Backstory:

Ok, having just been watching the first couple of seasons of Buffy, I realised I was a bit nostalgic for those high school buffy years and wanted a way to revisit them. This was my answer. Created using the rumour that the school is rebuilt for the next season of Buffy and Dawn attends, the Sunnydale High: Next Generation Slayers stories are set after (I believe) season 3 Angel and season 6 Buffy. However some things from the season finale's have been reconciled and I'd prefer to mention it now rather than try and lamely include an explanation in character speech or POV in the first pages. Basically, Angel has been saved and reconciled his differences with Connor though their relationship is strained. Believing L.A. is not the greatest place to grow up in, he sends Connor to live with Buffy, Willow and Dawn, and attend Sunnydale High with Dawn. (Assume Cordelia is not a higher being, and Wesley's relationship with the group still very strained but improving and he hasn't begun turning to his dark side.) In Sunnydale, Willow is slowly but surely getting over her magic problems, and Spike has returned and the scooby gang know he has a soul, and for this reason haven't killed him yet, but are pretty much not pleased with him. (Tara is dead, Anya and Xander are still broken up, Giles will probably return to England). Also, this story is not about the Buffy and Angel cast, so whilst they are still around and pop up from time to time, don't expect them to dominate the fics. I think that covers it all.

[teaser:]

If there was a way Dawn Summers had imagined her life to be, it was not like this. Her mother dead, her sister a vampire slayer, and herself a magical key made flesh. All her memories dating past two years ago were false, but at least shared by the family and friends around her. She still dreaded to think what that meant about her. Sometimes she felt like she wasn't real.

She looked across at Buffy, her sister, driving to the bus station. Buffy was real. Buffy was real and it showed, in all the friends she had around her. The one or two friends Dawn had made at school had faded out of her life over summer, weirded out by the strange events the Summers' always seemed to find themselves involved in.

But Buffy seemed pleased, even nostalgic, that Dawn was going to be attending the newly rebuilt Sunnydale High this year. Dawn remembered back to the days that Buffy had attended there, except, she hadn't really existed then. They weren't real memories.

She wanted to be like her sister, couldn't Buffy see that? Maybe if she fought the evil things in life, Dawn's life would make more meaning and sense.

They arrived at the bus station, and it was late. Dawn, chin in hand and elbow resting on the inside of the car door, stared out into the dark night. It was a bit chilly to be waiting outside. Buffy turned up the heating.

"Things will be ok Dawn," she tried to reason with her sister, obviously still far from fitting into her new motherly role. She paused, "Are you worried about school?"

"No!" Dawn pulled a face and looked at her sister, "I just don't see why he has to come here! I like us the way we are."

Now it was Buffy's turn to wrinkle her nose, and Dawn knew why. It was Angel - it was always Angel. Buffy couldn't help herself when Angel was involved, and Angel has asked them to take Connor and Buffy had been unable to say "No".

But Dawn didn't want Connor. From what she'd been told about him, she was not a fan. And she liked the Summers' household the way it was now, with all girls; her, and Buffy, and Willow. Connor was just going to come and ruin all that. She almost hoped he'd run away again and they wouldn't find him at the bus station.

Her hopes were lifted - there was no one here yet!

"It's stupid anyway," Dawn continued to her sister, "I mean, he sent him here, to the Hellmouth, to go to school instead of L.A. Doesn't that seem stupid to anyone else."

"Dawn, things will…" but Buffy never finished her sentence because right then the bus pulled up, it's door facing away from the girls in their car. A small crowd poured out around the front of the bus and wandered off in their own respective directions, but no Connor. Maybe he really had run off again.

After a couple of minutes of no one, there was the loud puff and thud of the bus door closing, and it pulled away back into the night. The Summers' girls stared at the empty space it had left like a black hole.

Then, through the shadows, a figure stepped out, small, male, eyes wandering about. Connor.

*********************

Connor peered around as he stepped through the doorway into the Summers' house following Buffy and Dawn. It was so different to Angel's home in the hotel, but he wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.

He knew that things were still not good between him and Angel. For one thing he still couldn't bring himself to think of Angel as his father. And there were some things about Daniel Holtz, the one Connor truly felt as a father figure, that he would just never believe.

He felt betrayed too. Right now was the time he really should be trying to see Angel as a father, that 'father-son bonding' stuff or whatever, and Angel has sent him away to live with these people he didn't know.

He was quite certain his life had just taken a turn for the worst… and he'd spent most of his life in a hell-demon dimension.

A redhead wearing a big grin came bouncing down the stairs and looked pleasantly surprised to see them all returned.

"Oh!" she exclaimed, and looked at Buffy, "Is that..? It is...! Hi!" she stuck out a hand to him, "I'm Willow." Connor stared at the hand, and then blankly at the redhead. What did she expect? He didn't know her. He thought he might vaguely remember Angel mentioning a name like that, but that didn't mean much.

The redhead didn't look too disappointed.

She drew her hand away, "Oh… he doesn't talk much either."

Buffy flashed her best friend a wry smile, "Nope. Like father, like son I guess." Connor's skin crawled. He did not consider himself to be like his father.

The sister, Dawn, crossed her arms across her chest, pouted slightly and disappeared into the living room and around the corner.

"Are we even going to eat or is that something we don't do now that he's here!" she called bad-temperedly from the other room. Connor didn't think he liked her much, but he didn't like any of this much.

Buffy raised an eyebrow at Willow and the redhead nodded excitedly, "Oh yeah! I conjured up a feast!"

"Willow?" Buffy, warningly. Connor couldn't figure out why, which meant it was nothing to do with him.

"…From the Doublemeat Palace," Willow finished, smiling. She sounded pleased at the joke she had made.

"Euch!" Buffy said half-disgustedly, half-joking herself, "because I haven't had burgers from there to last me a lifetime."

"So Connor," Willow said, as they all began tracing Dawn's footsteps, "do you think you'll enjoy going to Sunnydale High?… I know we did. We had a real… exciting time."

"Oh no way," Buffy discouraged the witch, "not with my sister going there. Things are not going to be like the way they were before. This year Sunnydale High is going to be a nice, boring school and I'm going to make sure of it!"

*********************

Two figures completely cloaked figures scurried down the sunlight street as though they might burst into flames at any moment. Finally coming to a stop in front of a run down old building, they bashed urgently on the door and barely waited a moment before banging again. When the door finally opened, they tumbled into the shadows inside and leapt to their feat, the door closing behind them.

They pulled away their cloaks, and revealed a twistedly horrible forehead and mouthful of fangs. Another group of similarly disfigured creatures stood in a semi-circle inside.

One stepped forward as the leader, "Well?

"They're reopening the school," one of the vampires that had just returned blurted out, and the leader looked thoughtful.

"All those children," he said, looking day-dreamingly distant for a moment.

"Well boys," he continued, "it seems they didn't just steal our home for the last three years - they built an all you can eat bar there." All around him, the vampires grinned evilly, and hungrily…