The Saint And The Sinner Series
Chapter Three - Moving On

written by Jae Kayelle




Buffy, with Riley in tow, met Willow and Tara at the door to Giles' apartment.

"Did he call you, too?" she asked.

Nodding, Willow said, "And Xander and Anya... here they are now."

"What's going on?" Xander asked. "The big guy phoned -- early this morning I might add, okay, noon -- and told me to get over here after sunset. Anybody know what this is all about?"

Buffy shrugged and said, "Let's find out." She opened the door to the apartment and they went in.

Spike sat alone in the living room on a wooden crate. It was one of the few things left in the room. Furniture, books, appliances, and fixtures were all gone.

Buffy rushed in and confronted the blond vampire. "What have you done, Spike? Stolen all of Giles' things?" She balled her hands into fists, her body language shouting her hostility. He leaned back and rolled his eyes at her.

"Now would I stick around to get caught if I had robbed him? Besides, he has nothing of value that I could sell on the black market."

"Hello everyone." Giles descended the stairs, struggling with three suitcases. He set them down near the door. "I'm glad you could make it."

"What's going on, Giles?" Buffy demanded.

"It's quite simple, really. I'm moving away." He spoke calmly. His manner was peaceful and relaxed.

The others, except for Spike who rested one ankle on the opposite knee and watched with amusement, began throwing a barrage of questions at him. Giles stood with his hands in the pockets of his trousers, waiting. When they wound down, he said, "If you're through... I'm moving to Los Angeles. I have a job waiting for me there. I shall be curator of a small museum of antiquities. Small but rather prestigious... in the world of antiquities. The pay isn't tremendous but it's better than living off my savings, and I'll be doing something for which I'm trained. I didn't devote my adult life to learning about Slayers, vampires, demons, and such so I could sit at home and watch Jeopardy, hoping that my friends would remember to include me in their lives from time to time."

"You tell 'em, Rupert," Spike muttered.

Buffy gave him a dirty look. She switched her anger to Giles.

"So you were just going to move away and not ask us if it's okay?"

Giles' expression darkened. "I do not need your approval. I called you here to inform you of my plans and to say goodbye. If you wish to get in touch with me I can leave you my phone number and address. Otherwise it's best to just get this over with. My ride will be here soon."

Willow stepped closer. "I'll miss you, Giles," she said quietly, her eyes filling with tears.

Giving her a look of true affection, he smiled warmly and opened his arms to her, drawing her into a hug. When they pulled back he kissed her on top of her head. She hugged him again and grinned at him.

"I'd like your phone number and address, Giles."

Digging in his pocket he pulled out a card which he gave to her. "My work address is on there as well, and look..."

"Email!" she cried happily. "We can chat every day."

"Yes, providing I can figure out how to use it."

"It's easy. Call me when you get settled and I'll explain it in simple and easy to understand terms."

"I knew I could count on you, Willow."

Xander was next. Gone was the goofy boy Giles had met after moving to Sunnydale four years earlier. Xander held out a steady hand and Giles grasped it. They shook and then the older man pulled the younger against him for a brief hug that turned into a display of embarrassed males backslapping. Xander stepped away, smiling through a trace of tears.

"Take care of yourself... G-Man." He grinned at the exasperated look he received.

Glancing at Buffy and seeing only anger, Giles turned instead to Anya.

"My dear, I'd like to say that I'll miss you..."

"You won't?" she asked, hurt.

"Well, maybe a little," he relented.

"Good!" and she wrapped her arms around his waist in a hurried and awkward hug. Looking up at him, she said, "Nice! How come I never noticed before?"

"Anya!" Xander reached out and pulled his girlfriend to his side.

"What? I was just saying..."

"Never mind."

Shrugging, she fell silent but slipped her arm through Xander's.

Tara smiled shyly. "I realize we don't really kn-know each other but W-Willow has told me lots about you, so I feel like I'm losing someone special, too."

"Thank you, Tara." Giles seemed pleased.

Riley reached out and offered his hand to shake. "Good luck, sir... uh, Giles."

"Good luck to you, too, Riley."

That left Buffy. Everyone looked at her.

"Giles, do you have to go?"

"Yes, Buffy. I do. You don't need me anymore. You've proven that many times over. And I... I would like a life. I don't have one here."

"But..."

"No, Buffy. This is something I have to do."

"'Kay," she said in a small voice.

"Besides," he looked at the group gathered around him. "I'll only be two hours away. It's not like we're never going to see each other again. We'll get together... now and then."

"Right!" Buffy exclaimed, trying to be upbeat. "We'll... we'll spend Thanksgivings together. We started a family tradition this past year. We are a family aren't we?"

Some of the tension went out of Giles' posture and he reached out to tuck a lock of hair behind Buffy's ear.

"You are all more my family than the people I'm related to by blood have ever been."

Tears coursed down Buffy's cheeks as she embraced Giles, resting her face against his shirt.

"I want one of those card thingies, too."

"So do I," Xander added.

As Giles handed out his address cards, the front door opened unnoticed until Spike looked up.

"Oh, look. It's Nancy Boy."

"Hey, Dead Boy!" Xander said.

In the doorway, Angel glowered at both of them. "Can we knock off the cute nicknames, please? Giles, whenever you're ready to go. The car is out front."

"Thank you, Angel. I'll just be a minute."

Angel and Buffy locked eyes with Buffy moving closer to Riley. Then Angel broke the stare by nodding curtly at Riley and giving a little half wave to Willow. "Are these cases going out?" He asked Giles, indicating a set of suitcases behind the door.

"I can get them."

"Got it." Angel picked up two of the three bags, tucking one under his left arm, then went to the crate on which Spike was sitting. They stared at one another until Spike relented with a huge put-upon sigh and stood up to move out of the way. Angel wrapped his fingers around one of the slats and hefted the crate under his right arm. He went out without another word.

"Well." Giles stood and looked at his friends.

Buffy said, "I guess this is it."

"Yes. I suppose it is."

Suddenly he found himself with his three closest friends clinging to him. After a moment Giles released them.

"The power will be cut off by morning so there's no point in hanging about." He walked over and picked up the last suitcase. The others filed out the door as he glanced around one last time, flicked off the light switch, and pulled the door shut behind him.

The group went with him to the street where he dropped his suitcase in the backseat of Angel's convertible and slid in to the front seat. Angel started the car but let the motor thrum for a moment, waiting.

Giles stared straight ahead and nodded. Angel put the car in drive and they pulled away. The Slayer and her Slayerettes and Spike stood and watched in silence.

* * * * *

They were nearing the city limits heading south, and Giles, lost in thought, still had not spoken or changed his stare from straight ahead.

Angel lifted his hand from the steering wheel to place it on Giles' arm, sliding it down to rest on the human's knee.

"You still have me."

Genuine amusement flickered over Giles' face. Placing his hand on top of Angel's, he looked into the dark brown eyes of his onetime lover.

"And I'm grateful. Thank you."

"And Wesley and Cordelia."

"That's reassuring," he said sarcastically.

"They've both changed. You'll be impressed."

"As you say."

"Rupert..."

"Yes?"

"I'm glad you're doing this. You needed to move on with your life. You're making the right decision."

Straightening, Giles smiled with confidence. "Yes, I do believe you're right." He gave Angel's hand a quick squeeze before releasing it. "It feels like the right decision."

He relaxed against the seat as the convertible sped him towards his new life.

END

Read the next story in this series: Starting Over