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Torture's Sad Exchange

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Torture's Sad Exchange". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: “Yeah, I’m a real Florence Nightingale.”

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Supernatural > Buffy-Centered > Pairing: Dean WinchesterLisaFR1318,7670102,11014 Dec 0714 Dec 07Yes
Title: Torture’s Sad Exchange
Author: Lisa
Status: Completed Stand-Alone
Rating: PG-13
Fandom: BtVS/SPN Crossover
Pairing: Buffy/Dean
Genre: Drama/Adventure/Angst
Summary: “Yeah, I’m a real Florence Nightingale.”
Challenge: N/A
Spoilers: All Seasons of Buffy & SPN
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all related characters are copyright of Joss Whedon & ME. Supernatural and all related characters are copyright of Eric Kripke & Co. No infringement intended.
Distribution: Not without permission from myself.
AN: Endless thanks to Ky for beta’ing this piece. Sweetie, you made this much better than it started as. I appreciate all the time you put into this! Big thanks to Demona for also beta'ing this piece! *squishes*
[x] This is the sequel to Burning Memories. You should probably read that first so this makes sense. Also to note, the sequel to Burning Memories is going to be done as a series, this is simply the first installment.
[x] According to the research that I did, Old Shiloh Cemetery is stuck in Jefferson County, Illinois. For those that know the area better than me, I apologize for any geographical mistakes; Google can only take you so far.
[x] The demon was snagged off of this site here.

Cool wind whipped around the cemetery, rustling the leaves in the large oaks lining the rows of decrepit headstones. A strong honey-like fragrance from the Bluevine filled the night air, while masking her scent. For the second time that evening Buffy was glad she was downwind, affectively hidden from the hunters that lurked at night. The first, when she realized that the gag inducing scent of a new risen fledging would waft her way, making it easy for her to track.

The silver moon hung high above in the midnight blue sky was full, casting the cemetery in an ethereal light. Headstones carved out of marble and granite seemed to glow, setting some rows on fire.

Old Shiloh was a large cemetery stuck in Jefferson County, Illinois. A place that housed the oldest dogwood tree recorded. Didn’t sound like much of a landmark, but to the townspeople it was the tree of life.

The cemetery was now considered an old historical site, except to the locals; to them it was a make-out spot. Horny teenage boys would take their soon-to-be conquests here late at night in hopes that the eerie setting would fill their pubescent fantasies. Buffy remembered a time when she would make-out in the dark of night behind some old mausoleum; her back pressed against the cold unwelcoming stone while her chest mashed against something that was also cold but far more inviting. In replacement of a teenage boy, there had been a two hundred something vampire that couldn’t seem to get enough of her taste. At the time, it was acceptable. Hell, even now those teenage memories gave her a tingle down low.

“Ouch.” The word slipped out of her mouth no louder than a hushed whisper. To a human undetectable; unfortunately, to a member of Fangs R’ Us, it was easily heard. Damn heightened hearing. Her legs were cramped from being crouched for the last thirty minutes, perched on a branch of an old oak. The Slayer was stalking her prey, waiting silently for them to wake. They always roused with a rumble in the pit of their stomachs, the lust for blood sending them into a blind rage of thirst and that’s when her and Mr. Pointy came out to play.

The view of the cemetery was clear as she melded into the shadows of the tree, a trick she’d learned long ago from a lover. Blonde tresses tickled her neck, should’ve tied it up. Her lower lip jutted out in a full pout and a strand of hair stuck to her glossed red lips.

A faint decaying scent hit her nostrils and she grinned. It took a few moments but an audible gasp was heard in the distance. On the other hand, I got to love me some super sensitive Slayer hearing.

“Oh my god!” Fear laced the voice, “What are you?” The victim’s pitch rose with each word. Breath hitching; her panic sounded through the night as the victim’s thudding heart beat increased, exposing her distress. The temperature of the victim’s body increased causing a fine sheen of sweat to cover her until her grey tank clung to her body like a second skin.

The monster’s only reply was a growl before it lunged at his newest victim. Luckily the victim was fast and dodged him before she took off running. Her feet connected with the ground, propelling her through the cloak of night.

The Slayer closed her eyes while focusing her senses. Zooming in on the fevered voice, she filtered out the sound of rustling leaves and the cooing owl a few trees down. A violent scream pierced the air. Her quarry was fifty yards to the east, coming just to the left of her resting place.

With her body coiling tight, readying itself for a fight, she listened to the woman’s footsteps as they stumbled across the cemetery. The vampire that was after the woman was gaining rapidly, toying with her like a cat playing with its food. Counting down from ten, The Slayer’s smirk grew feral as the woman staggered into sight. Vamp’s close, was her last thought before she leapt from the branch spinning in the air. With a twist, she landed in a graceful crouch.

Slowly rising, she glanced back at the woman and snarled, “Run!”

Eyes wide with panic, she nodded at Buffy’s instruction. Twigs and leafy debris stuck in the victim’s bobbing ponytail as she wiped away the tears rolling down her flushed cheeks. For a moment, Buffy thought she wasn’t going to follow instruction. To her relief, the woman finally turned, cheeks glistening in the dim light of the cemetery before she disappeared in the dark.

“Now where were we?” Tossing her hair over her shoulder The Slayer turned her attention back to the vampire. Spittle slid from his fangs, down its chin and Buffy’s face twisted in revulsion. “Gross much?”

