Chapter 15: The Short Goodbye
A/N: Here ends Buffy's time in Sunnydale…and the active Diagnosis Murder involvement. They may make an appearance or two later – I'm not sure.
Warning: This one is fairly nasty to the Scoobies.
Thanks to my betas: zigpal and AshDawnSoulmates.
Disclaimer: BtVS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. CSI: Miami characters belong to Anthony E. Zuiker, Carol Mendelsohn, Ann Donahue and CBS. Diagnosis Murder characters belong to Joyce Burditt and CBS. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.
Calleigh and Hank talked about it and decided that he would give Buffy the optimistically good news that she was going to live with Calleigh and that Giles would go with them to Miami. It was their hope that if he did something positive for Buffy, she would start to lose her reservations about him.
At Giles' suggestion, Calleigh decided to sleep in the same room as Buffy for the night. He was concerned that the visual reminder of her Calling would cause her Slayer nightmares to return. His thought was that by having somebody she felt safe with nearby, it wouldn't get too bad.
Calleigh didn't wait for Buffy's whimpers to turn into cries before she crawled into bed with her cousin to hold her. The comfort she provided kept the dreams from escalating, even if it couldn't stop them entirely. It was over two hours later before Buffy quieted down again and slept peacefully until morning.
In a way, it eased Hank's mind about not fighting Calleigh for custody of Buffy. She showed a natural maternal-ish instinct and Buffy responded subconsciously to it. It was a ringing endorsement in his mind. He started to think that the plan might actually work out…assuming Buffy agreed to it when she woke up.
For the sake of Giles, Diana and Faith, they held off the discussion of Buffy's guardianship until late morning. The three of them finished patrolling, then went over the plans for Giles and Buffy's departure – deciding which books, weapons and other slaying supplies would stay and which would go. As the primary Slayer, Faith needed the majority of the equipment…especially being on a Hellmouth. But none of them were naïve enough to believe that Buffy wouldn't need her own Slayer 'kit' as well.
"Buffy," Hank started to speak as everyone was digging into their room service meal, "We talked about this last night and as much as I'd love to take you to LA with me, we agreed that it would be better for you to go to Miami with Calleigh. Not only do you feel more comfortable with her, but since she's your blood relative, Joyce would have more trouble interfering with Calleigh's guardianship than my own…if she decided that she wanted to cause problems, that is," he explained.
"But what about Sunnydale?" Buffy asked, turning towards Giles. "I thought I'd be needed here."
He shook his head. "Without your memory, I believe it would be too dangerous for you to remain here. It was fortuitous that you were able to fight those vampires last night, but I don't want to risk it again unnecessarily," Giles said with a grimace at the thought of how it could have turned out if she had been alone.
Faith added with a grin, "Don't worry, B…I got SunnyD covered. When you get your memory back, we can fight over who stays here. Well, that is if there isn't enough Slaying for both of us."
Buffy still looked worried about something. Her gaze kept shifting between Giles and Calleigh, giving them a clue as to what was bothering her.
"I will be going with you, Buffy," Giles assured her. "Just because you aren't the Hellmouth Slayer doesn't mean that I would stop being your Watcher or friend."
The utter look of relief on Buffy's face caused a pang in Hank's heart. Clearly this man meant more to her than he did at the moment. If he needed any more reason to loathe his ex-wife, this would more than take care of that problem. He was beginning to think that the only good thing she ever did was give birth to Buffy.
If he were calmer, he would remember the good days they shared, but this wasn't a calmer time…not when the mental image of Joyce about to strike Buffy was so fresh in his mind.
"Really?" Buffy double-checked with a hopeful tone in her voice.
Giles smiled warmly at her. "Really," he confirmed.
Still, Buffy looked at Hank and asked, "And this isn't just a way to get rid of me?"
"I will visit you as often as you want to prove that I still want to be in your life. I could even ask for a transfer to Florida if you'd like," he offered with his own hopeful tone.
It was very sweet of him, but Buffy hesitated, then replied, "It doesn't seem fair to make you move, though. Especially if I don't get my memory back."
"If you don't, then we'll just start over again. I have the feeling that I didn't know you that well these past couple years anyway," Hank said bemusedly, thinking about the previous night and how he reacted the last time he found out about her night activities.
