Author: Raven Morbisk
Title: I'll Always Find You
Disclaimer: I own absolutely nothing!!
Summary: When Buffy runs away, she runs to Miami instead of L.A. and Xander finds her under terrible circumstances. What’s going to happen when they decide they don’t want to go back to Sunnydale?
Author’s Notes: Post Season 2 for BtVS and Season 1 for CSI: Miami.Warning: Contains rape and possible (not sure yet) dark, dark feelings.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It had been eight weeks and two days since he last saw her, left her alone to get Giles out of the mansion and away from the fight. He hadn’t heard anything from her for a week after the world didn’t end that day. When he went to see if she was home Joyce showed him the note he knew he had to find her. Buffy was alone and hurting. After a lot of arguing with Willow and Giles he was finally on the road. Cordelia was gone for the summer so her Ford Mustang had become his transportation. It was the best thing about Cordelia’s leaving in Xander’s opinion.
“I haven’t found her yet.” Xander said a little annoyed when he answered his cell phone that hadn’t stopped ringing since he woke up. Willow, Joyce or Giles would call him everyday more than once. Sometimes to see if he had any progress and sometimes to beg him to come back.
“She’ll be back, Xander, just come home.” Willow’s voice came from the other end of the line. Xander snorted at that. If Buffy wanted to come back she would’ve called or she would’ve been back already.
“She had to kill Angel, I don’t think-”
“Xander, you’ve been gone for almost two months.” Willow was worried; he could hear it in her voice “Giles wants to know where you are.” Xander rolled his eyes, he didn’t like the way they kept checking up on him.
“I’m about two hours away from Miami.” He replied checking his watch. It was almost noon and his stomach was aching for some food. He grinned when he passed a sign that said there was a roadside diner about ten miles up the road.
“Florida? That’s on the other side of the country! Are you insane?” Willow’s voice pierced through his ears. Xander heard several people in the background reacting almost exactly like the redhead.
“I think Buffy’s there.” Xander finally managed to say when most of the background noises were fading.
“Like you thought she was in New York last week?” Willow asked. Xander had traveled along the East Coast to find Buffy without success. Giles and Joyce sometimes sent him some money but he had worked his way as well.
“This is almost certain,” Xander insisted “I heard some people that just got back from Miami that a small blonde saved them from deformed thugs.” So it wasn’t the entire truth but they didn’t need to know he almost caused an accident when he literally saw Buffy fighting two vampires like he was there while he listened to the radio about sniper killings in Miami. He could hear Willow tell others what he just told her and then he could hear Giles on the other end sounding ever so pessimistic and stiff.
“A proto-Slayer could have been training with her Watcher. It has been known to happen that some Watchers train their charge.” The Englishman told him tiredly.
“No, I’m sure it’s Buffy.” Xander replied. He knew Buffy had to be in Miami. When he found the blonde Slayer then he’d tell Giles about his near-accident and what caused it in the first place.
“Xander,” Giles sighed and Xander could just imagine him taking off his glasses. Seeing the diner Xander pulled the car over and parked in front of the diner on the dirt parking lot but remained seated cutting Giles off from saying anything else.
“Giles, I’m already too far to go back now. If she’s not in Miami then maybe I’ll come back but right now I want to find Buffy.” Xander stated firmly leaving no room for discussion. “She needs a friend.” He added in a softer tone.
“Please be careful.” Xander smiled when Giles gave up on his attempt to get Xander to return to Sunnydale. It wasn’t that he didn’t appreciate their concern because he did but he felt guilty because he was too pigheaded at the time to tell Buffy Willow was restoring Angel’s soul. He knew that now and did whatever he could to get Buffy back in his life.
“I will.” He replied. “I’ll call if I find out something.” With that he hung up on the Englishman and got out of his borrowed car.
It was nearing five a.m. signaling Buffy’s shift was finally over. When she arrived in Miami the first thing she saw was a vampire attacking a man. Not being able to completely ignore her calling she saved the man from the vampire. It turned out that man owned a bar and after realizing Buffy had run away from home he offered her a job. Since then she had been working the nightshifts in ‘The Gutter’. It was a fairly clean and proper kind of bar but it still had its mean and aggressive drunks.
“Jake, I’m going home.” Buffy called out as she grabbed her bag from under the counter. She had fallen into a rather pleasant routine. From ten at night ‘til five in the morning she worked in ‘The Gutter’ then she would walk home and sleep as long as she needed. She tried to ignore her calling as much as she could but if she witnessed a vampire attack she didn’t leave people in the lurch.
“Anne, wait up.” Buffy turned around to see Jake walking up to her with a wad of cash in his hands. Jake was the one in charge whenever the owner, Michael, wasn’t around which was every night because Michael only worked days.
