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Writer/Dreamer/Teacher :)



She consulted the map for what seemed like the hundredth time. Buffy looked at the number on the lecture hall door, and compared it to the one listed on her schedule. They appeared to be a match. Holding her breath for the briefest moment, she grasped the door handle and turned it. The door creaked as if dying a slow, painful death. About two hundred or so pairs of eyes turned her way. She should have known she was late. The lecturer settled his gaze on Buffy also. “Well, better late than never Miss, I suppose. This is Myths and Legends in Twentieth Century Literature. Why don’t you join us?” Buffy scanned the faces peering at her as she stood in the doorway. They all reflected the same thing. Sympathy for being singled out as late. So, this was the challenge of University, she thought to herself. I can slay every demon or vampire that comes my way, but I can’t even make it to a simple lecture on time. What have I got myself into? Shutting the door as quietly as she could behind her, she slipped into the first available seat she could find. “So, as I was saying…” the lecturer continued.


It took her several minutes to tune into the discussion. The lecturer was working his way through a general introduction to what was being covered in the course, and Buffy had to admit that it sounded fairly interesting. Maybe all those years hanging around Giles in the Sunnydale High School Library might actually be of use. “Now, if you’ll refer to page four of the text, you’ll see that…” Suddenly Buffy was struck with another sense of fear. The lecturer must have been referring to the long list of reading materials she had received with her notice of application. The same list of readings she had skimmed through, and discarded shortly afterwards. “You can share with me if you want,” a gentle voice came from beside her. She whipped around in her seat. Funny, she hadn’t really given much notice to who she was sitting next to. “Excuse me?” Buffy asked the stranger. He held up his text book. “My book. You can share with me if you need to.” Buffy felt embarrassed for the second time that morning. Was it that obvious she was under prepared? She could only nod in response. “Having one of those days?” “You could say that.” “Happens to everyone, so I wouldn’t worry,” he whispered. His eyes met Buffy’s. She marveled at how blue they were, even in the dull light of the lecture theatre. In fact, that wasn’t the only appealing thing about him. His shoulder length blonde hair was tied back with an elastic band, his skin bronzed by the sun. And he spoke with a relaxed accent. It wasn’t American, that much she could determine. She quickly averted her eyes to the paragraph the lecturer was drawling on about. What was she doing looking at this guy in that way, she scolded herself? Maybe Willow’s continued urging for her to meet new guys was finally starting to affect her. Out of the corner of her eye, she glanced again at the guy sitting next to her. His attention was directed to the front of the theatre. Buffy observed him as he twirled a pencil around in his fingers. As if sensing that he was being watched, he suddenly lost his grip of it, and it fell to the floor. As he leaned over to pick it up, she couldn’t help but notice the silver chain and charm that was hanging from his neck. A solid crucifix, almost identical to the one Angel had given her all those years ago. She looked away from the stranger, suddenly concerned that the memories flashing through her mind would cause her to break into uncontrollable tears. God, when is this ever going to stop. Angel is gone. I am here. This is a new start for me. Don’t blow it now. She took a couple of deep breaths, wanting the memories to fade. Hoping that she could stay in control of her emotions. “You okay?” the stranger asked with concern. Buffy dared to look at him again. He was sitting upright, pencil in hand. There was no sign of any chain or crucifix around his neck. Had she imagined it all along? She nodded. “Well, the lecture’s over,” he informed her. Stunned, Buffy looked around her. Sure enough, other students were filing past, apparently eager to move on to their next class. So absorbed in her memories of Angel, she hadn’t even realised the lecture was over. “My name’s Troy.” “Buffy,” she responded, standing and gathering her bag, still flustered. Without looking back, she dashed from the theatre, seeking the solace of the nearest ladies’ room. The tears she had been trying to hold back, were now steadily making their way down her cheeks.


