Disclaimer: If you can recognize them, I don't own them. Smallville, Buffy and the lot are not mine.
Despite her doubts, Buffy was able to drift off to sleep, finally, lulled by the sounds of the road and the seventies music which had been Giles’ and Spike’s compromise on their musical tastes.
When she woke, she realized they had stopped. Anya and Xander were busy removing the foil from the front window and Spike wasn’t anywhere to be found.
“Where’s Dawn?” she asked.
“Peeing,” Anya said, “And likely stealing small snacks., which actually might be helpful, since we didn’t exactly have time to prepare for this trip.”
Xander scowled slightly, glancing at her and shaking his head.
“What?” she asked. “We’re pretty much depending on what we got by emptying the registers at the Magic Box. Do you know how much food six people and one vampire eat in a day?”
“I’m sure Giles has a few credit cards he can use,” Xander said. “Maybe get a cash advance.”
“Giles has barely caught up with the idea of using checks. He hasn’t exactly joined the digital age.” Anya said. “Besides...eighteen percent for a cash withdrawal? That’s insane.”
Before she could get involved in another argument about money, Buffy rose to her feet and slipped her shoes on. She opened the door and stepped out into the brisk air.
She was surprised to see mountains on the horizon all around them.
“We’re in Colorado,” Giles said. He was standing by the gas pump, his hands in his pockets. “We’ve still got eight more hours to go.”
Glancing around her, Buffy asked, “Where exactly are we going? You and Anya weren’t exactly much with the explainey last night.”
“There wasn’t exactly time,” he said. “Between the hell god and the Knights…”
“Just being cautious,” he said. “We’re going to a town in Kansas. Smallville.”
“Really?” she asked. “Smallville?”
“Yes,” he said.
“The town founders weren’t exactly ambitious or anything, were they?” Buffy smirked. “Or maybe it was a town founded by midgets.”
“Don’t get too overconfident,” Giles said quietly. “We have no idea what we’re going to face there.”
“You didn’t manage to get a name or an address or anything?” Buffy asked, sticking her hands into her pocket and trembling slightly. It never got this cold in Sunnydale.
“We were lucky to get as much as we did. Oracles like to be very cryptic.”
“What exactly did Joxer say?”
“Beljoxa’s eye,” Giles said, emphasizing the name, “said that the one we were seeking was the last of his kind on earth.”
“His kind?” Buffy asked quickly.
“I’m quite sure of it.”
“Well, that cuts it down to just half the population,” Buffy said, forcing herself to smile brightly. “I’m sure it won’t take any time at all to find this thing.”
Giles pulled the hose from its place in the motor home and returned it to its slot. “There will be signs. Nothing that powerful can stay in one place for long without leaving its mark.”
“Are we sure it’s going to be a big bad?”
Giles frowned. “The only thing I know of that’s powerful enough to fight a hell god is an Old One reborn.”
“You remember what Anya told you about true demons?’ Giles asked.
“Like the mayor...” Buffy said.
“True demons worshipped the Old Ones as gods,” Giles said. “If we are allying ourselves with one of them, we may have a bigger problem after Glory is dealt with.”
“Bigger than what Joxer said? Making the walls to all of reality bleed together?” Buffy asked.
“Well, if you put it that way…sometimes war can make strange bedfellows.”
Buffy grinned. “We can hope it won’t come to that.”
For some reason an image of Spike came to mind.
“Are we there yet?”
The voice from the darkness in the back of the RV was just as irritating as it had been the last twenty times Spike had asked the question. Even Dawn was looking irritated.
Spike stepped forward, standing beside the bathroom, as close to the front as he could without getting burned by the light.
“We could maybe open a window,” Xander said. “A little breeze might be nice…a little sun would do our complexions good.”
“You lot could put the foil back on the front window and give me a chance to drive. Rupert drives like an old woman…time we get there, I’LL have died of old age.”
“Like the cops won’t notice the whole front window covered in bright, shiny foil,” Xander said. “They’d stop us…maybe make us all get out...”
He glanced at Anya then grinned. “You might be on to something, Spike.”
“Fine,” Spike said, “It’s not like I’ve been driving for longer than all of you lot have been alive together.”
“Except for me,” Anya said.
“Wasn’t counting your demon years, luv. This lot doesn’t seem to. Far as I’m concerned, you are fresh as a new penny.”
Anya smiled at him and Xander glowered.
Their arrival in Smallville was almost anticlimactic. Spike’s predictions were correct in that they arrived later than they expected, an hour before sunset.
It took longer to find a motel and rent two adjacent rooms. By the time they were finally settled in, darkness had fallen.
They gathered together in the room to the right.