“Money, I like money.” Buffy grinned taking the money Jake offered. He flashed a toothy grin back at Buffy. He knew Buffy was sixteen years old so Jake automatically made the girl he knew as Anne his responsibility, to make sure nothing happened.
“Are you okay walking home alone?” Buffy smiled at Jake and nodded. Sometimes Jake would walk her home but that was only when Buffy was too tired to object. “You better be careful, I don’t wanna lose a good worker.” Buffy rolled her eyes but gave the brown-haired man a wink, letting him know she was going to be just fine.
“Tell Jesse I said ‘hi’ for me.” Buffy said and waved once more at Jake before leaving the bar. She had been working at ‘The Gutter’ for a little over six weeks and the only one who knew she could fight was Michael and she intended to keep it that way. She got along with most of her co-workers, especially Jake and his wife, Jesse.
She didn’t live far from ‘The Gutter’ and by now she knew her way pretty well around these parts. When she was feeling restless she would take the long way, hoping she would come across hunting vampires but kept telling herself that she wasn’t the Slayer anymore. She couldn’t take it anymore. Her mother kicking her out was bad enough but having to send her first true love to hell was too much. She was convinced nobody would really miss her, they all warned her about Angel and when he lost his soul he made it so much worse. She didn’t deny that she missed her friends because she really did but they were better off without her in their lives.
“Slayer.” Buffy stopped walking and turned around with a bored expression. She had been too caught up in her thoughts that she didn’t notice the vampires that had sneaked up on her. She quickly tried to asses them as they slowly approached her.
“Look, I’m tired and I just want to go home.” She said crossing her arms “Can we do this another time?” She wasn’t prepared for this; she didn’t even bring her stake with her. The vampires just laughed at her. “Fine, let’s get this over with.” She didn’t get a chance to get into her fighting stance when she was decked from behind knocking her to the ground.
She jumped to her feet and backhanded the nearest vampire in her reach causing him spin in his place. She couldn’t tell how many vampires there were but she knew that they didn’t care if they hit one of their own; this looked more like a personal vendetta than just a meal on legs. While fighting off two vampires at the same time a third one stormed right at her and shoved her body in a wall. She barely had time to recover when said vampire came at her with a lead pipe. After a few hard blows to her arm and her ribs she was able to grab the pipe from the vampire and with one good, powerful and tiring swing she knocked the head right off. While trying to back away in the other direction of the vampires she glanced around looking for anything that could be used as a stake.
“See what you made me do?” She said wincing slightly from the pain coming from her ribs. “I killed your buddy so if you just let me go home I won’t kill you.” Buffy frowned thinking over her words then added “Today.”
The vampires simply growled at her in response. Buffy couldn’t help but grin when the obvious leader of the pack lunged at her. Anticipating his move she greeted him with a roundhouse kick but before completing her move she found herself held by her arms while the leader vampire delivered brutal blows to her face and stomach. Feeling her legs getting kicked out from under her she slumped down, unable to fight back. The leader grabbed Buffy by her hair and made her look at him.
“The vampires in Sunnydale must be really weak if they fear you.” He snarled. Buffy cautiously regained her footing, trying not to get her legs kicked away from her again. The lead vamp pulled Buffy’s head to the side and sank his teeth in her neck.
Buffy was getting weaker but sensing the other vampires were distracted by the sent of blood she delivered a solid kick to the lead vampire’s groin causing him to drop to his knees. Taking advantage of the moment she pulled her arms free and took a dive to an old crate, tearing off pieces of wood just in time to stake the first vampires.
Now she had her disposable stakes the fight was over much quicker. When she finally staked the last vampire she fell to her knees, feeling the loss of blood getting the better of her. She pushed herself up with much difficulty, knowing that she just needed a goodnight sleep and then everything would be fine. She knew that and she was slowly, agonizingly getting closer to her apartment building. If she could just get inside the building she could even consider asking for help from her neighbor, Kevin. He did tell her that if she needed help he would be there as thanks for minding his children when he wasn’t home from work yet.
“Hey little girl, what are you doing out so late?” Buffy ignored the voice, it was the same voice that asked her that every night but she never turned around to see who it was. She tried to pick up her pace but to no avail. She suddenly found her being spun around and facing a man in his early, maybe mid-thirties with brownish curly hair and a few days old beard. Before she could open her mouth to demand him to let her go she found herself on the ground with him hovering over her.
Xander opened his eyes groggily, blinking a little at the morning sunlight that came through the curtains. He reached over to the nightstand and grabbed his watch. A little past seven a.m., he had been able to sleep a full four hours. He groaned sitting up wearily and rubbed his tired eyes. He didn’t know what woke him up but he knew it couldn’t be good. He had this sick feeling in his gut telling him something was wrong. He got out of his bed and walked to the other side of his hotel room when it suddenly hit him again, another one of those unwelcome hallucinations. This time it wasn’t Buffy he saw, it was a woman getting cornered by two men, seemingly two muggers. He recognized the street she was in; it was a street where he had been asking around for Buffy, showing her picture to store and bar owners. He shook his head to clear his mind and grabbed his clothes, putting them on before hurrying out of his hotel room.
