Chapter Twenty-One: Dean
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Smut occurs in this chapter. Disclaimer:
Buffyverse owned by Joss Whedon. Supernatural owned by Eric Kripke.
Chapter Twenty-One: Dean
Dean leaned against the porch railing as he waited for Buffy to finish saying goodbye to Mr. and Mrs. Kendall. Visiting Harmony’s parents had been as unsuccessful as going to the dilapidated, half-burned down factory, but not nearly as hazardous. For him at least. Buffy, on the other hand, knew Harmony from high school and had to field dozens of questions about her former classmates, most of whom she didn’t seem to know very well. But she’d tactfully turned the conversation to a mutual acquaintance, some girl named Cordelia. A wannabe actress living in Los Angeles didn’t seem like the type of person Buffy would keep in touch with, but it let her direct the topic back to the Kendalls’ daughter and whether they’d seen her since the graduation.
Turns out they hadn’t had any contact with Harmony until a couple of weeks ago. She’d shown up after dark to collect her things, claiming that she’d changed over the summer, grown up and become independent. In fact, she was living in a posh new place with her new boyfriend. Dean’s ears had perked up at this, but they didn’t know who he was or where he lived. They only knew that she called him “Blondie Bear”. Despite Harmony’s disregard for her parents, they seemed to genuinely care about their daughter and worried about her.
“I’ll tell her to call if I see her again,” Buffy said, trying to extricate herself from Mrs. Kendall’s hug.
“You tell her that she’s always welcome to come home, no matter what.” Mrs. Kendall wiped another tear from her eye before waving goodbye.
“Should we tell her that an open invitation to her daughter is like signing her own death certificate?” muttered Dean as he opened the car door for Buffy.
“I honestly don’t see how someone as shallow and self-absorbed as Harmony could have parents so sweet,” she said, ignoring his remark. She looked back up the path to Mrs. Kendall, who was still waving from the door. A sad smile formed on her lips, and Dean felt something tug at his core. He wanted to do something to wipe the sadness from her face, but they had a job. And Dad always said that the job came first.
Besides, once they staked Harmony and Spike, they’d have plenty of time for fun. So the sooner they finished the job, the better, because Dean was really looking forward to naked, sexy, fun time with Buffy. He started the car and pulled away from the curb. “Where to next?”
“Well, Harmony’s hangouts were the mall, friends, and The Bronze. That won’t be open until tonight, most of her friends have moved away and weren’t really her friends anyways. More like mindless drones.” Buffy’s smile suddenly brightened as she considered the third option. “But I wouldn’t object to searching for her at the mall.”
Dean knew she was teasing, but he still felt a little stab of pain. It was another reminder of how different their lives were. He picked up his clothes from thrift stores or church bins, not wanting to spend money on something that was going to get torn, blood-stained, or ripped to shreds. And she was the kind of girl that bought clothes from the mall, who had her own bedroom in a home where her mom cooked dinner and did laundry and hadn’t been burnt to a crisp by some demon in the middle of the night.
“Okay, okay, no mall,” Buffy said, mistaking his silence for a distaste in shopping. “Spike’s old factory was a dud, and the only other place I know he stayed at was...”
He waited for her to finish, but the silence continued. A quick glance showed that she was biting her lower lip again, which meant that she was worried about something. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing.” She flashed him a tight smile as she fed him a lie.
He tried to squash the anger that flared up inside of him. It wasn’t like he’d been completely honest with her either. This morning, she’d asked him questions that normal people would ask in normal conversations, trying to get to know him better. And he wanted her to know him. He just wasn’t prepared to share some of those answers. Not yet, anyways.
So being angry with her for withholding information was irrational. Then again, he’d never been accused of being a very rational person. “Nothing, huh?”
She avoided his gaze, looking down at her jeans and picking off invisible bits of lint as she answered. “He holed up in a mansion for a little while a couple of years ago, but I doubt he’d want to go back there.”
“A mansion seems like nice digs to pass the time, and Harmony’s parents said she mentioned staying at a posh place,” said Dean. “Why wouldn’t he go back?”
“It’s got some bad memories for him.” He snorted, rather loudly, in disbelief that a vampire would have an emotional attachment to a place. She glared at him, saying, “Would you want to go back to the place where your girlfriend was getting screwed by another man?”
