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Pale Green Stars

DISCLAIMER: If the character's on the show, then they belong to Joss. If they aren't then they're mine! Pale Green Stars belongs to Everclear. I Wish belongs to Lisa Loeb.

SPOILERS: If its aired, you're for-warned.

Authors Notes: Based off Faith's weird line in Grad 2. This is the first story in my "Miles to Go" series. Wild At Heart didn't happen and Doyle didn't die!!! Anya doesn't exist in my universe past season 3.

"Miles to go. Little Miss Muffet counting down from 7-3-0." –Faith, Graduation 2

Prologue

Los Angeles, 6-14-0 [June 14, 2000]

Amanda is in love with the sight of the moon...

Amanda Muffet leaned half way out her second floor bedroom window. The moon shined like freshly polished silver on the warm summer night. The idea that she would never witness the full moon again, or at least she would never remember it, seemed impossible. When she had called her cousin Oz a week ago and mentioned that their cousin Jordie had bitten her while she was baby-sitting, she had never expected him to react so strangely. After the death of Oz’s girlfriend six months earlier, she made sure she called him at least once a week. He had taken it very hard but… werewolves? Not only did he believe Jordie was a werewolf but he thought he was a werewolf too! And now Oz thought she was one also!? He had insisted that she come to Sunnydale on the 15th because according to him, werewolves also changed on the two nights surrounding the full moon. She had agreed mostly to see if she could help him—obviously his girlfriend’s death had been harder on him than she had ever imagined.

She's got pale green stars in her room
Right above her bed
Put them on the ceiling
Leave on the light
When the sun goes down then the stars might shine
Shining in the dark..


Pulling back from the window, Amanda slowly closed the window and the blinds to block the moonlight. She was almost packed but she quickly tossed a few more things in her duffel as she worked her way around the room. Sighing, she zipped the bag and tossed it to the floor. Using a scrunchie to pull back her jet black curly hair, she quickly turned off her light and climbed into bed. Staring at the ceiling, she slowly began to relax. Pale green glow-in-the-dark stars adorned her ceiling. They always reminded her of camp where she had bought them to add color the plain white walls that had been driving her crazy. Now at home in her head she could be there. Be...safe.

Skinny little girl in her room alone
She's got hell to spare in her home
If you can call it a home
Doesn't want to be like anybody else
When no one is around she talks to herself
I can hear her in the night

To Amanda camp was never long enough. If her parents weren’t yelling at each other, it only meant they directed it at her. She could never be good enough. Why didn’t they understand that she liked being different? They had taken her childhood and then blocked every attempt she made at reclaiming it. All she wanted was to be a kid but at only 16 years old she began to think that was impossible.

It's hard on a girl
When you try to walk around
on the shaky ground

Scared little girl watching Aladdin on TV
Amanda always cries when you yell at me
Yeah, please don't yell at me

Climb up all the stairs
Close the door
Doesn't want to hear us fighting anymore
Yeah, better call it a day

It's hard on a young girl
She thinks it's all her fault when it all goes wrong

She's got pale green stars in her room


At least a few days with Oz meant she could get away from everything. Trying to sleep, she tossed and turned restlessly. She needed this sleep to rise early in the morning.


Part 1

Sunnydale, 6-15-0 [June 15, 2000]

Staring out the bus window, Amanda felt like the trip to Sunnydale would never end. She had been planning on a four o’clock arrival but it was almost six and the bus showed no sign of stopping. Oz had promised to meet her at the bus stop with some of his friends. Apparently the bus stop wasn’t the best place in town and he thought there was safety in numbers. Finally in the distance she could make out a sign with the words "Welcome to Sunnydale."

Apparently Sunnydale wasn’t the largest town. Within ten minutes, the bus was pulling into the Sunnydale bus stop and Amanda managed a tired smile at the sight of Oz flanked by two of his friends. Grabbing her bag, she pushed her way through the crowds, hopped off the bus and after dropping her bag at Oz’s feet, she wrapped him in tight hug. Eventually she remembered his friends were there and released him. His friends looked normal enough but then again, until last week she had thought Oz was the only sane person left in her family. Now she wasn’t even sure about that.

"This is all you brought?"

The blonde girl who was about her size was motioning toward her bag. Self-consciously Amanda reached for duffel bag.

"It really holds more than it looks like from the outside."

