TITLE: Coming Home

CHAPTER/TITLE: Chapter Ten/Move Forward

RATING: T (language and mature content)

A/N: FINALLY! The FINAL LAST ENDING chapter! Again, I wrote a sequel when I first wrote this and still have it if you guys are at all interested, if there are even any of you still hanging with me and this story!?

Please READ and REVIEW. Sequel? Suck-quel?

The entire building seemed oddly hushed. Erin paced back and forth, her bag slung across her back. She could faintly hear the light sound of footsteps above her and knew it was only a matter of time. The three of them were up there, waiting for her, she could sense it. Her stomach tightened as she drew closer to the steps and she abruptly spun around and briskly headed for the back set of stairs. She hopped up the steps and rounded the corner in time collide with a tall figure. Erin gasped and quickly backed away.

"I'm sorry," Angel spoke gently.

Erin shrugged and continued walking past him.

"So, that's it?" He questioned, turning to meet her gaze. "You're leaving?"

"Uh, yeah," Erin sighed, adjusting her backpack strap, "there's no reason for me to stick around in your hair."

"You're welcome to stay," Angel offered. "We can help you with everything you're going through, your powers –"

"Thanks, but no thanks," Erin snapped and then paused, her face softening. "Really though, thank you, for everything – but I – I just can't stay."

There was a shared moment of silence as the two experienced what felt like an unspoken stand off, each waiting for the other to speak, to give some sort of signal. Erin lowered her head and again began shuffling down the hall. She had only gotten three steps further when she slowed to a stop and released a repressed sigh of mixed emotions.

"I wanted to do it, you know," Erin suddenly spoke. Her eyes met with Angel's, whose face urged her to continue. "Back – After the accident, I had the gun and I wanted to do it, I wanted to kill him. So bad, did I want to kill him. He was a monster. He killed and killed until he got what he want, no matter who got in the way. He took everyone I loved away from me and I wanted to see him pay." She hesitated, the rage fading from her eyes. "But – I – I couldn't. I just couldn't."

"I knew you wouldn't." Angel suddenly revealed, causing Erin to cock her head in confusion. "I saw you get out of the car. I saw you point the gun at your father and I knew you wouldn't do it."

"How? How could you have known?"

"My job is to protect people, from others, and from themselves. If I would have thought for a second that you were going to go through with it, I would have stopped you, but you stopped yourself. That takes great courage and strength. You're a reckless and stubborn teenager, but you're not a killer."

"I am now," Erin mumbled, praying he wouldn't hear.

"No," Angel shook his head, "you're not. You did what you had to do. I would've done the same."

"Then how come I feel so torn up inside, like I did something wrong? Like I'm this horrible person? Like –"

"Chopping up demons is one thing. Taking a human life is another entirely, even if it is in self-defense. You'll be okay, though. You can stay here if you –"

"No," Erin spoke too quickly, "really, I should go."

"Wesley and Cordelia are upstairs waiting to say goodbye."

"I'm not really good with goodbyes." Erin turned away. "Just, tell them thank you for me."

"Just because he's dead now doesn't mean you're not still running," Angel warned. "You have to face your demons sometime or they will catch up to you."

"You face the demons," Erin called out, already halfway out the door, "I'm going home."

The door swung closed as Erin stepped out onto the street and into the warm sunlight. The vampire's words hung in the back of her mind as she continued down the road, attempting to simply gain as much distance between herself and that place that she could. She was not sure what she was doing or where she was headed, but she just needed to get away. She didn't care if she was running. She didn't care if she was avoiding her problems. She didn't care that she truly wasn't going home. The fact was, Erin knew that she no longer had a home, not with her mother, not with David, not with her brother. She was a stranger to the world, a stranger to herself, wandering the depressed and desolate back roads and alleyways of Los Angeles, longing to turn back, but forcing herself to move forward.