Title : Home

Authors : Martine and Sophie

Part : Prologue

Pairing : Buffy/Spike, Dawn/Connor, Angel/Cordélia

Disclaimer : Nothing is ours

Rating : R

Spoilers : Not really. Starts on BS7 and AS4 but goes on as an AU.

Feedback : Always sophie_limbourg@hotmail.com lewis_martine@yahoo.ca

Summary : Our take on S7 of Buffy and S4 of Angel. Which means crossover, of course. Spike comes back. In Sunnydale, Buffy has problems with Dawn. In Los Angeles, Angel has problems with Connor. The two of them were meant to meet one day or another.

A/N 1 : Please remember English is second language for both of us.

A/N 2 : This is a B/S fiction, of course, but a great part of it deals with Dawn and Connor. We loved the idea of them getting together. If you don't, don't read any further.



~*~PROLOGUE~*~

Buffy was turning and returning the letter in her hands. She couldn't believe it, although she should have seen it coming.

The last few months had been hell. With Tara's death, Willow going crazy and Anya back to the vengeance.she must admit money had been the least of her concern.

Big mistake.

Because in two months, she was supposed to be out of her house. She had lost her house.

Her mother had taken out a mortgage a few years ago, and with all the events that had happened, Buffy had kind of forgot there were payments to make.

She realized now that she had been highly irresponsible, considering she had a teenage sister to take care of, bills to pay, food to put on the table.

And she was paying the price. How was she going to tell that to Dawn? They had so many memories here. Not necessarily good ones. Her mother had died here. They had all been stuck inside with a dangerous demon on her last birthday. Tara had been shot in her mom's room.

But still, it was home. The place where the Scoobies came when they were hurting, something which had happened way too often lately.

And now, the core itself of the Scoobies had been torn apart. Anya had gone to England with Giles, Xander had received an interesting job offer in San Fransisco. Willow was still there, but she was just starting to recover, and Buffy was afraid sometimes of the emptiness reflected in her friend's eyes. And their relationship had been severely bruised.

With a sigh, she sat down on the kitchen's island, putting her head in the circle of her arms. She would not cry. She had no tears left. But once again, she felt that awful loneliness she constantly lived with.

Since he had left.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

When Dawn came back a little later that day, she heard her sister talking on the phone in the kitchen. She was about to let her know she was there when she heard Buffy's words.

"I haven't told Dawn yet.I received the letter this morning. How am I going to tell her we have to leave our house?"

Dawn stopped dead in her track. What? What was Buffy talking about? There was a short silence while the other person probably said something, then Buffy said while sighing:

"Yes, that's another problem. I really have no idea what to do with her. I feel like I have to play mom 24/7, and sometimes.it really gets on my nerves."

Feeling suddenly very cold, Dawn stepped back and silently climbed the stairs. She didn't listen to the rest of the conversation.

"Don't get me wrong, Willow's still my friend, but she's not the same anymore, as you can imagine.and our relationship has suffered a lot."

"I'm afraid you haven't seen the end of the tunnel yet," Giles said on the other end of the phone. After a slight hesitation, he asked "Buffy, if you need me."

"No, Giles. If you have to come over each time things are not perfect, you might as well move back in! I'll handle it. I'll find a solution. We always do."

"All right. I'll call back next week to check how things are going."

"Thanks. Knowing you're there, even far away.it's comforting. Take care.Bye."

"Bye, Buffy."

Buffy hung up, fighting back tears. She went to the living room, and sat on the couch. Hearing Giles' voice had made her feel lonelier then ever. But she couldn't be dependant on him anymore. She had to take matters in hands and solve her own problems.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Sitting on her bed, Dawn was staring into space. She didn't feel like crying, or whining. Those were two things she had been very good at the past two years.

But right now, she wasn't feeling anything. Which was a strange feeling. Oh, well, at least she was feeling something.

In less than one minute, two things had struck her: they were homeless, and she was a burden for Buffy. She had suspected her sister was feeling that way. After all, Dawn wasn't meant to be. She had always been a burden, considering she was a young teenager with no special skills.she wasn't a witch, like Tara, or an ex-demon back into vengeance like Anya.she was useless.

She shook herself. Be careful, Dawn. You're back on the whining, self-pity bandwagon.

She went to her closet and retrieved a suitcase from the depths of it. She had been thinking about this for some time. Now it seemed the most logical thing to do.

