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Blood of the Sire by BuffyMeetsSpike
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Usual disclaimer: I'm not making any money off of this. Just having fun with Joss' characters.

Thanks for your patience. I've had a few insane weeks with little time to write, but hopefully this chapter will keep people going. 

Chapter 9 - Traveling

Spike woke shortly after sunset, as he seemed to do automatically whenever he was on what he considered to be a normal schedule. He had been working with Buffy and the Scoobies for so long that his hours had become fairly erratic, but his preference as a vampire was always going to be to sleep all day and maraud all night. Not that you’re up for any mayhem at present, you pathetic sack, he grumbled to himself. If I ever find the bastard who did this to me they’ll be finding pieces of him for months. He looked over at the next bed and beheld the sleeping form of the woman he still loved. The message of the separate beds had been received loud and clear: she wasn’t up for a return to their previous physical relationship. Neither was he, truth be told. Between his current physical state and his desire not to have his heart stomped any further, he was okay with a little distance. At the same time, he realized that he could probably just lie here and watch her sleep for about a month and be perfectly content. Could compose a sonnet about that hair of hers, he mused. She looked so young and fragile, with that golden hair spread out in a halo on her pillow, her lips parted slightly, her breath rising and falling gently. It was always so hard to believe that this delicate little woman could take out half a dozen vampires twice her size in the blink of an eye. He continued watching her sleep for a long time until at last she stirred and those green eyes opened.
“’Bout time you woke up,” he joked lightly.
“What time is it?” she mumbled sleepily as she sat up and rubbed her face.
Spike glanced over at the clock radio beside his bed. “It’s 7:05.”
“We’d better hit the road soon,” she said, yawning. She stretched and ran her fingers through her hair, trying to get her bearings. “Let me call home, and then we can get our stuff together.” She threw back the covers and padded over to find the cell phone in her bag. She dialed the number, and waited, still yawning, until someone picked up. “Hello?” came Dawn’s voice.
“Hey Dawnie, it’s me. Just checking in.”
“Buffy!’ Dawn said excitedly. “Where are you guys?”
“We’re in… let’s see… Mesquite, Nevada,” Buffy said, squinting at the address written on the telephone. “We made pretty good time last night. I just got up from sleeping all day.”
“How’s Spike?”
“He’s hanging in there,” Buffy said. “How are you doing?”
“I’m fine. Did well on my English test today and everything.”
“Good. Is Tara there? I have something to ask her.”
“Just a minute,” Dawn said. She yelled for Tara, causing Buffy to wince a bit and pull the phone slightly away from her head. Dawn could be extremely loud sometimes, and it seemed worse when one was just waking up. After a minute or two, there was a slight clatter as Tara took the phone.
“Hey Buffy, how’s the trip so far?” Tara asked.
“So far, so good,” Buffy replied. “How are things around there?”
“We’re all surviving,” Tara said noncommittally. Truthfully, it was a little awkward sharing a roof, but not a bed, with Willow again. They had conversed pleasantly enough over breakfast and dinner, but never seemed to delve into the unspoken question of their relationship status. Willow desperately wanted Tara back; that much was obvious. Tara missed her, missed what they had, but was still hesitant. Every time Willow brought up how worried she was about Buffy, Tara was on edge, waiting for her to suggest a magical fix. So far that hadn’t happened, but that doubt was still there, and it was so difficult to move past it.
Buffy spoke again, “When you get a chance, can you get the others to do the locator spell again? Let us know if we’re still heading in the right direction?”
“Sure,” Tara replied. “We’ll do it tomorrow, and if you call tomorrow night we can tell you what we know.”
“That’s great,” Buffy said. She looked at the clock again and sighed. “I’ve got to get on the road. Can I just talk to Dawn one more time?”
“Sure,” said Tara, handing over the phone. The sisters said their goodbyes, with admonishments on both sides to be careful, before hanging up. Buffy grabbed some clean clothes and went into the bathroom to change. When she came out, she found that Spike had managed to lean over and snag his shoes from the floor and was wrestling them on.
“You seem to be moving a little more,” Buffy observed as she brushed her hair.
“Yeah. Hope we get to Boston in time for the bloody marathon,” he muttered. Buffy packed up their things and started bringing them out to the car while Spike struggled to sit up. By the time she got back he had managed to get his legs over the side of the bed, but then had flopped down on his back for a quick breather to recover from the effort. “This is ridiculous,” he growled. “I killed two fucking Slayers, and now I’m worn out from getting my goddamn shoes on.”