It was dirty; clothing tattered and covered in soil. Between the dripping saliva and the dark locks plastered to its head with some sort of gel-oil, this thing had to be the fugliest vamp she’d seen in quite a while. Sniffing the air caused her to gag. Suddenly she wished that she wasn’t down wind from the putrid smell that was drifting off this particular creature of the night.

“You know, a stylist might be able to help you with the whole -- Elvis meets Hobo theme you’ve got going here. I’ve got Rachael Zoe’s card in my pocket…” Managing to get in the first shot, the vampire slammed his fist into her jaw.

Bright pain lit up her jaw and her head snapped back. Mossy green eyes widened in shock as the taste of copper invaded her mouth. A pink tongue darted out, licking her split lip. Spitting the blood out of her mouth she narrowed a scowl at the assaulter. “Not a witty banter kind of guy, huh? That’s fine, not really in the mood anyway.” Buffy shrugged. “The faster I dust your ass the faster that ripe smell is gone.”

Pulling her arm back she swung her fist in a rapid movement. Landing a left hook on its jaw the vampire’s head whipped to the side until she connected with her right and he bounced in the opposite direction.

A cocky smirk graced her glossed lips as the stunned expression on the vamp’s face turned into anger. She could almost see the question flashing in a cartoon balloon above his head. “Vampire.” She pointed to the odious looking creature before pointing to herself, “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.” Winking, she lifted her boot-encased foot, kicking it in the sternum and watched as he flew into the trunk of a tree a few yards away.

“Slayer?” The vampire snarled out the question.

Letting out a deep sigh, she folded her arms nonchalantly across her chest. “She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer or better yet, she is the girl who is about to stake you.” Slowly she pulled Mr. Pointy out from the concealment of faded jeans.

The wood had warmed due to her body heat; she loved this stake. It had been Kendra’s stake and was one of the few possessions she’d kept from Sunnydale. For a few moments she twisted it between her fingers for show, then she grasped the thicker end firmly in the palm of her hand. The handle was smooth from constant use and felt natural.

Lunging the vampire tried to attack but The Slayer flipped him in the air with ease. Once he was on his back, she slammed the wood into his chest, effectively causing him to turn to dust.

Coughing she swatted at the air. “Gods even your dust smells.” Quickly she wiped her pants off and tucked the stake away before wandering back into the shadows of the cemetery softly humming Foreigner’s “I’m Gonna Win”.

~*~

For once, luck had been on her side. When Dean, Sam and she came to Acorn’s Nest Motel looking for a room, the manager had taken one sexually charged look at Buffy and offered them an attached room for free. Then the pervert had ‘just mentioned’ that he’d be at the desk all night and if she got lonesome while the queers were ‘occupied’ she should give him a call.

Although she despised the word ‘queer’ she couldn’t help but noticing Dean’s homophobic reaction to the manager’s statement. Two days later, she still was having a good time giving Dean shit about the man love.

Buffy slipped into her room, closing the plywood thin door then twisted the deadbolt in place. Not that the cheap lock would do much, one good push with some weight behind it and the door would shatter on impact.

With the motel no more than a few hundred yards away, the sound of the interstate could clearly be heard. Silently, she crept through the dark room heading for the worn canvas that carried her personal affects. A flimsier door separated the two rooms and turning on a light to see would’ve notified the brother, that was probably still awake, of her return. Dean was becoming a royal pain in her ass.

The oldest hunter was still pissed off due to the un-planned chaos The First had hand delivered them back in Medford, Wisconsin. A part of her – a large part of her -- couldn’t fault him for that reaction. Hell, she was still dealing with it back from Sunnydale, of course when Dean pulled his ego-dictator routine any empathy she felt vanished as fast as that creepy clown.

Gods, Dean just needed a funny little mustache; some military garb and Stalin would zombie himself out of his grave from pride.

Only one thing that Dean hated more than her slaying alone, was leaving Sam and her alone together and not because he was worried about them having some kinky fun. Dean had it stuck in his mind that she was a magnet for demon activity, which given her track record was completely un-true but that really wasn’t the point. According to The First, both the Winchesters and her were on the black list. Then again, having The First infatuated with dressing up like her didn’t seem to calm Dean’s fears either. He’d even gone as far as creating up codes and passwords to insure that Buffy was actually Buffy and not the big evil playing dress-up.

Sliding her jean jacket down her arms she dropped it carelessly in the partially unzipped bag. Her fingers grabbed the hem of her black t-shirt and began to lift it up. A quiet gasp passed through lips caused her hands to freeze. Lips that weren’t suppose to be in her room, she assumed the assailant, if not some unwanted vampire then by…

“Much as I love a free show,” chuckling arrogantly Dean couldn’t help but feel a bit of satisfaction as the blonde that currently basked in moonlight tensed her shoulders. “I’ve got a question for you.”

“Oh! Yah! Shop talk, just what I was in the mood for.” Buffy raised her eyes to the ceiling and muttered a few choice words before she turned to stare at him as she adjusted her shirt. He appeared seamlessly out of the shadows and a small smile graced her lips. Guess he did pay attention to that little trick. If her anger wasn’t close to the breaking point due to him invading her privacy she’d almost be proud.

Large well-toned arms folded across his broad chest while he looked at her blankly, trying to keep the heat out of his gaze. Watching her shirt rise to expose her taut tanned stomach had caused his lower brain to stir, rising to attention. “Where were you tonight?”

