The next day came quickly, although for the group it seemed to have been only seconds ago that they actually had gotten to sleep. They quickly met up at Buffy's, as they had planned, quickly reporting the amount of cops, ambulances and fire engines around the school.
"So, do you think they will find anything that could lead to us?" Buffy asked somewhat nervously.
"I doubt it, unless we left something behind, which I made sure we didn't," Giles tried to reassure her.
"So, now what happens?" Willow asked.
"We take a break, right?" Cordelia questioned.
"Maybe," Xander said, as he stood up and walked to the window.
"Meaning?" Buffy asked with narrowed eyes, hoping there wasn't something else to deal with.
"I'm talking about the distance that still exists between our two groups," he answered. "We may have sorted out some of the problems which started this, but not everything. So I was thinking that maybe me and the others should go somewhere for a month or so and let things settle here. Then we'll know if the steps we've taken under pressure will hold," he added as he faced the others.
Buffy looked confused for a few minutes as to why Xander would say this. Then she realized that she still hadn't put everything behind her, even though she was trying as hard as she could. Willow was upset that Xander wanted to leave so soon after they had put their friendship back on track.
Cordelia and Oz didn't really give anything away by their expressions, whilst Giles looked somewhat resigned to the fact that his friends would be leaving again, even if it was for a short amount of time.
Jessica and Faith seemed surprised at Xander's suggestion, but quickly realized that maybe Xander wasn't ready to resettle in Sunnydale, any more than they were.
Amy just nodded her head, prepared to follow her friend and to help him whenever she could, now that she had decided to put her feelings behind her.
Janna also nodded and was actually happy that Xander wanted to leave Sunnydale for a while, as she was still getting used to being back. She was also not comfortable around Giles and the others just yet.
"Are you sure Xander?" Giles asked.
"I think it's the best thing to do, Giles. We need time to put everything that's happened in perspective and really think about where we want to go from here," Xander replied, as he sat back down next to Janna.
"I agree with him, both groups need time Rupert," Jessica spoke up. "If we're to have any hope of integrating both groups, then this is the best course of action," she added.
"But...," Willow started to argue.
"Willow, please don't try and argue the point," Amy interrupted the red head. "We need to let things settle down and then when we come back, we'll know if we have any chance of pulling both groups into one," she continued.
"I'm sorry Willow, I have to agree," Buffy finally spoke up, trying to ignore the hurt look Willow sent her way. "I managed to put quite a bit behind me and even realize some things in the last month or so, but there are still some things I need to work out," she continued. "I think Xander's suggestion is the best thing for all of us." She gave Xander a small smile, which he returned even if his smile was still somewhat strained.
"Where will you go?" Oz asked as he watched his girlfriend try and resolve some inner struggle.
"I was thinking of going to San Francisco for a while," Xander answered.
"Why there?" asked Amy.
"I've always heard it is a nice city and I've always wanted to visit it," he replied.
The others in his group nodded in agreement with his suggestion, although Janna knew there was more to Xander's suggestion that he was saying. She could feel something else was on his mind, something to do with something he had read in one of Jessica's books back in Boston.
"When will you go?" Willow asked sadly.
"Day after tomorrow, just to make sure the cops don't come after any of us," Jessica was the one who answered that question.
The day after tomorrow arrived quicker than some of the group would have liked. Especially Willow was regretting her mistake more and more as time passed, but she knew Xander was right about the groups needing time apart.
The cops had filed their report on the destruction of the school the day before and had blamed it on a gang war over turf and had ruled them as the same gangs responsible for the Mayor's demise.
The group was now standing outside of Giles' place as Xander and Faith finished packing the four by four Jessica had brought.
"It's been good to have you back here Xander, and you as well, Amy," Giles told the two teens, as he stepped forward and engulfed them both in a strong hug, surprising some of the others with his show of emotion.
"It's been nice meeting you, B, even if we got off to a rocky start," Faith said, shaking her sister slayer's hand.
"I have to agree Faith, and I hope when you come back, we can start fresh," Buffy replied, to which Faith nodded.
Jessica had spent most of the last day with Rupert discussing a lot of things, including what may happen in the future, and she was glad that they would be returning, as she hoped her renewed friendship could lead to something more.
Willow spent a few moments crying on Xander's shoulder, as they shared a brief hug before they parted.
"I'll see you again Willow, I promise, but for now we need some space," Xander told her with a small smile as he got in the car with the others.
He gave Buffy and her group one last look before the four by four pulled out of the driveway and headed towards the interstate. He grasped both Janna's and Faith's hands in his and hoped the future would be brighter from here on out.
Author's notes: I want to thank everyone who has reviewed this story and I'm glad that you have enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
I have quite a few ideas for a sequel, which I am sure some of you can guess from the ending what it may entail and a bit of it is already written. So keep an eye out for it.