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~~~~~~~*******~~~~~~~Disclaimer: All characters except for Judy Flohr (who is definitely mine) belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy Productions, 20th Century Fox, and WB. Rating: PG for some language and violent scenes. I tried to stay within the show's normal boundaries.~~~~~~~*******~~~~~~~Distribution: To be distributed freely. But please PLEASE do not use my story on your website without my permission. I worked hard on this story!~~~~~~~*******~~~~~~~
Judy shifted her black leather backpack to her other shoulder as she waited for a taxi into the heart of Sunnydale. It was filled with her favorite books: "Gone With The Wind", "Alice's Adventures In Wonderland", "To Kill A Mockingbird", "The Beatles", "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare", "East of Eden", and a few others. Of course they *would* have to be in hardback, as Judy had wanted them to last forever when she first bought them. Well, I've got my wish, she thought. She set down her two duffel bags ang one shoulder bag to run a hand through her shoulder-length brunette hair, which had taken her four years to grow out after she had had it cut short when she was thirteen. "Ow!" she cried out in pain. Something had gotten into one of her eyes. It was bad enough as it was, but because she was wearing green-tinted contact lenses the problem was magnified.
"Are you all right?" asked a male voice from behind. Judy whirled around, startled. Standing on the sidewalk was a handsome young man who was probably in his early twenties.
"I'm fine, thanks. Just something in my eye, that's all. How did you manage to sneak up on me like that? I can usually hear when people are coming up behind me."
The man grinned, but not with his eyes. "Well, I guess that I'm not ordinary *people*, then," he answered.
Judy extended a hand. "I'm Judy. Judy Flohr. And you are..."
The man looked a bit uncomfortable, but shook her hand anyway. "Angel," he said quietly.
"That's a beautiful name," she said, noting that he did not give a last name. I wonder when he'll figure me out, she thought. If he's as smart as he was in 1968, it won't take long. For the time being, though, I'll play dumb.
"Are you visiting someone here?" he asked. "Not many people visit unless they have a relative in Sunnydale. I'm afraid that it's not a very exciting town." Unless you count the vampires and demons here, Angel thought wryly.
"I'm coming here to live with an...aunt. Uh, yes, my Aunt Sandra! I've had enough exciting for a while. I think that I'd like to settle down for a while," said Judy, averting his gaze.
"You've come to the perfect place. But I believe that your ride's here, Judy," said Angel, anxious to change the subject.
Judy started picking up all of her bags. "It was nice meeting you, Angel. I hope to run into you again soon."
"It was nice meeting you, too, Judy."
She hopped into the town's one taxi and sped away, waving goodbye.
Angel felt a shiver down his back, but it was definitely not from the cold. Weird, he thought. She seems so familiar, but I've never met her before in my life. He started to walk quickly toward the Sunnydale High School library.
Drusilla moaned and writhed on her bed beside Miss Edith.
"What's the matter, luv?" asked Spike worriedly. "Are you all right?"
As if in a trance, Dru said, "I see something coming. Something bad, and dark. It's out to destroy us, Spike."
Spike believed Dru. When she had a vision and said something was coming, something was definitely coming.
"What does it look like?"
"Dark, with green eyes. Green eyes that are bright like the sun; if you look at them you could die. I don't want you to die, Spike! Promise me. Promise me you'll never look into those eyes," pleaded Drusilla.
Spike rolled his eyes at the last part; at that point he had stopped believing. Everything had been going fine until she had started babbling about the damned eyes. Well, at least he had *some* leads. But he promised his ducks anyway.
Spike walked out of the room. He was hungry, and his lips curved in a cruel smile as he thought, Ah, I can smell lunch already.
At the Sunnydale High School library, it was a typical night.
Willow was typing an Instant Message to Oz and giggling, for obvious reasons. She was oblivious to everything, including the sharp clacks of the goings-on fifteen feet away from her. (Rather like the author who is a lot like that herself.) Giles and Buffy were a safe (but not safe enough, thought Xander) distance away training with bo sticks.