Snapping her clipped reply, “Out.” Buffy wondered how upset Sam would be if she just knocked out his intrusive brother so she could get some sleep. A few of the local un-dead had gotten some good shots in and while she wouldn’t be bruised in the morning her ribs would be tender.

An annoyed scowl marked his face at her vague answer. “Out?”

Buffy nodded sweetly. “Yes, out.” Her deep sigh was masked by a semi ‘s loud horn, “I overhead that the local baddies were having a ‘virgin mixer’ and I just felt so hurt that I wasn’t invited. You’d think with all the evil that I do they’d want me there.” Sarcasm dripped off her words. “Figured it’d be a hootenanny of fun. You know, with me being the life of the party and quite literally depending on who was attending. I mean sure, vamps can walk and talk and generally cause havoc but they are still considered the un-dead, which is sort of an oxymoron don’t you think? Cause they’re dead but referred to as the un-dead, which is implying the opposite of dead and that would be living and yet, they aren’t.” Taking a much-needed breath of air she stared back at him. Watching his jaw twitch, she inwardly smirked.

She was toying with him. Bitch. Purposely trying to piss him off so he would leave and she wouldn’t have to answer him. “Cute.”

“What?” Frowning at his reaction for a few moments until confusion replaced it. This wasn’t the plan. Normally rambling would annoy him, which in return caused him to leave and allow her the luxury of a hot shower before crashing to sleep.

“Look princess, next time you get the itch to hit another mixer, I’m joining.”

“No.” Blonde strands swooshed from side to side as she shook her in rapid succession. “I get the whole trust thing with you isn’t going to happen like magic, but I don’t need a babysitter. This just in, I’ve done my job wonderfully without having you tag along.”

Dean had expected her to disagree, like all the other times; the only difference was now he wasn’t backing down. “I’m coming. End of discussion.”

A raised eyebrow was her only reply while she collected herself, “How Teutonic of you. Next you’re going to be telling me I have to wear dresses and skirts.” Buffy placed her hands on her narrow hips and caught the hungry look that appeared on Dean’s face. Head tilting he glanced at her legs before clucking his tongue and that caused her to blush before she mentally kicked herself.

Sam had always willingly told Dean that he had a skill for pissing off people and it didn’t take him long to figure out what Buffy’s buttons were. Sex. Dean got immense pleasure of shooting the blonde heated looks and cocky smirks that screamed foreplay. It ruffled her feathers in a way nothing else seemed to.

“Bite me.”

“You really want to go there?” Raising an eyebrow he ran a slower, heated gaze over her lithe body. When he reached her face her mouth dropped open before slapping it shut.

“Dad seemed to think you could help destroy the demon and he trusted you. Seems Sammy’s on the same side as the old man, which means you stay.” Dean lifted his hand and scratched the back of his neck, looking directly at the blonde who was staring solemnly at the floor. Bitch got that look every time Sammy or him mentioned his dad, like she was reciting the Hail Mary or something. “Don’t need to tell you I’m not on their side, which means if you’ve got nothing to hide at your mixers than you won’t care if I come with.”

Buffy chewed on her lower lip, contemplating her decision.

Walking briskly past her to the door Dean didn’t take his eyes off her.

A frustrated sigh escaped her lips as she acknowledged that he’d won this round. “Be ready by seven, if you’re late I leave without you.” With a few steps forwards she invaded his personal space, grasping the doorknob she twisted and opened and then placed her hand on his chest, pushing him out of the room.

Stumbling back Dean flipped her off as she closed the door. He listened for the ‘click’ of the lock before he headed towards his bed.

~*~

Sam’s tall frame was bent over the wobbly plastic table that sat just outside of “Hog Heaven Pit Bar-B-Que”. The mid-afternoon sun was hot against his back. Sheen of sweat covered his skin causing his dark green t-shirt to stick to his body, making him more uncomfortable.

With a flick of his wrist Sam glanced down at his watch for the sixth time. “Man, what’s taking so long?”

Buffy, with Dean tagging along, much to her displeasure, had gone in twenty minutes ago to order lunch. Dean didn’t trust the blonde - which was no surprise - to get his order correct. Sam was tempted to go in and see if Buffy had finally reached her limit and thrown his brother into a wall. Smirking at the thought he began to rise out of the short chair only to hear Dean’s voice cussing from yards away.

Blue eyes lifted to the entrance of the restaurant and locked with a pair of moss green ones that were sparking with anger. Buffy was stomping towards him.

“What happened?”

“Your brother’s an ass.” Buffy emphasized her clipped statement by dropping the tray on the table with a thwack. The cups holding their sodas began to fall, “shit.” Her hands reached out grabbing the drinks before they spilled all over and ruined their lunch. “Just my luck.”

With a sheepish smile Sam asked, “What’d he do?” Sam gave a sheepish smile before he took the offered drink that was forcefully shoved in his hand. “Thanks.” Sticking the straw through the plastic top he took a long pull, the cool soda refreshing on his parched throat.

Buffy stared as Sam guzzled the drink from the plastic cup and instantly felt guilty at allowing Dean’s constant nagging to hold her up.

“What makes you think I did something, huh Sammy?” Shooting his brother a look Dean pulled a plastic patio chair out from the table and sunk his frame into it.

