Walking into the cemetery I knew I'd find the gang there since Buffy had split they've become like a Scooby Gang. I knew they were all still trying to get me back to normal after the Angel thing but I was okay... I will be okay.
“Cheater!” I heard Xander's voice call and suddenly a roaring vampire jumped out in front of me as I staked him in the chest watching as he turned to dust “another one bites the dust” I punned walking over to my Scoobies I looked at them wide eyed.
“You know you're supposed to stake them right?” I asked rhetorically as they all looked at me bashful “You guys I can do this on my own” I told them putting my stake away.
“Okay, and the, uh, problem I'm having . . .” Xander says as he turns to Willow like I'd said nothing “'Come and get it, Big Boy'?” I frowned at Willow choice of fighting words.
“Well . . .” Willow stammers as we all look at her “W-well, the Slayer always says a pun or-or a witty play on words, and I think it throws the vampires off, and, and it makes them frightened because I'm wisecracking”.
Seeing the look on my face Willow deflates “Okay, I didn't really have a chance to work on that one, but you try it every time” Oz stepped forward “Uh, if I may suggest: 'This time it's personal.' I mean, there's a reason why it's a classic”.
“I've always been amazed with how you guys fought together, but . . .” Xander stops and picks up his bag “in a way, I feel like we took your sisterly puns for granted” Buffy talk again, I wasn't in the mood to talk about Buffy.
Willow gives Xander a scolding look “Xander, past tense rule” I sighed at Willow's past tense rule, I always used it and she hated that “Oh, sorry. I just meant we in the past took it for granted and, uh . . . we won't when she gets back” Xander scrambles as Willow looks at him sadly.
“Do you think Buffy knows school's starting tomorrow?” Willow asks as I walk ahead of them trying to look out for any vamps “Tomorrow. Right. Big day” Oz says awkwardly out loud.
I turn to him and raise my eyebrow but he avoids my eye, he's got a secret “Oh, I'm gonna be busy a lot. But, but only till 3:00, and that's when you usually get up” Willow rambles as Xander looks away dreamily.
“I can't wait to see Cordelia” he pauses looking shocked “I can't believe I can't wait to see Cordelia” I let out a small laugh as Willow bounces excitedly “I wonder what our first homework assignment's gonna be”.
Xander puts his hands on his hips and gives her a look “Hey, you're excited over Cordelia, okay? We've all got issues” Willow pouts as I turn to them with a sigh “I guess we should call it a night”.
"Yes, Boss" Xander agrees with a grin as they all nod following me out of the graveyard “Wouldn't it be great if Buffy just showed up tomorrow? Like nothing happened?” Willow babbled happily as I clenched my fists.
“She can't just show up, she got kicked out” Xander reminded her as she visibly deflated “Well, yeah, I-I know. I just wish ... I wish we knew where she was”.
I turned to my redhead friend trying to sound mad at her “We know where she is Will, not with us, if that's the way she wants it then so be it” I hissed as Willow flinched a little.
“She's not coming home,” I told the three of them as they all looked at me silently “Nikki...” Xander started but I put my hand up stopping him “Just go home and get some rest”.
The three of us parted ways as I thought about my sister's abandonment, I couldn't believe she just left, I needed her and she left me. When Buffy didn't come home that night mom called around, but no one had seen her, she just left.
Mom had been sick with guilt ever since she told me what she had said to Buffy about not coming home and she believed it was her fault but I knew better.
Angel hadn't been around since that night, so either she killed him and left or they're both out there somewhere, together. That last thought made me feel sick.
Opening my front door I flicked the light on and huffed when my mom came running into the hall looking hopeful“Buffy?” I gritted my teeth and put my coat on the hook “nope, just me, again”.
Mom sighed and crossed her arms “I just thought..” she started as I turned to her emotionless “yeah well you thought wrong” mom nodded slowly as we both stood in the hall silently.
“I'm going to bed” I informed mom as I walked past her noticing the look of distress on her face “This isn't your fault,” I said as she turned and gave me a small smile “it's Buffy's”.
Mom's smile dropped from her face “Nicola! Don't you talk about your sister that way” I looked at my mom shocked and I felt my exterior harden again “Yeah, well at least I didn't tell her to leave and never come back” I hissed harshly as I continued to my room leaving my mom behind crying to herself.
