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Every Time You Say Good-bye by slaymesoftly
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Chapter Three


Buffy’s shift the next day was, as usual, interrupted by Julie’s daily visit for a latte and harassment. This time, however, instead of finding ways to annoy Buffy, she waited quietly until it was her turn to order, then asked softly, “Can we talk?”

Buffy blinked at her, not sure what the girl was up to.  She looked at her manager, who waved his hand dismissively. “Take ten, Anne,” he said, using the alias Buffy seemed to fall back on any time she was trying to hide from who she was.  She nodded her thanks and, keeping a wary eye on Julie, led the way to a back table.

They sat in silence for several minutes before Buffy looked pointedly at her watch. Julie nodded and said, “Thank you.  I didn’t thank you last night and I… I should have.  You had every reason to leave us there.”

Buffy cocked her head at the other girl. “You still don’t get it, do you?”  When Julie looked confused, Buffy gave a sad smile and continued, “What slayers are, what we do. We don’t let people die. It doesn’t matter if we like them or not. Our role is to protect the world and the people in it.”  Buffy looked down at the table and fiddled with the napkins there.  “Sometimes we have to do things that… sometimes it doesn’t work out quite like we expected it to… or hoped it would. But…” She shrugged and raised her eyes to Julie’s. “… but we do what we have to do, when we have to do it, and we deal with the consequences later.” When Julie just stared at her, Buffy added quickly, “Not that you need to do any of that if you don’t want to.  That’s the whole thing about us now – you have choices. You can be a slayer and join the fight against evil, or you can just go through life being a really strong, athletic woman who minds her own business and stays out of anyone else’s.”

Julie visibly winced. “You’re saying I can have the… the powers… but I don’t have to use them for good.”

Buffy gave a small grin. “Well, I wouldn’t think too much about using them for evil.  There are still a lot of us on the other side, and we’re all better trained than you are.  You’d get your butt handed to you pretty fast.”

Julie snorted a laugh. “Yeah, think I got that message a few weeks ago when we tried to beat you up.”  She tapped her fingers on the tabletop, then raised her head. “That guy. The one that was with you last night?  He cold-cocked a vampire with one punch.  Is he a slayer too?”

Buffy laughed, then frowned and sobered. “Maybe in some ways he is. But, no, not the way you mean it. He’s on our side, he helps us when he’s around and fights the good fight elsewhere when he isn’t.”

“Is he… are you…?”

Buffy’s face grew still. “We were, once. We’re not now. We’re just really old… friends… who fight well together.” Buffy’s eyes narrowed.  “Which, by the way, is really none of your business.”

Julie shrugged, some of her natural attitude coming back now that she’d made her semi-apology and thank you without causing Buffy to throw her out of the shop.  “We were just curious. He’s kind of hot – in a scary way.”

 “You and your friends need to focus on the ‘scary’ part of that and not on how hot Spike is.” Buffy’s eyes made it very clear that her patrolling partner was not on the menu, and Julie backed off quickly.

“Yeah. Right. No problem… we were just curious, that’s all.  I mean, if you guys aren’t still an item then….” Her voice trailed off as a muscle began to twitch in Buffy’s jaw. Julie swallowed hard and quickly sought another topic of conversation.  “So. This ‘training’ that you were talking about, how do I get it?”

Buffy blinked in surprise.  “You’re interested?”

“Well, I don’t know yet. But what I saw last night… let’s just say if something like that ever happens again, I want to know how to handle it.”

“Oh.” Buffy’s disappointment was obvious, but she shrugged.  “If you really wanted to step up and be a slayer, there’s a school you could go to.  It’s in Cleveland, but—“

“Cleveland? Ohio?” Julie’s face showed exactly how likely that was to happen.

“It’s only for girls who want to be real slayers,” Buffy said with a huff. “If all you want to do is learn how to use the stake without getting yourself killed, I guess…  I guess maybe….”

“You could show me! Awesome!  That would be great. When do we start?”

Buffy looked like she’d just swallowed a bug. “I… but… I can’t… Gah!”

“Today? What time do you get off?  I don’t have any classes today. I can—“

“Whoa! Calm down.  I already have plans for after work tonight.”

“Oh. What are they? Maybe I can come and watch.”

