Dark Desert Highway
Closing her eyes she fell into the vampire's embrace. His lips were cool, but his kiss was the warmest thing she'd felt in the long days since she'd been forcibly yanked from heaven's sweet repose. His strong arms wrapped around her, holding her close. Vampire slayer locked in a moment of passion with her arch nemesis. This brutally handsome man, the one person in this whole world who was supposed to stand against her was the only one who seemed to accept the darkness inside of her. All of her friends were strangers. Her enemy was her only friend.
Buffy could let herself drown in the vampire's kiss. His heart may have long ago stopped beating, but she could still feel it's hunger, desperation, pain and ... love. He would protect her, shield her from the world that no longer felt like home. She could stay forever lost in his arms. She need only ask, and he would whisk her away from all of her problems.
She could never ask.
Bringing her hand to the side of his face, she felt his cold skin and the white hot electricity nearly seared her fingertips. This man ... this vampire loved her with everything that was left of his unbeating heart and his nonexistent soul. When he'd been under the spell of the dancing demon only days ago, she'd discovered the true depth of his affections. He loved her so much that her presence in his life was almost painful. Buffy knew that his song came from deep down inside. She could hear it in his voice and see it in his eyes. His entrancing blue eyes.
None of this made any sense. He loved her, and she used to hate him. Buffy wanted to hate him still. If she could just go back to that very first night when he had showed up in Sunnydale with a mind to kill her. If she could just turn back time and stake him from the first. Everything would be so much easier.
Easier, for a while, maybe. But, if he was gone, she'd be alone right now. She would still be sitting at the bar, drinking alone. What her head was making cloudy, her heart was making very clear. Buffy didn't love him. She didn't think that she loved him. But, neither could she push him away.
She couldn't, but she had to.
Breaking the kiss' fervent spell, Buffy pulled away. She knew that a vampire didn't need air in his lungs, but he seemed out of breath anyway. Stormy blue eyes regarded her, lips parted as though he wanted to say something, but couldn't fathom what words to use.
Exhaling, long and slow, Buffy was at a loss for words herself. “Spike,” she started, purposefully using his name to bring her back to the reality of who and what he was. Vampire. “Spike, I ... You know we can't do this,” she said, taking another step back, another step away from him. It was an excuse, and a weak one even to her own ears, but it was true. Vampire. Vampire Slayer. Not compatible, she knew from past experience.
Spike quirked a scarred eyebrow. “Think we've done it, love,” he said, his voice uncommonly soft ... gentle. He was using the same tone people used to convey bad news, like a doctor saying We're sorry, miss, but we've done everything we can . This was what he wanted. She'd expected him to jump up and down and gloat, to tell her that he'd known all along that she couldn't resist him. He wasn't. He was quiet and still, seeming to be completely absorbed in making her feel better.
“No,” Buffy put her hand up to keep the vampire from coming any closer. “All we've done is kiss.”
“So we kissed ... twice,” she quickly amended before he could interrupt again. “That's it.”
He didn't respond. He was doing that thing with his jaw, where she could see it clenching and unclenching. He was holding back, not saying what was really on his mind. She was glad. Hearing what he felt, the depth of what he felt, was awful.
“We can do this,” he said finally. “You can make it if you try. But, you gotta lay it on the line,” he paused, looking somewhat irritated. “Might not be easy, but I'm willing to ”
“Stop,” Buffy took another step away, another step towards the door. “We can't. I can't.” She shook her head, turned and bolted towards the exit. He was coming after her, she knew he would. He was calling for her, telling her to wait. She fumbled with her keys, picking up her pace as she neared the car.
Buffy was telling herself that she wasn't running scared. She needed to get away, just for a little while to clear her head and examine what she was feeling. She was lying to herself. Being so close to Spike was terrifying. Being so close to anyone, especially the vampire, was laying herself open, naked. No, not naked. Don't think of naked.
Unlocking the car door, Buffy practically leaped inside of the vehicle and slammed the door. Spike caught up to her, vampire speed. “Buffy,” his voice was raised. He slammed his open palm against the window.