Xander was nervously perched on the edge of a rickety library table not ten feet away from where Buffy and Giles were fighting. He had had to listen to Cordelia's never-ending stories about the last few hundred sales at the mall for nearly two hours. Xander yawned.
"Could you be *any* ruder?" Cordelia finally shut up on the subject, but the new one was a lot more dangerous.
"Sorry, Cordy. It's just that if we loaned you out we could make a *lot* of money. Just think: 'Cordelia Chase, the cure-all for insomniacs! You have your choice of three stories: "The Huge Blow-Out Sale Just Before Sara's Boutique Closed", "The, Like, Really Cool Outfit I Just Bought", or'--"
Cordelia regarded him with an icy glare. "I'm going to pretend that I so did not hear that." With that she started up again. Xander groaned inwardly.
Angel shut the door behind him softly, but as it was a heavy door it slammed anyway. Five heads swiveled in his direction.
"Hey, Dead Boy!" cried Xander cheerfully. He was glad for *any* company, even Angel. (Which definitely shows how bored he was.)
Angel grimaced. "How many times do I have to tell you *not* to call me that?" he asked irritably. Then he got back to business. "Willow, I need you to look up someone on the Net. Her name's Judy Flohr."
Willow rapidly finished typing her IM to Oz and said, "Okay; can I have a physical description?"
"Shoulder-length, thick dark hair, green eyes. She's probably about 5'4", and 135 pounds."
Before Willow could enter anything into the computer, Buffy sighed, "Oh, Angel, are you going to start that again? I'm sure that she's very nice. Why can't you give her a chance?"
"Because there's something fishy about her story."
Giles asked, "What's so fishy about it?"
"Well, for one thing she arrived here at night, from Maryland. Who would want to come here from all the way across the country? This is *Sunnydale*! She's going to live with her aunt, but where's her parents? And this girl Judy said, 'I've had enough exciting for a while.' "
Buffy exploded. "God, you are such a hard-head! If she's been traveling cross-country and just got off a bus, of course it's going to be at night. Maybe she doesn't want to live here, but has no choice. Probably her parents are split or something. And, third, if she's anything like me, she'll want to settle down and be normal for a change! Got it?"
"I'm sorry," Angel apologized. "It's just that I worry about you, and I want to keep you safe. I love you."
Xander made a gagging noise, reflecting the author's sentiments exactly. Buffy and Angel ignored him.
"How old would you say she is?" Buffy asked. "Maybe she'll be coming to Sunnydale High."
Judy looked at herself in the cracked mirror of her motel room. "Perfect," she said. "Not too boring, but not too trashy. It gives me a sort of scholarly look, but cute, too."
She headed out the door to walk to Sunnydale High School. Don't want to be late, she thought. After all, it is the first day of the rest of your life, in the warm, sunny, place that I like to call "home".
At 8:13 she arrived at the high school. Judy registered with almost no trouble. She picked up her textbooks at the library. The librarian, a Mr. Giles, was very nice, and he had a wonderful English accent. Much better than George Harrison's, she thought with a giggle.
On the way to her second class Judy was so intent on skimming through her Advanced Chemistry book that she crashed into a cute guy with sort of spiky light brown hair.
"Oh, my god!" she gasped. "I'm so sorry! I didn't see you coming." "It's okay, said the guy. "I don't think that I've seen you around here before, though."
"Oh, I'm new. My name's Judy."
"I'm Oz," he said, extending a hand. "Why don't you join me and my friends for lunch?"
"Thank you. Just out of curiosity, are you a senior? 'Cause I am too. Will I be seeing you in any of my classes?"
"Yeah, I'm a senior. But it depends on your classes. From the textbooks I can see that you're no dummy: Advanced Chem, Advanced Modern History, Spanish V. Jeez, when did you find the time to take Physics? I can barely understand it now."
