Author's Chapter Notes:
Thanks to my wonderful beta Carla!
Buffy was sure the look of exasperation on her face was worn on the faces of millions of women each day. Hell, every hour there was bound to be some woman somewhere looking at some man in total and utter annoyance. But she seriously doubted another woman on the face of this Earth had to deal with a man like Spike.

“You just couldn’t resist, could you?”

If Spike had learned anything over the past two years, it was that hands-on-her-hips were hardly ever a good sign. Ducking his head sheepishly, he dug around his front pockets for a smoke.

“Sorry, love. Couldn’t help myself. The big, ugly thing was just sittin’ there tauntin’ me to hit it.”

Buffy sighed, staring down at the big hunk of metal currently under Spike’s car. “I swear, it’s not gonna be a demon or a vampire that does me in. No, I’ll be the first slayer in history taken out by God awful driving.”

“Hey!” Spike protested, pulling the cigarette from his mouth. “My driving is bloody brilliant.”

“Well, what are you gonna do with it now?” she asked, kicking it. “We’ve got about an hour till sunrise and no place to stay.”

“Was planning on driving right back over it in reverse…” He caught her reproachful gaze and sniggered. “What? You want me to fix the damn thing?”

If Spike had learned two things, it was that when folded arms came after hands-on-her-hips, he was in trouble and not the good kind. He had no idea how someone over a hundred years his junior could make him feel like a schoolboy in for a whipping. Images of Buffy in a too tight, too short dress and a ruler came to his mind unbidden. She had no idea how much he wanted to just throw her onto the hood of his car and shag her senseless.

Taking one last drag on his cigarette Spike relented, holding up his arms in surrender. Using strength only the supernatural possess, he easily lifted the heavy car off the sign, dragging the ugly thing out from underneath. After dutifully moving the car out of the way he did his best to reshape the poles and restore the welcome sign back to its original splendor.

Buffy watched in amusement as one of the worst vampires ever to walk the planet went about fixing the broken sign. She could just imagine all the curses that were running through his head. Spike may not be completely good, but he was more good than bad, and what more could she ask for? No one was perfect.

When it was clear there was nothing more Spike could do for the dearly departed sign, Buffy let him off the hook. “We’d better find the closest motel or someone’s getting a sunburn.”

So focused on the task at hand, Spike hadn’t even noticed dawn’s impending rays. With one last shove, the sign was back to proudly welcoming new inhabitants. He smirked at her, moving to open her door for her.

“Ever the gentleman,” she teased, kissing him on the cheek before sliding into her seat.

Mid-mutter about how he’d be showing her what a gentleman he was, he slammed her door closed. The force sent the sign to the street with a clatter.

Luckily, Buffy’s peals of laughter drowned out the string of curses coming from Spike as he made his way into the driver’s seat.

Finding a place to stop for the night wasn’t so easy in the small California town. They’d been lots of places during their time together, and usually Buffy was more insistent that they stop well before sunrise. But this trip was different. This trip had a purpose and Buffy planned on doing what she’d come to do and getting out as soon as they had the chance.

The motel was pretty seedy looking from the outside. Sure they didn’t necessarily need to worry about their safety, but Buffy drew the line at sharing a room with rodents and/or insects. Luckily the room was fairly clean, and they’d have time to find something better the next day.

Buffy collapsed on the bed, too exhausted to even kick off her boots. Eyes closed, she heard Spike bustling around the room, most likely looking for the remote for the television.

“Huh,” he said, not really speaking to her, “wouldn’t have thought a dump like this would have a mini bar.”

If her eyes were open, she would be rolling them right now. “Don’t open that,” she called, correctly guessing he was seconds away from twisting off the cap. “They seriously overcharge for those things.”

“Could just eat the manager. Wouldn’t have to pay for a thing then.”

Buffy lifted an eyelid. “Too late. We already paid for the night.”

“Too bad,” he responded, lying down next to her. “Spotted a liquor store down the street—could swipe a bottle from there tomorrow.”

Turning on her side to face him she finally noticed he was shirtless. Her gaze wandered to a spot on his chest just below his heart.

