Author's Chapter Notes:
I hope to add enough angst where it's interesting but not too much where it's killer. Story will be told partially in flash backs.


“Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!! Look!”
“Sssh, not so loud honey, people are trying to sleep right now. You have to be as quiet as a mouse.

Her nearly 4 year old daughter put her little finger in front of her mouth and nodded her head in agreement.

So what is it sweetheart?”

“Look at all the pretty lights Mommy.” Dawn pointed out the window and pressed her face to the glass in an attempt to see more of the view outside.

Buffy looked outside the airplane window to see an intricate pattern of lights weaving beneath her. The luminescent buildings below were tightly packed together forming girds, while the streets and highways looked like flowing rivers of light intersecting them. She suddenly remembered Tron, an 80’s movie she watched as a young child. Because she always yearned for a lifestyle of fantasy, action, and adventure she couldn’t help but be drawn to the silly sci-fi picture despite its strange premise. As she looked out the window, she could feel that childhood yearning for adventure building once again, especially considering the reality she faced once she landed. Because of it’s large concentration of lights, the landscape below resembled the surreal computerized city landscape of the movie. Although Los Angeles during the day could be smoggy and unspectacular, at night from above it was absolutely breathtaking.

Dawn dragged herself away from the window and leaned on her mother. She yawned widely, clearly displaying how tired she was due to the late hour. “Mommy, I want Nana, she was gonna read me a stowy.”

She looked into her daughter’s blue eyes and could see so much of him. She wondered if he was still in Sunnydale? Would he forgive her? Would they still be friends? Would he even care? How about Angel? So many questions bombarded her as each minute brought her closer to home. Nervousness suddenly rolled around her stomach as she questioned whether she was making the right decision by returning.

“Nana is going to meet us at the airport honey, and then she can read you a story before you go to bed.” Buffy finally answered, as she focused back to her child’s question.

“I’m sleepy”
“I know baby. Just put your head down on my lap, we’re almost there.”

Buffy ran her fingers through her daughter’s soft brown hair, just as Dawn started closing her eyes, she heard the captain announce that they would be landing in a few minutes. ‘Oh God, here we go.’


Chapter 1 - Debriefing

“Huh, so she’s coming back to good ol’ Sunnydale, isn’t that just swell.” Spike could barely contain the sarcasm that seeped into his words and his friends couldn’t help but notice. The gang consisted of Spike, Xander, Willow, and her girlfriend Tara. They gathered daily for lunch, relaxation, and an any needed debriefing sessions concerning hot topics, which today consisted of one Elizabeth Anne Summers, a.k.a. Buffy..

“Come on Spike, having the Buffster back is a good thing. Shouldn’t you be saying something like ‘jolly good’?” Xander could never resist needling his friend. It was an ever constant mission to see how much he could irritate Spike before physical pain became involved.

“Shut up whelp.”

“Don’t be such an idiot.” Willow leaned over and smacked Xander on the arm. She looked back to her spikey bottle blond haired friend and said “Spike, he does have a point though, I know you missed having her around and it’s not like she had a choice about leaving. We should all try to make her welcome. We could have a little ‘Yay, you’re back!’ party.”

“Yeah, I guess. It’s just that it’s been five years since she left and she hardly even wrote. It doesn’t make a guy feel very special.”

“She missed you, she missed all of us, she’s just had a really bad time of it, don’t take it so personally.” Tara interjected.

Buffy’s absence from the group had definitely hit Spike the hardest. He hated how transparent his feelings were to all his friends. And considering how many stupid conversations they had on the damn subject he was positive he was apparent as a glass house. Well, this was one time that he did not want to dive into that murky subject again, so he decided that redirection onto somebody else would be the best strategy to avoid more sympathetic looks.

“Okay, enough about my feelings on the subject. This conversation is getting too girly for my taste. So how about Angel, does he know yet?”

Three pairs of eyes dramatically rolled, but they couldn’t help but chuckle at their friend’s obvious diversionary tactic.

“Nope, I saw him yesterday, but he was in one of his broody moods again so I decided not to bring it up, especially since I’m not one of the most tactful of people.”

Spike couldn’t help but smirk at Xander. “Glad you know how amazingly annoying you are.”

Xander smiled goofily and said, “Hey, don’t be so smug, my motto is ‘know thyself’ and yes I can be a bit loud-mouthed, but it’s part of my charm. Besides, I know you love it. Come on Spikey, give the Xandman a big ol’ kiss, stop repressing your desire for my luscious body.” Xander lunged for Spike, his lips ridiculously puckered as he tried to annoy his friend with a kiss. Spike could barely hold him off, and his face scrunched up in a frown as he desperately tried to defend his personal space. Much to Spike’s annoyance, Xander finally won out in the end and laid a big sloppy one on his cheek. As Spike furiously whipped at his cheek, he looked over to see the girls hysterically laughing, nearly falling off their stools. Willows face was nearly as red as her brilliant hair, and as for Tara, she was clutching her stomach desperately trying to catch her breath, her dark blond hair falling down hiding her face.

“Thank you for finding my predicament so amusing. God, now I think I’m scarred for life. Why must I always be the object of ridicule!”

“No Spike. Thank You! I needed a good laugh.” Willow said as she dabbed at the tears rolling down her cheeks.

“Plus you’re always the ‘object of ridicule’” Xander said using hand air quotes “because you are just so easy to annoy.”

“Why the bloody hell do I put with you guys!”

“Like you could do better than us.” Xander answered back to a completely exasperated Spike.

“Sad state of my life that I only have you twits as friends.”

“Hey!!!” The gang objected in unison.

“Xander may be a twit, but you better thank your lucky stars that you have Willow and I as your friends, and you know it.” Tara answered confidently back to Spike before hiding behind her cup of tea.

“Hey!!!” repeated Xander once again, this time directing his indignation to his other friend.

“Okay, I’ll give you that. And I guess even Xander has his uses, but you’re all still fucking aggravating. All right, I have to be off. I’ve been ordered to take Cordy out to lunch.”. Spike threw on his black duster and tossed some bills on the table for food.

“But you just had lunch with us!” Willow exclaimed.

“I just won’t mention it to her.” Spike answered back.

Xander shook his head in confusion. “Why you go out with her is beyond me, and I should know, I used to date the monster.”

“Oy! She’s not a monster, well not completely. Anyway, we have already discussed Buffy, let’s just skip the little conversation about Cordy. You can grill me about that another time. I’ll see you ladies later. Call me if you have the ‘yay, you’re back’ party for Buffy.”

A chorus of “Bye Spike!” followed him out the door as he rushed out to meet his girlfriend.

As the gang watched him weave carelessly through traffic, Xander couldn’t help but ask the question “Do you think he’s still in love with her after all these years?”

Willow and Tara looked at each other, smiled, and replied in sync, “Definitely”.

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