DISCLAIMER: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all characters within are owned by Joss Whedon and the other people... Anne is mine, unless someone would like to buy her.. She's real cheap, too, if you're interested..



Anne could feel their eyes watching her all the way through the service. She wasn't a fool, and she had some of her mother's instincts. She knew they were wondering that too, was she who they thought she was? She looked like her mother, and besides, no one came to this service without a reason. She was paying respects to someone she never knew, someone she knew was a hero, someone... She sighed, at a loss for words in her head.

She looked up just once, and caught each of their eyes in turn. Only three of them were brave, or curious, enough to look back at her. The first ones, the ones that had known her mother from the beginning, the ones that really looked at her, and knew her. She'd never met any of them face to face, but she knew them as though they were all old friends.

Anne wasn't sure how old she'd been when she first realized what her mother had been. There had always been a look in her eye, like there was something she was thinking of, the past. It had been several years before she worked up the courage to ask, not that she hadn't already figured it out. Her mother spent too much time out at night, and had a few too many weapons to be normal. And there were all sorts of stories of a woman who fought evil monsters. But even when her mother had confessed her calling, Anne had been shocked.

Her mother had told her the whole story then. Of how she fought the bad guys for years and then ran, from her friends, her family. Tried to make a new life for herself, because she was going to have a child.

The next night, Anne had begun to patrol with her. And that was how it had been ever since. The fights, the survival, and still, always, the haunted look in her mother's eyes, because she had left them behind, let them down.

Anne had come back for them, the only way she could think of, to remember them. She never expected any of them to still be alive. Her mother hadn't known.

She had walked up to the nighttime funeral service, and seen too many familiar faces from photographs she'd pored over growing up. She kept her hair down, but she knew before long that she'd been seen. She had looked up, into the eyes of them, and she had felt like she was reliving that night that seemed a lifetime ago.





Anne had gone out on patrol alone, when her mother had become violently ill. She would have stayed at home, but they had found a nest of vampires wanting to raise a demon of some sort. Anne had to stop them, and she had, she had a broken wrist to show for it.

All she was looking forward to as she came home was a nice, long bubble bath, and maybe a phone call to that cute guy at college.

Her mother was waiting for her at the door.

"Something's happening. I can feel them. Something's wrong," she whispered, clinging to the doorframe to keep from falling.

Anne hurried to her side, and helped her feverish mother back to bed. She reached for the phone to call an ambulance, but her mother grabbed her, shaking her head. "They couldn't do anything. This is nothing to do with them. I left them, I left, Annie, I ran. I just couldn't do it anymore."

Anne climbed onto the bed and held her mother as she sobbed, whispering comforts to her until she fell asleep. Anne huddled on the floor next to her for the rest of the night, holding her hand, falling asleep against her will.

When she woke up, her mother was standing at the window, staring out at the sky. Anne stood and said nothing. "She's dead," her mother whispered, and then was silent again. Finally she sighed. "We have to go back."

"Back?"

"To Sunnydale."





And here she was, paying respects to a fallen comrade of her mother, who was afraid to show her face here again, and would wait until daybreak, when they would all be gone.

The service was ending, and she knew that once they regrouped, they would approach her, try to figure it out. Anne didn't give them the chance. She walked away into the shadows, and only two followed. The vampires, of course, the ones she would have dusted in a moment if her mother hadn't told her about them. It was easy to lose them, too, once she realized how close she was to the hotel.

Her mother was waiting on her again, staring out the window at the moon.

"Mom?"

Her mother looked at her, and smiled. "Hey, baby, I'm okay." She looked back out the window. "It's just too weird being back. Nothing's changed." She sighed. "I can still feel.. It's easy to lose myself in memories when I'm back here."

"Mom?" Anne asked, worriedly, putting her hand on her mother's shoulder.

"I'm okay. Go to bed, okay? We'll leave at dawn."

Anne hesitated, and her mother frowned at her. "I mean it. Get some sleep."

"They're all still here, Mom. All of them. The two you told me about, the vampires that were. lovers... your-"

"Enough!" Her mother shook her head. "So I just won't see them. That's why we're going at dawn."

Anne shook her head, wanting to say more, but the look on her mother's face stopped her. Pain, pure and simple. Pain at memories of them. So instead, she nodded, and went to bed.



Her mother woke her long before dawn. "Come on, let's go, now."

