Summery: The past holds dark secrets for us all. Buffy returns to Sunnydale, five years after she leaves, to try and put her past behind her. No matter what she does, it always comes back to haunt her. Can Angel, her childhood friend, help her put it behind her and focus on her future? Adult themes and romance. B/A!

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Her feelings she hides.
Her dreams she can't find.
She's losing her mind.
She's fallen behind.
She can't find her place.
She's losing her faith.
She's fallen from grace.
She's all over the place.
Yeah,oh

Nobody's Home, Avril Lavigne.

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I sat in the back of the taxi cab, two duffel bags squashed on either side of me, whilst three suitcases were in the boot, with my hands clasped in my lap. I knew that the taxi driver was throwing me glances in his rear-view mirror every five minutes, though I never looked up to meet his concerned gaze. The bruises that covered my face were enough to worry anyone and I couldn't blame him for keep looking at me. I was a mess all over. Huge, purple bags lay beneath my eyes, making it evident that I had been unable to sleep throughout the last week and half. My usual sun-kissed glow had disappeared; my skin was now pale and unhealthy. The paleness of my skin seemed to show off my bruises more. And I was dressed in sweatpants and a white tank top, looking slightly shabby with a black jacket, which was much too big for me, thrown around my shoulders. I was almost positive that my eyes lacked their usual sparkle, though they held too many secrets now and I knew I had to regain that sparkle if I wanted to keep my past buried. I also knew that my hair needed a good wash. My blonde hair was shoved up into a rough ponytail, odd pieces of hair hanging out like straw, with a thin cover of grease.

Yes, I definitely had given the taxi driver something to look at.

Even when I gave him a reassuring smile as I got into the back seat, the concern look never lifted from his slightly chubby face. I felt grateful for the amount of concern he was giving to me, after all I was just a stranger to him. Not even some of my old neighbours showed any signs of concern when I was rushed off to the hospital. It showed you the different natures that some people possessed.

I looked out of the window. The surroundings were now becoming more familiar to me, I began recognizing certain places that I had once walked past or been to during my time in Sunnydale. It seemed like I had never left five years ago.

I knew that, within a couple of days, everyone would know I had returned. Without him. That would surely strike up many curious questions that people wanted, and needed, answers to, though the answers would have to wait until I had fully recovered. Bringing up the past, especially this soon, would be almost the equivalent pain to a slow torture. I had already spoken to my Mother on the phone and begged her to not ask me any questions when I arrived home, promising her that I would eventually answer them when I was ready. Being a Mother, she reassured me that she wouldn't pry and told me how glad she was that I was finally coming home. I hadn't seen my Mother for five years, even though I had spoken to her the first two years that had passed on the phone a lot. I missed her warm hugs terribly.

I stroked my hand over my stomach, before looking back outside.

I had asked my Mother to contact Willow, Xander and Giles. I had missed them a lot as well. I hadn't spoken to none of them since I left Sunnydale, so I imagined that they would be very angry with me. I couldn't blame them for being angry; I had been an awful friend for leaving them and not even bothering to contact them. And, if I was blessed with a miracle, then I would be able to make up for it and show them how much they actually meant to me.

I was worried about seeing everyone. No one was pleased with my decision, yet I ignored their advice and warnings over my love for some absolute moron. It was like karma. I had left with a clean past that I could look back on with a smile, though now I was returning with a darker shade of events in the past that would haunt me forever. If only I could have foreseen the devastating and horrific events that would take place, I would have stayed with my Mother and friends. Though, even after everything I had been through, I believed that everything happened for a reason and, given a few years, I would be able to look back and realize the reason.

'We're here, Miss,' said the taxi driver.

I replied with a nod of my head, finding it difficult to speak now.

I grabbed my two duffel bags and dragged them out of the car. The taxi driver had already brought it upon himself to get my suitcases out of the boot and line them up on the curb for me. I couldn't express how grateful I was to have a complete stranger be so kind to me. I pulled out my purse and gave him the money for the journey then, with a weak smile, gave him another twenty dollars. He tried to refuse it, being the gentlemen he obviously was, however I forced him to take it for his kind service. He gave me his blessing, saying that whatever I had been through would work out eventually, before getting back into his cab.

I waved him off. Some woman and children out there were lucky enough to have that charming man as a father or husband. And I found tears brimming in my eyes, wondering why my fairytale hadn't turned out like that. How come the man I loved had broke me beyond repair?

'Buffy!'

I spun around, wincing in pain at my sudden movement, to see my Mother running towards me.

She didn't appear to have aged at all. She was still the same beautiful Mother who had left five years ago. I noticed the sudden horror appear over her face, obviously having noticed the state of my face. I forced myself to smile, ease her worry and pain, though I found it hurt my cheeks.

'Oh, sweetheart!' she cried, wrapping her arms around me.

I dug my face into her neck, breathing in her vanilla scent that I loved so dearly.

'I'm so sorry that I wasn't there for you,' my Mother whispered into my hair, stroking my back.

I found it difficult not to role my eyes. I hated how she was sorry for something that was my entirefault. I guessed that Mothers would always find a way to blame themselves in their babies were hurt, they would never forgive themselves if they weren't there for a mere second to protect them. Being a Mother was the best job in the world. A pang of hurt stabbed at my heart, and my stomach, when I reflected upon that.

'You're home now. That is all that matters,' my Mother said.

I agreed with her. I was at my real home now. Because, as I had learnt the hard way, home was somewhere where you were safe and surrounded by people who loved you. I would be better off here. My past would never be forgotten and I knew eventually I would have to tell someone, though, for in the meantime, I just needed to recover from the dark times.