Identical Entity

Author- Stacie

Rating- R, but probably only swearing and violence and stuff like that.

Summary- AU; They are the same person but couldn’t be more different (and no, I’m not talking about Angel/Angelus)

Feedback- Wanted and needed. Send to XxAngelicVixenxX or RougeVixen.

Disclaimer- Do I look like an acid tripping evil genius? No. Besides, even if I *did* own them, both are screwed beyond fixing. BtVS & AtS belongs to Joss and co., there, happy now? I said it!

Spoilers- Um, ok this is a toughie. Let' say, 'The Gift' and, y'know, just BtVS in general, maybe more later?

Distribution- LoD, Nicky’s site, um, where else…? The site ‘How’s Forever’, I lost the addie… um, KickDress-if Jenn wants it. I think that’s it. Ask, and ye shall receive.

Pairings- B/A (though later on in the fic), B/Wesley (in a friendly, flirty aww-ish kinda way)
maybe more later…

Author’s Notes- Yes, another fic. Yes, I’m still writing ‘Chosen Mistake’ Yes, I still
have writer’s block for ‘Blood, Beauty. & Betrayal’ and ‘Beneath the Ashes’. I try to
write them, but I just don’t know what to do! Lol, ok. I don’t want to give too much away
on this fic. So…I won’t. ;) But, ok, Doyle's not dead, Wes never went back to LA after the
acension, , oh and Gwendalyn Post; she never died, AU fr the most part Buffy did die in
season 5 fighting Glory.

Back-story- Buffy Anne Summers died the summer of 2001 after she saved the world from the Hell-Goddess, Glory. She has been dead for more than five years. After the death of one of their most powerful Slayers, The Watcher’s Council used their remaining power to play God, something you should never do. There will be consequences to their unlawful actions. Those consequences come in shape of a girl, a girl who could change the whole world.


Identical- (of two or more things) the very same in all respects; the very same.

Entity- something existing complete in itself, by its own right; something that exists alone.


November 2006

Undisclosed Location, London, England

I have a problem. I don’t know who I am. I don’t have a name, an identity. I don’t have a past, a family, or a home. I don’t remember growing up, being a little girl. I don’t remember having Mommy hug me or Daddy tell me I’ll always be his baby girl. I don’t remember comfy covers and fluffy stuffed animals. I don’t know what it’s like to have my Mommy read me a story and be awash in her soft scented perfume. Or have Daddy swing me around his shoulders and finish it off with a warm hug. I don’t remember little sisters grabbing my clothes, and playing dress up with me. Or having little brothers taking my Barbie’s and hiding them.

But, I do know that I’m alone. That I have long blonde hair and emerald green eyes. My skin is pale and soft. But, I don’t know where I belong. I don’t know who I am. And, it bothers me. Everybody has an identity, why don’t I? I feel nothing, just an internal cold and familiar loss. You think it’d seem unfair, that I’d be bitter that I have nothing. But, strangely, I’m not. This is all I know. Even if I hate it, it’s the one thing that I do have, the knowledge that I’m supposed to be something bigger, better. But, I suppose I lied. I do have a name. I just… don’t know what it is. You see, where I am, it’s all white. And, no, I’m not talking about Heaven. The walls here are white, so is the floor and my clothes. Everyday, I go to what is called, ‘The Lab’. They…do things to me. Tests, as they so politely call it. Sometimes they strap me down. They’ll put little suction things hooked to wires all over my body and test my ‘endurance’.

I’m abnormal. I can take things that a normal person cannot. I don’t know why and I wish to whatever God that may be watching all of this, that this is all a very bad dream and I will soon wake up to a family and home. But, I know I won’t. I never do.

There are few ways out of here. Suicide and finding the way out. I’ve tried the first before. I slit my wrists, but within moments, they were healed and I had to clean up the massive amounts of blood before ‘they’ came. ‘They’, being the people who run the tests on me. The people I’ve known ever since I first opened my eyes six years ago. No, I don’t mean when I was born, I mean when I first opened my bright green eyes. You see, that’s another thing. I don’t think I’m entirely normal either. I’m sixteen years old, but I don’t remember all of my sixteen years. Only six of them. But, if I think back hard enough, I can make out vague shapes through a green liquid. I don’t know what to make of all of it, so I lock it deep within the confines of my mind and never think of it again.


They’re coming.


Part 1

November 2006

Undisclosed Location, London, England

Footsteps. They're coming. I take a deep breath and get ready for whatever they want me to do today. I close the shades to my barred window and sit on my hard mattress bed with one limp pillow and wilted white sheets. I clasp my hands together so tightly that my small knuckles turn white as the blood flows away from the pressure. I bow my head so my long hair falls across my face and stare at the white tiled floor. I think back and remember the deep crimson that had briefly stained the tiles. I remember how transfixed by the fact that my blood was spilt on the floor. I wanted it to stay. For the deep inviting color to stay and bend my world of cold whiteness.

The footfalls echo through the long hall as they draw closer. They'll be here soon. My stomach clenches and I feel the familiar swish of sour bile rising and burning the tender inner skin of my throat. I stand up calmly and walk to my pallid bathroom. It has a small sink, a stand-up shower, and a porcelain toilet. I fall to my knees and vomit what little my insides hold. I recognize it as the little plate of eggs and a roll I had for breakfast. The mere thought of it makes my insides heave again. I imagine Mommy holding my hair back and whispering comforting murmurs in my ear. Telling me it will be alright. That she'll bring me lemon tea and a plate of crackers when it's over. I imagine leaning over and crying into her soft shoulder and her holding me tighter. Her soft sandy-blonde curls brushing againstmypale skin and smelling the faint smell of her hairspray. I close my eyes against the real teas that start to fall. I pick myself up, wash my mouth with the cool water, and walk back out and sit on my bed.

They're just at the door now. The slide the keys into the locks with a small scraping sound and walk into the room. I look up at them blankly. "Time to go," One says.

His name is Warren. I don't like him. I stand up and brush past them. They both grab my elbows and lead me to the room which I could find in my sleep.

"Get in," Another says.

His name is Parker.

I don't like the way he looks at me. Like I'm meat, something he wants to devour. It scares me. I avert my eyes and walk in with my head down. I hear the soft murmurs of the doctors quiet and I slowly look up. They're all gazing at me as if I've grown horns, but I'm sued to it. It's how it is everyday. I come in, they stare, they leave, someone comes in, asks me questions, and then I go in for some 'tests'. I take a seat on the dull, ash colored chair and wait for Gwendolyn Post to enter the room. She's always inquiring things about me and making notes on that wretched chart she always carries around.

"Good morning," She greets me with a small smile that doesn't quite reach her eyes.

"Hello," I say back, twisting my fingers together.

"How are you?" She asks.

"Fine," I say in a tight, clipped voice.

'Have you been feeling sick? Nauseous?" She presses on.

I won't tell her about my little conversation with my toilet, "I've bee´n feeling fine."

"Good. Good. Very well then." She pauses, gazing at me with her dull, unfeeling brown eyes, "What about your dreams? Have you had anymore?"

I pause and look up, asking myself if I should tell her... Fine, what will it hurt?

"Yes. I dreamt of dying," I say, my voice dull.

"What do you mean?" She asks, her pencil poised.

There was a bright light, a haze of purple-white power. I could feel-hear-it humming within me. I remember running towards it for pausing for a millisecond to stare at its dangerous beauty. I could have stared at it forever, but I didn't. There was something I had to do, something of utter importance. But, I don't know what it is. All I can remember is throwing myself off of whatever I'm standing on and rushing into the bright light. And the pain, oh, the horrible pain. If I think hard, I can still feel the electric burn on my skin. I can feel this haze stealing my energy, my life, away from me. In my dream, I think what I feel is...relief. But, why?

I shake my head and say, "I don't remember details, I just remember that I died."

"How?" Ms. Post pushes me.

"Did I stutter? I told you don't remember it," I snap, my hazy green eyes flashing.

She looks taken aback for a small second and I think I see fear in my eyes. Fear...of me! I shake my head a small smirk on my face that's wiped off when I turn back toward her.

"Are we done?" I asked tiredly.

"Of course," She says, nodding to herself.

The doctors come back in and lead me to the back room, where they do the 'tests'.

"Good morning." An older man greets me, his voice sounding like he swallowed a frog with its voice box cut out. There are other people who stand with him. A taller man, his name is Wesley, with glasses and thick brown hair. He's the only one I trust here, in this hell. He has soft bluish eyes and a pleasant but friendly smile that he warmly gives me. I nod and smile back to him. A women, along with Ms. Post, stands behind the men. The other woman is colored, her thick hair braided and tucked in clips behind her head. Her name is Olivia. I'm not sure what to think of her. She looks at me with wise eyes, as if she knows me. She regards me carefully, her eyes always watching, her lips pulled back into a think smile. But, the one I despise, the one who greets me everyday with the frog sounding, "Good Morning", I cannot stand him. He gets sick pleasure from watching me go through the painful, tiring tests. I smile tightly, letting my displeasure showing through my voice, "Good Morning, Quentin."


Quentin Travers. The head of whatever they're doing to me. Yet another thing I don't know. Why and what exactly they're doing to me. I sigh and stay where I'm standing, watching them as they break their small clump and rush around the room, preparing the table, and getting the machinery. I closed my eyes against the wash of old fear that pounded through my senses. Inside my closed lids, I could see every fear and wish I have. My fear to stay here. My wish to be free. My fear of not knowing who-what-I'm meant to be. I look up and wait for someone to notice me.

Wesley looks up with his gentle eyes and his face warms into a look of concern.

"What is it?" He asks in a soft voice.

"I want to know my name!" I demanded in a quiet but firm voice.

He looks pained and remorseful as he looks at me. Sometimes, I think that when he looks at me, he's seeing someone from his past. Someone...he cared about. Sometimes, he would call to me, start to call me by name. A name of which I don't know. But, he would always compose himself before he spilled the hypothetical beans.

"You know I cannot tell you," He says softly, his accented voice calming me.

I turn my face away so he won't see my burning tears.

He tries to apologize, but I won't have any of it. I block him out and wait for Quentin and Olivia to call me over to the table. They do, so I get up and walk slowly over to them. They direct me to lay down. I do while they stick an IV into me mercilessly. I barely keep myself from crying out, but I do gasp and squeeze my eyes closed. After a few quiet moments, I feel a burning hot sensation flow through my veins. It gets so unbearably hot and I can feel myself sweating. My flesh breaks out with little heat bumps and I find myself struggling to breathe.

"What the bloody hell are you doing?" Wesley asks in a hushed whisper.

"Testing her immune system," Quentin hissed, "I injected a heightened dose of influenza into her body. I want to see how se reacts."

"How much of a heightened dose?" Wesley asked in a harsh voice, "Answer me, Quentin!"

"It's an undiluted sample."

"You bloke! It will kill her!" Wesley yells.

The chills start to take over my body. I can feel that my skin is hot though. I start to shake uncontrollably. My teeth are chattering and I bite my tongue in the process. I can feel the coppery liquid seep into and over my taste buds. As sick as it sounds, the taste of my own blood keeps me grounded, from floating into the dark abyss that will surely give me comfort. Wesley and Quentin keep fighting and I can feel myself slipping away. As much as I try, I can't help but float away, into a restless slumber.


When I awake, I'm alone and in my room. Beside my bed is a pail of ice and dripping over my face is a cool wash cloth. I sit up slowly and have to the bathroom barely making it in time before hot bile rushes from my mouth. I cough and gag and slump to the cool tile. I hear my door open and I lift my head.

It's him. It's Parker. He tiptoes into my room and walks around before realizing that I'm not in there. He leans against the doorway, leering at me.

"Hey beautiful," He sneers.

"Go away," I say, my voice blank.

"How 'bout not?" He asks, his grin widening as he saunters into the small room.

He kneels beside me and I do nothing. I close my eyes when he starts to travel his hands into my shirt. I cringe and feel tears spring to my eyes.

"Quit it," I whisper.

He only laughs and straddles me, one hand pinning my wrists above me while the other continues to fondle me.

"Quit!" I scream and he stats to scratch me, laughing all the while.

He crushes his lips to mine with a bruising force.

"You know you want this. You tease me, with you smiles and your eyes. I see how you look at me. You teased me then too." He whispers huskily.

"I didn't! I swear!" I cry.

"You did!" He rasps, his eyes clouded.

I cry out when he lays his whole body weight on top of me. It feels like he's crushing my lungs. I thrash and he only seems to enjoy it more. I knee him hard and he lifts up and slaps me hard.


I glare at him and dig my nails into his face, feeling the hot, thick liquid seep out. He shouts and punches me, breaking open my bruised lips. I cry out, tears of pain seeping out. He quickly undoes his pants and climbs on top of me again. I scream as I feel him against me. Oh God! I scream louder and push him. Tears blur my vision as I rear my fist back and punch him square in the nose. Strange strength flows through me and I attack him. He finally pushes me away and glares at me. My vision clears and I see what a mess he is. His nose is broken and seeping dark blood everywhere. His eyes red and threatening to swell.

"Stay away from me," I whisper, tears cloaking my voice.

"No problem, freak. But, this isn't over, mark my word girl, I'll get what I want. I always do, you should know that," He sneers.

That makes me even more confused. What should I know? And what he said earlier...

*You teased me then too.*

What is he talking about? When? Where? What...? I tuck my knees to my chest and start to cry softly. I hate this! I hate being alone, being confused. I want my Mommy. I want her to press kisses to my hair and tell me everything will be alright. I want Daddy to hug me to his big chest and tell me he'll always protect me. But, they're only figment of my mind. Blurred images that are on the tip of my edge of my mind, just faint enough to get a glimpse, but never a clear picture. Argh!

Who am I?!


I awoke in the middle of the night with someone poking me. I thought it was a dream so I just rolled on my side, stuffed my pillow over my head and murmured, "Gomay..."

"Pardon me?" A British voice asked.

"Go away," I whined louder than normal.

"Whats wrong?" He asked, gently touching the raw wounds on my face.

I averted my eyes for moment. Should I tell him? What should I tell him? Would he believe me? He would. He's Wes. Your friend, your only friend. He could help you, maybe even get Parker fired. But, what if he didn't believe me?, I wondered.

"Hey," He whispered, gently lifting my chin.

I shook my head, "It's really nothing, Wes. You know me...a total klutz," I stammered, berating myself for acting like a fool.

"Really...?" He asked, his eyes searching.

"No," I said, not wanting to lie to him, he'd find out anyways, "Parker... He came in earlier. He tried to... He tried know. So, he hit me, I hit back. Wes, I broke his nose," I said.

"You did. Did he... Did he force himself upon you?" He asked, her serious eyes probing.

"No. I didn't let him. strong am I?" I asked him, remembering how the strength had surged through me like nothing I had ever felt before.

Wes sighs so long and hard that I think it comes from deep within him, from a sorrow buried so deep in his soul that it physically weighs him down.

"There's a lot you don't know. A lot you aren't supposed to know. But, I believe that it's unfair to keep who --what-- you are a secret. You deserve to know who you are and where you come from. You deserve to know everything," He whispers, taking my small hands into his own.

"You'll tell me?" I ask, and hate the way my voice sounds. Like a little girls', full of hope at learning what I yearn to know and sorrow for not already knowing.

"I'll do better than that. I'll show you. But, not now, not tonight. In two days, it will be Saturday and as you know they all leave on the weekends. I'll show you then," He answers.

"Oh!" I squeal, jumping up and wrapping my thin arms around his neck, "Thank you, thank you, thank you, Wes!"

"You're welcome, B-" He stops and I pull back and stare at him, he was about to say my name, I know it. I try and figure out what he was about to say by searching through his sapphire eyes. I couldn't read him. I looked down, then looked up with a smile on my lips, "Thank you, Wes. I really mean it."

He smiled warmly and leaned in to kiss my cheek. A slow smile swell across my lips. My first kiss. Though, it wasn't like I had read about it, the zealous, fervent craze of passion with heat and excitement. But, it was nice. It made me feel...wanted? I could feel the touch of a warm blush spread across my face. I love Wes. I don't know what'd I do without him.

"You're my best friend, you know?" I say quietly.

He looks a bit sad at my words, "And you, mine," He says with a small, sad smile, "Go back to sleep now," He says softly and leads me to my hard, stiff bed. He smoothes my hair back and smiles as the pulls of sleep reclaim me, my last thought, before I give in, one of joy at finally knowing my clouded past.


Part 2

November 2006

Undisclosed Location, London, England

I slept in late this morning; surprisingly no one woke me up. I suppose it was Wes's doing, letting me sleep because I had been up last night. I took a comfortingly long shower, letting the hot water wash away my fatigue and worries of yesterday. Afterwards, I looked in the small mirror and saw that the bruises and cuts were fading, though they had swollen and made my lips and cheeks a bright purple/reddish color.

I sighed and wondered what Quentin was going to say...probably nothing, he didn't care about me. I shook my head and toweled the droplets of water off of me. I had another dream. I don't really remember the details, but I can remember the feelings I had. I could feel a despair and misery like nothing I had ever felt before. I had felt like I was dying inside and there was nothing I could do. What little I remembered from the dream was a swirling portal and a truly grotesque statue. I remember fighting someone...someone I had cared about very much. And salt, I remember the stinging saltiness of tears streaming down my cheeks, lips, and down my chin. Swords, I can hear the clashing of swords in the back of my mind, if I think hard enough. While I can also hear words that make me want to cry until I die from dehydration.

*Close your eyes.*

I've never said those words, not with the passion and heartache I feel when I think of them. I can't explain why I'm getting these and I'm rather sick of them. I sigh and change into my normal clothes which consist of, you guessed it, white. If I ever get out of here, I will never buy white. No, not even my socks. They will be some outrageous color like hot neon pink or neon yellow. I tie my long, long hair back with a rubber band and sit by my window. I usually look out and dream of a world without 'tests', without white, without loneliness. I want to be able to go where I please and not be alone all the time. My door opens and I know without even looking who it is. Wesley.

"Hey," I greet him, staring out into the dim sunlight that is of London.

"Good Morning," He says and I can hear the smile in his voice.

"Do I have to go?" I asked, my voice coming out shy and almost scared.

"I'm sorry. I know how much you hate this," Wes says, laying his hand on my shoulder.

"Hate, doesn't even begin to describe this. Maybe loathe, or detest. Wes, I've been doing this everyday, same time, same people, for six years. I think they know all they can about me," I said, in a tired voice.

"Those people out there, are insane. They're inhuman and insensitive. Don't turn out like them," He warned, his eyes serious.

I knew what he meant. Thousands of times I had felt the exact way he warned me against. Numb, unfeeling, dead inside. Sometimes, you couldn't help it when you stayed here as long as I had. It just seemed hopeless. What if I never got out? What if I had to stay here forever, seeing the same damn people day after day after day... I'm surprised I hadn't gone mad yet. Maybe I was, and didn't know it. That could very well be... What they did, day after day, would make the normal person try and kill themselves the first week. I'm not normal and even I tried too.

"Are you ok, luv?" Wes asked.

I smiled. He sometimes did that, call me a pet name. Sometimes he called me 'kid', when he was teasing, other times, when he tried to comfort me, he called me 'dear' or sweetie'. It made me happy.

"I'm fine. You know me, my mind's a million times miles away," I waved it off quietly, a small smile gracing my face.

"Sometimes I wonder about you," He chuckled.

I sighed heavily, releasing part of a weighty strain deep within my soul. Wes eyed me and I could just see in his eyes that he thought they were pushing me too hard. A small high pitched beep came from the small radio Wes had attached to his side and I knew they wanted me down there, now.

"Come on," He sighed, taking my hand.

I nodded and closed my eyes as he led me to the room. I trusted him, as I always did. We walked in and I saw Quentin's sadistic smile. Oh God. I knew he was planning something bad. Something I certainly wouldn't like.

"Come now," He demanded.

I reluctantly left the comfort zone that Wes had created for me and followed the man I vowed to hate forever.

We winded down a few halls, one staircase, and entered a large pit-like room. The walls were smooth with no grip or ridges, the walls slanted down to meet the floor in a rounded accumulation. There was a small window way up top, maybe twelve feet up.

"What is this?" I asked, my voice dripping confusion.

"A test," Quentin smirked, in his gravely voice.

"A test of what?" I asked, suspiciously.

"A test of everything, my dear. Strength, endurance, intuition, instinct, stamina, everything that makes you," He answered, his tiny eyes trained on me. I saw something in them, something evil. He wasn't right.

"Get in!" He barked, pushing me into the room.

I stumbled in and fell to my knees. I stood up and looked around me. It was bland looking, all an off gray color, the ceiling going up at least twenty-five feet. I looked into the little window above me and saw Wes and Quentin fighting. Wes looked ready to kill, his eyes blazing and his face turning red. Quentin just said something smugly and Wes stopped, his face looking defeating. He turned and saw me looking up, leering he grabbed a microphone and started to speak.

"As I said before, this is a test. But different than you are used too. This is a life threatening situation, my dear. If you perform the wrong moves, you will die," He said, smirking all the way.

"What is the point of this?" I asked, hating my voice for trembling.

"The point, my dear, is to examination the way you move. The way you fight, to see if you were the same as-"

He was rudely interrupted by Wes's hand clutching his throat.

"Wes, stop!" I screamed, fearing he would do something rash and have to leave, just like Ginny did. Wes seemed to control himself and let go of Quentin, but not without a harsh whisper that made Quentin go white as the walls in my room.

"Good luck," Quentin said, tersely.

He must have pressed something because a door, that hadn't been there before, opened and a man came out. He looked handsome, in a rough sort of way. He had pale features, sandy colored hair, and was wearing black, which made him all that paler. He had amber eyes, which I found strangely hypnotizing. I just stood there as he sauntered closer to me. I could hear Wes screaming something above me, but Quentin must have turned the mic off. The man smiled a slimy, oily smile that made my belly lurch.

Wait a minute...

In seconds, he had me by the neck, his smooth hands squeezing tightly. I gasped as it took me by utter surprise.

"Y'know," He leered, his voice sounding deeply Southern, "I haven't eaten in weeks. Fella gets mighty hungry down in these parts, with them not servin' any food and all..." He drawled slowly, "But ya, yer pretty tiny, but I guess you'll do." He growled.

I turned back slightly and screamed.

His face, oh God, what was wrong with his face?! I moved my head into his nose and they connected with a sickening crack. I could feel his blood seeping into my hair. I scrambled away when he let go, screaming, "Fucking hell!"

I pressed my back against the wall, my chest rising and falling heavily. He snarled, his grotesque features tightening with anger. I whimpered as he came closer, not knowing what to do. I squirmed away when he came to close. He was taking his time, baiting me. Suddenly, he was behind me, grabbing my small wrist with bruising force, yanking me to him. He pressed his deformed mouth to mine, his teeth tearing open old wounds and making new ones. I pushed him away and watched in sick fascination as he flew to the wall behind him, which had to be at least ten feet away. I looked at my hands in shock, I did that?

"Buffy, move!" I heard someone shout.

It was Wes. I looked up and saw him waving at me. I turned and saw the guy running to me, and then I dropped to my knees and rolled. He barreled past me, growling all the way. I ran to the far wall, tears of fear trailing down my cheeks.

"I want out!" I screamed, looking up at the window.

Quentin smirked and Wes was yelling at him.

The guy grabbed me again and I kicked him, square in the chest.

"I don't want to kill you!" I sobbed, not knowing what the bloody hell was going on.

"Then I'll kill ya first," He snarled, licking his blood stained lips.

"No!" I cried, ducking and rolling beneath him. He somehow managed to trip over me and crashed right on top of me. He pinned me down and covered my mouth with his hands, lowering his teeth to my neck. I bit down on his fingers, breaking the skin and tasting droplets of strong, stale blood in my mouth. I gagged as he howled a string of curses at me. I bent my knees to my chest and kicked up, watching as he flew off me. I stood up and watched him wearily. I heard a dull clatter and looked around, seeing a piece of wood rolling on the floor. I hastily grabbed it and wondered what the hell I was supposed to do with it? I whined in fearful frustration. I dodged him and stayed a careful distance away from him. I looked at the wood. It was finely sharpened, the smooth wood ending in a sharp point. I wasn't supposed to... stab him...was I? I-I be killing him then, I'd be a killer. I couldn't...couldn't do that. Not me... He ran at me and I instinctively held the wooden stick up watching as it impaled him in the stomach. He yelled out in pain, his golden eyes flashing.

"Whoops..." I whimpered and pulled it out, wanting to puke at the slurpy suction noise.

"The heart!" Wes screamed over the mic.

Oh God, what side is the heart on?!, damn it! Left! I stabbed it into him, pushing it deeper.

"Bitch, I'll see you in hell!" He snarled as he crumbled to dust.

Wait a moment, crumbled to dust. People don't crumble to dust. I didn't have time to dwell on it though, because the dust seemed to gravitate into my mouth, making me gag and choke. The taste of it was like soot and death. Shock came over me and I fell to the floor, my eyes widened, and my body fell limp. All I did was stare and at some point I suppose I fell unconscious, because I don't remember going to my room or having anyone talk to me. Because when I finally seemed to snap out of it and wake up, I was tucked into my bed, in my room left alone to dwell in my confusion and fear. Fear of what I really was and what I was capable of.


I had fallen asleep again and had no dreams. It was as if my body as well as mind was exhausted and had no strength to even fathom a dream, or nightmare for that matter. But, I wasn't alone when I had awoken. Wes was sitting the chair by my window, reading a book. I peered at the cover and saw he was reading, 'Merrick', by Anne Rice.

"Good book?" I asked.

"Very," He answered, glancing at me, "Vampires, and witches."

"Cool," I said softly.

"Are you alright?" Wes asked, his clear eyes showing he was deeply troubled.

"Confused, scared, cold," I replied, my voice low.

He marked his book and moved over to me, taking a small bowl and washcloth off of my table. He dipped the cloth and dabbed at my face. The water was warm and soothing on my aching bruises upon bruises.

"I'm so sorry," He whispered, his voice full of shame.

"Don't be. Quentin did this, not you," I said.

"But, I didn't do much to stop this, now did I?" He asked, his eyes blazing.

"You were trying. I saw you. If you would have attacked him, he would have made you go away and then I'd be all alone," I said softly.

We were both silent as he switched the washcloth for a small pack of ice. He placed it on my cheek, letting go and letting me hold it.

I had a sudden thought and looked up at my friend, "Wes?" I asked.

"Hmm?" He murmured, again absorbed in his book.

"Do you remember Ginny?" I asked, knowing what a stupid question it was. Of course he remembered her. He loved her. Ginny, well her real name was Virginia, had been here for two years, maybe longer, but I had known her for two years. She had been there ever since I had, um, woken up. She had been so nice. She had talked to me and everything. Had been a true friend. She had always eased my confusion and made me feel safe. She had gotten my to be a bit of a book worm. Every week, when staff was allowed to go into the city, she would bring me a book. She had gotten me obsessed with V.C. Andrews's books. My first one she bought me, being 'Flowers in the Attic', I never ate powered donuts again. She had been like a sister. Explaining everything to me. She was much warmer than Gwendolyn Post, the ice witch of the century. I missed her so much. She had had honey colored hair that curled and spiraled in every direction, comforting hazel eyes, and a warm smile. She had been like an older sister. But, she had tried to tell me something, something I had never understood. Something Quentin disapproved of and she disappeared. The night before the day she had left, she had woken me up late in the night telling me to be careful and watch out who I trust. She had also told me to get out before I turned eighteen. I don't know why she had told me that and I had never asked Wes why. For days, weeks after Ginny had gone; he had been in a strange funk. Never talking, like he did now, and hanging around me like a nervous grizzly bear. He had known something, something that to this day he hadn't told me, and knowing Wes, probably never would. I missed Ginny so much.

"Yes I do," Wes answered softly, snapping me out of my thoughts, "Why do you ask?"

"No reason. I was just thinking about her," I responded, my voice quiet.

"What's the matter?" He asked, leaning foreword a bit.

"I was just thinking of her, you know? I just... I miss her," I stammered, sighing heavily.

"I do too," Wes answered his eyes misty looking.

"I just keep thinking. She left. She left and now all I have is you, what if you leave too?" I asked looking up at him.

His eyes turned serious and he took my hands, "Listen. First off, I love you, very much. I'll always look after you; I would never leave you here alone. Not with these blokes. Always remember that," He said firmly, but a soft undertone of compassion in his voice.

I nodded, softy saying, "I will." But I wondered if I could believe it. What if I was alone for the rest of my life?

Wes was quiet for a few moments, "I suppose you want to know everything now."

"Excuse me?" I asked, peering up at him.

"I yelled your name in that room, I suppose you want to know everything," He sighed.

"You yelled my name?" I asked confusion clear in my voice.

He looked at me for a moment, and then looked utterly relieved, "You didn't hear me," He whispered, more as a revelation to himself than to me.

"I'm sorry," I murmured, thinking back to when I was being attacked.

I could remember exactly what he said. I remember him yelling, but I remember fighting for my life a little bit clearer. I guess supreme panic and sheer terror do things like that to you. I've been waiting forever to hear all the facts and details about myself, how I came to be, and I finally find out a tiny, miraculous piece of information which I forget, do to trying to keep my sorry self alive. Terrific.

"It's quite alright, luv. It will make everything a little bit easier that way," Wes said.

"Easier?" I repeated.

"Yes. That way, I can tell you everything as a whole instead of you knowing only confusing bits an pieces," He answered, getting up and brushing off his pants.

"I'll see you later, there's some business I must attend too," Wes said, smiling and waving as he left my room. And, again I was alone, for now.


Gwendolyn Post came to my room later that night. Her eyes were small with disapproval and her lips tightened into a grimace. She walked briskly into the room, her heels clicking dully on the linoleum and her tweed skirt swishing annoyingly.

"What do you want?" I asked her.

Her eyes became squinty and dark, "I'd like to talk to you," She snapped.

"About what?" I asked her, shifting on my chair.

"What happened today? What you did, was wrong. You panicked and let your fear take over hold of your senses. You could have been killed. You didn't follow your instincts, you didn't trust them. You became the risk," She barked.

I could feel anger swelling inside of me. How dare her!

"Let me get this straight. You throw me inside a locked room with this...this thing, and expect me to know what to do!" I cried.

"I expect you to follow your primal instincts," She said.

"My 'instincts' were telling me to run, to get the hell out of there before I got killed," I whispered harshly.

"No it wasn't," She snapped.

"Don't you dare tell me what I was feeling! You don't know what goes on inside me," I said, my voice harsh.

That's when she started to laugh. A deep, sinister, cackle of a laugh. Her eyes actually teared and her face tightened with what looked to be a triumphant, devious gleam.

"Oh yes, I do know what goes on inside of you. We made you, knows what makes you tick. No. I know what's inside you, what's within you. The best part is, you're not even the first. No, you're one of hundreds," She sneered, her face almost taking on a demonic glint and with that, she turned on her dull heel and clicked out of my room. A wicked smile on her face the whole time.

Now, what am I supposed to make of that?


Part 3

I didn't get any sleep that night. I kept thinking of what Ms. Post had said.

*The best part is, you're not even the first. No, you're one of hundreds.*

What did that mean? One of hundreds? There were more...? Of me? What did that mean? I sighed and pushed back the heavy feeling sheets. I felt so darn restless. Like I was supposed to be doing something. Something...important, I don't know what, but it was something. I could feel it humming in my blood, making me feel too tight in my skin and fidgety. It'd be happening for awhile now, maybe six months and it would always start around five and would end by dawn. I hadn't talked to Wes about it, because I had thought it was just being stuck in here so long, taking its toll on me. And I was scared what he would say. Would it be bad? Good? Reveal something about my blank past? I don't know and didn't know if I wanted too. I got up and started to pace. I needed to move around, get the blood flowing, and just do something! I pushed my thick hair out of my face. I kind of wanted to cut it. The heavy weight of it bothers me and was almost always in my face, but something had always stopped me. It comforted me with the soft, silkiness of it.