She met Willow in the courtyard as they had agreed at the beginning of the day. She had never been happier to see a familiar, friendly face. “Hey, how’s it going?” Willow asked brightly. “Pretty good,” Buffy replied, sure that Willow had already noticed her swollen, puffy eyes. Willow just nodded. She knew her friend would confide in her when she needed to. University was an adjustment for everyone, but more so for Buffy, given everything that had happened to her. “Met anyone interesting yet?” she quizzed. She wasn’t quite sure if it was the right question to ask. “Willow,” Buffy groaned. “Do you ever give up?” “Not when it comes to your happiness, I don’t.” “Thanks,” Buffy said, her tone becoming more serious. Willow was the one thing she had at University to cling on to. “What about you?” she asked curiously, turning the tables on her best friend. “Seen any potential partners around campus?” Willow blushed. “Oh come on, Will. Oz is a thing of the past, and Xander’s back in Sunnydale. It’s a whole new world here. It would appear we are surrounded by an amazing quantity of, dare I say it, normal men.” “You should remember that yourself,” Willow said in reply. “I’m trying, Will, but it isn’t easy.” “I didn’t expect that it would be. But this is probably one of the easiest challenges you’ve ever had to face. It may not seem like it now, but it is.” Buffy barely heard what her friend was saying. Across the courtyard, she caught sight of a tall, athletic form; blonde hair tied back in a ponytail. It had to be Troy. Willow followed her gaze. “Oh, he’s yummy. You know him?” she asked excitedly. Buffy looked across at her friend. “Um, I don’t know him,” she stammered. Willow suppressed a grin. “Sure you don’t.”



Buffy barely heard what her friend was saying. Across the courtyard, she caught sight of a tall, athletic form; blonde hair tied back in a ponytail. It had to be Troy. Willow followed her gaze. “Oh, he’s yummy. You know him?” she asked excitedly. Buffy looked across at her friend. “Um, I don’t know him,” she stammered. Willow suppressed a grin. “Sure you don’t.”


Despite the fact that she was probably at her strongest, Buffy’s arms were beginning to ache under the strain. Like a woman on a mission, she had left the apartment early to get to the University bookroom at opening time. Unfortunately, it seemed half of the campus had had the same bright idea. With an armful of books, she had been standing in the check-out queue for nearly twenty minutes. “So I suppose we won’t be sharing anymore.” Buffy looked up from the book she was glancing at. A sparkling pair of blue eyes met her. Troy “Sharing what?” “Books. For lit class.” He scanned the books she was holding in her arms. “Looks like you’ve got them all.” “That’s what I’m hoping. We meet again.” “I guess shaking hands is out of the question?” Troy joked. Buffy smiled. “So you do know how to smile,” he said, gently. Instantly, Buffy’s expression soured. “Don’t stop on my account though,” Troy continued. But this time his comment did not bring the same response from Buffy. “So,” he said, changing the subject. “I never did get around to asking you why you chose to do the Myths and Legends course. Me, I feel inclined to do it. My sister digs this ‘forces of evil’ literature stuff. I figured I might be able to finally understand what she’s going on about. What about you?” Buffy was momentarily floored by his choice of words. Forces of evil; sounded like something Giles would spurt out. She shrugged, dismissing the comment as a mere coincidence. “I heard it was an easy pass,” she replied. This time it was Troy’s turn to smile. “Buffy, this is University. Haven’t you read the handbook? Nothing’s meant to be easy.” “I’ll agree with that,” Buffy muttered to herself, as she watched Troy walk away. It was strange, but she sensed that he was to be another complication, in an already complicated life.