Judy blushed. "I took it last year," she said a bit sheepishly. "If you or your friends want any help, I'd be happy to show you."
"That sounds great! Well, I've got to get to class."
"Me too. See ya at lunch, Oz."
"Yeah, see ya."
Cordelia was in the middle of telling Willow, Buffy, and Xander something about a weird habit of her mother's when Xander's mouth suddenly fell open. He was openly staring at something behind the three girls. Cordelia glared at him, extremely annoyed.
She whined, "Xander, you look *so* mentally challenged right now, and you're not even paying attention to me anymore."
Willow and Buffy turned around. Standing next to Oz was a girl that they had never seen before. She looked as if she were trying very hard not to laugh. Cordelia scrutinizingly looked her up and down. The girl was a curvy, petite brunette with emerald-green eyes. She was wearing a dark green shirt with the motto "Save The Swedish Fish". Under the motto was a picture of those candy fish that everyone loves so much. The girl was wearing a denim skirt that fell only three inches above her knee, but it was enough to let everyone know about the slim legs underneath.
"Hi," she said. "I'm Judy. I've just transferred here from Maryland."
Buffy said, "Hi, I'm Buffy Summers. These are my friends Willow Rosenberg, Xander Harris, and Cordelia Chase."
Willow said, "I guess you've already met Oz."
Judy grinned sheepishly. "It's kind of embarrassing, actually. I was so intent on my chemistry book on the way to class that I crashed into Oz."
Oz said, "I invited Judy to come and have lunch with us. Is that okay?" He addressed the whole group, but the one he was really looking at was Willow. She nodded her approval.
Judy slid into a seat next to Buffy. Buffy noticed that her tray held salad, bottled water, and a granola bar. Judy caught Buffy looking at her cafeteria tray and said, "Don't worry, I'm not one of those health nuts. Believe me, I love hamburgers and fries just as much of the next person. But--and by this I mean no offense--your caf food really sucks. It doesn't look as if it came from this planet, let alone be edible."
Buffy laughed. "I know what you mean," she said. "When I first came to this school I made the same mistake that you avoided."
Xander, who looked *very* interested, said, "So, where'd ya move from? Where'd ya used to go to school? Don't ya just *hate* English?"
Judy laughed, "One at a time, Xander. I just moved here from Maryland. I used to go to Mercy High School. And, no, I don't really hate English. I love to read, but sentence diagramming is really pointless."
Willow said, "Do you have any experience with the Net?"
"Actually, yes, I do. I've gone through three different internet servers: AOL, GTE, and Erols, as well as Microsoft Internet Explorer. I've found that AOL is rather hard to navigate. It takes forever to load, but the communications are wonderful. It is a bit hard to find an intelligent chat room, though. I din't like GTE too much, but I love Erols. It's fast loading and very easy to navigate."
Willow was impressed. "After school, if you don't mind, would you please help me out with the computer in the library? I'm having a bit of trouble with a directory."
"Sure, Willow," said Judy.
Xander butted in. "Hey, Judy...I was wondering...do you sorta have a boyfriend or anything?"
Judy looked surprised. "Well, no. But I thought that Cordelia was your girlfriend."
It was Xander's turn to look surprised. "How did you know?"
"The way that you two bicker back and forth, but also the special way that you look at each other. I'm pretty good at picking things like that up. So, what do you guys do here for fun?"
Cordelia explained, "We go to the Bronze a lot. Practically every night, actually. It's a nightclub--the only one in this burg--and it's open every night."
Buffy asked, "Do you want to come with us tonight?"
Judy beamed, glad to be accepted. "Sure! I'll meet you there at eight. But be warned. I probably won't go every time that you guys go. I need to study to catch up."
Oz said, "Oh, come on, Judy. You're obviously very smart. I've seen your textbooks. You'll catch up in no time."
He then proceeded to tell the group about her AP classes, while Judy stood there, beet red with embarrassment. Just then the bell rang for fifth period.