Dean had never felt the need to claim ownership over a girl. Yeah, there had been girls who called themselves his girlfriend, and he’d let them believe it while it suited his needs. But he didn’t really care what or who they did after he’d been with them. The only people that mattered were family. Even then, Dad was always preoccupied with the job, either this hunt or the next, and Dean had no rights to his time or attention. The only person who really belonged to him was Sammy.
Still, the idea of Buffy being with someone else twisted him up inside. He knew she deserved someone better than him, someone who could afford to take her shopping at the mall, who wasn’t so guarded about his life, who wasn’t so... damaged. But there was the part of him that believed no one else could understand her the way he did. And there was another, very selfish, part of him that didn’t care that she could do better, he wanted her for himself.
“Nah, I guess I wouldn’t.” He glanced at her, hoping she couldn’t tell that his words were about her. There was no need to worry, though, because she was staring out the window, lost in her own thoughts. Although he should be happy she hadn’t seen how much she was starting to mean to him, he was irritated. “How much daylight we got left?”
Buffy turned her head, gauging the sun’s position in the sky. “About an hour and a half, I’m guessing. I have to say, having a car makes investigating hideouts go much faster.”
“I thought nobody walked in L.A.,” said Dean, glad to have her focused on him again. Even if it made him do stupid things like tell lame jokes that referenced lame songs.
“Sunnydale is not L.A.,” Buffy said with a sigh. “Besides, Buffy and cars don’t get along so much. Kinda like Buffy and guns.”
“Stick with me, babe, and I’ll teach you how to use both.” An image of Buffy handling his Taurus 9mm popped into his head, her small hands wrapped around the pearl inset grip while she fired off a round. Oh yeah, he was definitely taking her out shooting.
“You’d let me drive your car?”
“I said I’d teach you how to drive a
car,” said Dean, carefully rephrasing his offer. Not even Sam was allowed to drive his baby. He’d taught his brother to drive using a mix of junkers from Bobby’s yard and boosted cars, but he had a feeling Buffy wouldn’t be comfortable using a stolen vehicle. “How ‘bout we let you practice on Xander’s first before you graduate to the Impala?”
“Deal.” She slid across the bench seat, sealing their pact with a kiss on his cheek. “So what can I teach you in return?”
Dean draped his arm across her shoulders, a smile creeping across his face as she tucked herself against him. “I dunno. What are you good at?”
“Pole-arms,” said Buffy, shrugging her shoulders. “Using a crossbow. Dual-wielding axes?”
“How about something not hunting related?” he teased. When she didn’t reply, he looked down to see her twisting the hem of her jacket. He pulled over, parking the car on a random street, and turned to her, gently lifting her chin with his fingers. “Buffy, you’re more than just a Slayer.”
Dean looked into her eyes and could see that she didn’t believe him. Slaying was in Buffy’s blood; it was a part of her. Although he’d been exposed to the supernatural at the age of four and been immersed in the life of a hunter ever since, he knew it was a choice. Not that he’d ever consider it, but he had the option to leave. From what Sam had told him, the only time Buffy could stop being the Slayer was when she died. And that wasn’t something he wanted to think about.
“What’d you do before you became all Chosen?” asked Dean.
“I used to be an airhead, cheerleader type,” she said, rolling her eyes.
His gaze roved down her body, lips curving until he was leering at her. “You still have the uniform?”
“Dean!” She tried to look offended, but burst into laughter.
“Hey, I got fantasies. You’d look damn hot in a short skirt waving around your pom-poms.” He took another minute to enjoy the mental picture, deciding that was another image he planned on making a reality. Before he could fully appreciate the things Buffy was doing in his imagination, the real one beside him smacked him in the shoulder. “Fine, anything else you’re good at?”
She pursed her lips as she considered her life outside of slaying. After a few moments, her eyes brightened. She asked, “Oh, do you know how to ice skate?”
“I do not,” he said, his mouth twisting into a grimace. He wasn’t particularly graceful and preferred feeling the ground beneath his feet rather than a thin blade of metal or a set of wheels. “I’m kinda bow-legged, so I was always afraid I’d fall on my ass a lot.”
