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Part 8

Los Angeles, 6-21-0 [June 21, 2000]

"No!! Please no!!" Amanda screamed, waking with a start on Angelís couch. A cold sweat covered her entire body and she breathed deep as the remnants of her nightmare disappeared. Angel ran in from the bedroom. "What happened?" "Sorry, nightmare, Iím fine." "Youíre sure?" Nodding she got up and walked to the bathroom to shower, knowing that sheíd never get back to sleep.


Dressed in one of the few outfits sheíd brought with her, she found Cordelia, Doyle and Angel upstairs in the office. Once again she was greeted with silence.

"Whatís up?" she asked Cordelia, knowing sheíd get the truth.

"We wanna call the police. It makes sense."

Amanda quickly shook her head. "No cops. Waste of time and energy. Not gonna happen."

"Angelís got a friend there. He belongs behind bars," Doyle added gently.

"Look, you donít have to tell me that. Iíd love to see him behind bars, its just never gonna happen."

Angel looked at her curiously, "What do you mean?"

"Heard of Wolfman and Hart? You could kill newborns for a living and they could get you off." Telling by the looks on everyoneís faces that they knew exactly what she meant, she finished, "He works there. Iím not going through lots of trouble for nothing."

"Youíll stay here then."

Cordelia, Doyle, and Amanda all looked at him with shock.

"You mean like permanently?" Cordelia asked.

"Woh, I canít do that. I canít live here," Amanda protested.

"I canít leave you on your own. Youíre only sixteen. Someone has to take care of you and I canít leave you at that apartment practically taking care of yourself."

"I can take care of myself, thank you very much!" Amanda raised her voice slightly.

"Thatís not the point, you shouldnít have too."

Amanda turned away from him, not wanting him to see the tears in her eyes, not wanting him to see how much she really wanted to stay. But Doyle could see and some how, he understood. If he could just get her to stay long enough to trust them, she would stay.

"Just stay for a little while, while you sort things out, okay?" Doyle suggested.

Accepting defeat, Amanda nodded but added, "Just a few days."

Angel nodded, excepting the compromise, for the time being.

"Youíre going to need more things. I can go by youíre house for stuff tonight," Angel offered.

"What?" Amanda answered shocked, "They wonít just let you take my stuff!"

"I wasnít really planning on asking," he clarified, making her laugh.

Actually smiling, she began, "My roomís on the second floor, you can shut off the alarm systemÖ

Part 9

Los Angeles, 7-3-0 [July 3, 2000]

Amanda slowly walked back to Angelís from Anneís apartment. Sheíd known that Angel had work to do, and since he wouldnít ask her to go, sheíd talked him into letting her stay at Anneís for the night. She had been at Angelís over a week and even though she tried to convince herself not to get attached, she was. She felt guilty enough waking him up with her nightmares half the nights, though sometimes it seemed he was already awake. Still, he always came running. She couldnít help thinking that she almost had what she wanted. A father, well almost, that treated her right. Still, he wasnít exactly obligated to keep her and while he often seem to care for her, the idea that he loved heróthat he could love heróstill seemed ludicrous. After all, if her own parents couldnít love her, how could anyone else?

Letting herself in, she walked in to see Cordelia and Doyle in a passionate lip-lock. She let the door slam loud and they jumped apart. "Amanda! Youíre back," Cordelia said, trying to regain her composure. Amanda just giggled. "Donít stop on my account. Iím just on my way downstairs," she said as she walked passed them adding, "That shade of lipstick looks great on you Doyle." She didnít hear his comment to Cordelia after she left.

"I wonder how sheíll take it."

"She doesnít exactly have a choice," Cordelia answered.

Downstairs, Amanda dropped her bag next to the couch where Angel was seated. He looked up quickly, "Did Cordelia say anything to you?" The expression on his face showed a mixture of sorrow and worry. "She was kinda busy with Doyle. Whatís up?" she asked becoming worried. He motioned for her to sit down.

"In every generation thereís a slayer..."


"So if Buffyís a slayer, is sheÖdead?"

"No, she died onceódrowned. She was revived but another slayer was called, and when she died another. That slayer has been in a coma for over a year. She died today. Thereís more. While they admitted they were wrong to fire Giles, because of what happened with Buffy, the council has set even more rules. I joined hoping to make changes but while Iíve succeeded in many ways, they are insistent on some of their new policies."

"What do I have to do?" Amanda asked nervously.

"They want your watcher to train you in England. And Amanda Muffet can no longer exist. Youíll have a new name. Anything identifying you can not be kept. Everyone you know must think you vanished without a trace. Those that you love could be used against you. Its for their safety as well as yours. Cordelia and Doyle are going to England also. Theyíll work for the council so you wonít lose them. Because of his connection with Buffy, Oz already knows, but you wonít be able to see him often."

"And you?" she asked, determined not to let her voice shake.

"Iíll stay with you. Iím to be your watcher."


