Title: The Thing They Found Out
Author: Goldy
Disclaimer: Not mine. Joss's. I've said it before and I will say it again... we're all doomed.
Synopsis: Buffy and Angel's daughter finds out something about her parents and her destiny.
Continuation: This is the third story in 'The Day he Came back' series. In the first one, Angel comes back to Sunnydale after getting his shanshu. In the second, 'The Reason he Stayed,' Angel asked Buffy to marry him. She obviously said yes. This takes place a few years after that and is told through the eyes of their daughter. You don't necessarily have to read the first two to understand this one, but it might help.
Dedication: To everyone who sent me feedback on the first two and urged me to continue the series. I love you all! Feedback is the best thing in the world!
Special thanks to: Moon_princess_97524 who reviews almost everything I write. Thank you so much for that :). I'm so glad that someone reads these!

Sometimes I think that I have the most loving and caring parents in the world. Sometimes I'm so thankful for the close knit-family that I have--I want to burst out crying from pure love. Sometimes I feel proud to say that we are the closest three people ever. And yet, other times I want to lie down and scream because the real family is my parents and I will never understand or be part of the love they share.

What can I say? My parents are Buffy and Angel. That fact alone is supposed to mean something big. I didn't realize, however, until today exactly what my parents were. I always knew they were different, but I never knew how different until today.

Like, this one time, the three of us went on a picnic in the park. My parents were snuggling together under a tree and looked perfectly happy. Then, suddenly without reason, my mom's eyes filled with tears and she said to dad, "I still can't believe that were sitting here like this in broad daylight. What if I wake up tomorrow and it's all one big joke?"

Dad had smiled sadly down at her. He had kissed away her tears and said simply, "It's real, love."

This had seemed to reassure mom. She had nodded wiping away the last of her tears and gave dad a light kiss.

I was five then.

At five, I knew that my parents had shared something special. I knew then that they were one person and I was the extra. It wasn't that they didn't love me-I knew they did-it was more that one couldn't live without the other and as long as my parents had each other-they could live without me.

Strangely, that never really bothered me.

Well, okay, it did bother me. In the way that sometimes it seemed like my parents loved each other more than me, but I finally learned to get over myself. I realized that my parents love me in a completely different way and I can't compare their love to our love. Still, the news I received today shocked me more than I thought was possible.

Today, I learned that my parents are a vampire and a slayer. Were, a vampire and a slayer.

At first I didn't believe them. Actually, at first I thought that they were both psycho. Then, when I had time to think about it, I realized that it actually explained a lot. The whispers that my parents had in the middle of the night about vampires and witches made more sense. Accidentally, walking in on Willow floating the fridge in mid-air so dad could fix it ties in with the whole 'magic is real' theory.

I can hear mom, dad, and Giles talking downstairs right now. This morning, Giles had rang the doorbell at around three A.M. Mom was more than a little pissed about it, but her frown soon turned to worry when the first thing out of Giles's mouth was, "They're back." I had no clue as to what she was talking about, but mom had paled and grabbed dad's hand.

"What?" she yelled.

Giles sighed and pushed his way past her and into the living room. He had sat down on the couch and asked for tea before continuing. Grimly, my mom had disappeared into the kitchen to get what he asked. While she was gone dad had looked at Giles seriously; "I'm going to be okay, right?"

Giles nodded, "You got your reward, Angel, that can't be taken away from you."

Dad sighed in relief and then turned to me, "Steph, why don't you go back to bed? Your mother and I need to talk to Giles alone."

I scowled at him. I was fourteen and perfectly able to handle an adult conversation. I also felt as if I was missing something, and I wanted to know what very badly. I love Giles, who is like a grand-father to me, but I never really understood the hush hush conversations he always had with mom and dad.

Giles also looked at him a little weirdly. "I still don't understand why you named her Steph, one of the most common names on this Earth, when both of her parents have some of the weirdest names on this Earth."

