A/N: I tried to keep this as close to the series as possible, like with the first story but it didn't exactly work out that way, so certain episode have been skipped or reworked, which means this story won't be as long as Just Want to Feel Something. Which BTW, you really need to read before carrying on with this or it won't make a lick of sense.
Title taken from a song by Trace Adkins, as was the title for the previous story.
Some of the conversations are taken from the episodes, which means I do not own them, or the character obviously, I mean this is FAN FICTION after all, and a few were altered to fit the plot of my story.I'm sure you'll know the difference between what's mine and what belongs to the wonderful writers of the Buffyverse. All rights belong to Mutant Enemy.
Episode setting: Season four episode Freshman.
Buffy sighed as the bus rolled past the Welcome to Sunnydale sign. She was finally home. She'd spent the past three weeks in San Diego with her dad, which hadn't been so bad, except for avoid the subject of Sam's father. Her dad had wanted to make up for missing her birthday and graduation. and the birth of his first grandchild. Buffy had the feeling her mom had something to do with the sudden interest from the man. She had to admit he'd taken to Sam far quicker then her mom had and she had a bag full of stuff to prove it, as well as a nice big check in her purse, guilt money she knew, but if it help her get through the first few months of college then she was happy. She still hadn't completely figure out how she was going to balance everything. After graduation she'd been concerned on spending time with Giles. They'd been almost inseparable when her mom had returned with Sam, they been a little family, spending most of there time at Giles house. The rest of the gang quickly settled into the new meeting place. At least until Xander had headed off on his road trip and her mom dragged her and Sam off on vacation, before shipping her off to her fathers. Altogether she'd spent the maxium of three weeks with Giles before being shuffled between her parents and she was desperate to see him again. Sadly she wouldn't be able to for a few more days. He taken her absence and his new found unemployment as an opportunity to pay a visit to England. Buffy turned to look at her son, she had a feeling that he'd missed Giles too. "Don't worry Sammy, we're almost home." She murmured passing him his pacifier.
The bus pulled to a stop a few minutes later and she grinned at the sight of her mom and Willow waiting for her, waving a handmade 'Welcome Home' sign like she'd been away for years. Buffy chuckled as she got out of her seat and reached for Sam's carrier.
"Buffy!" Willow squealed rushing to her friend, flinging her arms around her.
"Hey Will." She gasped.
Willow pulled back with a bright grin and took the carrier to coo over the baby while Buffy hugged her mom before they headed toward the car. "How's thing been?" Buffy asked looking at Willow.
"Quiet." the redhead replied, knowing just what the slayer was asking. "But there was a….possible attack three days ago. Thomas McIntosh. He was buried this morning."
Buffy smiled. "Could have at least let me get settled in." she complained.
"Maybe you should have come back last week, like you planned." Joyce said as she helped her daughter put the bags in the trunk.
"I wanted to but Dad wanted a little more time with Sam. I couldn't say no."
"But you start college on Monday and you've got so much to do. We still have to sorted out where you're going to stay or what you're going to do with Sam."
"Mom, chill. We have the whole weekend. I'll deal with this….Tom whatever guy and then come home and we'll talk. Okay?"
Joyce didn't look happy but she nodded. "Alright."
They drove back to the family home, Joyce made her a snack while she put Sam down for a nap, then she changed into her 'work' clothes and headed out to do her job. Willow in tow. They got to the cemetery quickly, chattering all the way. Once there they settled in for the long haul, not knowing when the dead guy would resurrect himself. Willow sat crossed legs on a blanket, pulling out Buffy's colleague paperwork from her bag, the slayer needing to complete it before school started, so Willow flipped open the course selection booklet and began to scan the pages.
"Ah! Introduction of the Modern Novel. A survey study of 20th century novelists. - Open to freshmen. You might like that."
Buffy turned to frowned down at her friends. "Introduction to the Modern Novel? I'm guessing I'd probably have to read the modern novel."
"Maybe more than one."
"I like books. I just don't wanna take on too much. - Do they have an Introduction to the Modern Blurb?"
"Oh! Short stories."
"Well, that's good."
"Oh, no. It conflicts with Psych."
Buffy frowned, already getting a headache. She really should have listen to Giles when he said to pick her classes before she went away. Of course she'd brushed it off, finding something far more interesting to do. "Maybe I shouldn't take Psych?"
Willow's head shot up. "You gotta. It's fun and you can use it as your science requirement." the redhead insisted. "Anyway, Professor Walsh is supposed to be great. She's like, world-renowned."
"How do you get to be renowned? I mean, like, do you have to be nowned first?"
"Yes, First there's the painful nowning process." Willow murmured. "Wait! Images of pop culture. This is good. They watch movies, TV shows, even commercials."
Buffy's brows rose. "For credit?" seriously? She did that all the time, and got no credit at all.