Ugh, now I was getting sentimental about my hair. I think I'm going insane, I really do. Something isn't right in my head, I sometimes have imagines of killing. People and and things. It's all really morbid and I'm not happy I think things like that. I think that I'm not sane, something wasn't wired right in my head. It scares me. With this freak strength I have and Quentin and all the other Brits breathing down my necks, it makes me think Why am I here, for what purpose? Am I special, and if so, what makes me so special from everything else? I'll really drive myself mad with these unanswerable questions.

My door opens and it scares me, catching e off guard so I spin around and stand defensively. It's only Wes, but he's carrying two suitcases and looking very paranoid.

"Wes, what is it?" I ask softly.

He holds his finger to his lips and walks to the far corner of my room, keeping pressed to the wall. He took out a small remote and pressed the middle blue button. A high pitched beep filled the air for about ten seconds. I realize that he stopped the camera that was in my room.

"Wes," I asked when it stopped, "What is going on?"

"Listen to me, I've got to get you out of here," He whispered frantically.

"What? Why?" I ask, shaking my head in confusion.

"Questions later. Pack anything you need, and hurry!" He orders and stands by the door as if keeping watch.

I take the suitcase nearest to me and numbly walk to my small dresser. I take out my clothes and small necessities. I was stunned. I was leaving. The very thing I had wanted since forever. But, I didn't feel joyful or happy. I felt... nothing. Absolutely nothing. I realized I was in shock, I had read about it once, you feel nothing, but it will come soon and probably all at the same time, overwhelming you. I slip on my small white tennis shoes and pull my hair back, doing everything in automatic motion. I walk over to Wes and look at him with black eyes. He takes my hands and leads me out. I walk fast to keep up with his brisk place. He takes me further away from my room and I begin to feel nostalgic. I'm leaving. I'm leaving. I'm leaving. The thought loops itself in my mind. We come to a thick metallic door and Wes enters a long code. I see the numbers as I watch.


Something tells me to remember that number, that there's some significance to it. We walk on and soon we're out. Out. Out of the building. Out of that wretched place. Oh my God. There's a slight drizzle falling and I hear Wes whisper, "Blasted London weather..."

I choke out something between a laugh and a sob. We walk again and Wes is pulling me to keep up with him. My suitcase is banging against my leg and it's getting quite sore. I start to hyperventilate when it hits me that I'm out of I can't breathe and I yank my hand out of Wes's and lean against a brink wall.

"We have to move!" Wes hisses, anxiously looking around him.

I shake my head, "I can't." I gasp.

He squats on the balls of his feet and looks me in the eye.

"Listen to me. We have to keep moving. Quentin's gone stark raving mad. He wanted to put you through more 'tests', ones that could kill you. I can't let that happen. What he's been doing in inhumane and I couldn't let it go on. I've got to get you to a safe haven and then out of London." He whispered.

I nodded numbly, everything was happening so fast. He nodded too, maybe to reassure me, then got up and we began to walk again. For a long time, that's what we did. Then, instead of seeing warehouses, I began to see restaurants and hotels. We suddenly stopped and I looked and saw we were in the intersection of Mortimer Street and Regent St.

"Wes?" I asked, feeling overwhelmed.

"Listen," He whispered, "We're being followed. I need you to go to this address and tell them 'Pryce sent you', " He said urgently.

I looked at the paper he pressed into my hand. It said; East Castle Street, 44295 Mews Place.

I shake my head, "Wes, I can't go alone. I-I'll get lost."

He grabs my shoulders, "You have too. I need to take care of them and they can't see you. I promise you will get there, just remember the 'maze'. I will meet you there. Now, go," He says and turns into the shadows.

I let out a small cry and look at the paper. I clutch it for dear life and start to walk, hoping to God I'm going the right way. After twenty minutes I look up and see the sign saying, 'East Castle'. I let out a shriek of joy and start running. I skid to a stop when I see an alleyway. I go down it and see a metal door saying 'MEWS'. I don't know what to do... do I knock? Well, I did and a small slit appeared and a pair of beady eyes looked at me.

"Whaddya want, girlie?" He asked gruffly.

"Uh, I, uh..." I stammered.

"Spit it out!" He snapped.

"Pryce sent me!" I blurted out.

He looked shocked, yet skeptical, "What's the code?" He asked.

"Code?" I ask, "Uh..." I remember the code Wes used, please let that work, "19-12-1-25-5-18" I say and he looks friendlier as he opens the thick door.

"Welcome. Sorry for the whole tough guy act, but all kinds of people want in here. Pryce said awhile ago a girl like you might be comin' here. Glad to have someone with your status here. I gotta penthouse on top-a this joint and Pryce is rentin' it out for ya and him. C'mon," He said.

I was a little apprehensive about trusting him, but I trusted Wes and if he said so... I followed him and he unlocked this door to a nice apartment. He tells me that it's got two bedrooms and a kitchen/living room combo.

"When'll Pryce be here?" He asks.

"I-I don't know. He said he'd meet me here," I answered.

"Damn. Fine. I'll tell Gunn to keep a-watch on ya." He sighed, shaking his head as he left. I locked the door after him and turned on the small lamp in the corner. I loved out the small window facing the street and saw shadowy figures creeping around. I walked around the rooms and locked all the windows. I felt scared. People were after me. Quentin was after me and I was alone. I sat in the corner under the window and remained as still as possible. I was scared to even move for fear they would see my shadow and come and get me. I must have dozed off because my eyes few open when someone tried to open the door. Whoever it was got a little irritated and pounded harder.

"Who's there?" I yelled fearfully.

"It's me!" A voice yelled.

I was baffled, "Me, who?"

"Wes," He answered.

"Oh God." I gasped and scrambled out of my cramped corner and to the door. I unlocked it and the door flew open. I wrapped my arms around him and then let him walk in.

"Where were you? What happened?" I asked.

His eyes looked angry, but the anger was not directed to me. He hair and clothes were ruffled and he had blood on his hands.

"Wes.." I said, lifting his hand to see.

He pulled it away, shaking it head, "I'm fine."

But, I knew the blood wasn't his. I just hope he didn't kill anyone. But, I would never know what happened to him. Who was following us, what Wes did, why there was blood on his hands, I would never know because I didn't ask. I didn't want to know. I just watched as he quietly moved about the rooms. Making sure everything was locked, washing up, and then he sat down in front of me, looking at me for awhile.

"What?" I asked him.

"I suppose it's time you know, " He sighed.

"Know what?" I asked.

"Why this is all happening, why we're running, why you're here," He said.

My heart fluttered, what he going to tell me? I didn't say a word, for fear I would ruin it and he wouldn't tell me anything.

He sighed, a long deep sigh, "In this world, there are many strange things that lurk under the cloak of darkness. There are many things that cannot be explained rationally or scientifically even. There is a whole other world, many other worlds in fact, that connect to ours. They create a breach so to speak. Do you know what a 'slayer' is?" He asked me.

I looked at him, know the term seemed familiar.

"A killer?" I guessed.

"In a way. A slayer is a destroyer of evil things, to put it simply. Vampires, demons, monsters. Everything you thought hid under your bed as a child is real," He said.

"I was never a child," I said brokenly.

He looked extremely guilty as he said, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry for what you've had to go through and I know it is confusing. But, let me explain this first, alright?" He asked.

I nodded and he went on, "As long as there have been vampires, there has been Slayers. On girl in all the world, to find where they gather and stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their numbers. She is the Slayer." He said, taking another breath, "There have been Slayers around for thousands of years. Demons have been around even longer. Each time a slayer dies, another is called. There has always been one Slayer in each generation. But, that was changed. There was a girl, Buffy Summers. She was extraordinary. She was killed by The Master, an ancient master vampire. He drowned her and she was brought back to life by one of her friends. But, four years later, she killed a hell-goddess and closed the portal, which killed her in the process. The first time she died, her death called the next Slayer. Faith Reynolds. But, when Buffy died again, it stopped the calling of the Slayers. And that was five years ago. Faith, she's amazing. She had troubles and was in jail, but was soon let out after Buffy's passing. She now takes over the slaying."

"Quentin was outraged that Buffy had done such a thing, jump to her death and ruin the line of slayers, he vowed to do something about it. We were fools to listen to him, but he called us all because we had a connection to her, we knew how she worked. We all thought that we were going to try and convert a potential Slayer to be like her, we didn't know we were going to make her," He said, his eyes faraway.

He pulled out a thick file and slid it over to me, "It contains everything. Information on you. Read it," He said, then went back into the far room, leaving me alone to find everything out.


[NAME] Summers, Buffy A.

[DOB] 19th, January 1981

[BLOOD TYPE] B Positive


[HAIR COLOR] Brown/Blonde

[PARENTS] Summers, Hank P. Summers (Benson), Joyce M.

[DATE OF CALLING] 28th, March, 1995

[DATE OF DEATH] 2nd, June 1996 & 21st, May 2001

[ENEMIES] Darla, The Three, The Master (Joseph Henrich Nest), William the Bloody aka 'Spike', Drusilla, Ethan Rayne, Order of Taraka, Lyle and Tector Gorch, Angelus, Belthazar, Faith, Richard Wilkins III, Sunday, The Gentlemen, Maggie Walsh, Adam, Glorificus

[WATCHER(s)] Merrick Johnston, Rupert Giles, Wesley Wyndom-Pryce


There were more papers than I could count but I suddenly didn't have the energy anymore to look through them. I was invading this girl's privacy, dead she may be, but still, this was her life. I stood up and put the thick file in my bag, maybe someday I would look through them all, but...I wasn't ready to find everything out. I thought I was, but not yet. I looked out the window and saw the approaching light of dawn. I needed sleep. Something told me we'd be moving in the morning. So, sleep it is.


Wes woke me around two the next afternoon. He gave me a blueberry scone and a Styrofoam cup of coffee. I didn't like coffee, but I drank it desperately, needing the liquid induced energy. I gathered my things up, knowing that without Wes talking to me that we were leaving. He led me down the stairs and I looked back and saw I had a shadow. Someone was following me.

"Wes?" I asked.

He looked behind me and nodded, "Gunn," Was all he said.

When we reached outside, there was a car waiting for us. The three of us got in and I got a better look at Gunn. He was tall, black, shaved head, cute, quiet. Whoever was driving us, drove to the airport. Wes ushered me out and handed me a ticket.

"We're getting on separate planes." He said, then to shush my protests, "Gunn will go with you. You will land in New York, I will land in New Jersey. We will all meet in Los Angeles, California. We need to keep Quentin and his men searching for us. It's better if we split up. Darling, I promise that we will meet up. Gunn will take care of you," He said and pressed a kiss to my forehead and was then gone.

He was leaving again. Tears filled my eyes at being alone. Gunn put his hand tentatively to the small of my back and pushed me to the gate.

"C'mon blondie," He said in a deep comforting voice, "Let's go."

And off we went into the air, to a new start, a new life, a new me.


Part 4

Plane to NYC

November 2006

Being on a plane intrigued and terrified me all at the same time. Being up so high, yet not plummeting to the ground with a gory splat, it was strange. I was tense as we lifted off and Gunn actually laughed at me. He was pretty charming for someone of his status. He was a warrior, a fighter of some kind. He said he fought demons and vampires. He told me a wonderful tale of when he worked in Los Angeles. He told me of his friends, a girl named Cordelia, and a man named Doyle. I asked him about his boss and he became strangely quiet. He told me that his boss used to be an out-going, kind of fun guy but a death of a loved one had changed him.

"Changed him how?" I asked.

Gunn looked thoughtful, his brow creasing, "He loved this girl. I've never met her, but what've I've heard from her friends and her family, she was the kind of girl you never forget. Strong, pretty, you know, one of those girls," He sighed, "At least, that's what everyone tells me. Wish I could have known her."

We didn't talk much after that. He actually fell asleep while the airlines showed some movie about a dog...ugh. I got bored so I decided to read through the files that Wes had given me. I skipped through the files on Buffy. I couldn't bear to invade her privacy, dead or not. I saw a file titled 'ANNE'. It caught my interest and I looked at it. There were pictures of what looked to be cells and tissue samples. I frowned as I read the hand written notes.

'Anne seems to be progressing as we had hoped. All her blood work and cell samples came back regular and healthy. She is developing as a normal eleven year old girl should be.'

Under the small caption, was a picture of me when I was eleven. I looked so small and scared. But, Ginny was standing next to me. My eyes teared, oh Ginny...

"Anne," I whispered the word to myself, it seemed to fit, and whispered "That's my name; Anne"

I felt overwhelmed, so I put the file back in my sack. I had a name and I now knew it. It's a lot to take in, a name, finally. Years of being called 'dear' and 'darling' and 'her'.... Wow.

Exhaustion over everything took over and I fell into a deep sleep and was awoken by Gunn hours later while the plane was landing. I sat up and stretched, running a hand through my unruly hair. The plane landed with a jolt that made me grab Gunn's arm, which, in turn, he laughed at. He shakes his head and mutters something about me being a 'fiery one'. I chuckled nervously and closed my eyes until we were completely on the ground. Gunn made sure to stay glued to my side the whole time while our bags were checked. He hailed a taxi and we drove around in a maze of streets. I looked at all the people, feeling utterly overwhelmed. I had never been around so many people. I also looked at them each, or tried too. Everyone was so different, their clothes so colorful. I looked down at my dreary own clothes. I sigh frustratedly and Gunn noticed me.

He looked thoughtful for a minute, then grinned, "Hey, I think we can cut out a little time to get ya some things."

"Clothes?" I inquired.

"Clothes, souvenirs, stuff, whatever you want," He said.

"Wonderful," I said, smiling, then I frowned, "When are we supposed to meet Wes?" I asked.

"We have to be in LA by Wednesday at noon," Gunn answered.

"LA?" I asked, confused.

"Los Angeles," Gunn laughed, "You are a funny one, y'know?"

"I'm not sure if I should be thankful for that or not..." I mused sarcastically.

"Girls' got spunk," Gunn murmured to himself, "Who'da thought?"


We stopped at one of many clothing stores and Gunn told me to pick out what I wanted. I saw jeans and skirts and colorful shirts. Anything would do other than white. I despise the color white.

"May I help you?" A women asked.

"Yes, I'm looking for some clothing," I said shyly.

The woman gave me a funny look, "Well you are in a clothing store," She mused.

"Yes, of course," I stammered.

She smiled again and I realized she was joking, she looked to be my age. Her hair was fire red, which I didn't think was a natural color, and her eyes sea blue. She led me around the store, asking me what I liked. She told me I looked to be a size five so, she gathered all of the clothing I had picked and led me to a dressing room. I had picked a pair of beige colored pants that had a huge leg. She told me those were called 'Kakis Bellbottoms'. I had picked some tank tops, most were red and black, some with thin straps and others that were halters. I also bought a black 'Nike' pullover jacket. I gave the clothes to Gunn, who paid for them. I wore the kakis and red halter out of the store, pulling my jacket on as we left. We walked around for a few hours and he took me into some gift shops. I wandered off into the back of the store and saw these beautiful small umbrellas. They were almost doll-size. There was one that caught my attention though. It was a light pink and purple color with sparkles all over it. An image flashed into my mind.

'Class Protector'

"I had no idea that children en masse could be gracious."

"And I got a little toy surprise."

"Every now and then, people surprise you."

The images and sounds hit me like nothing I had ever felt. I was seeing and hearing things I had never seen or even heard anyone talk about before. What was going on? I don't know, but I knew I had to have that small umbrella. Something was telling me I had to have it. I took it up to the counter and showed it to Gunn.

"You sure you want it? Looks kinda girly," He asked.

"Yes," I said in a clipped voice, "I want it."

He shrugged and paid for it, handing me the bag. I gripped it along with my other things. We walked to a hotel Gunn showed me our rooms. It was Tuesday, around six. We had to be to the airport by seven thirty to catch our eight o'clock flight. Great, another plan. Gunn suggested I got to sleep, but I couldn't. We had adjoining rooms, for safety reasons. Gunn told me to lock my door and scream if anything went wrong and he retired for the night. I opened my pack and pulled out the mass of papers. I was going to read them. I sighed and pulled a file about the girl, Buffy. I couldn't help but bend my privacy rule. She intrigued me.



Buffy rejects her calling as a Slayer. Not a surprise. She seems like a girl who wants to stand out in the crowd, yet wants to be a part of it. What a naïve child she is. She doesn't understand her importance her life holds. In her arms, she holds the weight of the world and doesn't even know it. I watched her while she went to the matinee with her companions, she seemed more alert, aware of her surroundings. She seemed to know I was following her, but didn't stop outright. Maybe there is hope for her after all.
-Merrick, April 3rd, 1995

Buffy finally agreed to come patrolling with me, yet she grumbled all the way about fantasy and the Internet. I don't think I'll ever understand this girl. I took her to the Phoenix cemetery and made her wait for the corpse of George Chesterton to rise. He did, and she was sitting atop of the grave. She fought with him for several moments and I was sure that she wouldn't manage, but she did. She first stabbed him in the abdomen before staking him. It was quite impressive, for a newly called one. I noticed there was someone watching us. I didn't take any notice, not enough to alarm neither Buffy nor the man. I think I know who it was, but I must speak to Whistler before I can reveal anymore.
-Merrick, April 7th, 1995

Whistler contacted me. He told me what the Powers told him to do, and frankly, I don't agree. Angelus, the Scourge of Europe, was told to watch this girl, my Slayer. But, Whistler insists he has a soul now, that he is different than the murderous demon he once was. Who am I to argue with what they say? I've decided to not tell the Council nor Buffy. She will find out that she has a Guardian Angel, (no pun intended), watching over her. The Council would disapprove, and I do not blame them, but they do not have the business knowing. This is between The Powers, Whistler, The Slayer, Angelus, and I. No more, no less.
-Merrick, April 11th, 1995

I fear this may be my last entry on the Slayer. Lothos has arisen and is after my Slayer. She is one of the best I have seen in a very long time, and I will do anything to make sure Lothos does not kill her. Even if it is against Council regulation, I do not care. She will go on and she will be handed over to Rupert Giles. I have requested that she be placed with him. I respect him and he will be good with her, her will love her. He will make sure she stays alive, no matter the cost. All Rupert will have to do is find an alias in Sunnydale, California, where the hellmouth is and meet the Slayer. Buffy, if you ever read this and the worst has happened to me; I was proud of you. You went against everything you ever knew for the sake of lives, for the sake of the world. I wish you good luck and the best this life has to offer.
-Merrick, April 29th, 1995



Her Watcher must have cared for her a lot to give up his own life. Wes told me once a Slayer dies, a new one is called. What difference did it make if Buffy had lived or not? Another would only be called. I didn't know why her life, out of millions, mattered so much. I wish I could have met her, to at least talk to her. There were so many things I wanted to know. I knew Wes knew, but I had a strange feeling asking him would only upset him. Maybe whoever we were meeting with Wes could answer these questions...maybe.


I fell asleep with the file on my lap. Gunn woke me up with a gentle nudge and informed me I had to get ready. I had no dreams that night, not really. I kept hearing a haunting voice repeating;

"It's always about the blood..."

It baffled me. It made me wonder what part of my head thought up these things? I dressed back into my kakis and pulled over one of the tank tops I had bought. Gunn handed me my jacket and then we were off. We arrived at the airport and were ushered to our plane. I decided I didn't like flying. I didn't like being so high up in some metal contraption that could plummet to the hard ground within seconds. Gunn and I engaged ourselves in conversation.

"How long have you known Wes?" I asked him.

"A while. Couple years...He worked with us for awhile, just putting in his own two cents about some things, but that was only for a few weeks, in '99. I guess he gotta call from London and started working for those Council bastards again," Gunn shrugged, "So, what are you two anyways?" He asked.

"Pardon?" I asked, not quite understanding him.

"You two hooked up, or what?" He asked.

He meant if we were a couple, "Of course not. He's my best friend, I've known him for years. You word your phrases strangely," I mused.

He laughed, "That's 'cause I'm from LA and you're from London, English girl all the way," He laughed again, "So, how long have ya known English?" He asked.

"You mean Wes?" I said, raising a brow.

Again, he laughed, "Yeah, I mean Wes."

"Um, six years. I, uh, met him when I was ten," I said, not wanting to reveal too much about my strange past.

"Nice. He's pretty protective of you." He said suggestively.

"Yes, but in a brotherly way. He doesn't love me. Not like that," I said.

"But, you love him?" Gunn asked.

"For a time, I did. I looked up to him and thought he was the most wonderful man in the world, or at least my world. But, he was -is- in love with someone else. Now, he's just my protector. I know he'll never let anything happen to me," I finished with a smile.

Gunn just smiled and we were silent for a few moments.

"Are you in love with anyone?" I asked.

He looked thoughtful for a moment, "No." He shook his head, "My life is too dangerous for love." He looked so sad.

"Why?" I asked softly.

"I had a sister, Alonna. Sweetest girl you'd ever meet. She was kidnapped and killed. I might as well have killed her myself," He said, his dark eyes black with pain.

"How did she die?"

"You wouldn't know, kid. That stuff, you're too young to know about, too innocent." He said.

"Vampires?" I guessed.

His head whipped over to look at me, "How the hell you know about that stuff?" He asked, his voice hard.

"I had to fight one. The place where I was at, they made me do things like that. It's no big deal," I shrugged it off, not wanting to talk anymore.


We landed about four hours later. Gunn led me through the masses of people and too the door where he hailed another cab. We rode through a maze of streets and buildings. He took out a small cell phone and quickly punched in a number. I listened to the one-sided conversation.

"Yeah, we just came from the airport. We'll be there in about ten minutes, depending of traffic. You tell them about her? Man, you better do it now. Boss-man's gonna freak, y'know? We're goin' in through the back, 'cause that'll give ya enough time for you tell ya story and for me to get her upstairs for some R and R. Rest and relaxation, you dumbass. So, that's what we're doin' ok? Yeah, see ya in a few," Gunn finished, putting the phone back into his pocket. He looked at me and said, "We're going to the Hyperion Hotel, it's not another hotel, don't worry. It's where me and the gang hold up shop. You'll get to meet everyone. Wes is already there and waiting for you."

I nodded and a bout of lethargy passed over me. It was strange and unintentional, but I just couldn't help it when my eyes started to droop. Some faraway part of my mind whispered;


I couldn't pay any attention to the familiar voice for I was already asleep.


I awoke to some women screaming at me. I jumped out of the bed I didn't remember going to and stood in a fighting stance. The girl was taller and older, than I, her long dark brown hair curling down her back. Her dark eyes were wide with disbelief. I heard running and watched as Wes rushed into the room, his face ashen.

"What the bloody hell is going on here?" He demanded in a harsh whisper.

"She came in and started to scream!" I said, pointing at the women.

"Cordelia, what are you doing?" He asked.

She turned to him, her eyes still wide, "They look so much alike..." She whimpered.

"Cordelia, you know this. I told you," He whispered, his voice low.

"I know... I-I'm sorry." She said turning toward me, her eyes searching my face for something.

"That's alright," I said, my stance still defensive, "You just scared me."

She nodded overly cheerful now, "I just brought you a sandwich, I thought you'd be hungry," She said, then hurrying out of the room.

"Who were you talking about?" I asked, "Who do I look like?"

Wes shook his head, sitting next to me and putting an arm around me, "No one. You're your own self now, don't let anyone tell you different," He said.

I nodded, "Ok."

I thought I heard something and I looked toward the halfway opened door. Someone had been outside it, watching me. They were still there, but all I caught a glimpse of was dark eyes and a flash of black. A trench coat maybe?

"Finish eating and then I'll introduce you to everyone, alright?" Wes asked.

I nodded and he left. But, my mind was on the person outside my door? Who had it been and why did I have this feeling of butterflies buzzing around in my belly? Why did I feel...hopeful?


Part 5

I ate my sandwich slowly, chewing each bite thoughtfully. Each bite that I swallowed felt like a pound of cement in my belly. I was nervous. Who would I be meeting? And, how many? I wasn't used to be around very many people, only being around a handful at a time my whole life. I finally finished my lunch and walked over to my mirror, gazing at the person staring back at me. Me. No matter how many times I gazed at myself, I always felt a sense of deja vu like, I had gazed at this face somewhere, another place, another time. It's hard to explain, to understand even. I sigh heavily and turn around quickly when I feel someone looking at me. There's no one there. The hairs on the back of my neck raise in warning, shivers crawling down my spine. My fists clench and I look around.

"Who's there?" I call out tightly.

No one answers, but the feeling is still there. I close my eyes and run my hands through my hair wondering if I'm going insane. Wouldn't rule out that possibility... My door opens and I jump, glaring at the intruder. It's Wes and my face softens.

"Are you all done?" He asks, gesturing to my plate.

I nod and stand up, taking the hand Wes has outstretched.

"You ready?" He asks me.

I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and nod yes, my heart pounding almost painfully. Wes leads me down a maze of hallways and stairs and I'm sure I'll never find my way around here. We come to a large red carpeted staircase and Wes squeezes my hand. We walk briskly down and I see about a dozen people or so just milling about, doing their jobs, I suppose. But, all commotion stops when they see me. Half look like they want to cry, the others just stare dumbfounded.

"Everyone, I'd like you to meet Anne."


"Everyone, I'd like you to meet Anne." Wes says, but I catch an undertone of a warning.

A warning of what? I don't know. I feel so uncomfortable underneath their searching stares.

"Hi," I say in a small voice, slowly moving behind Wes a little bit, to shield me from their eyes.

"Hi! I'm Anya. Anya Harris, pleased to meet you, Anne," This blonde girl says, stepping right up and shaking my hand firmly. She seems to say my name falsely, as if she wants to say something else.

I nod slowly, wishing she'd let go of my hand. All these people seem older than me, by at least ten years.

"This is Xander, my husband," Anya says, her voice full of warning that I better not steal her man.

I nod again, squeezing Wes's hand with bruising force, I'm sure.

"Anya, honey, don't scare the girl," Xander says, his voice almost flat like he's hiding his emotions.

Another girl steps up, she's a redhead. Her eye's seem to burn with anger, but she plasters on a fake smile and takes my hand.

"I'm Willow," She says.

She scares me. Her hands are shaking in anger. She grips my small hands until her knuckles turn white. I take a step back from her and pull my hands away. Her eyes seem black, but no one else sees it. They're all to busy staring at me. I press myself to Wes's side and he smiles down at me. I think I hear a soft growl and look up to find the source. At the end of the long lobby was a man. A tall, dark, and handsome, 'take me now' sort of man. His eyes were chocolate, his hair spiked, and brown. He wore black slacks and a black button up shirt. He stared at me, his eyes wide, unbelieving, and angry. I looked away quickly. I don't want to be here! I try and smile at them, but I feel like I'm being inspected.

"Can we go somewhere?" I ask Wes.

He looks from them, to me, and understands, "Where would you like to go?" He asks, leading me away.

"Anywhere but here," I plead softly.

I can't handle so many people. I just freeze. When you've been locked up your whole life, crowds scare you. At least they do me. I'm not sure what to say to everyone, on account of I don't have very developed social skills, I guess. Wes knows what I'm talking about. He'll always know.

To my surprise, Wes tours me around the monstrously large hotel. It's got four floors, I'm told. The first is mostly the lobby, kitchen, ballroom, and the maid's quarters.

"They have maids?" I asked incredulously.

Wes laughs, shaking his head, "No, darling, this used to be a thriving hotel in the 1950s, before Angel bought it," Wes explained.

"Oh." I said, then, "Who's Angel?"

My simple question made him look at me closely, his blue eyes searching my face. His looked very disturbed, then in a strange voice he said, "Angel is the owner. I think you'll meet him soon, when the time is right."

When the time is right? What did he mean?

"The red head, I don't like her," I said, remembering how her eyes seemed to gaze through me angrily.

Again, he looks troubled. He didn't answer me and began to explain what the other floors of the hotel. The second was common rooms. Just bedrooms with bathrooms. The third was slightly more favored. Having a sitting room, bathroom, and a bedroom. Like a boarding house might. The fourth floor were where the extravagant penthouses were. Wes told me that some of the people who worked here stayed in some of these.

"Am I going to stay here?" I asked.

Wes shrugged, "I suppose, if you wish," He answered.

"Can I pick my own room?" I asked, getting excited now.

"Of course."

"Can I decorate it?" I asked, a girlish smile forming.

"I would suppose, it being your room. But, I must speak with Angel first, to see if that is alright with him."

My smile grew. I couldn't wait to explore this place and pick out the perfect room for me, all me.

"Could I meet Angel?" I asked, wanting to see this mystery man.

"He's a very busy man. In time you will, darling. In time."


We had gone back downstairs and Wes went in search of this Angel person. I sat on plush red couches, watching everyone work. I saw the brunette, Cordelia, sitting at a computer, chatting away with Anya. Her husband, Xander, was no where to be seen. I saw the red head, Willow, reading a thick book. There was an older man, his hair chestnut colored, curling slightly. He had round glasses and a friendly face. He was on the phone, his eyes meeting mine. He gave me a smile, his eyes twinkling. I nodded slightly and smiled back. I thought the shine of his eyes, were tears, but why would he cry? He turned back to his work and I felt the couch dip under someone else's weight. Gunn sat next to me, smiling foolishly.

"What?" I asked suspiciously, my own lips curling into a smile.

"I wanna show ya somethin," He said, taking my hand and leading me to a back room. There were ancient weapons hanging on the gray brick walls. I stared amazed, my eyes wide. The blades of the knifes and daggers shone wickedly against the dim light.

"Wow," I breathed, walking towards the weaponry. I took a funny looking knife off the wall and spun it in my hands. I don't know how I did it, but Gunn stared, shocked.

"Damn, girl. It took me weeks to learn how t'do that!" He sighed, his eyes lighting up.

"I don't know how I did that," I said, staring at the knife. It was curved, ridges along one side.

'Stuck it in her gut, just slid in her, like she was butter.'

I dropped the knife, it clanking loudly on the ground, making me jump.

"Yo, you alright?" Gunn asked.

I swallowed hard, feeling these emotions. Anger, hate, sorrow, loss. I thought of the words again and all the feelings came back, hitting me like a ton of bricks.

"I'm...fine..." I said detachedly. I shook my head and looked into his concerned eyes, "Fine. I'm fine."

I picked up the knife and put it back, "These are all so amazing, where did you get them?"

"Not mine, chick. Most of these are Angel's." He said, smirking at me.

"Gee, a bit jealous, are we?" I asked sarcastically.

He rolled his eyes, shaking his head, "Me, jealous of weapons that are worth more than I have in the bank, hell no," He said, lifting his chin.

I laughed, ohh, Gunn was a strange one. I shook my head, walking out of the room. I didn't see Wes. I pouted, where was he? I wandered around, going upstairs and to the fourth floor to pick out my room. I went through three of them that just didn't feel right. The fourth was a locked door. Against my initial restraint, I twisted the handle sharply, breaking the lock with audible snap.

"Ok, this is not breaking and entering..." I murmur to myself, walking into the rooms.

It was beautiful. The walls in the sitting room were painted a dark green, the dim light casting an emerald glow on everything. I just stood in awe, looking at the glorious features. There was a loveseat and a daybed, both black. I could see the kitchen, a big window lighting up the area. The moonlight filtered in, casting a silver-blue colored on the walls. I sighed, walking around slowly, absorbing everything.

"What are you doing in here?" A harsh voice asked, starling me.

It was a man, half hid by the shadows. But, I could tell he was angry. Chocolate eyes glittered dangerously at me. I stood defiantly, not fearing him.

"Wes told me I could pick out a room, any one I wanted," I answered.

"Wes informed you wrong. Not this one." He growled, stepping toward me. I didn't back away, I just stared at him, feeling as if I should know him. But, I was angry. How dare he be angry with me, I didn't know him.

"Who are you?" I asked, my voice low.

He laughs sardonically, "You're asking me. You who said, forever!"

"What are you talking about?" I asked.

I could smell liquor on him. This man was drunk.

"You should know!" He snapped and I jumped.

"Now, now, Peaches, leave the little chit alone," A purring British voice said, pulling the man out of the way.

"You'll have to forgive nancy-boy here. I insisted that he have a drink to calm him down, didn't know the Poof couldn't hold his liquor," The bleach haired man said.

