Back Where We Belong
Pattyanne 's Fic
Kings of Mercia
LoobyLoos' Fic
Jen's Fic

Part one....

She had always wanted to live by the beach.

Now that she was actually doing it, she'd found that
it wasn't everything she'd imagined it to be.

Not that it wasn't beautiful. It was. The beaches
in Northern California were very different from the ones
she was used to, the ones she'd spent her summers on
ages ago...before all hell had broken loose in her life.

The first difference she'd noticed was the ocean it-
self. She'd gotten a good look at it as they'd traveled
up the coast, and the farther north they got, the darker
the water became. By the time they hit Carmel, it was
gray and frothy, churning against the huge rocks that
lined most of the shore. This water had not a hint of
the turquoise blue shades she'd seen further south.

The beaches were not the friendly playgrounds she'd
remembered from her childhood. There were no expanses
of smooth, uncluttered sand warming in an afternoon sun,
no fire pits, or playgrounds, or volleyball nets.
The sand up north was cold and wet, and strewn with
thick ropes of kelp, twisted sculptures of driftwood, and
sea glass. Walking barefoot on it was just asking for

Which was just as well, because it wasn't warm enough
to walk barefoot. In fact, not only did you need shoes and
thick socks, but you'd best have on a heavy sweater under
a jacket if you wanted to keep out the chill.

Buffy knew this, because she spent a great deal of time
walking the beach that was less than a mile from her

The first day she'd gone out for a walk, the sky had
fooled her. Sun had been splashing playfully on the small
patio outside her bedroom. She'd thrown on a pair of
shorts and a t-shirt, shoved her feet into sandals, and
left the house with nothing but her keys...only to return
a half an hour later, shivering and damp.

She'd learned her lesson, though, and the next time
she'd ventured out, she had been dressed for the occasion.

Now, she hit the beach almost every day, and it
hadn't taken her long to discover one reason why this
beach was better than the ones she'd been raised near.

It was nearly empty.

She could walk for miles and never see more than one
or two other people. She left them alone, and they returned
the favor. Buffy had no interest in making friends. She
wanted to be alone, and lonely.

It was precisely what she deserved.


They were all gone now, the people she had loved. One
by one, she'd driven them away.

Giles was back in England, trying to scrape together
a new council of watchers. He called once a week, and
they talked for a few minutes, but it wasn't the same
anymore. Too much pain and too many harsh words
had passed between them, words that could never be
taken back, deeds that could never be undone.

He had taken most of the remaining potentials with
him. Faith and Robin had gone along, too, and Buffy had
heard vague tales of a possible school being set up,
strictly for the education and the training of slayers.

She didn't care. She really didn't.

Willow and Kennedy had continued up the coast and
were living in San Francisco, the last she'd heard,
running a magic shop. Apparently, Wil had finally
been able to develop and maintain control of her powers.

Buffy wasn't interested.

And Xander. Xander had stayed for a while. Had pretended
that everything would be all right. He'd found a job in
Monterey, and a small apartment not too far from her own
house. In the evenings, he would show up and she would
make dinner. They talked a little. Sometimes watched a
movie. He would go home, and she would go to bed. On
the weekends, he would pick her up and take her on little
sightseeing tours. Fisherman's Wharf...Cannery Row...the
new aquarium.

But she never took him to her beach. Didn't want him there.
Not in 'her' place. The place she went to be alone...and
think...and wish to God in heaven that she had done things

In the end, even Xander left. After more than one argument
passed between them, with cold accusatory words being
flung about like slaps across the face, he had packed his
things and given up the lease on his apartment. Said good-

And still....she didn't care.


Dawn was the only one she could talk to now. The only
one who really understood. But Dawn had school, and
friends, and didn't always have the time to listen.

Or the inclination.

Which was all right. There just wasn't that much to
say anymore. Life had gone on, and Buffy was fine
with watching it from the sidelines. Someday, she'd
get back in the game.

When she felt like it. When she had a reason to.


The timer on the microwave went off at the exact
same moment the phone rang. She took the warmed
up pizza out and set it on the kitchen table, then reached
for the phone.

"Hello...Who?....Oh, yeah...How are you?...Okay...I'm
sitting...Yes...Wha...WHAT?...WHEN?...Oh, god...Yes!
I'll be on the next flight out...NO!...No, please don't...Yes.
Thank you for calling...I will..."