Willow was sitting on one of the two double beds beside Tara, and she had scattered pamphlets all over the bed. “They had these in the office in the motel. I thought it might help to go through them while I start doing a little research.
“Well, this place isn’t any bigger than Sunnydale,” Buffy said. “Spike and I can go looking for demon bars; try to see if any of the locals know something.”
She glanced at Spike, who nodded slowly. “I’d rather find out a little about this guy before we meet him.”
“You should be careful,” Giles said. “This isn’t a hellmouth, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t dangers out there.”
“Chief among them, our guy.” Buffy said. “That’s why I have Spike. He’ll watch my back.”
At his smirk, she flushed.
“I’m sure me and Anya could use a shower,” Xander said.
Anya nodded brightly. “We’re practicing water conservation. That’s what Xander told me to say when really we’re going to…”
“I’ll order pizza,” Dawn said hurriedly. “You might check and see if you can get some blood for Spike at the local butcher. It’s not like we had time to really pack or anything.”
Xander opened his mouth to make another remark, but closed it as Buffy shook her head sharply.
“We all need to keep our strength up. We don’t know how long it’s going to take Glory to track us down, so we might as well take advantage of this while we can.”
“How would she even know where we are?” Xander asked.
“If we can find an oracle so can she,” Buffy said. “It’s nor a matter of if…it’s a matter of when.”
“Assuming the knights that go Ni don’t get to us first,” Spike said. At the glances from the others he said, “Don’t any of you lot watch Python?”
He looked at Giles, who was carefully cleaning his glasses. “Philistines,” he muttered..
“We’d better get moving,” Buffy said. “The sooner we find this guy, the longer we have to convince him to help us. Just because he’s powerful enough to face Glory doesn’t mean he’ll want to.”
With that, the group broke up into their respective tasks.
“What’s wrong with this place?” Buffy asked. “It’s dead.”
“It IS a graveyard, Slayer.” Spike said.
They’d managed to get a map of the city from the motel clerk.
“No…I mean there’s nothing to do here. In Sunnydale we’ve got our own University of California branch, a zoo, a museum, twelve cemeteries, forty three churches, another college…we’ve even got our own airport.”
“What’s this place got? A fertilizer plant and two bars that wouldn’t even let me in!”
“Wasn’t nothing there you’d want to see anyway, pet.” Spike said. “A bunk of bad smelling human drunks with not a trace of the supernatural on them.”
“There was a bowling alley,” Spike said.
“And all of it way outside of town,” Buffy said. She stumbled slightly on the gravel and grimaced. “I’ve got to get my driver’s license.”
“Welcome to small town America,” Spike said. “Why do you think the kids are so ready to head for the big city?”
“Sunnydale isn’t like that,” Buffy said.
“You can thank the Mayor for that,” Spike said. “Most everything in Sunnyhell was brought in as a way to keep attracting people to move there even though they were dropping like flies. Most towns this size are pretty much dead.”
“This place certainly is,” Buffy said. She glanced around at the row after row of ornate statuary. “Have you so much as smelled a demon?”
“Haven’t had a whiff of anything but you and those drunks,” Spike said. “You smell a lot nicer.”
“Don’t go around smelling me…In fact,” Buffy said, and then hesitated. “...never mind. We need to get back to work.”
Spike grinned at her.
Opening the door as quietly as she could, Buffy saw that the room inside was enveloped in darkness, lit only by the glow of Willows computer at the table. The others were already in bed; Dawn in one bed and Tara in the other. Of Anya, there wasn’t any sign.
Closing the door behind her, Buffy slipped over to sit beside Willow, who was tapping away at the keyboard.
Slipping her shoes off, she began rubbing her foot.
“Where’s Anya,” she asked. At this point they couldn’t afford to lose anyone.
“She decided to sleep with the boys,” Willow said. She glanced up at Buffy and smiled slightly. “I only hope Giles gets some kind of sleep.”
Buffy smirked. “He may end up sleeping out in the Winnebago with Spike.”
“What did you find?” Willow asked, finally.
“I’m going to need better shoes if I stay around here. It’s a five mile walk to the only cemetery in town and five miles in the other direction for the only two bars in town.”
Buffy shook her head. “Smelly drunk bars…and I couldn’t even get in. Spike had to do all the scouting.”
“No vamps, nothing?”
“It’s deader than disco out there,” Buffy said. “I’m starting to wonder if this place is a dead end.”
“It’s not,” Willow said.
Buffy stared at her for a moment, and then said, “What did you find out?”
“This place has the highest per capita death rate in the country, second only to Sunnydale, California.”
Buffy was silent for a long moment, and then spoke again, quietly. “So how do they explain it? Gangs on PCP, barbeque fork accidents?”
“Spontaneous human combustions,” Willow said, “And kids murdering their parents.”