Buffy shook her head.  “Oh no. This isn’t going to be a ‘show and tell’ kind of thing.  It’s a big nest, with possible hostages and guards, and… yeah, no place for spectators.”

“Maybe I could help. I staked that thing last night.”

Buffy gaped at her. “You staked a crippled vamp that was already on the ground, and you almost missed his heart anyway.” She shook her head. “The only one I’m taking with me tonight is Spike.  You… no… just… no way.”

Julie’s eyes glared. “You just don’t want me near your precious ‘friend’,” she sniffed. “You’re just jealous cause I’m the same as you and he might like me too.” As she finished talking, it occurred to Julie that Buffy was probably capable of killing her without even breaking the furniture and she snapped her mouth shut and sank down in her chair. “Not that I think he….” To the girl’s surprise, rather than getting mad, Buffy began to snicker. Genuine giggles that turned into full-fledged laughter.

Without bothering to explain why she found that so funny, Buffy just stood up, still smiling, and said, “I have to get back to work.  Come by tomorrow and we’ll figure out a time and place for you to get your first lesson.”




As Buffy and Spike walked in the direction of the nest Buffy wanted to take out, she told him about Julie’s visit and her subsequent promise to teach the girl some basic skills.

“Not afraid you’re just going to send her out thinking she’s all that and get herself killed straight away, are you?”

“I can’t be responsible for what she does. She doesn’t want to be a real slayer, so if she goes and does something stupid….”

“If she goes and does something stupid, you’ll blame yourself for it and that hair shirt you’re wearing is going to get even hairier.”

It took Buffy a few seconds to get what he was saying… then she exploded.

“Stop telling me what I can and can’t feel bad about!  You don’t know anything about it… about what my life has been like the past four years. The things I’ve had to do, the people who got hurt—You don’t know!”

He grabbed her shoulders and shook her once, before stepping out of reach. “No, I don’t know,” he agreed. “I wasn’t here, and I’m sorry for that. But there really wasn’t much I could do about it.  I came as soon as I could. Got here just in time to watch you and my grandsire defying all the laws of physics… and common decency.  Came to help you anyway, didn’t I?”

“Why? Why did you try to help me?  You could have just taken your bugs and your space ship and gone someplace safe.  Why did you risk your life to help us?”

He just stared at her, then turned away and started walking again, muttering to himself, “Just when I think she’s not as dumb as she looks….”

Buffy glared at his disappearing back, frowning and running over what she thought she’d heard.  She broke out in a small smile as she ran to catch up.

  “Where are you going? Wait for me; you don’t know where the nest is.”

“I do, actually,” he said, his voice once again calm and uninflected. “Asked around a bit after I left you last night.”  He looked at her from the corners of his eyes. “It sounds like we might be taking on a bit much, Slayer. Are you sure you don’t want to bring in some help? Might make things easier.”

“You don’t think we can do it? Just us?”

He touched her hand briefly, squeezing her fingers before letting go. “Think the two of us can do damn near anything we need to, love. But if there’s help available….”

Buffy nibbled on her lip, then shrugged.  “Okay, we’ll take another look at it and if you think it would be easier, I’ll get a few more girls here to help out. Maybe we can pick some of them off one at a time when they leave, and keep them from getting any more hostages.”

“That’s my girl. See, you’ve learned stuff from these past couple of years.”

“Says the vampire who never, ever wanted to do things ‘the easy way’ back in the day.”

“We’ve both had to learn a lot since…. We’ve both had to learn,” he finished quietly.

 They continued walking, keeping to the shadows now that they were approaching the area where they might encounter some of the vamps or their human bodyguards.  They stopped in the shelter of a boarded up apartment building and watched as a trio of scruffy-looking men came out of the old factory across the street.

“Only two heartbeats, Slayer,” Spike whispered. She nodded and pointed down the street. Moving more silently than the three confident men across from them, Buffy and Spike waited until they were too far away for any commotion to be heard from the main nest.  At his signal, they crossed the street a block ahead and waited for their prey to catch up.

When Spike’s ears told him they were almost at the corner, he and Buffy stepped out to confront the cocky vampire and his human bodyguards.  There was a flicker of fear on the vampire’s face, quickly replaced by curiosity as he stepped behind his human escort. 

“A slayer,” he hissed.  Buffy rolled her eyes.

THE Slayer,” she growled. “Why do I have to keep telling you morons that?”