“Have I ever mentioned that I’m not so crazy about the ‘killing Slayers’ part of your past?” Buffy asked, hands on her hips.
“May have heard you say something about that once or twice,” he replied. “Are you going to help me up, or bring up my past sins some more?”
Buffy reached over and grabbed his arm, hauling him to a sitting position. “I’ll help you into the car, where I can bring up your past sins while I drive. How’s that?”
“Guess it’ll have to do,” he sighed. She once more put his arm around her shoulder and dragged him upright, half carrying him out to the car. It was like dealing with someone who was completely and utterly drunk. Buffy had to fight not to wince at the feel of his bones, his hips like sharp stones under his skin, and his wasted arms like sticks. It was such a far cry from the lean muscle she had reveled in. She awkwardly helped him into the car, where he closed his eyes to rest for a moment while she shut the door. She jogged over to the office, turned in the keys to the creepy clerk, and was back in the driver’s seat in a flash.
“God, that guy is skanky,” she muttered. “Do they teach that in cheap motel school?” Spike had no answer as she started the car, put it momentarily into reverse, slammed on the brake, got it into drive, then drove off.
“Buffy, love, I mean this in the nicest possible way, but you are a terrible driver,” Spike said as he recovered from the whiplash.
“I did warn you,” she said, somewhat sheepishly.
“Yes, I guess you did,” he answered. “Serves me right.” He opened up the map and traced their route. “Entrance to the interstate should be up ahead in a bit,” he directed. She managed to get back on to the highway, slightly white knuckled as she negotiated the merge. Spike smirked at her and shook his head, staring out onto the road ahead. She tended to drive fairly slowly, for his tastes. Of course, he didn’t have to worry about getting tickets, or dying in a crash. He would probably survive most crashes, and he had eaten a policeman or two in his time. But he resolved not to make the girl even more self conscious, lest she get flustered and test that killing him in a car crash theory.
They drove on for about forty five minutes when Spike heard Buffy’s stomach growl. Looking ahead, he saw a sign signaling the next rest area coming up in five miles. “Pull over at that rest area when we get there,” he ordered.
“Why?” Buffy wondered, fixing him with a confused look.
“Because you haven’t eaten anything since you woke up, you stupid bint, and you’re going to end up keeling over from lack of nourishment,” he growled. “I’ll not have you starving yourself on my account.”
“I guess I did forget that detail,” she admitted. “I’ve got some snacks in the car though.”
“No,” Spike insisted firmly. “You’re going to pull over, and get a decent hot meal, or else I’ll be forced to drain your stubborn neck.”
“Fine, Mr. Bossy,” she muttered. She took the ramp into the rest area and parked, nearly getting the entire car in the parking space this time. “Need anything?”
“No, I’m fine,” he said. He fished out a twenty from his pocket and said, “It’s on me. But make sure you actually eat, yeah?”
“I will,” she promised. True to her word, she went inside and found a pizza shop. She at an enormous calzone, polished off a large soda, then went back to get another soda and an order of fries for the road. Guess I was hungry, she mused as she stifled a belch. She went back to find Spike dozing again, and she let him sleep while she drove over and filled up the tank at the service station. Spike woke when she floored the accelerator, trying to merge onto the highway.
“Back on the road again, then?” he asked blearily.
“Yep. With a full Slayer loaded with caffeine, we should be there in about half an hour,” she quipped. “Actually, how long do you think it will take us to get there?”
Spike studied the map. “I’m thinking five or six nights, at this rate.”
“Why couldn’t your crazy ex go haunt Las Vegas instead?” Buffy wondered. “I mean, that only took half a night to get to.”
“Dunno, pet,” Spike said. “Never did quite figure out why she took it into her head to do some things.”
“She must have been… interesting to live with,” Buffy said, trying to be tactful.
Spike laughed. “She was absolutely bug shagging mad,” he said, shaking his head. “Loved her for a century, but she could be quite a challenge some days.”
Buffy thought about that for a while. “Why did you stay with her?” she asked finally.
“Told you – I loved her,” Spike explained. “She found me on one of the worst nights of my life and brought me into this whole new world. I was strong and powerful for the first time ever, I finally got laid after years of the whole bloody Victorian repression routine…”
“Wait a minute,” Buffy broke in, looking over at him open-mouthed. “You died a virgin? At twenty-eight?”
“Um, yeah,” Spike muttered.
“Wow,” Buffy said. “It’s just so hard to imagine. I mean…” She trailed off, embarrassed at what she had been about to say.
