Rating: PG-13 for language and some violence
Summary: Buffy discovered that Spike was alive in L.A. and has been helping with the cleanup. They, of course, inevitably got back together, and now, they’re on their first road trip together. Third person POV. Set post-NFA.
A/N: Special thank you to badwolfjedi for brainstorming road trip fic ideas with me (couldn’t decide when and where to set it) and for reading over the story to make sure I didn’t do anything way off base. And this story is dedicated especially to dear swifthorse.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Joss owns all.
Apologies for so many parts, but LJ kept telling me it was too long...so I gave up after three attempts of breaking it up in various renditions and broke it up by sections. I intended to post it all in one big post but argh, it didn't work. If you read, don't feel obligated to comment on each section. It's intended as a one-shot. It's about 8400 words or so all together.
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.”
“Home is where your heart is, find where you belong,
Start to take control, show a little soul.
Then, you feel who you are.”
From the song “Home is Where Your Heart Is” by the Sounds
* * *
The Couple that Road Trips Together
At the bottom of the steps that led up to her temporary apartment, Buffy was waiting for Spike now that the sun had set, and she was nervous.
She pushed her mouth to one side, adjusting her knit beanie with one hand and fidgeting with the handle of her giant suitcase. A wind blew an obnoxious gust of cold air, making a strand of her hair stick on her lip gloss. She huffed, tugging the hair away and pulling her coat around her.
It had been six months (or was it seven?) since she’d found Spike alive in a tent set up by the army on the outskirts of L.A. and six months since she’d punched him in the nose and then kissed him silly. She’d never hit him again after that unless the hitting involved something fun in the bedroom or an accidental swipe on patrol.
She loved Spike.
Buffy could own that now. They’d been taking things slow, mostly because there was a lot of clean-up with the mess Angel had made as head of Wolfram and Hart, but Buffy was officially with Spike, as in he was her boyfriend. No one was confused or in the dark, and they’d been clear with everyone. Well, she’d made it clear with the people she cared about.
The only problem was that everyone she cared about was scattered all over the place, taking care of the mess she and the others had made in Sunnydale with the spell that made all potential Slayers into actual Slayers. Xander, Giles, Faith, and Robin were all gathering up Slayers and trying their best to sort out the fires in their own parts of the world. As for Dawn, Buffy sure as hell didn’t want her sister anywhere near L.A. right now. Not for a long time – if ever. This was not a part of the world she wanted to show her sister right now. Though she’d been with Buffy most of the time, Dawn had been with Giles since Buffy was back in the U.S., including the holidays. Buffy’s heart ached a little at being separated from her for Christmas.
In any case, for Spike, Buffy’s declaration probably didn’t mean as much as if she had claimed their relationship in Sunnydale. He didn’t seem to mind, however. He was having way too much fun lording it over Angel. . . when they weren’t working together on some issue or another in a very family-like and almost collegial way.
The difference in Spike and Angel’s relationship kind of blew Buffy’s mind, but she didn’t question it much. She was too busy making up for lost time and making sure Spike knew with a hundred percent certainty that –
A car horn honked, and Buffy jolted out of her musings to the reality of a. . . black Porsche slowing down to a stop in front of her.
Her face no doubt full of confusion, she adjusted her jacket again and leaned over to peek in the window that was rolling down. “Spike?”
He grinned at her – his bleached hair bright even in the low luminescence from the streetlights. “Hey, love. You ready?”
Warm air blew out at her, and she suddenly longed to be inside the car with him. She glanced briefly back at her suitcase. Um. “Why are we taking this tiny car?”
His blue eyes sparkled at her. “Remember when I nicked that Winnebago while we were running from the hell bitch?”
She shuddered. “Yeah. I’d like to not remember that.”
Spike casually rested his hand on the back of the passenger seat like an invitation – an invitation she now welcomed. “Well, I said I should’ve taken that Porsche for you, me, and the Bit, but I didn’t. So, now, here’s our chance. We’re going on a road trip. Figured we should do it in style.”
“Where’d I get the car? Stole it from good ole Wolfram and Hart. Had it debugged by the witch working with Thia, and it’s good to go. All ours for the trip.” Thia was the L.A. Slayer, who had her own little close-knit team the way Buffy did. . . or used to.
“Angel told me to take it. Said I earned it and screw the law firm. Who am I to question that?” Spike nodded past her. “What’s with the giant suitcase, love? I’m assuming your scythe is in that giant homemade case strapped to it. Good thing we’re not flying.”
Buffy shrugged a shoulder and glanced away, studying the car’s side mirror. She needed her weapon with the mission ahead of them, and the other stuff. Well. . . “I didn’t know we’d be taking a car with no space.”
She felt Spike studying her face. “You can’t leave anything behind. Not anymore.”
The corner of her mouth lifted, just a fraction. She’d been living out of a suitcase for over a year. And everywhere she went, all her meager but slowly accumulating belongings came. “Maybe.”
Spike left the car in park and came around to help her. “Pretty soon you’ll have more than you can carry with you.”
She held her elbows, grateful that he understood. “Yeah. Maybe then I won’t feel so. . .” How could she describe it? “Anxious about leaving things behind?”
Rescuing her suitcase from the bottom of the stairs, he ducked his head for a tender kiss. “I get it. More than you know.”
“Don’t do it again,” she whispered. She was surprised to find her eyes filling with tears.
He paused in his assessment of where to put her suitcase in the small car, saw her distress, and dropped everything to pull her into an embrace.