Buffy slammed the handset back into the phone's
cradle so hard that it let out a tinny 'ding'. Anger began
to simmer inside of her as she dug up her wallet and
pulled out a credit card.

When she had the one she wanted, she reached for
the phone and punched in the number for information. She
scribbled down a phone number, disconnected the line and

"Yes, hi. When's your next flight to L.A.?... Okay, I need to
be on it...Buffy Summers...Just one...That's fine....Master-

Part two.....

The terminal at Monterey Peninsula Airport was
crowded with travelers.

Buffy hadn't been on a plane since the horrors of
9/11 had occurred, and she found things to be quite
different. For one thing, security was unbelievably
tight. Everybody was searched and re-searched, then
run through a metal detector by airline employees
who seemed to be viewing each passenger as a
potential terrorist.

After removing all of her jewelry and dropping her
keys in the little dish, her tote bag still set off the
alarm. She was unceremoniously hauled to one side,
and made to dump the contents out for inspection.Her
antique silver compact turned out to be the culprit.

Buffy was beginning to wonder if she would have to
provide a hair sample and a pap smear in order to get
through security. She stared at the wall clock, knowing
she'd have to sprint through the airport to catch her
flight, and that action in itself would probably bring
another avalanche of security guards down on her.

Finally, when she'd reached the point where she was
ready to begin knocking heads together, she was allowed
to proceed. Forcing herself not to run like a lunatic, she
made it to the gate in time to be the very last passenger

As the plane ascended, the hassles of travel began
to fade from her mind, and the anger that had been
fueling her actions returned in full force. She stared
out the window, one thought reverberating over and
over again in her head...**This time, I'm gonna kill that
damn vampire**


She stepped out of the terminal at LAX, into a patch
of hot sunshine. Unfortunately, by this time, she was
so used to overcast skies and chilly weather, that she
recoiled from the glare, fumbling in her bag for a pair
of sunglasses.

A taxi pulled up to the curb, and she flagged it down.

Yanking open the door, she practically fell into the
back seat of the cab. The driver hardly gave her time
to close the door behind her before he swung the taxi
out into the traffic pattern.

"Where to, young lady?" he inquired, checking her
out in his rear view.

"1127 Spring Street in Los Angeles," Buffy
replied, reading from a scrap of paper. "It's a law
firm...Wolfram and Hart."

The driver nodded. "Know it well. About fifteen minutes
from here."

"Good," Buffy said quietly, crumpling the paper in a
fiercely clenched fist. "Cause I can't wait to get


It actually only took twelve minutes.

As the cab pulled up in front of the building, Buffy's hand
was already opening her door. She tossed a twenty
dollar bill into the front seat, and stepped out onto the

Craning her neck back, she stared up...up...up.

It was a huge stone and steel monolith of a building,
at least fifteen floors. It blended perfectly with the
other buildings lining the street, clearly announcing the
fact that this was a high priced set up.

The black marble facade boasted a tasteful sign in
thick gold script...Wolfram and Hart Ltd...
followed by the street address.

Taking a firm hold on her temper, Buffy shoved open
the glass doors and walked inside.

Ignoring the reception desk, she headed straight for
a bank of elevators. Two security guards followed
behind her, but she was in no mood to deal with any
more questions or demands. She walked onto the
elevator and punched the button for the floor she
wanted, glaring at the approaching men in a way that
meant serious business if they even thought of trying
to stop her.

"Buffy Summers," she announced, as the doors began
to slide smoothly shut. "Feel free to call your boss and
tell him I'm on my way up."


The ride was smooth and silent, with only the
changing floor numbers giving any indication of

The bell dinged melodically, and the double
doors opened out into a lobby area. Buffy stepped
off the elevator, her shoes sinking into plush beige

On one side of the lobby, there was a reception desk
and standing behind it was....

She blinked hard, tugging off her sunglasses and
pushing them into her bag.

No, her eyes weren't fooling her. Harmony Kendall
was still there, staring back at her with a huge cow-
eyed look that made Buffy want to slap her silly.

Just the sight of the female vamp angered the slayer,
bringing back every transgression the stupid bitch had
ever committed.

A door suddenly opened on the other side of the
desk, giving Buffy a brand new target for her rage.