"Isn't college cool." Willow grinned.
"How did I miss that one?" Buffy asked, dropping down next to Willow on the blanket, scanning the page over her shoulder.
"Well, you did sort of wait till the last minute with your course selection."
"Sorry, Miss I-Chose-My-Major-In-Playgroup." she teased.
"That's an exaggeration. I just, you know, think it's good to be prepared. Don't wanna be caught unawares."
Buffy let out a heavy breath. "I've been busy. What with Mom and Dad and Sam…."
"And Giles?" Willow added with a knowimg smirk.
Buffy bit back a grin. "I just haven't had a whole lot of time to think about life at UC Sunnydale."
Willow looked over at her friend. "What's happening with Sam? You staying at home?"
Buffy shrugged. "We haven't really had a chance to talk about it, not properly. Mom wants me to have the whole college experience, said its part of being there, but…well, Sam. It's not like I can have him on campus with me."
"What about off campus?"
"I think that's my only real option. Dad gave me some guilt money, I think that it should cover me for a few months."
Willow nodded. "Then what?"
Buffy shrugged. "I don't know. I guess we'll just have to take it from here. One day at a time." She huffed warily and looked over her shoulder. "Is this guy ever gonna wake up?"
It was two hours later when Buffy returned home, without a slayer. They figured it hadn't been a vamp attack after all. She'd barely made it through the door when her mom called her into the lounge to talk. Buffy really didn't want to go through this right now, it was late and she was tired after a hectic day but she went, dropping her bag by the stairs as she passed them. She sat next to her mom who was looking though a pile off papers.
"Yeah mom." Buffy smiled sweetly, hoping this conversation wouldn't take long.
"Buffy, we need to talk about what you're going to do."
"Oh, right. Listen mom can't we talk about this tomorrow?"
"And then tomorrow you'll say later and before you know it, it will be Monday and nothing will be prepared."
Buffy sighed slouching back into her is seat. "Alright, so what is it."
"What are you going to do? Housing wise?"
Buffy shrugged and rubbed her temples. "I. I don't know. I guess look for a place off campus."
"And what about Sam? What are you going to do with him while your in class or studying or slaying?"
Buffy stomach lurched. She hadn't really thought about that. She hadn't wanted to. "I….Giles said he'd look after Sam." Well mayby not in so many words, but he was the boy's father and he loved being with him so it was a reasonable assumption.
"Buffy you can't expect Mr Giles to take care of Sam all the time. That's not fair."
Buffy bit her lip to stop from say it was perfectly fair as he was Sam father. They hadn't discussed when or how to tell her mom, they both knew it was going to be bad, like nuclear war bad, but it would have to be done eventually. Buffy made a mental note to speak to Giles about it as soon as he got back. "He's fine with it."
Joyce shook her head. "See, this is what I didn't want for you."
"Mom." Buffy sighed.
"No. I knew this was going to happen. You wouldn't be able to have a normal life, go to college and parties and date. Not once you had a baby."
"Mom. I don't care about a normal college experience. If it's a choice between school and Sam. Sam wins." she said harshly. "I'll figure it out. Giles will help because he wants to. He loves Sam, he wants to spend time with him…." Buffy knew she was beginning to raise her voice and she tried to reign it in. "…As for living arrangements, I'll figure something out. I can do this."
Joyce got to her feet and began to pace the room. After a few moments she stopped and turned to meet her daughters gaze, arms folded around her. "Buffy….I've been thinking about this while you were away and….I want you to stay on campus."
"What?" Buffy frowned. "Mom, I can't live on campus with Sam. That's not…"
"I'll take care of Sam. You can stay on campus during the week and come home at weekends."
"What?" Buffy's green eyes flew wide open. "You can't be serious? I can't just leave Sam."
"He'll be perfectly alright. He's still young and he'll see you at weekends and you can drop by after school when possible. - It's the best option."
"No, the best option is me living with my son somewhere close to the school."
Joyce huffed out a breath, growing frustrated. "Buffy."
"No. Mom, I'm not leaving my son." the slayer got off the couch and stormed off up the stairs.
"Just think about it." Joyce called after her.
"Can you believe it?" Buffy whispered down the phone line.
"Well….it does sound…"
"Don't you dare say you think it's a good idea?" Buffy snapped, her eyes flying over to the crib.
"I think your mum is just trying to give you a chance at a normal life."
"I don't need her to take Sam away from me to have that."
"Buffy, she's not taking him away from you, she offering to take care of him while you're at school. It's a perfectly reasonable offer and one many girls in your situation don't get."
Buffy glared at the phone. "You know you're supposed to be on my side, right?"
"I am on your side."
Buffy sighed rolling over in the bed, facing the empty space beside her. "No you're not. - When are you coming home?"
"Tuesday, all goes well."
"Good. I need to see you."