As she un-wrapped the foil package keeping her wrap warm, she glanced at Dean. “Cause it’s always you Dean.”

Sam cleared his throat just as Dean opened his mouth to respond, probably with a snide and cutting remark that would piss off the blonde more than she was. “So, I think we should hit the Hilberg’s farm and see what we can find. According to the articles the victims go missing around their land.” Tossing a few salted fries in his mouth he chewed before taking another pull from his drink. “Cows have gone missing without a trace and there was one case where the head of a victim was found hanging on a branch at the edge of their property.”

Buffy wrinkled her face in disgust, “Glad I got a veggie wrap. How’s the meat-y hamburger going Winchester?” She beamed at him, as he looked up from his greasy burger, a little paler. “Did I ever tell you guys the time that I worked at a fast food joint? Well there was this little old lady that would come in every day and she’d eat the workers! Literally her head,” placing her wrap on the foil she brought her hands to her own head for emphasis, “would just flip open and this gross snake-like thing would come out and eat you alive. You’d think you’d die from the pain, but first it would spit this numbing drug at you so you couldn’t move and then chomp, chomp.” Raising the drink to her lips she took a small sip before she continued. “In fact she got put through the meat grinder. Makes you wonder doesn’t it? What exactly is in burgers these days.”

Dean swallowed his bite before flipping off the blonde. “Princess, if you need to make up bullshit stories like that to feel good about your rabbit food, go ahead. Besides, you could afford to lose a few pounds.” Smirking Dean took a larger bite of burger, sauce dripped off the corner of his mouth, and he darted his tongue out cleaning the mess.

Groaning, Sam was helpless as Buffy pinched her lips together, her eyes narrowing. “Dean, quit being an ass. Buffy you look fine.”

“Fine?” The word was clipped as she directed her ire at the younger Winchester.

Chuckling Dean shook his head at Sam, “Now you’ve done it Sammy.”

As Sam opened his mouth, to what Buffy assumed was an apology, she lifted her hand to stop him. “Just next time a crazy ass clown freaks you out? Consider yourself on your own. Oh, and I’d check your bed before you go to sleep tonight.” With one last pointed look for effect she turned back to Dean. “And you. If tonight, for some odd reason, you end up in a nest full of hungry vampires I hope you have more than that pretty mouth to save you.”

~*~

The motel room looked more presentable at night when you couldn’t tell what the choice of wallpaper was. Not an inch of wall was free from the large pink monstrous flowers; angry flowers that at any moment could “Fantasia” and pull a “Little Shop of Horrors”. The ceiling with its water spots that had never been bleached clean, to the framing that and you could visibly see due to the ceiling waving around every joint. Forty-year-old carpet covered the creaking floor; it was once pale pink but now looked grey from all the wear and tear and held a musky scent of mold. Dirty shoes had stained a path around the room.

All three hunters were sprawled around the two rooms. Sam was hunched over his computer, which was perched on a small faux wood table painted white but chipped to hell. His fingers moved rapidly over the keyboard as he continued to research the strange cattle killings. Every few minutes they would still as his blue eyes scanned the article. Speed-reading to see if it had any connection and when it did, he’d save the article to a portable JumpDrive so he could print it off at a local library later.

Dean reclined in the chair opposite of Sam, his feet propped on the table to keep from falling backwards. John’s journal was in his lap. Small papers jutted out from the pockets of the leather book, while paper clips held news articles from ages ago that were relevant to whatever demon or myth was on that particular page. The sound of Dean’s fingers drumming habitually against the book was loud and annoying but neither voiced their aggravation. Sam was used to Dean’s constant noise and Buffy just didn’t feel like getting into it.

The last of the three was sprawled on her bed that could be clearly seen from the door that attached the rooms. A large worn book, with pages no thicker than stencil paper, was laid in front of her. The side of the book had golden clasps that could be locked when the book was closed. Lying on her belly, her feet moved silently in the air, bopping about as she hummed a song in her mind, casually flipping the page. Research hadn’t been her thing before but since she started slaying on her own, she’d been forced to develop the habit. She didn’t have people anymore to help her when the latest apocalypse came or a new demon decided to come out and play.

Finally breaking the silence, Buffy lifted her head up to look at Sam. “You sure it’s not a farmer’s dispute? You know, one farmer pitted against another, who will be victorious? Queue theme music, roll intro credits.” Her voice was light and her smile teasing. It was something that she didn’t often do, but nostalgia had kicked in and was reminding her of how researching use to feel.

Sam couldn’t contain the wide grin at her unusual light, happy antics. It seemed like Buffy had only a few moods; slaying and hunting, shooting off sarcastic comments at Dean, detached and quiet or Dean’s favorite “bitchy and lusting for a fight”.

Dean’s snort that sounded far from amused pulled him out of his thoughts. “I wish it was that easy.” Stretching his arms above his head, Sam’s back cracked. “Man, I haven’t found anything that’s going to help us figure out the latest baddie.”

“Baddie?” Quirking an eyebrow up at his brother Dean looked back at the annoying pain in his ass girl who had somehow rubbed her shit English off on his college educated brother.

Buffy grinned at her word being used and stuck her pink tongue out as Dean shot her a nasty look. Sam was looking sheepish and Buffy wished he wouldn’t, he had nothing to be ashamed of. “It’s a great word. Dean’s just jealous he’s not manly enough to pull it off. Oh! What was that word the night manager used?”

