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Running Out

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This story is No. 5 in the series "Above and Below". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: What we are and can never be.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Supernatural > Buffy-CenteredjezaeiriFR1836,4584456,36519 Dec 1024 Feb 11No

Chapter One

Disclaimer: I do not own BTVS or Supernatural. They belong to Whedon and Kirpike. I make no profit from this.

A/N: Thanks to everyone who reviewed the last story in the series. I was worried about the whole Dawn issue.

Now here comes the next story in the series. It's gonna be a lot longer than the previous stories in the series so be prepared for what I've got planned. You have been vaguely warned.










July 5, 20003

She doesn't look back as she heads down almost deserted streets for the train station, her duffel bag slung over one shoulder. A bag she'd marked with nearly fifty sharpie done symbols to hide it, she's not stupid thank you very much. But the point is that she doesn't look back.

She doesn't even consider looking back.

No looking back. No going back. Choice made, plan more than half way done. All she has to do is get to the train station and go.

She should have felt bad about leaving, about just walking out in the dead of night and leaving her sister and hodge podge family but she doesn't. Can't. Maybe that says something about just how screwed up she's gotten over the years but it is what it is. She doesn't feel guilty and she doesn't look back.

Mostly all she feels is the need to just get the hell outta Dodge before anyone notices she's gone.



*


July 6, 2003

She'd learned a valuable lesson, well more than one actually. The most important being that road trips are not what they're made out to be in fiction. The drive is long and has sucked. It might be because she's not the greatest driver in the world. (Its not her fault cars hate her.) Or it might be because she's driving alone.

Either way she's learned some things. Like the fact that every radio station has to border on evil. Christian music, Latino music, craptastic pop music or oldies rock music-that's all she'd been able to find. The classic rock had won out only because she at least recognized a couple of songs in the first three hours. And she'd needed the music to break up the sheer boredom of driving on highways. She should have bought some CD's but should have happened to be two words she was trying very much remove from her mind.

Should have's got no one anywhere and becoming a brood queen is out of the question.

Though food and gas are not. The little run down gas station is a far cry from the big brightly lit truck stops she'd passed by but beggars couldn't be choosers. She pulled in, stopping the car next to a pump and then turned the little blue Focus off. There's an absence, the feel of movement, the hum of the engine all around her that leaves a feeling of wrongness but she ignores it. Getting out and moving so she can get back on the road is more important.

The station itself isn't much and the bored looking clerk barely looks at her twice after seeing she's small and female and not about to rob the place and she's perfectly content with that. The less attention she attracts the better. She makes a stop in the tiny but surprisingly clean bathroom before heading to the coolers. A liter bottle of water and a sandwich that barely qualifies as food later she heads to the snack aisle. Some chips and other junk food are in order and after a minute she's dumping the whole lot on the counter.

While the cashier rings up her assortment of food that is almost entirely empty calories to keep her slayer metabolism happy she digs cash out of her jeans pocket. Nothing but cash for her. Small amounts of cash are almost impossible to track. See, there are things you can learn from TV. And not a lot of it kept on her person. The duffel bag that's stuffed with all the money she's gonna have for a good while is locked in the trunk of the car. She hands the still bored looking cashier two twenties. “Put the rest on pump two.” picks up her plastic bag full of goodies and heads back outside.

Setting the nozzle of the pump to do the work for her only takes a minute. And then she's digging into the bag of food while she waits for the gas tank to fill up. She should make it to her destination before the sun comes up and that's a good thing. Driving in a city during the busy time of day with her driving skill or lack of them is just plain dangerous and stupid.

In the not too far distance she can hear the sounds of cars on the highway warring with the sounds of nature. The chances of something nasty coming at her in the middle of no where at a crappy gas station are pretty slim but paying attention without really paying attention is just part of who she's become. Well, and the fact that she's had more than ten times the average lifespan of a slayer after Called to have the full slayer package settle in and get comfortable.

She shakes her head and swallows a bite of the sandwich and hopes all the new slayers get the chance to get as comfortable in their abilities and she and Faith have had. Though, with any luck, without all the drama and pain and just plain fucked upness that the two truly Chosen still left standing had to deal with.

The gas finishes and she leaves puts up the nozzle and screws the gas cap back on before turning back to her little make shift table in the form of the car's trunk. She should get back in the car and just go but hours sitting have made her antsy and needing to stand for a bit. So she does, and eats her food.