“Willow, I said I’d go, but I don’t know how long I’ll stay,” Buffy said, readjusting her dress. “But what if he’s there?” Willow asked playfully. “Would that change your mind?” Buffy turned and looked at her friend. “You know, I could be rude and pretend I don’t know what you’re talking about. Honestly, Will, I’m not ready for anything yet…” “I know…Angel. But when will you ever be ready?” Buffy was leaning over the mirror, securing her long blonde hair back with pins. At the mention of Angel’s name, she froze for the slightest moment. “Oh, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said anything.” Willow put a comforting arm around Buffy’s shoulders. Buffy recovered, and turned and looked at her best friend. “It’s no biggy. I’ll have to get over Angel one day. I don’t know how, and I don’t know when. It would probably be easier if I knew that. It might even be easier if he was dead.” Her hand flew to her mouth in shock. “Oh god, I didn’t mean that the way it came out.” Tears started forming in her eyes. She reached for a tissue. “No,” Willow said, “I know what you mean. There’s something more final about being dead, rather than just moving to LA.” “Yeah, and I hate it. I still think about him all the time. I know I shouldn’t, but the tiniest things seem to set me off. Yesterday, I could have sworn the guy sitting next to me in a lecture was wearing a crucifix like the one Angel gave me. I spent the next half hour in the ladies’ getting over that one.” “Ouch. This guy, tall and blonde perhaps, with amazing blue eyes? ” “Now you’re getting cheeky, Will. We were talking about Angel, remember.” “Uh huh, but one day, we won’t be.” “One day,” Buffy said, taking one final look at her reflection in the mirror. As hard as it seemed, she had to start thinking about her future without Angel. “Let’s worry about today then. Didn’t you say we’ve got a party to go to?”

“Who’s party did you say this was?” Buffy asked. “I don’t know,” shrugged Willow. “I just heard this was the place to go.” They were standing outside a club, not unlike the Bronze. People were queuing up, eager to get inside. The atmosphere was buzzing with the bass sounds of the music emanating from behind the club’s doors. Willow saw Buffy hesitate. “Oh no you don’t. No backing out now. We’re in this together, remember?” “You really want to go in there?” Willow grinned. “Sure. I think it looks exciting. Come on.” She took Buffy’s hand and led her to the end of the queue. “So, don’t you get the feeling we’ve been here before?” Willow asked. Buffy frowned. “Huh?” Willow giggled. “Well, this club is called Dejavu. Get it, you know, been here before…” She was silenced by Buffy’s look. “Well, I thought it was funny.” At the beginning of the queue, two solidly built doormen eyed them both, before ushering them inside. One of the men let his eyes drift over Buffy a little longer than she liked. She ignored his suggestive wink as they entered. The Dejavu was dimly lit and crowded with people. Music from a rock band pulsed out over the masses of dancing bodies. In another room, people were crowded around pool tables, wagering their money on the hope of a win. “This is groovy, isn’t it?” Willow yelled. Buffy nodded. She didn’t have the heart to disappoint her. She watched as a guy came and asked Willow to dance. Willow looked at her friend with a quizzical look. “Go,” Buffy said. Why should her sour mood stop Willow from having a good time? Before she could even say another word, her friend was swallowed up by the crowd. She suddenly seemed very alone. An arm casually found its way around her waist. “Hey there babe.” Buffy scowled, and shrugged off the embrace of the stranger. Still the guy persisted, as she tried her best to seem completely disinterested. “Your father must have been a criminal,” he sleazed. “Why’s that?” Buffy asked, annoyed. “Because he must have stolen the stars from the sky to put into your eyes, baby,” the guy drooled. “I’m not your baby,” Buffy retorted, “which is probably a good thing if that’s the best line you can come up with.” “Give a guy a break. You’re the hottest thing to walk in the door all evening.” Buffy took a side step, but her pursuer followed her. I’ll give you a break, she thought to herself, of the broken bones variety. Suddenly, across the dance floor, she caught sight of a familiar face. It wasn’t Willow, but Troy. He was standing to the side of the stage, enjoying the groove of the music. For an instant, Buffy was amazed at how her eyes had subconsciously sought him out in the crowd. She started to walk away from the nameless guy standing next to her. Predictably, he followed. Buffy turned to him. “I suggest you go back to watching the door.” Before I resort to physical violence, she thought. When he hesitated, Buffy added, “I’m meeting my boyfriend.” The stranger instantly backed away, acknowledging his fight was perhaps over. As quickly as she could, and before she could change her mind, Buffy weaved her way through the dancers, to where Troy was standing.



She started to walk away from the nameless guy standing next to her. Predictably, he followed. Buffy turned to him. “I suggest you go back to watching the door.” Before I resort to physical violence, she thought. When he hesitated, Buffy added, “I’m meeting my boyfriend.” The stranger instantly backed away, acknowledging his fight was perhaps over. As quickly as she could, and before she could change her mind, Buffy weaved her way through the dancers, to where Troy was standing.