Walking into the library I noticed Giles and Willow are behind the check-out counter with their backs to me talking to each other as students rifled through books on the shelves to get their back to school books.
“For God's sake be careful. I mean, uh, I appreciate your efforts to help Nikki keep the vampire population down but, uh . . . Well, if anything should happen to you and you should be killed, I should take it somewhat amiss”.
I lean on the counter as they talk “You'd be cranky?” Willow jokes “Entirely,” Giles tells her dryly “Well, we try not to get killed. That's part of our whole mission statement. 'Don't get killed.'” Willow tells him with a small laugh.
“How is Nikki doing?” I stand up straight realizing they were talking about me “She's getting really mean, she just seems to hate everything right now” Willow answered as Giles nods “Well that's to be expected with what happened to her”.
The phone in Giles' office rings and they both turn to see me looking back at them “Nikki, uh, I've got to” Giles seemed shocked to see me there before walking off to answer the phone.
Willow picks her books up and looks at me “Don't worry about it” I tell her stoically as she nods relieved “Hi!” Willow greets over my shoulder as I turn to see Cordelia smiling at us “Morning Cordy”.
“Hey” Cordy replies as she puts her bag on the counter “How was your summer?” Willow asked as I glared at her wondering why she asked, I didn't care what Cordy did on her own time.
“Oh, I can't believe you brought that up. Las Palmas was the nightmare resort. They order you around and make you have organized” Cordy makes quotes with her fingers “'fun', and I used sarcastic quote marks”.
Cordelia grabs her bag as we all walk out of the library “Plus the fact there are cockroaches in Mexico big enough to own property. It was all about dread. How was your summer?”.
Willow shrugged “Oh, it was okay” Cordelia looked over at me expectantly “Nightmare filled,” I told her simply as she looked at me knowingly “Is Xander around?” She adds looking around.
“Well, uh, yeah. Somewhere” Willow informs as the three of us stop in the hall “Good. Great. I haven't seen him yet” she moves her hair behind her ears “Do I look okay?”.
I rolled my eyes “Oh, yeah!” Willow nods and smiles “How's my hair?” Cordelia questions looking worried “Uh, it's good!” Willow smiles again as they both look at me “Oh I don't care”.
Cordelia just frowned turning back to Willow “He didn't meet anybody over the summer, did he? No, who's he gonna meet in Sunnydale, but monsters and stuff? But then again he's always been attracted to monsters” Cordy babbled before looking worried again “How's my hair?”.
I just let out a loud groan “Hi!” Willow says happily and I turn to see Oz “Maybe he's forgotten me,” Cordelia says to us looking annoyed “Well, I'll just have to make him remember” I nodded slowly as she walks off with a determined smile.
Willow and I turn back to Oz “You came to visit me. You came with books? Are they books for me?” Willow asks looking happy as Oz looks down to the books in his hands “Well, actually, they're kind of for me”.
I frown and raise my eyebrow at him “I don't get it” Oz nods and rubs the back of his neck “Well, it's sort of a funny story. You remember when I didn't graduate?” we both looked at him nodding.
“Well, I know you had a lot of incompletes, but that's what summer school was for” Willow explains to him as Oz looks sheepish “Yeah. Well, you remember when I didn't go?”.
“But you never said anything. How am I supposed to react to this rather alarming news?” Willow asked sounding like she was about to panic “Well, actually, I was pretty much banking on you finding it cute” I looked at Oz like he was dumb, this is Willow, academic perfection.
“Well, traditionally, you know, repeating a grade isn't exactly a turn-on” Willow stops us by the lounge “A-and you're practically a genius. You're Mr. Test Scores. I-it's all a little weird”.
Oz looks at Willow confused “so the cute thing is out?” Xander rushes up to us grabbing my shoulder “Have you guys seen Cordelia?” Willow sighs and shrugs “Yeah. She's around here somewhere”.
“I don't want to come on too geeky, but, uh, okay, I'm psyched!” Xander says flashing a big grin “There's gonna be some heat if you know what I mean, so you guys might want to duck and cover” we all let out a sigh “And I'm starting to be geeky. Okay, bye”.