I nodded slowly.

"I'm Spike, and you'd be?" He asked.

"Anne." I said.

He smirked, pushing the man again, "Best you be meetin' him when he's sober."

I nodded and watched as he pushed the dark haired man away. I stood in the beautiful room for a moment longer, than left. It didn't welcoming anymore. Tomorrow, I'd fix that lock. And, stay out of that man's way...


Wes joined me to pick out another room. I didn't utter a word about my encounter with the mystery man. I didn't think it would do any good to stir up trouble. Something told me that these people were a tightly knit group and I dare not mess with them. Wes showed me a room down the hall, far from the beautiful emerald room. The walls were fairly dark, one might think it was a bit depressing. The walls were black and rouge. The living room having leather sofas and a scarlet crushed velvet daybed. The bedroom had a cherry colored canopy bed. I liked it very much. Wes helped me move what little I had into the glorious penthouse, telling me that of the girls might take me shopping soon.

"But, I don't know all of them," I protested, not very comfortable with being alone with these strangers.

"It's alright darling, you will," Wes assured me then beckoned me to come down for dinner, according to him, they had ordered pizza to celebrate my coming.

"These people are so strange," I commented on the way down to the lobby.

Wes laughed, muttering something about pop culture and living in the 'now'. I shrugged it off, not even wanting to try to understand it.

I slowed my walk so I was behind Wesley, not wanting to face these people head on.

"Hi! Anne!" Anya said cheerily.

I gave a small smile and a wave, not knowing what to say.

"You ever had pizza?" A girl younger than the rest asked me.

She had dark eyes and curling raven colored hair. She wore a white tank top and blue jeans.

'5 by 5, B.'

I blinked, slowly getting used to the flashes of voices and sounds I got. A feeling of protective suspicion went through me, making my blood feel like soda in my veins, popping and fizzing.

"Once," I said, knowing my answer took long enough to raise suspicion, "Ginny brought it for me, remember Wes?" I asked, my voice cracking slightly.

He nodded slowly, his eyes seeing a memory, "I remember."

"Who's Ginny?" the girl named Cordelia asked.

"She was a friend of mine. She worked at the..." I glanced at Wes, not knowing how much to reveal, he nodded, "...the place were I was. But, she got in trouble and Quentin 'disposed' of her." I answered, turning so they wouldn't see my misting eyes.

"Quentin?" A new voice asked.

I glanced at the group, seeing the man whom I had smiled at before, stand. His eyes were wary and I could see Wes curse himself inwardly.

"I don't want to talk about this..." I answered quickly, pushing back the terrible memories that I was reluctant to admit that were my life. I suppose I spoke too quickly or too sharply, for everyone turned to stare at me, their eyes searching.

"Can we stop with the staring? You could make someone feel like a bloody damned hamster in a cage," I muttered, my voice seething and my slight accent thickening with anger.

"Darling..." Wes said in his fatherly way, trying to reach for me, to sooth me.

"No. I'm fine. I'll just take my food to my rooms, I'm feeling a bit weary anyways," I mumbled, taking a slice of pizza and a can of soda and stomping up to my room. As I left, voices began to rise with anger.

"You bloody pompous idiots!" That was Wes, "Can you bloody blokes make her feel any more unwelcome?" He demanded.

"We're sorry!" Cordelia yelled, "This is strange, for all of us!"

"You can't expect us to welcome her back with open arms, Wesley. Not after what happened!" An enraged voice hissed.

"Damn, Willow. It was six years ago! What you should be glad it didn't work. What you made her into, what she was!" A new voice cried. I leaned over the railing and looked below.

It was the drunken man from earlier. But, now he wasn't drunk, he was angry.

"I had to bring her back!" Willow cried.

"Not like you did! She would have killed us all!" The mystery man shouted back.

"And, you killed her first!" Willow screamed, her voice raw and rough.

A deadly silence fell over the room below and I wonder what in the world the lots of them were talking about. A cold hand touched my shoulder and I whirled around, a small yelp escaping my lips. It was Spike, the bleached blond.

"You shouldn't be eavesdropping, pet," He said, leading me away.

"What are they talking about?" I asked him.

"Best you not know," He answered.

I sighed and took a bite of my food. I was suddenly so confused and tired.

"You're exhausted," Spike said comfortingly.

He led me back to my room and he set my food in my refrigerator.

"I want to meet him," I mumbled as he tucked me into my bed.

"Who?" He asked, sitting on a small recliner.

"The man, who was yelling," I said, not knowing how to describe him.

"You mean Peaches. Well, I'm sure he'll pay ya a nightly visit. Probably won't have to wait too long. He could never hold back too long with ya," He said, his clear blue eyes seeing a past I couldn't fathom. Where in the bursts of wakefulness, I would have questioned him, I couldn't now because the pulls of sleep were having their way with me, taking me with them into their realm of dreams...for now.


Part 6

I couldn't see anything. It was all a scarlet haze. But, I could hear very well. A voice, so soothing, so comforting. Hearing it made me hurt. I couldn't see who it was, but I just knew that it was my Mother.

*"Sweetheart, don't spill the milk on your sister."*

*"I left my bra in his car."*

*"You walk out of this house, don't even *think* about coming back!"*

*"Was he the first? No. Wait. I don't want to know, I don't *think* I want too..."*

I can just picture her. Her honey colored hair, curling on her shoulder. Her big brown eyes, her smiling face.

"Mommy, Tyler wants to take me to the movies," I hear myself say.

"Darling, can't you just stay home? You've been out every night this week."

"I don't want to stay here. All you and Dad do is fight! I hate it here! I hate this damn family!"

"Watch your mouth. You are not going!"

"I hate you!"

I see her eyes flash with hurt, tears filling her doe eyes.

"Go to your room now."

I don't know what happens next. Its like one scene switched to another. I see a prone body laying on a brown sofa. The body is pretty, wearing a suede skirt and a beige blouse. Her eyes are opened and glassy, her chest unmoving, her lips parted in a ghostly moan. Her sunny curls lay around her, framing her still features. And I realize, she's dead. This women that I picture my mother to be is dead.

"Mom? Mom...? Mom, mom, mom, mom, MOMMIE!"

I hear my voice screeching and cracking. I feel bile and panic raising in my sickly wet throat. As I gaze at my Mother, I feel my mouth taste salty as the saliva begins to flow. I'm going to vomit. The scene flashes forward and I hear,

"She's cold. My Mom, she's cold, should I warm her up?"

"We can't move her, we can't move the body!"*

And, I wake up.


My eyes fly open and I'm aware of my face being sticky with tears. I lick my dry lips and taste salt. I kick the now heavy covers off my body. I'm aware of someone in my room, looking at me, slowly brushing their fingers on my clammy face. I stiffen slightly, knowing who it is. The mystery man. His fingers explore my face softly, the callused, yet soft, fingertips sending shivers down my spine.

"You were dreaming," He murmured softly, brushing my truly wild hair away.

"I was," I agree softly.

"About what?" He asks me, his voice quiet, rough, and soft at the same time.

"A lot of things," I answer, shifting my eyes to look at his pale moonlit face.

His cheekbones are high, his eyes shadowed. His lips are smooth. His face is pale and the silver light makes him look translucent.

"Are you a dream?" I whisper softly.

He chuckles wryly, "I should be asking you that question."

"Why?" I asked him, ever so confused.

"You shouted out, 'Mommy' in your sleep," He said, abruptly changing the subject.

"I suppose I shout out a lot of things while I dream," I mused.

"No, just that," He said.

"You were drunk earlier, weren't you?" I asked.

"Sorry about that," He says regretfully, "I've been mourning."

"I'm sorry."

He shook his head, "So..."

I pushed the covers off fully and got out of bed. I could feel his eyes trailing me, watching me. I padded barefooted around the penthouse and to the kitchen. I took out the pizza and coke from earlier, taking a bite and frowning slightly. He sauntered into the room and leaned against the far wall.

"I don't like it here," I said bluntly.

He seemed unfazed, "Why?"

"It's too big, too open. But, it's not white, so that's a plus," I shrugged, knowing I was talking mere nonsense.

"You don't like the color white?" He asked, trying to find some meaning in my rambling babble.

"No. I don't. I despise it, really," I answered through a mouthful of cold pizza.

He gave me a strange look, then said, "You're very pale."

I gave a snort, "You are too."

"You have an accent."

"Wow, you're very insightful," I replied sarcastically.

He shook his head and walked to the door.

"I have to go," He said, starting to leave.

"What's your name?" I asked him, gulping down a drink of soda.

*'Let's just say I'm a friend.'*

*'What if I don't want a friend?'*

*'Didn't say I was yours.'*

He shook his head slightly, "Angel."

"Hmm, pretty name," I mused.

He looked at me sharply, his brown eyes wild. His mouth opened to say something, but he closed it, the panic and surprise leaving and his face becoming emotionless. He turned and hurriedly slipped away, into the halls, away from me.

Though I was now alone, I couldn't fall back asleep. I felt itchy and restless. I had to do something, walk a round, anything. I slipped out of my room and padded down the hallway. I had made it to the second floor when I realized someone was following me. I didn't show any sign that I knew, I just kept walking. Somehow, I felt a hand fly at my back. Maybe I felt the air or...I just knew. I grabbed the hand and swung them forward, which they, in turn, grabbed my neck and slammed me into the wall.

"Get off me!" I hissed, clawing at the person.

They laughed and I knew it was a women. In the pale light, I saw fire red hair and flashing hazel eyes.

"What are you doing up so late, Anne?" She asked, her voice sickeningly sweet. Her pale fingers trailed through my hair, her nails running down my cheek. I shivered.

"Couldn't sleep," I answered clipped.

"I see through you, you know?" She whispered, her face close to mine, "I see through your little act. But, let me tell you, you'll never be her. You never will fool me."

"Be who?" I asked, my voice thickening in anger, "What on earth are you talking about?"

"Oh, don't be coy." She scolded as if I were a mere puppy, "I know what you're trying to do. You, go ahead, act like her. Try and be her, but you never will be. Just, go back to whatever hell you came from," She sneered, her voice growing harsher and meaner.

"Willow, what the hell is going on here?" A voice said.

I looked up and saw the raven haired girl and Spike walk down the hall toward us. I let out a silent sigh of relief. Willow backed away and I rubbed my aching neck.

"Nothing. She wanted to know where the bathroom was," Willow said.

"She's got a bathroom in her own room, red," Spike drawled, his eyes fixed angrily on the red head.

"Damn it! I don't have to explain myself to you!" She yelled loudly, and I was sure she woke this whole floor up.

She glared at me, her eyes flashing dangerously, then fled down the hall, going further and further until she disappeared into thin air.

"Damn it all to bloody hell!" Spike cursed furiously.

"She's doing it again, isn't she? Relapsing?" The raven haired girl asked.

"Afraid so, damn it, I thought she was better... Guess I gotta go tell Angel..." He murmured.

He looked at me and smirked, "Faith, since you two are up, why don't you take her out, luv?" He asked the girl.

Her face scrunched up in confusion, "Spike, it's two in the morning, where would I go, it's so dark out..." She seemed to pick up on his meaning, "Oh, sure, why not?"

Spike smirked and kissed the girl, Faith, on her cheek, "See you later, luv."

"Love you," She whispered, then took my arm, and led me down the long stairs.

"Where are we going?" I asked, as she led to a closet and threw me a leather jacket.

She didn't answer, but boy what a sight we were. Both of us had bed tousled hair and we wore our bed clothes with black leather jacket over them. She tossed me a wooden stick, one I remembered from when Quentin made me fight that disfigured man.

"Let's jet," She said as we slipped out of the darkened hotel and into the night.


We walked around for about an hour. Faith showed me all the local night hangouts. There were demons just milling about, all over the place. When I questioned Faith one it, she just told me that not all demons are bad.

"You've got to look past the outside features into them. You'll find out not all of them want to destroy the world."

"But-but... They're *demons*!" I sputtered, so very confused.

"You're right," She simply said, shrugging.


"You'll understand someday. Maybe soon, you still gotta meet the rest of the gang," She smiled.

"There are more of you?" I ask.

She laughs, "Hell yeah. A bunch more."

"How will I ever fit in?" I wonder aloud.

"You will, trust me kiddo, you will," She smirked, obviously knowing something I didn't.

We rounded the corner and were ambushed by some vampires.

"Son of a bitch!" Faith yelled, jumping into action.

"What do I do?" I shouted, pushing on of the snarling abominations away from me.

"Stake 'em in the heart!" Faith shouted, staking one of the beasts. They exploded into dust.

I just repeated her motions, using more force.

I had been doing pretty good, but they kept coming. Several new ones had weapons, knives to be exact.

"Where the hell are they all coming from?" Faith shouts.

I looked around wildly, "The sewer!" I yelled.

And suddenly, I was pinned up against they wall, cold hands around my neck, arms, and legs. I could hardly breath. Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw Faith in the same predicament. Faith thrashed around fiercely, her lips peeled back in a snarl, her eyes glittering dangerously.

"Two Slayers...tempting," One growled and I could feel his tongue on the base of my throat. I squirmed, feeling like vomiting.

"Get your paws off her, you dirty-ass beast!" Faith screamed.

"And, what are you going to do? Kick around more?" One hissed, pressing up against her, "Lower, baby," He leered.

"You asshole! Do you even know who in the hell we are?" Faith yelled, her voice ragged.

"Lunch?" One guessed.

"You know Angelus and William the Bloody?" She boomed.

They looked uneasy, "I'm guessing so. Well, guess what, fellas, you kill us and those two will be on you asses so fucking fast, you won't know what hit you!"

One slammed my up against the wall in rage, "Tell your little bitch friend to shut the hell up!"

I remained defiantly quiet and he tightened his hand around my throat. I gagged and started to thrash around. I saw that Faith, somehow, got free and was beating the vamps to a bloody pulp. I managed to free my legs and kicked the guy right in the crotch. He fell to the ground with an angry whimper. Others attacked me, but I punched, kicked, bit-did anything to keep from being trapped again. One swept their feet under mine and I fell to the ground hard, my vision flashing black. I tried my hardest to get back up, but I felt dizzy and nauseated, feeling blood drip down my neck. Two ugly vamps pulled me up and took blows at me. I ducked and rolled, so close to the edge of falling unconscious. I grabbed my stake that had fallen away from me and staked one. Another attacked me, but Faith killed him first. I fell to my knees while she heatedly staked the rest, swearing the whole time.

"Anne..." She said worriedly, crouching to my side, helping me up.

"Come on, we gotta get home," She said, looking around worriedly, "More will be coming."

I groaned as I sagged against her.

"Angel's gonna kill me..." She whispered, wiping some blood off my face as we walked.

"How bad is it?" I asked, feeling dizzy again.

"You look like hell," Faith said bluntly.

"You too."

She laughed, though it was a bit on the forced side, "You did good, for a rookie. If Angel lets me take you out again, I'll teach ya some tricks of my own."

"Can't wait."


Faith tried to sneak us into the hotel through the servants entrance, but Angel was awaiting us furiously. He pulled me away from her and Spike fled to her side.

"Jesus Christ, luv, what the hell happened?" He asked.

"Ambush," Faith answered, leaning on the bleached blonde.

"What the *hell* were you thinking, taking her out there?" Angel boomed, his eyes glittering dangerously.

"We were both up!" Faith protested, her voice hoarse.

"I don't fucking care, Faith!" He hissed, looking at my wounds.

He took a cloth and started dabbing at my forehead.

"She's fine, isn't she?" Faith yelled, angry at being in trouble.

"She could've been killed," Angel argued.

"You *know* I wouldn't let that happen," Faith hissed as Spike gently set ice on her swelling cheek.

Angel growled softly, then met my eyes, "Are you alright?" He asked softly.

I pushed away from him, "I'm fine."

He looked hurt for an instant, but then his face went emotionless again, "Don't ever go out again like that, not without me."

Anger flared within me, "You're telling me what to do?"

"While you live under my roof," He retorted.

"You're not my father," I hissed.

Spike snorted sardonically.

"I never said I was," He growled.

"You're acting like it!" I cried.

"How you *you* know, you don't even have a father!" He yelled, then looked immediately guilty.

I narrowed my eyes, my lips pursing tightly.

"Buf-Anne... I..." He sputtered.

I had another flash then.

* "I invited you into my home. And, then you attacked my family." *

* "Why not? I killed mine." *

My anger flared, my lips opening and saying something I knew would hurt. Though...I didn't know if it was true.

"At least I didn't kill mine!" I screamed.

I had taken a chance, gone on these strange flashes and acted on them. He looked stricken and then shocked. His mouth opened to say something, but I turned and fled to the stairs. He bounded after me, trying to grab my hand.

"Gte away from me!" I screamed in a shrill voice.

I saw Wes running down the stairs and I ran into his arms, weeping for reasons I didn't know.

"What the bloody... What did you do?" He demanded of Angel.

He didn't answer, but I could feel his eyes burning holes in my back. I didn't want to face him, talk to him, to know that I had truly hurt him.

"Faith took her slaying." Angel answered in a clipped voice.

"Are you hurt?" Wes asked me soothingly.

I nodded, but not because I was physically, but emotionally. I hated it here, these people, what was happening to me. I didn't understand it and I didn't want to try. All I wanted to do, is be somewhere familiar. With the Mother I had dreamed about, but if the flashes were right, then my dreams could be too and the women would be dead.

"I think she's exhausted, this is too much for her to comprehend," Spike murmured, "Too much."

Faith was leaning against him as he helped her limp up the stairs.

I pushed Wes away, feeling crowded. I followed Faith and Spike up the stairs and then said, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to get you in trouble."

"No prob, Anne. It'll blow over by tomorrow, Angel's just overprotective, always has been and forever shall be." Faith waved it off, tentatively hugging me goodnight and then letting Spike lead her to their bedroom.

I staggered up to my rooms, wishing I could sleep forever. I froze in the doorway, someone had been in my room. I turned on my lights and look around cautiously. I saw a white envelope and opened it.

*Meet me at Hemery High School tomorrow. One O'clock,


Great. Another mystery person. Why couldn't we have just stayed in London?


Part 7

I awoke to the bright sun turning my eyelids a fiery orange. I squinted as I sluggishly rolled over to look at my small clock. It was just after noon. I pushed back my covers and yawned, shoving my thick hair out of the way as I padded to the bathroom. My appearance was horrible. I had dark circles under my eyes, clearly standing out on my porcelain pale face. My eyes were bloodshot and I had shadows of bruises all over me. There was dried blood in my hair and a rather large lump. I fingered it and let out a hiss. Painful. I did my business, undressed, and climbed into the shower. I turned the water on and the freezing water shocked me awake. Gradually it grew nice and hot. I let the water spray over me, letting it heal my tender skin and frazzled nerves. I remember the dreadful scene with Angel last night and had no desire to confront him again. He probably thought I was strange now. I felt silly, now that I thought about it. I had accused him of killing his parents by going on the strange flashes I'd been having. I was sure he had done no such thing. I mean, what self respecting man, and I'm assuming Angel is one, would kill their parents? He would have to be truly demonic and sadistic to even think of something like that. I lathered my hair shampoo and my body with soap. Soon I began to feel better and renewed. I stepped out of the shower and wrapped myself in one of the fluffy towels from the small closet. I still looked awful, but felt great. I threw on a pair of jeans and one of the tanks tops I had bought. I pulled my dripping hair into a messy bun and crept downstairs. I could hear the bustle and commotion downstairs and truly didn't want to face the lot of them. But, I needed food. My stomach demanded it. I found a side stairway and went down it silently. I ducked into the kitchen and was pretty sure no one saw me until I heard a voice say;



I jumped about a mile and whipped around to face the person. Faith sat at the table, her hair a mess and her face a shadow of bruises.

"Good morning," I said softly, so no one else would hear me and I wouldn't have to deal with them.

"Don't worry. No one will come in here. At least while I'm in here. I'm not a morning person," She said, sipping a steaming cup of coffee.

"Good," I breathed, "I really don't want to deal with anyone."

"I hear ya," She said, then offered me some kind of strange sandwich.

When I look at her strangely, she laughed and took a bite of hers.

"It's a croissantwich. Best of what McDonalds has in the morning," She boasted, taking another bite, a comical dreamy look entering her eyes.

I shook my head and took a bite of one. I tasted sausage, egg, and cheese. Mmm. I ate the whole thing and downed a glass of orange juice.

"Where ya going? You look like you're sneaking away to meet with a boy," Faith teased, leaning back in her chair.

"I am... I think." I said.

Faith looked at me funny, "Where are you going?" She asked, her voice layered with protectiveness.

"Out. To look around the town. I'd rather not be stuck here all day," I covered, not wanting to reveal that I was going to see some stranger named Whistler.

She eyes me then relented, "Fine. Be careful," She warned.

"Always am," I said, not really intending to say that. It just slipped out automatically.

She eyed me again then shook her head.

I waved slightly and slipped out of the room, climbing out of a near window. I couldn't go out the front door because everyone would see me them. I took out the note and reread it. Hemery High School. Now, where in the world was it? I just wandered around for a while before I came to a large building looming in the distance. It looked like a school...I think. I jogged across the street, and almost got killed. Really. Some person in the large truck squealed to a stop and yelled at me.

"Watch where ya going ya little bitch!"

I froze, fury pumping through my veins. I walked calmly over to the car and kicked the bumper, leaving a rather large dent. I laughed and the person went nuts.

"Do you know how much this costs? You better have insurance! I'm going to hunt you down and kill you!"

I rolled my eyes resumed my jog to the school. Now, where was I supposed to meet this guy?

"Hey! Blondie, over here!" I heard a voice yell.

I looked over and saw an absorbedly dressed man waving me over. He wore a bright yellow trench coat and orange corduroys and a teeny hat.

"Oh my God..." I murmured.

"You comin or what?" He demanded as I walked slowly over there.

"What are you wearing?" I asked him.

"I'm gonna choose to ignore that comment. Name's Whistler. Pleasure t'meet ya."

"I didn't tell you my name ye,." I said.

"Oh, I know your name, Anne. I know a lot about you. I know you were with the Watcher's in London for a couple years and I know about your little adventure last night," He said, as we started to walk.

"You've been watching me?" I asked him.

"In a way. I see things. I'm a worker for the Powers," He said.

"The Powers what?" I asked him, beyond confused at this point.

"The Powers That Be, you know, the big guys upstairs. They know all, see all, and occasionally fill me in on some of that all. Y'know, they're fate, destiny, past, future, and chance all wrapped into one. Kind of like a burrito..." He murmured.

We fell in step with each other, "So, what does this have to do with me?" I asked him.

He looked at me, his expression grave, "Everything, kid."

I just looked at him, not knowing what to say.

"Look, this world has been goin' down the crap-hole since 2000. Demons are getting more rowdy, they wanna make themselves known. The balance is uneven, has been for close to seven years now."

"Ok." I sighed, "Now how does this affect me?" I asked him.

"It's your job to stop all of this. You being here, you just gave this sorry world new hope, even if they don't know it. Basically, you restore the balance," He answered me.

"So, what do I do?" I asked him, not seeing the point in arguing.

"You fight, kid. Fight, live, just stay alive," He told me and I was sure that had some semblance, but I couldn't figure it out.

"Who do I fight?" I asked.

"The forces of evil, of course," He snickered.

"Of course. I don't know why I didn't see it," I muttered sarcastically.

He chuckled wryly, "You're a riot kid." Then he continued, "You know, you gotta fight demons. Vamps, Master vamps, uber-vamps. Morahs, Warlocks, Witches, Gods, Goddesses, the list could go on and on," He finished up.

I sat dumbfounded. I had thought that there were just vampires out there. But, now I am being told that there is very much more in this world than I could imagine. What am I supposed to make of this? We just walk around for a while. We say nothing, I'm just trying to let this information sink in.

"Do I fight alone?" I ask him.

He looks at me, shaking his head, "Nah. Not anymore ya don't. Those people you and the Watcher are living with, they'll help. Just let 'em get over the shock of seeing ya," He advised.

Why would they be shocked at seeing me? When I voice that question he laughs and shakes his head slowly, "You'll find out soon enough."

I sigh in frustration. He's telling me nothing. I take notice of my surroundings and see we're in downtown LA and that it has begun to get dark out. We had been walking around for hours.

"Yeah, shocks ya when time moves quicker than ya thought it was. Time will do that," Whistler mused as we twisted around corners and crept into alleyways.

"Where are we going?" I asked him.

"I'm going to show you what this world is like when the sun goes down." He told me, leading me into a club.

The walls were dark and almost looked like someone ad spread oil on them to make them shine and gleam with evil. The music pulsed and sweaty bodies grinded and pressed up against one another. I could smell sweat, exhilaration, and blood. I looked into the corner and saw vampires biting people. But, the people didn't look frightened or panicked. The looked like they wanted it. Whistler led me through the mass of bodies-dead and alive-to a small maze of stairs. We went up and up and I was shocked at what I saw. I saw humans and vampires, together. The vampires were seducing their preys and enticing them. The scent of sex, blood, and money was heavy in the room, I almost gagged. Two female vampires looked at me and growled invitingly. I snapped my head away from them and gazed at Whistler.

"What in God's name are we doing in this...this place?" I demanded him, feeling so uncomfortable at the vampires who were gazing at me like I was water to a dehydrated man...or blood to a starving vampire.

"This is like a whorehouse...only for vampires. Humans come here to pay for sex and to have their blood drank." Whistler explained, looking a bit ill himself.

"Why in the world would they do that?" I asked, my eyes widening at this place. It was like a nudist colony for vampires. Ugh.

"It's kind of like how junkies crave a fix. Kind of like how sky divers crave the thrill of knowing they just might crash into the ground. It's all gotta do with the thrill. Fear is a thrill," Whistler tried to explain.

"This is disgusting." I muttered.

"Hey, don't knock it till ya try it," A silky voice behind me said.

I turned around and saw myself face to face with a naked women...vampire. She pressed herself against me and kissed me. I tasted blood, salt, and ash. I gagged when she shoved her tongue in my mouth. I shoved her away and grabbed a stray piece of wood and pushed her up against the wall. I hated the feel of touching her naked flash.

"Ohh, you like it rough," She purred and my lips curled back in disgust.

I said nothing as I staked her. I felt physically sick as Whistler grabbed my arm and led my out of that place. I felt like vomiting, the taste of stale blood still lingering in my mouth.

"Oh God..." I moaned.

"Yeah, this is just one of the many evils in the world, kid," Whistler said as he patted my back gently.

"What time is it?" I asked him.

"Around ten-ish," He answered.

I looked up at him disbelievingly, "We've been out all day."

"I told you. Time's a tricky thing," He said cryptically.

How am I supposed to get back to the hotel, I thought.

"Five blocks north, then two west," Whistler told me, reading my mind.

"Great," I said and began to leave.

"You need anything, just look me up. Doyle knows where I am," He said and with a tip of his hat he was gone.

I ran the whole way back to the hotel, hoping I could sneak back inside. I felt in desperate need of a shower. My mouth tasted of sour copper and my body felt tight and dirty. I came in view of the hotel and ran around to the back, praying that the side door was unlocked. I entered quietly and turned around to shut the door. When I faced back to the room, I saw Angel standing there, glaring furiously.

"What the hell have you been?" He growled at me.

I scoff and walk past him, thinking I shouldn't have to explain anything to him. I make it to the lobby when he rushes after me and grabs my arm, pulling me to him.

"Where were you?" He demands again, making everyone look up at us.

"I don't have to answer to you!" I yell and try to yank my arm out of his grasp.

His grip is too tight and he stops for a moment, looking at me with wide eyes.

"You were at the Vampire House," He whispers.

"What?" I ask him, trying to get out of his hold.

"You were with the vampire whores," He says, his voice low and dangerous.

"What of it?" I ask.

"Who the fuck took you there?" He yelled.

"No one!" I scream, pushing him away from me.

"You answer me!" He shouted.

"Now Peaches..." Spike murmured trying to calm the enraged man.

"Stay out of this, Spike!" Angel growled.

"No, let them say something. Let them all tell me how disappointed and frustrated everyone is that I'm not some meek little mouse who will agree and do everything everyone says! Say it!" I screamed.

I don't know why I didn't just answer him. I didn't know why I had to make everything worse by screaming back.

"Where were you, Anne?" He asks me and I can tell he's trying to calm down.

"I don't have to tell you jack-squat," I retorted, my hands on my hips, "You don't own me. You can't tell me what to do! You don't even know me!" I yelled at him, silencing everyone in that damned room.

"While you are in *my* house, you *will* answer to me," Angel said slowly.

My mouth opened and my eyes narrowed.

*"You walk out of this house, don't even *think* about coming back!"*

"Then I'll leave," I said.

He was at loss of words, his mouth opening and closing.

"Little advice, mouth looks better closed," I sneered as I made my way upstairs.

"You can't leave," He finally sputtered.

"Why the bloody hell not? It's obvious that all of you don't want me here. So, I'll do you a favor and leave," I snapped.

"And, where would you go?"

Oh, he was getting cocky now, was he? Time to kick him off his little high horse.

"I could go back to London. At least they want me there...even if it is for atrocious reasons..." I muttered.

"Yeah, until they kill you." Angel sneered.

I just stared at him, "It'd be better than all of this." I said softly and then pounded up the stairs, not wanting to face anything anymore.

I reached my room and slammed the door shut, locking it. I felt so upset. My head was beginning to pound, my mouth still tasted of old blood, my skin felt icky, and my wrists were beginning to throb. I sat on the bed and peered at them. They were so small, like a little kid's wrist. I could see the whitened scar of where I had cut them. One was jagged and the other was rough, raised skin. The dull ache transfixed me. In a moment of weakness I had changed my skin, my body. It didn't really matter, it just bothered me. I fingered the raised skin absently and thought of my childish, rebellious behavior. I sighed, stood up, and went in the shower to attempt to wash the disgust off of my skin. I turned the water up to a scalding hot temperature and grabbed a loofah. I lathered it with body wash and scrubbed all over. I closed my eyes and scrubbed hard, hoping the filth I felt would go away. I didn't feel any cleaner. I just pain burning pain. I opened my eyes and was horrified to see blood swirling down the drain. I looked at the loofah and saw little bits of skin clinging to the fibers, the whole thing streaked with blood. I gasped and stumbled out of the showed, falling to the floor with a painful thump. I stared transfixed at the fallen loofah and the swirling blood. What had I done to myself? Now I'm convinced I'm insane, no buts about it. What kind of person would do this to themselves? A crazy person, that's who. Me. I felt tears prick my eyes...I hate this. I grabbed a robe that was hanging at and dabbed my face with it. I turned to the mirror and looked at myself. My cheeks were red and puffy, my eyes tired. I could see raw wounds on my arms and felt them on my back. I could feel the warm, sticky blood sliding down and I could smell the scent of bitter copper. I pulled the robe on and walked stiffly out of the room, freezing when I sensed someone in with me. I flicked on the light and Angel sat in the corner, his legs crossed, and his eyes dark.

"How did you get in here?" I asked him tiredly, standing awkwardly straight.

"I have a master key to all of the rooms," He answered me, looking at me.

A strange look came over his face, "You're bleeding," He said, concern etching his face.

"How do you know?" I ask.

"I can see it," He simply stated.

I looked down and saw blood running down my leg.

"I...uh, must have cut myself when I ran into the shower door." I lied, wishing he would leave.

"Can I... Let me see." He said getting up and walking to me.

He pulled down the back of my robe and let out a small gasp. He fingered the broken skin lightly and I winced.

"You didn't cut it...your skin looks...scrapped off." He whispered.

I shrugged out of his feather-light grasp and pulled my robe back up, walking toward my French door. I looked out into the star-filled sky.

"What happened?" He asked me, coming up behind me.

"I felt...dirty. That place, the vampire whore-house..." I whisper as I shuddered.

Angel placed his hands lightly on my shoulder and breathed my scent in.

"Why did you go there?" He asked me.

I shrugged, "Not like I planned on it. I had to meet with someone. They took me around this godforsaken town showed me how evil things could be," I answered softly.



Angel chuckled softly, "Damn him. Don't know why I didn't see it."