"See you guys at eight," she called after them as they went their separate ways.
Judy wrapped her sky-blue suede jacket around her, although it was totally unnecssary. It was a reflexive action, as though her jacket would protect her. After all, it *was* Southern California. She heard footsteps behind her and Judy whirled around to face Angel.
Her face lit up, as it was the first familiar face she had seen since three thirty. (She had gone on a small shopping spree. The only problem was, everyone kept asking her about her private life. Irritating.)
"Hi!" she said.
Angel's face was concerned. It also looked as if he hadn't had enough sleep, judging from the dark circles under his eyes.
"You shouldn't be out here at this time of night," he said.
Judy was confused by this statement. "Eight o'clock?"
Angel realized his mistake. "I mean that it's not very safe around here."
Judy tossed her head defiantly. "I can take care of myself. If I've lived in inner Baltimore and survived, I'll be just fine in this one-horse town."
*I can take care of myself* echoed in Angel's head. It was a line that he had heard many times from Buffy.
"If it's anything to you, I'm going to the Bronze. Want to join me?" Judy grinned at him. It was her way of letting Angel know that she was only kidding.
Why not? Angel asked himself. If I can keep her out of trouble, what's the harm?
Cordelia watched jealously as Xander and Judy danced. If you could call it that. Xander was dancing even worse than usual, but he wasn't conscious of it. Judy was the one who was dancing, but it was hard for her because if she didn't stop laughing good-naturedly at Xander's crazy antics, she would fall on her butt. It's not fair, Cordy whined to herself. Just because I don't want to dance with that loser doesn't mean that *she* can. That little hussy.
Buffy, Angel, Willow, and Oz were watching this show too, and laughing as hard as Judy was. Angel was the only one who wasn't laughing. He was still pondering about Judy, what she had said, and why she seemed so damned familiar.
The song ended and Judy and Xander plopped down near the rest of the group, panting.
"He's all yours, Cordy," said Judy, red in the face from the exertion and giggling. "Thanks for asking me to dance, Xander. I really needed the workout. But your Cordelia's from now on, now that the formalities are over."
Then she looked at her watch and gasped. "Oh my God. I'm really sorry for doing this to you guys, but I've *got* to get home. My aunt is expecting me to be home at ten. She's really strict."
"Bye, Jud'. See you at school tomorrow," said Buffy.
But Judy didn't hear her. She had already left.
Angel thought, now's my chance. He said, "I've got to go, too. See you tomorrow night."
Buffy said, "Okay. Get more sleep tomorrow. You look like hell."
"I will," he promised her. Then Angel pulled another of his disappearing acts.
Angel heard the sounds of a scuffle. Vampires, he tought, and raced to the scene. In an alleyway he saw a woman execute a few karate-type moves, and then whip out a stake. The woman's features were too hard to make out in the dark, though. The vampire exploded into dust.
"What?" she taunted the vampire's companion, who was ready to run. "Too scared to stay here and fight like a man?" With that she hurled a cross at his face. It hit home and the vampire screeched in pain. He turned and fled. The woman stooped down to where the necklace landed and picked it up. Fastening it around her neck, she turned and faced Angel.
"Hello, Angel," she said.
His jaw dropped. He knew who she really was now. "Angela?"
She grinned sardonically. "The one and only."
"I haven't seen you since the peace marches of Washington in 1968."
"I was wondering when you'd figure me out. At first I didn't recognize you without your beard and mustache."
"Let's not forget the long hair and ratty *natural* clothes. You look different, too, without the long, light brown hair and brown eyes."
"Don't forget the Jenny Curran Indian dress thing."
"The times they are a changin'. You've become totally nineties now. The hair, the clothes, the lingo. Only thing that hasn't changed is your thirst for knowledge."
They both laughed.
"But, listen," she said, suddenly serious. "Don't tell Buffy and the others. Not yet. I want to be normal for a change."