"I want to see you too."
Buffy smiled goofily down the line. "I'm glad to hear it." her voice taking on a deep husky tone.
"I'm going now."
"Do you have to? Can't we just talk?"
"Anything. I just want to hear you're voice." she tried to stifle a yawn but failed.
"Buffy go to sleep, I'll call you tomorrow. - And really think about your mum's offer. As much as I hate to say it, especially as it will most probably make you mad, it makes sense."
Buffy grunted as her eyes drifted closed.
"Night Giles." she whispered warily.
"I love you."
"Love you too."
The line went dead and she reached over to drop it in the cradle before rolling back and cuddling up to her pillow, wishing it was her English librarian.
"What about the gallery?" Buffy asked over breakfast. She'd been awake for hours thinking over her mom's offer. Weighing up the pros and cons, taking into account Giles's opinion.
"The gallery will do fine without me for a while."
"A while?" Buffy raised a brow. "We're talking college here mom. That's like two, maybe four year."
Her mom moved around the kitchen almost ignoring her daughter.
"Yes." Joyce snapped around.
"Focus. You wanted to talk about this, well, I'm talking. The Gallery."
"I'll figure something out." Joyce insisted.
Buffy raised the spoon of glompy baby food to Sam's mouth. "I've been thinking. What if Giles takes him during the day. He doesn't have a job anymore so he's free."
"We can't ask him to do that." Joyce said shaking her head.
"He'll be fine with it. I told you, he loves Sam." smiling at the boy knowingly. "And he's my watcher, it's his duty to help me out."
Joyce frowned at her. "I thought he was fired?"
"Well, technically yeah, but…Wesley's not around anymore so, he's the go to guy now."
Joyce took a sip of her coffee.
"Mom, if you want this, this is how it's going to work. Giles takes Sam during the day, you have him after work. I'll come home after school almost every day and will stay at weekends."
Joyce studied her daughter closely, seeing the stubborn clench of her jaw. Realizing Buffy's mind was made up she nodded, just glad her daughter was going to have a chance to be normal.
"Oh and mom, if I come home to find you've given him away…."
"Buffy!" the older woman snapped.
"What? It's not like you haven't got history."
"I would never have given him away without your blessing. What kind of person do you think I am?"
Buffy looked at her mother and was awash with guilt. "Sorry. I…sorry. I know you wouldn't do it. I just don't want to leave him."
Joyce moved around the kitchen island and brushed a kiss to her daughter's forehead. "I know, but it'll all be worth it when you graduate."
Buffy smiled up not so convinced. "Yeah, we'll see."
Monday morning Buffy stood in the middle of the campus utterly overwhelmed by the chaos. People were shouting out so many things her brain couldn't absorb it all. Through all the madness she caught something important.
"Freshmen! We're doing this by folder colour! If you're not holding on to a yellow folder, you're in the wrong group. You belong up by Weisman Hall."
Buffy flicked though the pile of papers in her arms. Not seeing a yellow folder she turned to go in search of Weisman Hall. As she made her way through the campus, she was approached by a myriad of people.
"Rally tomorrow night. Let the administration know how we feel."
"Right." Buffy nodded.
"Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior?"
"I meant to, and then I just got really busy." The slayer smiled apologetically.
"Party Thursday at Alpha Delt. Free Jell-O shots for freshmen women."
Buffy took the flyer with a smile. "Do you guys know where…Weisman Hall is?" she didn't get her answer as the guy moved on to the next girl. So this was what her mom wanted her to experience. Well, great. Totally worth giving up her child for.
Buffy breathed a sigh of relief at the sight of her best friend. "Oh boy, am I glad to see you!"
"Isn't this cool? There's so much going on." Willow said cheerily.
"Yeah. Almost, one might say, too much." Buffy murmured.
"I got all my courses…except for Modern Poetry. I had to switch to Ethnomusicology."
Buffy stared at her friend. What the hell was that?
"But that's cool. West African drumming. I think it's gonna change everything. - Have you met your roommate yet?"
Buffy couldn't help but smile at her friends excitement. "No."
"Me neither. I hope she's cool. I see you got ticketed, too. - I've heard about five different issues and I'm angry about every one of them. - What's you get?"
"I didn't get Jell-O shots." Willow pouted. "I'll trade you for a Take Back the Night?"
Buffy giggled as she handed over all the flyers she'd collected on her walk through. "Are we near Weisman Hall? I still need to get my ID card."
"I got mine this morning. The lines are really long now. You should've gone early."
"Well, I hope that I learn from this experience and that I grow."
"I'm being annoying, aren't I?" Willow said apologetically.
"No. It's nice that you're excited." Buffy smiled, bumping her friends shoulder.