The minute she saw him, she dropped her bag and
crossed the room towards him at a quick pace.

When he looked up from a stack of papers in his
hand and spotted her, his eyes widened and his lips
silently formed her name.

Disregarding any insipid greeting he was in the
process of giving her, she grabbed hold of his shirt and
shoved him up against the wall, furious all over again
at his deception.

Pinning him to the marble, like a bug on a hat pin,
she glared up into his surprised face, her eyes
flashing and sparking with rage.

Without giving him the chance to speak, she
practically screamed the words at him....


Part three.....

Angel stared down at the small blond whirlwind that
had a death grip on the front of his shirt, his mouth
gaping in surprise.

Her fury mounting, Buffy pulled him forward and slammed
him back again, hard enough to make his head crack
against the wall.

"You knew!" she said angrily. "You knew how I felt
about him...and you didn't tell me he was back! I
had to find out from your hired help!"

Security guards were beginning to arrive on the
scene, but Angel raised one hand and held them

Everyone in the office had stopped in the middle
of whatever they were doing to watch the drama

The ones with no idea who Buffy was were
obviously wondering how long their boss was
going to tolerate being pushed around by a girl
half his size.

"Buffy," Angel said quietly. "Calm down and listen to
me. I..."

"Why?" she demanded, tightening her fists in his
shirt front. "What can you possibly say that's gonna
put you in a good light? What, are you gonna tell me
it was all for my own good? That you were only
thinking of ME the whole time?"

He stared down into green eyes that were burning with
the heat of her accumulated rage. "I WAS thinking of
you," he insisted. "I..."

"Well, STOP thinking of me!" she yelled. "Damn you,
Angel! When are you gonna stop interfering in my life?
Just who in the HELL do you think you are?"

Angel was beginning to get angry as well. "I think I'm
someone who cares about you," he said through
slightly clenched teeth. "Someone who...who wants
what's best for you."

"Oh, spare me," Buffy said, using the sarcastic tone
she'd learned from another vampire. "You don't know me
anymore...and you have no idea what's best for me. You
don't get to make those judgment calls. I am NOT the
sixteen year old child who fell in love with you once upon
a time."

He looked at her with wounded eyes. "I realize that."

Hardening her heart against his "kicked puppy" ex-
pression, she said, "Then realize this...I don't love you
anymore. Not...not the way I love him."

Unexpected tears welled in her eyes when she
remembered her last moments with her champion.

"He died...thinking that I didn't love him," she choked,
trying to swallow around the knot of pain that had been
firmly lodged in her throat for months. "I never got
a chance to prove it to him, to make him believe."

Somewhere off in the distance beyond her heartache,
she heard the soft 'ding' of the elevator. Although the
sound registered in her brain, her back was turned, and
she didn't see a woman with long brown hair step out
of the car. She took in the scene being played out
between Angel and Buffy, then turned and got back
into the elevator.

"You," Buffy went on, "you had no right to keep him
from me. Not when you knew...."

"You didn't tell me you loved him," Angel replied
defensively. "How could I know..."

This lame excuse brought all of Buffy's anger
screaming back to the surface. "I told you that he
was in my heart...and that was ALL you needed to

The eyes of their captive audience bounced back
and forth from Buffy to Angel, then back to Buffy,
like spectators at a ping-pong tournament.

Slightly unnerved by their scrutiny, Angel lowered
his voice. "Can we take this into my office?"

Buffy ignored the question, relaxing her hold on
his shirt and taking a step back. "Don't imagine for
a second that I don't know why you didn't tell me
he was back," she said hotly. "You was
BECAUSE you knew...that you kept it from me."

"What? That's, you're wrong."

"I'm NOT wrong!" she shouted him down. "If you'd
told me that he was knew that I would
come for him. And you didn't want that to happen."

The elevator 'dinged' softly, and the doors swooshed

"You do know," Angel said, "that until a few days ago
he was a ghost? He couldn't even...."

"I...DON'T...CARE!" Her voice rose in volume as
she tightened her hold on his shirt again. "Now, you
tell tell me where he is, or I swear to GOD
I will tear this place down around your ears until
I find him!"

Angel's eyes looked past her to the other side of
the office, but he said nothing.

This only angered her more. "TELL ME!!"


More please...