Los Angeles -------------

"This is so much harder than I thought. I just wanted us to be a family again. And I love him so much. He's my son."

Cordelia smiled sweetly at him.

"I know, Angel. I love him too. Just give him more time. He needs to get to know us better."

Angel looked at her with sadness in his eyes. He loved Cordelia so much and he was glad she was here, but he could not forget the two weeks he had spent at the bottom of the sea so easily. He could not totally forgive Connor like he wanted to. He didn't understand why the boy hadn't tried to talk to him first. He had condemned him immediately, and that total lack of trust between them was making the communication very hard.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Connor was tired. Being back at the hotel with Angel and the others after what he had done was not easy. Everybody, especially Gunn and Fred, were constantly watching him wondering what bad thing he would do next, and sometimes he thought he never should have come back. He would have been fine on his own. But he craved the love and the warmth of a place he could call home.

As he walked by his father's room, he heard his name and stopped to listen.

"Connor is so unpredictable, so wild, so untamed.I just don't know how to deal with him most of the time.He doesn't want to let us in." "Well, he was certainly more easy to deal with when he was a baby," Cordelia said, trying to lighten Angel's mood a little bit, and God knows it was not an easy task!

"I don't know how to approach him. Sometimes I wonder if it was a good thing he came back from Quor-Toth like that."

Connor froze, horrified. His father didn't want him. He should have known.he was just a burden for them, an annoyance. After all, he wasn't meant to be, right? The child of two vampires.what good could ever come of that ?

Cordelia and Angel were still talking, but he didn't want to hear it anymore. He ran to his bedroom.

He knew what he had to do now. Hell, there was only one thing to do.

He took his backpack out of his closet and filled it with clothes and the letter Holtz had left him before he died.

Connor sat on his bed.

Tomorrow, when everybody woke up, they wouldn't have to bother with him anymore.

".I mean it would have been so much easier if he was still a baby. I know it's stupid to think that way.and I love him, no matter what. I really want us to have a special relationship.to be a father for him."

"Angel, I told you, you have to give him and yourself some time. It's as hard for him as it is for you," Cordelia said gently. "You know, Connor made his share of mistakes in the past few months and he probably feels horrible and all. Just be yourself with him and things will get better, I'm sure."

Sunnydale -----------

Buffy saw Dawn coming down the stairs.

"Dawnie ? When did you come back ? I didn't hear you."

Dawn shrugged in a casual way.

"I went straight to my room."

"Did you have a nice time, with Janice?"

"Yeah."

Buffy hesitated, not knowing how to tell her the news. After a moment, cowardly, she didn't say anything. Later, she decided. No need to upset Dawn too soon. But even to her own ears that excuse sounded lame. She just had no idea how to tell her younger sister that they would be homeless in two months.

"I'm going patrolling later tonight," she said. "Would you like to come with me?"

Dawn had been patrolling and training with her lately, and she had done pretty well, forcing Buffy to admit her sister was not a little girl anymore. After all, she was sixteen, the same age she had been when she was called.

"No thanks," said Dawn. "I'm tired."

Buffy was very surprised but didn't insist.

"Ok."

Then, seeing the strange expression her sister was wearing, she asked,

"Is everything all right?"

"Everything's fine. It's just.school starts again in one week.you see."

"You don't mind staying alone with Willow?"

"Why would I? She's such fun to be with."muttered the teenager in a sarcastic tone.

"Dawn.please. I know you have a hard time forgiving her."

"How could I forgive her? It's her fault if Tara's dead."

"Don't say that! You know it's not true." Buffy said, though the thought had crossed her mind.

"You know it is true, Buffy. If she hadn't used so much magic, Tara wouldn't have broken up with her. And things would have been different, she maybe wouldn't have been in her room when Warren came and thought he was John Wayne."

"You don't know that. Sweetie, I know you miss Tara.I do too. And Willow.I know she did terrible things. I don't know how to deal with her myself most of the time. But in some way, I try to understand her. If Warren had shot you.I probably would have done some terrible things myself." Dawn nodded, totally unconvinced.

"That's possible. But we'll never know, right? Like we don't know why Spike suddenly left."

She saw Buffy's face turning white, the reaction she had expected.

"You haven't mentioned his name. Not once."

"I don't want to talk about him."

"Then why do you sleep with his leather coat on?"

Buffy became whiter - if that was possible.

