Word Count: 2,202
Lee rang the doorbell. He had two stops left to make, having made the rounds for the past few days to everyone else. One of the two stops he looked forward to, the other not so much but he had to do it. Allison opened the door and smiled at him, though he saw surprise in her eyes.
"Can I come in a minute?"
"Sure," she said, opening the door. "It's a little messy, sorry. The girls have each taken turns with the flu the past week or so."
"No problem, Allison. I have no kids and sometimes my place looks worse than this."
"What's up? Did something happen?"
"No, I just wanted to say good-bye."
"Yeah. You knew, didn't you?"
"What?" He could see in her eyes that he'd hit on something, though. "Those visions about Buffy, you left some things out."
"Well, it's not my place to tell people their future. That's not what I use my gift for."
"So you did know?"
"Yes," she said simply. She placed her hand over Lee's forearm and squeezed. "She needs you almost as badly as you need her."
"Well, I hope so, because I just turned in the keys to my apartment."
"I'm moving to London."
"Well, yeah, I tried not to invade when it became obvious that what I saw was coming true. Will you be working?"
"Yeah, I've got a job and I'll be helping Buffy some, too."
He chuckled. "Yeah, that's what I said when she approached me with the idea. But a lot of the girls don't know how to handle regular weapons. Guns, and while they don't work on some of the things they come across they do work on others."
"Oh, right, I suppose."
"Anyway, I just wanted to say good-bye."
"Well, I don't know what to say besides good-bye. Good luck. Is she…?"
"Well, that wasn't the next question, but that was one of them. So, you're happy?"
"Yeah," he said, jingling some coins in his pocket. "Surprisingly enough, I sure never thought I'd find it again. Neither did she. She's willing to take a chance, so I guess I took that as a sign that it was time for me to as well."
"I'm happy for you, Lee, really. When do you leave?"
"In a couple of hours, I'm heading there now actually. They're renting my apartment furnished, or they'll get rid of what they don't want. Everything else but a couple weeks worth of clothes has been shipped over ahead of me. I've got a couple of other stops to make before I head to the airport."
"Who's taking you?"
"Lexie. The woman she came to Phoenix to find in the first place."
"Oh, right. Good, you're not going alone then."
She closed the distance between them, giving him a hug. "I'm happy for you, Lee."
"Thanks, Allison, me too. Take care of Joe and your girls. You've got a nice family, I've never said that because I never really took the time to appreciate what a family is and means."
"Thank you," she said, sounding not just surprised but pleased.
"You're welcome. Say good-bye to Joe for me."
Lee headed to stop number two, Lexie was along for the ride. She had a book to read while she waited, not that he planned on the second stop taking any longer than the first.
"I appreciate you taking me to the airport."
"It's okay. Thanks for the car."
"You're welcome. It wasn't worth shipping it over there, so it may as well get put to good use. Just take care of it and she'll get you through a few years yet."
"It'll make things easier on Mom, so I'll take care of it."
Lee glanced at her briefly. She was a pretty quiet kid. Kid? She was in college, but she seemed like a kid to him at times. She really seemed to take to slaying, too. She was even talking about a trip to London over spring break to meet other slayers.
He pulled in front of the office building and put the car in park.
"If I'm not out in fifteen minutes, call me on my cell phone."
Her eyes went from him to the office building. "Who's in there?"
"Someone I really don't want to see."
"Then why are you here?"
"Because it's the right thing to do. I'm not sure for who, but it is."
She regarded him, seemed to search his eyes for something. Apparently, she found it because she nodded. "All right, I've got you on speed dial."
"You do, huh?"
"All right, I hopefully won't be long."
He went through the front doors, stopping at the reception desk. This was the respectable side of things. The front they put on. There were seedier sides. He'd lived them.
"Elena Cabrera please," he said when the woman asked him who he was there to see. "Tell her it's Lee Scanlon."
"She'll be down in a minute."
"Thank you," he said, taking a seat on one of the luxurious couches in the waiting area. It probably cost more than he earned in a year.
He stood when he saw her appear, habit.
"To what do I owe the honor of a visit?" She glanced at her watch. "It's early for lunch, but if you wanted to…"
"This isn't really a social call, Elena."
"Oh," she said, looking a little disappointed. "I just assumed…"
"What? That I couldn't hold onto someone who wasn't hooked up with the mob and came crawling back to you after she left me?"
"Well, she is younger than you."
"Yeah she is," he clenched his fist, taking a deep breath to clear his mind. "I came to say good-bye, Elena."
"Good-bye? I don't understand… Is something happening? Is something wrong? Are you sick? Lee…"
"No, Elena, I'm moving overseas."
"Why would you do that?"
"That's where Buffy lives."
"I was wondering why no one here seemed to know anything about her."
"You were checking up on her?"
"For your own good, of course. I don't want to see you hurt, darling," she said, cupping his cheek.
He took hold of her hand roughly and pulled it away. "I'm not your darling and I don't need you checking up on my girlfriends."