Xander walks away but comes right back “How's my--” I let out another loud groan/growl “Your hair is fine” Xander gives me a big grin “Cool” he scurries away looking for Cordy.
Leaving Willow and Oz to hash out him not graduation I go and get a soda from the machine as Larry and one of his stupid jock friends stand beside me talking to each other.
“This is our year, I'm telling you. Best football season ever. I'm so in shape, I'm a rock. It's all about egg whites. If we can focus, keep discipline, and not have quite as many mysterious deaths, Sunnydale is gonna rule!” I shake my head at the mysterious deaths part knowing exactly what they were talking about.
Picking up my Dr. Pepper my mind wandered to thoughts about Gage, sigh sadly I knew he wasn't Gage anymore “what's with you” Oz asked as I sat with them I just shook my head watching as Cordy and Xander have an awkward back to school encounter “people are weird”.
Buffy sits calmly on the edge of her bed in her nightshirt, holding a can of Spaghetti-O's in her lap. She just stares blankly into the room, breathing calmly, the silence was enough to drive anyone crazy.
She longed for the sounds of Willow's tinkering laugh, Xander's stupid jokes or god even her sister's angry shouting. Putting her empty can in the trash she walked back over to her bed where her work clothes lay.
Silently she lifted her polyester dress over her head and pulled her hair into two braids, she tugged on her white shoes and picked up her long brown coat.
Walking out the door she made sure to lock it and checked it twice although she didn't have much she didn't live in a good area and the people here would steal anything.
As she walks along the street she notices a homeless man is sitting on the curb as he is approached, a man who crouches down beside him holding out one of his leaflets “Hey, how are you? Can I talk to you for a moment? I have something you might be interested in”.
Buffy continues walking and passes a store with a recessed entryway a homeless woman is cowering there “I'm no one” she drones out as Buffy looks at the woman “I'm no one” the homeless woman repeats.
Looking away Buffy tries to hide her face from the woman by moving her hair behind her ear, her expression becomes very sad “I'm no one” she hears the woman say again before she sets back off on her way to work.
Giles is on the phone in his office as Willow, Xander and I sit at the table doing work “Yes? Thank you, thank you” I look up as Giles gabs his coat and quickly comes out of the office.
“I have a lead” he tells us “A friend in Oakland has a-a-a sketchy report of a . . .” he grabs his overcoat “young girl fending off a group of vampires . . .” he grabs his bag about a week ago”.
Giles looks at his watch “There's a plane out in about an hour” I see Willow and Xander exchange a look as I take a deep breath “And what makes this different from the last nine leads?”.
Giles looks at me seriously “Well, I believe there's a meal on this flight” I slam my hand on the table looking up at my watcher “I'm not joking!” Xander places his hand oon my shoulder.
“What Nikki means is, it's just, you get your hopes all up, and then it's just a big fat raspberry, and we feel bad” I look as Xander annoyed that not what I meant at all “But it's good that you're looking, though. You shouldn't give up” Willow adds as Giles looks at us.
“Yes, one must try. Well, I-I-I should go” Giles rush out of the door “You don't think maybe he'll find her?” Willow asked me looking hurt “He'll find her when she wants to be found” I say not wanting to hurt her feelings anymore.
The two of them just look at me “She chose to leave guys, after everything we all went through. You were in hospital and for all she knows you could be in a coma, yet she's not here” I rambled as their expressions didn't change.
I stood up and started to pace “And what if she's with him huh? What if she didn't kill him after Willow's spell worked and...” I stopped as my chest began to tighten “Nikki?” Xander called out as I held my chest.
“I can't breathe” I gasped out as the two of them jumped up “I think she's having a panic attack” Willow yelled as I felt like I was dying, Xander pulled me into his arms and stroked my hair shushing me “You're okay Nikki, you're safe now”.
Buffy slowly walks along the street back to her apartment, behind her, Lily follows her “Anne?” Buffy doesn't respond as she dawdles along “Anne?” Lily calls out louder but still no response from Buffy.
“Buffy?” Buffy stops in her tracks hearing her real name as Lily catches up “Don't be mad. I won't turn you in or nothing. I guess you don't recognize me” Buffy thinks for a moment “Lily?”.