Leering at the blonde Dean volleyed back, “You wanna come test drive how much of a man I am princess?”

Princess, there isn’t enough ‘no’ in the world.” Buffy rolled onto her back and checked the clock that was perched precariously on the corner of the night table next to her bed. There was just enough time for her to grab a snack and change before she had to endure a torture session of slaying with Dean.

Closing the book with a loud ‘thwack’ that would’ve caused Giles to cringe before taking off his glasses and cleaning them, Buffy rolled off the bed. “I’m starved.”

The sun’s last rays were casting the horizon in a beautiful pink and orange glow; filling the room with the same rich colors.

Not wanting to see if either of them felt like coming for some food Buffy grabbed her jean jacket that she’d thrown on her bag earlier and walked out of the room.

Sam couldn’t help the deep sigh that escaped his chest; once again Buffy had cut herself out from the group just when she was starting to open up and relax. He didn’t need to look at his brother to know that he was completely unaware about the truth of what just happened. “You don’t need to be such a jerk to her.”

“Excuse me?”

“You know what I’m talking about.” Running a hand through his dark locks Sam pushed them out of his vision. He stared at the open news article on his screen, waiting for this brother’s retort.

“Man, if she can’t handle a little teasing that’s her own problem.” Scratching the back of his neck Dean shrugged his shoulders. “Besides, dude, she’s a bitch. Remember that whole first evil shit that went down before? You’re just falling for the whole woe is me crap she pulls, man, you two should start a club.”

With a clenched jaw, Sam closed his laptop with more force than he’d normally use and shot his brother a look mixed with disappointment and anger. His chair fell back, hitting the footboard of the bed as he stood abruptly. Grabbing his jacket off the bed he left the room with a slam of the door.

“Dude, what the hell?” Dean’s booming voice followed after his brother but didn’t bother to make a move after him. “Shit.”

~*~

Ducking down, Sam peered through the dirty glass door. He squinted, making out the back of a blonde head. Pretty sure it was Buffy, he let out a sigh and straightened up. Not sure of what he was going to say, he pulled his hand out of his coat pocket and pushed the cold glass door open. A bell dinged above his head, and he winced as Buffy glanced over her shoulder at him before returning her attention to her food. Rubbing his hands together, he grinned in relief—she wasn’t glaring at him.

The deli was decorated with a “Grease” theme. The floors, white and black checkers, gleamed from the bright sun. Probably polished earlier in the day, making it easier for the waitresses to roll around on their skates as they took orders. The corners of his mouth tugged up as he watched a small little red head come flying out from the back. Her hands flapped violently as she tried to regain her balance. Moving he took a step forward to assist her.

Spindly fingers grabbed the edge of the counter, swinging herself around she flopped on the black vinyl stool. “Roller skates, they’ll create a more authentic look. More like authentic bruises on my ass.” Mumbling under her breath she scowled at the kitchen door.

Brown locks fell into Sam’s eyes as he repressed the chuckle that longed to break free. The smell of fresh homemade bread coming out of the oven filled his nostrils, distracting him from his amusement.

Sam had lost count the number of times that Dean had shoved down a box of Twinkies, with an extra large black coffee and called it breakfast. Almost every time, with his mouth full of processed sugar Dean would ask if he wanted some. Food would shoot out of from his parted lips and caused Sam to wonder how they were brothers. The simple thought of Twinkies caused his arteries to clog.

Thankfully, Sam now had Buffy as partner in getting Dean to stop at restaurants that didn’t serve grease with a side of meat.

With a few long strides that ate up the distance between him and the Formica covered counter Sam grinned at the awkward looking server. “I’ll… ah have the… smoke turkey on rye with a side of potato salad. Thanks.”

Stifling back the urge to sneak a glance at Buffy Sam watched as the server placed the fresh cut lettuce on his order. When she’d seen him enter he hadn’t gotten a glare and so far she hadn’t left, both good signs in his book.

Buffy never mentioned much about family or friends, in fact she didn’t talk much about herself at all. Most of the time they held meaningless discussions that didn’t give him a clue about who she really was. When it was just the two of them awake, while Dean was in the back snoring, he’d ask her questions. It was all in hope of getting a read on her. She was just as good, if not better, than Dean at evading questions. Before meeting Buffy, he thought his brother was the master at blowing off serious subjects. He was wrong. After the last few weeks of driving around with Buffy he hadn’t learned anything; not even something as trivial as her favorite band.

“Sir? Sir, your order is ready.” The server lifted up the tray at him, almost pushing the plastic into his hands.

“Oh, sorry man.” A shy smile spread on his lips as he took the tray. Muttering, “Thanks,” Sam turned.

Heading straight to the table Buffy still occupied, Sam placed his tray on the chipped table. His knee collided with the table support and caused him to wince. Sinking further into the red vinyl bench he carefully shuffled to the center.

Buffy still hadn’t spoken a word. Swallowing, he spoke, “Hey.”

“Hey yourself.”

“I… uh… I – I got hungry.” The explanation was weak, despite being partly true.

Minutes passed before Sam looked back at the blonde that was still quietly munching on her own dinner. “Food’s good.”

Smirking, Buffy nodded her head as she finished swallowing her bite. “Sam?”

“Yeah?” Unease began to creep inside of Sam at the light tone of her voice. It was a tone that he didn’t often hear coming from her lips.