"You know him?" I asked.

"A long time ago. He showed me my purpose."

"He seems to specialize in that," I murmured.

Angel moved away from me and went to putter around in my bathroom. I shivered and he came back.

"Lay on the bed and pull down your robe." He commanded softly.

I did it without question, if he tried anything funny I'd kill him. He straddled me, keeping his weight on his knees and off of me. He opened something and I could smell the scent of aloe and something medicinal. He placed his cool hands on my back and rubbed some lotion of that stung at first but quickly felt soothing.

"I'm sorry," He whispered, "For yelling at you."

"I'm sorry for acting like a brat," I muttered.

He chuckled and slowly got off of me, "It should heal pretty fast," He said.

I got up, clutching my robe. I nodded slowly, feeling awkward. He went towards the door and I watched him leave. He opened the door and was about to leave when he turned toward me and said softly, "Don't leave. Just stay here." And I could hear his unspoken, 'With me.' But, I was sure it was my imagination. I focused back on him and started to nod, but he was gone and my door was closed. I guess we were ok now. But, tomorrow, in the day, we'd probably fight and scream at each other and say things we would later regret but I was sure at night we would come to a truce and he would be kind and tender, in the night. But, whatever happens in the night...stays in the night. That much I know.


Part 8

Location- Unknown

Date: November 21st, 2006

--Transmission Status: Signal Connected--

Name-:Q. Travers

ID Number-:19-12-1-25-5-18:

-Have you found the girl?



ID Number-:6-9-14-14:

-Negative. We have word she is somewhere in the Los Angeles area.


Name-: Q. Travers

ID Number-:19-12-1-25-5-18:

-Find her, General. She is important to my plans and yours. You know the consequences if you don't.



ID Number-:6-9-14-14:

-Affirmative. We will capture her and you will give me what I want.


Name-: Q. Travers

ID Number-:19-12-1-25-5-18:

-Only if you bring her.

-Transmission Status: Signal Cut-


Location- Angel Investigations

Date: November 22nd, 2006

I awoke screaming, my head pounding and my sheets drenched in cold sweat. I can remember snippets of what went on while I was asleep. I had been falling. Falling, falling endlessly. Bright white filling my vision, invisible claws ripping me apart. I waited to slam into the unforgiving ground, but I never did. I just kept falling and it drove me crazy. In my dream, I could see my blood streaming out of me and everywhere. Above me, below me, on me. I just screamed at the pain and gruesome horror of it all. But, when I woke up, my screams were drowned out by the wails of a child in the downstairs lobby.

What a moment, a child? What in the devil was a child doing here? I got up and threw on a sweatshirt, pounding down the stairs. The screaming got louder and I watched from the landing as a little brown haired boy ran around, screaming his little head off.

"What the hell?" I muttered as I walked down, staring wearily at the boy.

Children scare me.

"Anne, glad to see you up on this fine morning," Anya boomed, making everyone look up at me.

I nodded slowly, still glancing at the sticky little boy.

"Why is there a little boy, running around the room, screaming?" I asked calmly, gripping the railing.

"Oh, he's Angel's kid. Connor. Real hyperactive little squirt," Xander answered, smirking at my uneasiness, "Welcome to our world."

I walked down the rest of the stairs and avoided the grape smelling boy. He had jelly all over him. Ewww..... I sighed softly as I made my way to the kitchen where Angel sat talking to a blonde. They didn't seem to notice me and I couldn't help but listen to them talk.

"Dammit Angel! Connor needs to live with both his mother and father!" The women yelled.

She looked strikingly familiar, but I couldn't place her.

"Darla..." He sighed, "We tried it before. It didn't work. It won't work."

"Darling, we can try harder. We were together for years. We can do it again," She purred, rubbing her hand on his arm, "For Connor."

I was sickened. For reasons I don't care to find out, but I was. I turned to leave and got away from the door before I froze. I was going to have one of the flashes again. Cold shivers flew up my spine. My vision grew dark and I saw a hazy figure which appeared to be a girl dressed in a school uniform. She had a hideous blonde mop of a head and there was something wrong with her face. Vampire...

*"Let's start with the kneecaps, no fun dancing without those."*

I could hear the ringing sound of gunshots. I had never heard gunshots before. A shot of terror pumped through me and all I could see was a blinking strobe light, someone shouting something.

And then I was back into reality. Everyone looking at me strangely and I chuckled slightly, slumping into the red couch. I waited until the aftereffect of the flash had worn off. They were getting stronger and stronger. I was able to make out pictures and feel emotions.

What was happening to me?


I had gone back up to my room and taken a shower, carefully avoiding the loofah sponge. I stepped put and toweled my hair dry, shrugging on a shirt and sliding on my jeans. I wandered into my kitchen and grabbed an apple I had taken from the main kitchen. I let out a small shriek when I saw a tiny bundle curled up in my blankets in my bed. I stalked toward it and uncovered the tiny bundle. There lay the tiny little boy that had been shouting all over the lobby this morning. I thought how cute he looked. He was still sticky and had gotten grape jelly all over my bed. I smiled softly looked out the window into the busy city. I sighed softly, not knowing what to do.

A little voice tugged me out of my thought, "Mama?"

I looked over at the little boy, smiling and crouching down next to him, "No, buddy. My name's Anne," I whispered.

He held out his small arms and said, "Up?"

I had no choice but to lift him up. He buried his head in my damp hair and I think he fell back asleep.

Now, what to do with him. What if I dropped him? What if I tripped? What if a demon came crashing into my room and I had to put him down and he got abducted, Angel would kill me! I sighed at my paranoia and walked out of my room, heading for the lobby. No doubt that Angel would be looking for his son. I walked down the stairs, my heart falling for the tiny bundle in my arms. He yawned and shifted slightly. And, I could literally feel my heart turn to mush. I shifted him in my arms and crossed the lobby, into the kitchen where I had seen Angel last. I heard him in the living room calling,

"Connor? Hide and seeks over, Daddy's getting worried..." He trailed off bending over to look under the couch.

"Ahem," I said softly, trying not to stare at his butt, "Looking for this?" I asked when he faced me, motioning to the sleeping bundle in my arms.

Angel smiled softly, as if seeing something incredible, "Where was he?" He asked quietly.

"My room. Found him all curled up in my bed. Thought you'd be the worried," I said, handing him his child.

He shook his head, "The master of hide and seek once again."

I smiled and turned to leave.

"Anne?" Angel asked softly, almost pleadingly.

I looked over at him, careful to keep emotions off of my face. If what I thought was happening was, I was falling for him. I couldn't allow that. Not now. Not for him.


"Could" He asked, fidgeting.

He seemed nervous. Why? What in the world was wrong with him?

"Sure," I said following him deeper into the living room. He lay Connor on the couch, pulling a blanket over him.

"So, uh, what's the what?" I asked him, sitting Indian style on the couch facing Angel.

"I want to get to know you," He said.

I smiled and shook my head, and he smiled too, saying, "As corny as it sounds..."

"Well, what do you want to know?" I asked him, clasping my hands together.

"Your past..." He said, leaning back on the other couch.

I scoffed softly, "Or lack thereof!", I shook my head and went on, "Your request is vague. What do you want to know about my past? I mean, I don't know my mother or father, or that I even have them. I don't have memories beyond the age of ten. The only person I feel close to is Wes, he's been there. He knows me."

"I want to know you," Angel whispered and I knew he was serious.

"How can you when I don't even know myself?" I muttered softly.

I leaned back and fixated my eyes on the slumbering Connor, "Your child is a little darling."

He nodded, his finger brushing against Connor's soft hair, "Sometimes I can't believe he's real," He murmured.

"Why?" I asked him.

He look like a deer caught in headlights, his next words were picked carefully, he said, "I was told that I couldn't have children. And, here he is."

"Who is the mother?" I asked, even though I knew, "It's not Cordelia or Faith's... is he" I asked, not helping the grimace on my face at the thought of Faith and Angel. I don't know where it came from.

Angel let out a bark of laughter, "Cordelia?" He laughed harder, "You think Cordelia and I...? No, no, no, no. Cordelia is like my sister. And Faith... Let's not even go there. She and Spike are in love." He said, his twinkling brown eyes staring at me.

"Then who is the mystery woman?" I asked.

Angel sighed, deep and heavy, "Her name is Darla. She..." He sighed again, "We have a past. An ugly one. We've known each other for a long time. About three...four years ago, we had a one night stand. I was in a bad place for awhile and she was there. She disappeared for a few months and came back eight months later pregnant. It resulted in Connor. We tried to live together for the first years, but we just kept fighting. And, no one around here likes her so... She moved across town, took Connor and we have joint custody," Angel finished and I couldn't help but notice how relieved he looked to have let it out. I felt bad for him. To have a child with that...witch. Of course, I couldn't say anything because he'd learn I had been spying on him. He'd probably be mad and fighting would ensue.

"Well," I said, looking up at him, "Since you shared that with me, I'll share something with you. Ask away," I ordered ith a wave of my hand.

He seemed to be thinking for a moment, "Why were you with Quentin and the other Watchers?" He asked.

"I don't know." I simply said, "I woke up one day and there I was. Everyone was there, just staring at me. Like, I was the greatest accomplishment ever. Quentin is a monster. He treated me like a lab rat. All the six years I was there, he did nothing but experiments on me. Endurance, survival, health. You name it, he probably tried it. There were only two people there for me. Wes and Ginny. Wes was always the protective one. Always looking out for me, making sure Quentin never went too far. And Ginny... Ginny was like a sister. Or the closest thing to a Mom as I was ever going to get. They were my family. See, I wasn't allowed out of the compound, not even out of my room half the time. The staff got to leave on weekends and Ginny would always leave and bring me something from town. She made everything bearable. She was my anchor," I said, looking down at my pale hands. I felt hot tears burn my eyes and I swiped at them angrily, no doubt smearing my makeup.

"What happened to her?" Angel asked softly.

I shrugged, "She left after two years. I suppose she tried to get me out and Quentin 'disposed' of her."

Angel sighed, angrily, "What did they do to you?" He asked his eyes searching.

"You don't want to know. Ask Wes. He knows everything," I said getting up and leaving the tension filled room.

I couldn't talk anymore. The wall I had built around myself was about to come crashing down and then I would be vunerable. I couldn't have that.

That couldn't happen.


I took a nap because after me 'heart-to-heart' with Angel, I felt exhausted. I wandered downstairs around six and saw that they had all ordered pizza.

"Annie, rise and shine, chick," Xander boomed when I grabbed a piece and a can of Coke. He had been getting more and more open as the days went on.

"We looked in on ya and you were sleeping like a baby," Faith cooed, pinching my cheeks.

"Stop!" I whined, pulling away from her, trying to eat my food. I picked off the onions and took a bite, feeling the hot cheese burn my tongue.

"I have a question?" I said.

"Shoot," Faith said through a mouthful of food.

"Can I go to school?" I asked.

Faith and Xander shared a look and started to laugh, "You actually want to go to school?"

"I'm glad you find that amusing," I said dryly, and then nodded, "Yes. I am sick of being cooped up in here all day, everyday. You people are insane and are driving me mad," I said sweetly.

Faith threw her napkin at me, smirking.

"Anne, I think that's a wonderful idea," A new voice cooed.

It was Willow. Darn, she's back.

"I'm glad you think so," I said coolly.

"Whoa, is it me, or did it just get really cold in here?" Xander muttered.

Willow smiled coolly and went back to typing on the computer. I rolled my eyes and looked at Wesley who was talking to the other man, I learned his name was Rupert Giles, and I asked, "Wes, what do you think?"

"I think that's a good idea, Anne," He said, smiling, and then going back to talking with Rupert.

"What's a good idea?" Angel asked, coming into the room, holding Connor.

"Anne going to school," Xander said, sharing another look with Faith.

Angel's eyes twinkled, "School? Are you sure?" His voice was dripping with amusement.

"What is so difficult to comprehend about me going to school? You think I can't do it?" I demanded, my hands on my hips.

"It's not that... It's, you actually want to go to school. With books, teachers, and the whole learning thing?" Xander asked, smiling.

I sighed exasperatedly, "It's better than being stuck here with all of you lunatics!"

Faith and Xander laughed, and I was getting miffed. Why did they keep laughing at me? Was it amusing to them? Well, I would show them! I would go to school, like it, and pass all my classes.

An hour and a big discussion about who's last name I would take later, I was enrolled into Hemery High School. By tomorrow morning, Angel's friend, Doyle whom I had yet to meet, would contact Whistler and I would get a background. My new full name was Anne Elisabeth Reynolds. Faith had let me 'borrow' her last name. Because I was sixteen, I would start as a sophomore. I couldn't wait. Angel would drop me off in the morning and Spike and Faith would pick me up. Tomorrow, I would start a new part of my life as Anne Reynolds.


-Transmission Status: Signal Connected-


ID Number-:6-9-14-14:

-I have word that she will be starting school at the high school.


Name-:Q. Travers

ID Number-:19-12-1-25-5-18:

-Good work, General. I want you to get a job where you will be close to her. Gain her trust, do what you have to, to bring me the girl. Don't reveal yourself to whomever she is with.



ID Number-:6-9-14-14:

-Of course. I will contact you with a report soon.


Name-:Q. Travers

ID Number-:19-12-1-25-5-18:

-No. If you ever contact me again, I will kill you. You aren't irreplaceable. Remember that, General.

--Transmission Status: Signal Cut--


Part 9

I was restless all night. I had persuaded Faith to take me slaying to let out some of the nervous tension I was feeling. It worked for awhile, but Angel called Faith's cell phone around one and demanded that she bring me home. She did and then yelled at him for berating her about 'putting me in danger'.

"Damn it, Angel, she can take care of herself!"

"I don't want her getting hurt! She cannot patrol without me, goddamnit!" Angel argued, his voice sharp and forbidding.

"Don't you dare talk to me like that, Angel!" Faith screamed, her face getting red and her eyes turning dark, "Don't talk of getting hurt and being 'safe', because we both know there's no such thing. Sheltering her will only make everything worse, in the long run."

I watched from the landing as they fought, circling each other, but never laying a hand on one another. Their stances were threatening and cautious to make anyone want to go near them. But, I could see that they would never hurt each other, for some odd reason.

"Don't worry 'bout them." A smooth voice purred behind me.

I tuned to se Spike watching them as well, "They always fight like this at least once a month. It's like an unwritten rule."

I sighed softly, because it was *me* they were fighting about.

"Don't worry. If they ain't fighting about you, they'll fight about something else. The chairs, me, magic, even bloody breakfast for Gods sakes. They're like brother and sister." He shrugged.

We just stood there for a moment and then I looked at him, he looked back. Should I...?

"Spit it out, blondie."

"What?" I asked.

"You wanna ask me something, ask away." He said, taking a drag of his cigarette.

"Ok. This Buffy girl, the one that no one will talk about…you know her, right?" I asked him, leaning against the railing.

He looked at me, his brows raised, "Yeah, I 'knew' her. Why?"

"Willow said something about bringing her back, what did she mean?" I asked.

Spike sighed and itched his head slowly, "Willow's a witch. Buffy and Willow were friends, best of, I believe. When Buffy died, Willow went off the deep end. She was obsessed with bringing her back, so she delved deeper and deeper into the black magic's. It got out of hand and all of us just ignored her. Thought if the bloody lot of us didn't notice it, it'd go away. She took advantage of that and she rose the dead. She brought Buffy back, but it wasn't Buffy. Fooled us for awhile, though. Acted like her, looked like her, hell, she was even bitchy like her. But, we all soon found out that she was nothing but a soulless shell of whatever she used to be. We had to kill" He sighed, closing his eyes, "I'll never forget it, I was the one who found her. She was in the cemetery, *eating* someone. She was a goddamned zombie! Willow brought her back as a fucking zombie! Blood on her lips, flesh in her teeth. Her eyes were black, malicious." He shook his head hard, "Willow went over the edge that day. If she could do that to her bloody 'best-friend', no telling what she'll do to someone she hates…" Spike murmured.

"Why Spike…" A smooth, cold voice purred, "It isn't nice to air out other people's dirty laundry…" The voice scolded.

We turned and saw none other than Willow standing behind us, her eyes angry and her lips stretching into a sneer.

"And, it ain't nice to eavesdrop either… Guess we ain't nice people, now are we?" Spike smirked, his ice blue eyes glittering dangerously towards the red head.

"Oh, but you shouldn't tell little 'Anne' such bad things like that. Might corrupt her pretty little mind…" Willow hummed, reaching out to push my hair out of my face. Her nails scraped my cheek with a stinging pressure.

I jerked back and slapped her hands away, "Don't touch me." I snapped, glaring at her.

She scoffed, her eyes darkening and then said in a sickeningly sugar sweet voice, "Have a 'wonderful' day at school tomorrow…" Then turned on her heel and left.

I sighed softly and noticed that the yelling from downstairs and I leaned over the railing and wondered aloud, "Did they kill each other or what?"

"It's a possibility…" Spike mused, heading down to the lobby.

I yawned followed Spike. I thought that if I had gotten a drink of warm milk or something, that'd help me fall to sleep. Spike veered off in search of Faith. I jumped slightly when I saw Angel sitting at the table nursing a cup of coffee. He jaw was tight and his eyes slightly glazed.

"Don't mind me…" I said softly, inching towards the fridge, "Can't sleep…" I murmured nervously, glancing behind me, "Just trying to get some warm milk…" I finished opening the fridge door and getting what I needed.

The silence was deafening. I could hear my own breathing and the rattling of the glasses and it was driving me insane. I sighed harshly, then blushed when it seemed to echo in the high ceilings. I heated my milk and leaned against the counter. Angel was looking at me with dark eyes.

"What?" I asked him.

He shrugged and shook his head, "Nothing.", his voice slightly curt and abrupt.

He was angry with me, again. I scoffed and rolled my eyes, pouring my milk into a glass and heading out. He wants to be an ass, fine with me.

"Good night, Angel." I said over my shoulder.

He gave a slight nod and I shook my head, walking to my room. The milk did the trick, it knocked me out cold. Which may or may not have been a good thing...


*The darkened sky was lit with horrifying screams and zapping bolts of lightening that killed and destroyed. Howls and shrieks of demons filled my ears and made my stomach twist in fear. The high winds blew my hair around and made it whip my face painfully. I could see the dead town from where I was standing, but, where was I? I looked around and saw a young girl strapped to the bars of the platform I was on and I could see she was bleeding. She moaned and said something to me, but I heard nothing except the screams and howling of the winds in my rushing ears. I felt myself step toward her and let her loose from the ropes that held her. A blazing light lay, blazing with buzzing energy, beneath us. I stared at it, transfixed. How could something so deadly look so inviting and alluring? I tore my gaze away from the portal and to the girl. She looked at me with pleading eyes, begging me to do…something. God, I don't know what she wants me to do! She started to run away from me and to the end of the platform.

She was going to jump.

I grabbed her and yelled, "Dawn, what are you doing?!"

I didn't know her name was Dawn. I don't know her. Why am I saving her?

"I have to jump, you know I have too." She sobbed.

I could here her voice this time, faintly in the din of screaming and screeching.

"You know I have too. It wants the blood, it has to have the blood." She moaned.

I flashed to what looked like Spike saying, "It's always about the blood."

And then me, "It's Summers blood, it's just like mine."

And Dawn, her arms cut and bleeding crimson red, "Is this real?"

I saw Angel, through a hazing glaze, his face deformed and his face covered in blood, my blood.

Some kind of realization came over me and I looked at the young girl in front of me.

I know I said something, but I don't know what I said. All I drew up was a blank, but, what I said made the girl cry harder, her eyes tearing and droplets streaking down her cheeks. She tried to stop me, but I pushed her slightly and started to run. Everything went in slow motion as I got closer and closer to the edge of the platform. My spread my arms out and gracefully leapt off of the edge, feeling the air and energy whoosh around me. The shining portal looks inviting as I fall closer to it. I can feel the energy calling out to me, tempting me with its beautiful glow. I am in it, can feel it. It courses through me and I scream.



I think I'm dying.*


I'm cold and something is gripping me with bruising hands. I scream and thrash about, panicking. Cold air whips around me and I open my eyes to see the ground far beneath me. I scream again and hit the hand that's holding me. I start to fall and the hand catches me, with a grunt. It pulls me up and I land hard.

"Bloody fucking hell, what were you doing up there?" A voice demands and I raise my eyes to see Spike looming over me, his ice blue eyes glittering in the pale light.

"Wha...What?" I gasp through my hard breathing and look at my surroundings. I'm on my balcony. I have no clue how I got here. I look into my rooms and see my French doors open wide and the sheer curtains billowing in the harsh breeze.

"I don't know..." I murmur, feeling so disoriented, "What are you doing out here?" I demand.

"I was out taking a smoke and I saw you from my room, standing on the ledge like a bloody idiot, about to jump off. You were murmuring something? Were you dreaming?" He asked.

"I don't remember..." I said slowly, trying to think of my horrifying dream.

I couldn't recall it. But, I don know that I did something, important.

Inside of my room, my alarm clock blared and I raced inside to turn it on. Spike flipped on the overhead lights and studied me.

"You're gonna catch your death, you know? Better put on something warm before you freeze your bloody ass off." He murmured, shaking his head, and walking out.

I look in the mirror and saw that I was deathly pale and my fingertips and lips were tinted blue. I shivered and dressed in kakis, a maroon shirt, and my pullover jacket. I was still cold though. I pulled up my unruly hair and put on some makeup to hide the fact I was very pale. I shoved my hands in my pockets and went downstairs. The kitchen light was on and I saw Angel feeding Connor a bottle. I walked in, went to the refrigerator, and grabbed a bottle of water and a made myself some toast. Connor cooed when he saw me and I smiled over at him.

"Hey baby." I smiled and kissed his cheek.

Connor cringed and wiped his cheek, murmuring, "Cold."

I smiled sheepishly and burrowed deeper into my coat, turning and grabbing a cup of coffee. It was horrible, but warm. Angel grabbed my hand lightly and turned me to him. He felt my fingers and brushed his other hand along my cheek.

"You're freezing." He murmured.

I found myself staring into his hypnotic eyes, "I left the terrace doors open last night, didn't know it'd get so cold…" I whispered.

He left his fingers lightly tracing my cheek and I breathed softly. There was a moment going on here. I didn't know what would happen. Would he kiss me? Did I want him to kiss me? What would I do if he did? Oh my God, I think I forgot how to breathe… He seemed to be leaning down and I stood, nonmoving, waiting for whatever was about to happen.

Connor started to shriek in his chair and bang his bottle on the table. I jumped and stumbled back slightly. Angel turned to his son and I let out a whoosh of air. I felt light headed, which might be from the lack of air, and I could feel my heart thudding in my chest. I turned to the counter and grabbed my water, shoving it in my bag and going into the lobby, fleeing the tension filled room.

Angel had been about to kiss me.

And, I had wanted him too.

A lot.


The ride to the school was awkward and silent. I looked out the window and avoiding any contact with Angel. Something between us made the air hum with an electrical charge. As soon as the car was stopped, I jumped out and glanced over my should at him,

"Don't let Faith and Spike forget to pick me up." I reminded him, slightly in awe at the play of the early morning sun shining on his pale face.

*"I'm not the one who gets to see you in the sun…"*

I shook my head slightly and shrugged deeper into my coat, walking briskly into the building, the clacking over my boots echoing behind me. I found the main office and got my schedule. I glanced at it and walked into my first class, which was English Lit. Not many people were in the class so it wasn't awkward. There was a small group of three girls in the back and the middle smiled at me, in a friendly way.

"You're the new girl?" She asked.

I nodded, setting down my things and leaning on my desk, "Yeah. My name's Anne." I said, giving them a small smile.

"I'm Jessa." She said, smiling brightly, showing a row of perfect white teeth. She had raven black hair and diamond blue eyes, which sparkled as she smiled. Her face was lightly tanned and she wore glittery makeup, accenting her high cheek bones, full lips, and elliptical eyes.

"Nice to meet you." I said politely, smiling back.

"You got a British accent?" The girl behind her asked.

She had a pale face, with full red lips standing out slightly. Her eyes were small and a pale hazel color. Her hair was a light brown with red streaks running through it. Her eyes were lined with black and her fingers sparkling with rings.

"Yes. I grew up in London." I said slowly, choosing how much to reveal.

"That is so cool. I wish I had an accent, what I would give…" She murmured.

I chuckled a bit and looked to the other girl who regarded me with a with a shielded expression. Her hair was a shocking white blonde color, her eyes dark brown, what a deep contrast which highlighted her small face. She had a small nose, aslant eyes, and smooth lips.

"I'm Aurelia." She said in a smooth voice, her eyes gleaming with suspicion and curiosity, "So, why'd you leave London for LA?" She asked me, judging my reaction and response.

How was I to answer this?

I sighed slightly, smiling tightly, "Family problems." I answered softly.

"Huh." She said softly, seeming to mentally note everything I did and said. "Who was the hottie you drove up with?" Jessa asked, her eyes glittering mischievously.

"Angel. Family friend." I answered shortly, wondering why they wanted to know about him.

"Where do you live?" The girl with the red streaks asked.

I stared at her, trying to remember her name.

She giggled softly and shook her head, "Sorry. Name's Lorraine. People call me Rain."

"You know the old Hyperion Hotel?" I asked them and I watched as their eyes clouded over, "I live there."

They were speechless for a moment and then they all started talking and vaguely reminded me of tittering birds fighting over a tiny bread crumb.

"You live there?!"

"Are you serious? I heard it was haunted…"

"What about the vampires?"

The last question startled the rest of them to silence. It was Aurelia who had spoken, her russet eyes studying me carefully. I let a slow almost silly smile cross my face.

What could they possibly know about this?

"Vampires?" I asked, making my voice skeptical and disbelieving, "You're joking, right?"

"You don't know?" Jessa asked, her face twisting into a mixture of emotions.

"I don't know if we should tell her…" Rain asked, twisting a strand of fire engine red nervously in her fingers.

"A lot of people around here like to live in their own little fantasy world, where nothing can touch them. All the unpleasantness doesn't reach them. Like when someone dies mysteriously, drained of blood, pinprick holes in their neck or wrist. But some people *do* see, we know. It's vampires, they're here. They stay underground and wait until sundown before they come up, killing and maiming." Aurelia said quietly, her eyes glittering.

I forced a laugh and smile, "Vampires don't exist."

Aurelia looked at me, her eyes boring into mine, her bottom lip quivering ever so slightly, "You want a piece of advice, don't go out after dark. Crazy things happen in that old hotel, I'd be careful if I were you." She warned, her voice full of pain and knowing.

I just looked at her, wondering what had happened to make her so wise and scared at the same time. What had happened to scar her eyes? To make them marred and stained?

The thought haunted me all thought class and after, where she carefully avoided me and rushed to the door.

Jessa and Rain just stared at me from a distance, wondering what I was thinking and what I knew.

I felt for them, but I couldn't help wonder what they would think themselves if they heard my story?


I went through the motions of school on automatic the rest of the day, until the last hour. Which was Art, actually painting. I glanced skeptically around the room. I had never painted in my life, except with Quentin made me finger paint my thoughts. Weird, I know. I sipped my Pepsi and gazed in awe at some of the beautiful paintings on the walls.

"Are you Anne?" A voice asked me.

I turned around and saw a friendly looking man standing behind me. He had blue eyes and dark blonde hair that just brushed his ear tips. He smiled at me and I saw he was gazing at me, as if in a trace.

"Yes, are you the teacher?" I asked him.

"Hm? Oh, yes. I'm Mr. Finnegan, Rye Finnegan." He said a bit nervously.

Maybe he was shy…? But, then I wondered why he had introduced himself with his first name…none of the other teachers had done that.

"It's nice to meet you." I said, the looked around, "Do we have assigned seats or what?"

"Sit wherever you like." He offered, smiling slightly.

When the rest of the class had filed in, he explained that the project we were to be working on was painting something within our mind. I cringed at that. But, it wasn't hard or confusing. All I had to do was close my mind and let thought come to me. I saw the shadow of a mother that I had never known, the ghost of a love that I could almost touch, but was always too far away, and a past that was such a fog of confussion and pain. Before I knew it, I had a canvas placed before me, a paint brushe dipped in black paint clutched in my hand. Within the hour, I came out of a trance when someone placed a soft hand on my now bare shoulder, I had shed my coat sometime while I had been drawing.

I saw Mr. Finnegan standing beside me, gazing at me work so far. I was shocked to see what I had done. In the top right corner, I saw an outline of a women, just there enough to make out the barest features of her. It suggested a full figure, bouncy hair, and two children clinging to her hands. In the middle, there was some kind of…portal, a man in the middle, his features agonized and tormented. I could see something protruding from his abdomen, and a demonic face behind him. There was something hauntingly familiar about him, and the situation. I could feel vauge terror throbbing in my chest.

"What is this?" Mr. Finnegan asked, his blue eyes clouded by something wheil his gaze ticked from me to the drawing.

"I-I don't know…" I murmured, studying it.

In the bottom corner, I could see the beginning of some kind of structure, high in the clouds and seeming to loom out of the canvas.I knew what that was, I knew that platform. It was what I had dreamed about last night. For a moment, I was taken back there where I could feel the chilling wind and hear the high screams of demons and humans alike.

What in the world was going on in my head?

Oh God, what's happening to me?

"I don't know!" I snapped, my voice edging on hysterical, at Mr. Finnegan who still stood there.

I grabbed my things and rushed out of the room, pushing the doors open and practically running to the parking lot where Faith and Spike sat on the hood, bickering about something.

I didn't say much as we pulled out, just stared outside where seagulls flew overhead, searching for food and crumbs.

*"Mommy, they're hungry… Can I give them more?"

"Sweetie, eat your sandwich, the birdies will find more food.

In my mind I could see a man with sandy blonde hair walking in front of me, he turned and smiled at me.

"I'll race you." He teased and started to run. I went after him, as fast as my little legs would go.

"Hank, stop it! She'll fall!" The women yelled behind us.

I tried to go faster, to catch up with him, but I couldn't. I felt something scrape my legs and all I saw was the hard ground rushing up to meet me.


I could feel hysteria growing inside me as I snapped back to reality and sunk into my seat with despair as I thought I was truly going insane…


Transmission Status: Signal Connected-

Name-:Q. Travers

ID Number-:19-12-1-25-5-18

-Have you any word?


ID Number-:6-9-14-14:

-I have made contact. She is as you described, very cautious and suspicious.

Name-:Q. Travers

ID Number-:19-12-1-25-5-18

-Weave yourself into her trust circle, eliminate her allies and make her turn to you, General.

-Transmission Status: Signal Cut-


(Ohhh, we're in double digits, now. I just wanna say that, in this part, Anne/Buffy may seem a little suicidal, she's not, really. She's just had a really bad day, lol. Thanks to-Christine, Rain, SCWLC, Laura, Hannabee, and Shahid. I've now posted every part on,so if you've missed any part, head on over there! lol, Enjoy!)

Part 10

I kept busy when I got home. I didn't want to think of the painting, the memories, or anything. I just wanted to lose myself in something so it would keep my mind off of everything. I walked like a zombie into the hotel and was oblivious to everyone and everything. Except Angel, who I saw gaze at me from his office. Didn't he ever go to sleep? I noticed Connor was gone and assumed his mother came and picked him up. Stupid witch… The phone was ringing annoyingly and I noticed Cordelia was not there to answer it, which I thought was strange because she seemed to take so much pride in answering the phone. She would practically bite anyone who tried to answer it before her, which was kind of funny. But now, it was still ringing and no one was going to answer it and it was giving me a headache.

"Hello?" I snapped into the phone.

I heard a sharp intake a breath, but no one said anything. That bothered me, making me angrier.

"Is anyone there?" I asked, sighing silently, this day was beginning to seem hellish.

"I-I…" The voice stuttered, then they cleared their throat, "I think I called the wrong number, I needed Angel Investigations…but I don't think this is it." They babbled, it was a girl.

"No, you've got the right number, is there anyone you need to speak to?" I asked, leaning on the desk.