Anne didn't argue, just dressed silently and followed her mother along the streets of what was once her home, to the cemetery.

There, just inside the gates, they stopped. Anne because she could feel the eyes watching them. Her mother because of a paralyzing fear. They looked at each other, then Anne squeezed the older woman's hand, and stood, waiting, as her mother went to the fresh grave.

She heard them come up behind her, but said nothing, watching her mother, as they did. Finally she turned to them, and smiled, "Angel, Spike," and nodded to them both in turn.

Neither of them looked surprised that she knew who they were, simply curious. Angel after a moment, asked quietly what they were both wondering. "You're her daughter aren't you?"

Anne nodded. "Anne. And the reason she left, before you ask."

"Anne?" Angel closed his eyes briefly, as Spike shook his head. "Slayers," he muttered. "Always gotta handle things on their own."

Anne smiled briefly, then turned back to watching her mother, who was now crouched and speaking quietly to the grave before her, as though.

"The dead don't hear," she whispered.

"No, but it makes her feel better to say things, I guess," Spike said, and Anne heard grief in his voice, but didn't comment. She would never fully accept the idea of vampires that could feel love or guilt, no matter how many times her mother told her the stories.

"There were a lot of things that were left unsaid between them," Angel offered.

"Forgiveness is the theme here, boys," Anne said, sighing. "Whatever happened, I don't know. But Mom wants forgiveness."

"Redemption," Spike said suddenly, "For the past."

"It's where she's lived lately," Anne muttered. "Her life here, she holds onto it, like it keeps her sane."

Spike sighed. "The past is never good to hold onto."

Anne turned, unsure what she was going to say other than that he couldn't talk, he was a monster. But she stopped at the look on his face. Sadness, and understanding, and something else she couldn't describe, a need for something. Maybe he understood the need for forgiveness to the past. She turned away from him quickly, not wanting to see him as anything more than a killer, prey, something that only her mother was stopping her from wiping away.

There was only silence then, as they all watched Anne's mother.

"Does she still." Angel stopped.

"I'm taking over patrolling."

"You're no Slayer," Spike said, almost accusingly.

"No, but what else could I do, being whose daughter I am?"

Neither of them could answer that, and after a long silence, Angel put his hand on her shoulder. "We have to go, dawn's coming."

Anne nodded, and heard one of them walk away. After a moment, she realized the other hadn't gone, and turned to him. It was Angel. They simply regarded each other a moment. Then Angel nodded towards her mother. "Tell her, that whatever wrong she committed, she made amends. No one even remembers."

"I'll tell her."

Angel nodded. "And tell her that she is always welcome back here, always, and so are you."

"We've got a home," she said coolly.

"I know, but sometimes, the past has a way of making you come back. And this has always been her home, wherever she went, it couldn't compare to this place."

"Yeah, less demony in some places."

"You don't like me, huh?" He was grinning though, as he said it.

"Can't help it. I was raised to hate and kill your kind."

"So what's stopping you?"

"A dream," she said after a moment.

"A good one?"

"Yeah, well, before Mom told me you were a monster, you were a hero that saved her. Spike too. Can't get those images out of my head long enough to stake you, because I guess I owe you my life too."

Angel nodded, then looked wistfully towards the grave once more. "Hero's stretching it a bit. Stick to monster, it'll keep you alive longer."

"Isn't hard, once you walk away."

Angel took the hint, smiled at her once more, then was gone.

Anne watched him disappear into the night, then slowly walked over to her mother. "Hey, you okay?"

"I'm good. How have they been?"

Anne tried not to show her surprise that her mother had known they were there, then she finally shrugged. "Okay, I guess. Alive, or as close as they get. They asked about you, I said you were fine. They said that you're always welcome back here."

Her mother nodded, but said nothing, staring down at the grave.

Anne hesitated, then put her arm around her mother's shoulders. "Let's go home, Mom. Leave the past in the past, okay?"

After a moment, her mother nodded, then knelt and patted the dirt over the grave softly. "Guess this is goodbye, again." She looked at her daughter. "Let's go home then."

They began to walk away, then her mother stopped, and looked back. "My purse."

"I'll get it." Anne turned back to the grave, glancing at the name once, and startled herself by having forgotten that this woman was her namesake. She grabbed the purse and walked back to her mother. "You sure you're okay?"

Her mother nodded, with a small smile on her face. "Five by five."

"See ya later, B."



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