"It's just in high school, knowledge was pretty much frowned upon. You really had to work to learn anything. But here, the energy, the collective intelligence, it's like this force, this penetrating force, and I can just feel my mind opening up and letting this place just thrust into and spurt knowledge into…"
Buffy watcher her friend with a raised brow. Willow must have realised what she was saying because she stopped mid-sentence.
"That sentence ended up in a different place that it started out in."
Buffy chuckled. "Yeah, I got that. But don't worry. I'm with you, thought. I'm all for spirty knowledge." she blushed slightly. "It's just…It's a little overwhelming. Don't you feel it?"
"Well, I'm…Ooh, boyfriend! It's my on-campus boyfriend!" Willow jumped excitingly as Oz approached.
"Oh no, I forgot to pick mine up. The line's probably really long now, too." Buffy said, distracting herself from Willow and Oz's make-out hello. She really needed to see Giles. She was really beginning to feel left out. She stood to the side while her friends exchanged words.
"How are you?"
"Good. It's a madhouse, a madhouse." Oz said.
"I know, I was just saying that to Willow. It's so overwhelming. Don't you feel completely disoriented?" Buffy asked, hoping someone was feeling her confusion.
"Oz!" Someone shouted and they turned to see a tall dark haired boy rushing over. The werewolf and boy spoke for a few minutes and it became clear Buffy really was the only one feeling totally out of her element.
After the guy left Oz turned to Willow with an apologetic almost smile. "Well, the band's played here a lot. It's still all new. I don't know what the hell's going on. Hey Doug!"
Buffy looked over her shoulder then back at Oz. "Right. Glad I'm not alone."
"Come on Buffy, lets go get your ID sorted…" Willow smiled, linking her arms though Buffy's. "…then we'll stop off at the Library and the bookshop."
Buffy gave the pair a worried look. "Great." she swallowed nervously. "Lead the way."
A couple of hours later Buffy and Willow were in search of the library, it took them a good twenty minutes to find it.
"Library…Ooh, library. Come on."
"It's too bad Giles couldn't be librarian here. Be convenient."
Willow sent her friend a raised brow look.
"Not like that." Buffy giggled.
Willow laughed as they took the steps. "Well, he says he's enjoying being a gentleman of leisure."
"You spoke to him?" Buffy frowned.
"Not since he's been away." she shook her head, smirking at Buffy's jealous tone.
"Oh." the slayer dropped her gaze embarrassingly. "Gentleman of leisure?" she said steering the subject away from her foolish girlieness. "I think that's British for unemployed." she laughed.
"Uh-huh. He's a slacker now. - You heard from him?"
"Yeah. He's due back tomorrow. Can't wait to see him." she sighed longingly.
"Yeah, I bet."
Buffy shouldered her friend. "Shut up. - Speaking of slack, have you heard from Xander?"
"Not for a while. He's still on his cross-country see-America thing. He said he wasn't coming back until he had driven to all 50 states."
Buffy frowned across at the redhead. "Did you explain about Hawaii?"
"Well, he seemed so determined."
The pair giggled as they turned the corner, finally reaching the library.
"Hope he gets back soon. It'd be fun to have the whole gang back together. Hanging out in the…." Buffy trailed off as she look into the impossibly large room. "...library."
"Wow! Oh, my gosh! Isn't this amazing?" Willow gushed, doing a full 180 of the room.
"It's…cosy." Buffy murmured sarcastically, which Willow clearly missed.
"You know, I never wanted to hurt Giles's feelings, but, occult books aside, our old library just didn't have the greatest selection. But this?" she looked around in awe once more.
"Yeah, this is great, you know, if we ever need a place for the Nuremberg rallies." Buffy murmured still not feeling the awe. She missed her small little school library, with Giles small little office. It had been...home for so long.
"This is a real library." Willow said excitingly, only to be shushed by the librarian. "See, we even have to whisper. It's like a whole new world."
"Yeah. Big echoy new world."
Willow grinned wildly, turning to go in search of books.
The redhead stopped and turned back to her.
"Oh. Right. Sorry." Willow shrugged, looking over her shoulder longingly as she walked out with her best friend.
They made it to the on campus bookshop in a few minutes having already passed it on their way to registration. Buffy rushed off to grab her books while Willow grabbed her a basket.
"Thanks Will." the slayer smiled, dropping the books into the plastic basket. "I can't wait till Mom gets the bill. I hope it's a funny aneurysm."
They made their way through the stacks, in search of the rest of the reading list.
"Introduction to Psychology." Willow murmured as she looked at the shelves. "Oh, up there."
"I'll get'em." Buffy said, reaching up to the very top of the book shelf. "This place discriminates against short people."
"Oh, I think there's a protect next week."
Her fingers fought to get a grip on the books but only managed to knock them off and onto some guy's head. "Oh! Oh!" Buffy gasped. "Oh, God, I'm so sorry!"
"I'm okay, it's okay." the guy said getting to his feet. "Well, that was bracing."