"I need to speak to Angel, tell him that its Dawn…can I ask who this is?" They, Dawn, asked.



I knew that name…

"This is Anne. Hold on a minute…" I murmured, then looked at Angel, and yelled, "Angel!"

He looked up sharply and seemed to relax when he saw me on the phone. He gave me a questioning look.

"You have a phone call!"

I felt foolish screaming all the way across the room but I didn't know how to transfer calls.

He nodded and picked up his own phone. His expression became weary and he glanced at me. He then turned away from me, talking intensely.

I shook my head, not knowing or caring what the hell was going on. I need a nice long nap. I walked tiredly up the flights of stairs for which seemed like forever. I wonder if they have an elevator. I entered my apartment and just stood there staring at the closed French doors. In my minds eyes, I could see the ground below me, he portal gleaming invitingly, the girl bleeding before me.

"Stop it!" I screamed, willing and pleading the images to stop.

The edges of sanity seemed to blur in my mind and in a hysterical rage, I threw my backpack at the wall and heard the crash it made. Everything on that wall fell and smashed to pieces. Pictures, vases, and shelves hit the ground and I covered my ears. I opened my eyes and saw the hole in the wall. The glass on the ground sparkled in the afternoon light. I closed and locked my door, hoping no one had heard that. I needed Wes. I needed him to tell me that I wasn't insane, but he had been busy ever since we had come here. I sighed shakily and started to pick up the glass, not caring that some of it cut and lodged it into the flesh of my palms. Nor did I care about the blood that was dripping everywhere, making crimson splotches everywhere it fell.

The thought of just ending it all forced itself into my mind, but I quickly pushed it away. I had tried that before, but it didn't work. I remember the blood on the pallid tile floors, the way it had brought gruesome color into my bleak world.


That would be weak, and I hadn't survived years of a white walled hell just to kill myself when I was out and free. That would be stupid and I was neither stupid nor weak. I threw out the glass and walked out onto the balcony. I saw a cherry red convertible pull up and a blond lady with a small child walk out and into the hotel. Curiosity got the better of me and I went downstairs, forgetting about my bloody, glass splintered hands. I saw the women walk in, clutching the boys hands. The boy was Connor and the woman was none other than Darla. A flash of something that I didn't want to recognize went through me; jealousy.

"Angelus!" She yelled, her voice booming and echoing off the high walls and ceilings.

Angel rushed out, confused, "What are you doing here? Is Connor alright?" He asked, checking his little boy.

I couldn't help but find it adorable.

"Daddy!" Connor exclaimed when Angel lifted him up.

"What are you doing here, Darla?" Angel asked, his voice low.

I watched from the landing as she smiles saucily at him, "My dear boy, can't I spend some time with the father of my baby boy?" She purred.

Angel pushed her away gently and sighed, "Darla, what is it?"

She pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes, "Last night I was putting Connor to bed and he started to cry and scream about some women named 'Anna'. Is there a new women in your life, Angel? I donut want my son exposed to that."

Angel just glared at her, "Are you implying that you will take my son away from me?" He growled.

She laughed, "Not at all, darling. I don't want my son to see a woman with his Father except him Mother. I don't think it's too much to ask."

Her lips were stretched back into a self-satisfied smirk, knowing that if Angel did not do what she wanted, she would take away his son. I saw right through her and I fumed. What kind of Mother would to that?

"So, you're saying that if Angel doesn't take your skank ass back, you'll take away his little boy? What kind of Mother are you?" I demanded coming down the stairs.

Both parents turned to see me. Angel looked panicked for a moment, Darla looked like she was seeing a ghost, then started to laugh.

"Oh… Oh my God, this is great…" She laughed and sauntered over to me.

"Angel what is this?" She demanded. "You brought back your little cheerleader? Little Buffy the Slayer? How's it feel to be back among the living?" She sneered.

"Darla!" Angel warned.

"I don't know what the hell your talking about." I smirked and stuck out my hand, "Name's Anne. It's not so nice to meet you."

She laughed her throaty little laugh again, and looked at Angel, "What the hell is going on?"

Connor noticed me and wriggled out of his Father's hold, "An-na!" He ran up to me and wrapped his hands around my legs, almost making us toppled us over.

If looks were knives, I would be dead and bloody on the floor, from the glares I was getting from Darla's ice blue eyes.

"Connor, come here." She snapped and fumed when Connor buried his face deeper in my kakis and shook his head.

"Damn it Angel!" She yelled, "I will not let you let this cheerleader take my place! I am Connor's Mother!"

"I never said you weren't and I'm not trying to take your place." I said calmly, "I'm just wondering what kind of Mother would threaten to take their son away from their Father unless he let you back into his bed."

Her mouth dropped open at the realization that I had basically called her a slut, she rushed to me and slammed her fist into my face.

"You stupid bitch!" She hissed as I fell backwards, unprepared for her to hit me. Connor fell with me and I gently pushed him away and out of his Mother's target of wrath.

I got back up and my hair fell into my face, "You wanna hit me again? Come on," I paused, "Bitch."

She let out a cry of fury and advanced on me again. I held up my fist prepared to strike her first when Angel came into the middle and I struck him in the side, right on his ribs. He sucked in a sharp breath and glared at both of us.

"Stop it right now." He barked, "You," He said, facing Darla, "She was holding Connor. What if you had hit him? Huh?" He demanded.

She seemed to shrink back and glared daggers at me. "She… Didn't you hear her, the little bitch!" Darla hissed.

"Stop!" He roared, then turned to me, "I'll deal with you later." He hissed and led Darla and Connor into his office. I could see them yelling and Connor playing on Angel's desk.

I rubbed my sore jaw and clenched my fists, feeling the splintered glass of it deeper. I let out of a small hiss and threw a punch at the wall behind me.

"Agh!" I screamed, punching it again and again watching the dry wall and wallpaper crumble off. When I had made a fairly decent hold and my knuckles were bloodied and raw, I ran upstairs, not going up to my room. I walked the long hallways and into some dusty unused ones. I found door at the end of one and entered it. There was a small stairway leading up. I followed it, not caring where I went. I had to open another door and found myself on a small Widows Walk. I walked out to the end and shivered at the cool wind that attacked me. I could see miles into the city; all the lights and roads. I wrapped my arms around myself and leaned over the edge, my heart starting to race at the prospect of falling.

*The wind whipped around me painfully, I could feel the pulsing on the portal. It called to me, beckoned me.

'Everyone you love dies…do you want to be responsible again?'

I could feel the burn of tears, see the image of the curly haired women dead on the couch, see the image of a dark haired girl falling off a rooftop and into a truck bed, blood pooling on her belly.

It called to me.

'It's your turn now…'


I could feel myself leaning over the edge of the railing, farther and farther. Though, it was some sort of hallucination, I could still feel the power of the portal.

"No… Go away…" I whispered as I stood upright again, closing my eyes, "Go away."

"Is that really what you want?"

I turned around and saw Angel closing the door, staring at me.

"Depends." I shrugged, "You going to lecture me?"

He leaned against the door and crossed his arms, "No, I'm not."

"And the surprises keep on coming." I murmured dryly, carefully leaning against the railing, "What do you want, Angel?"

"You shouldn't have jumped in the middle of Darla and I." Angel said, his eyes dark.

"Wasn't planning on it." I shrugged, "But, she threatened to take your son away, what kind of person is she?" I asked, scoffing.

"I wonder that sometimes too. Darla and I have a very long and tainted past. We were together at one time and she wants it like that again, using Connor as an excuse." He said, his voice pained and soft.

"If she's threatening to take away your son, how do you know she won't?" I asked him, hating the other blonde more and more.

Angel sighed, "It's an old argument between us. We weren't together, as a couple, when Connor was made. We didn't expect him at all, but we both love him very much. Darla is a good mother to him, despite how she acts to others. She won't take him away from me, because she knows if she does, I will hunt her down and I will kill her." Angel warned, his voice all serious, not joking at all.

I kind of laughed, "You've had experience with this before?" I asked him.


"Killing people?"

He doesn't answer and I want to take it as a no. He's not a killer. I sigh and rub my hands together, I wince. They're still cut and stiff with dry blood.

"You're hurt." Angel says, coming forward, into the sunset light and takes my hands, gently probing them. I suck in a breath when he starts to rubs his thumbs in soothing circular motions.

"You said you weren't with Darla when you had Darla, why would you sleep with her if you weren't together?" I asked softly.

He gazed at me and I thought he wasn't going to answer me, but he did. "I was in a bad state. She was there."

"Were you grieving?" I asked, my voice above a whisper.

He shook his head, "Not then…"

He started to lean down and I held my breath, anticipating what was going to happen. I could feel his breath on my lips and smell his aftershave. My heart raced and my eyes were wide. It seemed to go in slow motion. His hand slipped around me to pull me closer and then under my tank top. His lips about to touch mine when…


We both jumped apart when the door flew open and Faith stood there, her lips stretching into a cocky grin.

"Interrupting anything?" She smirked.

"Faith." His voice was rough and his eyes dark, "What do you want?"

"Dawn's here." She said, looking back and forth between us.

I stood frozen. He was about to kiss me, again. Oh my God, would we ever finish it?

Angel glanced back at my quickly and then went downstairs.

"Did you an Angel kiss?" Faith asked.

I glared at her, "We were about too… You couldn't have waited five more minutes?" I asked, still feeling his cool hand pressed on my bare back.

She laughed as we descended down the stairs.


Faith and I made a stop at my room before we went downstairs. I washed my hands and put on a sweatshirt. I came out of the bedroom and saw her staring at the assassination I had done to the wall.

"What the fuck happened here?" Faith asked.

"Had a bad day."

I answered, shrugging on my sweat shirt walking over to her. Faith grabbed me by the chin and held the side of my face to the light.

"Who the hell decked you?" She demanded, a protective, big-sister like tone coming into her voice.

"Darla." I answered, my voice dripping with disdain.

"That bitch was here? I would have killed her." Faith said, letting me go and walking out the door.

"I was going too, but I accidentally punched Angel instead." I said a bit guiltily.

We were silent until we came to the landing where we hear yelling.

"Dawn, calm down!"

"Calm down? You tell me that my sister is alive and you want me to calm down, goddamn Angel!" A girl screamed.

From where I was, I could see that she had short golden brown hair and was pretty tall. Faith led me down there and we watched the girl.

"Why didn't anyone tell me?" The girl, Dawn, asked.

Angel sighed "It's not how you think. She's not the same person she's sixt-"

Faith cleared her throat loudly, causing everyone to turn at us.

The girl turned slowly and looked at me, "Oh my God… Buffy?"

I took a step back, shaking my head. That was the second time someone had called me by that name. Why were they calling me that a dead girl's name? Why?

The girl turned to Willow and screamed, "What did you do this time?!" Willow seemed to care for this girl, "Dawn… I didn't… Not this time."


"Lit'le bit, stop it." Spike said, coming forward and taking the girl into his arms.

I looked at Faith to see her reaction at Spike embracing this girl. She looked sad, but not angry.

"Why?" The girl, Dawn, cried, "Why isn't it her?"

She was taking about me, what did she mean? I didn't want to find out so I ran upstairs and slammed my door. I didn't want to know, I didn't want to know anything. I jumped in the shower and tuned on the water so every trace of the crying girl was drowned out by the water.


Hours later, I had fallen asleep, hair wet and the sheets twisted around my legs. Even in my sleep, I felt the bed dip under foreign weight and something stroked my face. I awoke slowly, my eyes bleary and my mind disoriented. I looked up slowly to see Angel sitting by me, his hand on my face. I glanced over to the clock and saw it was a little past two in the morning.

"Angel? What's wrong?" I asked, sitting up.

Angel shook his head, "Nothing."

"Why are you here?" I asked him, pushing my hair out of my face.

"I just…needed to see you." He whispered.

I smiled a little, "Why?"

"You haunt me." He answered tenderly.

That kind of shocked me, but I still smiled.

"How do I haunt you?" I asked him.

"I can't stop thinking about you."

I was going to answer when he pulled me forward and kissed me. It wasn't slow, for fear of someone interrupting us again. His hands wrapped around me and mine around his neck. His lips were cool against mine, his tongue probing my mouth. His hands tangled in my hair, his lips never stopping to give me air. I didn't care. I felt like I was floating. Angel's mouth moved fervently and passionately.

"Angel…" I moan softly and he stopped, cold.

"Anne." He said, almost as if realizing it was me.

"Who did you think it was?" I asked, breathing heavily.

"What are you doing?" He asked, his eyes wide.

I just gaped at him, "What am I doing…? Angel…you kissed me."

He moved quickly away from me, practically running away, "I can't… Anne…this shouldn't have happened."

"Why?" I demanded, awake and angry now, "Angel, it almost happened twice."

"And, it can't happen again. I'm older than you. You're too young and you don't know me." He was grasping at straws, avoiding my eyes.

*Tell me you don't love me!*

*I want my life to be with you!*

*I don't.*

*I love you, I try not too, but I can't stop*

*Dream on, schoolgirl.*

*I am not jealous!*

*This isn't some fairytale!*

*When you kiss me, I want to die.*

These images, feelings, and words slammed into my mind with such an overwhelming force that I stumbled where I stood. Everything I saw swarmed into colors and blurred images. More and More came, and I couldn't stop them.

*I love you.*


*I thought you'd be taller.*

*I won't let you die!*

*I swear I was going to pay for that lipstick…*

*You have no idea what it's like to have done the things I've done. And to care.*

I sacrificed Angel to save the world. They kept coming, swelling into my brain and forcing their way to my mind.

"Stop!" I screamed, clutching my head.

Fragments of memories that were not mine ripped into my head, making me scream as if I was being ripped in two. I didn't know I was falling. I didn't know that I had climbed onto my bed in my hysteria and was now falling to the hardwood floor. I didn't know anything.

Except pain.

Pain and false memories. Help me...


Part 11

Even in sleep, I was weary and restless. Unfamiliar images ran through my head over and over until I wanted to scream. In a nightmare, something was chasing me through a dark cave. The creature was a hideous thing; half of its face human and the other half pure demon. Wires stuck out of its body, a long stake ejecting from its wrist. My fear made me ignorant of my surroundings, of the rocks jutting out of the ground, and the small cliffs which dropped off a few feet. My foot caught against something and I went down, smacking my head on a protruding rock in my path. I could feel the warm slide of the blood down the side of my head, I really could. Which was what shocked me into consciousness and I jerked away at the hand dabbing something on my face. For one insane moment, I really thought I was in the cave with the monster, blood dripping off my face. I opened my eyes and inhaled sharply which made me start to cough. I recognized my surroundings, I was in the hotel. Though, the bed was unfamiliar as was the person seated next to me. The man had glass blue eyed and a friendly face. His hair was mouse brown, cheeks pale.

"Who're you?" I slurred in a slightly raspy, drugged voice.

He laughed heartily and I pouted at him, wondering what in the world was so funny.

"Sorry lass." He smiled, "But yer just such a sight."

"I'm glad I amuse you." I snapped, clearing my voice and rubbing my forehead.

I winced when my hand came into contact with gauze. I tapped lightly around my forehead. Right above my right eyebrow, the gauze covered the painful wound. I wondered what I did…I don't remember falling or anything. I sighed and slumped into the soft pillows. I blinked to clear my wandering mind and looked at the grinning man in front of me.

"Who *are* you?" I finally asked, my voice slightly confused.

He gave a little smirk and said, "Name's Doyle. Pleased t'finally meet ya." He introduced himself in a thick Irish accented, leaning back in his chair.

I eyed him carefully, "You? You're the guy Whistler said was going to help me?" I asked him skeptically, a small smirk gracing my face at the fact of this particularly strange man helping me. Weren't there any relatively normal people in the town?

"Yep. That'd be me." Was all he said.

"It's about time." A voice grumbled from the door.

I looked up to see Cordelia waltzing into the room. She brought in a bowl of soup and a glass of juice to me.

"We thought that you had slipped into a coma or something." She mumbled and kissed Doyle on the lips. She smiled at him and walked out.

"Wes wants to talk to you when you two are done." Cordelia said to me over her shoulder.

"Ah, my princess." Doyle smiled, obviously very in love with Cordelia.

I couldn't help but smile, they seemed to be right for each other, from what I just witnessed.

"So." I said, not sure what to say.

"How's yer head?" He asked me.

"Just peachy with all of the throbbing and pounding." I said nonchalantly.

"Here." He said and thrust some aspirin in my hands.

I swallowed and looked at him, "Why do I need your help?"

"Help isn't what ya need, darlin'. It's guidance. Besides, it's m'job." He said, and when I said nothing, went on, "Yer special, ya matter to this sorry world, and ye've gotta helluva destiny passed upon ya. Someone's gotta make sure you stay on the right path."

"You don't trust me?" I mock pouted.

"Ain't a matter of trust, darlin. It's the many shades of gray ya could find yerself trapped in." His voice was slightly cryptic and foreboding.

I found myself wondering just why I was so important and what he exactly knew about me.

I didn't know what to say to him and he got up and smiled knowingly.

"Just remember, the path to destiny is one with many forks in the road. Ya just gotta know which way to turn." And with that, he was gone and I was left laying there wondering what he really meant.

I slouched into the pillows and shut my eyes for a moment, trying to remember exactly what had happened. Renewed pain along with me remembering Angel's kiss made me open my eyes. I had freaked out on him and somehow gone unconscious. I sighed, thinking once again about insanity. Was I truly insane? A chill went through me at the thought of it. I sat up and pulled up my knees, balancing the bowl of soup in the middle. I ate it all, the comforting warmth making me feel better. I was almost done with my juice when Wes strolled in, smiling warmly at me.

"How are you, darling?" He asked me in that quiet way of his.

"I'll live." Was all I said.

He seemed a bit disturbed at me, but didn't voice any of it.

"I'm afraid I have some news." He said, his voice low and grave.

I immediately thought the worst, "What happened?"

"I have reason to believe that Quentin has appointed people here in Los Angeles to entwine themselves into your life and take you back to into Quentin's hold." Wes said, dropping the bombshell.

The breath seemed to get caught in my throat and the only thing I could do was gap at him.

"No." I said shaking my head.

Quentin was in London where we had left him. He was going to leave me alone, let me live a normal life, and stay out of my life! He had too.

"Anne, I'm sorry, but he is. And, now that I have confirmation, you're going to have to be extremely careful. You're going to have to be cautious of anyone who you may meet." Wes tried to say in a soothing voice.

"What about everyone in this hotel? Huh? Any one of these people could be out to give me. We should leave." I tried.

He gave me a sad smile and shook his head, "Every person in this hotel is guaranteed to keep your safe, you know that." He chided.

"But…it isn't safe for me anymore. Here in LA? With people after me? If Quentin takes me back…" I broke off, looking down, terrible memories of what I had been put through swirling around in my mind.

"I know, I know you're scared. But, Quentin will not lay I hand on you, I swear to that." Wes sighed heavily for a moment, "And, knowing that, I have decided to leave and hand over your guardianship over to Angel."

I gaped at him again, "What?" I demanded, "Why? Why are you leaving?"

"I have too, Anne. I'm going to search for Quentin…and for Ginny." He replied, swallowing hard.

"Oh." I softly uttered, "Will you come back?" I asked in a low voice.

"Of course I will." He promised, "But, I'd like you to meet your new trainer, Watcher if you will." He said, standing up and striding to the door, bringing someone in.

It was that man I had seen around. Rupert Giles. He smiled at me and Wes went on.

"Rupert will train you, sharpen your abilities. Faith will train and patrol with you, as will Spike and Angel." He instructed.

I nodded slowly, my eyes drooping slightly. I felt exhausted.

They quickly left, Wes giving me a farewell kiss on the cheek. He turned to leave when I pulled him back and hugged him tightly. I pushed him away then, and turned my face to the closed window, not able to bear seeing him leave me.

"Goodbye." I heard him softly say from the door.

I didn't turn around.

I wasn't strong enough to watch my knight in shining armor leave me.

I squeezed my eyes shut and fell back asleep. When I awoke again, Wes was gone.


I was up and around the next day, but Angel wouldn't let me go to school. I was a bit pissed because of that. I was in a horrible mood and very bad tempered. And, my big mouth started another of our fights.

"Why do you get to boss me around? Huh? You're not my Father, and you're sure as hell not my guardian!" I screamed at him.

He sighed, his eyes angry slits, "Here's a thought, don't talk back, for once! You had a concussion, you're not going to school. I really don't want you in the hospital for fainting in the hall, excuse me if I'm worried about your well being!" He scoffed.

"Yeah, I had a concussion. And, who's fault was that?" I hissed, clenching my fists.

I don't know what was wrong with me. My hands felt itchy and were twitching for a fight. I hadn't been patrolling with Faith in days. My senses burned with the need to go slay something and it was driving me insane!

"It wasn't my fault." He muttered, looking guilty as hell.

The lobby was empty, everyone gone. Or they were avoiding us.

"Who came into MY room, Angel? Who kissed ME? You, that's who. If you wouldn't have just stayed away, I would have been fine!" I sneered, pushing the memory of his hands in my hair.

"It will never happen again." He snapped.

"Good!" I yelled, "Not that I'd ever want to relive that again!" I scoffed lying through my teeth.

What was *wrong* with me?!

Something charged through both of us. His eyes changed, grew darker and passionate. I stared at him my hands twitching and chills going through me.

I blinked and he had me backed against the wall and him, trapped. One hand trailed through me hair and the other gripped my waist. My breath caught as he looked down at me.

He was tall, I thought dimly, would he kiss me?

"Really?" He smirked in a sultry voice, "Because you sure do look like you want to relive it.

Damn him!

He was just toying with me. With that angry thought, I pushed him away hard and watched him stumble away. His hand flew at me and I blocked it easily. It went on like this for awhile. Left swing, right hook, block, block, kick up, fall to the ground. He had grabbed my leg as I kicked as twisted it, almost painfully. I had cried out and turned my body to avoid a him breaking it. But, I was prepared to crash to the ground. I did, painfully. But, I was on my feet in an instant.

"C'mon, schoolgirl." He mocked and a sudden flash hit me.

*"Dream on, schoolgirl. You're boyfriend's dead."*

I gasped and his fist connected with my right cheek. I was shaken. In that flash, I had felt raw emotion. Pain, anger, and the sinking feeling of hopelessness. Angel was coming at me again, I realized hazily and stepped out of the way. I mechanically blocked every move he made. Raw anger built up out of nowhere and I swung around, kicking him square in the chest. My eyes blazed as I stepped over him. I grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and threw him against the way, using all my strength just to keep him upwards. Realizing what was happening, I stepped away, suddenly out of breath. I lifted shaky hands to my face and sat on a step.

"What happened? Anne, where did you go?" Angel asked, concern evident.

I laughed unsteadily and tried to brush it off, "Sorry. I just got caught up, you know?"

"Anne." He said sharply and I had to meet his gaze, "What's wrong?"

A chill went through me and I stood up, "I can't… Nothing. I'm fine." I said, walking over to the closet and pulled my pullover coat on me.

"I just… I have to go. I'll be back later." I said, waving him off and grabbing my keys and wallet from the desk and bolting.

Angel didn't follow me.

I was both relieved and disappointed.

The weather was overcast and the temperature had dropped to the low forties, at least. I shoved m hands in my pockets and walked away from the looming hotel. Looking at my watch, I saw it was around noon. I walking more into the city and came across a small Chinese restaurant. The smell enticing me, I decided to stroll in.

"Welcome to Boon Ki, may I take your order?" an Asian girl who looked about my age and bored as me.

"Yeah. I'll have two egg rolls and the almond chicken lunch." I said, fishing out some money.

"Anything to drink?" the girl asked.

"Um, a Diet Pepsi, please."

"$9.63, please."

I gave her a ten and waited at a corner booth for my food. The lights were dim and the chair was comfy. I sipped my drink and heard someone slip into the chair next to me.

"Anne, hey." A familiar voice greeted me.

I looked up and saw it was my art teacher, Mr. Finnegan, sitting there.

"Hey…Mr. Finnegan." I said slowly.

"Please, call me Rye." He laughed, "We're not in school, no need to be formal."

"Oh. Ok, then…Rye." I muttered.

"So, what are you doing here?" He asked me.

I leaned against my backrest, "I could ask you the same thing."

He chuckled, "Don't ask, don't tell."

"You learn quickly." I smirked and smiled as they brought over my food.

I took a huge bite of the egg roll, smiling dreamily at the taste.

"You come here often?" Rye asked, leaning forward.

I just looked at him strangely for a moment as a feeling of familiarity goes through me. He seems to look nervous at my close scrutiny. His light brown bangs fall across his forehead, flashing across his blue eyes. What he said kind of hit me slowly, he was hitting on me.

"How old are you?" I blurted out, my cheeks flaming with crimsoned blush.

He smirked at me and answered, "29, why? Too old?"

I eyed his slowly. He was…cute, in a way. A familiar cute. Not tall, dark, and breathtakingly handsome like Angel, but town-boyish cute.

"Well, considering you're over a decade older than me…" I let the sentence trail off.

This was becoming too personal, too fast. I boxed my food and looked at my watch, it was after one.

"I should go…" I motioned to the door.

Rye sat back, his gaze almost panicked, "No, don't. I'd like to get to know you."

I sat back slowly, and thought, what could it hurt?

"What do you want to know?" I asked him.

"Who do you live with…your parents? Any siblings?" He shot at me.

I tried to think of an answer that would freak him out, like it did Jesse, Rain, and Aurelia. I mentally laughed at the thought of saying Faith was my sister, or Spike being my brother.

"I live with some friends, legally. I'm not like a run-away or something." I babbled, oh god, I wish I could just shut up. I took a deep breath, "I used to live in London, but after my parents died, my guardian, Wes, took me here to live some of his old friends. It's where I am now." I lied.

"Oh." Was all he said.

"Look, I've really got to go…" I said, standing up after an uncomfortable silence.

He nodded and stood up. He embraced me slowly, I stood frozen like a deer caught in headlights.

"This was fun." He murmured into my ear, "We should do this again sometime…"

All I could do in my shock was nod dumbly. He pulled away and kissed my cheek, his lips grazing the corner of my mouth as he pulled away.

"Bye Anne."

I just waved slowly as he walked out, giving me a smile over his shoulder. My cheeks burned with blood, my hands getting all twitchy again. I exhaled harshly and grabbed the remnants of my food, leaving the little eatery.

What had just happened?


Part 12

I took the long way home. Funny, how I was now calling it home. Not really 'ha-ha' funny, but more like ironic funny. How I had always longed for a family to call my own, for siblings to tease, and parents to idol. I still didn't have that, but I guess I had the next best thing. People who…cared for me. Angel did, I know that. Even if he didn't want to admit or acknowledge that, he did. Maybe even more than cared. Wes did, that I knew for a fact. He would have never helped me leave the compound unless he loved me, in his own way. Faith was like my sister, Spike my brother. The others… I didn't know them.

I didn't want too.

I was afraid.

Afraid of what I would find out from them. They all knew something about me, something unreadable in their silent gazes and glances. Especially Willow's. She thought that I didn't see her hateful, odious stares. That I didn't see the way dangerous fire entered her eyes, the way they would slowly turn black, probing me. She didn't like me, to put it lightly. She probably wanted me dead, for reasons unknown to me. I would have to tread carefully around her, as if I wasn't doing that already…

The hotel loomed into view, looking strangely frightening in the late afternoon lights. I saw a curtain flutter from one of the penthouse windows. Briefly, I saw Angel's hauntingly sad face peer into mine, then vanish. He had been waiting for me. Something unrecognizable fluttered in my chest.


He cared for me, alright.


I had gone up to my apartment and stayed there all afternoon. I felt like being alone for awhile. I had changed into my pajama's around five and sat cross-legged on the terrace, sitting on the stone ledge that overlooked the gardens. The breeze was cool, the sun bright. On my lap, sat the heavy file on Buffy Summers. Something about her intrigued me. Like, I could almost relate to her.


There was a file of it's own about her and some vampire called Angelus. There were no pictures, but I felt curious enough to want to read it. There were a few torn diary pages stuck in there. I glanced them over.


*April 14th, 1996

I can't believe it. He's a vampire. A vampire. No matter how many times I say it to myself, it still doesn't sound true. He's helped me, saved my life a couple times. I trusted him! God, I trusted him with my life. The warm fuzzy feelings weren't that of a stupid crush, it was stupid senses telling me that he was a stupid vampire! He's a vampire. But, why did he save me? Why didn't he kill me?

Why did he kiss me?

I looked him up, Angelus-the Scourge of Europe. The one with the Angelic face. You got that right. He was-is-one of the nastiest vamps in history. Rape, torture, maiming, mind games. He did all of that for a long time. But, what's even weirder, he was quiet for almost a hundred years. Not a peep out of him. It's almost like he's…one of the good guys.

God! GET A GRIP! He's a vampire, for God's sakes! Something you're sworn to kill, to stop their swarm of evil yadda, yadda. You have to kill him. I have to kill him. But, I don't know if I can. I think--I might--love him. Oh my God, I just might be in love with a vampire. Can I kill him? Can I even love him? Guess we're about to find out…

Wish me luck.



I sat back, reeling slightly. She was a Slayer in love with a vampire. That had to be one of the most forbidding acts against what she was sworn to do. Wow. Talk about drama. I felt bad for her. It was kind of Romeo and Juliet meets Dracula. I sighed and glanced across the hotel grounds. I could smell lilacs wafting in the breeze. I closed my eyes and inhaled. The smell was intoxicating, calming. Wes had taught me a form of meditation in the compound. You just clear your mind and the world seems to melt away. All you problems are gone, all the worries vanish. I balanced on the ledge, my back straight, and my breathing steady.

*"Live for me…"*

I could hear the hauntingly clear voice ring inside my mind. The echo bounced back and forth in a dark void. The recognition of the emptiness scared me. I was missing something, I was half a person… The realization of that made me jump. Forgetting I was on the ledge, I moved too quickly to balance myself and tipped right over. I caught myself with one hand and just dangled there. I had a firm grip, and knew I wasn't going to fall. I looked down into the bed of roses below. I could imagine letting go, and falling four stories, crashing into the bed of hidden thorns. I could feel the impact breaking bones, hear sickening snaps, and feel the muscle and skin tear. I could imagine the lovely roses beneath me crushing, the masked thorns shredding my fragile skin, crimson blood seeping through, disguising itself with the scarlet red of the roses. I doubted it would kill me, but maybe…

The images shook me, making me feel disturbed and uneasy. I hoisted myself up and found myself face to face with the outlandish Whistler.

"I was gonna hurry to help you up, but I saw you had it all under control." He drawled slowly.

"You thought I wouldn't?" I smirked.

"I think that you need to snap out of it, kid. Life, especially yours, is too short to think of death." He said, his eyes dark with warning.

"Death is a part of my life." I argued.

"The Powers are staring to think you're a little bit suicidal. That's not a good sign." He retorted.

"Then what do 'they' propose I do?" I mocked him.

"They'd say open you're eyes. But, I'd say go out. Be a kid, that's the mistake that she made." He said quietly.

"Who?" I asked, though I knew the answer.


"Buffy lived a life outside of slaying." I said, knowing from what I had read.

"That's what she wanted everyone to think. Fooled them good too. No, every thought of hers had an undertone of death and demise. Everything reminded her of what she lost, who she lost. She never had peace, and that's what you have a choice to have. A life, outside of this freak show. Live it up, while you still can." He urged, then tipped his hat in goodbye, and disappeared in the confines of my room.

I thought about what he said. I really did. As the sun went down, Faith came and found me.

"Oh, please tell me you aren't brooding." She moaned as she flopped on my bed.

"I'm not."

"You are. And, I think it's time to change that. C'mon doll face." She drawled, grabbing my hand and pulling my to her room. She threw open her closet and started to throw out some random clothes. I took in the leather pants and the tight shirts.

"Faith…what are you doing?" I asked her, watching as she frenzied about.

"We're going clubbin'." She said nonchalantly.

"Are we?" I mused, smirking.

She threw me a look, "Smartass…" She muttered.

She moved from drawer to drawer, throwing things on the bed and then stood in front of me, smiling a smile that was just full of ulterior motives.

