Title: Dear Daughter
Character: Mrs. Burkle
Rating: K
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters or the universe they live in.
Summary: A mother writes a letter to her daughter. Post Angel Finale.
Author's Notes: Originally written for the Buffy Lyric Wheel, this fic is inspired by Crazy Faith by Alison Krauss and Union Station

Dear Daughter,

I'm not sure what to call you these days. My first instinct was to call you Winnie, like I use to. You were such a cute little girl back then. And so demanding. Why I remember when I made the mistake of calling you Winnie as you stepped on to the bus one morning. You were barely old enough to tie your shoes on straight but you gave me such a scowl that reminded me of your great-aunt Betty. You remember Auntie Betty, don't you? Made the best blueberry pie in the county but if she looked at you the wrong way, you were frozen for a week.

How adult you looked. Even as I laughed at your embarrassment, I knew this was the end of something. You were growing up as children tend to do. Before I knew what was happening, you were fifteen and hanging out behind the tool shed with the Barlow brothers doing God only knows what.

I remember the time we came home early one night from Freddy's Seafood Palace. Your dad had the shrimp platter. You know how he loves seafood but he just can't seem to keep it down. We came in to find you and Tim McCullah on the couch, doing what a teenage girl and a teenage boy tend to do when the parents go out and the lights get turned off.

And then it was off to university. You were always too big for this place. One store, one school. No swimming pool or movie theater or mall. No smart science geeks to make friends with. Except that Justin boy but he went and blew up his basement, along with himself. His poor mother.

I use to worry you'd go blow yourself up. Or that you'd work yourself to death.

Your father never wanted you too leave. You were his little girl and he wanted you close, no matter the price. I never told you this but as much as your father wanted you to stay was as much as I wanted you to go. I love you but part of loving is letting go. This town couldn't hold you anymore and if we tried to keep you locked up, well I could just imagine you withering up on us. You'd still be hanging out with Trevor and George B smoking the weed (Yes, I know about that) and wasting your life.

Or worse, gotten yourself knocked up by that McCullah boy. I'm not picking on motherhood. Motherhood is a fine thing. But part of motherhood is wanting your child to have more than you did. I love you father. I love this town. But there are days when I wish for something… more.

I was so proud to see you living your life in the big city. This was before you accidentally ended up in some other dimension and disappeared for five years. Five years is such a long time, especially when you simply don't know. It's simply waiting and waiting and waiting. Lying asleep at night, turning the same questions over and over in my head. Having faith that I would hug you again one day.

You came back. My questions were answered and I could hug you but you were different. Your father though your differences were due to the other dimension but I knew that wasn't the truth. Or, at least, not the complete truth.

After you came back, I still worried if you were going to work yourself to death but now I also fretted that some demon in the night would try to bleed you dry. You never did tell us much about where you disappeared for five years too, only that you were miserable and lost. Five years you were gone. We thought it was forever. But I hoped, I had faith and you returned to use.

And know you have disappeared once again on me and I'm not sure what to make of it. Where are you know? Are you safe? When will you return? Am I a fool for hanging on?

The questions will not let me sleep. They keep me up late and wake me up early. I lie there for hours, counting your father's snores until I can't stand it. I get up two hours early but there is no point lying awake. I walk down stairs to make myself an omelet, only the eggs are all gone. I've used them in the chocolate cake we had for dessert last night. Instead, I prepare dark coffee and toast. And while the coffee brews and the bread browns , I'm writing this letter. To Winifred Burkle. General Delivery. Somewhere out there, I hope.

You're gone. You've been gone for two months. Your work place is a pile of rubble, your co-workers are also missing and you haven't called.

But you came back once before. You'll come home again.

While I eat slowly, watching the rising sun from the kitchen window, your father dreams. He dreams of you coming home and settling down with a nice guy and plenty of little grandchild running through the house. I don't think I'll ever see grandchildren in this house. I call him an old fool for hoping. But if he is an old fool, then so am I.

Love Always,