“Well, then, I’ll have to help you stay on your feet.” She laid her hand on his cheek, kissing him softly on his lips. “Thank you.”
She smiled and said, “For being you.”
“I usually get called a jerk for being me,” he said, raising an eyebrow.
Her head tilted to the side, as if examining him from a different angle gave her better insight into him. “I don’t think a lot of people get to see the real you.” Maybe you just bring out the best in me
, he thought, afraid to say it aloud. He pulled her tightly against him, resting his chin on top of her head. The scent of her golden strands wafted into his nostrils, reminding him of a warm day in mid-July when Dad had taken them to a beach in South Carolina. He’d helped little four-year-old Sammy build a sandcastle and found a bit of sea glass the same bright blue as Mom’s eyes. They’d camped on the beach that night, a large bonfire keeping them safe and warm under the stars.
Dean had spent most of his life looking forward, always keeping a wary eye on the world and a watchful one over Sammy, preparing himself for unknown dangers. If he looked back, it was with pain and regret over his mother’s death, the times he’d screwed up and disappointed Dad, the times he’d failed to keep his little brother safe. But over the past few days, he found himself recalling more of the good memories and it had everything to do with the girl beside him.
“How ‘bout we call it a day on the search and head back to the motel?” he said, releasing her from his arms. “I think I’m ready for my naked-Buffy time.”
She looked up at him with that little half-smile on her lips. “I think I like your new plan.”
“Well, here it is,” said Dean, nervously opening the door. “Home, sweet motel room.”
He usually didn’t care what girls thought of his living arrangements. They were usually here for one purpose, and that was to get out of their clothes and into his bed before he had to kick them out so he could pick up Sammy from the library or the movies. Even though Buffy was here for roughly the same reason, it felt a lot different bringing her here.
“Your room’s bigger than...” Buffy trailed off as her gaze drifted over the discarded food wrappers and paper cups, which Dean was hastily sweeping into the trash, and landed on the articles taped to the mirror. “Is that your research on the graduation?”
“Some of it, yeah.” He followed her across the room, thankful that it had been laundry day and the usual piles of clothes were all tucked away in duffel bags.
“That’s kinda cool. It’s sort of like one of those cop shows,” she said, giggling a little. But her laughter stopped as she saw the clippings taped next to the mirror. Dean knew what they were – obituary notices that Dad had printed out of every strange or unexplained death, going back almost three years. They covered a two-foot section of the wall, about chest high to slightly above eye level, and ran another four feet across the length.
Buffy stopped about halfway through the listings, reaching out to touch one. He stepped closer and saw that it was for a young girl from Jamaica. She’d been found at the high school with her throat slit. It wasn’t as unusual as some of the other deaths that were posted, but this one meant something to her.
When she turned to him, eyes wet with unshed tears, he enveloped her in his arms, realizing that he had been wrong. They all meant something to her. She was the guardian of the Hellmouth with the whole town of Sunnydale under her protection. Each slip of paper was a reminder of the people who’d died under her watch, the ones she’d failed to keep safe. There were more than a hundred notices on the wall.
He knew this pain. The hippies in the backwoods of Wisconsin who didn’t listen to his warning and were taken by a wendigo, the frat boy in Pennsylvania who walked in on them trying to evict a poltergeist and got the full wrath of the ghost before they’d burned the bones. But he didn’t have to live through the aftermath. He didn’t have to interrogate his classmate’s parents, didn’t have to lie and let them believe that their daughter was alive and normal, didn’t have to hunt down and kill his classmate because she’d become a vampire. And he didn’t know which of their lives was worse – his for being lonely and detached or hers for being tied to the people around her and caring about them.
From where he stood, both their lives sucked.
“I’m so sorry, Buffy.” He rubbed her back, trying to soothe away the pain. The pain that he’d caused. “I can take them down.”
He reached out to rip a paper off the wall, the one about the girl, when Buffy covered his hand with hers. She laced her fingers through his and led him to the bed.