"Now, first, we'll have to do something with your hair." She ordered, sitting behind me and pulling my long tresses out of the ponytail holder. She pulled me into her bathroom and sprayed some gel into it, dampened it, and started massaging it. I watched in the mirror as it curled and coiled, framing my face and spiraling down my back. She added coal black eyeliner, shading my eyelids with a smoky gray color. She threw me a pair of leather pants and a lace trimmed corset top. It was a deep scarlet color, the soft lace black. It had zig zagged ties in the front, making it all the more daring. I slid on the pants and shrugged into the shirt, having to adjust my breasts to make them fit properly into the tight shirt.

"God, it's like fifty sizes too small." I complained to Faith, who was tying her own shirt up.

She smirked my way and answered, "It's supposed to be like that."

"What about shoes?" I asked her.

"Here." She said, tossing me a pair of stiletto boots.

And the look was completed.


Getting out of the hotel was a bit tricky. Faith had made me wear a leather jacket, zipped up to hide the scanty shirt. We tipped toed down the stairs quietly, acting like children, giggling at a glance at one another. Xander gave a wolf whistle when we entered the lobby, which made Anya slap his arm.

"Where's Angel?" Faith asked in a hushed whisper and before anyone could answer a voice said…

"Right behind you."

The both of us whipped around say that Angel was, indeed, right behind us.

"Uh. Hey." Was all I could muster, blushing as his dark eyes raked my apparel.

Faith just stood there, her lips pursed in a smirk, "Hey Angelcakes. Anne and I are going out. I'll have her home at a decent time. Later!" She said quickly and grabbed my arm, dragging me away.


Upon entering the club, I was hit with a wave of emotions, smells, and sensations. I could feel the heat, smell the sweat, and feel the beat of the loud music. Faith dragged me all over the place, the bar, the dance floor, and to our tables.

"Don't leave your drink sitting there!" She yelled over the pulsing music, "Keep it with you!"

I know Faith ordered some alcohol, from the way she was acting, but not enough to make her drunk as a lug. Even so, she kept a watchful eye over me, glaring all the sicko's away from me as I danced. It was a wonderful was of easing off the tension and anxiety away. It was almost as good as slaying.


I met a cute guy named Jimmy Anderson. It turned out he went to Hemry too, even in some of my classes. He was really nice and I could feel myself warm up to him, his clear blue eyes twinkling shyly at me.

"Who's that? Jimmy asked me as we sat down at our table.

He was nodding at Faith.

"My sister." I lied.

"She seems pretty wild." He mused loudly over the music.

Faith was dancing-more like mating-with some guys. She had her eyes closed and I knew she didn't even notice them. She was in her own little world where nothing could touch her, faze her. Not even drunk, sex charged guys.

"She can be." I laughed.

I noticed my drink was empty and went to get some more, telling Jimmy that I'd be right back. As I neared the bar, the music grew quieter. I heard a familiar voice.

"You know you can't resist me, I'm a part of you, deary."

It was a low, hauntingly female voice. It was slightly accented. I looked up slowly and saw it, oh my God. Spike was sitting at a nearby table, a pale brunette on his lap.

"Oh God." I whispered as the brunette nuzzled him.

He kissed her, his eyes half lidded.

Oh Good God, Spike was cheating on Faith. I was frozen. Shocked. I thought he loved her, because God knows she did. Faith's eyes would get dreamy every time she mentioned him. She was truly in love with this jerk!

I turned right around, fuming mad. How could he?! I looked up to see Faith was not dancing any more. She was frozen on the dance floor, her eyes breaking as she stared at Spike and the brunette.

"Dru…" I could hear Spike murmur to the whore on his lap.

"Faith…" I whispered, watching as her face hardened, her lips curling back so tightly that I thought her face would crack and shatter.

"YOU BASTARD!" She screamed, her voice full of volume, I winced.

I looked back to see Spike snap his gaze in Faith's direction. Everything stopped at that moment. Music was cut, people stared, and Faith charged toward Spike.

"Faith, no…" I tried, but she couldn't see, hear, or notice anything except Spike's betrayal.

"So, this has been where you've been going, HUH?! To fuck your sire whore?" She shrieked, hey eyes turning a murky brown color.

"No, baby, you don't understand…" He stuttered, his voice husky.

"What's there to understand? I. Caught. You." She stated, her voice deadly composed.

It reminded me of the eye of the most deadliest storm. It would be calm before it all went to hell.

The brunette looked Faith up and down distastefully, "The Slayer?" She spat and wiped her tongue as if ridding a repugnant taste.

Faith's eyes lit with fire as she lunged to the brunette, swatting her away and grabbing Spike by the collar. She swung him into the nearest wall and I know I heard something crack. I made no move to stop her. Mercy and love be damned, he deserved it. Besides, there was no way I wanted to be in the middle of Faith's rage.

"I trusted you!" She hissed, slamming him again for emphasis, "You gave me your word, you fucking word! But, I guess the undead and promises don't mix well together." She laughed hollowly.


Spike was a…

Faith threw him to the ground and a chair smashed. His face morphed into a hideous visage of a demon and Faith grabbed a jagged of shaft broken wood.


"Faith, wait!" He yelled, jumping to his feet and warding her off, his yellow eyes flashing, "Don't do this, please." He pleaded, "Don't destroy us."

The wood fell from her hands, fingers twitching uncontrollably. The wood hitting the floor seemed to echo in the deadly silent room. Then, Faith's bark of a broken laugh filled the room, her eyed dying right there. All the fire leaving them hollow and bottomless.

"Too late for that, baby, cause you already did." She rasped, turning as if to leave only to slam her fist into his face. His nose cracked and he cried out, "Bloody goddamn hell!"

Faith took one of the metal tables and whipped it around, watching in silent misery as it slammed into him, knocking him to the ground.

"I hate you!" She spat angrily and ran out of the room, her boots clacking. I looked at Spike, my glare hard. He stared back, his features slipping into their human facade. I just shook my head silently.

"You're an asshole." I whispered vehemently.

"She doesn't understand.." He moaned.

"What? That you were cheating on her? Not much to understand there." I snapped.

"No, I-"

"Save it already!" I shouted at him, "I swear to God, that if I catch you upsetting her anymore, making her life miserable, I will stake you like the undead scum you are!" I hissed, continuing, "You're beneath her."

And I turned on my heel and walked to where Faith had just run out.


I found Faith sitting on the curb, staring at nothing. Her face was passive, absolutely no emotion showing. She was broken. Crushed. I sat next to her and took her hand. She didn't respond. She was in her own world, wallowing in her own misery. She had a right to it.

We sat there for close to an hour, before I realized that either I do something or we'd be here all night. I took Faith's purse and took out her cell phone. I scanned through her numbers before I came across Angel's number. I pressed Send, and hoped he'd answer.

"Yeah?" He answered in a slightly clipped voice.

"Hello to you too…" I grumbled.

"Bu-" He cut himself off and paused a moment, "Anne?"

"The one and only." I replied dryly.

"Where are you?" He asked me.

"Um…" I looked up, "The corner of 6th and Dixie Ave." I answered.

"What are you doing there?" He asked me.

"Um. Sitting." I paused, "Faith's in bad shape." I sighed looking over to the motionless raven haired girl, my sister in every way that truly mattered, "Can you pick us up?"

"I'll be there soon."

Then he hung up.


I looked at Faith. I don't think she moved. She just breathed slowly, as if in a trance. She was trying to stop herself from hurting, I realized. Damn Spike!

He was a jerk too.


Part 13

I hadn't noticed that the clouds had gathered over the sky and blotted out the moon. I didn't notice the temperature drop degrees cooler. I didn't notice the smell of rain in the air. But, I did notice when lightening flashed and the thunder rumbled loudly, making me jump and yelp in surprise. Fat, cold drops of rain plopped to the ground, just sprinkling. Then, as if the flood gates of the clouds had been opened, sheets of icy rain plummeted to the earth. In seconds, I was drenched.

"Damn, damn, damn!" I swore angrily, holding my hands uselessly above my head.

I heard a car horn honk once and looked up to see Angel's black car pull up.

"It's about time!" I screamed at him as he jumped out and came to us.

"What's wrong with Faith?" He asked sharply, ignoring me.

I shook my head, water spraying from my hair, "Not now, just take us home."

He nodded, then seeing Faith wasn't about to go anywhere. He scooped her up in his arms and laid her on the backseat. I climbed in, hating the way the wet leather pants were gluing to my legs. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Angel glancing me up and down.

"Nice outfit." He said, his voice so nonchalant that I didn't know if he meant it or not.

"Yeah, if you like the skin tight, wet leather, drowned out mouse look." I muttered.

He then looked at me, his eyes dancing, and said "Any kind of leather is fine with me."

I rolled my eyes, "Perv."

I glanced at myself in the rearview mirror and hated what I saw. My mascara was smeared in thick lines down my cheeks, my skin cold and pale. My hair was heavy and wet around my face and down my back.

"Ugh." I scoffed at myself.

"You look beautiful." Angel said, so quietly I thought I imagined it at first.

I looked at him, but he kept his eyes on the road. I felt a small smile pull at the corner of my lips, the thinking of Faith, it turned into an angry grimace.

I turned and looked back at her. Her eyes were closed, she was sleeping. But, it wasn't a restful sleep. Her hands twitched and her eyes moved frantically under closed lids.

"What happened, Anne?" Angel asked as we pulled up to the hotel.

I didn't answer. I just got out and open Faith's door.

"Faith." I said softly and nudged her gently.

"Wha-?" She asked sharply as her eyes flew open.

"We're home." I said.

She laughed hollowly, "Yeah. Right. Home."

I walked with her to my room and put her to bed, knowing she wouldn't want to be in the room she and Spike shared. I gave her a sleeping pill and a glass of water. She peeled off her clothes and I threw her one of her tank tops. She put it on and crawled under the covers. The sleeping pill was starting to work, her eyes growing heavy and blurred. She mumbled a good night and then closed her eyes.

"Sweet dreams." I murmured, knowing it was useless, and kissed her forehead.

It was like the roles were reversed. I was the older one and she was the distraught teen. She was broken, and God help me, I wasn't going to let her shatter. Not because of a cheating, British vampire.

I pushed back my stiff, heavy hair and walked downstairs. Angel sat in the kitchen with a cup of coffee waiting for me. I sat in the chair and leaned back, sighing.

"Tell me." Angel said softly and I looked up at him, my eyes tired.

"Spike cheated on Faith. We saw him, God knows how long he's been playing her." I muttered angrily.

"Wait a minute…" Angel said, leaning forward.

"When I say cheated, I mean cheated. He had this brunette bitch on his lap, practically mating on the spot! The bastard…in a public place, for Gods sake! When Faith saw, he tried this lame assed excuse…" I paused, "She's heart broken."

Angel was silent.

"You know Spike's a vampire." He said.

"Yes, I do."

"What do you think of that?" He asked, almost tentatively.

"I want to shove a piece of jagged wood into his un-beating heart, kill him like the scum of the earth he is." I said slowly and deadly.

"He has a soul."

"I don't care. A soul doesn't necessarily mean you're a good guy. If he loved Faith, half as much as she loves him, he would have never cheated on her." I replied.

Angel was silent.

A thought came to me.

"If Spike is a vampire, how is he able to go into the sun?" I asked him.

Angel paused, thinking of what to say, "There is something called the Gem of Amara. It makes the vampire who wears it invincible. They can go out into the sunlight, and they can be staked. Spike has pieces of that embedded in to a strip of metal in his wrist."

"Jesus Christ…" I muttered, sipping my coffee.

"Someone named 'Jimmy' called here, asking for you." Angel said, changing the subject with envious eyes, "Are you seeing someone?"

"Are you jealous?" I shot back, smirking.

Angel leaned back in his chair, looking quite sullen. I decided to take that as a yes, and sat back, satisfied.

"No. He's not my boyfriend. He's a guy at school who was at the club with us." I looked at Angel, "He's just a guy, you know?"

"How is school?" Angel asked me.

I shrugged, "It's…school. You go there, do meaningless work while every one gossips about one another, and then come home. In other words, it's alright."

"Do you like any of your classes?" Angel asked, seeming to be genuinely interested.

"I like the art class I'm in." I said, then thought of the haunting painting I did, a shiver went through me. "I do painting. The teacher seems to think I'm really good at it." I shrugged.

Angel's eyes seemed to twinkle, "Do you draw?"

I shrugged "I guess I could."

There was a small silence. I sipped my coffee and looked around. I half wanted Spike to come waltzing in here so I could stake his sorry ass.

"So, when's Connor coming back?"

"Darla has him for the week. That's the custody deal. I get him one week, she gets him the next." He answered.

"So you two get along pretty good." I stated.

He chuckled, "Most of the time. Darla can be a handful, depending on her mood. She wanted us to be more than we can be. She's a great mother to Connor, don't get me wrong, she'll do anything for him. But, I can't say that she's great in the relationship area. We have a past. A long and confusing one. We've both been through a lot. Seen a lot. But, we're both different. I love her…but not in the way she wants. She's the Mother of my child, an old companion. Nothing more. Nothing less."

"Have you ever loved her the way she wanted?" I asked quietly.

He was silent and I thought he wasn't go answer the question, when he said, "A very long time ago, I might have loved her. In a sick and twisted way… But, never again."

"Have you…" I coughed, "Have you ever loved someone in the real way?" I asked him tentatively.

His eyes became hard and angry, his emotions closed off. He stood up abruptly and said in a low voice, "Go to bed, Anne."

He left and I just sat there, one question going through my mind.

What had I done now?


It was late when I crawled into my bed. Faith was dead asleep, her body curled in a protective position, a light sheet twisted around her. I took my coverlet and wrapped it around me, warding off the chill. I feel asleep rather quickly and dreamed restlessly.


*I was in a small room, the walls closing in around me. People I once knew where melded into the walls, only their glowing eyes showing. Their voices were sorrow filled as they wailed at me.

"Let me be strong!"

"You leave this house…"

"The Master will rise and the Slayer will die!"

"Don't even THINK about coming back!"

"I said LEAVE!"

"Payback's a bitch."

"Am I a righteous man?!"

"You played me!"

"Am I a thing worth saving?!"

"I'll kiss you and the sun will go down."

"When I kiss you…"

"The world wants me gone!"

"You don't wake up from a deep sleep…"

"It means seize the day."

"And live happily ever after!"

I put my hands over my ears and fell to my knees. Their voices pounded through me, demanding recognition. The walls moved closed to me, the voices grew louder.

One face grew closer. An old man with thin lips tightened into a leer of psychotic satisfaction. Quentin.

"You will never be free, whole, complete. You will live in a dead past until it kills you." He grinned, his eyes a stone color, "And, only I, my dear, hold the answers."

And, he was gone. It all was gone and I was alone and…*



It was a dream.

All a dream.

But, I knew, the voices were just dreams, illusions. But, Quentin, I knew, was real. He had been in my dreams, in my head.

He knew where I was.

Oh God…


I felt like I was going to be sick. The realization of Quentin knowing where I was had upset me. There was no question about it, I knew Quentin had the power and implements to get into my mind. My stomach churned and my heart pounding. Flashes and memories of being back in the compound, him 'testing' me and watching with sick pleasure on his face made me jump off the bed and into the bathroom. I chocked and coughed with wracking heaves. Acid burned the back of my throat and I emptied my stomach into the toilet. After there was nothing left, I coughed and dry heaved, my stomach burning. I fell back against the wall and shivered silently.

I was terrified.

The thought of being back in the compound…

Everything white…

The tests and torture…

I started to cry, silently, but hysterically. Nobody knew what had gone on there. Nobody expect Wesley, and he wasn't even here! I would never get over my time in the kind of hell.


I contemplated running away, after I had regained a sane composure of myself. I even went as far as too get out my suitcases and open up my drawers. But, as I looked around the room, I knew it would be the stupid thing to do. I had no money, no where to go. Quentin would send his hounds after me in heartbeat and capture me.

My stomach churned again and I massaged it, not wanting to make another trip to the bathroom. I needed to talk to somebody, tell someone.

Faith wasn't an option. She was conked out on my bed and she deserved some quiet rest.

Angel was in one of his moods, I don't think he'd react well anyways.

It came to me. My new Watcher, Rupert. He and I hadn't spoken much, but I could tell he was as trustworthy as either Faith or Angel. Wes had promised he'd be there for me.

Oh Wes…

I went to the bathroom and slipped into some sensible clothes. I don't think going out there in my panties and a small tank top would be smart. Besides, Angel might be up still. I glanced in the mirror and winced. I looked a bit of a fright. My makeup was smeared all over and my hair was frizzing from the rain. My face was a sickly pale and my eyed had a wild look. Examining myself, I could see the outline of my ribs. I was getting too skinny. Guess I'll have to pig out more. I slipped on my robe and a pair of sweats.

I padded downstairs, the lobby illuminated by only one lamp. I could see Angel's silhouetted figure in his office. I could see him pause as I crossed the lobby. He knew I was out here, but made no move to see me. I shrugged and went into Giles' office, where he was. He looked up slightly startled as I came in.

"Anne? Is everything alright?" He asked me, his eyes narrowed at my haggard appearance.

"No. No, I'm not." My was voice small.

"What's wrong?" He asked me, motioning me to sit down.

I did, and looked up at him, "I think…" My throat closed up and I realized I couldn't do it.

I couldn't keep running to other people about my problems.

"I…uh…just wanted to know if you've heard from Wes yet?" I covered, my voice faltering only slightly.

He looked up at me, shaking his head, "No. Not since he left. But, knowing Wesley, he's fine."

I nodded, "Of course."

With nothing left to say, I turned and just left. He probably thought I was insane. I hadn't ruled out that idea, myself. I knew I wasn't going to get anymore sleep. Not the way my heart was beating and my mind racing. Paranoia had set in, leaving me looking every which way. I wandered up stairs, to the little widow's walk I had found.

I opened the door at the top of the stairway and shivered as I was attacked with a rush of cold air. The hard rain from earlier had stopped, leaving everything chilly and wet. The cement was slippery under my bare feet and I held the metal railing. Lightening flashed far away, making the sky turn from black to white to black again.

I just stood there. Letting the wet cold seep into me and numb everything. It started to drizzle and the sky began to turn pink. I coughed and turned around. Unpleasantly cold and soggy, I went back into the hotel. It was still quiet and I supposed everyone was still asleep. I crept into my room and jumped into the shower. The almost scalding water did nothing to ease the chill in me. I was still spooked about my dream. I lathered my hair with shampoo and then stepped under the spray of water. Water fell off of me like a waterfall, with the exception of the shampoo. I conditioned my hair, frothed myself with body wash, and shaved. I stepped out of the bathroom and brushed my teeth. I washed my face and dried myself off. I toweled my hair until it was only slightly damp, sprayed it was leave-in conditioner, and put some gel in it to keep it from frizzing during the day. I carefully applied my makeup; eyeliner first, mascara, and cover-up to hide the dead paleness of my face and the purple bags under my eyes.

Still wrapped in my towel, I walked into my bedroom and picked out some clothes to wear. I took out a black sweater and a pair of dark blue jeans. I stepped into my boots and pinned back my hair. I did this all in a slight trance, my mind not really focused on what I was doing. I grabbed my purse, keys wallet, and my bag and pounded down the stairs. I wandered into the kitchen and grabbed two bagels, one that I ate, and another that I shoved into my purse for later. Angel was already up and reading the paper.

"Good Morning." He greeted me.

I grunted something similar.

He grabbed his keys and off we were to school.


I didn't say anything the whole drive there. I just turned on the radio to some random station and stared out the window, not really seeing anything. I could see my reflection in the mirror and saw the gash from when Angel had kissed me had turned into nothing but a small scar. I stared at it absently.

Angel stopped the car and I jumped out waving behind me. I barely made it in home room before the bell rang, slipping into my seat in the back. I could feel the stares of Rain, Jessa, and Aurelia burning into me. I smiled slightly at them and they came over.

"Where have you been? You missed like half of the week." Rain blurted.

I smiled again and shrugged, "Bad week."

Nothing else was said.

At least…until class ended.

I was walking down the halls with the girls, when Jimmy Anderson came up to me. He had a small smile on his face, his cerulean eyes twinkling.

"Hey Anne." He greeted in a soft voice.

He didn't even bat an eye at Jessa and Rain, who were gaping at him like he was God's gift to women.

"Hi." I said, my voice getting warm and my smile growing.

"How's your sister?" He asked me, referring to last night.

"Brokenhearted." I answered my voice lowering with silent anger.

"I'm sorry. I really am." He said, and by the way his eyes lit with silent fire, he was serious.

"I am too." I said.

"So…" He murmured.

"So…" I mimicked.

Jessa and Rain looked on enviously.

"There's a carnival."

He paused


Another pause.

"At the Santa Monica Pier."

I gave him a bemused smile, "And…?"

He let out a slightly nervous smile, "Would you like to go?"

A pause.

"With me?"

My stomach tightened faintly. He was asking me on a date? A slow smile broke out across my face.

I walked a few steps away and told him my answer, away from prying ears. He nodded and walked away. Jessa and Rain hounded me, demanding what I said.

"Jimmy Anderson asked you on a date!" Rain squealed.

"What did you say?" Jessa demanded.

Aurelia looked faintly interested and kept her ears open.

"Well, "I smirked, "I told him that…"


Part 14

"Well," I smirked, "I told him that I'd love to go, but not with him."

Rain eyed me, "Really?"

"Well, not in those exact words, but you know, same idea." I shrugged.

"Why?" Jessa asked me.

"I've heard his rep. He's a 'wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am-er'." I replied, my lips curling slightly.

Jessa laughed, shaking her head, "Nice way of putting it, but you're right. He's a bad person, not someone you want to get caught up with." She said, directing the last part to Rain, who looked away.

"Speaking of the fair…" Jessa said, looking at all of us, "Why don't we all go?" She suggested.

Rain nodded silently, her smile widening. Aurelia shrugged nonchalantly, wearing a 'Why not?' _expression.

"Good, Anne? What about you?" Jessa asked.

"Sure, I guess. I'd just have to tell my sister and Angel." I mused.

"Great!" Jessa exclaimed, "We'll all meet at the Ferris wheel at, oh…let's say five-ish?"

We all nodded, and headed our separate ways. My classes all flew by. I had to collect the work I had missed, but it wasn't as much as I had expected. I walked down the hall, down to my art class. My stomach twisted at seeing Rye--I mean Mr. Finnegan. Would he act different towards me? Single me out?

I hoped not.

I came in and took my seat in the back, going to the storage room and pulling out my project. I looked at it, my artistic eye seeing imperfections that only I--the artist--could see. I sighed and set everything up. I got out the paints and mixed a few colors on my easel. The other kids started to pile in, all talking about their day. I didn't pay attention to them, or anything for that matter. I should have. I would have seen the long troubled stares Rye--damn it, Mr. Finnegan was giving me. But, no. I was lost in my own world of strange illusions and blending colors that I put on my canvas. My hand moved furiously across the canvas, my eyes darting to every spot, trying to see what needed to be added and what needed to be toned down. I working on the woman's face, making her complexion a creamy peach color, adding just a touch of scarlet to her cheeks. I carefully painted in her curls, adding a hint of brown into the blonde. Her face features where barely there, just enough to get the vaguest idea of what she looked like. I next started on the two little girls clinging to her hand. They both looked alike, but one younger than the other. You couldn't tell what they looked like, at all. They both wore both dresses the color of soot. The bell rang, breaking my trance-like state. I stood up, barley glancing at my art. I didn't want to see what images my thoughts were feeding to canvas.

I put it away, wincing slightly at a glimpse of the haunting images. I saw Mr. Finnegan looking at me in the most peculiar way. I was a little disturbed at how intensely his eyes stared. I smiled as if I didn't notice and walked out the side door, leading to the south parking lot where Faith should be.

She wasn't.

Instead, Spike was sitting in his car, staring out the window, his _expression sullen.

"I'm not getting in the car with you, you sleazebag!" I snapped at him, my eyes blazing.

"Damn it, I'm not in the mood for your attitude today, Anne. Just get in the damn car!" He growled.

I glared at him, then thought that this was my chance to kick his sorry ass, verbally, of course.

"Fine, alright, you jackass!"

I climbed into the car and slammed the door. He drove off and nothing was said for one long minute.

"Why did you do it?" I demanded then, breaking the silence.

He looked over at me, his eyes haunted. He shrugged, opened his mouth as if to speak, but nothing came out. He was quiet.

"Well? Do you have anything to say? Or…does Faith really mean so little to you that you can just write her off with some ho on your lap?" I uttered the last part with my eyes narrowed.

"God, no!" Spike exclaimed, glaring at me, "I love Faith, damn me to bloody hell for it, but I do. She's everything to me." He said quietly, and I thought I saw tears in his eyes.

"Then why were you with that girl?" I asked him.

"I… I don't know. I don't." He stammered, looking baffled.

"Who is she?" I questioned.

"Drusilla. She's…" He stopped and looked at me, "I'm assuming Angel told you what I am?"

"Yup. Scum of the grave vampire." I sneered.

"I'm ignoring that, pet." He sighed heavily, "She's my sire. The vampire that made me. She's different than most. Angelus, her sire, drove her insane. She's always been able to see in the future, and she can, on occasion, place people's mind in her control." Spike sighed.

The name 'Angelus' rung in my head, but I ignored it for the time being. I made a mental note to check that out later.

"And, did she use said mind control on you?" I asked him, feeling like a lawyer for a split second.

Spike lowered his head, in shame. "No. She didn't."

"You knowingly cheated on Faith?" I asked him, he didn't object. "Bastard."

"Look! I couldn't-"

"Couldn't what?" I exploded. "Couldn't help it? Saw your damn sire and thought, 'to hell with Faith'?" I scoffed angrily, then laughed. "You don't deserve her."

"I bloody well know that!" Spike yelled, hitting the steering wheel. "I know that I don't deserve her. I know that she should have someone better than me…but I love her. I'm selfish. The thought of someone else loving her like I love her, wanting her like I do…it makes me want to kill everything in sight. I love her, God help me, but I do."

I just looked at him. He was telling the truth. But, then why did he cheat on her? Maybe there was a pull between a sire and their childe. Or, maybe Spike had lost control. There were a lot of reasons on why, but no definite answer. Maybe there was no reason, maybe it just…happened. I don't know. I don't understand it, but from the look on Spike's face, he was regretful. He loved Faith, with all his heart, though not beating.

I wanted a love like that. A love so strong that it hurt at times. I nodded at Spike as he stopped in front of the hotel. He clearly wasn't going in. I hoped that Spike and Faith would work things out.

I really, really did.


Angel was fine with me going to the fair, happy that I was making friends. He seemed a little sad, though. When I asked him about it, he told me that the past seemed to be haunting him today. When I asked him what that meant, he just shrugged, kissed me lightly on the forehead, and walked down to his room.

I shook my head, almost mournfully. He was so complex, I was seeing different layers of him each day. It made me wonder, though, what had he gone through to make him so desolate. Who had he lost? My questions went unanswered, and I chose not to dwell on them. I had a feeling I would find out soon enough. A good thing? I didn't know. I went up to my room and saw Faith was still there, watching my TV and eating some ice cream. She wore sweats and a tank top, her hair piled on top of her head. I glanced at the TV and saw she was watching 'General Hospital'. I laughed. She threw me a look, her eyes watching me with interest.

"What'cha doin'?" She asked me, curling her legs under her.

"You know the fair down at Santa Monica?" I asked, she nodded. "Well, I'm going. With some girls from school."

She snorted, "The high school years. The hell ride of your life."

"Did you like high school?" I asked her, throwing some jeans on the bed.

She laughed, "Didn't finish it. School's a bore, and, doing what I do, I don't need it."

"What if you want to do something else later in life, Faith? You're still young. Do you really want to do this forever?" I asked her, looking in my drawers.

She was quiet, too quiet. I glanced over at her and saw her looking at me in the most odd way.

"What?" I asked.

She shook her head slowly, "B hated it. Hated slaying, always wanted to do more with her life. I used to laugh at her, told her this was our gig to bear, and there was nothing else in the world for us. I was wrong." She said, her voice so very quiet and strange sounding.

I knew she was talking about Buffy. Why was everybody acting as if she was some Saint. I mean, I respected the hell out of her, but come on, she's dead. I had to bite my tongue to keep from saying these things. It was obvious that Faith would not be too happy to hear my thoughts.

"What did she do with her life?" I asked, maybe too sharply.

Faith looked at me and chuckled sadly, "What we were supposed to do. She saved the world. A lot." Faith said bitterly, sadly, her voice choked.

She stood up and started to walk out, "Wear the blue blouse." She said over her shoulder and left.

I sighed.

What was it about Buffy that made everyone so damn upset?


I walked out of the hotel, glancing at my watch. I wore bell-bottom jeans and a short sleeved, blue, button-up, midriff bearing blouse. My keys jangled and my wallet was tucked into my pocket. I had gone to see Angel before I left, but he had been asleep. In his room, he had sat in his leather chair, his head lulled back and his lips partially open. He had looked so cute like that, so innocent and carefree. His chest rose and fell ever so slightly. For one macabre moment, I thought he was dead. He seemed so pale and still. My heart had thumped with fast terror until I placed my palm a hair-breaths away from his mouth. I felt warm air against my hand. I almost collapsed in relief.

I had been about to leave the room, I swear. But, I just stood there, gazing at him. I didn't expect to lean forward and kiss him. I didn't expect for him to respond. I had pulled back slowly, my heart still pounding. I turned to his bed and pulled the silk coverlet off and covered him with it. I walked out quietly, but quickly. I took one last look at him, my lips smiling softly.

"Sweet dreams."

I still smiled as I thought of Angel asleep in his chair. It really was a cute sight. I walked down the sidewalk, my shoes quiet. The city was busy, as always. I didn't feel like hailing a cab. I didn't want to squander my money when I was perfectly capable of walking. I made it to the pier ten minutes earlier than the others. I bought my wristband and a diet soda. I sat on the bench and waited for the girls. I saw this guy eyeing me from the cotton candy stand. He was pretty cute. Dark copper hair and tanned skin. He looked familiar and my age so I guessed that he was one of my classes or something. He said something to the guy he was with and walked over to me.

"Hey." He greeted.

"Hey back." I said, meeting his eyes.

They were almost a gray color, blue just barely tinting them.

"Mind if I sit down?" He asked me, gesturing to the empty space beside me.

"Does it look like it's being used?" I asked him back.

He smiled, pearly white teeth, all proportioned, and nice full lips.

He plopped down, not too close to me, but not too far away either.

"You're Anne?" He asked me, meeting my eyes.

He didn't do the eye-drop like most guys did, not that there was anything to check out…

"Give the man a prize." I smiled, starting to warm to him.

"I'm Keith." He said.

"You look familiar." I told him.

"We have History together." He said.

"Oh." I murmured, "That makes sense."

"Are you here alone?" He asked me, but it was just a question.

Not an invitation to join him.

For that, I was glad.

"For now. I'm meeting Jessa, Rain, and Aurelia. You know them?"

He laughed, "Doesn't everyone?"

I smiled and sipped my drink.

"How do you like LA?" He asked me.

"As opposed to where I had lived…" I shuddered thinking about the compound. "It's wonderful here."

He looked at me strangely, "Don't be fooled by the sparkle of this city. Los Angeles has two faces. Be careful not to be caught in the darker side." He warned, his voice serious.

I just looked at him. How much did the people know about LA's darker side? What had they experienced? My mind flashed to Whistler. To Spike, to Angel, and Faith. They were all caught up in this darker side. It was their life. My resolve hardened. That wouldn't happen to me. I would not be trapped in the night, in a world of sinister unknown.

Not me.

I smiled sadly at Keith, "I'll be careful."

He nodded and I saw Jessa, Rain, and Aurelia walking up to us. Jessa raised an eyebrow, her smile widening.

Oh no…

I looked over at Keith, "I have to go… My friends…" I motioned to the girls.

He nodded and smiled, "Yeah, me too. So, I'll see you around sometime?" He asked me.

Again, just a question.