"I'm so…the books were just too high, and then everything was bad." Buffy murmured, dropping to her knee to collect the books.
The guy smiled. "Let me give you a hand. - Let's put a few of these down here."
There was an awkward moment as Buffy and Willow exchanged looks. Even though they both had boyfriends, they weren't blind and the guy was hot.
"So are you girls taking Intro Psych, or do you just want me dead?" he joked.
Buffy blushed scarlet. "Uh-huh. I mean, the first one."
"You'll have fun. Professor Walsh, she's quite a character." the guy smile warmly at the pair.
"You've taken it?" Willow pressed.
Buffy looked at her friend. Her eyes shining and a wide smile on her face.
"I'm a TA. I'll be helping the professor out. - I've forgotten my manners in all the concussion. I'm Riley." he introduced.
"Willow. And this is my friend Buffy."
"Nice to meet you both."
Buffy stood watching the pair converse about something she didn't understand. Her gaze flickering between the them. If it wasn't for the fact that Willow was in a happy strong relationship she'd think they were flirting. She bit the inside of her lips and shuffled her feet as she stood to the side while they finished their conversation.
"They have it here."
"I'll show you. I don't meet many freshmen that know much about psychology."
Buffy took the basket as Willow vanished around the stack with Riley.
Buffy was left for twenty minutes in the bookshop waiting for Willow and her new friend. Once she returned, they paid for their book and Buffy said she needed to finish unpacking. The two girls said they'd catch up later and Buffy headed back to her dorm, leaving Willow talking to Riley.
She reached her room to find her room-mate already busy getting settled. "Hi."
"Oh, hi!" the girl grinned. "Are you Buffy?"
"Hi. It's nice to meet you."
"So, it's, uh…it's a pretty nice room, huh?" Buffy settled down on her bed, watching the girl unpack.
"Mmm"I was surprised, cos you hear horror stories about freshman housing. You took the right side."
"Yeah. But, you know, if you want it…?"
"No, no. I just wanted to make sure that's what you wanted. You excited for classes tomorrow?"
"Painfully." Buffy smiled tightly. As a hole in the head.
"I bet there's gonna be a lot of parties to go to this week, too. Not that I'm a crazy partier. And I'm not always this hyper, either. I'm just excited."
"Yeah." This is going to be hell. I just know this is going to be hell. "Me too." Buffy lied, wishing Willow was there. Why couldn't she have roomed with Willow.
"I just know that this whole year is gonna be super fun!" Kathy announced as she tacked her Celine Dion poster to the wall.
Buffy's eyes widened at the sight. Oh God, no. Hell. No, hell would be way better. Where's the hellmouth when you want it.
Buffy's first night on campus was horrific. She barely slept because her room-mate snored and made weird noise, and then their was the phone call from Giles saying that he was going to be delayed another day. And the next day wasn't any better. After getting lost at least five times, she was thrown…yes, thrown, though not literally, out of her Popular American Culture class. She wasn't able to catch up with Willow until Psych which thankfully she hadn't been thrown out of.
And now she was lost again.
"Oh!" Buffy's had reached out to stop the guy she'd bumped into from falling. "Sorry."
"No, I wasn't looking." he apologized. "Did you lose your way?"
"Me? No, no. I'm just going to Fisher Hall." Buffy said, not sounding overly confident. "Which I know is on the earth planet. - Recently voted most pathetic. Uh-huh."
"Well, I'm lost, and I have a map. So…"
Buffy's face lit up. Map, why didn't I think of that. "Oh! I come in second. - I'm Buffy, by the way."
"Eddie." He nodded with a smile.
Buffy leaned over to look at the map. "Okay, so….So that's Fischer Hall, right?"
"Okay, and this is Dunworth Building. That's my dorm. It's just….It's us I can't find." Eddie said, looking around for some type of sigh or marker.
"Are we the blue part?"
"So if I came from there, then we would just wanna go that way to the…bike path." Buffy said feeling like a map-reading genius.
"You sound very certain. I'm in." Eddie smiled.
They walked a few steps before Eddie tried to make conversation. "Are you taking Psych 105 with Professor Walsh?" pointing to Buffy's books.
"Yeah. I mean, I'm gonna try. She's not afraid of the long words, huh?"
"She's pretty intense. A lot of the courses are really tough." Eddie sighed.
"I'm a little upset. I had it on good authority that this was a party school." Buffy joked.
"I think it's supposed to get easier." Eddie said, not sound all that sure about the statement.
"I still feel like carrying around a security blanket."
"Of Human Bondage…."
Buffy glanced up at him causiously.
"Have you ever read it?"
"Huh, Oh, I'm not really into porn. I'm trying to cut way back." Buffy laughed, making a joke out of her discomfort at just where this conversation was going.
