Title: Friends. Changes. Together. Alone.
Author: Lioness Black
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Not mine, just good fun.
Summary: Dawn invites the remaining members of the BSC to spend six weeks in Calfornia and it ends up in a whirlwind of romance, true feelings, and knowing who your friends really are, even with the changes.
Spoilers: Post California Diaries series, and Kristy's Big News in the Friends Forever series.

Chapter One: Dawn

June 19th

I talk about changes a lot, but it's not until I talk to Mary Anne or visit Stoneybrook that I realize how much I've changed. Things that used to be such a big aren't such a big deal anymore. Drinking? I don't do it, but when people around me do, it doesn't bother me too much. People making out in the halls? When we first started going to the high school, it drove me nuts, but now I'm used to it. The smoking in the bathroom still bugs me, but it's just another form of pollution and is generally disgusting.

I'm used to going to clubs, I'm used to hanging out with sixteen year olds. But is Mary Anne? Is Kristy? Is Claudia? Is Stacey... well, maybe Stacey, but it's been a really long time, so I don't know.

Why is this so important? Because they're all coming out to California for six weeks. Six weeks. What are we going to do? I hardly even know them, or at least it feels that way sometimes.

I asked Mary Anne to visit me, and when I asked Dad and he said any of them could come visit me. I don't know what was in me when I asked Mary Anne, and I really don't know what was in me when I said that the rest of the BSC could come. It all went by so fast, and everyone got their tickets, and it just went by fast. Really, I think Dad just wants them here so they'll baby-sit Gracie for free.

I called Mom, and she's not too happy that I'm staying in California for the summer, but I promised Thanksgiving and Christmas. Plus Jeff's going out to Stoneybrook, and he's sulky because I'm staying. I think it really hurts Mom how much he hates Stoneybrook, but I hope she knows that it's the place, not her. I'm sure she does.

I'm actually writing this on the way to the airport. Dad and Carol had plans, so Dad let Ducky take his new SUV (Which he knows I hate, do you know how much pollution those things create?) to the airport to pick up my friends since we wouldn't all fit in Ducky's car. Especially not with everything I'm sure Claudia and Stacey packed. He made Ducky promise a lot of things, but I wasn't there, I was still digging up sleeping bags.

"Amalia said that we were welcome to Vanish rehearsals, but Maggie said that we weren't. But you know how Maggie is," I was babbling at Ducky. He kept smiling and cracking jokes, and trying to put me at ease, but it wasn't working.

"Maggie also said not to mention Tyler, but I already have, so it's too late. Sunny's bouncing off the walls, and..." I paused. "How do you feel about them coming?"

"I'm excited about meeting your friends," Ducky said. "But I'm not nearly as keyed up as you. What's up?"

"Things are just so different. I can fit in there, but can they fit in here? I can adapt to Stoneybrook and still be me, but I can't adapt to it just from four people, you know?"

"Why do you think things are going to go so wrong?"

Ducky is SO intuitive. I only have to say half of what's on my mind and he knows the whole story. "I hardly even talk to Kristy, Claudia, and Stacey anymore. We all sued to be so close, and now I'm wondering what I'm going to say. I've grown up a lot since then, or, more like, I've been forced to."

"And what's to say that they haven't changed too?" Ducky asked, sounding completely gentle and understanding.

I paused. I really hadn't thought about that, so I told him so.

"You all may still be more alike that you think. Besides, what are they going to do? Suddenly stop liking you? I don't know anyone who doesn't like you, and they're your friends. A few changes isn't going to make a difference. They're coming out all this way to see you, right?"

"Right." I was smiling by now. Ducky knows just what to say.

"Then obviously they still like you. What are they going to do? Turn around and go home?"

"Not likely."

Ducky's been playing with the radio while I wrote this, and I warned him that Dad would freaked if the radio stations were changed, and Ducky said that was one of the promises he made. Then he asked if I was writing about him, and I reminded him that it was a PRIVATE journal, and he started laughing at me.

And... we're here now. Oh God. This is it. Why am I freaking out? They're the same people, I'm the same person. This shouldn't be this weird. Ducky's giving me a neck rub, but I'm not relaxing.


Ducky grabbed my journal away from me. Private, right? Now I'm laughing again. This should be okay.

Like Four Minutes Later

The plane is late. LATE? HOW CAN IT BE LATE?

I didn't realize until I got here that I'm really excited to see them. I'm jumping around, and Ducky is laughing at me. This can't be all that bad. I'm really excited.

I think... yeah, that's their flight. This is it.