The boy standing next to her laughed.

"Not everyone packs like you Buffy." Turning to Amanda he smiled warmly, "I’m Xander. Oz says you’ve never been to Sunnydale before."

Amanda smiled back. He was kinda cute. Maybe this visit would be great for more reasons than she had thought. Of course since the girl he called Buffy didn’t seem to have a guy at her side, they were probably a couple. Go figure.

"I always wanted to but Oz always convinced me there wasn’t much to see. I was coming down for his graduation but he somehow gave us the wrong date."

The group exchanged a look. A look Amanda obviously wasn’t part of. Pretending not to notice, she reached for the bag she had dropped earlier but Xander stepped closer and reached it before her.

"I can get that for you."

Amanda wasn’t the least bit surprised when Oz stepped between them and took her arm. She was pretty sure she heard him mutter, "sixteen" to Xander as he pulled her away. Elbowing Oz in the side, she turned to smile at Xander anyway. At least that might mean he was single...

Buffy walked on her other side as they walked toward Oz’s van. Amanda figured she should at least attempt conversation with Buffy since Oz thought Xander was to old for her and well, he wasn’t much of a conversationalist himself. However Buffy also seemed to be looking at her kind of weird.

"Is something wrong?"

"Oh, well I was kind of wondering why a person would travel in heeled boots. I mean, they’re awesome but they can’t be that comfortable."

"Oh. Well they’re not that bad. I just never go without them and my secret to packing is wearing my biggest shoes. Saves room," Amanda answered though from the sound of Buffy’s voice she sure Buffy had been thinking something else entirely.

Oz threw Amanda’s bag in the van and quickly opened the passenger door to the van for Amanda before climbing in the drivers seat. As he pulled onto the road, Amanda looked at him questionably.

"This is the way to were you live?"

"No, there’s someone I want you to talk to."


"So you all think I’m a werewolf? Okay you’re crazy. All of you!"

Sitting in Giles house, Amanda stared at the serious people surrounding her. Shocked, she rose and started for door only be stopped when Xander took hold of her arm.

"It’ll be dark soon."

Surprising everyone, Amanda pulled away easily. Apparently Buffy wasn’t the only person stronger than she looked.

"And I can’t leave because I’m about to turn into a flesh-eating werewolf, right?" she said sarcastically.

"Uh guys?" Oz said pointing to the clock as he got up to go toward Giles basement. Since the library was gone they had decided set up a cage there. In the past week, they had managed to set up a divider in the cage to make second cage for Amanda’s visit. Glancing nervously at the clock, Buffy took Amanda’s arm and tried to pull her toward to basement after Oz but she resisted and struggled to get away. Oz turned to walk toward her but Buffy shook her head.

"Go ahead, we don’t want both of you running lose."

With a nod Oz quickly disappeared down the stairs as Amanda struggled with Buffy only to find herself slowly losing more and more ground. She didn’t understand how Buffy could be so strong but apparently Buffy was thinking the same thing about her because, she muttered, "And I thought I was the one with abnormal strength.," under her breath as she forced Amanda down the basement stairs.

Suddenly Amanda lurched forward. What was happening to her? The second she paused in shock was all Buffy needed to get her inside the cage and shut the door just as change took place.


Part 2

Sunnydale, 6-16-0 [June 16, 2000]

Amanda awoke slowly as she noticed she was in a strange place. Were was she? More importantly, why was she naked?! Surveying her surroundings, she realized she was in a cage. A cage with towels? The last thing she remembered was Buffy forcing her toward the cage...oh no, this couldn’t be true.

"Oz?" she asked hesitantly.

"He’s upstairs already. There’s clothes in the cage. Come up when you’re ready."

She heard Buffy’s footsteps already ascending the stairs as she walked over to the corner where she found the outfit Buffy had put in the cage. Dressing quickly, Amanda ran up the stairs and followed the sound of voices into the living room.

The entire group was assembled with their backs to her in front of the coffee table when she walked in. A plate stacked with blueberry muffins seemed to be the center of attention and she thought no one had noticed her entrance until Buffy tossed a muffin her way. Quickly Buffy turned to make sure she had caught it before turning her attention back to Giles.

"See! I am perfectly aware of my opponents location. No need to rip out more hair with a blindfold."

"Opponent?" Amanda asked nervously.

