hi all...this is just a short story that i wrote for a writing competition at school so it goes by really fast and it most likely won't make much sense. But oh well, also if you see a Hank, Elizabeth or a Liam within the story that's just my fault cuz I missed changing the name. Thank u in advance for reading this and i hope you'll review and tell me what you thought. now...on with the story!

The streets were slick, wet with the rain that had been descending upon the earth since late afternoon. The water was making a steady and interesting drumbeat as it hit the metal roof or the car. Yelling, lots of yelling was happening, which then turned into screaming, and then, tires screeching, a flash of light, and then nothing. Absolute silence and darknessā€¦

Buffy bolted upright in her bed, drenched in a cold sweat. The dreams kept haunting her all year, and no matter what she did, they kept getting worse, and occurring more frequently. She glanced at her alarm clock and became vaguely aware of someone telling her to get up for school. Still shaken up from her dream, she slowly crawled out of bed and hesitantly stood up, unsure if her legs would be able to support her. After a few more moments, she crossed to the door and opened it. Then, taking a deep breath, she made her way down the hall to the bathroom to start her day.

An hour later, and freshly showered, she made her way down the stairs and into the kitchen.

"Good morning, Buffy," her stepfather greeted her over the top of the newspaper as she poured herself a glass of juice. Everyday it was the same routine. The funny part was is that a year ago, the two never spoke to one another at all. Even now, it was hard for Elizabeth to hear him say those words to her, but like always, she responded.

"Good morning, Ted."

Only this morning, instead of the semi-pained but understanding expression that crossed his face everyday, there was a look of annoyance.

"Buffy, it's been a year already. At first I let you call me Hank because I figured you were still hurting and needed time to become accustomed to having me around. However, I think it's time for you to begin to refer to me as 'Dad' instead of 'Ted'."

She stared at him, seething in anger. She took several deep breaths to try and calm herself down before speaking.

"Well Dad, " she started sarcastically, "if you must know, the accident has nothing what-so-ever with me calling you Ted. You brought that upon yourself seeing as how a year ago you wanted nothing to do with me!"

By the time she finished her tirade, Buffy realized that she was yelling and that her stepfather was turning an interesting shade of purple due to how angry he was. Before he had the chance to voice his rage at being talked down to by his teenage stepdaughter, she grabbed her backpack, and stormed out of the kitchen, throwing a 'see you later' over her shoulder that clearly said 'I hope to God I don't' and slamming the front door behind her.

She was still thinking about the almost-daily confrontation with her father as she was walking to school. She was so deep in thought that she didn't even hear her best friend come up to her.

"Hey Buff, deep thoughts going on in there? You better be careful you don't want to give yourself a headache," Angel said, using the childhood nickname he had given her.


"I called your name at least three times before I caught up with you. Is something wrong?"

She sighed and looked at Angel, her boyfriend and best friend for as far back as she could remember. They'd even been friends during elementary school, which resulted in endless teasing from both the boys and the girls.

"Not much, just another wonderful morning with Ted," she said, trying to appear unaffected so that he didn't ask too many questions. Anger flashed briefly in his eyes before he sighed and asked,

"What'd he say now?"

She was surprised at how softly he kept his voice, without a trace of anger in it considering his distain for the man.

"It was nothing. Really, just the usual 'you-need-to-get-over-it' speech," she told him, hoping that he didn't realize that there was more to it. Unfortunately, he knew her better than that.

"Buffy Anne Summers, I've known you for my entire life and I know there's more to the story. Now, please, tell me what happened."

She cast her eyes downward and willed herself not to cry as she told him softly,

"He wants me to call him Dad."

The moment the words left her mouth, his arms were around her, offering the only real comfort she'd felt since the accident. They stood that way for a while before she stepped back, signaling that she was all right. He grabbed her hand and the two continued on towards the school. A block away from the school, the sky began to turn gray, and a low rumble of thunder boomed across the sky. Buffy gripped Angel's hand with such force; she could've broken bones. Rather than saying anything, he matched her force to offer her support and continued walking to school.

All day it looked like rain, and Buffy figured she must have either looked like hell or a deer in headlights because the question of the day was,

"Are you okay?"

"Damnit, I'm fine!" she finally snapped in her last class. Her lab partner flinched at her outburst and let out a meek 'sorry' before returning to the assignment, making her feel ten times worse. Before she got the chance to apologize, however, the bell rang and the little red head bolted off of the stool and into the hallway. She slowly got up from her table, and walked out of the class. She made her way to her locker, where she found Angel, already ready to go and waiting for her.

"Don't even say it," she tells him, and he closes his mouth. Instead he takes her bag and fills it with her things before shutting her locker. He grabbed her hand and walked with her out of school.

In typical 'screw Buffy' fashion, the rain clouds that appeared above them on their way to school and loomed there all day opened up and poured buckets of water over the two.

"Come on, we need to get inside. My place is closest," Angel yelled over the thunder. Buffy nodded her head to let him know she heard him, but before the two could start running, a bolt of lightning streaked across the sky, and the flashbacks began.

"Buffy, I just thought you could be a bit more mature about this!" her mother yelled angrily in the car. The two were on their way back home when the topic of Buffy's new stepfather came up.

"I am being mature mom. I have one Dad, just one and guess what? Ted isn't him. So excuse me if I don't want to call him that!" she yelled back at her. Her mother turned to look at her, taking her eyes off of the road for just a minute, which is when the lightning streaked across the sky showing the car in front of them driving without their lights on.

"Mom watch out!" she screamed as her mom slammed on the breaks, but it was too late. The other car had already hit the front of their vehicle. Buffy hit her head and blacked out. When she came to, she saw her mother next to her, her head at an odd angle. She screamed until help arrived and then passed out.

Buffy became aware of someone shaking her gently and calling her name. She opened her eyes to see a very relieved Angel sitting next to her.

"Hey, are you alright?" he asked, worry etched across his face. She looked around and found that they were in his bedroom.

"Yeah, I'm good. How'd we get here?" she asked, not remembering walking to his house.

"I carried you when you fainted. What happened? And don't you dare tell me nothing because that didn't look like nothing to me," he demanded, still concerned for his best friend.

"It was all my fault," she started before bursting into tears. She leaned into him and let him rub her back and try to soothe her.

"I-if we h-hadn't had been fighting then t-this would've n-n-never have happened," she sobbed into his shirt. Suddenly it made sense to him. The whole reason she shut down this year wasn't because she was grieving for her mother, it was because she blamed herself.

"Hey, Buffy, sweetheart, look at me," he said lifting her head to meet his gaze. He gently wiped away her tears before continuing.

"It was not your fault. You couldn't have helped it that the other driver didn't have his lights on and you certainly couldn't have helped it that he had been drinking. Do you hear me? I was NOT your fault."

"Then why do I feel like it is? Everyone looks at me and I know that they're saying that I did it. Even Ted thinks it's my fault, not that I particularly give a damn about that," she replied. He pulled her into another hug and rocked her, not sure what else he could do at this point. When her breath became deep and even, he realized she'd fallen asleep. Carefully he laid her down in his bed and covered her up. He sat there for a few moments, holding her hand and thinking to himself. He realized that this was a major breakthrough for her. Now he understood what was going on in her head and he hoped that tomorrow he'd be able to help her to begin to heal.