Dad glared at Giles, "I don't think that's really the issue."

Giles shrugged, "I think that the girl is old enough to hear this. It's time she learns where she comes from... and what her destiny is."

I smiled gratefully at Giles. I wasn't sure what the whole destiny thing was about, but I like the fact that he was convincing dad to let me hear what was going on. I also liked the fact that he mentioned the whole name thing. It was true that my parents had some of the most uncommon names. Most of the time people who called the house thought that mom was Angel and dad was Buffy. I never understood how they came up with plain old boring Stephanie for me.

Dad closed his eyes. "Destiny?" he whispered in a serious tone.

I heard glass breaking from the doorway and I turned around to see mom standing in a pile of tea and glass. "What??? Steph can't! This isn't fair. I left this behind 16 years ago! I won't let a daughter of mine go through what I did!" Mom covered her face with her hands and I was surprised to see tears slip down her face. This was the second time I had ever seen my mother cry.

Dad took three quick strides over to where she was and pulled her gently against him. He rubbed her back and made shushing noises until she calmed down. "Why don't we see what Giles has to say first?"

Mom nodded and, leaving the broken glass and spilled tea on the floor, made her way over to the couch opposite Giles and sat down nestled in Dad's arms. "What's going on?"

Giles took a deep breath and rubbed the bridge of his nose. "A group of vampires that managed to escape after the End of Days fight stayed hidden for almost ten years. Recently, they have come out of hiding, and built up a bigger clan of vampires. For six years they have been bringing more demon forces to the Earth, unbeknownst to the Watcher's council. When they finally received word-it was too late for them to stop the vampires. Evil is again on this Earth."

"And someone needs to stop that evil," Dad finished with a tortured look to mom.

Mom licked her lips nervously; "They need a slayer."

Giles nodded. "But slayers can't be called any longer. Buffy, you were the last slayer ever. There aren't anymore after you."

"Am I... am I going to have to..." mom asked with a slight waver in her voice.

"You stopped being a slayer almost sixteen years ago when you and Angel stopped Armageddon. There isn't any way to get your powers back."

"Then why come to us?" Angel asked thoughtfully and then jumped when Buffy suddenly grabbed his hand in panic.

"They can't turn Angel back can they? They can't do that right?" Buffy cried and I could hear the panic in her voice.

I stood there watching all of this with my mouth open. I had no idea what they were talking about. Well, I had some. Mom and dad used to tell me storied about slayers and vampires, but those were just pretend. The idea that mom was a slayer was ludicrous.

Giles shook his head again. "He got his shanshu, Buffy. Angel is human now. Nothing can change that."

Mom sighed in relief, but then her eyes narrowed in suspicion. "Yes, why come to us if we can't help?"

Giles looked at her guiltily. "There is one person that can fight the evil. This person has parents that strike fear in every vampires heart." Giles looked at me and I felt myself blush. I had absolutely no idea what was going on, and I wondered if this was some sort of a trick, though, the grave expressions on my parents' faces told me otherwise. "I think that it is time Steph learns where she comes from. Don't you agree?"

Then, came the story of what my mom had been. A slayer, the one girl chosen in every generation to fight the evil on this Earth. About how she had fallen in love with her sworn enemy-a vampire. How this vampire loved her back in every single way. But their love was doomed from the beginning-as they learned when he lost his soul and reverted to his demon self.

I learned about how the slayer sent her one true love to hell and about how he came back. How he finally left her, because she deserved a normal life that he couldn't ever give her one. But then they fought together in the battle to end all evil and he turned human and she wasn't a slayer anymore. They could finally be together without any strings attached.

Today I found out that I am the daughter of the two most feared warriors on the planet. Today I learned that my mom was the only slayer to live past her twenty-fifth birthday and that my father is the only vampire to become a real human being.

According to Giles, I have inherited their supernatural strength and power even though they can't use it anymore. My destiny is to fight the evil that walks this Earth-just as my parents fought it before me.