Spike continued her sentence, however. “You mean I’m pretty good in the sack, is that it?” he asked with a smirk.
“Well, yeah. Don’t let it go to your head.” Buffy was blushing at this point.
“Wouldn’t dream of it,” Spike replied, still smirking. “But remember, I had a hundred years to get it right. When Drusilla found me, I barely knew how to fit tab A into slot B. Pre-marital sex was, shall we say, frowned upon severely in my time. Fine upstanding Christian gentlemen like myself were supposed to behave themselves until properly wedded to the right girl.”
Buffy snorted. “Fine upstanding Christian gentleman? You?”
“Just because you were raised a Godless California heathen doesn’t mean we all were,” Spike said. “My mother once had dreams of me joining the clergy if you must know.”
“Put that on the list of things that I just can’t imagine,” Buffy said.
“In the end, I couldn’t imagine it either,” Spike admitted. “Had no desire to be a country vicar with a humble wife and five brats running around.”
Buffy laughed out loud. “I just can’t even conceive of you as a priest or whatever,” she giggled. After she recovered herself she added, “So did you go to college and all that?”
“Went from boarding school to Oxford, like all the other good little Victorian gentlemen,” Spike said. “Studied classics.”
Buffy wrinkled her brow. “Classics? What does that mean? Because when I think classics, I think stuff from, well, your era.”
“Girl has the cultural awareness of a flea,” he muttered as he raised his eyes to the heavens and shook his head. “Classics means Greek and Latin. Languages, literature, all that ancient stuff.”
“What would you do with a degree in classics?”
“Lots of folks went into the clergy, or into teaching. I wanted to be a writer. Ended up caring for mum and living off the inheritance when my father died.” He looked over at Buffy curiously. “Why are you so interested in the history of William the Bloody Pathetic Wanker?”
Buffy shrugged, eyes fixed on the road ahead. “Not sure how we got on the subject. But I guess we never did really talk much. There seems to be a lot I don’t know about you.”
“Well, we didn’t talk because you tended to say ‘shut up, Spike’ and ‘Can we not talk?’ every time I opened my mouth,” Spike noted dryly.
“Shut…” Buffy paused. “I’m doing it again, aren’t I?”
“You’re like a bloody broken record sometimes, Slayer,” Spike observed. He stared out the passenger window as he kept talking. “I sort of get it, you know.”
“Get what?”
“You’ve been trained to kill my kind. It’s what you do. And you’ve been burned by every guy you’ve ever dated. So to have to admit that you…” he paused, considering his choice of words carefully. “That you got something out of being around me was tough. You had to change your whole world view, on top of having to come back from the dead and deal with all the other crap. You didn’t want me close, but you needed someone, and you couldn’t resolve it. So you took what you needed and scurried back to your little fortress so you’d be safe.”
Buffy tightened her hands on the steering wheel, biting back a sarcastic reply. He knows me so well. He’s got me pegged down to the last detail. How can he know me better than I do? “Why did you let me do that?” she asked quietly.
“For the hundredth time, I love you,” he said, fixing her with his blue eyes. “I know I’m nowhere near worthy of you. I’m a fucking vampire, for God’s sake. But I love you. And since I love you, I can’t stand to watch you suffer, not when I can help ease your pain, even a little bit.” His voice was deep and heavy with emotion.
Buffy bit her lip. She felt like crying, but she didn’t quite understand why. “I’m sorry,” she said, still resolutely not meeting his eyes. “You didn’t… deserve that.”
“That’s probably a subject for debate,” Spike said. “But… thank you. For the apology, I mean.” They lapsed into an uncertain silence for a long time after that.
After a midnight stop for the bathroom and a snack, they kept heading east, winding their way through Utah. Buffy could make out some dark shapes of mesas and rock formations silhouetted against the night sky, but it was tough to make out the details. “Wish I could see all this,” she said. “I hear it’s pretty breathtaking.” It was the first sentence she had spoken in an hour.
“You Yanks do have a lot of pretty country, make no mistake,” Spike agreed. “But we’ve got better beer on the other side of the pond. Given my sunlight allergy, I’ll take the beer anytime.”
“American beer isn’t that bad,” Buffy argued.
“Says the girl who turns into a cave woman after a few glasses of Godawful microbrewed piss.”
“It was cursed microbrew, I’ll have you know,” Buffy said indignantly. “Who told you about that?”
“Heard it from the Scoobies. They were reminiscing about you. Last summer, that is,” he added, his voice sobering a bit as he remembered that long, horrible summer without her.