“It’s important what we came here for, Spike.”

Sensing the playful banter had quickly turned serious Spike changed his tone. “We don’t have to do this, Buffy. Sun sets and we get right back in the car. Find a nice place to disappear,” he told her, slipping an arm around her waist, pulling her close.

Her fingers lightly ran over the spot she’d been so focused on for the last few months. That spot was the reason they’d come to this hell of a town and she wasn’t about to forget that. They would do what they needed to, and no one would be the wiser.

Knowing he wasn’t going to get a response, he moved out of the embrace and began disrobing her, starting with her boots. They’d had the same conversation ever since she’d decided to make the trip to Sunnydale, and she’d never even given a hint of relenting on the mission she’d given herself.

Once they were both naked and under the covers, Spike wrapped an arm around her waist one more, kissing the back of her neck. Snuggling back into him, a smile played on Buffy’s lips. No matter that he’d meant it very differently when he’d said it before, Spike had shown her once again exactly what a gentleman he could be. She knew in her gut (which counted a lot more than her heart when it came to the vampire in bed with her) that she wasn’t wrong to come here.

No matter how late or early they went to sleep, Buffy was always up by nine thirty. Had to be a slayer perk, needing less sleep than everyone else. She left Spike to sleep the day away in peace and got a lot accomplished by the time the sun was setting.

She came back to find him lounging on the bed watching some show on a really old television. One look at him and she could see he was itching to get out and stretch his legs. Grabbing the few items they’d brought in with them, they made their way to his car. Buffy filled him in on the abandoned house she’d found near a college campus.

“Interesting location, pet. Planning on attending a kegger while we’re in town?”

“Ha ha, very funny.” She made a face at him. “Make a left up here.”

The abandoned house was in better condition than the motel. Spike could only guess that the owner hadn’t been gone very long. He was almost surprised when he was able to walk into the house without slamming into an invisible barrier.

“Nice digs. This where she told you it’d be?”

“Not far from here.”

After Buffy showed him the ground she’d been able to cover earlier that day, they explored the town some more. Venturing away from the campus, they headed back in the direction of the seedier side of town where the motel had been. The last few nights had been spent driving, and she knew they both needed to release some of the pent up energy that was making her palms itch for a fight.

They found the fight they were looking for in an alley outside of what seemed like a nightclub. Whoever had thought putting a nightclub in such a dangerous location had to either be evil or really stupid, Buffy decided. The four baby vamps that, couldn’t have been older than Buffy, combined were easy pickings for a slayer and a master vampire.

Buffy dusted one quickly, but Spike had other ideas. He wanted to play with his prey. He stood between two of the vampires, bouncing on the balls of his feet, trademark smirk in place. The last vampire seemed unsure whether it wanted to jump into the fray or run away. Not giving an option, Buffy whipped a stake in its direction so fast that the vampire didn’t have time to raise an arm in defense.

Picking up the stake from where it lay in a pile of dust, Buffy turned back to see Spike trading blows with the one remaining vampire. When he’d dusted the other she didn’t know, but she’d had enough and was about to send Spike’s opponent to its dusty grave when—

Someone else got there first?

Buffy barely gave herself a minute to process what was happening, instinct telling her to get whoever this was the hell away from Spike. The intruder, a girl about her age with long brown hair, came spiraling back, turning at the last moment, so she and Buffy faced each other. The girl had a knife at her throat just as fast as Buffy had the tip of her stake resting above the other girl’s heart. Buffy knew her opponent wasn’t a vampire, but a stake through the heart usually did the trick.

Had Spike needed to breathe, he would be having trouble remembering how. Time seemed to slow as he watched a girl who was very likely the only match for Buffy in this world, holding a knife to her throat. His first instinct was to rip out the brunette’s spine, but he couldn’t risk making any move that would give her a reason to strike.

“Faith, don’t,” a voice Spike hadn’t heard in decades spoke, his figure seemingly materializing out of nowhere. “She’s a slayer.”

“Bull. Shit,” Faith ground out, pressing the knife harder against Buffy’s throat. Though her words were firm, Buffy could see the question sparkling in the other girl’s eyes.

