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Wishing Changes Everything: Epilogue

by Declan
Rating: PG-13

+1=2+

Epilogue (Graduation Day Part 2)

Buffy sighed as Giles put down another generous tumbler of brandy in front of her. “Are you sure that’s a good idea. ‘Cause technically you’re corrupting a minor here.”

Her voice was a little hoarse from all the talking she’d been doing. Not to mention the large amounts of crying that had happened earlier on.

Both she and Giles left the hospital after Buffy’s first bout of tears had stopped, Giles had acted all concerned and confused, thinking that Buffy was just only now feeling the after effects of guilt about what she’d done to Faith.

It wasn’t until they were properly settled at Giles apartment that Buffy had filled him in on everything, from those first confused moments in the alley to the ritual in the library at the end.

Guilt was just one of the many emotions that she was feeling. Regret, heartbreak, anger and fear all had their place in Buffy’s head. Things were getting crowded in there.

Giles gestured to the brandy. “Purely medicinal, and I think under the circumstances, rather necessary.” He sat down next to her on his couch, hands cradling a glass of his own, “I don’t really know what to say about all this.”

“It still hasn’t sunk in yet.” She looked over at the older man, “But you do believe me right?”

Buffy knew she sounded desperate but she didn’t think she had anything left in herself to try and persuade him.

“Oh, of course I do Buffy.” His voice was soft with sympathy, “It’s just, after all this, the year you have had to endure, the last thing you needed was...”

“A re-run?” She sighed and sniffed sadly, “Actually, apart from the tragic ending a lot of it was pretty nice. The things that happened...I found out stuff I didn’t know about before.”

“About Faith.” Giles stated evenly.

“Not just Faith, about my friends...about myself.” She said softly, “But yes, mainly Faith-stuff.”

Another pause. “That she could’ve been an ally?”

Buffy paused to sip her brandy, feeling better as the liquid burned a path to her stomach. “If I’d done things differently, Giles, if I hadn’t been so self-absorbed, with Angel and everything, things would’ve been different. Things wouldn’t have gone so wrong.” Buffy stared into her drink, scolding herself, “She was a slayer and I treated her like...”

“A stranger.” Giles reminded her, “You didn’t know her Buffy, you didn’t know how unstable she was, how tormented...”

“Or how lonely or how frightened...” Buffy shook her head in recrimination. “I didn’t want to know any of it, Giles. Not until it was too late to do anything.”

Giles sighed at her tone. “Buffy, we all wonder about the roads not taken, about decisions we may not have made or made too late. It’s very rare that people get to revisit those choices, to see where they lead.”

“Well I got to see, I got to live it and then have it all taken away. And nothings changed, except now I feel...I feel like the bad guy, Giles.” Buffy rubbed her face, “I tried to kill her, tried to kill Faith, and I know that it didn’t have to be that way.”

Giles put a hand on her shoulder. “Faith made choices too, Buffy. You must remember that. She chose to trust in the Mayor and not you.”

“Right, caught between the Mayor and the Watcher’s Council, she made a bad call.” Buffy looked at the older man, “What would you have done?”

Giles cleared his throat and didn’t meet her gaze. “I...don’t know. Perhaps if I’d questioned the council earlier I could’ve done something more for her.” Giles took off his glasses and blinked at the pad of paper in front of him, it was filled with scrawls about everything Buffy could remember about the Djinn, “There is plenty of blame to go around Buffy. You shouldn’t carry it all on your shoulders.”

‘But, in the end, I was the one that stabbed Faith, deliberately went to her place to kill her. Didn’t appeal to her slayer to slayer, didn’t try hard enough to reach her...’

Buffy tried to press down those thoughts, she knew she’d have to deal with them later, but for now...”Do you have enough to start researching this Djinn. Giles, uh, the other-Giles says that my wish may’ve made it stronger or something. That it still could be a threat, still out there. We didn’t have time to find out what it wanted...what it wants.”

“I think I have enough to be going on with. A summer project perhaps.” He regarded her with concern, “And what about you?”

“Well, the memories, all of it, aren’t fading; I suppose that’s a good thing. I’ll just have to manage with the two sets, that’s all.” Buffy bit her bottom lip, feeling like she was going to be overwhelmed and start crying again, “I just can’t get over...everything I went through and none if it mattered, nothing’s different and I can’t even tell my friends...” She shook her head, “Wishing really doesn’t change anything, in the end.”

