She'd been too slow, that was the problem.

One day she'd had all the time in the world, two vampire champions, and no hurry to figure out what she wanted from life. The next thing she knew, she'd gone over the time limit and had points deducted, lost both vampires, and knew without a doubt, she'd made a terrible mistake.

Because now, with all the time in the world whittled down to no time left, and her over here in Italy while her vampires were there in LA, and the whole Watcher's Council thing not going so well for Giles, she had to decide what she was going to do, and do it now, before the little thing she liked to call her life came crashing down around her like a souffle baked for too long, or a building slated for demolition.

She had two choices. Help Giles, or go to LA and try to break up the vampires she loved. Either way it was already too late.

She hadn't gone to London when Giles had called and begged for help, and now he'd had a nervous break down and was in the English equivalent of Happy Dale Sanitarium, only he wasn't running up and down stairs shouting "Charge" like some demented Teddy Roosevelt. He was sitting silently in a padded cell, crying and mumbling about "can't take another apocalypse, can't take it, make someone else face the hell-beast, please."

And instead of letting her vampire boys see her, get their hopes up, and wait around for her until she was done with the Immortal, she'd had Andrew railroad them and distract them until they'd given up and gone home. Where apparently they fell into each others arms and fucked like rabbits. Or, you know. Something less appalling. Because that was an image she didn't need. Angel fucking Spike. Or--God forbid--Spike fucking Angel.

She set her teeth, and sighed, and called the airline, and when the lady who answered the phone asked where she'd be flying, Buffy sighed. "I'm not sure. I'm either going to LA, or to London."

"Miss, you have to know which it is before I can book you a flight."

"Which would you prefer?"

"Me? Miss, this is not a psychic hot-line. If you need advice, call Miss Cleo."

"Oh, she was a scam. They shut her down." Buffy considered. "Actually, I'm pretty sure she was a form of vengeance demon."

"I'm sorry, Miss, I don't think I can help you."

"No, wait!" Buffy cried out, before woman hung up.

"Yes?"

"I have to go to London because my mentor and the man who was pretty much my father lives there, and he's had a nervous break down."

"I see. Shall I book you for the seven o'clock?"

"But I also have to go to LA because the men I love are going gay for each other because I'm not there to choose one of them. So I have to choose which problem is bigger."

"Miss, with all due respect--"

"Which one do I pick? Do I pick my Giles? The only man who's consistently been there for me and acted in my best interests? Or do I pick the men I love, who share a long and bloody past with each other, often clash over similar tastes in females and have been cock-blocking and beating each other bloody for the past century?"

"Miss! I've booked you on the seven o'clock flight to London, where you will go and take care of your mentor. When that's finished, call back and we'll see about getting you that flight to LA, but I must say, you're quite the slovenly minx if you've waited long enough to drive former rivals into each others arms. If you can pry them away from each other now, I'd be heartily surprised."

"Thanks," Buffy said tiredly, and sank back into the couch. "Slovenly," Buffy grumbled, before she pushed herself up to go start packing. "Just shows what she knows. I'm not slovenly. Just--just . . . patient."