“Not a slayer, mate. The slayer. As in before your girl here,” Spike finally spoke up but still didn’t move any closer. “So why don’t you tell ‘er to back off before she gets hurt.”

The larger vampire didn’t spare Spike a glance, his focus remaining on Faith.

“What’s she doing with a vamp then?”

“Same as you, it seems,” Spike answered first.

Feeling Buffy’s pulse pounding against her blade, Faith nodded. “Count of three we back away slowly. One. Two.” A brief pause came before Faith actually said, “Three,” like she was giving herself time to change her mind.

Very slowly the two slayers withdrew their weapons. Faith was glaring dagger at Buffy as she moved away from both blonds toward the other vampire. Buffy eyed her cautiously, ready to strike if she made any sudden movements.

Pulling a cigarette out of his duster, Spike sauntered over to stand near Buffy. You would never be able to guess that merely minutes before he’d been scared shitless of what the brunette could do. “Suppose we didn’t do such a good job of flying under the radar, huh, love?”

“That’s right. Nothing goes on in this town without my say-so, so why don’t you tell me who the hell you are?” Faith demanded, looking like a puppy that very much wanted to attack.

Kicking at the dust on the street with the toe of her boot, Buffy shrugged. “Didn’t think she’d find us on the first day,” she admitted, and Spike knew it had to be killing her that it had happened at all, let alone this fast.

“Small towns.” Spike grimaced as though that explained everything.

Faith crossed her arms under her breasts; pushing her cleavage out even more than it already was in the skimpy tank she was wearing. “Maybe you two could finish this conversation later. Like—I don’t know—after you tell me who the fuck you are?”

Spike turned, giving Faith a cocky smirk. “Ooh, someone’s feeling feisty.”

Faith strutted up to him, getting a little too far into his personal space for Buffy’s liking. “Oh, I’m feeling all kinds of feisty.” Her words were laced with venom, and there was no mistaking the threat behind her words.

Before Buffy could react, Faith was moving backward, hands up in false surrender, returning the cocky smirk. “Listen, you already know my name and who I am. How about you level the playing field a little?”

Spike let out a cloud of smoke. “Fair enough. My lady here is Buffy Summers, slayer extraordinaire.” (Cue Buffy’s huge eye roll.) “And I’m Spike, but your boyfriend could’ve told you that, couldn’t you, Angelus?”

Buffy and Faith looked at Angel surprised that the two vampires knew each other. “You know these two, Angel? Is that how you knew she’s a slayer?”

Angel stepped out of the shadows. He didn’t look like this was a joyful reunion. “I knew him. Didn’t know there was another slayer out there until a few minutes ago.”

“I’d say we knew each other pretty well, Angelus. We are family after all.”

“Quit calling him Angelus!” Faith interrupted. “He hasn’t been that monster in a long time.”

Angel sneered at Spike. “Where’s Dru, Spike? She finally get too crazy, even for you?” he asked, hoping to hit the younger vampire where it hurt.

Unfortunately for Angel, Spike had made peace with the separation from his sire long ago. “Actually, no. I stuck around. After you drove her mad, or don’t you recall?”

“Ok, enough!” Buffy stepped in, effectively laying the beginnings of a volatile conversation to rest. For now, anyway. “As much as I’d love to sit here all night and watch you two trade blows—no, actually I really can’t think of anything I’d rather do less. So can we get on with the meet and greet and be on our merry ways?”

“As much as I’d love to, B, and believe me I would, but my watcher’s gonna wanna see you for himself. He’s kinda annoying like that.”

Buffy and Spike shared a look that didn’t go unnoticed by the other two. Did they say no and risk drawing more attention to themselves, or did they take the chance and meet the watcher? It didn’t’ seem like they had much of a choice, not if they wanted to remain in Sunnydale and carry out their plan.

Against Faith’s better judgment, they agreed to meet tomorrow at sunset. She figured they’d either hightail it outta town, which would really be the ideal scenario in her mind, or they wouldn’t, and she’d be able to find them again before the night was through.

As the couples parted ways, both Buffy and Faith had the same thought on their minds: There was only one girl in all the world for a reason.

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