He looked down at her with surprise in his eyes. Aware that the persistent stranger was still watching her, Buffy threaded her arms around Troy’s waist, and kissed him gingerly on the lips. She leaned in and whispered into his ear. “Please play along. I’m trying to shake some phscyo gigolo at the door. He wouldn’t take not interested for an answer.” “Well, gee, I don’t know,” Troy teased. His eyes sparkled with cheekiness as he looked down at her again. “What’s in it for me?” “My undying gratitude.” Buffy smiled. “How about another kiss?” She laughed, playfully stroking his cheek, continuing the show. “Don’t push your luck.” “But I thought you were my girlfriend,” Troy continued to tease. “For appearances only…” Buffy started. Before she could say anymore, she felt Troy’s lips on hers again. It was a tender, flattering kiss, not too over the top but… Whoa! Whoa! What am I doing? I don’t even know this guy! She gently pushed Troy away, her brain finally kicking in. “I warned you not to push your luck.” “I had to make it look convincing. Your new friend didn’t look like the take-a-hint kind of guy.” He dropped his arms from around her, and stepped away. Instantly Buffy regretted pushing him away. How strange it felt to have another pair of arms holding her so tightly. How strange it felt to have another pair of lips embracing hers. Yet oddly, it didn’t feel at all bad. What am I thinking? Have I lost my mind? I’m sure this is Willow’s fault. Buffy’s mind was racing. “Well anytime you need another favor, I’m your man,” Troy joked, not seeming to take any offense at Buffy’s hot and cold act. “I’m quite prepared to play the doting boyfriend whenever required.” “Well, you see, it’s not as if…” Buffy started. She was suddenly aware that she didn’t have his full attention. “Hey, Buffy, I hate to seem rude,” Troy interrupted, “but I’ve just seen someone I really have to speak to. See you round.” And with that, he was gone, again.

Left alone, Buffy searched the dance floor for a sign of Willow. Without success, she turned her attention to the direction in which Troy had gone. Instantly she scolded herself. Where he had gone was none of her business. Maybe he’s meeting up with his girlfriend, she thought. Girlfriend, she thought with dread. A guy like Troy was sure to have a girlfriend. Why did she have to be such an idiot and drape herself over him like she had just done? He was sure to have a good laugh about it all. Then another thought entered her head. Why do I care? Did it matter if he had a girlfriend? It wasn’t as if she was interested in him in that way. Buffy was puzzled as to why she had spent so much of her time worrying about the guy. Sure, he was attractive, but it wasn’t anything more. It couldn’t be anything more. She wasn’t over Angel by a long shot. Angel. It was the first time she had thought of him all night. It had been Troy instead who had occupied her mind. Strange. Where’s Will when I need her? Instead of finding Willow, she found herself curious about Troy again, and the person he had seemed so eager to meet. Leaving the security of her corner, she ventured around the bar, and instantly spotted him chatting with a woman in the corner of the pool table room. Although she was well out of earshot, she could judge from their body language that they were having a serious discussion. They were leaning in close together, their faces only centimetres apart. A sudden pang of jealously rushed through her. Hastily, she turned from the bar hoping Troy hadn’t seen her watching him. She ran straight into her pursuer from earlier in the evening. “You’re alone again I see,” he observed. “Not now,” Buffy said, pushing past him. “Hey,” he said, grabbing her arm. Instinctively, she turned into him, and in one swift movement, he was on the floor. “I said not now,” Buffy said, standing over him. “Okay, okay, I get the message,” he groaned, still sprawled on the floor. “You’re one tough babe.” Buffy quickly distanced herself from the situation. A small crowd of curious onlookers had gathered, as some people had come to help the stranger peel himself up off the floor. Moving around the bar, she noticed that Troy and his ‘friend’ had not let the calamity disturb their conversation. She watched with fascination as Troy put his arms around the woman, and pulled her into a hug. Try as she might, Buffy found she could not take her eyes away from the couple. It felt strange to be spying on them, but there was just something about them she found intriguing. The woman in Troy’s arms was about Buffy’s height and build, with short blonde hair. The light within the club didn’t allow Buffy to make many more observations, except for one. And it left her breathless. At the top of the woman’s arm was a tattoo. Buffy blinked in shock when she saw it. No, it couldn’t be. My mind must be playing tricks on me again. Heart pounding, she looked away, then back at the woman standing with Troy. It might only be the light - or lack of it. It’s impossible. But with a feeling of total amazement, she acknowledged what she had seen. A tattoo of a bird, its talons twisted over the letter A. There was only one person she knew that had the tattoo - Angel.


