Boys (and girls) of Summer: Epilogue

Wednesday August 5, 1998; Sunnydale General Hospital, Early AM.

"You guys should look into getting group discounts here," Faith remarked. She slumped tiredly into a chair in the emergency room waiting area.

"We've tried, but you wouldn't believe how many concussion coupons it takes for a free stitching," Cordelia said. She glanced sideways at the tired librarian sitting across from her. "Giles almost qualifies, though."

"Oh, thank you, Cordelia," Giles said. "Please do mock my unfortunate tendency to be rendered unconscious on a frequent basis."

Faith and Cordelia looked at each other, then back at Giles. "Mock, mock, mock.. " They said, in unison, and snickered.

"Hah." Giles favored them with a tolerant glare.

Willow came back out and gave everyone a tired smile, and slumped in a seat next to Giles. "Hey."

"Oz all right?" Faith asked.

"Oh - no deep cuts. Just disinfecting and a few dozen stitches." Willow shook her head, "I think Xander just set the hospital record for the most butterfly sutures in one sitting, though."

Faith winced. "Sorry," she mumbled.

Willow looked at her, and shook her head. "It's really not your fault. It was a pretty good plan."

Faith shook her head, scowling.

"No. Really," Willow gave Faith a stubborn look. "That's how you know you're officially a female Scooby - when Xander launches himself between you and something with way too many teeth." The little hacker grinned, "He's ok, honest - he's already trying to joke the nurses into letting him out."

"She's right," Cordelia said, "It's a Xander thing." Getting a surprised look from Willow, Cordelia rolled her eyes. "Oh, please, Willow. I'm too tired to snipe at you for once. Enjoy it while it lasts."

Faith's lips twitched several times, and finally a smile broke out. "He really is a doof, isn't he?"

"Yeah, but he's a pretty brave Xander-shaped doof," Willow beamed. She sobered slightly, and gave Faith a serious examination. Giles glanced at the three girls, excused himself and stood to head over to the coffee vending machine.

"What?" Faith raised her eyebrows.

"Did you mean what you said out there?"

"What?' Faith asked, honestly puzzled.

"The... partners thing," Willow said.

"Well, yeah," Faith nodded. "Tomorrow or next week, I might change my mind, but for now? I'm good to give it a try." She smirked, recapturing her old insouciance, "As long as you guys don't screw me over, I'm good to go back, y'know?"

Willow studied her carefully, then leaned forward and stuck her hand out. Faith looked at it, surprised, then shook it gravely.

"No need to get all formal, Red."

Willow shook her head. "No, I wasn't real fair to you. And you've been trying real hard, too." She looked at Cordelia, who arched an eyebrow back at her. "To you either, Cordy. You've really been helping, and I've been too busy looking for the catch to appreciate it."

"Oh, pshaw." Cordelia waved it off, negligently, but Faith at least could see the secretly pleased look in the toffee colored eyes. "I'm just biding my time until the pods in our basement get ripe."

Willow gaped at her and then started giggling.

"What?! I can't watch some dumb old sci-fi movie and work it into a joke?"

"Cordelia made a joke?" Xander's voice had a mock disbelieving tinge to it. "A geek joke?"

"Funny one, too," Faith said, nodding. "Wasn't even at your expense, neither." He gave her a puzzled look, and then grinned at Cordelia.

"It was probably just the pods talking," Willow told him earnestly.

Xander looked down at the painkiller prescription in his hand. "I'm not sure I can cope with this on drugs." He sobered and looked at Willow, "Oz should be out in a few and we can head out."

"Yay." Cordelia grabbed him by the shirtsleeve. "Sit down, Doof."

"Yes, dear," Xander smirked at her and sat down gingerly, putting his arm across her shoulders. He winced slightly, but decided it was worth the pain.

"Ok, so - monster dealt with, post trauma care done," Faith leaned back tiredly. "What do we do tomorrow?"

"Tomorrow is sleeping in followed by the traditional Post-Slay party," Xander said, "Since we're all too much about to fall asleep now and it's almost three AM."

"I vote for a beach bonfire," Oz put in, wandering up with a sleepily blinking Giles beside him.

"Sounds good," Faith nodded. "Weenie roast?"

"No, I say burgers," Cordelia suggested. "We keep Xander out of fires and unroasted." She stuck her tongue out at Xander as Faith started snickering.

"Let's do go home, children," Giles said. "I am far too tired to consider appropriate Xander recipes at this time of morning."

"Eh too, Giles?"



To be Continued in "Night Watchmen" Episode 1b: "The Chicago Way"