"No. There's no actually bondage." Eddie smirked. "It's just a novel. I've read it, like, ten times. I always keep it by my bed. - Security blanket."
Buffy blushed at her own foolishness. "I don't really have a security blanet. Unless, of course, you count Mr Pointy." she said causally, liking having someone who got the weirdness to talk to.
"Mr Pointy?" Eddie frowned at her.
Whoops. "Oh. Bike path." she announced, sighing with relief. "It's nice to know that I'm not the only entirely confused person on this campus."
"I suspect there's a lot of us." Eddie nodded.
"I'll look for you in Psych." Buffy smiled, feel a little more at ease in the new world.
"Yeah. We can help each other figure out what they're talking about."
"Ok." Buffy grinned.
"Maybe even make it through the year. - Good night."
Buffy walked away with a little more lightness in her step. It would be good to have a friend who understood how daunting this new part of her life was, and maybe in time he could even join the Scooby's. They could always do with more hands on board. That was assuming they got on. Buffy turned the corner towards her destinations with a smile.
Buffy stood in the psych class looking around for Eddie. She hadn't seen him all lesson and she'd thought maybe he'd sat at the back. She watched at her fellow students files out, but couldn't see him. He hadn't struck her as the type to skip class after only a day.
"You looking for someone?" Willow asked from behind her.
"You made a friend? Good for you!" the red head grinned, not meaning to sound patrinising.
"Sorry." Willow sight, "I just meant."
"It's fine. I'll catch you later." Buffy abandoned her friend. Something was wrong, she felt it in her gut, and Giles had always told her to trust her gut.
It took her half an hour to find out where Eddie was staying. The RA informed her that he'd packed up his stuff and left.
"It happens sometimes. People just can't handle it." the guy said, showing her his room. "There's always a few kids who lose it early in the first semester and just bail."
Buffy looked around the room. As disorientated and lost as Eddie had been, she couldn't believe that he'd just left. She looked at the note.
This is too much to handle. I can't take it anymore. No time to say goodbye! Eddie.
It didn't feel right. Nothing about it did. She dropped the note back on the bed and that's when she saw it. The drawer of his nightstand was open a little. Buffy frowned at she pulled it open wider and took a breath at the sight of the old battered book. Eddie's security blanket. Now she knew he hadn't left.
She didn't have anymore classes that day, her schedule still pretty light so she left campus and headed to the only person she knew would be able to tell her what to do. And she wouldn't deny that she was desperate to see him after almost two months. The longest two months of her life. She let herself into the apartment with the key he'd given her months ago. The sound of music proved that he was finally home. She walked further into the flat, looking around. "Giles?"
"Rupert, is this blue cheese or is it just cheese that's gone blue?" A woman called from the kitchen.
Buffy swung around to stare at the youngish black woman, her eyes wide and her heart pounding in her chest.
"You're not Giles." the woman smiled, appearing around the doorway. A smug confident smile on her face, and dressed only in a man's shirt.
The bottom fell out of Buffy's stomach and she could feel her eyes burning. She heard the sound of a man's cough and she swallowed.
"Rupert, you have a guest!" the woman called over her shoulder.
Buffy held her breath and waited. A few seconds later Giles strolled out looking half asleep and dressed in only his bathrobe.
"Buffy." he smiled.
Buffy stared wide eyed between the pair, before turning on her heels and heading for the door, murmuring something about a bad time.
Giles looked between him and Olivia and cringed. "Shit. - Buffy." he called rushing after her, out into the courtyard. "Buffy wait, I can explain."
"Explain?" the slayer shouted. "You have a half-naked woman in your apartment, I think that says everything."
Giles groaned, running a hand through his hair. "Olivia's an old friend. I meet her on the flight back from England. She needed somewhere to stay."
Buffy glared. "You know, there's these wonderful invention called Hotels."
"No, you know what. I don't have time for this. I've got a possible vamp stalking the campus, so I'm just going to go do my job." she turned and headed for the stairs, but Giles caught her arm.
"Buffy, what vampires?"
"I can deal with it. You go back to your….Friend."
Giles watched her walk away with a moan, his hand combing through his hair. Turning he headed back inside.
"Everything alright?" Olivia asked, now fully dressed.
"No." he sighed, shaking his head. "Far from alright."
"Oh, so she's….Bit young isn't she?"
Giles stared at Olivia, his jaw tightly clenched. "She's mature for her age."
Olivia didn't look convinced, but knew better than to say anything else. "Well, I better start phoning around for hotels."
"I think that's for the best. I've got to…" he didn't finish the sentence heading instead for the loft bedroom.