Of course, at the time I didn't believe any of this-I mean really, vampires? Slayers? Demons? Not exactly the easiest thing to believe. Then, I thought about it a little.

Mom had sent me to my room shortly after Giles told me that my destiny was to fight the evil that walked this Earth. I paced around the closed square interior thinking about how crazy this whole thing was. Here I was at four in the morning being told that vampires are real and that I'm supposed to fight them. I wasn't exactly jumping up and down with eagerness.

Still, I had lived with my parents for the last fourteen years of my life and I didn't have any reason to believe that they were crazy. So, I decided to do some research. I crept silently down-stairs and through the kitchen. I could still hear sounds of hushed arguing floating out from the living room, but I ignored it. I was on a mission and not even ease dropping would prevent me from completing it.

I went out the door in the kitchen and into the garage. I flicked on the light hoping that my parents couldn't see it from the living room. I surveyed the place with my eyes until I found what I was looking for. A box. It was well hidden in the corner, but it was there. I once asked what was in it and mom had just smiled tersely and said that it was just junk for our next garage sale. Except, every time a garage sale came, we never used it.

I got the strange feeling that mom was hiding something.

I picked the box up and sat down in the middle of the garage prepared to be there for a while. When I opened it I was surprised at the messy order it was in. It looked almost as though someone had just thrown stuff in there and wasn't ever planning on going back and looking it over. The first thing that I noticed was the amount of photographs. That took up the majority of the box. Some of the other things some bound leather books that looked like a journal, a bottle of water, an envelope, and a card.

I picked up one of the leather books. I opened it and absent-mindedly blew the dust of the first page. It was filled with crafty penmanship and I could see a date written at the top. So, it was a journal...

{November 4, 1996
Today I had the pleasure of meeting my slayer, Buffy Ann Summers. It wasn't the most pleasant meeting ever. She didn't like the idea that she wasn't in Sunnydale by chance. She denied being the slayer and didn't want to be involved with it again. I can certainly understand, considering the circumstances, but she is the slayer and it is her destiny.

She is a very headstrong girl, and I don't think that it is going to be very easy to lead and guide her. She does not like taking orders from anyone. Buffy, is the most annoying teenage girl I have ever met, and yet I am already quite fond of her. I can sense something different about her. I fear that this slayer will change me.}

I stared at the page before me with my mouth open. This was the diary Giles kept when he was Buffy's watcher. I flipped through the rest of it reading a page here and there-learning about the monsters and demons my mom faced. I learned about how she was the only slayer to ever have friends helping her, and how she kept up a normal life even if it was strongly frowned upon by the watcher's council. Giles was fired as Buffy's official watcher during her senior year. He still kept up records, but they weren't as detailed.

One thing that I found fascinating was there weren't any mentions of Angel in any of the journals he had. Giles, mentioned her one other steady boyfriend, Riley, but never Angel. If he had been such a big part of Buffy's life all through high school and had turned evil at one point I figured that Giles would write about it. Shrugging it off I picked up the envelope and opened it.

Inside was a letter from Giles explaining the thing that I had been wondering about. Figures.

{ Dear Buffy,
I was going through these the other day and thought that you might like to have them. I know that there are parts of your life in here that you probably don't want to revisit, but I think that you have a right to these since the watcher's council no longer needs them. I realize that big chunks of things that happened have been left out. But, Buffy, you must understand that at the time the idea that a vampire and slayer could have a relationship would never have been allowed by the council. For the safety of you and Angel those things were much better off unsaid. I also know that your story does not need to be written down to be remembered.
I sincerely hope that you decide to read through these. I think that they truly show what an amazing slayer and person that you were.
Your friend,

I began to understand a little why Giles didn't write anything down about Angel. I wasn't sure who the watcher's council was, but they didn't exactly sound like the most trustworthy guys. I figured that was why Buffy had quit.