"Girlfriend? I thought you were engaged."
"Is it? I wonder."
"Anyway, I just wanted you to know. I'm gone. I really have moved on."
"Then why did you need to come say good-bye."
He shrugged. "Because it's the right thing to do, so you didn't show up at my apartment one day or at the police station and find me gone." Despite what he felt for her, emotions that had bordered on seething hatred for years, he knew if she'd ever come to him with a legal and legitimate concern he'd help her. It was just the way he was.
"I do appreciate it." She frowned. "You're really doing it? Marrying her?"
He hadn't asked Buffy yet, and they had a long way to go to get to that point. A lot of getting to know one another. But, "yeah," he said simply in answer to both her question and his inner voice. His intentions were marriage. He wasn't going to pick up and move to London for a fling.
And he didn't see Buffy letting him pick up and move to London if that's all he was to her. So, they were both on the same chapter, maybe not the same page yet, of the book. That helped. And she wasn't a crook, she didn't kill people - well, okay, she did but she was within her right to do so. And while they'd had arguments or heated discussions, he never once had the desire to resume his drug use.
"I wish you well then, Lee."
"Thanks. Take care."
He walked to the front doors then, pushing one open.
"Will you have children with her?"
He stopped short at that question.
"I don't know, Elena."
"Doesn't she want them?"
"That's really none of your business. We just haven't come to any decisions on kids. Why do you ask?"
"Because I couldn't help but notice what a striking couple you two make and that you'd make attractive babies."
"Thank you, Elena."
She blew him a kiss. "Be well, Lee."
He didn't feel bad, he didn't feel good. There was no great feeling of closure or catharsis, but he knew he'd done the right thing. Their paths had seldom crossed over the years since they'd broken things off, but he knew somewhere in her mind she still counted on him.
"All done?" Lexie asked.
"It went okay?"
"Yeah, yeah it did. Better than I pictured it going I guess. You never know when you're dealing with ex's."
"You went to say good-bye to your ex?"
"I suppose that does sound kind of strange. I don't know why I felt the need to, I just did."
"No need to explain it to me, Buffy might wonder."
"She's met Elena, knows our history. I wouldn't question her going to talk to one of her ex's."
"I suppose not."
He turned to face her, draping an arm over the back of her seat. "You think I screwed up?"
"Well, no, I don't know. I certainly don't know Buffy that well or anything."
"Not that I can take it back or anything anyway. I was just trying to be considerate to someone who might still think she can count on me at some point. When Buffy and I first saw her, we weren't really together, Buffy and me I mean. So, I guess I felt the need to drive home the point I really am moving on."
"Thanks," he said, turning his focus back to the road in and putting the car in gear. "I guess it's to the airport we go then."
They made small talk along the way, but soon Lee was sitting in the terminal by himself. He had books and a laptop, but nothing really held his interest right this moment. He was uprooting his entire existence. He felt confident in and comfortable with his decision, but it was hard to look out the window and realize he was leaving. For good. That he'd managed to get his life down to a few dozen boxes.
The job he had taken was a good one. The woman waiting for him in London was a good one, too. Those two things he was certain of. It was the rest he, while not having second thoughts, was a little frightened about. His existence had been so safe, so controlled for so long that to take such a drastic step was a little unsettling.
Unsettling wasn't bad, it just made him wonder what he was doing with his life. Elena had asked him about kids. He was essentially moving to London with no assurance of anything beyond what he and Buffy currently had. He thought it was enough, that they had the building blocks to create more - a future.
Would Allison have said something if she saw that he was making a huge mistake by moving? Maybe not, but he liked to think her enthusiasm was a good sign.
The trip was an uneventful and rather boring thirteen hours. Unlike his last visit when Buffy picked him up outside, she was there waiting for him once he cleared customs. She launched himself at him, he dropped his carry-on bag barely in enough time to catch her.
Her mouth on his pretty much caused all of the doubts he might have been having about making the right decision to go right out the window. Her arms around him, her body pressed up against him, her mouth on his. Yeah, she was well worth the upheaval.
"Hi," she said once they both needed to take a breath.
"How was your flight?"
"Did you miss me?"
"If we weren't in the middle of an airport I'd show you how much."
"Oh, well, that's good enough to tide me over."
"You sure," he said, kissing her.
"Positive." She groaned softly, resting her forehead against his chin. "I suppose I should get down."
"That might make it easier for us to leave, yeah."
"And those security guards over there look like they're about ready to come tell us to get a room."
"Mm, I like their thinking."
Buffy slid off him. He watched, transfixed as she reached into the front pocket of her jeans. She pulled out a key. A hotel key. "I like their thinking, too."
"You didn't have to do that."
"You moved here, the least I could do was ensure we celebrate your first night as a London resident privately."
"I like the way you think."
"Me, too," she said. "Now, let's go get your stuff so we can start that first night off right."
One thing Lee knew as he watched her walk ahead of him a bit, if anyone could make sure his night went right it was Buffy.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com