“Prob’ly, luv, because you never leave any of ‘em undusty long enough for the word to spread,” Spike said with a grin.  His grin faded as he saw the human guards pull out handguns and point them at Buffy. Moving with a speed they’d never seen from their much younger employers, he had taken the guns from their hands before they even saw him move.  In front of their wide eyes, he bent the barrels, emptied the clips, and then handed them back.

“Here you go, boys. Not very manly of you, trying to shoot a woman.”

The vampire behind them, still unaware of who Buffy was, stared at Spike. “Who are you?” he demanded. “And what are you doing with her?  Is she yours?”

Spike’s eyes shot sideways, only to meet Buffy’s own quick glance. They both looked away without acknowledging the eye contact.

“Belongs to herself,” Spike said. “And as for who I am… name’s Spike, William the Bloody to you.”

“He’s dust,” the vamp scoffed.

“Welcome to my world,” Buffy said with a grin and a nudge. “Now we’re both imaginary people.”  Spike snorted and bumped her back. “Speak for yourself, pet. I feel pretty solid.”  Buffy frowned, trying to figure out if he was making an innuendo, but her attention was drawn back to the group in front of her.

“Take her, boys,” the vampire ordered. “If she’s a slayer, she won’t hurt humans. I’ll take care of her boyfriend here.”

With matching feral grins, Buffy and Spike settled into fighting stances, Spike on her left, as always.  Unafraid of the small, unarmed woman facing them, the bodyguards stepped forward to earn their money, reaching for her arms. They were surprised to find her arms not there, and Buffy no longer in front of them, but behind them, burying her stake in the vamp’s chest.

“No fair, Slayer!” Spike growled. “He said I could have him. Now what am I goin’ to do for fun?”

The unsuspecting guards were blinking at the dust drifting away on a small breeze, taking a few precious seconds to realize what had happened. When they did, they charged at Buffy, fully expecting to overwhelm her.  Buffy stepped in front of the smaller one and allowed him to bowl her over. As she went down, she grabbed the front of his shirt and bent her knees, planting her feet in his stomach and flipping him over her head and into the wall behind.

The second guard found himself dangling from Spike’s hand. He was just beginning to realize that what he had taken for an extremely fast and strong man was, in fact, one of the creatures he worked for, when Spike went into gameface and snarled at him.

“What do you say, Slayer? I’m feeling a mite peckish….”

Buffy stood up and dusted off her jacket, glaring at the moaning man on the ground and then back to his now-terrified companion.  Spike was licking his lips as he waited for her answer; the smell of urine filled the air when the man he was holding so effortlessly stared certain death in the eyes.

“Dammit!” she said, bending over to pick up the ruined guns. “If you’d given them time to take a shot, I’d be okay with killing them. Self-defense and all that.” She sighed. “But now they’re helpless….”

“If I’d given them time to get a shot off, you’d be… shot,” he protested.

“Good point. Okay, take what you need, but don’t kill him.” The captive’s eyes bugged out even more at her casual response.  “We’ll have to dump them somewhere so they can’t get back to tell their bosses about us. Not until we’re ready to go in, anyway.”

“Seriously?” Spike’s eyes lit up. “I can eat him?” The man he was holding began some serious wriggling and gurgling.

“Not while I’m watching!” she shrieked when Spike’s fangs were poised over the man’s throat. 

With a growl, Spike shook himself back to his human face. He set his captive down and, before the man could think to run, punched him unconscious.  Then he took out a communicator and tapped in a number. After a short conversation, he grabbed the man by the collar and walked down the deserted street to an alley. “Bring yours, pet,” he yelled over his shoulder. “The bugs will watch them for us until we decide what we want to do with them.”

As he spoke, his ship appeared and hovered silently above the buildings on either side. A long line with a harness on the end came down and Spike quickly wrapped up his burden. He held out his hand and Buffy shoved her protesting attacker toward him. Ignoring his cries of ‘Space Ships! Aliens! Help!’, Spike strapped him in next to his still unconscious partner, then jerked the line in signal.  The heavy cable with its squirming burdens disappeared into the ship, which lifted up and moved away as silently as it had come.

“Huh!” Buffy said, impressed in spite of herself.  “That’s pretty handy.”

“It has its moments,” Spike admitted.  “Now, what say we take a look at that nest and make a plan….”


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