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Never Alone by Lilachigh
Chp 7 The bad penny
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Never Alone by Lilachigh

Chapter 7 The bad penny

The car came thundering down the highway in the midnight dark, swerving slightly from side to side, the beams from the headlights veering off to illuminate bushes and trees, catching the eyes of small animals crouching at the side of the road.

“Gas station - must find a gas station,” the driver muttered in horror. She’d promised Giles and the others that she would be sensible and take every precaution if she hired a car. They’d been horrified when she’d told them she was flying to Los Angeles to find Spike, but had been reassured finally because they were certain Angel would drive her wherever she wanted to go.

Buffy thumped the steering wheel in frustration. Angel! Oh he’d been a real help, a real prince. Fighting this latest apocalypse seemed to have drained him of all emotion. Whatever had happened in Los Angeles had left the city looking battered in some areas and devastated in others. He wouldn’t speak much about what had happened. So many friends had died. He was flying to Tibet, he told her. He needed to get away and find himself again. Did she want to come with him?

“Angel, I’ve come to find Spike,” she said softly, trying not to loose her patience.

“He’s gone.”

She resisted the urge to punch him on the nose. “I know. What happened to him? I know he’s not dead.’”

“How do you know?” A faint frown appeared on his forehead.

“I just do. And be honest, Angel, so do you. Through Drusilla, you sired Spike. There is no way you wouldn’t know if he was dead.”

“Buffy – ” he looked up at her from where he was slumped in a chair and she winced at the pain in his eyes. A few years ago it would have broken her teenage heart to see him like this. But now - she’d been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

“I lost sight of him towards - towards the end - people were dying everywhere - the blood, the noise, the screaming - God, Buffy, I’ve experienced a lot in all these centuries, but never anything like that.” He fell silent until she quietly urged him to go on, trying to break through the despair.

“Spike was fighting a huge demon; it was dark red, scaley, ugly thing with wings. He was winning, I thought. All fists and fangs, typical Spike -. Then he vanished. It might have carried him off. I think, I think I saw it flying away, but I’m not certain. There were so many. Sorry. But you know what Captain Peroxide is like, he’ll turn up like the proverbial bad penny.”

And that had been that. He’d had very little more to say. The brooding grief that surrounded him closed down once more. He didn’t want to talk. Didn’t ask about Giles or the Scoobies. He seemed completely disinterested. At her pleading, he gave her car keys, but didn’t bother to query her current driving ability.

So here, she was, on the road, heading - well, there had only been one direction to drive. Towards Sunnydale. She couldn’t have explained why. But something was pulling her in that direction. And that something had to be Spike.

“Stupid car, stupid vampire, getting lost, all his fault. If I break down out here, I’ll blame him. I’ll kick his sorry ass all round the world once I get my hands on it!” She wriggled on the soft leather and taking one hand off the wheel, pushed up her skirt and rubbed at the wet patch that was forming on her panties.

God, she felt so hot, even the thought of him could make her squirm like a lovesick teenager. If only he was here! She recalled car journeys they had taken together in the past and couldn’t remember one when he hadn’t made her come with his fingers while he was driving.

And even now she felt the hot colour rush into her cheeks as she remembered burying her face in his denim lap, undoing his fly, and giving him head as he moaned in ecstasy above her and the engine roared as he accelerated in passion.

But her engine stuttered now and she groaned. She’d been so busy trying to drive well, that she’d sort of forgotten to put gas in the tank.

“At last. Thank heaven!” A sign shone out in the dark - a gas station. Buffy swerved the car towards the pumps.

“Are you going far?” the elderly guy behind the counter asked when she went to pay.


He looked up sharply. “That’s a rough place for a young lady. Are you staying with friends?”

Buffy shook her head. “I used to live there - before . I heard they’re rebuilding it.”

The attendant nodded as he gave her change. “Yup. They levelled the whole place after the earthquake and now houses and shops, banks and schools - all going up, more and more every day. But that means there’s a really rough crowd of people around. Just be careful. Find a nice motel and don’t go out too much after dark.”

“Do you get many people stopping who are heading for Sunnydale? I’m looking for a man. Thin, very blond, blue eyes, might have cuts and bruises. Probably wearing a black leather duster coat. He’d have been here after dark.”

The guy shook his head. “Nope. No one I recognise.”