Not wanting to take the conversation down another miserable road, Buffy ignored the last comment and said, “Well, okay, that beer was pretty bad. But I had some sorrows to drown.”
“Damn things always learn to swim, in my experience,” Spike said. “I must have gone through an entire distillery trying to get over Drusilla. Never did work. Ended up screwing Harmony to try to take my mind off things.”
“And you say I have bad taste?” Buffy scoffed. “Harmony Kendall? I mean, hello, she was dumb as a rock before she died, and I’m certain she hasn’t gotten any less annoying.”
Spike looked at her curiously. “I forgot. High school mate of yours, was she?”
“Mate is a strong word,” Buffy replied. “She was part of the local contingent of snooty popular girls. I was forced to be in some classes with her. Which could be an advantage. She could make anyone look smart by comparison.”
Spike laughed. “Got that right. Try playing twenty questions with her sometime. You’d get more stimulation conversing with a mailbox.”
Buffy laughed in return. “I guess we all get one relationship that was a mistake end to end. I had Parker, you had Harmony. Maybe we could get them together. Harmony could eat Parker, I could stake Harmony, cosmic balance is restored.”
“Pretty sure your watcher would object to you feeding your exes to vampires, pet,” Spike noted.
Buffy put on a mock pout. “Well then what’s the point of having all you creatures of the night around anyhow?”
“Fodder for Hollywood horror flicks, nothing more,” Spike said, deadpan. Then they both looked at each other and laughed again. The pleasant banter went on for a while, until Spike’s energy ran out again and he dozed off. Around four in the morning, Buffy pulled into a rest area with a twenty four hour restaurant and had a huge breakfast while Spike slept. When she got back into the car, the slamming door woke him. “Where are we?”
“Not completely sure,” Buffy admitted. “But I just had a good breakfast, so I’m going to find a motel, feed the vampire, and crash.”
“Just don’t crash before then,” Spike quipped. Buffy shot him a fake dirty look and drove on. She was starting to worry about sunrise when she finally saw a motel sign and took the exit. This motel was manned by a bored looking skinny kid in his early twenties. He booked her a room with two beds without much comment, took her money, and went back to surfing the net. Buffy drove around to the other side of the building, found the room, and wrestled Spike and their gear inside.
“This place is a bit less sleazy than the last one,” Buffy commented. “I’m in desperate need of a shower.”
Spike was stretched out on the bed, recovering from the effort of getting inside. “You know where I’ll be,” he said. Buffy left him wrestling with boots and his duster while she grabbed her things to hit the shower.
Buffy stood for a long time rinsing her hair and thinking about the vampire in the next room. She didn’t remember the last time she had had such a long, interesting conversation. Even if things got onto touchy and awkward subjects sometimes, it was engaging in a way she hadn’t experienced in years. She had never really talked with Riley, at least not once they started sleeping together. Conversations with Angel had been good sometimes, but there was some unspoken distance between them that could never be bridged after Angelus had paid a visit. She and the Scoobies had been growing apart even before her death and the aftermath. It had been hard to have meaningful discussions when you were fighting hellgods, and now… She was more than a little grateful for a break from Willow’s ‘I’m sorry’ fest, and the Anya and Xander drama. Maybe by the time she reached Boston she would have her head straightened out somewhat.
She finished her ablutions and came out, toweling her hair. Spike was idly flipping through channels, but very little of interest seemed to be on at five in the morning. “Not a bloody adult station in the lot,” he complained.
“Sorry, I guess they don’t go for those things in…” she checked the hotel stationary. “Rifle, Colorado. Rifle? What the hell kind of a name for a town is Rifle?”
“More my style than Sunnydale,” Spike said. “Although you have to appreciate the irony of a hellmouth called Sunnydale.”
“That irony has struck me on more than one occasion,” Buffy agreed. She sat down next to him. “Right or left arm today?” she asked. “They’re both equally chewed up at this point.”
“Decisions, decisions,” Spike said. “I’ll go for left today. I’m a lefty. Good a reason as any.” Buffy held out the chosen arm and Spike fed, tender and gentle as usual. He finished with his customary kiss to her wrist and a whispered, “Thanks, love.”
“Don’t mention it,” she replied, blushing slightly at the sensation. “I think it’s bedtime for Slayers though.” She lifted her hand without thinking and ran her hand through his hair tenderly. Then she pulled her hair away, embarrassed, and made her way to bed.
“Sleep tight, Buffy,” he murmured. She smiled in return and turned out the light. With his enhanced eyesight Spike watched her until he was sure she was asleep, then closed his eyes as well. 

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