The Key to Buffy's Past
Willow cocked an eyebrow. "How'd you get the name of the guy who sent the big rock dude?"
Buffy shrugged and sat at a booth. "Rocks have feelings too." She grinned. "They feel it if you break stuff on them."
Willow gaped. "You tortured it?"
Wesley butted in. "It had to be done, I would expect no less from a slayer. Now, what is the name?"
Buffy looked at Wesley long and hard before she decided that she liked him better than when he was her Watcher. "D'Hoffryn."
Willow groaned. "Wasn't that the demon that offered to make me a demon?"
"If he wanted to make you a Vengeance Demon, then yes. He's the reason Angel wouldn't let me break Hapless' necklace"
"Halfrek, Cupcake," Lorne corrected Buffy. "And D'Hoffryn is not a honcho to be messed with. He's, well, scary. If he doesn't want this done, than we better watch each other's backs," Lorne said.
Buffy tightened her fists. "I need to kill something. You guys do the magic, I'll be back."
She stormed out before the others could argue. The fresh air calmed Buffy. She walked through the streets of L.A. and wondered if Spike had bought cigarettes from a smoke-shop she saw, or if he had had a drink at a bar she passed.
"Did he think about me while doing those things?" she asked herself. "Does he even want me back?"
"Sounds like you're having a rough time."
Buffy spun to the building beside her. A blonde sat on the steps heading up to a house for stray teens. "You don't know the half of it," Buffy mumbled.
The blonde smiled. "At least it doesn't sound like demons are the problem this time."
Buffy stuttered before setting the girl with her hardest slayer glare. "How do you know about demons?"
"You don't remember me? It's okay, I don't suppose I made the same impact on your life that you did for mine. Call me Anne."
Buffy's mouth fell open. "You, I remember you. The summer that I ran away from home? I gave you my job, right?"
Anne's smile widened. "You do remember."
Buffy sat next to Anne. "Of course I do. You helped me decide to go back home. What are you doing here?"
"I run this house. I know better than anyone that sometimes you need some help. You helped me, now I help them."
Buffy shook her head slowly. "Wow, I never thought I'd see you again."
Anne made a small noise of indifference. "We never know what fate has in store for us. What had you looking so sad?"
Buffy sighed and rubbed her face with her palms. "The man I love died." Buffy raised her hand to cut off Anne's apology. "He came back."
"A vampire?" Anne asked.
"Yeah, but he was one before he died. He has a soul." Buffy giggled at Anne's wide eyed incredulousness.
"Another one? Does he have a 'high and mighty, I'm better than you' attitude?"
Buffy rolled her eyes. "So you've met Angel."
Anne nodded. "He gave me 'blood money,' and tried to guilt me out of it."
"Well that's not Spike. He's … sweet, almost. He doesn't power brood either. He and Angel are as opposite as souled vampires can get."
"So what did he do to have you like this?" Anne looked at Buffy with concern.
Buffy buried her face into her hands. "He never told me that he was back. Now he's gone and I have to save him, but I don't know if he'll want me when I do." Her voice was choked with tears and muffled by her hands.
Anne patted Buffy's thigh. "If he loves you, he'll want you. If he doesn't, you wouldn't want him anyway."
Buffy sucked in a shuddering breath and tried to compose herself. She brushed away the tears from her cheek. "But I don't think I could go on without him. I know he loves me, but I must have really hurt him. I mean, he didn't try to contact me, or get to me."
Anne scooped up Buffy's hand and gave it a squeeze. "I suck at relationships, but it seems to me, that if you guys love each other, then you can make it through your past, and into your future."
Buffy opened her mouth to say something, but her cell phone cut her off. Buffy dug it out of her pocket and read her text. She turned to Anne. "Thank you. I'll think about what you said, but I have to go."
Anne smiled. "I hope I helped. You did more for me than you know. If there's ever anything I can do to help you, just ask." She motioned to the building behind her. "Chances are that I'll be here. It's where I usually am."
Buffy stood. "You already helped; I'd say we're even now. But I would really like to talk again."
They exchanged small smiles and nods before Buffy left.
Buffy strode into the Lorne's club. "What's the —" She stopped dead. "What's Dawn doing here?"
Dawn walked calmly to Buffy and kicked her in the shin. "Jerk," Dawn said.
"Ow," Buffy said as she ran her fingers up and down her now sore shin. "What did I do this time? And why there? It really hurts."
"Why didn't you tell me that Spike is back? I can't believe you'd keep that from me!" Dawn stepped on Buffy's foot before she turned and stomped over to Willow's side.
"And why is my sweet sister here, again?" Buffy asked.
Willow sighed. "I need to tap into her key power."
Willow put her fingers on either side of her head and thought of a way to word her explanation. "I can open a portal to the dimension we need, but I can't keep it open by myself. That's where Dawn comes in."
Buffy rotated her hand in the universal sign to continue.
"Well, Dawn was made to open dimensions. I can tap into that power to hold the portal open. But I'll only ever be able to open one dimension using Dawn. After I do this, this dimension will be the only one Dawn can hold open. We have one try at this; I better have the right place."
Buffy nodded. "I believe in you, Wil. Do it."
Willow turned to Dawn and grasped her hands. "Ready?"
Dawn took a deep breath and blew it out slowly. "Yeah, as ready as I'll ever be."
Willow began to chant softly, her voice grew louder as the seconds ticked by. Willow yelled the last words. "So mote it be."
In a blast of white a swirling vortex of blue appeared.
Willow dropped to her butt and looked up at Dawn, who was standing, staring wide eyed at the portal. "Wow," Willow giggled. "What a rush."
Buffy looked to Lorne and Wesley. "You two stay here. We'll be back soon."
They nodded and Buffy, Dawn and Willow took each other's hands. Buffy smirked at them and they stepped into the portal together, and the swirling colors swallowed them up.
Lorne glanced at Wesley. "Am I the only one feeling left out here?"