Buffy felt sick, physically. Emotionally. She couldn't believe Giles had slept with another woman. And a part of her mind, the rational part said he hadn't. But she couldn't see past the pain of seeing that woman, that 'friend' in his flat left in her chest. The sickness was slowly turning to anger and she decided that hunting down the possible creeps on campus and take out her anger on them would solve all her troubles. So she marched through the campus, trying to focus on doing her job and not her relationship, that could very well be over. She scanned over the crowd. "How am I supposed to hunt in this mob?" she asked herself. "Don't you people have homes?"
She paused on the edge of the bike path, frowning at the sight of a familiar face. "Eddie?" she took off at a sprint. "Eddie! Eddie, hey! Wait up. God, I was worried something had happened to you." she said, catching up with the guy and then sighing when he turned to prove her worst fears true. "And of course it has, because you're a vampire. - I'm sorry."
"I'm not." Vampire Eddie said making a grab for her.
It wasn't all that hard to dust him, and she really hated it. It was always harder dusting people she knew and liked.
Buffy spun to look up at a pale blond. Clearly the head of the small group that was slow circling her.
"Wow. Um, I heard you might be coming here." the vamp said with feign awe. "This is…I mean, what a challenge. The slayer."
Buffy rolled her eyes. Why did every vamp think they had what it took to take her? "And you are?"
Sunday? her parent's must have really hated her. A feeling I'm beginning shared.
"…I'll be killing you here in a minute or so."
"That threat gets more frightening every time I hear it." Buffy sighed.
"Are we gonna fight? Or is there just gonna be a monster sarcasm rally?" asked a long hair surf-type vamp.
"I'm in for a piece." said another one from behind her.
"Everybody gets to play." Buffy smiled. She was happy to take the lot of them. She'd just imagine they were Giles 'friend'.
"Guys, this….is totally…mine?" Sunday said, smirking confidently.
"Ok, but you gotta share the eatin." Surfer vamp reminded. "Cos I'm thinking Slayer's blood's gotta be - whoa! - like Thai sticks."
"Aren't people supposed to get smarter in college?" Buffy said, staring over at the guy.
"I think you had misconceptions about college. Like anyone would be caught dead wearing that."
Buffy took a swing but was easily blocked, then another. She fought as hard as she could but the female vampire blocked each move, throwing her own.
"Don't take this the wrong way, but…." Buffy braced herself as Sunday struck her. "….you fight like a girl."
Buffy couldn't believe she was losing, as she was thrown into the windshield of a park car. Sunday following after her, grabbing her arm and bring her knee up to dislocate it. Buffy sucked in a breath as she scrambled to get away. First rule of Slaying. Don't die. She told herself. Looking at the group of vamps she got to her feet and ran. She hated running but she was out numbered and unable to think of what else to do. She hadn't run far when she crashed into a solid body. Panting out an apology, she looked up and felt a wave of relief hit her. "Xander!"
"Hey, Buff." he smiled, then frowned as she saw the cuts and bruises on her face. "What happened."
"When did you get back?" she asked avoiding the subject.
"Couple days ago, what happened?" he said more firmly.
Buffy looked at her feet, shaking her head. "She kinda took me down. - I don't know how..."
"What? Where's the gang? Avengers assemble! Let's get it going!"
"No, I don't wanna bug them." Buffy swallowed hard at the images of Giles and that woman. "I….they're just starting school and they don't need this."
"What about Giles?"
Buffy turned to walk away.
"Buffy?" Xander frowned; grabbing arm and then letting go instantly when she hiss in pain. "Sorry."
"He's just got back from England….he'll be busy."
"Busy?" Xander repeated, his brows high. "Giles is never too busy for a vamp hunt. - Buffy what's wrong? Don't tell me you two have….broken up since I've been gone."
Buffy bit her lower lip. She didn't want to discuss this right now. It hurt too much. "No. We're just…" she sighed, her throat tightening. "It's complicated."
Xander as always seemed to understand what Buffy needed, and right now she was in need of a vampire to take her frustration out on. "Alright, let's put this bitch in the ground. What do you say?" he smiled encouragingly at his best friend.
Buffy looked at him for a long moment before a smile spread across her features. "I think…I say thank you."
"And nothing says thank you like dollars in the waistband."
Buffy frowned with confusion. "What?"
"Nothing. Forget I said that okay. There are some things that friends shouldn't share."
It didn't take the pair to locate the nest. After breaking into the school's records office they tracked them to the abandoned Psi Theta building. From the skylight in the roof, Buffy found that Sunday and her band of idiot vamps had already managed to get to her room and take her stuff.
"Oh, that's my skirt! You're never gonna fit in it with those hips! We have to kill them."
Xander nodded. "We need weapons."
"I don't see my weapons trunk there." Buffy murmured, looking back into the room. "It was right by my bed. Mr Gordo?" the slayers voice dropped dangerously. "Go to my room. If it's not there, try Willow's. I'll keep an eye….My diary?"
Xander swallowed nervously at the murderous tone his friend had taken on. "I'll hurry."