“No,” she said aloud, even though she doubted he could hear. For some reason she was finding it increasingly difficult to think with him so close. Turning the key in the ignition, she punched the gas pedal and the car lurched away from Spike sending dirt and gravel flying up into his face. Avoiding the rear view mirror, Buffy peeled out of the parking lot and floored it until Sunnydale began to shrink away behind her.
Rolling down the window, Buffy sped down the dark desert highway. She felt the cool wind in her hair. Her heart slowed from it's fevered pace and once again beat at a normal rhythm, and she began to realize that she had no idea where she was going. Back in the Bronze, her only thought had been to put some distance between her and the lovestruck vampire. Now on the open road in the middle of the night, she was tired and didn't want to run anymore. Her head grew heavy and her sight grew dim. She'd have to stop for the night.
Up ahead in the distance, she saw a shimmering light. Slowing the car, the light turned out to be shining on a billboard. Plenty of room at the Hotel California. A long red arrow underlined the words and pointed down a two lane road to the right. Squinting, Buffy couldn't see any hotel, but she had no idea how long she'd have to drive before she found something else. Shrugging, she flipped on the blinker and headed down the road. Who knows, maybe it would turn out to be a lovely place, in a lovely town with a small vampire problem. She may never have to go back to Sunnydale.
Flipping on the radio, she kicked up the volume.
“Well, I'm running down the road trying to loosen my load,” she sang along at the top of her lungs. “Got a world of trouble on my mind.”
“Crazy bint,” he said aloud to no one in particular. Stalking across the parking lot towards his bike, the vampire tried to shake about twenty pounds of gravel from his black leather duster. Stupid, crazy bloody woman. Turning the key, the motorcycle rumbled and roared to life.
Spike had gone so long thinking the Slayer would ignore his advances for the rest of her life. She would come to his crypt, terminally pretty, asking for advice, looking for information or just trying to escape. He'd be whatever she needed. He'd never complain, or pressure her with his feelings.
But, then she'd leave. Every time, watching her walk away without so much as a backward glance, it was getting harder. Each time, the ache in his chest was getting more difficult to ignore. Sure, when he'd been unintentionally singing his feelings, he'd told her he wanted her to leave him alone. But, truth be told, he'd been alone too long now. His whole unnaturally long life, he'd been alone. People, vampires had drifted in and out, but still he'd been alone. For a while, with Dru, he'd been able to forget his loneliness, but Dru needed him. She hadn't loved him. It had been an acceptable substitute, but his stilled heart had known the difference.
Steering the bike out onto the highway, he had no idea where she was headed, but he'd find her. He had to. She kissed him, twice. He had been prepared to walk away, didn't know if he could, but he was trying. She chased after him. She'd grabbed his hand, her warm fingers had wrapped around his cold wrist. Hot hands on his chest, she'd peered deep into his eyes. She kissed him .
Kissed him hard and long, and he could have died. Sure, he'd kissed her back. He'd wanted her for so long that he couldn't possibly hold himself back. He had pulled her close and let every ounce of pain and frustration pour out from his lips. She was so warm and so close. She had come running after him , and now she was running from him and he felt like this was all somehow his fault.
“Crazy bint,” he said again.
This was insane. He had no idea where she was headed. California was a big place. She could drive forever, go anywhere, and he might never catch up. She'd been so intent on leaving, putting distance between them. She didn't want him to find her.
The dark desert highway seemed to stretch out endlessly in the distance. A million stars up above had seen Buffy drive off. They knew where she'd gone, but they weren't going to tell him. The motorcycle downshifted and slowed to a stop in front of a billboard. A shimmering light illuminated the sign: Plenty of room at the Hotel California .
Spike cocked his head to one side, he hadn't meant to stop here, had he? He looked at the red arrow on the sign, pointing off to the right down a long two lane road. His vampire eyes couldn't see anything but darkness down that road, but he turned anyway. He couldn't explain why. Maybe the stars had intervened on his behalf. Fate drawing two lovers together.
Shrugging, he turned on the radio, blaring some old rock song into the night. “Come on, Baby. Don't say maybe,” he joined the song, screaming the lyrics as loud as he could. “I gotta know if your sweet love is gonna save me.”
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