Lily laughs slightly “I mean from before, I was calling myself Chantarelle then. I used to . . . Well, I was in this cult that worshipped vampires, So lame, I know” Buffy grimaces and nods remembering Ford “Yeah . . . I, uh, I remember”.
“But . . . you kinda saved us. I never thanked you or anything” Buffy didn't care about thanks she just wanted to be alone “Did you tell anyone who I was?” Lily shook her head quickly “Oh, no! Not-not even Rickie. I mean, I was so surprised to see you here, waiting tables . . . But I wouldn't tell. I know how it is when you gotta get lost”.
They start to walk again “Do you, uh, do you live nearby?” Buffy says making small talk with the taller blonde “Well, there's a couple of places. Uh, they're abandoned, and a lot of people stay there” Lily says pointing around.
“So how come you came up with Anne?” Lily asks looking down at Buffy's name tag “It's my middle name” Buffy mumbled quietly but Lily didn't notice Lily's from a song. Rickie picked it. I'm always changing anyway. Chantarelle was part of my exotic phase”.
“It's nice. It's a . . . it's a mushroom” Buffy told Lily who looked at her surprised “It is? That's really embarrassing” Buffy gave her first small smile in months “Um, well, i-it's an exotic mushroom, if that's any comfort”.
“Well, before that, I was following this loser preacher and calling myself 'Sister Sunshine'." Lily grimaced remembering all of her old names “What do they call you at home?” Buffy questions but Lily looks away and doesn't respond.
“I like Lily,” Buffy tells her as Lily shrugs “It's cool for now. Hey, do you have any money?” They stop, and Buffy gives her a surprised look “I didn't mean that like-- Well, I just mean . . . I know this guy, he's gonna have this kinda rave thing in his basement. We could go. I mean, I could show you if you had-- 'Cause I'm broke” Lily rambled as Buffy continued to stare at her.
“I-I don't think so. I just kind of . . . I want to be alone” Buffy mumbles as Lily looks let down “I didn't mean to bug you” Buffy's eyes sprung open at Lily's tone “No! I-I didn't, I didn't mean that it's just . . . Well, a-a lot of people like that, it's, it's too much”
Lily crosses her arms and looks very disappointed so Buffy looks down and starts to dig through her purse “I-I do have the money, though, so, why don't you and Rickie go, and then maybe I could meet you some other time--”.
Lily raises her hands and waves off the offer “No. It's okay, it's okay. Forget about it. Just--” A homeless man rudely pushes his way between them. The two girls both stare after him.
“That's not very polite” Lily calls out sounding mousy as the man turns around and looks blankly back at them “Are you okay?” Buffy asks noticing the man had a weird looking in his eye, just like the homeless woman from earlier “I'm no one”.
Sitting with my mom as she is writing out a few bills, I frowned I should have just gone to the Bronze with the gang but I hadn't because lately, things were getting a little boring.
Hearing a knock at the door mom freezes looking over at me “She wouldn't knock on the door” I say as she goes over to the door and answers it.
I raise an eyebrow when I see her face look surprised at who she sees standing there “Uh, hello” she greets whoever is at the door quietly “Hello. Um, may I . . .” Hearing Giles' voice I instantly knew the tip-off he had didn't work out.
“Oh, uh, of course. Come on in” Mom says as I heard Giles step into the house “Thank you” he slowly walks into the living room and smiles seeing me “Hello, Nikki” he greets as I give him a small wave.
“I've, uh, just come back from Oakland. A friend of mine called with a lead. Stories about someone fighting vampires” Giles takes off his glasses as I watch my mom's reaction but she didn't have one “It, uh, didn't pan out, I'm afraid” he concluded as he starts to clean his lenses.
Mom sighs heavily “No Buffy,” she says giving me a look but I didn't say a word this time “No vampires. Bunch of school kids in heavy mascara listening to extremely silly music” I smiled to myself at his words.
“Well, thank you for going,” Mom says as she steps into the living room and crosses her arms “I can hardly, uh . . .” she exhales and smiles weakly “I can hardly leave the house. I'm just afraid she'll call and she'll need my help”.
Giles puts his glasses back on “Buffy one of the most capable children I've ever known. I mean, she may be confused, u-unhappy, but I, uh, honestly believe she's in no danger”
Mom lowers her arms defeated “I just wish I could talk to her. The last thing we did was fight” she admits as she fidgets with her hands “Joyce, you mustn't blame yourself for her leaving” Giles tells my mom kindly as she nods.