Buffy watched from the skyline, balancing cautiously on the glass. "Laugh all you want. This time we play it my way. And the rules are gonna be…." She didn't get to finish her sentence as the window shattered and she dropped painfully onto the floor below. "Oh."
"Say, don't I know you from beating the crap outta you?" Sunday smirked confidently.
"I just thought I'd drop in. Get it? Drop in? Boy, tough room."
The teenager turned to see Giles heading towards him just outside Buffy's dorm building. "Hey G-Man, can't stop, Buff's in a holding pattern, need to get supplies." Xander rushed up the steps.
"What? Holding pattern?"
"Yeah, vamps taking kids from campus." Xander explained over his shoulder as he yanked the door open.
Giles frowned, his heart slamming into his chest as he rushed in after the boy.
They burst into the dorm room to see Willow and Oz talking to a young girl.
"Now either Buffy took off, or she was robbed, or…."
"It's a prank!" Xander announced loudly, cutting Oz off mid sentence.
"Xander? - Giles?"
Willow grinned as Xander wrapped her in a hug. "How are my guys?" he took hold of the other girl. "I don't know you, do I?"
"This is very intrusive, isn't it?"
Xander stepped back apologetically. "Xander."
He turned to Oz. "Do we hug?"
"I think we're too manly." Oz replied in his usual bland tone.
"What's the prank?" Willow interrupted looking worriedly from Giles to Xander.
"Prank? Oh, the room. Some friends of Buffy's played a funny joke, and they took her stuff." he laughed. "Now she wants us to help get it back from her friends who sleep all day and have no tans."
"Oh, those friends!" Willow said, nodding.
"They're funny guys." Oz added.
"They took the chest." Giles remarked, from the side of Buffy's bed.
"Well, let's go! Let's go to our friend." Xander said, bidding farewell to Kathy as he walked backwards to the door. "It's nice meeting you, Kathy."
"Let's go to Will's, get supplied." Xander said as they walked at a fast pace down the corridor.
"Is Buffy in danger?" Willow asked with growing concern.
"We've got some time."
"Ah! Argh!" Buffy grunted as she hit the floor from yet another punch.
"Oh, who's this cutie?" Sunday cooed holding the framed photo of Buffy with Sam. "Baby brother? Sweet."
Buffy bit her lip to stop from correcting the vampire. Being the son of a slayer would make Sam more of a target than the brother of one. So she lay there at Sunday's feet watching as the girl dropped the frame to the floor and smash the glass with her heel, tearing the photo. Anger flooded the slayer, bubbling over so that when the vampire gripped her bad arms she didn't feel the pain of her shoulder popping back into it's socket.
"You know, this arm's not looking so good. - It might have to come off."
"You wanna know the truth?" Buffy asked through clenched teeth. "I only need one." her fist came up to connect with the side of the vamps face, knocking her off balance.
Buffy embraced the anger, allowing it to give her extra strength and focus, not just her anger at the way the vamp had smashed the photo of her son but her anger at Giles and that woman. She delivered blow after blow, kicking Sunday across the room. fully aware of her friends arrival. "When you look back at this, in the few seconds before you turn to dust, I think you'll find the mistake was touching my stuff." She informed the bitch.
Sunday grabbed Buffy's arm. "What about breaking your arms? How does that feel?"
"Let me answer that with a head butt." the slayer slammed her forehead into the bridge of the vamps nose, making her cry out and stagger back a few paces. Then she clenched her fist. "And for the record. The arms hurt, not broken." she brought the fist up, punching her so hard under the jaw that the vampire flew backward to crash into a pile of boxes.
"Hey, Buff. Need a hand?" Xander asked with a grin.
"Nuh…." she turned with a smile before twisting at the waist and flinging the broken handle of a tennis racket into Sunday's chest. "I'm good."
Giles rushed forward, his hands going instantly to the side of Buffy's face, turning it to the side to get a better look at the blooming bruise on her cheek. She looked up into his worried gaze. "I'm fine." she murmured, her hands resting over his.
"Buffy, I swear nothing happened. You've got to believe me."
Buffy stared into those honest green eyes and took a breath. "I do." she smiled softly. "But I want her…."
"She's already gone." Giles finished.
Buffy crouched down to pick up the broken frame, looking at it longingly. "I don't know if I can do this?" she murmured. "Staying here, away from Sam."
Giles placed to supportive hands on her shoulders. "No one's forcing you to Buffy. I'm sure you're mom won't mind if you move back, and if she does….you can always move in with me." he said softly against her ear.
Buffy turned wide eyed. "What?"
He smiled gently before leaning down to kiss her. "Why not."
A/N: Please review so I know if this is any good.
Once again Buffy makes a comment that in hindsight is like a creepy prophet of doom. . "I can't wait for mom to get the bill, I hope it's a funny aneurysm."
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