“Baby,” he said, “We don’t have to—”
She pulled his head down for a kiss, the sweetness of her mouth tinged with salt. Somewhere in the corner of his mind, a voice that sounded like Sammy told him that this wasn’t the way to help her deal with the pain. This was a temporary fix, a band-aid for a wound that required stitches, and it would only leave her feeling empty. But he didn’t need anyone to tell him that – he knew from experience.
Except her hands were tugging off his jacket, and his body was responding because it knew what she wanted. And because he wanted her, too. She shed her coat, dropping it on top of his. His hands slid under her shirt and lifted it over her head. As she pulled free, he noticed the look in her eyes, the glint of determination instead of passion, and he hesitated. She didn’t want him; she wanted to fill the void, to chase away the pain that was eating her insides.
Their lives were bloody and violent, and pain was an expected byproduct. The physical stuff was easy; bruises fade, cuts scab over, even broken bones mend in a few weeks. The emotional impact, though, was visceral, open sores that continued to bleed long after the external scars had faded. It was the kind of pain that he shoved down, buried under booze and sex until he was numb enough to forget, at least for a little while.
But he didn’t want that for her. He wanted to take away her pain, to heal her and leave her whole. If only he knew how.
Maybe it would be different this time. She wasn’t some girl he’d picked up at a club or a diner; she was Buffy. His
Buffy. And maybe they could ease each other’s pain, forget that they fought demons and spirits and vampires and shapeshifters. Or that, sometimes, civilians paid the price before the monster was killed. Maybe they could forget that he was a hunter and she was the Slayer. Maybe, this time, they could just be Buffy and Dean.
He leaned down to kiss her, reaching around to unclasp her bra. Her hands grasped his shirt, trying to untuck it from his jeans. Gently, he removed her hands, returning them to her sides. If this was going to happen, it would be on his terms, and he wanted to see that spark of passion in her eyes before he would give in.
Working his mouth over hers, he eased her onto the bed and lay down beside her. His hand ran along her side, tracing the curves of her body before sliding up to cup her breast. The smooth skin of her areola began to pucker as his thumb played across her nipple until it tightened into a hard nub. He rolled it between his fingers, and then gave it a quick pinch, smiling at her cry of surprise.
He continued to massage her breast, occasionally tweaking her nipple. When her hands reached for him again, he batted them away and pulled his head back, saying, “Keep that up and I might just tie you
She raised her brows, her eyes issuing a challenge, though she let her hands fall. He smiled again, leaning down to reward her with a kiss. But instead of her lips, he knelt over her body and placed his kiss in the valley between her breasts. Then, his mouth latched onto her readied nipple, thrumming his tongue against it while his fingers administered to the other.
Her body arched beneath him, pressing her chest further into his hands and mouth. He laid a trail of kisses as his lips moved to her other breast. Once there, he used his teeth to graze the sensitive flesh around her nipple. He bit down gently, alternating his tongue and his teeth as his fingers pinched the other.
The sound of her moans filled his ears, but he wasn’t ready to give in, no matter how tight his pants were getting. He did, however, take that as a sign that it was time to segue to the next part of his seduction, so he freed a hand and let it glide down her stomach to unfasten her jeans. He pushed them down, lips fixed to her breast until his arm couldn’t stretch anymore.
He made quick work of the rest of her clothes until she was lying naked before him. Crawling over her, he kissed his way back up her body and placed a few more kisses on her tear-stained cheeks. As his hand met the juncture of her thighs, his lips recaptured her breast, sucking on her hardened nipple.
His fingers strummed the area between her legs, already slick with moisture. He built up a rhythm, stroking and plucking her sensitive spot. Her hands gripped his head, no longer content to stay by her sides as she writhed beneath him.
“Dean, please,” she said, her breaths shallow and uneven. “I can’t—”
Her voice cut off as he increased tempo. The syncopated pattern kept her on edge, never enough to bring her the satisfaction she desired.
“You can,” he rasped, having difficulty breathing himself. “You will.”
He raised his head and looked into her eyes. She stared back at him, and he knew that there was nothing else for her but this moment, now, with him. His fingers plunged into her, and he covered her lips with his, swallowing her cries as her body reached its crescendo, waves of pleasure rippling through her. He took in her pain, her pleasure, her sadness and joy, filling himself with all things Buffy.