He ran to the street he saw in his all too vivid daydream since it was just two blocks away from his hotel. When he came to the scene he saw the woman but no muggers. He scratched his head confused looking around the street wondering if it was the right one. The woman was the one in the mental picture he had and the street was the same but the men he saw weren’t there. He decided to just trail the woman when his luck turned and the two men appeared casually following the woman. One of them, a bald man with tattoos in his neck, nodded to his companion, a shorter man with short brown hair.
“Hey, what are you doing?” Xander called out pretending to be a lot braver than he felt at the moment when the brown-haired man grabbed the woman’s arm. The bald man turned to him and laughed at him.
“Go home, boy, this ain’t none of your business.” He said then turned to his companion and the woman he was holding. Xander figured the woman knew the two men because she didn’t scream but she did look scared.
“If you go around grabbing women then it is my business.” Xander squared his shoulders taking a demanding pose. “Let her go.” The brown-haired man started laughing at Xander and passed the woman to the bald man.
“You think you’re tough, boy?” He asked looking him up and down. Xander glanced at the bald man realizing this was probably coming to a fight seeing him staring at Xander with a wide grin as the woman kept shaking her head.
“No, I like to think I’m a big softie when it comes to women.” Xander replied with a grin. He ducked quickly when he saw the man’s collar bone twitch on the right side signaling he was about to swing. When he felt the air swoosh over his head he got back up and punched his assailant on the nose. His moment of pride was brutally interrupted when the bald man hit him in the stomach. He tried to get up but got kneed to the head by the said assailant’s companion. He fell on his back and covered his head with his arms as the punches rained down on everything the man could reach.
“Jerry, cops.” He heard one of them say and then heard the two men running in the opposite direction. He removed his arms from his head and saw the woman kneeling besides him making rapid and confusing motions with her hands.
“You’re deaf.” Xander blurted out feeling a little woozy from the beating. The woman frowned for a moment but then grinned and nodded her head. He smiled at her then looked up at another woman hovering over him. It was most likely because of the sun or a possible concussion but she seemed to be glowing like an angel.
“You don’t need saving right now, do you? ‘Cause I’m currently out of commission.” The woman laughed warmly as she helped him get up on his feet. She was about his height but much more feminine with long curled brown hair and a naturally tanned skin.
“No, I’m with the Miami Dade Police Department.” She replied sounding very Latin-American. “I’m Detective Salas.” She helped him to sit down on a bench a few feet further.
“Xander.” He said wincing slightly in pain. “Shouldn’t you be after those two thugs?” Detective Salas shook her head and nodded behind Xander. He turned his head and saw the two men being escorted to a police car by the long arm of the law, a better arm than the one in Sunnydale apparently. The deaf woman he had helped before was currently being questioned by a balding man in a suit who was clearly trying to make sense of what she was saying.
“Let’s get you checked out in the hospital, Xander.” Detective Salas stood up and motioned for two paramedics that just arrived to come over.
“No, I can’t. I’m looking for someone.” Xander countered swatting at the paramedics who were trying to get him on his feet.
“You won’t be able to look for that someone if you die of internal injuries.” One of the paramedics answered. Xander sighed defeated and allowed to be led away from Detective Salas and into an ambulance.
He was ready to go even though the doctors disagreed, arguing with him that he stayed a day for observation but he didn’t want to lose time. Every day he didn’t find Buffy was a day she could be in danger. His ribs were bandaged and he had a black eye but the doctors said he only had a minor concussion and no other severe injuries.
“Xander.” Detective Salas greeted him with a smile as she walked up to the young man sitting in the ER on a bed he was sure they needed for real patients.
“Detective Salas,” Xander grinned “what do I owe the pleasure to?” He asked getting up from the bed and awkwardly tried to get his shirt back on. When he finally had his shirt on he was smiled nervously when he saw the balding man he saw questioning the deaf woman earlier.
“This is Detective Tripp. We have some questions for you about the two men from before.” She replied gesturing to the balding man next to her. She shot Xander a smile to let him know it was just protocol and that he wasn’t in trouble.
“Sure, ask away.” He said. The man he now knew was Detective Tripp just opened his mouth when a black man in his thirties called out for help holding someone in his arms.
“Somebody help please.” He was clearly scared for this person he was holding in his arms. Doctors and nurses rushed to the man with a gurney and he placed a blonde teenage girl on it. “I found her unconscious, she’s my neighbor.” He said answering questioning gazes. When they passed Xander and the two Detectives he jumped up and moved to go after them but Tripp stopped him.
“It’s the girl I was looking for, please let me see what happened to her.” He pleaded.