“Your chit-chat could use some work.”

Sam’s chuckle turned into a full laugh when she joined in. He wished that she laughed more. “Well, yeah but you don’t make it easy you know. I mean it’s me Buffy. Help a guy out.”

Uncomfortable with the change of direction the conversation was taking she somberly unscrewed the cap on her bottled water. With a small shrug, Buffy took a long pull. She didn’t want any sort of deep meaningful talk with Sam. Wasn’t ready for all the questions she knew he had. One look at his intense blue eyes and she knew her time in dodging those questions was getting shorter and shorter.

Sam had never enjoyed being scrutinized by a stare. He had gotten them a lot from his father when he was a kid and quite a few from his brother over the years. Yet, Buffy’s felt different somehow. Never giving him an annoyed look unless he made a joke about her height. Her stares were intense and always caused him to fidget with nervousness.

Coughing, he broke eye contact. “I’m sorry.”

It took moments for Buffy to process the words he had just uttered in a quiet whisper. “You’re sorry?” Buffy hadn’t expected those to be the words that came out of Sam’s mouth, of course Sam often did the opposite of what she expected. Hoping to dodge one of those questions that were swirling in his eyes. “Unless it was you that used my Victoria Secret lotion and not one of Dean’s trollops, no apologies needed.” She gave him a cheeky smile.

“That night, you know, the night that we thought you were a,” he hesitated before whispering, “demon.” Sam eyes finally caught the blonde’s gaze and he held her attention.

“We were wrong. I was wrong. I don’t normally jump to conclusions like that, it’s just with Dad’s death and almost losing Dean and everything.” Voice trailing off, he looked down and his dark locks fell over his eyes.

“You were a bit trigger happy, I get it.” Gaze darting around the restaurant, she tried to figure out how to get out of this conversation. Sam was still looking down at the table and even though she wanted to offer him comfort she couldn’t. Wasn’t ready to open up and grasp the olive branch he was offering her.

“Besides you aren’t the first person to think I was a demon. Water under the bridge and you know, various other cheesy sayings.” Giving another shrug of her shoulder she took the last bite of her food before she wiped her hands. “So,” tossing the napkin on the tray she grinned wickedly. “Which tramp of Dean’s used my lotion? I know you know, so spill. I promise to keep “Pennywise” far away from you.”

~*~

“Could you make more noise?” Stalking forward Buffy wondered if Sam would be that upset if his brother didn’t make it back from patrol. Accidents were known to happen and she was just one girl. A whole gang of mean, snarling vampires could just happen to surprise them. Especially if Dean kept stepping on every twig he could find, gods, was he just trying to piss her off?

She could tell Sam that twenty vampires came and lunged, snapping Dean’s neck before she could turn them to dust. It’s like the shirt says, ‘shit happens’.

Dean flipped her off while she continued to ‘glide’ through the forest like some fucking elf out of “Lord of the Rings”. “I’m not making noise, princess.”

She’d had a bug up her ass every since they met up, which wasn’t a real shocker. The blonde always seemed to be in a bad mood. “Freak.” Even with muttering under his breath he knew Buffy would be able to hear his insult and that just confirmed his belief that the Slayer was a freak.

Stopping abruptly, Buffy tried to count to ten in hopes of diffusing her anger. As she counted she tapped her stake against the palm of her hand, careful not to snap the beloved weapon. A slight tingle at the base of her spine was her only warning. Gripping the stake firmly in her hand, she spun around. With a flick of her wrist she released the weapon and watched as it plunged into the vampire’s chest.

“Shit!” Dean ducked as he watched the stake go flying over his head. “What the hell!” A ‘whoosh’ from behind caused him to turn. A cloud of dust was dissipating not two feet from him. Eyes wide, he watched the dust fall gracefully to the ground.

Buffy sauntered back toward Dean and flashed him a cocky smile. “You make the cutest helpless damsel face Dean.” Walking behind him, she bent down to grab her stake before rising and continuing on patrol.

Following Buffy he kept his mouth shut, he’d get her back later for that little display. The bitch could’ve warned him that a blood-sucking fiend was about to make a meal out of him.

~*~

They had been patrolling for two hours before they caught sight of the demon. Circling behind it, they watched with matching grimaces as their demon dragged a cow’s carcass through the woods.

With his back pressed against the cold rock of the boulder they were crouched behind, Dean wondered if Buffy had planned on getting him killed tonight. The first save she made could be a cover up for Sam’s sake because her current plan, in his opinion, was suicidal.

“Princess, you’ve got to be shitting me.” Keeping his voice down to a whisper, he growled out his words while shooting her a pissed off scowl.

“Ew!” Buffy scrunched her face in disgust before she swatted at his arm. “I’m not ‘shitting’ you, I’m serious.” Peeking her head over the rock, she watched as the demon began to skin the cow. Repressing the urge to gag, she made a mental vow not to eat steak for a month. When she was sure that she wouldn’t lose her composure, she turned back to Dean. Smirking, she wondered how close he was to hitting her. If the telltale twitch in his jaw continued he wouldn’t be able to contain his temper much longer. Acting aloof, Buffy smiled. “What?”

“What do you mean ‘what’?” Mockingly he mocked her voice while he kept up his scowl. “We don’t even know what kind of demon we’re dealing with.” Fuck, he was starting to sound like his brother now. Full of paranoia and water logged balls. Normally, he was the one itching to go in unprepared and kill some evil, while Sam would want to hold back. “Sam will kill us if we go after that thing right now.”

