Sunnydale has gone - so what happens now ...?
I know it has been done before - but this is just my idea. This is my first fic - so hope you all like it. 9 Chapters, and 11,479 words!
This is the first half ....
Thanks to underthis_shade for the banner.
… Yes, it’s all a question of timing … “He” always had it, and over this last year he refined it to an art ...
Buffy stood in front of the gaping expanse that had been Sunnydale and as the words of the group washed over her she watches the sign tumble onto his grave. Yes, even after he has gone he still knows how to remind her of their history. Timing – always his speciality, yet not for her. It’s not surprising that he didn’t believe her words – He would have thought it was her way of letting go … of letting him at least hear the words he has always wanted, that he had always said. Yet if she had only had the courage to say the same 3 little words the previous night … but in trying to keep the peace that was between them she hadn’t wanted to say anything at all. She had loved him in action and in thought, thinking that it was enough this time. Thinking – next time – I shall say the words as well – Timing – She got it wrong again.
Was it minutes, hours, days later that Buffy came to realisation that she was no longer in America? Time drifted past as she tried to come to terms with her monumental loss. A loss she could share with no one as they were all moving forward while she stayed lost in a moment in time in a deserted house :-
*You are the one, Buffy*
Time passed while she tried to realise that no longer was she THE ONE, but part of an army. Even the Scooby gang was changing, time was evolving the group – new members moving in whilst others moved away or were lost for ever.
Some things never change though! The Council of Watchers was being re-formed. Giles, with his sense of impeccable timing, told the survivors who had tried to settle in LA with Angel, that just before the final explosion Quentin Travers had written to him with details where much of the money was banked. So to London he headed, taking with him any of the girls who wanted to formalise their training. Many of the girls, however, headed home – there were problems all over the world, but with the new Council organization the girls knew that they could always get back-up when needed.
Faith decided to stay in the USA and headed for Cleveland. She and Buffy realised that they understood each other better. They had at long last discovered that both their similarities and their differences were what being The Slayer was all about. Robin, amazed everyone by persuading her to travel from LA to Cleveland via Las Vagas; and so the girl who felt that she couldn’t be committed to anyone for longer than a night became a bride. When she was later asked “Why?” she said that the time was right!!
Kennedy stayed with them, but Willow decided to travel to London to help with the co-ordination of The Council. They didn’t make a conscious decision to split, merely that their relationship had been one of timing … they had both felt the pressure of the forth-coming apocalypse, but they now had the time to re-discover themselves.
So to London the group headed, to a beautiful building near Trafalgar Square. The ground floor had four large rooms, which were converted into one large lecture hall, two large training rooms; and the other being divided to make three smaller training rooms. There was a large basement with an efficiently run cafeteria as well as a bar area and a couple of lounges. The first floor had a comprehensive library, with internet connection; as well as a conference room, a few offices and a couple of small seating areas. The next three floors had bedrooms and bathrooms for those girls doing their training. Whilst on the top floor were the “family” bedrooms – Those for Buffy, Dawn, Willow, Xander, Giles and (of course) Andrew. In time Giles knew that he would be able to buy the adjoining building to have more classrooms and bedrooms, but this could wait until the initial plans were set into practice.
As time slowly passed things gradually came together. There was no problem for the alterations as money was plentiful. Sadly this led Xander to think that he was not really needed, so after a few weeks he headed back to Cleveland, hoping that in doing so he would feel useful, and that Anya would be proud of him again.
A couple of months after arriving in London Giles called them all to the Conference Room to begin to make some real plans as to the training schedules, both for Buffy and for the actual lessons that would be taught at the school. He knew he would have to work hard to re-gain her trust, but also realised that she was letting her life drift. So without mentioning Spike he decided to try to get her physically fitter, thus hoping that she would then become emotionally fitter.
