An Old Enemy and an Apology
A/N: No one ever informed Riley of Buffy’s disappearance.
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN – Old Enemy and an Apology
Secure Military Installation – Undisclosed Location
Lieutenant Anderson was having a very bad day. First, he overslept. Then he’d spilled coffee on his last clean uniform. They, whoever the hell they were, said bad things always come in threes so he really shouldn’t have been surprised when he’d found the cell empty. He’d wanted to cry but instead he walked over to the red phone at the guard’s desk and punched in a series of numbers and waited while the phone rang. On the third ring it was answered.
“Captain Riley Finn.”
Anderson found speech difficult. His tongue felt like lead in his mouth and he just couldn’t form words.
“I don’t have all day. Speak.”
“Captain Finn this Anderson at Zulu Base. I have some bad news. Ethan Rayne has escaped.”
“Sir, we’re not sure. Our mage felt a momentary fluctuation in the wards about an hour ago. We secured them and began to check each cell. I just discovered Rayne was missing. The wards were down maybe a minute. Apparently, it was enough for him to escape.”
“Understood, Anderson. Report immediately if you discover anything else.”
Riley disconnected and thought with concern about the chaos Ethan Rayne was capable of and if he knew Rayne at all he would head to the people he blamed for his imprisonment. Rupert Giles and Buffy Summers.
It looked like a trip to Sunnydale was in order.
Roswell, New Mexico – Truck Stop
Ethan Rayne was hiding in plain sight. When he’d felt the magical wards drop on his prison he’d summoned all the power at his disposal, which was a considerable amount, and teleported out. Now he was sitting in a truck stop enjoying a medium rare steak courtesy of the glamour he’d placed on himself. If anyone were to look at him all they would see was a nondescript middle-aged truck driver who looked remarkably like all the other truck drivers who were coming and going from the busy restaurant.
Ethan signaled the waitress, “Check please.”
An older woman dressed in a white waitress uniform shuffled over, “Shore enough hun. Where you headed today?”
“To visit some old friends. We haven’t seen each other in years and I’ve really missed them,” he said with a slightly sinister smile on his face.
Sunnydale – Buffy’s Hotel Room
Buffy was exhausted and sad. It had been hard telling her friends she wasn’t coming back to live in Sunnydale. She wanted everyone to understand why she couldn’t come back, that there was no way she could live her old life again. She’d found happiness on Ravenna and now she thought she might be finding happiness with Jack O’Neill.
The feelings she was having for him scared and exhilarated her. Scared because she knew Jack’s life was in Colorado Springs and being with him most likely meant leaving Ravenna. Exhilarated because she’d thought after Gareth died she’d never feel or find love again. Buffy knew she wasn’t in love with him yet but if she gave herself half a chance it very well could be.
While she lay on her bed contemplating all the recent changes in her life she heard a sharp knock on the door. Rising, she quickly answered it before the next knock woke Bronwyn from her nap. The little girl was exhausted from her trip to the zoo and would probably nap for at least another thirty minutes if left undisturbed.
Buffy looked through the peephole and was surprised to see Giles on the other side of the door. She opened the door cautiously, “Giles, what do you want?”
“Buffy, I was wondering if I might speak with you.”
“If you want to yell at me again then I don’t have anything to say to you,” Buffy said coldly.
“No, please, I don’t want to fight with you dear. Please can we talk?”
“Okay, but we need to go somewhere else. Bronwyn’s napping and I don’t want to wake her. Can you watch her for a moment while I get Jack to sit with her.”
Buffy walked across the hall and knocked on Jack’s door. He opened it with a smile on his face until he noticed who was standing in Buffy’s doorway. She placed a calming hand on his arm. “Jack it’s okay. Giles wants to talk and he promised no yelling. Can you watch Bronwyn while we go down to the coffee shop.”
Jack nodded at her and walked across the hall to Buffy’s room. He stopped in front of Giles and spoke lowly, “Don’t hurt her again. She loves you. She thinks of you as her father and it broke her heart the way you spoke to her this morning. If you don’t want to lose her then find a way to accept her choice.”
Giles nodded his head in response and turned to Buffy. “Shall we go dear girl.”
“Jack, I have my cell phone if you need me. We won’t be gone more than an hour.”
Jack leaned down and kissed Buffy softly on the cheek. “Call me if you need me.”
Hotel – Coffee Shop
Buffy and Giles sat in a booth toward the back of the hotel’s small coffee shop. The waitress approached and took their orders and they silently waited until she poured their coffee.
Buffy just raised an eyebrow waiting for Giles to speak. He’d wanted to speak to her so she would wait for him to speak.
“It seems you have quite the protector in Jack O’Neill.”
“Jack cares about me. He doesn’t like it when people yell at me. It’s something we have in common. I don’t like it when people yell at me either.”
“I didn’t come here to fight with you Buffy. I overreacted earlier today. I’ve missed you desperately. What I forgot is that you’ve been gone five years and in that time you’ve grown up. I can’t make decisions for you any longer, if I ever could.”
“Do you mean that Giles. Because if you’re just saying what you think I want to hear…”
Giles quickly rushed to reassure her. “No Buffy. I don’t think in the entire time we’ve known each other I’ve ever been in danger of doing that.”
Buffy laughed. “You’re right, you’ve never done that.”
“Where do you think you’ll settle? In Chicago with Dawn.”
“No, I think we may stay in Colorado Springs. That’s where Jack and the rest of his team are. Bronwyn and I have become close to them in such a short time and from what I can tell it would be a nice place to raise a child.”
Buffy still had not decided whether she would even stay on Earth or go back permanently to Ravenna. She would miss her home for the past five years but she would also miss Jack. Of course, she could not tell Giles any of this so she simply told him she’d planned to live in Colorado Springs.
Buffy knew she had a lot of decisions to make over the next few days and weeks and no matter the choice she made someone would be hurt.