?" asked Cordelia.
"Course we do," said Oz.
"And it's a good way," added Willow.
"So it's better this way, I said
Having seen this place before
Where everything we said and did
Hurts us all the more.
It's just that we stayed, too long
In the same old sickly skin."
"Still got a long way to go," said Oz.
"But we'll get there," said Buffy confidently.
"And what do we do when we get there?" asked Cordelia "I mean…we'll need hotel rooms, food, clothes…"
"We'll decide once we get there," said Buffy confidently. "We'll work it out."
"I'm pulled down by the undertow.
I never thought I could feel so low.
Oh darkness I feel like letting go."
They were silent for a while, until the song started its final, sad verse. Willow hesitantly sang with it. Then Oz, slipping an arm around her shoulder, joined in. Xander followed, and Cordelia rather ruined the effect by joining the growing chorus.
But Buffy didn't care. She sang with her friends, even as most of the bus turned to stare at them. Stare at the five teenagers, clutching suitcases on a bus to L.A.
"If all of the strength
and all of the courage
come and lift me from this place
I know I could love you much better than this…
Full of grace…
Full of grace…
We are now leaving Sunnydale, California.
But we'll be back soon.
...The end. Um...
I would like to thank all my reviewers. I would like to give them all an Oscar, but that's kinda hard to do over the Internet. I mean, being reviewed every chapter was huge motivation. Sorry I wasn't as consistent as I wanted, but school is killing me.
I might re-do invidual episodes along this line, but apart from that...no. This story, as good as it turned out, was exhausting to write.
So, thank you for reviewing. Thanks for reading. Thank you for not hating me for killing off both Giles and Angel. Hope you enjoyed yourselves.