“Let me officially open this first gathering by welcoming you to The Council of Watchers …”
“Giles – Do you have to?” Willow interrupted “I am just glad Xander isn’t here if this is all this is going to be about”
“I am sorry, Willow, but I just felt that the time was right for us to have a full and formal start to this new stage in the history of the Slayer”
“But we know what is happening, and why …”
“This is so exciting. Don’t listen to her, Giles” interrupted Andrew “Can I record this so that future generations will see how we forged ahead through all the tensions…”
“ANDREW” stormed Dawn, Willow and Giles; whilst from Buffy still the silence continued. As ever it was as if she wasn’t there … no she was still caught in her personal moment of time …
*You are the one, Buffy*
“Let’s have some silence, please”. While the rest were settling it gave Giles a chance to yet again clean his glasses while studying Buffy. His thought was that of the serene picture she actually portrayed – like that of a Madonna in a Renaissance Cathedral. “Right, now let’s get back to business, if that is OK with everyone.” Giles paused to give the group a chance to settle and to re-focus.
“It has been about 3½ months since Sunnydale was destroyed and at long last we are getting some stability and focus …” Buffy had listened to the beginning of his comments when she realised that it was yet another Giles-speech, so let herself zone out again.
*I am glad he is happy; I know I caused him some grief over the 7 years. But how can he be so vague, I mean, it is 108 days, why doesn’t he know that? Wait – did he say 3 months … No … He must have that wrong … * Buffy stood up suddenly surprising everyone, especially Giles who was in the middle of a sentence!
“Sickness …. Months … Time” and with that she rushed out of the room
Yes it is all a question of timing.
*How can I have not realised that the minutes that I was counting were turning into months? Or has my body lost its clock through grief? I wish that I could hope it was something more – Dare I risk a trip to the chemist, or would that destroy my dreams?* Buffy realised that she would have to focus on something other than her grief. The world was a big place, but still it stayed centred on a time spent in a basement in Sunnydale.
MEANWHILE …. In LA
“We are running out of time” – Angel was getting fed up with hearing that phrase, especially as he really didn’t understand the passing of time. So if he wasn’t hearing this moan from Fred then he could see it in the way a fading Spike watched her every stage of research.
Time – was racing away, disappearing like sand in an egg-timer.
Buffy continued to walk and as she did she realised that the day had gone and she was miles from where she started – Miles from Trafalgar Square, but also miles from Sunnydale. She came to the long awaited conclusion that she needed to take back control of her life and to use the life that Spike had given her. First, she knew that she had to make a trip to the chemist and find out whether the impossible had happened or whether it was that it had been both her mind and her body that had stayed locked in a moment of time.
She was passing an underground station at this point and thought about heading home, but realised that once back at The Council she would have to face everyone. So she walked slowly back, using that time to begin to rebuild her life – Spike had died to give her “normal”, so now she needed to do that for him, if not for herself. He had given her so much in those last few weeks and at long last she realised that he would be upset with how she was letting time drift.
As she came through Piccadilly Circus she spotted a 24 hour chemist and knew that while she was rebuilding her life she should put an end to her personal doubts, so she walked in and bought the pregnancy test – at long last she realised the meaning of the phrase “There is no time like the present”. And so back home – to the rest of her life.
The following day it was her turn to call Dawn, Willow and Giles into the Conference Room. Once they were all settled and enjoying their coffee and donuts she started to explain the reason for the meeting.
“First I want to ask a special request of you… “
“Anything” said Willow, so pleased to see Buffy looking like Buffy again
“Well my main request was that you don’t interrupt me until I have finished” At this everyone chuckled, and then laughed when they realised that suddenly time had rolled back to the days in Sunnydale of the old Scooby meetings.
“Anyway, I hate to admit this but I have actually made a list as I need to say a few things, so Giles you should be proud of me!
“I want to apologise for leaving you all to deal with the last few months, but my mind has been elsewhere, but more about that in a moment. No - I am not putting off explaining my reason, but it must be done properly, even if it sounds as if I am rambling” At this Buffy paused to breathe – and to remember a vampire who always accused her of rambling when she was trying to avoid an answer. The space gave them all a chance to realise that whatever they were going to hear, they would hear the truth.
*Oh yes, Buffy I am so proud of you * thought Giles.