“Oh, no Buffy. That isn’t true at all.” Giles squeezed her shoulder, his voice firm and understanding, “You’ve changed. The things you’ve done, the things you’ve been through. You see things differently and that isn’t nothing. That is everything.”

Buffy just shook her head, trying not to cry and failing. “But Faith...”

“She isn’t dead, Buffy. Faith is hurt, she is sleeping but one day she will wake up. She is a slayer after all. And when she does...that’s when you get your second chance, a chance to change things, to make them better than they could’ve been.”

Buffy looked at him tearily before sniffing wetly. “Thank you.”

Giles cleared his throat uncomfortably. “Buffy...and please do bear in mind that I’m asking this as a concerned, um, mentor figure and not as a, well, a lonely, middle-aged man but, you and Faith...you were, ah, perhaps intimate?”

Buffy felt herself colouring slightly. “Um...what does that even...?” She sighed, “Is it really that obvious?”

Giles frowned down at the couch. “The way you talk about her, in very... warm terms, it would explain most of your unhappiness.”

Buffy wiped at her eyes. “That’s me all over, always falling for the wrong type. God, maybe Cordelia’s right and I’m just addicted to the drama.”

Giles scoffed at that. “Or maybe you just happen to fall in love with extraordinary individuals. Perhaps it is you who sees something in them that nobody else does.” He paused before adding dryly, “Although, God knows, teenagers do tend to love their histrionics.”

Buffy gave him a mock glare before chuckling. “Well, I’m not going to go and tell Cordelia that’s she got a point. No way.”

Giles nodded. “I think what you should do is get some sleep, I can’t imagine how tired you must be.”

Buffy thought about it before responding firmly. “No, there’s something I need to do first.”

*****

Buffy stepped onto the balcony of Faith’s place, stepping through the broken glass to climb in through the window.

Into the battleground.

Faith’s apartment, parts of it with police tape scattered about. Broken furniture, cracked glass, dents where Faith and her had gone at it. Punching and kicking, a pretty epic fight, both of them going all out.

Buffy set down the empty bags she’d brought with her, a few trash bags, her backpack and an old suitcase she taken from the basement. She survived the room, taking in all of Faith’s possessions that lay scattered about.

And got packing.

When the police realised what Faith had done, now that the Mayor couldn’t cover for her anymore, they’d be all over this place, impounding evidence. The police were stupidly slow sometimes but they got there eventually.

Careful not to leave any fingerprints Buffy went through Faith’s closet, picking out all her clothes, jackets, pants, the vast array of low-cut tops that Faith was so fond of, and packed them up in the suitcase.

Next came the personal stuff, walkman, music, spare pair of boots, a few weapons, Faith’s bow...

(‘This is the kick...’)

Buffy shook her head and zipped up the backpack.

She looked around, eyeing the large amount of comic books and magazines that Faith liked to have scattered around. Shrugging Buffy packed them too, puttin them into a plastic bag to sort through later.

There, the sum of her life in three bags. Not much really. No family stuff, no mementos, no stuffed animals...no sex toys.

Buffy resisted a smirk, she was pretty sure that happy thoughts were going to be few and far between for a long while. That might’ve be the last of them.

‘At least everybody will still think I’m mooning over Angel.’

She thought about where to hide them, all the belongings of a murder suspect...murderer, and settled on the closet in her room, Mom knew better than to go in there. Better put a lock on her weapons chest just to be sure, double security.

Dragging her three bags Buffy made her way over and out onto the balcony, stealthily easing herself down onto the street and heading home, listening to the night, feeling somehow that everything was different now. Like her whole view would never truly be the same thanks to one little ‘w’ word.

Buffy’s path had been diverted, not by choice, but by something malevolent, something that played with her and taunted her and made her weak.

But she wasn’t weak. She was the Slayer.

The only thing this Djinn had done was make her alone, given her a secret.

But alone was her birthright, secrets were her daily life.

The only person, who could change that, could make that better, was Faith.

If it wasn’t already too late.

But that was Buffy’s choice, she knew now what she had lost, but also, maybe what she could one day gain.

One day.

...continued in Just Lie There and Listen...

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