At the top of the woman’s arm was a tattoo. Buffy blinked in shock when she saw it. No, it couldn’t be. My mind must be playing tricks on me again. Heart pounding, she looked away, then back at the woman standing with Troy. It might only be the light - or lack of it. It’s impossible. But with a feeling of total amazement, she acknowledged what she had seen. A tattoo of a bird, its talons twisted over the letter A. There was only one person she knew that had the tattoo - Angel.


Buffy’s mind was whizzing at a million thoughts per second. Why did this woman have the same tattoo as Angel? Did this woman know him? Was it a mere coincidence? Were Buffy’s constant thoughts of Angel clouding her judgement and making her eyes see things that weren’t really there? WHAT IN THE WORLD WAS GOING ON? How did Troy fit into the picture? God, where was Willow when she needed her???

They were moving. Troy and the woman were heading out through a back exit. Buffy couldn’t let them leave without taking one last look at the woman and the tattoo. She began to follow them, keeping her distance so as not to appear obvious, but keeping close enough so she wouldn’t lose them. She caught the door before it closed, and was about to step outside, when she heard their voices. They weren’t too far away. She peeked out. Her intuition had paid off. They were standing only a few metres away. Buffy eased the door back slightly. She was sure they couldn’t see her, the light outside in the alley was minimal. She felt sneaky spying on them, but she found she was irresistibly drawn to the situation. And it wasn’t long before she found out why.

“I don’t know how long I’ve got Troy. I’m sure I was followed.” “You mean, they’re on to you already?” She nodded. “Good news must travel fast I suppose.” “What are you going to do?” he asked anxiously. “I can’t leave just yet. I’ve still got some things I have to do.” She clutched her head, as a searing pain shot through her temple. Troy rushed to her. “You okay?” She waved him away. “I’ll be just fine. Why the stupid grin?” “I’ve met her already. She’s beautiful.” “So I heard. I want you to be careful. You don’t know what you’re dealing with. I’ve kept you from it all for so long…” “I can handle myself, Trudy. I’m a big boy now.” “You’ve been training?” “Everyday, just like you told me to.” “How’s University?” Again the pain shot across her temple. She resisted touching her face, knowing he would panic again. Troy’s face lit up. “I’m taking the Myths and Legends lit course. Right up your alley - so to speak.” She laughed, smiling at his sweet face. He always knew how to make her feel better. A shadow appeared at the end of the alleyway. It made her freeze. Time was up. He had found her.