"Okay…but let's just start with the visits for now, alright?" Buffy suggested.
Hank nodded his agreement, grateful for the second chance with his princess.
Since things seemed to be settled, Calleigh spoke up, "I'll go to Aunt Joyce's to pack up Buffy's things. I don't think it would be a good idea for Buffy to go there again."
As policemen, both Steve and Horatio understood her concerns. Too many times they had been called to houses where somebody had just gone back to retrieve their personal belongings, only to have things escalate to the point of domestic violence. Given Joyce's behavior the night before, it wasn't a stretch to think it would happen in this case as well.
Giles made his own recommendation, "I believe Diana should speak to my landlord about taking over my flat…and perhaps another one in that building for Faith. I would like to go to the school and pack up my belongings there." He hesitated for a moment, then continued, "And we should probably arrange for Buffy to say goodbye to the other children. I can call them from the library."
As promised, Giles called Willow's house and left a message with her mother that he needed to see her, Xander and Cordelia at the library as soon as possible. Since he wasn't asking to see her daughter alone on a Saturday morning, Sheila Rosenberg did not feel there was anything improper in the request and promised to pass along the message when she saw Willow. Then he called the houses of the other two and left similar requests.
Willow was the first one to get her message. When they found out that Giles had called Xander and Cordelia's houses too, she grinned smugly at the other two. "See…I knew that he'd realize that taking Buffy's side was wrong! She might be the Slayer, but he just had to be reminded of how important we are to their little job."
"What are you talking about, Wills?" Xander asked in confusion. Cordelia didn't seem too affected by Giles' request as she was busy dealing with a nail emergency.
"Most of slaying is the research and Buffy's useless at that," Willow replied in a superior tone. "Giles might be good at the languages and stuff, but if it has anything to do with the computer, he's hopeless, too. I bet he needs my help checking something on the internet. Either that or he needs somebody to think outside the box for a crazy plan that doesn't sound like it would work but does…and who's better at that than you?" she added with a grin as she pointed to Xander.
If Cordelia hadn't been yelling on the phone at her manicurist at that moment, she probably would have made a couple snarky comments about Oz being able to handle the computer thing just as well as Willow could and the fact that the 'crazy plans' that they used most of the time were Buffy's.
"Good point!" Xander agreed willingly. "So you think we should make him sweat for a couple hours? I heard there's a sale going on at Circuit City. It's next to the mall so Cordelia can go fix her nail issue," he added a little louder so his girlfriend could hear. The smile she graced him with proved that she heard him and approved of whatever plan they had.
Willow thought for a moment, then decided, "As long as we're at the library by…say two this afternoon. I don't want to risk the world ending just to prove a point to Giles."
Sunnydale High parking lot
They had just finished packing up the moving truck with his books and weapons when the errant trio finally decided to show up. Giles sent Oz and Steve back to his apartment with the drivers to begin loading his personal belongings that Buffy was packing for him with Faith and Diana's help. He had already left his letter of resignation on the troll- er, Snyder's desk and was just about to get into his car when he heard Willow call out his name.
His eyes narrowed in irritation when he glanced at his watch; he had called them over five hours ago and they were just appearing now? In the past, the longest he ever waited was two and a half…and there were usually babbled apologies by this point for making him worry about them. Plus, they were casually strolling across the parking lot like there wasn't anything wrong.
"Nice of you to finally come," he remarked with a hint of bite to his voice. "I was just leaving to finish up at my apartment, so you'll have to follow me there. First I have to pick up some pizzas on the way."
Without waiting to hear their replies, he got in and started up his car. He had been willing to give them a chance to make amends with Buffy before they left Sunnydale, but their obvious attempt at 'making them wait' made him almost as angry as a visit from Ethan. Clearly they still believed that they were right and Buffy was the one who had to ask forgiveness.
Bewildered by his brusque attitude, Willow tried to figure out what went wrong with their plan. Maybe he had finally gotten Buffy to admit she was lying about the amnesia thing and wanted them there for a groveling session by the blonde Slayer, and when they didn't get there right away, it gave her time to re-think apologizing. Yeah…that sounded just about right. She vaguely wondered what he meant about 'finishing up', but decided that it couldn't be very important – not compared to Buffy eating some humble pie with her pizza.
