Disclaimer: I do not own any of the recognizable characters. I receive no profits from this. It is just for fun.
Archiving: Please ask.
Feedback: Constructive Criticism desired.
Summary: Buffy hesitates.
AN – Thoughts \\I am thinking.//
After seeing CeeCee got home safely, Xander had been surprised when he followed a vampire he’d found walking through Restfield Cemetery to a bar. He was even more surprised that when he tried to follow the vamp inside, he felt like he’d run into a wall. He was immaterial and had passed through several walls and even roofs without any problems before.
\\Alright, what kind of place had ghost-proof wards on it?// he mused to himself as he rubbed the sore spot on his forehead.
He looked at the flickering neon sign that read, “Willy’s Alibi Room”.
It was obviously a dive and it let a vampire in but kept him out. The vampire was undead and corporeal while he was dead and incorporeal.
\\It’s discrimination, I tell ya,// he thought as he wandered around outside the windowless building.
While he pondered the situation a couple more vamps entered and a few really ugly looking demons staggered out.
\\Just what Sunnyhell needs,// he thought. \\A demon bar. I wonder if the wards are keeping me out because I’m underage and the owner doesn’t want problems with the Liquor Control Board, or just the fact that I’m a ghost and they don’t want their customers bothered by being haunted by their victims?//
\\It sucks either way because bars are great places to get info from and a demon bar would potentially be a gold mine of gossip and bragging that could help cut things off at the pass and save lives,// he mused.
\\I wonder if the wards would prevent using conventional bugs from working? It would be a big advantage if they did work. I’ll have Aura suggest it to Giles. Not sure how I could get her to ask about breaking ghost-proof wards without spilling my secret, but maybe she can look that info up on her own.//
Putting his thoughts off to the side, Xander took up a position on a building opposite the bar and waited for a group of vamps to leave so he could follow them to their lair.
\\Hopefully, vamp lairs don’t have anti-ghost wards on them and I can scope them out to determine the best way to take them out without risking Aura’s neck too much.//
Sheila and Ira Rosenberg arrived at the Library per the note they found at their home after getting back to Sunnydale.
“Mr. Giles?” asked Ira of the middle-aged man behind the checkout counter.
Giles nodded and asked back, “Mr. and Mrs. Rosenberg?”
“Your note said you wished to speak to us about our daughter,” stated Ira.
“Yes. Willow has let me know that you have been informed of the deaths and disappearances of her close friends over the past several months, therefore I hope you understand when I suggest that you arrange to have Willow finish her education away from where so many reminders of unpleasant memories exist.”
Before either of Willow’s parents could respond, Giles continued, “Either that or you make arrangements for at least one of you to remain here in Sunnydale with her to ensure she is coping and healing emotionally from these tragedies.”
“Now see here,” blustered Ira. “Are you trying to tell us how to raise our daughter?”
“Perish the thought, sir, madam,” replied Giles. “However, as a member of the school faculty it is my duty to bring suspicions of neglect to the notice of State Child Services. Copies of your lecture schedule, which is available on the web I’m told, along with Willow’s perfect attendance record will point out that Willow, a minor under state law, has been left to fend for herself almost 11 out of 12 months of the year for several years. Now, while I agree that Willow is an exceptional and responsible young woman, that does not mean that she doesn’t still need proper adult supervision at times.”
“Now see here you . . . you limey upstart. We’re respected child psychologists and don’t need your approval about how we choose to raise our daughter. You try anything and we’ll have you deported.”
“Sir, I too have several well placed acquaintances in academia and once those two documents I mentioned are circulated to them they will draw their own conclusions. Your neglect will be exposed undermining the theories you lecture about and your reputations will plummet to the point where you would have to stand on street corners to get people to listen to them and hope they toss a few coins into your hat. And that’s assuming the state doesn’t bring criminal charges against you for neglect, which will further damage your reputations if not get your licenses revoked.”
Sheila clutched her husband’s arm at that statement.
“Now, I have no desire to inflict more hardship on Willow by ruining her parents’ livelihood, but she needs a stable environment with proper guidance in order to cope with what has happened. You need to either step up to that challenge yourselves or arrange a proper alternative.”
“Just so you know, I have already mentioned to Willow that I would recommend to you that she finish her schooling elsewhere and she has admitted it is probably for the best,” added Giles.
Sheila looked frightened while Ira looked outraged.
Giles could also see hesitance to risk that Giles was bluffing in Ira’s eyes.
Swallowing his anger, Ira asked his wife, “Do you think that your cousin, Sarah, in Metropolis would agree to take Willow in till she finishes High School?”
“She might,” replied Sheila. “Her son, Jimmy, is graduating this year and according to her last letter he already has plans to move out on his own. With her husband gone, she might appreciate not having to be on her own for a few more years.”
“Will that satisfy you, Mr. Giles!” Ira almost snarled out.
“What would satisfy me is that Willow have her friends back, but life has taught me to pick up the pieces and move forward as best I can with the resources still available to me,” replied Giles calmly. “I should also inform you that Willow has already made arrangements to take her finals for this year in anticipation of moving away. She’s intelligent enough that she probably could have taken them at the beginning of the year and skipped one if not more grades but she wanted to remain with her friends. Since she has no more left, she no longer sees the need to attend classes she already knows the content of.”
Ira took his wife’s arm and they left without another word.
Giles heaved a tired sigh. He hated to have been heavy handed with the Rosenbergs only because it was now most unlikely that he would get the chance to see Willow again before they left town. As it was he would have a note delivered to her a little later advising her to collect her things from his apartment and return to her own home since her parents were now here. He would avoid meeting with her to keep from causing anymore friction with her parents.
Willow hadn’t had any problems arranging to take her finals once she gave a small oral presentation to her teachers to show she knew the curriculum for not only the current year but a lot of what would be taught the next two years as well.
She got Giles’ note during lunch and was disappointed about the fact that apparently he and her father had some sort of disagreement, Giles hadn’t elaborated beyond that though she might guess, that would preclude his meeting with her again outside of any official school business.
When she got home, she only told her parents that a concerned person had let her stay with them while she dealt with finding the body of her remaining friend.
She was cheered a bit at the prospect of living in Metropolis and seeing her cousin Jimmy again. While he had some characteristics that would remind her of Xander, he was different enough for that she did not think it would cause her too much sorrow. Plus, according to her Mother, Jimmy wouldn’t be living with her and Cousin Sarah anyway.
Her father left the day after they’d arrived in order not to disrupt their schedule too much. It only took Sheila and Willow two days afterwards to get Willow’s things together for the move to Metropolis, and they flew out the day after that.
Willow resolved to write Giles with her new address and phone number once she got settled in. Even if she was a continent away, she still wanted to offer him any help he might need. She could research the net from anywhere after all.
Of course, she’d have to convince Giles to at least learn how to use email and chat to make it worthwhile. Snail-mail was out as informing Giles of an impending apocalypse a week after it occurs was not going to cut it. Long distance calling couldn’t be used too often as she didn’t want to burden her cousin financially. Prepaid cell phones might work but she’d still have to find a way to pay for it herself.
She’d give it some more thought after she got settled in in Metropolis.
AN: Willow is gone from this story for now. Whether she gets her own spin-off is still up in the air.