“Oh, a touching moment, and I’m disturbing.” Buffy froze in her hiding place. Although she couldn’t see anything, she had sensed a presence in the alleyway. The cockney accent was clearly distinguishable - Spike. What is he doing here? She remained in her hiding place, listening with even greater fascination. “You’d always be disturbing, Spike. Some things remain the same,” Trudy retorted, protectively stepping in front of Troy, as Spike broke from the shadows. “You haven’t changed. It’s been some time.” “Not long enough. What brings you to this little corner of the world?” He laughed. He took another step closer to them. Buffy was able to see him clearly now. She hadn’t seen him for some time either. He appeared to be back to full strength, and from past experience, Buffy knew that was dangerous. “Why Trudy, I’ve come because of you. You’ve got something I want, something any fiendish friend of mine would die to get their hands on.” He paused, seemingly for effect. “There’s just one difference. I’m not going to have to die to get it. You’re just going to give it to me.” “Over my dead body.” “Come on doll, don’t say that, because you know I could arrange that if you really wanted me to.” He took another step closer to Trudy. Buffy stood transfixed in the doorway, sure that any movement she made would be heard in the alley. She cursed herself for not bringing a stake, assuming she could enjoy a night off for a change. Now it didn’t seem to be the case. She hoped it didn’t get bloody. This was one situation where she would prefer to be armed. Besides, she was truly confused about who was on whose side. “Dream on, Spike. That peroxide you soak your hair in must be affecting your brain,” Trudy replied. Swaying on her feet, she suddenly collapsed. Troy broke her fall. Smiling wickedly, Spike approached the couple, slumped on the ground. “Feeling a little weak, Trudy darling? Who’s going to protect you now?” Without a second thought, Buffy stepped out from the doorway. Spike had his back to her, and didn’t even see the strike coming. He stumbled over Trudy and Troy, falling unceremoniously into a pile of rubbish. “Bloody hell, what was that?” he mumbled, as he stood up. Turning around, he saw Buffy. “Well, well, if it isn’t my favorite slayer,” he grinned, removing a lettuce leaf from his jacket. “I should have known.” “Love to say it’s great seeing you Spike, but I think that would be stretching the truth.” Buffy was still standing alert, fists raised. Spike’s eyes darted from Buffy to Troy, who was still holding the weak Trudy in his arms. “Hope you know what you’re getting yourself into, Slayer.” Buffy chose not to respond. She didn’t want to give Spike the satisfaction of knowing she had no idea what was going on. Keep cool; keep cool, she silently reassured herself. “Well, my work here is done,” Spike said. “Be sure to tell Trudy I’ll be catching up with her real soon. That’s a promise. I’ll be seeing you too, Slayer.” He winked at Buffy. “Yeah, we’ll see about that. There are just some promises you’re not destined to keep,” Buffy yelled, as she watched Spike’s figure retreat into the darkness from which he had come. Turning around, she looked down at Troy. He was staring at her. “So, you really are the Slayer.” “Yes, I am,” Buffy confirmed. “More importantly though, who the hell are you?”



“So, you really are the Slayer.” “Yes, I am,” Buffy confirmed. “More importantly though, who the hell are you?”


“Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten me already?” Troy joked. Buffy wasn’t laughing though. Instead, she was poised in an attacking stance, staring intently down at him and Trudy. “Okay, I see humor’s not going to work here. How about I appeal to your sense of reason, then? Do I look like I’m in a position to hurt you?” Troy indicated the unconscious woman draped in his arms. Buffy still didn’t move. “I don’t know what to think anymore. I sure as hell don’t know who to trust.” “You seemed to trust me an awful lot about half an hour ago. What’s changed?” he pleaded. Buffy couldn’t reply, thinking back for a moment to the way she had thrown herself on him, the way his lips had touched hers… “Well, thirty minutes is an amazing amount of time,” she said, seeking clarity in her thoughts. Troy eased himself out from under the woman, careful to support her head from the concrete of the alleyway. He sighed. “I don’t have time to wait for you to make up your mind, and pick sides, Buffy. Right now, my only concern is making sure I move Trudy somewhere safe. I’m not particularly interested in waiting around for that blood sucker to return.” He motioned in the direction in which Spike had vanished. “Where are you going to go?” Buffy asked. “You suddenly care?” Troy said, leaning over the woman, and slipping his arms around her back. I do. I don’t know why, Buffy thought. I’m letting my heart rule my head again. I’m getting involved, and I don’t even know where the true danger lies. “I’m not too keen on the idea of Spike coming back either,” she finally replied. “Do you have somewhere safe to go?” A bitter laugh escaped Troy’s mouth. “Is any place truly safe?” “My apartment, maybe.” Troy looked at Buffy in surprise. “Now is not the time to start pulling my chain.” “I was serious.” She could understand his skepticism, having surprised herself by making the offer. Buffy watched as he picked Trudy up effortlessly in his arms. “Well, if you’re serious, lead the way.”