Once its all gone and her stomach appeased for a while she dumps the trash into the trash can between the two pumps and gets back into the little car. She might have made a break for it but she's still got a long way to go.



*



The motel is so far from the Ritz it's not funny but that's why she picked it. A no tell motel, rented by hours to weeks. The old her, back before reality set in, would have never so much as set foot in the place much less rented a room. But that was then.

Now was a lot different.

No questions asked, no answers given if someone asked-that was the kind of place it was. And no one in their right mind would look at her to be in a crappy motel under a fake name. She'd already lugged her duffel bags out of the rental car and hidden them in the room. She wasn't taking any chances. Clothes and her stash of weapons, a couple of books and other essentials could be replaced if she had to. The cash and Scythe couldn't be.

She'd also cleaned up a bit, sort of. The plan was to blend in, go unnoticed. The only addition to her jeans and black t-shirt combo being a canvas messenger bag. Now all she needed to do was take back the rental car and make a couple of stops on her walk back to the motel. Sure, she'd be at the rental place an hour or so before it opened even if she did get lost on her way but she was willing to bet she'd be able to find somewhere to get an early breakfast to kill the time.




*



The afternoon sun was starting to slant across the sky by the time she'd closed the motel room door behind her. It was a sign that she'd whiled the day away out and about. Walking, moving, eating, and shopping-a day to just get her body and brain back into order. Well, as in order as she could possibly get. Which was why she knew that the whole 'getting in order' thing was complete crap that she was telling herself because she'd been staring at the box of brown hair dye on the bathroom counter for almost half an hour.

All she had to do was open the damn box and use the dye. Not hard. Except that she hadn't done it yet. She'd just been staring at the box. Like it was a freaking bomb.

It wasn't like she didn't know it was coming, she'd planned on doing it from almost week one of her 'Time to go' plan. But she just hadn't moved it. It was mocking her. She knew it was. Daring her to take the step. Like it was a big thing. She'd already paid someone to mark her skin with ink so why the hell was a box of hair dye such a big thing?

Because once she did it she wouldn't be Buffy Summers-slayer, sister, savior, scapegoat any more. She wouldn't be a California girl. She'd just be another face in the crowd.

That was what was getting her.

Maybe it was the lack of sleep or maybe its just that she's lost her mind and the box is there mocking her, daring her to do it. One more step.

“Screw it.” she snatched up the box and pulled open the lid, dumping the contents into the sink.

She'd already taken the big steps. There was no way she was letting a little one beat her.



*


July 7, 2003

He'd have given his right leg for a drink. Probably because his right leg was the reason he wanted the drink. The damn thing was throbbing and it was giving him a headache. And as much as he wanted to blame himself for the fact that it was bothering him he couldn't.

But he could blame the arrogant jackass who owned the 67 Mustang that he'd spent too much time working on the day before. He should have known better but damn it they had a deadline. And if he told the guy that they were gonna be late the headache from the guy bitching would be worse than his leg throbbing for a few hours.

“One more week and its done.” the litany had been going on with a changing time frame for nearly five months and he couldn't wait until it was down to hours. Some people didn't deserve classic cars and the rich banker was one of them. The guy didn't even appreciate the work of art that the car was. Even before the restoration.

He shook his head and let it go. If he let himself get pissed off about all the morons that came into his shop with cars they didn't deserve he'd have shot himself within the first month after opening the garage.

“Hey boss man! There's some chick out here asking for you.” Tito's voice cut over the sounds coming from the garage.

“I heard ya!” he rubbed a hand down his leg, grinding his teeth at the possibility of some rich bitch who wanted her car worked on. He'd send her packing unless it was actually a restoration or custom job and save himself the headache of dealing with yet another moron who didn't seem to get just what his garage did.

The area that they passed off as a front office was deserted, the guys were like he was-more interested in the machines than the owners. So spotting her was easy. Small, brunette and dressed jeans and dark gray t-shirt. Not exactly what he'd expected but then he'd met more than one woman who didn't fit what he expected over the years. “You wanted to talk to me?” he leaned himself against the counter, taking some of the weight off the leg he'd gotten sloppy and now limited him more than he liked.

She turned and he was really damn glad he'd taken the weight off the leg or he'd have ended up on his ass. “Hey Pike.”



*


****Reviews are my Christmas presents. Happy Holidays and New Year to everyone on the chance that I don't get a chance to update again before January 1st. Now I've got a plane to catch and family to go get tortured by.
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