"Maybe." I answered.

I reached out and squeezed his arm slightly as goodbye.

He smiled--he had a terrific smile--and walked back to where his friend was. Jessa pulled me up and smiled.

"So… Who was that?" She asked.

"Keith. You know him?" I asked.

"Of course." She said, looking over at him. "He's only the most gorgeous guy in school."

"He likes you." Aurelia spoke up, startling me.

"No." I shook my head. "He's nice."

"Ask him out." Rain said, glancing over at Keith.

"I just met him!" I protested.

Jessa shrugged, "You two would make a cute couple."

"Whatever…" I smiled.

Aurelia ran over to some guy, who was looking around, and hugged him. He was tall, with rich brown hair. She brought him closer and looked happy as she clutched his arm. He looked a little but older than us. I guessed he was a junior. He had some freckles under his eyes and he had dark eyes.

They were in love.

"This is Dillon." She introduced him to me. "My boyfriend."

I smiled, "Nice to meet you. I'm Anne." I said, holding out my hand.

He shook it and smiled back.

"You girls don't mind if I join you, do you?" He asked us.

Jessa smiled, "Nope. There's room for everyone." She said loudly enough that it reached Keith and his friend who were standing at the shooting game.

He looked over and smiled at me.

I blushed.

Rain noticed and squealed, "You like him!"

I sigh, smiling still.

It was going to be a long night…


We had the time of our lives. We all went on all of the rides, big and small. Keith had later joined us, his friend had gone home. They had this huge roller coaster set up and Jessa, the group leader lead us to it. Keith and I sat up front, followed by Aurelia and Dillon, and then Jessa and Rain. As we went up the first hill, I kept murmuring, "Oh God, oh God, oh God…"

Keith laughed and clutched my hand. We went down and all of the girls screamed, including me. My hair was whipping all around, tangling about. We all looked horrible when we got off. We were pale, messy-haired, breathless, but we all looked happy. I felt happy. Genuinely happy. It was a great feeling. As we walked around, playing the games and eating, Keith still held my hand.

I liked it.

I liked him.

Aurelia looked back at me and smiled, really smiled. She could be intimidating at times, even cynical. But, I had a feeling, that out of all of us, she was the one I could trust the most. Keith had won me a giant teddy bear at the dart throwing stand. I clutched it too me, still holding his hand. The last ride we went on was the Ferris wheel. It had grown dark by then and everything had lit up. Again we split up in pairs. Keith and I got stuck on top and I looked out over the side, over the whole fair and the city. The view was really breathtaking.

"I had a lot of fun tonight, Anne." He told me and I could tell he meant it.

"I did too." I responded, also meaning it.

"How would you feel if I told you I wanted to do this again sometime? Spend time with you?" He asked me, his voice somewhat tentative.

I smiled sadly. "I have a lot going on in my life, Keith. My life a whole big mess."

And, it was. I thought of Angel, and Faith, Spike, Wes, and Quentin.

"Oh." He murmured, dejected, "I understand."

"No, no, no…" I said quickly, "I didn't mean no. I just meant that I carry a lot of baggage. And if you don't want to put of with it, we'll just end it before something even starts."

He was quiet for a minute, "When I saw you, the first day you were at school, I was intrigued. I wanted to know more about this girl who spoke with the British accent."

I blushed.

"You were different, are different, from these other girls. You're unique. There's something about you that makes me want to know everything about you." He said.

I don't even know everything about myself.

"I think I like you." He finished, smiling.

I smiled too, "I think I might like you too."

I think I really did. Whatever I felt for Angel…it was confusing. Whatever he felt for me, he was holding back. I liked Keith. Keith liked me. Why wait for the hopeless when there's something just as good, right in front of you?

I wasn't going to ignore what I did feel for Angel, maybe just put it on hold. At least until I could figure everything out.


It was eleven. I didn't have to be home until midnight. I decided to patrol a little bit before gracing Angel with my presence. Taking out my stake and shifting Keith's teddy's bear on my hip, I prowled around, honing in on my senses. It was all too quiet when my feelings went on overload, everything in me telling me to move and defend myself. My breathing hitched and I gripped the stake. I looked around and saw nothing. I wasn't ready for the blow that knocked my off my feet. A heavy fist smashed into my jaw, I heard it crack. Dizzy, I jumped on my feet and saw half a dozen uniformed men closing in on me.

"Come with us peacefully, and we won't have to use force." One commanded, stepping forward.

"You already used force." I retorted.

Were they vampire? Human? I couldn't tell!

"Last warning. Come with us and you will not be harmed." He said.

I smirked, "Not on your life."

They attacked. All at once. I tried to block them as best as I could. But, six militant guys versus me? The odds were defiantly in their favor. I threw punches, kicked, clawed, and kneed. Nothing seemed to work. One would go down and then another would takes it's place. I resorted to running. There was no other choice. I made it to the park before a surge of electricity went through me.

They had damn cattle prodders!

I went down, unable to move, breathe, or speak. The closed in and everything in me tightened to move away, but I couldn't. It all seemed to go slow. I could feel the cold cement under me, becoming warm and sticky with my blood. My lungs tightened from the lack of air. My nerves tingled from the residue electricity.

They were going to get me.

I was going to die.

Oh God, help me!


Part 15

The men towered over me, leers and sickening grins plastered on their faces. Anger rushed in my veins, making my head pound. I pushed two out of the way and there was just enough time and space for me to escape. I jumped to my feet and started to run. I had no other choice. I was bloody, beaten, and losing my energy fast. I had to get out of there. My lungs felt tight and started to burn. I could hear the pounding footsteps of the men and I just wanted to cry.

What did they want with me? Why were they after me? I still could not tell exactly what they were. They didn't seem to be vampires, but I couldn't really rule out the option. I crossed the street and nearly got hit by a car. It honked loudly and I started violently, slipping, and falling to the ground. They quickly ambushed me. I screamed. It was a horrible sound, like an animal, knowing it had no chance. I was still numb from the electric shock. My legs were too unstable to hold me, I couldn't get back up.

"NO-ooo!" I screamed, trying to kick.

Hot tears of desperation burned my eyes, the men laughed. I felt another shock go through me. Then another. I was on the brink of unconsciousness, and teetering the thin edge. Red spots exploded in front of my eyes and I could hear the men arguing.

"Are you sure we should be roughing her up?" One asked.

"Quentin said ta bring 'er in, but he neva said in what condition." Another growled.

I took a deep, painful breath. My ribs felt as if they were caving in on me, my lungs feeling crushed. The men seeming to be preoccupied, I slowly moved out of the way. I whimpered and one attacked me again.

"Where ya think yer going, missy?" He demanded sinisterly.

"Let me go!" I yelled hoarsely.

"Sorry darlin, we gotta job ta do." He sneered. "But not b'fore we've had some fun…" He leered.

My eyes widened, "No!"

I tried to kick again, succeeding, but missing widely. He laughed, grabbed my blouse and ripping it. I dimly heard the buttons fly off and bounce away.

"No, no, no, no, no, NO!" My whimper turned into a loud scream.

He covered my mouth. I bit him. He slapped me with enough force for my head to hit the ground with a painful crack. I was dazed enough for my head to lull to the side, my sight blurry, and my eyes unseeing. I heard footfalls rushing towards me, I could see a long shadow. Angel… I thought dimly. I could hear a growl and the tear of skin and clothing. I kept breathing, each inhale more painful than the last.

Am I dying…?

I heard the dull thud of bodies hit the ground and felt someone lean over me.

"No…" I whimpered in a whisper.

"Damn it." I heard someone whisper, a voice not Angels'. "What did they do to you?"

An explanation rose in my throat, but died away when I started to cough.

"Son of a… Can you sit up?"

I turned my head slowly, agonizingly.

"Darla…?" I breathed down, my voice a rasp.

"Yeah." She said, putting her arm under my back to lift me. "It's me."

"What about the men?" I asked her, trying to look.

She held my head gently. "It's best if you don't look."

I swayed on my feet and everything spun into a sickening blur of colors. Darla steadied me, her grip gentle but surprisingly strong.

"Damn, they really did a number on you…" She hissed angrily.

"Why are you helping me?" I asked her.

She stopped and looked at me. "Contrary to popular belief, I'm not an evil person. I'm a bitch, but I've got a soul."

I chuckled then stopped when my chest constricted. "I want to go home."

"Let me call Angel."

She led my to a park bench and we both sat. I focused on each breath, trying not to pass out. Darla took out her phone and dialed the hotel.

"Angel." Pause. "We've got a problem." Pause. "No, it's not Connor. It's Anne. She was attacked." Pause. "Human. Angel, she's in bad shape." There was another pause and then Darla hung up.


I don't remember Angel coming. I don't remember being driven home. But, I do remember Angel carrying me into the hotel. Darla was ahead of us, holding a sleeping Connor in her arms. I shifted slightly and breathed a hiss of pain.

"Don't move."

Angel's voice was angry and scared. His eyes flicked down to mine and I could see his thoughts in his eyes. He was scared for me. Angry that he hadn't been there for me, again. He wanted to kill whoever had done this to me. I was still bleeding. My blouse lay limp and half open on me. My breathing was shallow. I lay comfortable in Angel's arms. He strode through the lobby and I saw Willow stand up, a sardonic, triumphant smirk on her face. "Dead." She whispered.

My heart thumped and I started to breathe hard.

"Anne, what is it?" Angel asked me as he set me down on one of the red couches. I couldn't answer. I couldn't think, speak, or breathe. I shook my head slowly, very slowly. I thought I was going to pass out again.

"What the hell happened?!" A loud voice, that I knew to be Faith, boomed.

She rushed over here and her eyes were soft and concerned at the sight of me. She touched my cheek tentatively and looked around, her eyes locking on Darla.

"You did this?" Faith yelled, pounding over there.

"No!" I rasped out loudly. "She saved me."

Faith looked from me to Darla and back again. "Did you?" She demanded.

"I saw her getting the shit knocked out of her by a couple of military thugs and decided not to have her death riding my conscious." Darla snapped, holding Connor to her hip.

"Did you recognize them?" Faith asked me, kneeling to my side.


Giles came in, holding bandages, a cloth, and a bowl of warm water. Spike followed with antiseptics. Faith narrowed her eyes at him, hurt and anger clouding them.

"Get out." She ordered.

"Give it a rest, pet." Spike sighed, his eyes cold and distant.

I thought she was going to scream, her face turned red and her eyes shone. "Stop." Was all Giles said, his voice sharp.

He sat next to me and dabbed my face. His eyes were clear but troubled. He examined my wounds carefully. Angel talked quietly with Darla. She was angry, her hands gesturing as she spoke. Connor now lay in Faith's arms. He was the only thing that kept her from running out that door or running to kill Spike. I stared at the light fixtures far above me. My mind was reeling. Quentin had really made his point this time. He was after me and nothing would stop him from getting me. This proved that I wasn't strong enough to do this myself, but I hated the thought of bringing everyone else into this. Quentin had friends in high and low places, both of which would do anything he wanted.

"Your wounds aren't really as bad as they seem." Giles mused softly "What worried me are these burn marks."

I lifted my head slowly and looked at where Giles was pointing. There were dark red and purple splotches covering my upper right side. I chuckled dryly, my eyes hard.

"The bastards used cattle prodders." I whispered.

Giles swore softly. He pressed my ribs gently. "Does that hurt?"

I sucked in slightly. "Yes."

"They're bruised."

He noted a few more wounds, his expression darkening more. He left for a moment and talked to Angel. Angel looked ready to kill somebody, his eyes coal black and very, very cold looking. Angel looked at me briefly and shook his head, walking quickly out of the room.

"Where's he going?" I asked, sitting up.

"Anne, no." Giles said, rushing to my side.

I pushed him away and got to my feet. I knew Angel was so angry that he wasn't thinking clearly. I got as far as the receptionist desk before my legs gave away. I grabbed the counter edge, holding so very tightly. I could see Angel putting on his leather duster. He grabbed a weapon.

"Angel!" I yelled, determined to stop him from doing something he would be sure to regret. He turned to me and I swore his eyes had a yellow tint.

"Stay in the hotel!" He ordered harshly.

I didn't back down. "Angel, let it be!"

He ignored me. He walked out. I could hear his coat flapping behind him. I went out the door and tried to look for him, but he was gone. He was furious. He was going to get himself in trouble, trouble I didn't think any of us could afford. The wind blew, it was cold. The air seemed to swallow me, locking my in an invisible prison of frozen loneliness. My legs shook beneath me, but I felt as if I couldn't move. I stood on the stone steps, looking into the shadows, daring anything to show themselves. At the same time, I wished Angel would come back. I felt alone and unprotected without him.

My attachment to him was strong, maybe unbreakable. I needed him and on some level he needed me as well. Tears welled in my eyes, they burned like hot wax. I buried the pain, the tears, and the fear. I wouldn't let it show. It made me weak.


I think I passed out after that. I opened my eyes and saw Rupert sitting, asleep, in a chair beside me. There was a bowl and washcloth on the table. He had been looking after me. I smiled softly, an unknown feeling welling inside me. I felt at home in this moment. I couldn't explain it, but it spread a warmth through my body. I sat up slowly and I could hear my bones creak. My skin felt too tight, my bones old. I was hot, sweat making me clammy. I shivered.

Something was wrong with me.

I walked into the hallway and saw Spike, Angel, and Darla all sitting together talking in hushed voices. The lights were dimmed and a few candles were lit. The flickering flames made their faces pale and eerie. I couldn't hear what they said, but I knew it was of importance. I had no desire to bother them. I walked back and went up the service stairwell. The floorboards here were old and they creaked and moaned against my slight weight. To me, it all sounded as loud enough to wake the dead. I made it to my room and looked around in the dark. I was cold. I walked into my bathroom and ran the water. Everything seemed so loud to me. I plugged the tub and poured in fragrant bath salts. Glancing at my clock, it read 3:27. I shed my clothes and stepped into the tub, sinking into the water. The warmth of it took my breath away. I closed my eyes. I dozed off and dreamed evil images.

*"You are not the hunter. You are the lamb."*

The feeling of water filling my mouth and nose awoke me. I jumped up to my feet, only to slip and fall back down. Water splashed all over the place, soaking my rug and the floor. I had slipped underwater in my sleep. I coughed slightly, feeling water in my throat and in my lungs. Shaking slightly, I wrapped a towel around me. I walked into my bedroom, my body sore and stiff. I turned on my light and looked in my floor-to-ceiling mirror. I looked horrible. My face was pale and purple, my left eye almost swollen shut. There were red abrasions all over my arms, scrapes, and road burns dotting my skin. My lips were deep red and split. I dropped the towel and swallowed at what I saw. My ribs were swollen, the bruises many different colors. Reds, yellows, purples, and sickly greens covered almost every inch of my body. The worst were the burns marks, looking vein and painful. Cringing, I wrapped my robe around me and collapsed into the bed. I drifted right off to sleep, and I had no dreams. For that, I was thankful for.


The rumble of thunder awoke me from a dreamless sleep. I opened my eyes to see my room bathed in a dark blue shade. I looked at my clock and saw it was a quarter after nine. I looked out my windows too see dark menacing clouds painting the landscape. Lightening flashed. Thunder roared. It wasn't rain, but the cloud looked like they were going to burst. I lay in bed for a little while, staring at the clouds. It was Saturday. That meant that I didn't have to go to school. I was glad, because I didn't feel very well, at all. My belly gurgled and my head ached. My skin, though, felt kind of tingly. I knew that meant that I was healing. I heard tiny footsteps in my room and looked toward the door. I saw Connor standing there, clutching a small toy.

"What's wrong, sweetie?" I asked him when I saw he looked terrified.

"Thunder." He whimpered, though he pronounced it 'fun-dew'.

"Come here." I said, holding out my arms.

He ran to me, burying his head in my shoulder as I covered him in my blanket. He cuddled to me, his shaking gradually stopping at my whispered words.

"It's alright, baby." I soothed. "You're safe."

He fell asleep soon enough and I just held him. I thought of last night's events. Quentin had sent his men after me. It wouldn't be long until Quentin himself came to finish what his lackeys couldn't. He would come after me, and he would catch me. I knew he would. He would take me back to that damn compound and I would be tortured again. But, it would be worse this time. Because I had run away, and because in Quentin's sick and twisted mind I was his property…he would make sure I would never defy him again.

Here and now, laying in my bed with Angel's son sleeping in my arms, I vowed that I wouldn't let him keep me. I would do whatever I had to do to remove myself from Quentin's grasp.

Whatever I had to do.

I silently slipped out of my bed, leaving Connor in the midst of sheets and warms covers. I put on a pain of pink sweats and white tank top. I combed my hair, leaving it flowing down my back. I didn't bother to cover up the shaded bruises or scrapes. They would be gone soon enough anyways…

I scooped up Connor and looked at the toy he clutched in his arms. It was a small plush pig. How strange, I thought. It was cute, though. And, very familiar. I shifted Connor to my hip and he buried his head in my shoulder, still sound asleep. I padded down the stairs, smelling breakfast. I went into the kitchen and saw Giles was cooking.

"Hey." I greeted quietly as I sat down.

Giles looked warmly down at me. "Do you feel better?"

I shrugged. "I don't hurt."

He nodded and motioned to Connor. "Where did you find him?"

"He came into my room. The thunder scared him."

Giles nodded. "As it does most children."

Giles was cooking. It all looked delicious. Omelets, toast, coffee. It smelled as good as it looked. Giles passed me a steaming mug of coffee and I smiled in thanks. I could hear the thunder boom outside. The storm was getting closer, but it hadn't rained yet. I leaned back in the chair, sighing softly. Giles finished his eggs and split them with me, pushing half on another plate and sliding them to me.


We ate in silence, the thunder, and the creaking of the hotel the only sounds. Slowly, everyone started to wake up. Cordelia came in first, her hair wrapped in a towel and her face covered with white cream. She took some coffee, sitting with us.

"You look nice, Cordelia." I told her, smirking. She rolled her eyes and sipped her coffee.

Everyone else was crowded into the kitchen soon enough. There was noise, commotion, and laughter. This was how a real family functioned. Nobody said anything about last night. Faith was complaining about Spike, Xander was telling lame jokes, and Anya was whining about how there was no milk. Angel had taken Connor and fed him, Spike was sulking in a corner, and Connor was spitting his applesauce all over the place.

This was normal.

This was family.

This was safe.

For now.


Part 16

On Monday, I woke up feeling like crap. I had the biggest migraine ever and my stomach felt cramped. Everything seemed to be against me today. I thoug ht a nice shower would make me feel better, but my hot water heater was bro ken, so all that came out was ice cold water. I had forgotten to do my wash and ended up wearing one of Angel's silk shirts I had looted from him an d a pair of Faith's tight jeans. My hair frizzed because I was out of hai rspray, so I looked frumpy. And, mind you, this was all before I went downs tairs.

To be blunt, I was a bitch when I got downstairs. I was already late for sc hool and would be lucky if I made it in before the bell rang. I whined and pleaded for Angel to let me stay home, but he told me no.

"You can't keep missing school, because then social services will get on my ass about it." He explained as he fixed Connor's breakfast.

"I don't care!" I shouted. "I don't feel good."

Angel just eyed me. "Isn't that my shirt?" He asked me.

"I forgot to do wash." I grumbled.

He chuckled softly and shoved some Pop tarts in my face. I let out a disgus ted sigh and nibbled on them. They were the Wild Berry kind. I didn't lik e Wild Berry. I liked S'mores.

I jumped when I heard a loud crash come from the lobby. I stood up to go se e what it was. Faith was staggering around the room, laughing, and knocking into things. Her makeup was smeared, her hair was mussed, and her shirt wa s ripped down the front. I went to her to steady her and I had to hold my b reath because she reeked of cheap booze. There were red welts going down he r neck and I looked closer to see that they were hickies.

"Good God…" I muttered when she swayed forward.

Angel took her from me and asked her, "Faith, where have you been?"

She only laughed, her eyes glazed and unfocused.

"I went partying…" She slurred happily, as if it were the resolution of t he century.

"I'll bet…" I muttered, trying to comprehend what I was seeing.

She stumbled over herself and went sprawling to the floor.

"Oh my God…" I murmured as Angel and I went to see if she was alright. Sh e was perfectly fine, passed out, but fine. I had to back away because she reeked of heavy booze and cheap cologne. Angel lifted her up and carried he r to her bedroom. I didn't follow. I could feel the minutes ticking by and I noticed I was an hour and a half late for school. In the meantime, I played with Connor. He was toddling aro und the kitchen, babbling baby talk. I chased him around the room, growling as if I were a monster. He shrieked with fear and delight as he ran from m e. I could see him hiding behind the couches, his tiny red sneakers stickin g out.

"Where's Connor?" I asked playfully loud.

I could hear him giggle softly. I snuck upon his and lifted him up, throwin g him up and catching him. He laughed as I did it again and again.

"Isn't that adorable?" A low voice cooed from the doorway.

I looked up, startled. Willow stood with a paper bag in her arms, glaring a t me. I didn't like the vibe I felt coming off of her. I put Connor on th e couch behind me, so if she should attack, Connor will be out of harms way .

"All babies are adorable." I remarked quietly.

"Yes, I suppose they are." Willow mused, smiling coldly.

"Do you ever plan on having children, Willow?" I asked her then, curious.

Her eyes grew cold and distant. "I have no time for children."

"You seem awful busy, for someone of your age. I mean, you're what? Twent y-five? Twenty-six? You should be enjoying life." I mused.

"Life is a sham!" She exclaimed, angry. "You fight, and fight, and keep fig hting! But, it rewards you nothing, nothing except an ugly death." She paus ed. "Life can be given and taken at an instants notice."

"That really isn't your call." I said slowly, wondering what was going on in her head.

"It could be anyone's call. If you have enough power, enough wisdom…you could do anything." Willow argued.

"No!" I told her. "No, it isn't up to you. You could have enough power to destroy the world and it still wouldn't be up to you. You don't get to play God!"

"God?" She asked incredulously. "God is the work of a fearful imagination. If there was a God, He would show mercy to those who deserve to live! He wo uldn't make life so hard and demanding that she would want to die! It was n't her time, it wasn't her place! She deserved so much, more than that shamble of a life she had! I could have given her everything, but they wou ldn't let me!"

She was screaming now. I understood. She had tried to bring Buffy back and it had backfired. The whole thing had blown up in her face and she hated it . Hated that she couldn't help her friend.

"You tried to bring Buffy back." I said.

Her eyes flew to meet mine. "I did bring her back! She was alive again!"

"But, she wasn't the same. Was she?"

"She was Buffy and that's all that mattered!" Willow cried.

"No!" I snapped. "She was at peace and you ripped her out of that and turne d her into some flesh eating shell of what she was!"

"She wasn't at peace! She was in hell!"

"How do you know?" I asked her. "You don't. You assumed and it all blew u p in your face. You still can't deal with it. Get over it. Buffy's dead . She's gone and she's never coming back."

"Bite your tongue!" Willow snapped, walking to me. "This coming from you. A nothing. You have no past, no link to real humanity. You're a fraud, a r eplacement." She sneered.

I didn't know what she was talking about. I assumed she was babbling madl y. I said nothing to her and she smirked. "When you finally find it all out , I will be there." She taunted. "I will be there, laughing. As you fall ap art, as you break down and crumble, I will be there. Count on it." She snee red.

She ran into me as she walked away. Purposely! I stumbled slightly and resi sted the very strong urge to go over there and slap some sense into the obs essive girl. I didn't. I turned back to Connor and smiled wide. He was cr awling all over the back of the couch, pushing around a toy truck. I sat do wn and watched him play.

"Sometimes, you just have to ignore her." A voice said from behind me.

I looked back and saw strange looking man in the lobby. I stood up.

"Who are you?"

He smiled. "Down, girl! I'm a friend."

"Of whom?" I asked.


"Well… Do you want me to get him?" I asked.

He shook his head. "No." He was silent for a moment. "Willow wasn't alway s like this."

"Crazy and obsessive?" I asked, sitting back down.

"Troubled and bitter." He corrected. "She changed after high school. Got mo re into magic. More into the darker side of it. It seemed to take her over at times, make her a totally different person."

"You knew her?" I asked the man.

"I was in love with her." He answered.

"Oh." I said quietly.

"When Buffy died, something inside of Will broke. Sunnydale's savior was gone. It never occurred to her that maybe, just maybe Buffy was supposed to die. That she wanted to die. All Willow could see was that she was alone a nd that she couldn't accept that Buffy was gone. None of them really unde rstood her; Buffy. She was different from the rest of us. Her life was seal ed. Fight until you die. Buffy accepted it. Knew it would happen sooner or later. Hell, she probably wanted it too."

I said nothing. What was there to say?

Connor 'vroom-vroomed' across the carpet, paying no heed to the man or me. He was content and happy, that was all that mattered.

The man sat on the couch across from me. "Though, my love for Willow, will most likely be the death of me, I still have to say this. Keep your guard u p when you're with her. Don't underestimate what power she has within h er. She can raise the dead, destroy a town, and she can kill." His voice wa s sad and forlorn.

"Who are you?" I asked him.


Fitting name, I thought. Two simple letters. His hair was red, his eyes a d eep green color. He was somewhat short, but I could sense something about h im. It almost made me stand on guard, but something stopped me.

Rubbing my palms together slowly, I said. "You're not human."

"Not quite." He said with a small smirk. "But then, neither are you. Or hal f of the people in this hotel for that matter."

"Why is she targeting me?" I asked him. "What does Willow have against me?"

"You remind her of what she failed to do." And that was all he said.

He stood up, looking towards the back offices. He nodded at me, the corner of his mouth lifting slightly. "I'll see you around, kid." He said as a p arting.

He was more than halfway to the halls when I realized I had been a fool and hadn't given him my name.

"Name's Anne!" I called after him.

He looked over his shoulder and nodded.

"I know."

Then he was gone.

These people kept coming into my life. All full of advice, but no answers. Most of them were all fighting the good fight, if there was such a thing. O z was one of them. I hoped I would see him again someday.

Soon…. * Angel was busy all day, after he came down from Faiths' room. Whenever I went to talk to him, he seemed irritable and bad-tempered. I tried to avoid him and keep Connor out of his way. Angel kept going back and forth from h is office to his room. He carried papers and was on the phone. When Connor got hungry, I carried him to the kitchen. I peered into the refrigerator an d saw nothing substantial to eat. There were packets of cheese in the drawe r, butter, stale milk, and mustard.

That was all the fridge contained. I sighed disgustedly. I made grilled che eses for the both of us and washed our dishes when we were done. We needed food. This place could be lethal at dinnertime, I knew from experience. And , frankly, I was sick of take-out.

Deciding that there was no one but me to do this, I got Connor's stroller out of the closet. I grabbed my jacket and bundled Connor up. It was colde r than usual outside. I didn't want him to catch a cold. I went to the lo bby desk and scribbled out a note to Angel.

-Went to the grocery store. Took Connor. Cell is on.-Anne

"Where we goin'?" Connor asked quietly from his seat.

"To the store, buddy. Your Daddy forgot to buy food." I answered him as I p ushed him along the sidewalk.

We only had to walk a few blocks to the store. It wasn't very rowed, but the women who were there shopping gave me strange looks as I pushed Connor around. I ignored them. I picked up some hamburger, rice, bagels, and bread . That was all I was going to get. I didn't have enough money to stock th e whole hotel.

Approaching the cashier, I looked over and saw a few people I recognized fr om school. I didn't know their names, but I didn't like how there were all whispering amongst themselves while they stared at me. It made me feel uneasy. I paid for my thing and hurried out of the store. I had a bad feeli ng growing in the pit of my stomach. * Angel hadn't even noticed us gone, which was strange because he was alway s breathing down my neck about everything. I put Connor to bed and stood ou tside Angel's office. "Damn, why wasn't I told about this?" I heard Angel demand to whoever he was talking to on the phone. "You have to tell me these things when you rec eive them, don't you understand that? It is my job to watch over Anne. My obligation and if anything happens to her, I don't want it hanging over my head.

I stepped away. An obligation? His job? That's all I was to him? I could feel my heart lurching in disappointment. My head was clouded with a numb s ort of anger. And, here I had thought Angel genuinely cared about me. I sto mped away from his door and slammed around in the kitchen for awhile, venti ng my anger into cooking. I made Spanish rice and cooked some garlic bread I had found in the freezer. Eventually, Angel strolled in and had the nerve to smile at me.

"Something smells good."

My lips twisted into a sneer and my eyes burned with hate. "Your 'obligat ion' has made dinner for the house. One less thing you have to worry abou t, right? I mean, we wouldn't want the burden hanging over your head."

Angel was quiet, his smile slipping away. "You listened in on my conversati on." He said.

"Interesting what people say each other when the other isn't there, huh A ngel?" I mused, scooping some of what I had made onto a plate.

"Anne, you don't understand…" Angel sighed.

"You know, I think I do." I said to him, my back turned on him. "But, I don 't want to hear some excuse. I don't have the interest to listen to you try to defend yourself." I said, whipping around to face him. "That isn' t part of the job." With that, I slammed the pot on the stove and walked up stairs to my room. He was the one person I trusted completely.

That was gone….

I was just a responsibility to him….

And that's all….


Part 17

My anger at Angel diminished and turned into deep hurt. I neither wanted to see nor be around him right now. I was depressed and had no one to talk too. Faith was still passed out from her little stunt this morning. I had gone in to check up on her and found her sprawled across her bed, snoring lightly. She would be hellish when she woke up. The smell of cheap booze and cigarette smoke wafted so heavily in the room, that I had to pull my shirt over my nose so I wouldn't vomit.

I wondered what had made her go over the edge like that? I knew it had to have something to do with Spike. She was still hurt over what he had done, not that I blamed her. They couldn't even be in the same room anymore. Her eyes would get angry and she would clench her fist while he would shift his eyes anywhere but her, ashamedly. If together for too long, they would start to scream at each. Throwing accusations and obscenities in each others faces. I hoped they would recover from this, if it was possible.

I was now sitting on my balcony. The wind was blowing slightly, chilling me. I gazed out upon the city and sighed. I missed Wes so much. I hadn't heard from him in weeks now. There was no sign that he was even alive, none that I could see. He had said he was leaving to protect me. But, Quentin was in the city, baiting me, waiting until the right moment to strike. Wes should be here. Not wherever he was.

I heard my phone ring in my room and slowly got up to answer it.


"Why, hello my dear." A cruel voice that haunted my dreams purred.

I closed my eyes in pain as memories of torture and agony washed over me.

This voice could only belong to Quentin.

"What do you want?" I asked, my voice steely.

"Only what belong s to me." He answered.

"I am not a possession." I stated.

"Oh, but you are. Your existence is because of me. You wouldn't be alive if it weren't for me." He sneered over the phone.

I didn't ask what he meant. God, I didn't want to know. I didn't even want to fathom what he was talking about.

"Your ego seems to be large. You say that I belong to you, but where am I? I escaped. I left and you couldn't stop me. You won't be able to get me again." I took a deep breath. "Be warned, setting foot near me will get you killed. Your best bet would be to stay away."

"I can see you right now. In the middle of your room. You're pale. You're shaking. It's nice how you're trying to fit in with the world. Trying to be normal. But, let me tell you, my dear, you are anything but 'normal'." He mocked, chuckling to himself.

"Just leave me alone." I whimpered, my voice failing me as I slammed the phone down.

Upset and shaking, I fell to my knees on the floor. He could see me. That unnerved me to no end. I switched off the solitary lamp in my room and was bathed in darkness. I didn't know what to do. I was out of options. Quentin knew as well as I did that he could get to me. Could kidnap me and take me to where no one would ever find me.

I had to leave.

That was the only reasonable option. If I could hightail it out of this place, I might be able to lose Quentin, for a little while… He was inhuman, I knew from experience. He would stop at nothing to retrieve me. I couldn't stay here. There were too many loved ones at risk here. An image of Connor playing in the lobby filled my mind. I could picture what Quentin would and could do to him. In my mind, I could hear his tiny, heartbreaking screams as he experienced what I had as a child. I released a breath that sounded like a sob. My heart was pounding, my eyes tearing as I could not stop gruesome images of Quentin torturing my friends in his all-white compound.