The next series of events went by in a blur. Buffy left Troy in the alleyway to seek Willow on the dance floor. It would be more discreet, and certainly faster than a taxi, if she could drive them back to the apartment. Without anything being said, Willow knew that something was out of the ordinary when she saw Buffy approaching her, and without question, she went and got the car and brought it around the back of the Dejavu. She didn’t even seem surprised to discover that Troy and Buffy were easing an unconscious woman into the back seat. They had been driving in silence for several minutes. Willow was the first to break the quiet. “Okay, I can’t hold off any longer? Would someone kindly fill me in on what’s going on here?” “That’s something that’s yet to be determined, Will,” Buffy muttered. “Oh,” Willow said, glancing over at Buffy, then in her rearview mirror at Troy and Trudy. “Buffy’s offered to help me and my…my…sister out of a spot of trouble,” Troy explained. Willow nodded. “She’s good at that sort of thing, helping people and all.” Buffy was frowning. She turned to Troy in the back seat. “So, Trudy’s your sister?” He nodded. “Funny, you had to think about that for a second there.” Buffy watched as Troy shifted uncomfortably in his seat. Was that a sign of his sudden nerves? Buffy thought. She was certain there was more to the story with his ‘sister’, and she was determined to find out exactly what it was.

Between the two of them, Buffy and Troy managed to get Trudy up the three flights of stairs, and into the apartment. Willow followed closely behind, ready to shield the group from the prying eyes of their neighbours. From a distance, Trudy looked like she’d just had one too many tequila slammers at the bar. She hadn’t stirred since collapsing in the alleyway. They settled her on the couch, Troy taking off her shoes and draping a blanket over his sister. Buffy watched with wonder, the man who had come into her life so mysteriously. She had so many questions to ask him. Willow, forever perceptive, had left the room. “If I’m going to help you, I need to know what’s going on.” Buffy looked Troy straight in the eyes. For the first time since she’d met him, he avoided her gaze. “You seem to know a lot about me. I don’t know anything about you,” she continued, her tone softening. Troy sat in silence, his eyes not leaving Trudy as she slept on the couch. “I want to tell you, believe me…” “So, tell me,” Buffy urged. “I can’t. Not until Trudy wakes up.” “What’s she got to do with it?” “Everything, Buffy. We have to wait.” “How long is that going to be?” Troy shrugged. “Sometimes it’s just an hour or two, sometimes a day.” Buffy frowned. “A whole day?” “Yeah, she takes medication for her migraines, and it makes her sleepy.” She looked at Troy with doubt. She thought back to when she was watching Trudy in the alleyway, and the way she had clutched her head in pain. It sounded like a legitimate reason, but she knew from past experiences that she had to remain wary. They sat in an awkward silence. “How much of our conversation in the alleyway did you overhear?” Troy finally looked up, directly at Buffy. “Enough for me to realise you could be very dangerous.” “I’d never hurt you, Buffy.” “I don’t know that,” she replied, shaking her head. “Like I said before, you seem to know an awful lot about me, but I know nothing about you. In my line of work, knowledge equals power. And power can be very dangerous in the wrong hands.” Troy stood, leaving Trudy, and came over to over to Buffy’s side. He knelt down beside her. He took one of her hands and held it in his. His fingers caressed hers gently, and it made her skin tingle. “These hands would never hurt you. If you believe nothing else about me, please Buffy, believe that.” His face was so very close to hers. His eyes were looking right into her, pleading for her understanding. At that moment, if he had tried to kiss her again, Buffy knew she would have been powerless to resist. She was completely swept away in the moment, and Troy’s touch. But such a moment never arrived. Trudy suddenly stirred on the couch. “Angel,” she murmured…



At that moment, if he had tried to kiss her again, Buffy knew she would have been powerless to resist. She was completely swept away in the moment, and Troy’s touch. But such a moment never arrived. Trudy suddenly stirred on the couch. “Angel,” she murmured…