“So, here goes” and with another deep breath Buffy started. “Dawn, I love you – I am so proud of how much you have had to overcome, but can also say that I am so glad that the monks gave you to me as my sister”. At this she was again interrupted as the girl threw herself into her sister’s arms and hugged onto her as if she would never let go.
At long last they were able to separate and Dawn sat down again with a final “I love you too” to her big sister.
“Wow, so much for no interruptions! Oh well point number two. Willow, yes, I love you too. You have travelled so far along a very difficult road. I feel sometimes my support has been a bit absent, but I have always known that you were there. So I am sorry if you feel that I wasn’t there for you, but I am so proud of you for how you have dealt with your magic. I can honestly say that I fully realise what you went through when you lost Tara, so let me finish by saying thank you for still being here now and if you will forgive me I would like my best friend back.”
“Buffy…” Willow quietly said “Sorry to interrupt but can I have a hug too. I love you and want our friendship back on track”. So the two friends stood together – together to face the world. Buffy quietly vowed that as soon as she had finished here she would head to Cleveland to speak to her other best friend in person, as Xander deserved more than just the phone call that she had originally planned.
And so to the final member of the group. “Giles you have been my watcher since I moved to Sunnydale, but I love you as my Dad. I know that as both my guardian and my parent you will make hard decisions that I will disagree with …” At this Buffy left a gap as they both thought of a garage filled with crosses by Robin Wood, “But I want to be try to understand why you make these hard decisions even if I disagree with them”
“Buffy” said Giles as he stood up and walked towards her “Let me assure you that I do love you. Some choices I have made may have seemed wrong, but they were done in love. However I will try to remember that you are now an adult and thus will endeavour to talk to you before I act”. After a brief hug he walked back to his abandoned cup of tea, using that as the opportunity to polish his glasses!
“Well Big Sis I think we are all wept out, so how about we hit the shops”
“Great thinking, Dawnie” agreed Willow
“Erm, hang on guys. I haven’t got to my final two points on my list. So I will say them quickly as they are actually linked. Erm, I, erm, OK, erm ….” The gap stretched while the others looked on. “I want to say that I want to take back my life. Spike loved me and died to give me a normal life, so I want to get involved with the training and The Council plans. But more than that I loved Spike which is why I have been lost – lost in time really. However something I learnt yesterday has made me realise how I can’t stay lost in time in Sunnydale. Time is passing and although I would like to go back in time, I have learnt something the means that I can actually go forward with an aim; because I have found out that I am pregnant. Yes pregnant to the man I love, the man who gave me normal, gave me more normal than even he would have expected”
The silence in the room stretched, while the friends realised that what they had heard were actual words. Buffy was to be a Mum, while the Dad was now buried in the crater that had been their home.
“Wow” – which of them said it was really immaterial, as they all thought the same thing!
Timing was becoming more important.
However the main thing that the Scoobies were learning is that you can never put the clock back. All of them had the “I Wish” syndrome, but that was not going to help them to move forwards. So they made an unspoken promise to move forward, remembering to treat each and every day as if it was their last. They needed to let their friends know how important they were, how every second counted and all could be built on to form a permanent future in which the important things like trust and friendship were the most important.
Willow invited Zander over for a visit, and once again Buffy was able to open up to him and to apologise to him for all the injuries he had received, not least of which being the loss of his eye. Once he knew he decided that he wanted to stay in London and re-form the original Scooby gang, although Buffy decided that the original part-time associate shouldn’t be told what was happening. She was too aware that Angel thought she would eventually turn to him, so plans were set in motion to distance the AI group.
The ideal opportunity came when Dawn approached her sister about the possibility of doing some travelling before she settled down to study. She planned to study ancient languages as she had a flare for it, but also knew that it would come in useful as she wanted to maintain her links to her heritage and to The Council. She also admitted to Buffy that Spike had let slip that he had studied language when he had been to college, so felt that maybe that was when the idea had first been planted in her mind – during “the” summer when he was caring for her.