Buffy got back in the car and sighed wearily. Was she on a fool’s errand? Why was she so certain Spike had come this way? There was no clear answer. She just knew in her heart that the link that bound them still existed and was pulling her in a certain direction. She’d felt it all the way across the Atlantic, even as they flew across the American continent. Drawing her, pulling her, a slender thread refusing to break.

She lay back, leaning against the head-rest. Now she was nearly there, she realised she had no idea what she was going to say to Spike if she did find him. “Hi, how ya doing?” didn’t seem to be enough, somehow. And “you stupid, thoughtless idiot! Why didn’t you ring me when you came back from the dead?” seemed even less appropriate.

She smiled to herself. She remembered watching an old Second World War movie at Giles’ once. A Bridge Too Far, it had been called. Well, this last one in Los Angeles had been an apocalypse too far, she thought. It made their silly, petty arguments seem ridiculous. He had given up everything to save the world - twice now. She knew exactly how that felt.

When she’d returned - or rather when she‘d been dragged back by Willow’s spell - he had been the only person there for her. Buffy sighed. How she would have loved to have been there for him when he returned. She envied that girl called Fred, even though she too, was gone now, because she’d been able to look after him a little.

“I just need to know he’s OK ‘If he is, and doesn’t want to be friends, well, okay, I’ll just turn round and head home. I’m not going to make a scene and push in where I’m not wanted. But I have to see him before I can move on and make a new life for myself.”

She drove on, biting her lip so hard she could taste blood. Not wanted. Those words rang inside her brain. Was that what she would find if they met again? Was that why he’d never contacted her when he’d come back?

Then she remembered the parcel he’d sent her all those weeks ago. A parcel he’d arranged for her to receive after he’d gone. Her stuffed pig, Mr Gordo, and a photo of Dawn and her mother - two things she’d never thought to see again. Was that the action of a man who didn’t want her. Buffy’s foot pressed down harder on the gas pedal. In reply, he’d sent him their wedding lists - silly, sentimental lists from the time when they’d been planning to marry under another of Willow’s spells.

What had she been trying to prove? “That I had faith in him,” she whispered, hypnotised as the white line of the road flared out in front of her, the dark rushing past in great swoops of sound. “Faith that he would come back to me one day.”

She blinked as hot tears burnt her eyes and dashed them away angrily. She would not cry any more. But it was too late. It had only take that one moment’s lack of concentration at the speed she was driving and she felt the car begin to skid, sliding away, out of her control.

She braked hard, trying to remember if she was supposed to steer into or out of the skid. There was a loud bang and the car jolted to a halt. Buffy opened the door and clambered out, shaking. “Sorry, Giles, sorry Dawn, sorry Willow,’”she muttered, then realised, guiltily but thankfully, that they would never need to know, otherwise she knew Giles would fly out on the next plane.

The air was chill and she shivered in the thin top that had seemed just right in LA.. She was obviously too used to the heat in Rome. A little chill air and she was shivering. She could smell sand and the tang of lemons. She would have known with her eyes shut exactly where she was. She walked forward a few yards to the top of the slope and gazed down at a few twinkling lights where once there had been hundreds. She was home!

And to make matters certain, she realised she’d just knocked over a large sign that read, ‘WELCOME TO SUNNYDALE’.

Cheerfully, Buffy got back in the car and carefully reversed it onto the road. It seemed okay, and she didn’t seem to have left any bits of it on the highway. She shivered again and turned on the heater and the CD player. All she wanted now was to find a motel and get a good night’s sleep. She didn’t know what she would find in Sunnydale, but, by heaven, she would cope whatever it was. If Spike was anywhere within a hundred miles radius, she would find him. Nothing was going to stop her. She was home and like Scarlett O‘Hara, tomorrow was another day.

The dark closed in as the tail lights of the car vanished down the hill. For a minute there was complete silence, then, from behind a tree, a dark figure appeared. Dirty, dusty boots limped across the road and strong pale hands reached out to effortlessly lift the sign upright again.

Deep blue eyes gazed curiously after the departing car. There was an old scar cut through one eyebrow and a new one slashing across his forehead cut the other in two. The high cheekbones were bruised and the mouth was twisted by pain.

For a second the man hesitated. Sunnydale was not a good place for a young woman like that to visit, especially a young woman with tumbling blonde hair, wearing a thin silk top that showed the outline of her breasts and nipples. Perhaps he should have said something. Then he shrugged and turned away. It was, after all, none of his business.

to be continued

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