“I don't” she takes a breath and looks at Giles intently “I blame you” my mouth drops in shock and Giles is also taken aback by her words “You've been this huge influence on her, guiding her, both of them” Mom continued as she pointed to me as I closed my mouth.
“You had this whole relationship with them behind my back. I feel like you've taken them away from me” Mom explains as Giles looked speechless “That's not fair mom!” I exclaim as the two adults look at me in shock “Giles didn't make us who we are”.
Mom crosses her arms and looks at me seriously as I stand “And who exactly are you?” I take a deep breath looking at my mother “I am a fighter, a protector, a survivor and whether you like it or not I am a bad-ass telekinetic Vampire Slayer”.
Giles just looks at me proudly as I put my hands on my hips “I love you but we can't help who were are and that we're always in danger but the world needs us, I have witnessed the pain and suffering vampires can cause first-hand mom and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy” I cried out as Giles put a comforting hand on my shoulder.
Walking towards my mom I pulled her arms from her chest feeling very much like the adult right now “Just because we're Vampire Slayers it doesn't mean we're not your daughters anymore, it doesn't mean we don't love you”.
A homeless man stirs from his sleep as he hears Buffy come in, but goes back to sleep when he sees it's not the cops, Buffy makes her way through the building, being careful not to step on anyone.
She continues along and soon notices an old man lying on the floor, dead. The same old man that Buffy earlier saved from the truck, next to his head is an empty bottle of drain cleaner, an apparent suicide.
Buffy kneels next to him and feels for a pulse. Nothing. She puts his arm down and sees that there's a tattoo of half a heart on his forearm with a banner across the heart and the name Lily tattooed on it. Buffy looks at the old man, confused “Rickie?”.
Walking back to her apartment Buffy didn't know what she would tell Lily, she knew the girl was going to be distraught about Rickie. Opening the door Buffy sees Lily is there patiently waiting for her to return.
“Did you find Rickie? I thought of—well, he likes to go to this movie house, you can get in around the back--” Buffy interrupts Lily's rambling as she sighs heavily “Lily... I think he's dead,".
Lily looks at Buffy very sad and lost “But ... he takes care of me” Buffy glances as Lily sadly “I'm sorry” Lily still couldn't believe what she had been told “We're gonna get a place. His cousin can get him a job at the car wash”.
Buffy exhales “Lily, there's, there's something else," Buffy sits on the bed “The... the person that I found... was old. He-he looked about eighty," Lily looked up desperately “Well, that's not Rickie!”.
“I'm sure it was. I, I don't know how, but... it was like something drained the life out of him," Buffy explained as Lily looked lost “Do you mean like a vampire?” Buffy shakes her head slowly “No. A vampire couldn't accelerate the aging process. Maybe it was something in his blood,".
Buffy thinks to herself “When was the last time you guys gave blood together?” Lily shrugged “I don't understand. Maybe it's not Rickie, okay?” Buffy stands up “Lily, this is something you're just gonna have to deal with,".
Lily gazes at Buffy flustered "But he didn't do anything wrong! Why would this happen to him? Buffy closes her eyes in annoyance “That's not the point. These things happen all the time. You can't just... close your eyes and hope that they're gonna go away” Buffy noticed the irony in her statement, she too was hoping that her troubles would go away too.
“Is it 'cause of you?” Lily whispers as Buffy looks at her confused “What?” Lily rubs her hands together nervously "You know about... monsters and stuff. You could have brought this with you”.
Buffy tightens her jar very annoyed “I didn't bring anything with me. And I didn't ask for you to come to me with your problems. I just wanted to be left alone. If you can't deal, then don't lay it off on me!”.
Lily can't take it she holds up her hands to deny what she's hearing and walks out of the apartment as Buffy sighs, regretting raising her voice to Lily.
Walking into the Sunnydale cemetery on my patrol I didn't expect to hear to sounds of Cordelia and Xander arguing “Let me just ask you one thing. how long did it take you to forget me? Were you still taxiing down the runway, or was it actually in the cab?”.