Surprisingly the problem was easily overcome. Andrew decided that he wanted a complete change, somewhere that he could become anonymous, at the same time as being able to be of help. So it was decided that Andrew would move to Rome which was an ideal start for Dawn with her wish to learn ancient languages, coupled with her love of fashion! Giles had long wished to find out more about one or two “legends” and although Dracula was the easy choice, he also lived in the wrong country! Coupled with the fact that he had already had contact with the Scoobies, he was left for a later time and “The Immortal” was placed at the top of the list. Giles had noted his name off and on through The Watcher Diaries, so wanted to see if he could find out any independent information. The flat was rented in the names of Andrew, Dawn and Buffy; and to help matters Buffy helped with the move and ordered a few things to be delivered there in her name as the weeks went by.
MEANWHILE …. In LA
Spike had one of his wishes come true, and although it was through mystical means he wasn’t complaining. As the days went on he got to know Wesley, Gunn and Fred . He also reconciled his differences with Harmony, but kept them emotionally away. He had managed to find out during his time as a ghost that Buffy and Dawn were alive; but the pain of not being with them he used to remind himself that emotional ties didn’t work when you were a vampire.
His vampire family were further proof of that. Although vampires live as individuals the line of Aurelius had always been a little different. He and Dru had been together 100 years and although he missed her he only had to concentrate on his sire’s bond to realise that she was well and happy. His grandsire was a different matter – he only had to walk through the building to see Angel.
So he decided that this time of his un-life would be easier if he kept his friendships casual, and avoided all emotional commitment – Not that he wanted to be with anyone, other than the girl who was moving, along with her sister, to that lively city of Rome.
As the days progressed the Scoobies made it an un-written rule to have breakfast together. To chat and laugh, and sometimes to cry together; before heading into the new day. They were all determined that they wouldn’t waste another moment of time that they had together.
Buffy slowly began to relax and enjoy her friends again, whilst they enjoyed being able to support her whenever and however they could. Normally we only realise what we have when we no longer have it and there is no possibility of re-gaining it; but they realised that they were given a second (or more technically a third!) chance at life and they weren’t going to mess it up this time.
Minutes turned into days, days turned into weeks, and soon weeks turned into months.
Buffy realised that she should savour every second of her pregnancy. It was great that she had so much support, but every so often she needed time by herself – time that she could spend with her child. The group realised that much of this time was spent talking to her baby and remembering its father. No matter how much they enjoyed her company and wanted to be there for her, they were all aware of the fact that these were some of those moments they couldn’t share, so they gave her the privacy she needed.
She “showed” her baby London by sunlight as she wanted her child to experience the beautiful sights of the city. She didn’t know what part of England William had been born in, but knew that he and Dru had seen London by starlight over the years, Although she was no longer an active slayer, she found herself drawn to St. Martins-in-the-Field that was not only a local place, but also because its fame as a friend to the homeless made it a favourite location for vampires. So most afternoons she went for a walk and spent a few minutes sitting in the peace of the Church feeling that she was giving her baby the real balance of its heritage.
As the weeks passed she became more relaxed about sharing her feelings and her thoughts of Spike with the people she called friends. She asked Willow to be her birth partner and had attended all the anti-natal classes with her. The staff at St. Thomas’s Hospital were very sympathetic for the loss of her baby’s father in “that freak earthquake” in California, but also were glad to see that she obviously had a lot of support. The only thing that she refused to debate with anyone were names – she was given plenty of suggestions but each one was met with a blank stare as she felt that this was something she needed to do alone. She was determined choose a name that maintained Spike’s association with the child. Spike had never mentioned family names to her so she felt that it might have been something he wanted to forget; so her thoughts took her to the obvious choice of William for a boy, but try as much as she could she couldn’t reconcile the feminine equivalent. However on one of her daily walks she realised that she was telling the baby about a section of London that was Victorian and therefore its father would have seen this area when it was first constructed – and so the name of Victoria began to settle in her mind.
