The reality shift occurred when the original Buffy Summers—that is to say, the Buffy who made the wish—had decided to go home that night at the beach. This time, Buffy told herself that someone had to have been called after Kendra. As far as she was concerned, the other Slayer could take over. Before, she wanted to go back to please Giles. Now she couldn’t have cared less. She knew she was important, but this time, she wanted to live her own life.
The first major change happened three weeks later. It was midnight, and Anne had just gotten off of work. She didn’t have a car or a bus pass but it didn’t matter.
At seventeen, the girl known as Anne Winters was completely on her own. It didn’t bother her as it once had; indeed, she had stopped caring what others thought about her. She was the quiet loner at the diner where she worked, and she didn’t think that that would change when she started her senior year at West L.A. High.
However, she had finally accepted that she would always be the Slayer. Well, a Slayer since there was two of them when Kendra was alive and another was always called at death.
Maybe that was why she stalking through the lower east side with one hand wrapped around a stake. This area of town was once full of life and energy, but many of the inhabitants had become happy meals on legs. Now it was far too normal for the area to be deserted by humans. This, of course, meant that demons and vampires seemed to thrive here. A simpler explanation could have been that her apartment was located at the edge of the neighborhood.
Surveying the empty streets, the blonde picked up the pace. The Slayer knew best of all what could happen on lonely nights. Suddenly her ears picked up on a noise that seemed out of place in the worst side of town.
The rev of car engines were coming from about a block away, and they weren’t the third-hand motors that were all anyone in the neighborhood could afford. Even from where she was Anne could hear the newness. It was in the purr of the engines and in the way the ground trembled.
Curious to the end, the young woman followed the noises. And, when she tracked down the cause, ran straight into a familiar figure. “Lily!” She hadn’t seen the girl she’d saved since that fateful night even though Lily was the reason why she hadn’t chickened out and gone back to Sunnydale.
“Anne, what’re you doing here?” Lily’s wide green eyes testified to how surprised she was. Street racing wasn’t the type of thing she’d have thought that Anne was into. Boxing, wrestling, and even martial arts fit into the things she knew about Anne. Illegal racing definitely did not in any way, shape, or form.
“What exactly is this?”
Pulling the astonished girl farther into the crush of spectators, Lily smiled. Now she understood. “This is a street race. It’s not high stakes tonight, but they’re separating the amateurs from the pros. Next week, one of the best teams in the Americas is coming to recruit.”
Lily didn’t tell the younger girl that she had used another driver’s car to get into the running. Moreover, she’d won her race. That meant that she’d race the next week when the Toretto team came through.
“Isn’t this illegal?” Anne had to admit that the racing was producing an adrenaline rush even though she was just a spectator. But a runaway—no, a leftover—couldn’t get caught doing something illegal. That was a surefire way to get sent back.
And she would walk through the fires of hell again before she’d let that
happen. The other Slayer could take her place. She could take Buffy’s friends. She could even wear Buffy’s clothes and fight Buffy’s enemies. But she would never meet Anne.
Anne had stopped referring to herself as Buffy because she was tired of the responsibilities that went with her name. So she’d worked hard to make certain that Anne was different from Buffy Summers. Not so very different, but enough that the differences were still there. However, there was a small part of Anne that was most definitely more a part of Buffy. And that part was the one that had led to Buffy torching her gym. It had helped her fall for both Pike and Angel. Moreover, it had kind of led her into this mess.
“Yeah, it is,” Lily admitted, “but you wouldn’t believe what the cops overlook.” Even as she said the words, though, Lily knew that Anne would. She knew it just as well as she knew her own name. So she just stood back and waited for the other girl’s words.
“Try me,” Anne challenged. “Because ignoring racing just doesn’t seem to be at the same caliber of stupidity as ignoring the supernatural.”
Lily closed her eyes for just a moment, remembering what Anne had called a Hell dimension. It had been Hell, too. But Anne had saved them, and nearly left to go back to Sunnydale. “Why didn’t you leave L.A.? You have a home and a mother back in Sunnydale, I remember that.”
Anne sighed and stared at the races. “This isn’t the time or place, Lils. Come on.”
As Anne dragged her away from the racing, Lily asked, “Where are we going?”
“To my place,” the other blonde answered. “More accurately, it’s my home.”
Anne stared into Lily’s eyes for just a moment. “My life wasn’t any easier than yours, Lily. I just happened to hide the truth better.”
As she followed after her hero, Lily’s brain spun. How could this strong young woman have gone through something bad? Who would have *wanted* to hurt her like that?
And more than anything, how did Anne keep fighting? She hadn’t crumbled inside herself the way Lily had. She was still strong and confident. And she blinked at Anne’s next words.
“I want to get away from here. My father still has a house in Malibu; what happens if he sees me grocery shopping or waitressing? He may not like me all that much, but my cover would most definitely be blown. Want to leave with me?”
“Hell yeah,” Lily grinned. “But we have to keep our fingers in street racing. More than that, we have to wait one more week.” As she said that, her thoughts wandered back across the years to that fateful day. Ten years later, and she could still feel the adrenaline of that long ago race.
“I’ll tell you one day,” was the quiet response. “Now, didn’t you say something about a heart-to-heart?”
“I was hoping you’d forget.”
A/N: Alright, so thanks for the reviews. I’m sorry it took so long but we didn’t have internet for the twelve days we were gone and I’m still catching up on school work.
Please review because all polls are still open. Also, I like feedback just as much as the next person.