Part 10

Los Angeles, 7-4-0 [July 4, 2000]

It was her last day as Amanda Muffet, and part of her was relieved, she wanted to start a new life even if it was scary, but first she had two things to do. Climbing up the side of the house, she looked into the window at the thirteen year old girl inside. Since she was thirteen herself, Amanda had felt responsible for her. Leaving her was the hardest part about this but she knew it was safer this way. If anything ever hurt this girl, Amanda vowed it would live through the most painful torture she could ensue. At her young age, she had taught Amanda what love was, what family really was. That blood wasnít what made someone family. Slowly she removed the letter she had composed the night before from its envelope, reading it once more.

Gabrielle,

My little sister, I think leaving you shall be the hardest thing Iíve ever had to doóever will have to do, but I donít have a choice. I canít really explain it but I have to leave to protect you, to protect the world.

I will never forget you. You will be in my thoughts as long as I live and forever after. Nothing could ever change that. I love you and always will. I would endure anything for you. You know that. You were always my strength. When I wanted to give up, one look at you would change my mind. The times I spent with you were and always will be the best times of my life. Iíll always remember those times. Iíll always remember you. Youíll always be breathing in everything that I do. Its all for you.

Life is hard. I fear you will soon begin to learn that lesson. But never stop fighting. Fight for the people you love and the people that love you. They make it worth living. And never loose hope. Even when youíve fallen and hurt yourself so bad you canít move, when you least expect it someone will appear to pick you up and bandage your wounds, but you must be patient and wait for them.

I could never fit everything I want to tell you in this letter. If I tried, you would never get it. Lastly, Iím giving you my ring. I canít take it with me, so Iím leaving it in your care. Itís not only to remember me by, though its also for that. I want to leave part of me with you, so that you know Iím out there somewhere loving you with all my heart when ever youíre down. Youíll always be with me even if itís just in my heart. Where I go, you go. I could never truly leave you.

Never forget you are loved.

Love always and forevermore, your big sis, Amanda

Pushing back tears, Amanda removed her class ring from her finger. It was her most prized possession but she could never keep it. Bearing her high schoolís name, it served to identify her. Taking a final look at it, she slipped it into the envelope, sealed it, and tapped the window.

Gabrielle came over quickly and seeing her at the window, opened it. Seeing the tears in Amandaís eyes her smile faded. "Whatís wrong?" Amanda reached out and placed the envelope in her hand. "Read it," she said. Then, taking Gabrielleís face in her hands, she kissed her on the forehead. "I love you, always will," she said and with one last look, released her and climbed down. On the ground she looked up one last time at the girl in the window and shouted up, "Never forget I love you." With that she ran into the night, before she could change her mind.


Still crying she walked toward Anneís apartment and let herself in. She had to tell her, even if not completely. She found Anne in the kitchen. Taking in Amandaís expression, she recognized the look. "Youíre leaving." It was more of a statement than a question.

"Remember how you told me Buffy was special. She knew stuff and she helped people. Turns out Iím like that. IÖI wonít ever be able to see you again. I have to disappear. Amanda wonít exist."

Understanding, Anne pulled here into a tight hug. Then she shook her head. "Sure she will." Taking the uniform from Amandaís arms, she set it on the bed. "I wanted to ask you to return that," Amanda explained. Slowly she removed the name tag from her own uniform and placed it in her dresser. Then she removed Amandaís name from the other uniform and pinned it on her own in place of "Anne." "Youíll live in me," she said then pulled her close. Amanda felt tears running down her cheek once more and saw that Anneís face also wet with tears.


Epilogue


Los Angeles, 7-5-0 [July 5, 2000]

Angel opened the door to their new apartment. Paid for by the council, the apartment was furnished with the black leather furniture both preferred. Throwing her luggage by the door she ran from room to room surveying the apartment. "Donít even think of taking the bigger room!" Angel shouted after her. Smiling, she came back into the room to grab her luggage to move it to her room.

Inside her room, she dumped her luggage on the floor, excluding her backpack which she opened as she placed it on the mattress. Removing her bag of glow-in-the-dark stars, she stood on the mattress, only to discover she was about two inches too short to reach any way she tried. Annoyed, she jumped down and ran into the living room where Angel was resting on the couch. Pulling him up by the arm, she put the bag in his hand. "What?" he asked confused. "Iím too short," she explained.

"We have to do this now?"

"Its not home till theyíre up!" she pouted. Sighing, he let her pull him in the room where she instructed him to take off his shoes and stand on the bed. He started to put a star up when she stopped him. "You have to make Orion over there first," she said pointing. "Are you going to be that picky?" "Yes, but Orionís the only constellation, its my fav." For the next twenty minutes, she instructed him on where to place each star.

"So," Angel said after they were finished. "Have you picked a new name yet?"

She shook her head, "Its weird picking your own name."

"How about Brat?"

She punched him, "Not funny. Seriously, I canít think of a thing. Pick something cool for me."

Angel thought for while, "How about, Aleia?"

She smiled, "Aleia, I like it."

I wish for a place
Where the Earth doesnít shake
And if the Earth wonít still
Then you and I will



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