Meanwhile in LA
Time passes slowly when you have all eternity ahead of you - but time slows ever more when you are in hospital. Spike just wished there was a way that he could get out of his "hospital bed" and head back to his small basement bed-sit. It wasn't much, but at least it was his - and it had cable! But until he could move his hands a little easier he knew that his place was in Angel's apartment at Wolfram and Hart. At least his Grandsire had as little desire for his company as Spike had for "the brooding one".
Still the silence was total at present and he could begin to organise his random thoughts. As ever he had to focus on what he was doing, otherwise his hundred plus years would be narrowed down to a few weeks in Sunnydale - or was it easier to just think of the girl that overwhelmed his thoughts for hours on end.
But he knew that he really had to "move on". Angel was - but there again Angel always did. He found it easy to put the past behind him - either blaming Angelus for past mistakes, or by saying that it was in Buffy's best interest. Spike couldn't understand - and this was what he tended to spend the few seconds of every day when he wasn't thinking about Buffy, pondering. How could Angel move onto Nina - she was a lovely girl, even if she was a werewolf - but she wasn’t Buffy... And how Angel could blame Angelus for his mistakes....
*Oh No Brooding* - that will never do, thought Spike. I promised that I would spend my time here getting my life together - not trying to work out Angel.
Over the weeks that Spike had spent haunting W&H he realised that unlike his Grandsire he was one person - 3 people living in one body. He may now be Spike complete with a soul, but he was also Spike "Slayer of Slayers". The thoughts and memories were still there. They were part of his unlife that had led him to Buffy and thus to both his salvation and to this point in time. He also was honest enough to admit that William, the Victorian poet, was there as well - not as well hidden as he would have liked him to be. This led him back to Angel – he allowed everyone to separate his souled deeds from his Angelus side ... and as for Liam... well, he didn't even exist!
So as Spike was lying there, whiling away the moments of healing, he realised that even if his mind could move on - his heart never would. He would learn to un-live again, but his heart would remain locked in its personal Heaven forever.
Time was slipping away, and Xander made good his promise to convert Buffy’s room into a suite for her “family”.
One day as the group was going their separate ways Giles asked to have a word,
“Buffy” he started “I know that you want to choose the baby’s name yourself. However, would you like me to contact Angel and ask if he has any idea what Spike’s real name was. I had researched the line of Aurelius both when The Master became know to us, but also due to your relationship with Angel and then with Spike. Amazingly I learnt Darla and Drusilla’s full names and know much about Angel too; but Spike has always remained elusive to the Watchers over the years. But …”
Buffy interrupted him “I know that between you and the books, and Willow with the internet and the help of Angel we would probably be able to find his name or his history, but, that Spike was not my Spike. He is not my Spike. He put that behind him when he fell in love with me – I know that and accept in, now. So I think it would be nice if that air of mystery was maintained.”
“I agree, but I think he would have liked to have a permanent connection to his child, especially seeing that all we know of him was that he was Victorian”
“Yes, Giles. However this child will grow up knowing about its father, so will be connected – more than just a name. I feel that my Spike was the Spike we all knew in Sunnydale, and that is where this child is from. So thank you, but no! It means a lot that you have thought of it, and even more that you asked first!”
“I know I deserved that, but I also know how much you want this child and want to continue to support you through this time.”
Buffy hugged Giles and then glanced at her watch.
“Must go, last class is in an hour and Willow and I don’t want to miss that. We may get back late, as we’re planning a girly afternoon at the shops. It may be our last chance for some time.”
“Have fun” Giles responded, and pulling out his wallet, he pressed a few notes into her hands, with the instruction to buy some clothes for the coming arrival.
“Thanks Granddad” was the surprise reply as Buffy headed off to meet Willow. Giles realised that time had certainly helped her to heal, but it had also changed his view on life. He had willingly given money to buy clothing for a vampire’s child – should that go down in The Watcher’s Diary? He thought *Not* - but more in case Angel ever got hold of them. The Scoobies had unanimously decided that the date of the baby’s birth would be delayed, so that Angel would only know that Buffy had a new “normal” life, but not that his Grandchilde had anything to do with it …
Well “It’s All a Question of Timing”