"Hey, what's with all the boxes?" Xander asked as they came into Giles' living room. "Having a garage sale or something? Wait, if you don't have a garage, what's it called?"
"I'm packing because I'm moving," Giles replied, ignoring the irrelevant part of the boy's questions.
Willow was instantly intrigued at the prospect. "Oh yeah? Find a cool place someplace else in town? Maybe with its own training room or something? You'd better make sure that it can get internet."
Giles gestured for Buffy to come over to his side so they could break the news together. "Buffy and I are leaving town to live with a relative of hers until she regains her memory. It is far too dangerous for her to stay without having memories of being Buffy or the Slayer."
"Great!" Cordelia huffed. "So we're stuck doing her job again?"
Diana cut in before either of the other two could add their two cents' worth. "Actually, Faith will be doing Faith's job," she said pointedly. After all, with the death of Kendra, her Slayer was the Chosen One and Buffy was an anomaly.
While it was useful that Buffy was continuing in her former duty, they had no guarantee how long her Slayer powers would last – even without this latest incident. The fact she had been still going a year after her death indicated that she wouldn't lose her abilities; however, Diana wasn't willing to bet the fate of the world on that.
A gleam entered Xander's eyes at that statement, and any protest he might have had quickly died. "Oh, that's great! We'll just be Faith's Slayerettes then. Have fun with your vacation, Buff," he tacked on as an afterthought.
"So this is like a going away party? Shouldn't Mrs. Summers be here then?" Willow asked after a moment of awkward silence following Xander's brushoff of Buffy.
Giles barely bit back a more venomous retort – both to Xander and about the woman who gave birth to his Slayer – and settled on a more diplomatic response, "Buffy has already made her goodbyes to Ms. Summers. Her belongings are on the truck outside."
Conversation remained stilted for a few more minutes before the trio made their final goodbyes to Giles and Buffy. Both Xander and Willow gave Buffy uncomfortable hugs; Willow did the same to Giles, but Xander stuck with a handshake; Cordelia just sort of waved at them from the doorway.
After the door closed, Giles turned to Diana and inquired, "Why did you let them believe they could assist Faith? Are you planning on letting them?"
She scoffed, "Not even before seeing how they treated your Slayer. I'm reluctantly accepting Mr. Osbourne's assistance for the moment – just until Faith learns about the town. Then I'll insist he leave the fighting to us."
"That's cool," Oz agreed. "I'll help with the research, if you want."
Diana nodded her agreement, then asked, "Did any of them even train for fighting?"
Embarrassed, Giles shook his head. "I regret to say that I never insisted on that."
"Well, that was stupid," Faith piped up. When she caught her Watcher glaring at her, she shrugged and said, "What? It is! The only thing more stupid is them not thinking they needed it. No offense, Oz," she added offhandedly. "I mean, they watched how much Buffy had to train, so what made them think that they could just go out and fight vamps with their 'natural talents'?"
"I believe there is enough blame to go around," Diana concluded. "However, it just reaffirms my belief that this is a job for the properly prepared. I didn't say anything because that is between me and them; I didn't want it to make their farewells difficult."
"Yeah, 'cause that would have sucked," Faith snarked. "Sure glad it wasn't difficult." She threw an arm around Buffy and said, "Don't worry, B…I'll miss you and I'm sure Wolfboy will, too."
Even though she was bothered by the way things went with her 'best' friends, Buffy still managed a smile for her sister Slayer. Faith was good at making sure she didn't brood. She was pretty sure brooding wasn't a good look on her.
As soon as they were out of the door, Willow turned to Xander and snapped, "Oh right, like this wasn't planned. I bet they made this plan as soon as he found out she was back and she faked getting hurt at all. How else would there just happen to be another Slayer already here. And how do you explain how fast they got packed up?"
"Whatever," Xander dismissed her concerns. "At least Faith seems to like being a Slayer so we won't constantly have to listen to Buffy whine about how her life has been destroyed by having super powers."
"As long as she doesn't expect us to worship at her feet…or fight more vampires, I'm more or less okay with her," Cordelia announced.
A/N: Next…On the road with Buffy, Giles and Calleigh.