Rolling her eyes with annoyance. “Sam won’t even know what happened until after the fact. Besides it’s just a demon.” Buffy shrugged as she thought about getting in a good fight; it seemed like weeks since she got the chance to dance.

Dean wasn’t sure whether he was freaked out at the dark gleam in her eyes or immensely turned on. With a shake of his head he tried to focus. “Dude, this demon can pick up a nine hundred pound cow with no problem and you want to go in there with a sword and some rock salt? You’re fucking insane. Fucking. Insane.”

“I thought you were all about shooting first and not thinking later, Winchester.” Buffy raised an eyebrow at him. With another shrug of her shoulders, she nudged him reassuringly. “Besides, this is nothing. This one time, I killed a giant snake with only a chain. One demon, me with a sword and you being the perfect bait? Just another day that ends in ‘y’.”

Flipping her off, he said, “You’re cold, you know that.”

Buffy didn’t bother to respond; instead she watched the demon turn its back giving her the opportunity to sneak away from Dean. Once she was sure that there was a safe distance between the two she stopped and crouched behind a large tree.

Casting one last glance at Dean who was still trying to kill her with a scowl she stepped out from behind her cover.

“I hope you aren’t planning on eating all of that.” Buffy tilted her head to the side as the demon’s head snapped around. Blood and spittle trailed along its chin and neck causing Buffy’s stomach to rebel. Breathing out of her nostrils, she clenched her jaw.

“I mean all that red meat with no vegetables? America’s Food Guide does not recommend that kind of diet.”

The demon dropped the bloody carcass with a loud ‘thump’ and lunged. Leaping in the air, she somersaulted over the demon, landing behind it. Lifting her boot encased foot, she kicked the demon in the back and watched as he stumbled into the tree that was a few yards in front of him.

Dean waited behind his boulder as he watched the Slayer execute a series of perfect punches and kicks. Fuck, she was amazing to watch. He winced as the demon got in a shot. Her small body flew, for what he was guess was twenty yards before she crashed into a tree.

Rising to his full height he lifted his shotgun, “Hey fugly!” With a snarl, Dean pulled the trigger as the demon turned to face him. The rock salt blasted the demon’s left eye and caused him to stagger backwards.

“Catch!”

Buffy’s arm shot out, deft fingers wrapped around the hilt of the sword. Shaking off a wave of dizziness, Buffy ran back toward the demon as it regained its footing.

The demon seemed more pissed off than before and she almost wanted to let it know that Dean had that affect on most. Before she could open her mouth, her keen eyes caught the glimmer of metal. “Shit.”

Taking off in a dead run toward Dean, Buffy felt fear begin to creep in her chest. From the corner of her eye she could see the demon toss the metal into the air. From her angle it appeared to be a knife, a knife with a very long blade and it was heading directly for Dean. “Dean!”

Buffy’s voice pierced through the forest and Dean turned in time to see the flying projectile. “Jesus!”

His mind ordered his body to move; yet his limbs froze. Time slowed for what seemed like minutes and then the world shifted. He felt a pair of small hands grab him, shoving him to the ground. As his body connected with the mossy ground time returned to its normal speed and the wind was knocked out of him. Gasping for air he rolled onto his back.

As the knife slid into her back, Buffy clamped her jaw shut. Unwilling to let neither the demon, nor Dean, know that she’d been hurt. Stumbling back a few steps, she gasped in pain. With a tremble, her fingers wrapped around the handle of the knife and pulled the blade out. Blood began to poor from her side, coloring her black shirt with a sickening sheen.

Buffy turned to Dean who was still trying to regain his breathing. Satisfied he was still alive; she wrapped her hand around the knife. Knuckles white from her grip, she lunged back into the fight.

~*~

“I don’t need you saving my ass okay! I was going to duck.” Dean stalked after the blonde as he destroyed the last ritual symbol. After he’d almost gotten himself impaled it hadn’t taken long for the two of them to finish off the demon.

Pulling her sword out from the demon’s gut, she wiped the blade off on the grass. Wheezing, she stood before she responded to the pissed off Winchester. “Sure, whatever. You’re the man.”

“I’m serious, I’ve been doing this a hell of a lot longer than you. I can take care of myself.”

Buffy shot him a look. Questions began to run through her mind--the main one being: why exactly had she acted as a human shield for Dean? He was an ungrateful selfish prick, even if he was in an attractive male packaging. She was tempted to stab him just so he would quit his male posturing but restrained herself. “Promise, I’ll never save you again. In fact, I’ll let you die, won’t bother me one bit.”

Satisfied with her answer Dean nodded his head. He’d expected more of a fight from the blonde; normally she was more than willing to get into a verbal battle with him. She didn’t like when he gave out the orders and she rarely let him bully her about. “What’s with the limp, princess?”

“Not limping and quit looking at my ass!” Buffy didn’t bother to turn her head to see if he was following her through the dense forest. “Let’s --let’s just get out of here.”

~*~

Jaw clenching with anger, Dean took stock of the large blood spot on the passenger side. A large blood spot that hadn’t been there when they’d left for patrol. In fact, he probably wouldn’t have noticed the stain until days later if it weren’t for the newspapers he’d just picked up sliding off the seat and onto the floor. Blood was smeared along the back pages, and upon closer inspection he’d found a small pool of blood on the seat.