I couldn't stay here.

I didn't bother grabbing anything as I crossed the room to my balcony. I didn't even both going to the front door. I would be stopped. I would be questioned and I know I could not trust my mind and voice as to answer any questions at the moment. I climbed to the ledge and jumped. I landed in the rose bush below. I didn't feel the sharp thorns cutting into my skin. I didn't feel warm blood escaping burning wounds. I felt nothing.

'Run...' A voice inside of me whispered. 'Run and never look back.'

I jumped put of the garden, never noticed sharp pains shooting up and down my leg. I ran. Fast and far. Dodging cars, people, demons, whatever was in my way.

'You're saving them.' The voice encouraged. 'Keep going!'

The wind whipped past me, stinging y face and arms. I pumped my legs and could feel the blood rushing throughout my body. My head throbbed and my stomach cramped. All I could see around me was a blur, no real sense of anything. Of time, surroundings, or ambition. I didn't know where I was headed, all I knew was that I had to go.

'Faster!' The voice screamed. 'Don't look back."

I could see the moon. It shone brightly, but not yet full. My breathing was labored and I just suddenly stopped, staring into the bright midnight sky. I was aware of nothing. Not that I was standing in the middle of the street. Not that there were bright lights heading toward me. Not that a horn was blaring loudly. Not of the sound of someone screaming my name.

Cold hands grabbed me with bruising force and I was literally pulled put of my reverie as the cold wind of a semi speeding past me blew over me. I fell to the cold, on top of someone and I screamed. In a haze of blind panic, I jumped off of whoever this person was and punched them wildly.


'Don't listen! Fight! They want to hurt you!' The ever so present voice raged.

It was like something had taken me over. In blind panic, I clawed and kicked my attacker. Everything was a blur and all I could think was to run, to get away. But, I was trapped. My assailant was heavy and strong, pinning me to the cold, hard ground.

"Anne! Look at me." An angry voice demanded.

The haze in my mind cleared slightly, it was Angel.

"Angel…?" I murmured slowly, as if waking up after a long deep sleep.

"What are you doing?" He asked me. "Where were you going."

'You were saving them.' The voice whispered.

"I was saving you..." I murmured almost drunkenly.

"What?" He asked dubiously.

My head was spinning. In my mind's eye I could see my horrible past being made a future for everyone whom I loved. I couldn't let that happen, I couldn't!

'They are all dead if you don't fight him!' The voice shrieked angrily.

In a sudden burst of energy and strength, I pushed Angel off of me and watched with glazed eyes at he slammed into a street lamp behind us. He made an angry grunt as he got up. I assumed a fighting stance, my fists clench.

"Anne, what is wrong with you?" He asked me as he approached me slowly.

"Just let me leave, Angel. Forget you ever met me." I said my voice firm but shaky.

"I could never do that." He said softly.

His words held a double meaning. It too every bit of resolve in me to not look into the meanings.

I shook my head. "You have too."

"Anne, what's going on?"

I smiled sadly. I said nothing. With remorse etched in my features, I rushed at Angel, slamming my elbow into his face. I heard something crack. Angel answered with a swift kick to the back of my knee, making my legs buckle painfully. Angel tried to pin me, again, while I was on the ground. I kicked out, then flipped up backwards, landing on my feet with the grace of a cat. The fisticuffs began then. We blocked each others throws easily, our movements nothing more than blurs to the untrained eye. Angel surprised me by grabbing me by the biceps and slamming me into the wall, effectively pining me down.

"Anne, what is wrong with you?" He snarled heatedly.

I answered with a frustrated cry, wedging my booted feet between us and pushing out. Angel flew backwards, sliding when he hit the ground. I took off, dodging late night traffic and trying to lose Angel. It went with no avail, Angel was right behind me and gaining. We entered the park and I lost my footing at the stairs. I tumbled down the stairway, effectively tucking myself into a ball. Everything seemed to go slowly, for one horrifying moment, I thought I was going to die. I blacked out when my head slammed onto the walkway. Before I was completely unconscious, I could hear Angel calling my name. He was cradling m head in his lap.

"Anne... Anne! Wake up.."

The voice was quietly sneering in the background. 'You've killed them all...'


I was back in Quentin's' compound. I was strapped to a cold metal table, the white walls closing in on me. Laughing reverberated through the room, making my heart jump with fear. My head lolled to the side and I could see Angel looking through a window at me. The look on his face was purely satanic. His eyes were blank and gleaming, his lips twisted into a hateful sneer.

"Take her." He said loudly. "She's been nothing but trouble to me. I'm sick of it, sick of babysitting her like a child. I'm more than happy for you to take this obligation off of my hands. Do with her what you want." He sneered, his empty eyes boring into mine

Quentin appeared beside him, smiling coldly. "Thank you for your consent, Angelus."

My heart lurched. Angelus. That was on the list in Buffy's file. He was the monster she had beaten. Before I could put two and two together, Quentin was beside me, a scalpel in his hands.

"You know, my darling... There was one test I never got to do before you left me." He cut open my shirt and pressed the knife into my skin, cutting a painful Y incision into me. "I never got to see what makes you tick." He murmured, cutting deeper and harder.

I screamed.

And screamed.


My eyes flew open and I sat up, my eyes hazy and a scream stuck in my throat. Somebody grabbed me and I threw them off of me. In my mind, I could still feel the knife cutting me, could see Quentin smiling sickly.

"No, stop!" My voice ragged as I cried out.

I could feel the weight of another pressing onto me. I thrashed around ad screamed.

"Anne!" A voice yelled. "Anne, it's me! It's Faith!"

I slowed. My movements clumsy and tired. My head lolled to one side and I could hear muted yelling.

"I want to know what the hell happened, goddamn it!"

My eyes focused and I could see Angel. My heart fluttered and my breathing hitched. He turned toward me and I stopped breathing all together. His face was grossly deformed, his eyes gleaming angrily. The ridges on his ace contorted in anger as he spoke on then phone. I shook my head slightly. This couldn't be Angel. This distorted, animalistic visage I was seeing could not be Angel… my Angel.


Still not breathing and my vision swimming, I turned my head again. I could see Willow at the computer, her eyes wide, and her fingers flying over the keyboard. Slowly, her eyes met mine. Her lip quivered as she whispered something. The quiet words seemed to carry to my muted ears.

"You've killed us all."

I moaned slightly, looking up to the high ceilings. My throat burned and I felt as if I was chocking. Deprived of any air, my eyes drifted closed and the last thing I heard was Faith's scream.

"Angel! She's not breathing!"


Part 18

Head pounding, I opened my eyes and shivered. I could hear beeping noises, could feel cold air blowing from a vent above me, and the smell of antiseptics in the air. My body felt stiff and limp at the same time. I slowly turned my head to the door and saw little monitors hooked up to me. My head felt heavy and full of cotton. The sheets below me were itchy and thin.

I looked into the chair and saw Faith sitting there, her eyes were closed. Her head was propped up by her hand. She looked like hell. Her eyes were red rimmed and her face pale. In the faint florescent lighting, I thought I could see faint tear tracks.

There was an air mask covering my mouth. The air was flowing down my throat. I coughed sending me a reminder that my throat was raw and sore. I tried to sit up and an intense dizzy spell came over me. I slumped into my pillows and fell limp.

"Serves you right," A tired voice mumbled.

I looked and saw Faith looking at me, her hand still propped up by her hand.

"What?" I rasped, just slightly out of it.

"I hope you're dizzy. I hope the room spins," She whispered, her voice unsteady.

I saw her eyes were bloodshot. They were tear-filled. Her mouth was set in an angry line.

"What?" I repeated.

"You've been in a coma for two days," Faith told me softly. "At the hotel, you stopped breathing. You're face turned blue and I started CPR."

A sudden image of Faith hovering above me, crying, screaming, and demanding that I breathe, flashed into my mind.

"What happened?" I asked her quietly.

"I made you breathe again. An ambulance came, and you stopped again. You went into cardiac arrest. They shocked you," Her eyes glazed, she wasn't speaking to me any more. She was reliving it. "They shocked you. You're body jumped. You eyes were open. You didn't respond so they did it again. I screamed. They weren't helping you! Angel held me back, he was crying. They wheeled you into the emergency room and we didn't know what the hell was going on. It took them two hours to do whatever they did, and in they end, you weren't even awake," Her voice trailed off and she met my eyes again. "If you ever, ever scare me like that again, I swear to God, I will kill you myself!" She got up and hugged me.

I didn't know what to do, so I just lay there, quietly. She pulled back and smiled a watery smile. This was raw emotion I was seeing from her. It scared me to see her like this. Throughout the day, as much as I was awake for it, she was there; she was there for me being Protective like an older sister would do. She wasn't letting anyone come and visit and I just want to reach out and hug her for loving me. Later on, I opened my eyes to hear Faith and Angel in midst of a fight.

"Let me see her, Faith," Angel said slowly, firmly.

"Hell no!" Faith hissed angrily. "She almost died 48 hours ago, Angel. She does not need this."

"And, who are you to decide?" Angel asked.

"I'm protecting her, damn it! You can't, so I have too!" Faith hissed furiously.

"You think I'm not protecting her?" Angel demanded. "You think that I don't lie awake at night, fearing that something will happen if I close my eyes. You think I don't hate it when she goes to school because I can't be there to protect her?!" Angel soft voice edged quiet hysteria. "I can't lose her again, Faith. Damn it, I can't."

I thought I heard tears in his voice. I slowly turned my head, bracing for the pain, and looked over at them. Angel's head was down, his eyes cast to the floor.

"It almost killed me when she died, Faith. I wish I would have died. But Anne is my chance. My hope…. I can't lose her, Faith, I can't."

I wanted desperately to hear more, but I couldn't keep my eyes open. And once again, I tumbled into the dark abyss of dreams.


I was standing in a field. The grass was burnt and blood stained. There were soot covered skeletons of house in my view. Corpses of humans and demons alike lay motionless, scattered everywhere. I saw another figure. A tall man, donned in a black leather duster and boots.

"Angel," I called to him.

He didn't turn or even acknowledge that he had heard me. I walked, feeling sick as my bare feet squished in remains and soot, toward him. I grabbed his shoulder.


He shrugged me off, staring at something I couldn't see from the angle. I moved from behind him and saw a gravestone.

Buffy Anne Summers


Beloved Sister

Devoted Friend

She Saved The World

A Lot

I flinched a bit, not expecting to see that. The wind blew and I shivered. It was bitterly cold in my dream. I wrapped my arms around myself and stood next to Angel. He breathed heavily, it sounding more like wheezing.

"Damn girl," He finally said, his voice edge with hate, or was it angry love?

"What?" I asked him.

"The one thing I always wanted to do was kill her. I wanted her to die by my hand. But, she was too stubborn for that. Then, we wanted her to die old and safe in her bed. She was too damn stubborn for that, too!" He yelled.

I caught the 'we' he said, but didn't comment on it. He turned to look at me and I was shocked to see his eyes weren't the ones I was accustomed too. These eyes were cold, angry, but still full of feeling.

"You're not Angel…are you?" I asked him slowly.

"Can't say I am, Princess," He murmured as he traced my cheek lightly.

"Who are you?" I asked him, feeling scared but safe at the same time.

"You know who I am," He answered.

"Cryptic much?" I asked him frustrated.

He turned away with a harsh sigh.

"It's just like her, you know?" He yelled to me. "She always had to do everything her own way."

"Buffy?" I asked him.

"Who the hell else?" He asked me.

"Did you love her?" I asked him.

He looked at me. "Everyone who met her loved her." He said.

"Did she love you?" I asked.

"No," He said. "She wanted to kill me. She loved Angel."

"If you're not Angel, who are you?" I asked him.

"What is this?" He demanded. "20 questions? I'm Angel's alter ego. His own big bad."

"Angelus," I said, with a long sigh.

He smirked. "He didn't tell you about me, did he?"

"What are you? His twin? His schizophrenic buddy in his head?" I asked so confused.

He smirked again." You could say that."

"Which one?"



Angelus didn't answer me. He was staring at something behind me. I turned and saw a girl dressed in white standing behind me. I was stunned to see that she looked just like me. Her blonde hair flowed behind her. Her eyes were clear, whereas mine held deep scars.

I trembled as I realized who she was.


"Damn you!" An enraged voice from behind me screamed.

It was Angelus, but I paid him no mind.

"It's you," I sad softly to her.

"And, it's you," She said back.

"You look just like me." I said, almost accusingly.

"No. It's you who looks like me." She answered back.

"How?" I asked her, shaking my head.

"The answers you want will come soon." She said her smile soft. "Don't be afraid of what's to come. Anne, you play a big role in all of this mess. They need you. He needs you," She said her face turned soft and she had that 'I'm in love," Look.

"Who?" I asked her.

"Angel," Angelus answered for her in a sardonic one.

Buffy looked at him with contempt. "I should have killed you when I had the chance."

"Too late for regrets, babe," Angelus mocked. "You're a little bit dead."

"Keep thinking that," Buffy sneered. "When you least expect it, I'll be there."

"Uh-huh." Angelus rolled his eyes.

All was quiet when in the blink of an eye, Angelus had Buffy by the throat, and he was screaming and sobbing.

"You stupid bitch!" He cried, squeezing her neck. "Why couldn't just let the damn twerp die?" He demanded. "It wasn't you who was supposed to die!"

She was crying too, her hands clawing at his. "Stop! I had too, you know I had too!"

I stepped back quietly, their emotions riding over me in waves. I didn't know what to do. I bumped into someone. I turned wildly and saw Angel. I knew it was Angel.

"He hates her so much that he loves her," He said quietly, taking my hand into his.

"Poetic," I remarked.

"Not really." He answered as he turned me away from them and walked with me.

"Why did you do it?" He asked me.

"What?" I asked him back.

He pointed and I could see myself running from him. Dodging cars and people to get away. I could se myself crying and screaming. I saw myself fall down the stairs and land on the concrete below, blood pooling around my head and my arm curled grotesquely away from me. I could see Angel screaming my name as he cradled me to him.

I touched my temple lightly. "They were in my head."


"Voices!. They were telling me to run to get away before I hurt you." I said softly.

"You running hurt me." He said.

I tried to walk away from him, but his soft grip on my hand held me in place.

The scene around us changed. We were now standing in the hospital. I could see Faith and Angel asleep in my room.

"Are you really here?" I asked him.

He turned away and looked at my sleeping, broken body. "I'm just a dream."


And with that, everything was gone and I was awake, staring at the ceiling. Had that really been a dream?


Part 19

As the long days wore on, I forgot about the dream. It always touched the e dge of my mind and the moment I tried to remember it, it fluttered away, le aving me confused and frustrated. I was ordered to stay at the hospital for another week. The extents of my injuries were severe, but not critical. I had fractured my arm during the fall, along with two broken fingers, and th ree dislocated ones. I had torn several ligaments in my knees that required them to do surgery. I had smacked my head against the stairs and my brain had swelled, resulting in my two-day coma. The gravel I had landed on had s craped up the right side of my face and arms. I was told it would scar with out cosmetic surgery.

I was a mess.

The doctor took my quiet brooding and withdrawal as depression and prescrib ed my some antidepressants.

Needless to say, I wasn’t depressed and I didn’t take any.

Faith played the role of the big sister to the T. She doted on me at the ho spital. She gathered stuff I would need from the house and brought it to th e hospital. And, when it was time for me to go home, she was there. I think that she felt guilty for being dead drunk the night everything happened.

As we drove home, the heavens wept sheets of heavy rain. That didn’t help my mood one bit. I was in haze of pain and medications and the cold rain m ade everything worse. Faith drove carefully and slowly down the traffic jam med highways because it was nearing winter and almost cold enough to freeze everything.

I laid in the back seat, my right foot propped up by pillow. Surgery had ma de it raw and painful. I had to wear a heavy brace. I needed my knee kept s traight and elevated whenever possible. I wasn’t supposed to walk, but th e nurses had given me crutches anyways.

My left arm was in an itchy cast and throbbed dully. I had gauze taped over the deep abrasions and cuts on the right side of my face and arm. Heavy ba ndaging covered the stitches on the back of my neck.

I was still a mess.

I must have been too quiet because Faith met my eyes in the review mirror.

"Hey, Doll?" She asked. "You ok?"

I tried to say something, but my voice was scratchy and breaking. "I…I ha ve a headache," I mumbled after clearing my throat.

"Bet ya do." She murmured only slightly accusingly.

I closed my eyes and didn’t open them until the car was parked and Faith was out. She opened my door and I slowly eased myself out of the car. I ign ored my bruised pride and leaned on Faith as we walked into the hotel.

It was business as usual. Clients littered the lobby. Cordelia was answerin g phones, Willow sitting at the computer, and Xander arguing with Anya. Ang el was no where to be found. Spike was coming down the stairs and he rushed to help as soon as he saw me. He gently eased me off of Faith. Faith narro wed her eyes at him, but didn’t say anything.

"Go get some sleep, Faith." He tenderly told her.

She nodded slowly, as if half asleep, and left us. Spike wrapped his arm ar ound my waist and carefully led me to one of the rooms on the first floor. I was told by the doctor that I had to stay off of my feet. That meant no s tairs.

"How’re you?" He asked me as I got situated.

My foot was propped up by pillows as was my back.

"Fine," I answered. "Considering it all."

He nodded, handing me the remote to the television and the phone.

"Is there anything else you want?" He asked me.

"Can I have an aspirin and some water, please?" I requested, hating that I could not get it myself.

He nodded once again and left.

I flicked on the TV and tried to wait patiently for Spike. But, my leg star ted to throb and I got angry.

"Spike!" I called hoarsely, trying to get up.

I couldn’t move around very well and tears of frustration watered my eyes . I moaned angrily and felt a hand on my shoulder.

I looked up and couldn’t believe who was standing in front of me.

It was Wes.

He was home.


I just sat there looking at him in shock. Then I leaned forward and hugged him fiercely.

"Hello darling," He murmured into my hair.

I then pushed him away from me, making him stumble.

"You asshole!" I screamed at him, my eyes burning.

"I see your vocabulary grown more defined since I’ve been gone." He dryly replied.

"You’ve been gone for weeks. Weeks! And, I’ve gotten no word that you ’re alright, even alive. And, the day I leave the hospital, you come back . Coincidence…hmmm, I don’t think so. Gee, feeling guilty there, Wes? T hat you dropped me with people I didn’t know, much less trust?" I took a deep breath, suddenly feeling tired. "What do you want?"

"My leads, my connections, they were all wrong. I was given various tips ab out where Quentin could be. I followed them all sheepishly. When all the ti me, he was right under our noses, watching your every move."

"He was here." I said emotionlessly.

"Yes." Wes sighed. "He was."

"I’m a sitting duck now. I can’t walk on my own, much less run. What’ s stopping him from swooping in here and taking me?" I asked, myself more t han him.

"He can’t set foot in here." Wes said assuredly.

"And, why is that?" I asked tiredly.

"I’ve gotten magical wards around this whole building, and around whereve r you are." He said.

I just looked at him and laughed hollowly. "It won’t stop him, Wes. You a nd I know it. He’ll come. And, when he wants me, he’ll have me." I paus ed. "But, until then, he won’t stand a chance."

Wes looked at me and smiled. He leaned over and hugged me, his own emotion sweeping over me.

"Know that I will always protect you." He whispered to me as I closed my ey es.

His words rang in my head as I drifted away, but I had to wonder, were they true?


Weeks went by like the wind until the accident seemed further and further a way. It could have been a nightmare, had my physical and emotional scars no t been there to remind me.

It had been complete pandemonium when I had returned to school. Everyone ha d wanted to know what had happened. Even complete strangers would come up t o me. I told everyone that asked that I had been mugged. Keith had put a st op to everyone’s constant questions. Every time someone asked, I was bomb arded with memories of myself losing it, fearing that voice. It always drai ned me, no matter how much I tried to make myself forget it. Keith had seen it. He suspected more had gone on, but didn’t press. I was so very grate ful for that, for him. He hovered around me at school, protecting me.

My white knight.

I began to grow closer to him, having no one else, really.

Angel had pulled away from me. He was convinced that it was his fault. I sa w it every time I looked into his eyes. He was shutting me out, leaving me alone. He didn’t know how much that hurt me. I stopped trying to reach hi m. I stopped caring.

If Angel didn’t want me…that was fine. As much as it hurt, I was not go ing to wait around for him forever. I wasn’t strong enough. Though, I hat ed using Keith, I found myself slowly falling for him. Maybe someday I coul d love someone like him. Maybe.

I was slowly healing. I had found out that whatever had happened to my had affected my healing capabilities. I had had many severe injuries, my body w asn’t capable of healing them all, I suppose. My arm was still in a cast, and my leg was still in a brace. The stitches were healed, though I had a long scar on my face. With the right makeup, it was barely noticeable.

Wes was always busy. He was trying in vain to keep Quentin from me or me fr om Quentin, depending how you looked at it. I think he was also avoiding An gel and myself. I had heard them arguing late one night. They were not on t he best of terms. And, that was putting it lightly.


"I left her in your care! I thought you would protect her." Wes had hissed to Angel.

"I did. She’s alive. She’s safe!" Angel yelled.

"Barely!" Wes laughed. "Do you know what she went through in Quentin’s ca re? I don’t think so. You, know nothing, when it comes to her." Wes pause d. "She’s not Buffy. Do not turn her into Buffy. Do not make her fall in love with you!"

Angel was deadly quiet. "Do not talk about her. Do not talk about her! Do N OT say her name!" He growled.


I had left after that. I didn’t want to hear it. Didn’t care to listen. If they wanted to kill each other, more power to them. I did not want to g et involved. I couldn’t choose sides.

Faith had been acting strangely, as of late. She had been super moody and a pparently had the flu. I chalked it up to Spike and PMS, but, then again, t his was Faith we’re talking about.

With no one really to talk too in the hotel, I gave more of my attentions t o Keith. He was my escape. With him, I wasn’t a warrior. I wasn’t a gir l without a past. I was just me. A girl. I loved being with him. It was new . It was a blast of fresh air to me. I felt free with him.

We were going on our fifth date tonight.

Keith was a gentleman. He treated me with respect and kindness. He was prot ective of me, but not possessive. He didn’t push me to do anything I didn ’t want or feel ready for. It seemed, right now, he was the only thing I had to look forward too in my life.

"Ohh, someone’s daydreaming. About a guy." A singsong voice called from m y doorway.

I looked up, my face flushing. It was Faith.

She smiled as she came into the room.

"Excited?" She asked me.

"Yes. Of course," I paused. "Nervous too."


"Everybody’s going to meet him tonight." I said, a fluttery feeling enter ing my belly.

"So?" Faith asked.

"I want everybody to like him. I don’t want everyone to hate him because ‘Our-little-Anne-is-growing-up’." I mocked.

Faith snorted. "You’ve been watching too many movies." She said, shaking her head. "Shouldn’t you get ready?"

I looked at the clock. I had a little more than an hour until he came.

"I should." I sighed, gazing into the mirror and myself. "What am I going t o wear? I look horrible." I sighed.

"No, you don’t." Faith said, shaking her head. "Doll, you’re beautiful. Look past the brace and the cast. You had an accident, they won’t be the re forever." She met my eyes in the mirror. "’Sides, if this Keith is as much of a gentleman as you say, hon, you ain’t got nothin’ to worry abo ut."

I shrugged.

"Oh, stop. Be happy. You’re knight in shining armor is about to take you on the date of your dreams. Let’s get you ready." Faith said.

I raised an eyebrow at her. Keith hadn’t told me where we were going. But , I suspected he had told Faith so she could get me ready.

Faith led me to her closet and pulled out a long black dress. She held it u p against me and smiled.

"This should fit." She murmured, more to herself.

She helped me slip it on, gently pulling it over me and maneuvering my bad arm through the tiny straps.

It was as if I had instantly transformed. The dress was long, with a subtle slit reaching my knee. It had a heart-shaped neck, gently accenting the sw ell of my breasts.

"Sit down." Faith told me.

I did and she went into her closet and pulled something out. My eyes widene d when I saw it. It was a smaller walking brace for my knee. Instead of goi ng straight to my thigh, like my current one did, this one just covered my knee and helped it bend, without putting pressure on my torn ligaments.

"Oh my God!” I murmured. "When did you get this?" I asked her.

"I picked it up today." Faith smiled. "Doc said that it’s ok for you to u se it, but not extensively. Don’t wear yourself out. Can’t put too much stress on your knee, blah, blah, blah."

We put it on over the bruised, swollen flesh that once was my knee. Faith d id my hair, pulling it into an upsweep with a black clip. Long curls and te ndrils fell on my back. My makeup was subtle black eyeliner and some gloss for my lips. When I looked into the mirror, I was a different person. I smi led. I felt beautiful.

Faith handed me a pair of low heels. "The last touch." She smiled.

I nodded and put them on.

The transformation was complete. And, not a moment too soon.

Keith was here.


When I came down the stairs, what I saw amused me and, angered me. Angel ha d been scarce in, my life for weeks now. I barely ever saw him. But, as fat e would have it, he didn’t make time for me. No. He made time to come up from his little bat cave to antagonize and glare at my boyfriend.

I avoided his eyes as he became aware of me. I did not dress up for him. An gel did not deserve me. This was not his night. It was mine and Keith’s ’. Angel had forfeited everything.

I smiled at Keith, meeting his sparkling eyes. He looked at me with awe and walked to me, hugging me.

"You look gorgeous." He whispered into my ear.

"You don’t look too bad yourself." I smiled, tugging on his tie.

I could feel Angel’s gaze burning into my back. But, I would not let him get to me tonight.

Not tonight.

"We need to go." Keith said. "We don’t want to be late."

"What time are you coming back?" Angel asked loudly.

I shot him a deadly glare. "We’ll be back, when we get back." I bit out.

"I need a time." Angel said.

"Angel!" Faith called form the landing. "Let them go. They’re responsible ."

"Remember, kiddies. No drinking, no drugs, or other recreational activities . Always use a rubber!" Spike called gleefully from the den.

"Oh my god…" I mumbled, mortified beyond the telling.

Keith laughed and rubbed my back.

"I’ll have her back at a reasonable time, Mr…Angel." Keith smiled.

Angel glowered and said nothing.

"Have fun!" Faith called as we walked out.

I buried my face in Keith’s shoulder. "I am so sorry you had to meet them ."

Keith kissed the top of my head. "It was amusing." He murmured.

I scoffed. "Yes, amusing to you. You’re not the one they were trying to e mbarrass."

Keith laughed softly and opened the door of his car and helped me in. He sh ut my door, like the gentleman he was. He got into his side and started the car.

"Where are we going?" I asked his as we pulled out.

I idly checked the rearview mirror and the curtains from a lit second story window, they were parted strangely, as if someone had been looking out...w atching me. I narrowed my eyes and turned my attention to Keith.

"Well?" I asked him.

"It’s a surprise." He told me, smiling.

"Can I have a hint?" I pleaded, pouting.

"No way."


As it turned out, Keith had a big night planned for us. He had parked the c ar in an unmarked lot and had taken out a blindfold.

"Put it on." He had said.

"Excuse me?" I eyed him, wondering just what this was for.

He looked at me and laughed.

"Get your mind out of the gutter, Reynolds. I promise, the blindfold is jus t for you eyes, and only your eyes. No matter how tempting anything else is ." He assured me.

The full meaning of his words made me blush and I carefully tied the blindf old over my head, hating the fact that I was vulnerable in this state.

Keith carefully took me by the elbows and led me wherever we were going.

After my heel slipped on the rocks for the fifth time, Keith sighed heavily and let go of me.

"What are you doing?" I panicked, as I groped through cold air to find him.

I felt as if I was going to fall. That is, until Keith swept me into his ar ms. He held me carefully, as if I was spun of glass, his grip tight to keep me from jostling in his arms.

"What are you doing?" I laughed as he held me.

I assumed we went into a building because a blast of warm air hit my cold s elf.

"Almost there." Keith assured me.

I could hear a smile in his voice and began to feel nervous. Butterflies sw armed in my belly, making me giggle softly, anxiously.

"Now, I’m going to set you down. Don’t panic, or you’ll totter right off the heels you’re wearing." He joked.

"Haha. Funny." I scoffed playfully. "We’ll see whose laughing once you ha ve on the blindfold."

He gently set me down and made me jump when he whispered into my ear.

"I hope I’ll have on the blindfold. Soon." He whispered, all teasing and joking gone from his voice.

I sighed wearily, my mind suddenly drudging up all kinds of strange scenari os that I could be in at this moment and not know it.

Keith took the blindfold off gently and I opened my eyes, squinting in the dim candlelight.

I gasped once my eyes had adjusted. We were in a small, yet classy restaura nt. Keith had gotten us a corner table, away from all of the hustle and bus tle. There were six long stemmed white roses in a vase in the middle of the scarlet covered table. Two long red candles burned for us.

I felt my heart swell and I met Keith’s eyes, trying not to lose myself i n my emotion.

"Oh my goodness," I breathed out softly, a smile stretching out across my f ace. "Keith, this is beautiful." I whispered and reached to hug him. I wrap ped my arms around his neck and sniffled softly. "No one has ever done anyt hing like this for me." I murmured. "Never."

Keith pulled back, his crystal-like eyes searching mine. "You really like i t?" He asked me.

I gave him a watery smile. "I love it."

I pulled him to me and kissed him softly.


Dinner had been…magnificent. There was no other way to describe it. I was in awe at the lengths that Keith had gone for tonight. If one thing was ma de clear, it was that Keith had very strong feelings for me. And I, I thoug ht that I just might be growing feelings for him, too.

Our dinner was wonderful French cuisine with names that I could just not pr onounce.

"Anne, I have to confess something." He had suddenly said after dinner, whe n we were stopped in the driveway of my home.

"And, what might that be?" I asked him.

"I told you that when I first saw you, you intrigued me." He said.

I nodded, remembering how he’d said he wanted o know more about ‘the gi rl with the British accent’.

"And I’ve told you how much that you mean to me. How much I care about yo u." He said. "It seems absurd to say this, but that doesn’t change the tr uth in my words. Anne, I think I’m falling for you." He whispered.

A small smile set on my face, I leaned slightly forward. "Thank you." I tol d him sincerely. "Thank you so much." I repeated softly. The look on his fa ce was puzzlement and I decided to clarify. "You don’t know a lot about m y past. About how I was raised." Or, lack thereof, I added to myself. "Clif f Notes Version? Not like most children. I don’t know my parents. And, th ere are a handful of people that I truly trust in this world." I paused, th inking carefully about how I should proceed. "I’ve never really known lov e. I’ve always read that it’s this powerful emotion that takes over you r senses that leaves you prisoner to it’s own desires. I truly don’t kn ow if that’s what love is. But, I think your showing me." I paused, sniff ling. "I’m not like other people, you know that. I’m not popular. I’m not a supermodel, nor do I want to be one. People don’t understand me an d half of the time, I feel like I don’t even know who I am. But you," I s aid, looking at him. "You’re still here. Even after all of these weird occurrences," I gestured to my arm. "You’re sti ll here. That’s got to mean something." I laughed self-consciously. "List en to me. Blathering on and on, and you probably do even know what I’m tr ying to say."

"Go on." Keith said softly.

I sighed and tried to compose myself, my cheeks burning. "You accept me for me. No questions asked. No explanations needed. You’re here for me when I need you. Which is a lot more than I can say for other people." My mind f lashed briefly to Angel, before I pushed him away. My eyes were tearing and I dabbed at them, trying not to smear my makeup.

My eyes were wide and watery as I met Keith’s gaze. His eyes were intense and his smile purely happy. I laughed a small, breathy laugh as his mouth descended to mine. This was unlike any other kiss I had experiences. I coul d feel something that just might be love radiating from his body to mine. H is lips were soft and warm on mine.

I sniffled and he smiled.

He kissed my forehead and we softly said our goodbyes. He waited in his car until I was at the front door and I turned back, waving slightly.

I went in, and he left.

I would always remember this night.

Especially after what was to come.


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