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Bus to Nowhere

Author: Jenn
Rating: G
Summary: Thoughts after "Chosen".
Disclaimer: Not mine. They all belong to that wonderful, sadistic genius, Joss Whedon. Brilliant man, fabulous show.

It's over. It's really truly over. There is still work to be done, people to save. But she knows that the most important battle of her life, of the world... is over. And she won. They stand there, looking into the crater that was once their home. Is still their home, really. You can't walk away from a place like that without it leaving a mark on you. Sunnydale will always be with them. And so will the ones they've lost. Forever.

Later, they will think idly of their belongings. Keepsakes that used to mean so much. Tokens of lost lives and loves and times they will never return to. She will think of a cross necklace on her dresser, and of the many reminders of her mother, who lived and died in a house now far below them. She will think of the many other battles she has fought, the milestones she has overcome. The room he's lived in for seven years, and the many changes it saw. Every smile, every tear, every drop of blood spilt. None of it really matters now, but she will think on each moment just the same. She can do that now. She can spend a whole week thinking about her life, while the others sleep.

The memories won't fade just yet. They will someday, maybe years from now. It makes her smile a little to think in terms of years. She's never really trusted to do that before. It feels strange to have a future, strange to feel safe. The loss is there, a sharp pang in her heart for what's gone, but she can deal with that. She can deal because it feels right, even as she slips away silently to cry for him. That look on his face, that peace. That look of knowing all that he was about to do. It was more than worth the pain of losing him. She can believe that because she knows that's what he felt. She can even deal with his denial of her final confession. He didn't believe she truly loved him, but she did. She does. And he heard the words. Whether he trusted them or not, he heard them before...

They're not sure what to do next. She supposes they ought to decide soon. Some are injured; all are tired, even with the thrill of their triumph rushing through their veins. They don't even have any food or water. She wonders briefly about money, then pushes the thought away. Not important. Not after what they have just survived. Well, some of them anyway. She thinks they will go to Los Angeles, to see him. He'll be waiting, she knows, worried out of his mind for her whether he admits it or not. It's comforting to know that he still cares. Hell, he still loves her, and probably always will. They can't be together now, anymore than they could then, but it doesn't matter. She knows he'll be there. And someday, maybe she won't see another's face, bright and pained and so brave... She isn't in a hurry. Right now, she can't imagine hurrying anything ever again.

They load up in the bus again, trading banter as they have always done. She shares a smile with her best friends, then settles down next to her tired Watcher, who is rationally discussing what they need to do right away: food, shelter, rest. She leans her head on his shoulder, content to let him direct her small band of survivors somewhere quiet, where hopefully there will be much sleep. And chocolate. And possibly really sappy old movies. And quiet corners to cry in. He wraps his arm around her, disregarding his British reserve to drop a paternal kiss to the top of her head. And she feels safe. Safe and very tired. Her sister is suddenly on her other side, cuddling up to her the way they used to when they were younger, or scared, or just out of the final battle and on their way to who-knows-where in a bus that was the only remaining vestige of their home town. Scattered conversations rose and fell, and gradually, most of the survivors rested, save those sitting in the front taking turns with the driving. But she was the first to sleep, safe between those who arguably loved her best. The town was a crater. The world? Still needing protecting. Her ex-but-never-really-ex love was waiting for her, and her much more recent love was waiting to be mourned. There was much to be done, but for now, there is just the gentle jostling of the bus, the murmur of voices, and the slight California breeze. On a bus driving nowhere, coming from Hell itself with the world's saviors inside, the original of many strong, powerful girls finally slept.

~The End~

Copyright Tania 2003-2004
Violators will be forced to ride in the trunk.

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