A/N: I am so sorry for the longest wait in history... I know that nothing could ever make up for it but, here's a new chapter anyway! I hope you like it...
Last Time on CHANGES TO ADAPT TO::
“Uh huh, sure.” Morgan pursed his lips and looked to Buffy. “What else did you see?”
Buffy gave him a smirk and shook her head. “I’m not going to tell you. You’d use it as blackmail.”
Morgan only raised an eyebrow.
Buffy and Reid walked into the interrogation room, Spencer’s hand resting on her back, offering a silent support. “How is everything?”
Giles finished laying out the blood red ribbon and smiled at his slayer. “Everything is fine, Buffy. The only hard part is going to be Willow keeping the power centered for the length of time I need to send the First to a different plane.”
Buffy looked to her friend. “Willow, are you sure you can handle this? I wouldn’t want anything…”
Willow cut her off. “While you were on your little vacation, I became an accomplished Wicca. I can handle this.”
Buffy bit back the retort that was on the tip of her tongue. This wasn’t the right time to argue. Willow needed to concentrate.
Spencer, sensing Buffy’s frustration, began rubbing circles on her lower back. Buffy looked to her father, who had a grumpy look on his face. “Dad, are you sure you want to stay for this? Things get can pretty weird when magic is involved.”
Rossi sent his daughter a leveled look. “I want to know more about what you do. I’m not leaving, Buffy.”
Faith sidled up to Buffy. “Do you think Red can pull out this much mojo?”
Buffy faced her sister slayer. “She re-ensouled Angel, she can do this.”
There was a silence between the slayers before Faith finally asked the question she had wanted to ask since they had arrived on Buffy’s doorstep.
“You’re not coming back to Sunny D, are you?” Buffy shook her head. “Thought not. I never told you how much I appreciated you giving me a shot, did I?”
Buffy stepped from Spencer’s touch and put a hand on the younger slayer’s shoulder. “You didn’t need my permission, Faith. You’re a Slayer too. You know how to protect the hellmouth. I’m protecting my little corner but, you’re going to be the one to stop the most of the apocalypses. I don’t miss it. I have a good life here. I actually have a future here; you have one in Sunnydale.”
Faith looked over Buffy’s shoulder to Spencer, who was talking to Rossi in hushed tones. “I don’t think Sunnydale holds the type of future you’re gonna have, for me.”
Buffy shrugged. “You were made to be on the hellmouth, constantly battling it out. If I stayed, I would’ve been killed or turned. Heck, I’ve already died once.”
“All Slayers go out the same way, B.” Faith muttered. “If anyone is gonna change that pattern, it’ll be you.”
Buffy gave her sister slayer a small smile of thanks. “I hope you do get a future, Faith.”
“I’m not the type that can do the ‘normal girl’ schtick. That’s you’re deal, B.”
“I used to think that too, Faith. I ended up dating a vampire with a soul, for crying out loud! How far away from normal can you get?”
Before Faith could reply, Giles called out that they were ready to begin.
Willow took her place at the head of the alter and began saying the phrase in Latin that Giles had given to her. The air tingling around them, the sudden surge of energy was palpable.
Rossi was astounded by the sheer look of concentration that was on everyone’s faces; the redheaded witch and the librarian seemingly rapped even those who were not directly involved with the process.
Buffy’s eyes stayed on the spell casters. She watched every move, no matter how small, waiting for something to go wrong. She knew from experience that many things could go wrong with magic involved. She knew that if something happed she would not have that long to protect her father and Spencer. Looking to her left, she could see that Faith and Angel had Xander and Oz, just in case.
The lights began to flicker, the candles’ flames raising, Giles’ cue to begin his act of casting the First into a plane where it wouldn’t do anyone any harm. They didn’t want to cast the First into a peaceful dimension… so, they were aiming for the hell dimension that Angel had been sent to through Alcatha’s portal.
Minutes later, Willow and Giles were packing up their ingredients and supplies. A smug look was on Willow’s face, a look that worried Buffy.
She sent a look to Spencer, nodding towards Willow. “I’m worried about her. She’s getting a little carried away.”
“She is acting a little smug. Do you think she’ll abuse it? I read in one of the books Giles gave me that it was possible for newly discovered witches to get a little carried away…” Spencer was concerned about Willow getting out of control, not for the redhead’s sake but, for Buffy’s. He knew that if something happened, she’d have to be the one that cleaned up the mess.
Rossi watched his daughter and knew that they were talking about the way Willow was acting. The not-so-subtle glances were very telling. To tell the truth, he was still a little gruff towards the teenagers that seemingly invaded his home. Buffy was kidnapped only a day ago and they hadn’t even asked how she was? What kind of friends thought that anyone would be ok after something like that? And then he remembered. These people only knew Buffy as the Slayer. They didn’t take time to fully accept her as a regular teenage girl who needed to be protected sometimes. She shouldn’t have to be brave all of the time, she deserved to be taken care of sometimes.
THREE HOURS LATER:
David, Buffy, and Spencer were watching as the taxi van left the parking lot. Angel had gotten in his car and had begun the long drive back to California.
Buffy sighed, turning to go back into the condo, a weight seemingly lifted off her shoulders.
The scoobies were gone and now, she could back to her life.
“You want to stay for dinner, Reid? I made plenty…” Dave offered his teammate.
Reid nodded. “That’d be great, Rossi. I’d really appreciate not having to get take-out on the way home.”
Buffy smiled at her father and boyfriend, happy that they were getting along. “I’m just going to change into my PJs.”
Both men nodded before she turned and headed to her bedroom.
Dinner was quiet. Quieter than Buffy was used to and she liked it. It gave her a chance digest everything that had happened in the last few days.
She had realized a lot of things that she hadn’t until the scoobies had come to Virginia. She originally thought they had come to help her when she had been kidnapped but, that wasn’t the case. Spencer had told her that Giles, originally, was the only one coming until they realized that Angel was missing. Then, the entire group decided to come.
They had only come because they thought that she had screwed up again an wanted to rub her nose in it, for the millionth time.
Xander and Willow had not reacted well when Giles told them that she wasn’t coming back to Sunnydale after she graduated high school. Xander had even went so far as to say that a college education would have been a waste because Buffy probably wouldn’t live long enough to use it properly.
That one stung. A lot. Especially when Willow had agreed.
She was already aware of the flashing expiration date over her head but, did that mean that she had to act like it? Couldn’t she just live every day like it was her last… doing what she wanted? Was that too much to ask?
The one saving grace of the entire conversation had been the way Spencer, Dad, and Giles had stood up for her. Giles had made it pretty clear that Xander’s free moments were going to be taken up by whittling new stakes for Faith.
A/N: Thanks so much for reading! Let me know what you think! I hope the next update is a lot sooner but you know how pesky those muses can be. :)