When her trembling had subsided, he lay next to her, still fully clothed except for his boots, which he’d kicked off sometime since they’d started. He tried to shift into a position that wasn’t painful or nudging her thigh, but wasn’t having much success.
“Did I do that?” asked Buffy, her eyes dropping to the bulge in his jeans.
“You might have had something to do with it.” He reached down to adjust himself into a more comfortable angle, but her hand stopped him.
“Am I allowed to touch you now?” A mischievous smile settled on her lips as she looked at him. “Or will you tie me up?”
He smirked back, refusing to give her a response. Her fingers grazed him through the thick material of his jeans as if she were trying to decide if he would make good on his threat. When she unzipped his pants, he decided that a little bondage was definitely on the table for another time and was a little sad that it couldn’t be now.
His eyes closed as her hands resumed their soft, teasing strokes through his boxers, and he silently wished that she would take him out and touch him already. And then he remembered how inexperienced she was. She wasn’t teasing; she was hesitating. He opened his eyes, the uncertainty in hers confirming his suspicions.
Grasping her hand, he pulled it to his lips and kissed it. She watched as he stood up, her eyes questioning him until he undressed, doing it as quickly as possible. When he returned to the bed, her hands reached for him again, caressing his arms, his chest, his stomach, even grazing his thighs. Everywhere except where he wanted her to. It was a little frustrating, but he knew that his patience would eventually pay off, figuring she'd work up the courage next time or the time after that.
So he was a little surprised when the back of her fingers brushed against him. He stiffened in response. She touched him again, her fingertips tracing the ridges along his shaft. He squeezed his eyes shut and drew in a sharp breath, his fingernails digging into his palms from the effort needed to keep them at his sides instead of grabbing her and burying himself inside her warmth.
When she wrapped her small hand purposefully around him, he groaned and tried to recall the steps needed to properly clean and maintain every gun he owned. “Baby, I don’t think I’m going to last that long as it is, much less with you—”
He let out another groan as her thumb slid across the tip. Remove the magazine, check the chamber, pull off the slide
, he repeated in him mind. No, gotta click the button first, then the slide
Not working. He opened his eyes, and the sight of her tugged at his heart. She was watching him, a playful smile on her lips, delighting in his reaction to her touch, taking pleasure in him the way he’d done to her. A warm feeling grew inside of him, something strange and new, but comforting and familiar at the same time. He kissed her, then, stilling her hand mid-stroke and removing himself from her grip. After one more kiss, he got up and rummaged through his duffel bag, searching for a condom.
He always used protection. Dad’s orders after the “talk” they’d had several years ago when he’d come home to find Dean getting to third base in the living room of their monthly rental. Though it wasn’t just orders that kept Dean covered. He knew exactly where his dick had been and few of them had been virgins.
However, the idea of being with Buffy without any barriers between them was tempting. It wasn’t her lack of experience or limited number of partners, although he felt a surge of pride and jealousy knowing that she’d only been with one other. No, he’d popped a cherry or two in his time and never felt the desire to throw caution aside. He only felt this way about Buffy. Not that he was going to do it now
, but maybe it was something they could talk about in the future. For the moment, he was simply grateful that it would dull the sensation so he wouldn’t embarrass himself the second he got inside her.
He found a condom and returned to bed, guiding her through the process of putting it on him with no ulterior motives whatsoever. Definitely not to capitalize on the fact that her hands stroked and squeezed him as she unrolled the latex down his shaft.
His hand slid between her legs, hoping her heightened sensitivity from earlier still lingered. From the way she responded, it had. He brought her to the edge again, knowing that he was close himself and liable to fall before she did.
She cried out his name as he entered her, and his mind cleared itself of everything except the sensation of being inside her. Buffy’s legs wrapped around his waist and his hands were braced on either side of her head and he was thrusting into her again and again, the pressure building within, expanding, growing, aching for release. His lips sought hers, hoping to stifle the stream of words threatening to burst incoherently from somewhere deep within. Their mouths met, their bodies interlocked, and he poured himself into her as he took her in until it was impossible to tell where he ended and she began.
“I’ll raise you five M&Ms,” said Xander, adding to the pile of multi-colored chocolates in the center of the table.