"Oh...um, that’s just an inside joke-thing," Buffy quickly covered.

Shrugging, Amanda held up the muffin and smiled at Oz.

"My favorite. Just when I was expecting curds and whey."

"That stuff is not as good as you’d think. Besides what would I do with the leftovers here?"

Amanda laughed although Oz didn’t seem to react at all.

"I can’t believe you tried to make Ephiny eat that!"

"You guys wanna start making sense sometime?" Xander interrupted.

"Ephiny’s my cat," Amanda explained.

"And Oz made curds and whey because...?" Buffy continued.

"He’s weird," Amanda answered, not willing to hear the customary jokes that went with her last name.

"I suppose you have questions, " Giles stated more than asked.

"Questions? Oh, well not really. I think Oz explained everything over phone, even though I thought he’d gone insane." Amanda answered smoothly. "Of coarse I still have to figure out how to lock myself up every month, seeing as I can’t very well come down here once a month."

"Already covered that for you actually," Buffy answered. "We have some...friends in L.A. that can help you with that. Have you heard of Angel Investigations?"

"Sure, I passed by there once and this crazy girl was going around asking people if they were hopeless."

"That would be Cordelia. Just go in and ask for Angel, he’ll help you out," Oz said.

Amanda nodded just as a faint ring came from across the room. Sighing, she slowly got up and walked to where she’d tossed her bag the night before and started to dig through it. Finally she unearthed a bright yellow Nokia cell phone.

The group began to make plans for the remainder of the day and took little notice of Amanda until they heard her mumbled cursing from across the room. After zipping her bag and tossing it toward the door, Amanda walked back to they group. Noting the odd looks on their face, Amanda quickly explained in an exasperated tone.

"That was my idiot boss. Apparently he’s decided not to let me have Saturday morning off. Meaning that I have to leave A.S.A.P. if I want to be home before sunset."


Part 3

Los Angeles, 6-16-0 [June 16, 2000] - later

Already in the worst of moods after a long bus ride back to L.A., Amanda chose to go straight to Angel Investigations and put off returning home. After all, she had packed for a few days and she had no intent to go home sooner than necessary. Besides, it was already late afternoon and if she didn’t get to Angel Investigations soon, L.A. would have yet another problem to deal with.

"No, Oz, I don’t need directions. I remember where it is," Amanda said sarcastically to herself. "Stupid, stupid, stupid!"

Lost, Amanda looked around desperately for some landmark that would tell her where she was. Just five minutes ago, she had been sure that she was going in the right direction. Sighing she pulled out her cell phone and dialed the number Oz had given her.

"Angel Investigations. We help the hopeless."

Rolling her eyes at Cordelia’s greeting Amanda decided Cordelia wasn’t the right person for quick answers.

"Can I talk to Angel?"

"Angel’s busy, can I help you?"

Cursing to herself, Amanda wondered what was going on. Hadn’t Oz said he would call to tell Angel she was coming?

"Is there anyone else I can talk to?"

"Well, there’s Doyle..."

"Ok, I’ll talk to him."

Doyle voice came on the phone.

"Who is this?"

But Amanda didn’t hear him. A car pulled up to the curb beside her and stopped. Nervously, Amanda hung up the phone and started to walk quickly away from the car. As the car started to edged along after her, she picked up her pace and reached inside her purse to grip her pepper spray. A male voice yelled from behind her.

"Hey wait a minute!"

Amanda prepared to run just as he yelled again.

"Amanda?!"

She stopped in her tracks and slowly turned around. The car quickly pulled up next to her. Inside was a man in who appeared to be somewhere in his late twenties.

"Angel?" she asked cautiously.

"Yes! Get in!"

"Wait a second. How do I know you’re Angel?"

"Because I know that if you’re Amanda Muffet and you don’t come with me, there will be trouble in about ten minutes," Angel growled.

"All right, all right," Amanda said as she quickly hopped in the car.

Angel immediately sped toward Angel Investigations where they quickly jumped out of the car. Pushing past a confused Doyle and Cordelia, Angel led Amanda downstairs where she run ahead of him as soon as she spotted the cage and after tossing her bag next to the cage, locked herself inside. Not even checking to make sure Angel had left, Amanda turned her back to him and stripped as fast as she could. She couldn’t afford to ruin another outfit. Just as she tossed her clothes between the bars of the cage, the change began.



Part 4


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