I frowned wondering what the hell they were doing, did they want every vampire a mile radius to know there were teenagers full of yummy blood walking around out here “Oh, yeah, Mr. Faithful? You probably met up with some hot little Inca Mummy Girl. Yeah! I heard about her”.
Suddenly I heard Willow scream “Help!” running over to help her I watched as my Scoobies launched into an attack. Oz jumps over the vamp and grabs him on the way, using his momentum to pull him off of Willow and then throw him aside.
Sitting on top of a headstone I crossed my legs and watched from afar, the vamp and Willow both quickly get to their feet. Oz holds up his stake, ready to attack as Willow runs away. Oz lunges at the vamp, but he just diverts Oz to the side and sends him rolling to the ground.
Next Xander comes stake held ready but the vamp grabs his staking arm by the wrist with one hand and his shoulder with the other, and they begin to struggle.
Cordelia watches them struggle “Xander!” she calls out worried, as she joins the fight, and attacks the vamp from behind, pushing him and Xander down to the ground.
They end up with the vamp sandwiched between them, Xander on the bottom and Cordelia on the top. With Cordelia's weight on top of him and Xander's leverage against the ground, the vamp can't hold back against the stake any longer, and it plunges into his chest.
He explodes into ashes between them, and Cordelia falls down on top of Xander. The two of them look at each other for a minute before they grab each other and kiss passionately.
Jumping down from the headstone I clap as I walk over to my friends who all look up at me in surprise “did we do good?” Willow grinned seeing my clapping “Oh no, it was terrible, I was just clapping because these two entertain me” I say nodding over to Xander and Cordelia.
Willow pouts as I put my hands on my hips assessing the situation “Okay, here's the deal. I promise I won't tell Giles that you guys nearly got yourself killed if you promise not to tell him I sat here and watched”.
“So you just work us till we're too old and spit us back out,” Buffy said glaring up at monster Ken, the guy was supposed to be a nice guy helping homeless teens but instead he was just another monster.
“That's the plan. See, Lily, you'll die of old age before anyone wonders where you went. Not that anyone will that's why we chose you," Ken taunted as Lily cried but Buffy didn't cry she glares up at Ken “You didn't choose me,".
Ken smirked down at Buffy “No. But... I know you... Anne. So afraid. So pathetically determined to run away from whatever it is you used to be," Buffy looks away “To disappear. Congratulations," Buffy looks at him again “You got your wish,".
Buffy and Lily were soon taken from their cells and herded into an elevator with other teenagers, The huge steel door splits open, the upper half rising, the lower half sinking.
Buffy trips and falls to the floor as the teens are moved out of the bit metal elevator and into a line, a guard explains things to the new recruits as Buffy slowly gets back to her feet.
“You work, and you live. That is all” Buffy grimaces this guard has even less skin on his head than Ken, He's wearing a hood that looks like it's made of human skin sewn together.
His chin and cheeks are exposed flesh and muscle, and he has no lips covering his teeth. Buffy is standing again, holding her head in pain as the guard continues “You do not complain or laugh or do anything besides work. Whatever you thought, whatever you were, does not matter. You are no one now. You mean nothing”.
The guard walks to one end of the group and faces the boy standing there, behind them the elevator doors close with a slam “Who are you?” the guards asks the shaking boy “Aaron” the boy replies terrified.
The guard whales hard on him with his club, and the boy grunts in pain and falls to the floor unconscious. Buffy immediately sobers and stares intensely ahead. The guard advances to Lily “Who are you?”.
Lily whimpers “No one” The guard continues to the next person “Who are you?” the boy looks at the guard fearfully “No one” The guard reaches Buffy “Who are you?” She looks up at him for a moment and then gives him a friendly smile “I'm Buffy. The Vampire Slayer and you are?”.
The guard is outraged at her insubordination, and roars as he wields back his club to strike her, he swings at Buffy, but she sidesteps him and grabs his arm as he bends over from his follow-through.
Buffy slams her other forearm down on the guard's, breaking it. He falls to the floor in pain as Buffy picks up his club and swings it at another guard, striking him in the head.
She swings again the opposite way at a third guard, hitting him in the gut, they both fall unconscious. Buffy looks over at the group of would-be slaves “Anyone who's not having fun here, follow me” She starts to run, and the group follows her.
