At the first empty rest stop Buffy and Spike across outside of Baton Rouge, they’d parked and made love in the car this time. He’d pushed his seat all the way back, the air conditioning cradling them in a cool breeze, and she’d eagerly climbed atop to ride him, starting with slow, tender intensity and building speed until the car was moving with them and they were both satisfied.
As Buffy tugged her shirt over her head back in the passenger seat, Spike slid the car back onto the highway.
“We should really talk about what we’re doing in the Big Easy,” he said, adjusting the steering wheel.
“Didn’t I say that already?” She leaned over and kissed his upper arm. “And do huh? Big Easy?”
“New Orleans. Lady that wrote for the paper in the ‘70s? She did a comparison between New York City and New Orleans. Said the latter is the laid-back little sister of her big sis up north. Nickname stuck.”
He smiled over at her. “Yeah. Well. We’re less than an hour out now. What do we know?”
“We’re meeting the New Orleans Slayer and her new Watcher. I think her name is Emily. Giles wants us to assess the situation and help out.” The phone connection with Giles had been spotty with L.A. being what it was, but there’d been that tiny area in Spike’s apartment closet where the signal had been more than decent. The irony was not lost on her.
Spike’s eyebrows went together. “That’s pretty vague, pet. Why us?”
“Well, technically me. He just knows you’re part of the me package now.” Buffy pulled some chips out of the stash of snacks. More spicy Cheetos. And those were Spike’s. She opened them and set the bag on Spike’s leg.
“He does, does he?” Spike sounded almost as pleased by this news as he had been about her choosing him over Angel in public.
“Good.” Spike picked up the bag of chips and settled them between his legs. “Thanks, pet.” Buffy was pretty sure he was thanking her for opening the chips and maybe telling him about the package deal thing, too.
She happily found the bag of sour cream and onion Ruffles. “Anyway, a new Hellmouth-y thing opened up in New Orleans. It’s not a full-fledged Hellmouth like in Sunnydale and Cleveland but sort of a mini one. Giles thinks that some of this new activity is tied to the shifts in power with me coming back, the First, all the potential Slayers becoming Slayers, and all the stuff in L.A.”
“Makes sense, love. Magic has consequences, and if you use it, all you can do is hope that you can deal with the aftermath.” He reached over and rubbed her thigh. “And before you go all beating yourself up in that noggin of yours again, remember that you did the best you could with what you had in Sunnydale.”
She gave him a close-lipped smile. “Right. Can’t do anything about it now except do my best to help with the consequences.” So, she didn’t sound too convincing, but she’d get there. Someday.
“Right.” He’d helped her through her consequences more than he’d ever know.
“So, there is a super weird thing about this mini-Hellmouth.” Buffy twisted the cap on her soda, and the carbonation hissed.
“What’s that?” Without using his blinker, Spike angled around an 18-wheeler – whose driver was no doubt going less than ninety miles an hour.
“A slippery Hellmouth? Never heard of such a phenomenon.”
“Not sure why, but it moves around from place to place in New Orleans and sometimes a little outside of the city. Not like daily but randomly and frequently enough to be a prediction problem.” Buffy popped a chip in her mouth.
“Makes sense why they’d need help. Baby Slayer and Watcher in over their heads.” Spike held out his hand.
Buffy passed him the soda and swallowed her food. “Right. And there’s some sort of big gathering of demons happening in the next couple of weeks. Exact date unknown. Exact location of Hellmouth for the gathering unknown. But the Slayer’s heard rumblings of all of it from the local demon folk whom she considers allies. So, reinforcements needed. Some other local Slayers are coming in town to help, too. But no one with a ton of experience.”
Spike took a drink and handed her the bottle. “Sounds right up our alley, pet.” He grinned at her.
A wide smile graced her lips. “It totally does.”
Author’s Notes: This fic takes place before “A Small Boat on the Ocean” and “Adventures in Vamp-Sitting,” but it is a standalone fic and can be read as such with no knowledge needed about the later stories.
Spike is right about the Big Easy nickname. And there also used to be a dance all in the early 1900s called “The Big Easy,” but that’s not exactly where the city’s nickname came from.
In this fic, Buffy and Spike take I-10 from L.A. to New Orleans. It takes approximately 27 hours without breaks. And I just assumed that Spike made up some time by speeding. Ha. (Side note: I used to drive from NOLA to my hometown in Texas five hours away. It’s such a long stretch of highway…lots of trees and pretty much nothing else. I used to go with the cars, too. Sometimes, I may or may not have saved myself an hour by doing that… *whistles innocently*)
Also, I totally relate to the not wanting to leave belongings behind due to natural disasters and robberies. So I figured Buffy might feel a little like that having lost everything in Sunnydale, including Spike.
There are a bunch of small little Easter eggs in here for some of my fandom peeps/other fics and a teeny tiny reference to Kendra. I also researched locations, including whether there were Whataburgers in Arizona or New Mexico and where the Chevron stations are in Baton Rouge (no idea if they were there in 2004), and of course, I know where Waffle Houses are on I-10 in the Texas/Louisiana area.