I picked up the card next. 'Angel Investigations' it said. There was a little drawing of a... something on it. 'We help the hopeless' the back read. I noticed that the corners were falling apart and I figured that mom must have had it for a while. I figured that by the name it had something to do with dad, but what exactly it meant-I didn't know.

I went for the bottle of water. It was in a little glass bottle. I frowned. Why in the world would mom keep a bottle of water? Then I noticed the label. 'Holy water.' Giles mentioned that holy water was something that couldn't kill a vampire, but sure as hell could hurt. Dad had winced when that part was brought up, and I figured that hurt was an understatement. If mom was the slayer-which I still don't believe-having holy water would make sense.

I picked up a handful of photographs and started leafing through them. They were all pictures of mom and her friends in college. I went quickly by photos of Xander, Willow, Tara, and Anya looking for a picture of both mom and dad. I paused when I found one of mom and a handsome blond man in a tight embrace. It was taken at a beach and I could clearly see the ocean behind it. I figured that this must have been the Riley that Giles mentioned in his journals. I immediately didn't like him. He was dad's polar opposite, and it was too hard for me to imagine my mom being with anyone besides dad. I kept going, but only found more pictures of Riley and mom. Riley and mom having a picnic. Riley and mom kissing. Riley and mom at a café both smiling happily at the camera. Riley and mom. Riley and mom. Didn't she have any pictures of dad in here? It almost seemed that she loved Riley more and that dad was just a second choice.

That thought would come back and haunt me.

Finally I noticed that underneath the pictures were some taken at high school. I started from the bottom of the pile. There were a few pictures of mom, Willow, and Xander and that was about it. Willow had long hair and looked a lot younger. Xander just looked younger. I figured this must have been shortly after mom moved. Finally, I found a picture of mom and dad. Mom looked a little older than in the first ones and I figured that this must have been her junior year. Dad and her were holding hands and gazing deep into each other's eyes oblivious to the person taking the picture. I kept going and found more pictures of mom and dad. Although, unlike the pictures of mom and Riley they were all at night and most were taken in graveyards. This scared me. I was beginning to think that my parents weren't pulling my leg.

Suddenly, the pictures of them stopped, and I was back to Willow, Xander, mom and this time Giles. Except even though they were all smiling they're eyes were filled with pain. This must have been after dad went bad-if it was the truth. I kept flipping pictures until I came to one that surprised me. It was a picture of Willow with her arm around a boy I didn't recognize, Xander with his arms around Cordelia, and mom who looked miserable and out of place. I figured that Willow had her arm around Oz-Giles had mentioned him in his journals. What I didn't understand was Xander and Cordelia. Cordelia and dad are best friends and I see her almost once a week, but she and Xander don't get along at all. I wonder what happened between the two of them. Mom just looked plain miserable and I guessed that this was when she was still upset about dad.

I flashed by more group pictures until I came by one of mom and dad again. They were holding hands, but rather than looking lovingly into each other's eyes they were staring stoically at the camera with equal expressions of barely contained longing. There weren't very many more pictures of dad and then they stopped all together after high school. There was this one picture that made me shiver though.

Dad. With a vampire face. Against my better judgment I was starting to believe what my parents told me.

I packed the box back up and put it back where I found it. Then, I walked slowly back into the house and into the living room. "Steph? What are you still doing up?" Mom asked in surprise upon my entry. I looked at her strangely. You'd think that out of everybody in this room she'd know that when you find out you're supposed to protect the world it's a little hard to sleep. Dad, who was probably the less dense out of everyone in the room, looked at me sympathetically. He seemed to understand without words what I was thinking.

He probably got that way from being alive for almost three hundred years.

"So, I'm supposed to fight the evil that walks this Earth, huh?"

Giles cringed. "You could put it that way..."

Dad smiled sadly and looked at a rather pissed of looking mom. "Remember what happened when you're mother didn't support you when she found out you were the slayer?"

Mom glared at him, "That was different."

