None of the places Buffy went to were randomly pulled off a map or anything like that. In 2002 I spent some time in the USA (I’m an Aussie girl) and they are all places I either stopped at or visited. I spent the majority of my time in Traverse City Michigan (which is mentioned in this chapter) and trust me when I say that even in Summer Lake Michigan is freezing cold.
Quote 6, what c an I say I have a large repetoir
"I am the Walrus koo koo ka choo" I am the Walrus — The Beatles
I will never know
Myself until I do this on my own
And I will never feel
Anything else until my wounds are healed
I will never be
Anything 'til I break away from me
And I will break away
I'll find myself today
Somewhere I belong — Linkin Park
There was something almost therapeutic about wandering through the cemetery at night. No matter how morose it may be, for Buffy it almost felt like she was coming home. Here inside the Restfield Cemetery in the dead of night was where in Sunnydale she felt most comfortable.
The irony of it was not lost on her. Neither were the sound of almost silent footfalls a hundred meters or so to her left. Either a fledgling had newly arisen or Faith was on patrol. It could have been either but it didn’t really make a difference to Buffy.
She turned and walked away from them. Not willing to face anyone at this stage, there was something she needed to do, and she needed to do it alone.
People ignored her as she wandered slowly along the darkened streets of the Californian town. No one stopped her and no one seemed to recognise her. It had been six years after all and while it seemed that the outside world had kept turning and changing, to her Sunnydale had not, and probably wouldn’t any time soon.
A world of possibilities and she was back here.
She wondered what would have happened if she had come back all those years ago, or even if she had never left in the first place. Would she still be alive? Would she still be with Angel or would he have left even then?
Would she still have felt herself freezing from the inside out.Traverse City, Michigan
The winds whipping in off the Great Lake Michigan were frigid as Anne sat on the shoreline not caring about the cold that was cutting into her like a knife. Her days were the same as just about any other day she had existed in over the last year. She went to work at the café every morning, stayed the entire day working double shifts because she was the only one willing to do it.
She didn’t mind because it meant that she didn’t have to think. It meant she didn’t have to feel.
A year ago today Whistler had stood behind her on a beach in Los Angeles and told her that she would fight again. Well she was waiting. When was it going to start? Where was the person or being that was going to tell her that it was time?
There was no one. No one that cared whether she fought or not. Whether she died or not. Not even she cared anymore. She knew that the life she was leading was no way to live, it wasn’t really living though was it. It was more akin to existing. She had her work and her thoughts, but that was all. She didn’t think she even had feelings anymore, but that didn’t really matter.
If you had feelings then people could use them against you.
No one would use her. Not again, not the way that… he had, and to some extent that the rest of them had.
Even now in summer it was cool, but that didn’t stop the kids that were down the beach partying. Who they were she didn’t care, but… she could have been one of them, she was almost tempted to join them. See what it was like, partying on the beach, not a care in the world… but she didn’t.
Lying back to stare up at the cloudless sky innumerable stars winked back at her.
Maybe it was time; maybe she could be one of those people who did it, who succeeded against all odds. It wouldn’t be hard, she was eighteen now and didn’t need a parent or guardians permission to enroll in a new school.
She could start again, from the beginning.
But first she needed to get out of this town. It was just to damn cold for her.
Her next stop after Traverse City had been Annapolis Maryland. She liked Maryland and had been there a little the year before. It had seemed as good a place as any to start over. Slowly over the next year as she worked towards her high school diploma at night school she began to unfreeze, she let herself start to feel again, not that any human could see the difference, but she could feel it.
Anne Summers had begun to take some joy in life again. It was easier this time though. She hadn’t had a Watcher breathing down her neck to fulfill her ‘sacred duties’. No Vampires for her to slay or demons to defeat, she hadn’t let anyone get close enough to be considered a friend. Her Parents weren’t there to question her about every little thing she did… but that was the one thing she had missed.
And now here she was, Buffy Summers back in Sunnydale. She had considered coming back but the longer she stayed away the harder it had gotten for her to even consider coming back.