Buffy dropped Troy’s hand. Their brief moment of intimacy, shattered. She stared in disbelief at the woman on the couch. “What did she just say?” she asked, shocked. Instantly, she was on her feet, and leaning over Trudy. “I don’t know, I didn’t hear what she said,” Troy admitted, looking at Buffy in disappointment. “Angel. She said Angel. I know that’s what she said. What do you know about Angel?” She turned on him, demanding an answer. “Angel? Who’s Angel?” Troy asked. “Would you drop the act, and just tell me what the hell’s going on?” Troy looked flustered, not sure what to do next. “I thought I was imagining it all; the crucifix, the tattoo. But I’m not, am I?” Still Troy didn’t answer. “It’s not just a coincidence, is it?” She was so angry, she didn’t even realise she was yelling. “Are you going to say anything?” “Buffy, I don’t know what to tell you…” “Fine, then just leave.” She turned her back on him, and headed towards the door. “What?” “I said, take your sister and leave. You’re not welcome without the truth.” He didn’t even put up a fight. Gathering his stirring sister in his arms, Troy did just what Buffy asked - he left, and never looked back.

Willow found Buffy slumped in the chair. “You okay?” Her friend nodded. “I heard yelling. What happened?” “Will, something weird is going on. I know,” Buffy smirked, “that’s nothing new. But this time, I sense Angel’s involved.” Willow frowned. “With Troy?” “Yeah, and Trudy.” “Where are they?” “I kicked them out. Bitchy, I know, but I lost my cool.” They sat together in silence. The stirring traffic on the street below gave an indication of the sun rising. “What are you going to do?” Willow finally asked. Buffy stood up. “Get some sleep. Maybe I’ll be able to figure this whole thing out with a clear head.” But there was little conviction behind her words.

“Hey, little brother, you awake?” Troy opened his eyelids, squinting up at Trudy, who was sitting on the edge of the bed. “Yeah. Just.” “Pretty nice place you’ve got. Hope you don’t mind, but I took a good look around while you slumbered.” Troy sat up, his shoulders stiff and tense. It had been a stressful evening, in more ways than one. “What time is it?” he asked. “Just after ten. You hungry?” “We need to have a serious talk, Trudy. Do you remember anything that happened last night?” “I’ve made you some pancakes. I remember how much you liked them when you were younger,” Trudy rushed on, avoiding his question. Troy reached out to her, touching her shirt sleeve. He raised it to reveal her tattoo. “Just tell me, who’s Angel? I want to know. Breakfast can wait.”

“Okay Willow. Tell me, on a scale of one to ten, ten being the stupidest, how did I do last night?” Willow frowned over the morning paper at Buffy as she came into the room. “We talking a specific moment, or the whole night?” she asked. “Was it that bad?” Buffy moaned, pouring herself an orange juice. “Oh, no,” Willow said, reassuringly. “The kissing part was very positive - definitely a two on your scale of good deeds.” She smiled, as Buffy recalled the moment on the dance floor with Troy. Then Buffy’s face clouded in doubt. “The kicking Troy out part, that’s heading towards an eight on the stupid scale though.” “Got to agree. If there is some great Angel mystery with Trudy, you’re surely not going to find out now.” Buffy joined her friend at the table. “The power of reflection. I don’t even know where Troy lives. What if I never see him again?” “Buffy,” Willow smiled, “I’ve seen the way this guy looks at you. You’ll see him again for sure.” Buffy’s cheeks reddened slightly. “I wasn’t wondering for that reason, Will. Just that I’m sure he has the answers to all my questions - and I won’t settle until I know what’s going on.” “Well, that too,” Willow mumbled, returning to her paper. “But you just remember, this could be the start of something beautiful.” Oh boy, Buffy thought. That’s what I’m afraid of.

“So, that’s pretty much everything there is to share, little brother,” Trudy said. “And now you know why the Slayer plays such an important part in all of this.” Troy could do nothing but nod. He was in complete shock after sitting and listening to Trudy answer all his demanding questions. “So, what’s next?” he asked. “I think I need to go and talk to her myself. You know, sort a few things out. But don’t worry, I’ll put a good word in for you, little brother.” Oh boy, Troy thought. That’s what I’m afraid of.