"You know it isn't, love, this isn't going to be easy to accept. It's what she was born to do, and thanks to you it won't be an isolated life like many slayers had. Both of her parents will support as will her friends and Giles." Dad said gently.

"She's only fourteen. At least I wasn't called until I was fifteen," mom protested weakly and it broke my heart a little. I knew from Giles's journals that mom had always wanted a normal life, but she did know what her job was and she always did it. From his journals, I drew strength from the slayer that was my mother. I didn't really like the idea that my life was going to be put on the line every night for who knew how long, but I knew that there wasn't any way around it. Someone had to fight what went on in the darkness. And I just happened to be that someone.

At fourteen I was just given a job that would make me a little older a little quicker.

"Mom, I know that you don't like this, but I read Giles's journals. I went through the box. I know some of-if not most of what happened to you. I know that it isn't pretty, but you always did it no matter what."

Mom took in a deep shuddering breath. "I know, Steph. I think I knew from the first moment you were brought into this world. Except I think I understand a little more of what my mom went through when she found out I was the slayer."

Dad rolled his eyes, "You should have seen what she was like when she found out Buffy and I had actually gone and gotten married."

I giggled a little despite the tense atmosphere. I loved grandma, but dad was right. She knew how to over-react. Especially since she didn't like dad all that much. "This isn't funny," mom snapped with another glare in dad's direction.

Giles shrugged, "I remember a slayer who often commented on the way her watcher acted."

Mom closed her eyes and tried to look mad, but I could see a small smile spread across her face. "Oh, god, here we go again. So, much for my happy ending."

Giles looked at mom again with sad eyes. I could tell that he wasn't exactly happy that he had to drop such a big bombshell on our family. I think that he wanted mom to have a happy ending just as much as she did. "It won't be as bad as what you went through. There aren't vampires all over the Earth and the hellmouth is closed. In a few years Steph will have taken them all out."

Mom smiled grimly, "Yeah, but one will escape and someone else will have to be called to finish them off again. And again. And again."

"As long there is good there will be evil and as long as there is evil there will be good," dad said smartly.

Giles nodded at dad approvingly and stood up. "I will come back tomorrow and start training with Steph. I hope that the Watcher's council will let me watch over her."

"I wouldn't let anyone else do it," mom replied. Then, as an afterthought, "And I still don't forgive them!"

Giles saw his way out the door. Mom turned to me and I noticed that the sad expression was once again in her eyes. "Honey, I know that this is hard. Believe me-I know better than anyone. So, don't go out and do anything stupid.... If you're feeling overwhelmed or just want to talk about the fact that vampires are real, or want to know more about my past and Angel's past. Don't hesitate to ask."

I nodded thankfully at her. "I'm going to take you up on that."

Mom hugged me and kissed my cheek lightly. For once, I had the decency not to wipe it away. Or, at least, not while she was looking. "I'm actually going to try and sleep now. What with Giles and training tomorrow..." I stated making a face. I really hated working hard.

Dad nodded and took mom's hand, "Us too."

"Yeah, right," I muttered under my breath as I went up the stairs two at a time.

"What did you say, honey?" Dad called after me.

"Nothing!" I yelled back down the stairs.

In bed I lay awake for a long time. I was impressed with the performance I put on for my parents. I seemed cool, calm, and collected as if I had perfect confidence in myself. In reality I didn't feel any of those things at all. I was only fourteen and yet I felt like I was only eight. Today, has been the longest of my life. It felt like days since Giles rang our doorbell at three o'clock in reality it has only been four hours. I shut my eyes tightly.

I guessed, all I could do was wait and see what tomorrow brought.


A/N: Yes, I realize that this wasn't exactly a B/A story. After I finished 'The Reason he Stayed,' and decided to make a series-I wasn't positive of what it was going to be about. The good news is that I have at least two or three more ideas floating around in my head. I think that the next one will be about Steph again, but after that I will get back to B/A fluff, angst, and doom. So, for anyone that has been following this series thanks again and I hope that you will read the ones that come next.