Her thoughts were cut off abruptly as Buffy reached her destination. Not that she really wanted to come here but she knew that she needed to.
The Crawford Street Mansion
She stood there in the dark, not even a street lamp to guide her way, but she knew it was still empty. No one would be willing to live in it for many years to come. It could never be a home for even 6 years ago the feeling of death had permeated the entire building. When she had finally allowed herself to dwell on the events of that morning she could remember the shiver that had made its way through her entire body as she entered the Mansion. Even now she wanted to spend as little time as possible here.
Unbidden her legs moved to carry her forward towards the front door of the mansion. She reached out to pull the door open and her body slid through as small an opening as possible.
Taking in her surroundings she couldn’t see all that much of what was left of the mansion, but what her eyes couldn’t see her memory filled in. Walking further inside the memories seemed almost tangible. The clang of swords, the sound of a car bursting through wood and metal, the smell of blood.
The sense of doom.
His words came back to her with almost painful clarity as she dropped to her knees right in the spot she had run him through with a sword over 6 years earlier."No friends, no weapon, no hope" he swung the sword almost carelessly in her direction as he took slow yet purposeful steps towards her.
She closed her eyes knowing that this was her ending. Knowing that she was going to die any second now and the rest of the world would follow soon afterwards.
"Take away all that and what’s left"
She could feel the sun on her face. Maybe it was the last time she would ever feel the sun. After all she had failed hadn’t she?
‘What’s left?’ the question repeated itself in her mind. She could feel her heat beat slowing down, her hands clench into fists and then relax again, the ache of her muscles as they tried to recover from the constant abuse of the last 12 hours.
Her eyes whipped open just as the sword started it’s descent towards her head. Without even having to think about it her hands moved to clamp the thin blade between them in order to stop is descent.
She had believed him, when he said that she had no one left. Why? She didn’t know but at the time she did.
In the dank silence of the abandoned mansion a sob echoed out from the diminutive blond who was currently the only occupant of the building.
Moments later another, followed by another as her sobs wracked her entire body. She rocked back and forth hugging herself as she allowed the emotions to run free.
She didn’t hear footsteps closing in on her, nor had she heard the door admitting another person only moments before, but she felt Willows arms wrap around her and hold her tight as she cried for everything she had lost.
Life…21st December 2004
Buffy sat and looked silently out the window as Olivia steered the car past the ‘Now Leaving Sunnydale’ sign and away from Sunnydale. She was going back to New York, Buffy knew that she didn’t belong in Sunnydale anymore. New York was her home now, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t come back for a visit or that they couldn’t visit her.
Her Mom had already organised to fly over for New Years Eve. Allowing a bittersweet smile to grace her features Buffy sat back and relaxed she had two hours before Olivia turned the driving over to her, and they ultimately had a long trip ahead of them. Now that she was fully healed she could drive for more than an hour at a time and had naturally more stamina than the detective did.
Olivia spared a quick glance at Buffy not willing to take her eyes off the road for a longer amount of time.
"So, what are your plans for the Christmas Dinner?"
"Don’t have any yet" Buffy shuffled down slightly to get more comfortable. "Why?"
"I believe there’s a meal with your name on it at the Stabler’s. You interested?"
Buffy smiled as she remembered Olivia telling her about her Partner and his family on the trip out to California.
They sounded like the quintessential American family.
"Sure why not. If I’m going to do this thing called living what better place to start"
Buffy let her eyes drift to the scenery rushing by and smiled to herself.
She’d found home.
The End.End AN:
and that’s all I have to say about that.
Dude what a ride, I can honestly say that this is the hardest story I’ve ever had to write. To all my readers and reviewers a ginormous thank you. My beta Alex once again you rock I have no idea how I would have done this without you.
If your interested I’m starting work on a third instalment of the ‘Falling’ and ‘Landed’… well I guess you would call it a series now. I don’t know when I’ll start posting, I actually need to start writing it first and hope to be starting it ASAP depends on how RL pans out.