Leaving the newspapers on the floor, Dean slammed the car door closed. With long purpose-filled strides he moved quickly into the motel. His boots echoed down the vacant hallway as he stalked toward Buffy’s room. Not bothering to knock, he swung the door open causing it to bang against the wall. “Princess, you got fucking demon blood on my upholstery.”

“Dean,” Wheezing out his name, Buffy clenched her teeth as she sat slumped on the edge of the bathtub lip. “Now really isn’t a great time. I’ll clean the blood out later.”

“Hell no! Do you know how easily that shit dries?” Closing his fist he banged on the bathroom door, loudly. Not getting a response, he continued to bang as he waited for her to swing the door open. Her green eyes sparking with anger as she yelled at him. As the moments passed he felt his anger turning to unease.

“Buffy?” Worried now, he twisted the knob. It was unlocked; slowly he pushed the bathroom door open. Though the room was cast in shadows he could hear her panting. “This some kind of kinky fantasy you’ve been wanting to play out?” His tone was light and teasing as he reached over toward the light switch. His fingers grazed the switch cover and just before he flicked the lights on Buffy spoke.

“Touch that and you’ll lose an arm.” Coughing, Buffy wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. The taste of copper was now familiar. “Can’t you just, leave?” With her voice sore from the coughing fit she’d had moments before Dean had barged in her room, she tried to speak softly.

“What’s wrong?”

She couldn’t help but shake her head as Dean asked the question with a demanding tone. Gods, he was so much like his father.

“Nothing.” Buffy pressed her hand harder on the bleeding wound, trying to prevent more blood lose. Focusing past the pain, even as the dark splotches began to invade her vision, was getting harder.

“Look, you don’t even like me so save your concern. Close the door and just – gods just go to bed.” Shamefully, her voice whimpered out the plea.

Dean moved his hand over the counter-top. Within second his fingers came in contact the cool metal of a flashlight. Turning it on he looked at her. “Shit.”

Taking stock of the blonde his eyes widened in shock. Blood smeared along the side of her face, probably from wiping at the blood that was invading her mouth. All the exposed skin he could see was a sickly pale color with a thin sheen of sweat. Her shirt tattered and soaked with blood was what finally drew his eyes to her side. Covering the wound was Buffy’s small delicate blood soaked hand.

Recalling the fight they’d just walked away from Dean tried to figure out when she’d been hurt so badly and how he hadn’t notice. Moments passed before his jaw dropped and eyes snapped up to her green ones. “You took the hit for me?”

Buffy slowly nodded her head before looking away from his gaze. She didn’t want to see any sort of emotion that could warm her icy resolve to keep her feelings closed.

“Sam seems oddly attached to you.” Offering a small shrug of her shoulders, she continued. “It’s not a big deal. Just prop the light against the Kleenex box and you can get to bed.” Certain that her emotions were under control and hidden, she lifted her gaze back to his. Giving a tight smile she kept her body from trembling in pain. “I’m fine.”

Dean stared back at her before shaking his head. “Sam would kill me if he ever found out I left you like this. Hell, I’ll probably get blamed for getting you getting stabbed.” Flashing her a smirk he began to work on propping the flashlight up.

Shyly she spoke, “We could just not tell him?” Buffy rolled her lower lip between her teeth.

“Yeah, we’ll leave this one between us.” Managing to get the light propped, he moved toward her. Crouching down, he offered her a soft smile.

Nervousness burst inside of Buffy’s stomach at the rare smile that Dean gave her. Frozen in place she watched him.

“Let’s take a look.” As his fingers wrapped around her wrist, he felt her flinch. Lifting his eyes to her face he asked, “You aren’t going to be a girl about this are you?”

Buffy’s stare was locked to where his hand was still hovering, mere inches above her own skin. Dean’s normal gruffness had faded when he touched her. She could feel the heat radiating off his skin and had the urge to fall to her knees and cuddle into his embrace. Wildly her eyes looked back up to his.

The normal scowl that was always on his face when he spoke to her was gone, leaving him gentle and caring. Like he did when he was worried about his brother. That look hadn’t been directed at her since before she left Sunnydale. An uncomfortable feeling began to settle in the pit of her stomach and a large lump formed in her throat. Pressing her lips together, she steeled her resolve. She wasn’t their friend and Dean was only offering because of Sam. Neither wanted to be the one to tell Sam that something bad had happened when they went after the demon.

Letting out a deep sigh she shook her head.

“Good.”

~*~

Buffy stiffly leaned against the door, trying not to pull a stitch. Dean had patched her up like an expert, which probably wasn’t far from the truth. Hunters didn’t go long without being marked by previous victories.

“Thanks for the whole patching me up, been a while since I’ve had somebody to play nurse on me.”

Dean smirked cockily as her green eyes widened in what he assumed was embarrassment. Chuckling, he nodded his head.

Her mouth opened and closed a few times before she managed to croak out, “I – I mean…”

Waving a hand, he stopped her from a rambling explanation. The blonde could go on for minutes without stopping to take a breath. It was four o’clock in the morning and he was too tired to do anything but crash into his bed and sleep for a few hours.

“Yeah, I’m a real Florence Nightingale.”

~fin~
Completed: December 14, 2007

The End

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