"How.? Never mind. And it just happened once.maybe twice."

"You never told me what happened before he left. Xander told me."

"I know what Xander told you. He wasn't there, he doesn't know what actually happened. I don't want to think about it anymore. That's the past. I put all of that behind me."

"Even him?"

Buffy didn't answer. How could she explain.there was not a single day when she hadn't thought about him. Each time she saw a platinum-blond head, her heart was beating faster, only to break a little bit more because of the disappointment. When she closed her eyes, the only thing she saw was his face. Smiling at her. His hoarse voice whispering love words.but then that ugly scene in the bathroom appeared and ruined everything.

She shook her head.

"I miss him," she admitted softly.

"Me too" said Dawn, and there was an moment of understanding between the two sisters.

But then Dawn's expression got serious again, like she had let herself go and regretted it.

"I'll go to my room," she said.

Buffy nodded.

"Ok. I'll call you when dinner's ready."

Dawn didn't answer and went back upstairs. In a way, Buffy understood her sister's reaction. The last two years.the only real ones of her existence, had been hell. And things weren't going to get better anytime soon.

Los Angeles -------------

Throwing his bag onto his shoulder, Connor walked out of his room. Everyone was asleep, now, finally, and he knew no one would see him leave. No one would stop him now. He was almost at the door when he realized that he had nothing to trade if he ever needed anything, and Angel had explained to him that in order to trade in this world he needed small pieces of papers and coins called money. He understood the system since they had something quite similar in Quor- Toth.

Connor looked around, realizing that in this world he wouldn't go far without money. He suddenly remembered that Angel Investigations had closed a case that same day and the client had paid in cash, so the money was probably still there at the reception.

He walked to it and tried to open the drawer. It was locked. Connor frowned. He had wanted to be discreet, but if he wanted to open the drawer he would have to make some noise. He went to the weaponry closet and retrieved an axe. He walked back to the office, closing the door behind him, hoping it would be enough to muffle the noise he was about to make. With one expert hit, Connor broke the lock and opened the drawer. He took the money, putting some in his pocket, some in his bag, and some in his socks. That was something else Gunn had taught him, not to put all his money at the same place.

He stood up, took his bag, and walked out of the office - out of the hotel and on the street towards the bus station.

Sunnydale -----------

Dawn watched her alarm clock. One am. The house was silent. Willow was probably sleeping, and Buffy wouldn't be back from patrol for an hour. And she had put pillows and stuff under her comforter, just in case her sister checked on her.

Carefully, she went downstairs. She walked out of the house, without turning back. Next stop, the Magic Box.

She was holding a stake firmly in her hand, just in case she met some evil nasties. All those hours spent patrolling with Buffy would be at least useful.

Once at the Magic Box, she put her bag on the bench and started to unlock the door with her hairpin like Spike had done the day they had broken into the shop, two years ago. The memory brought unwanted tears to Dawn's eyes, but she wiped them away hastily. Now, more then ever, she was feeling the pain of his absence.

Inside the shop, she went directly to the training room where she knew Buffy and Rebecca (The friend of Giles who was running the shop now) hid some money.

Of course, stealing money was not the cleverest thing to do. Buffy needed it desperately, especially now. But Giles would probably send some more to help. And she intended to give it back, one day. So that was not really stealing. More like borrowing. And she felt less guilty thinking of it that way.

There was more money that she had counted on, so she didn't take all of it. What she took should be enough to help her starting over. Wherever that may be.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Buffy came back from patrol, exhausted. The slaying had been non- existent tonight. Which was bad, because then she had plenty of time to think. And thinking was definitely not of the good. Especially when it involved a bleached blond British vampire.

So she had walked and walked until she was too tired to think of anything but her bed. She had even managed to avoid his crypt. 'Hurray for me' she thought bitterly.

She felt a too familiar sob growing in her chest, but she repressed it. Hell, that's all she was good at, lately. Crying. She was better at crying than slaying. She had turned into her sister. 'No, that's not fair' she thought. Dawn had changed a lot. She had grown up.

There was that look in her eyes.a grown up look. Maturity. A little too much, maybe.

She didn't open her sister's door, afraid to wake her up. Dawn was probably sleeping.

Well, her duties for tonight were over. Like Scarlett O'Hara had said, tomorrow was another day.

After a quick shower, Buffy climbed in her bed and fell asleep as soon as her head touched the pillow.

TBC.