The Summers ladies settled into their chairs by the window at Dukes and looked over the menu. "I just know I want to try that Hula Pie thing. I mean macadamia nut ice cream is worth the possible muffin top later." Dawn, tall and thin as a reed had no more reason to worry about weight gain than her Slayer sister but California seemed to make even the most fit women feel insecure.
Buffy ordered a huge salad with Ahi while Dawn wolfed down a Mango BBQ burger to Buffy's amusement. "We're in one of the best fresh seafood places on the coast and you order a burger?"
"So says salad girl."
"At least mine has a nice hunk of tuna on it!"
"Think anyone would care if we hogged the table during the fireworks? Bet we can see them from here since we're on the beach."
Buffy looked around at the large crowd already filling the restaurant and smirked. "I suppose I could put up a decent fight but my guess is they've already reserved every table in here for later. Let's just eat then find a great spot on the beach to see things go boom that don't involve demons or Apocalypses for a change."
"I'm down with that." Dawn took another bite and watched Buffy as she chewed and swallowed, "So sister mine, what ARE you going to do now? I mean you finally staked that Immortal dude you were trying to take down in Rome and I know you are too restless to just hang around the Coliseum hoping to catch some kitten hunting demon. You planning to taking Giles up on his offer to come run the school in Scotland?"
"A world of no." Buffy shuddered. "Had enough Slayer training before we took on the First. And Giles and I are still kinda ...." Her voice trailed off. Buffy doubted she would ever fully trust her old Watcher again. Nothing he had done since the fall of Sunnydale indicated he'd changed a bit from the Travers wanna be he had become that last year. It was clear that no on had wanted to talk about Spike's sacrifice or contributions from the moment they drove away from the crater. Buffy had decided to suffer her grief alone from that moment.
The only one who had seemed to understand had shocked her. Xander had come up to her that first night, squeezed her shoulder and said, "They were both better than we ever gave them credit for." Xan had gone off to Africa soon after they had regrouped, probably because no one seemed to get his grief for Anya either. She got that.
They just couldn't see beyond the self congratulations that all those Slayers made thanks to Willow the uber witch and a magic scythe could have only held back the Turok-han for a short while. They would have lost it all along with Sunnydale if it hadn't been for Spike. His soul, his pure, loving, soul had been all the magic they had needed. She should have taken the damned amulet off him before it took his body with it.
Giles, of course, put all the credit on the amulet itself but the real power was Spike's soul. He was the souled Vampire who deserved that shoe thing, not Angel. Of course he wouldn't have wanted it, not really. Spike loved being a Vampire all powerful and strong, he hated the human he had been. No he wouldn't have wanted to be human. Couldn't take on a room full of humans much less a hoard of demons in a frail human body. That didn't mean he hadn't deserved it though.
Giles seemed to think any powerful warrior could have worn the amulet with the same result. He never seemed to see how special Spike was, how unique that soul was. She hadn't either, not at the time. A soul desired by a demon all for love!
For love of her. She didn't see how special it was until he was burning to ash in front of her ... then it was too late.
If he had only come to her. If she had only known! Pointless now to even think on the might have been's.
They had barely left the restaurant before her cell rang. She was so tired of all of this. Always at someone's beck and call. Always having duty. Always having to put the greater good first. Down time? She hadn't even been allowed to properly die in peace!
One look and she wished she could just let it go to voice mail. Still, it could be another end of the world sitch, seems they always knew how to spoil a good sulk.
"What is it Giles."
"Buffy, I've just been in touch with Angel, or rather he rang me. I thought you'd like to know that I've offered him that post with the Council. His years of experience and knowledge will do us all in good stead. Perhaps you might want to return with him? He still has access to the jet from his days running Wolfram and Hart."
Buffy could have laughed at the irony. Giles had hated Angel and now was actively joining in the 'let's get Buffy and Angel back together' club. "Not going anywhere with Angel, Giles. I wish him well and think he might be an asset but he's YOUR asset, not mine."
A long silence greeted that. "I would have thought you to be keen on reestablishing, ur, a relationship with Angel. I know you didn't expect my approval but you should know by now that I only want your happiness."
Buffy bit back a caustic comment that was really demanding to be said. She decided to try for something slightly less bitter. "You really have no idea what makes me happy, made me happy, do you Giles?"
"He is gone, Buffy. He has been out of your life since Sunnydale and Angel assures me he is gone for good this time."
"Not helping, Giles."
"No, you misunderstand. I know there were feelings there and that you feel some responsibility but you must move on and ..." Buffy cut him off abruptly. The last thing she wanted was advice on her love life from a man who had forgotten how to even love his surrogate daughter.
"Bye Giles, fireworks to watch. You know we're over here celebrating getting rid of our connection to Merry 'Ole."
And here was the all American girl still in servitude to a bunch of old British men and customs. Independence day, hah!
"Come on Dawn, let’s watch the pretty and dump some tea."
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