Walking upstairs to go to bed I stopped short when I saw Buffy's bedroom door open, standing by the door I sighed looking into her room. Mom wanted it exactly the way Buffy left it “She'll be back” I heard my mom's voice say from behind me.
“I don't care” I grumbled as I turned to look at her with my arms crossed as she eyed me “I don't believe that” mom told me as I shrugged “believe what you want” mom sighed and rubbed her face “she's your sister, your twin, you can't just switch that off”.
“She abandoned me not the other way around," I shouted at mom as her face lit up in realization "she abandoned you," she mumbled as she put her hand on my arm “Buffy didn't abandon you, sweetie, she's upset and having a rough time right now,".
Moving away from her arm I felt angry “She's having a rough time? What about me, mom you wouldn't believe the things that he... that happened to me but did I run away, no?" I stopped and tried to breathe "I have to be here and pick up the pieces of everyone else's lives," I screamed as the pictures on the wall started to shake.
Mom looked around at the walls worried “Nikki please” she begged as I put my hands on my head and shook it "Do I ever get to be upset mom, do I ever get to be anyone else but me?" Mom tried to put her hands on me but I flinched away.
“I'm tired of pretending that everything is okay” I whispered to her numbly as I walked into my room and slamming the door behind me feeling my pain and sadness coursing through my body wanting me to break down but I wouldn't, I couldn't. I was Nikki.
Buffy has finished cleaning herself up in the kitchen as Lily is looking at the folding doors that separate the kitchen from the rest of the apartment “Let me give you the tour” Buffy says as she walks into the main room and slowly turns to face Lily.
“This concludes our tour” Buffy gives Lily a half smile as the girl leans against the wall “It's really nice” Buffy nods and leans against the dresser “All the rent's paid up for the next three weeks”.
She turns around and opens one of the dresser drawers “I spoke to Mitch at the diner," she pulls out her uniform “He said you can start on Thursday," steps over to the bed and lays down the uniform “He's, uh... he's kind of... repulsive, but, uh, he won't give you a hard time,".
Lily sits down on the bed and grazes her hand over the uniform “Um... I'll call and check up on you” Buffy tells Lily sounding awkward “I'm not... great” she looks at Buffy “at taking care of myself”.
Buffy smiles and nods “Gets easier. Takes practice” She looks down sadly, Lily knows the feeling. She looks back down at the uniform and the name tag pinned to it. “Hey...”.
Buffy looks at her “Can I be 'Anne'?” the girls both give each other a smile not knowing the impact they've had on each other. Buffy grins with a nod and grabs her bag as she gives the apartment one last look.
The sun shone brightly as Buffy made her way to the bus station to catch the greyhound, after everything she had been through in the last few hours she knew what she wanted and she had made her decision, she was going back to Sunnydale.
“Nikki! Can you help me here?” Mom demands as I roll my eyes at her, she is trying to get a stuck utensil out of the dishwasher, like that was a two-person job “Sure” I mumbled putting my spoon down in my cereal bowl.
Mom and I acted like the things I said last night never happened. I guess that just how things worked around here, Buffy and I would say something emotional or life-changing and mom would get amnesia about it.
There's a knock at the door, and mom looks at me startled “I can't do both” I told her as she frowned at me “We need to talk about this attitude soon” she tells me leaving the kitchen to answer the door.
I pull the rouge fork out of the dishwasher and lay it down on the counter. Hearing a gasp I picked up a towel and head for the front door, wiping my hands. Throwing the towel over a chair I continue to the door.
Looking at my mom's back I wonder who is at the door, walking closer my stomach tightens seeing Buffy stood in the doorway looking sad, tired and disheveled. For a long moment, Mom and Buffy stared at each other without saying a word.
Then they step toward each other and hold each other close for a long, tight embrace as I stand behind them not knowing how to feel or what to do “Nikki” Buffy whispers as they pull apart and she looks at me desperately.
I eye my sister carefully before turning around and walking away to my room closing the door behind me as I heard Buffy calling my name out sadly as I sit on my bed and pull my knees up to my chest “She's back”.
Welcome back everyone!
I hope you enjoyed this first chapter in the newest BTVS book, Bad Blood.
I'm so happy with all the messages you guys have been sending me so thank you :D