Oz shifted his eyes from Xander’s face to the cards in his hand and wordlessly slid five pieces forward.
Dean glanced at his hand. A pair of jacks wasn’t bad for five-card draw, but poker was more about reading the other players than the cards he’d been dealt. For example, he knew Xander didn’t have anything good despite the confident wager. They’d only played a few rounds so far, but anytime Xand had a decent hand, he couldn’t help smiling. Then he’d try to slow play the pot and draw more people along to the next round instead of betting big and trying to crowd others out. At most, he had a low pair.
But he couldn’t get a handle on Oz. Usually, people have a tell, some sort of nervous tic that they unconsciously perform when they get a good or bad hand. Someone like Willow, whose emotions were stamped across her face, was easy to read, which was probably why she was sitting on the bed, surrounded by books and maps, searching for the location of the crypt with Sammy. Her boyfriend was the total opposite - he had the ultimate poker face. His nostrils would flare on occasion, but he was expressionless when he checked his cards.
“It’s still a good hand when your cards have all the same symbol, right?” asked Buffy. “Even if they’re not in order?”
Everyone at the table groaned.
“I guess that means I’m folding,” Dean said as he laid his cards face down. Xander and Oz followed suit, and Buffy gleefully gathered the candies towards her, popping a few into her mouth. “Hey, those are for betting, not eating!”
She stuck her tongue out at him. “If someone hadn’t eaten the last piece of chicken, I wouldn’t need to eat these.”
Xander muttered something about Buffy gobbling down half the bucket, but changed the subject when she glared at him. “So, Oz, your band’s playing in L.A. this weekend?”
Oz nodded. “Devon’s uncle has a friend who knows a guy who owns a club.”
“Who says nepotism is dead in the world of rock ‘n’ roll?” Xander finished shuffling the cards and dealt the next hand.
“I wouldn’t exactly call the Dingoes ‘rock and roll’,” Oz said as he picked up his cards, one by one, his demeanor unchanging. “More like a pallid, entitled imitation of something that might not have been so great in the first place.” *
Dean chuckled as he wrapped his mind around the description. Although he could hardly recall what they’d played the night he met Buffy, he remembered thinking that it sucked. “Why be in the band if you don’t like the music?”
“I agree; it’s a perplexing dilemma.” Oz nodded, wrinkling his forehead.
It wasn’t really an answer, but Dean didn’t think he was getting anything more. Usually such calmness and evasiveness would be unsettling, but Xander and Willow could be a little high-strung and direct – to the point that he almost wondered how they were able to keep Buffy’s identity a secret. Oz seemed to provide some much needed balance to the group.
“Actually,” said Buffy, pushing some candies to the center, “I think you have the same tastes. You should check out Oz’s CD collection.”
“Oh yeah?” Dean asked.
“Dude,” called Sammy from the bed, “he was blasting Motorhead in the van on the way over.”
The band wasn’t at the top of his list of favorites, but it was one of those lesser known ones to people that didn’t appreciate metal. “Which album?”
“Ace of Spades
,” Oz said as he traded out two cards. “Was going through Giles’ records earlier and found a UK release of No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith
. Gotta see if he’ll let me burn that onto a CD.”
“You can do that?” Dean’s cell phone was about as technologically advanced as he got, and that was only because it was a necessity. Sam often complained that nothing they owned came from the recent decade. He was mostly right.
“I got a guy.”
“How hard would it be to put that onto a tape?” He called Oz’s bet and, noticing that Buffy had eaten the rest of her M&Ms, put in for her as well. After drawing that last card, he was fairly certain that he had the pot, but the smile she gave him would have been worth it anyways.
“Not that hard.” It was probably the most direct Oz had been all evening. “You wants?”
“Hook me up, man,” said Dean. Music would definitely make the long car rides a little more bearable, especially since they hit plenty of patches of dead air. “What else you got?”
“My tastes tend to wander towards the eclectic, but I think I’ve got a few you might enjoy. I’ll bring ‘em by when I’m done.” Oz flipped over his cards, revealing three aces, including the spades. He’d literally told the table one of his cards, but Dean hadn’t been able to pick up on it. It was a little unnerving.
“That’d be awesome. Thanks.” He laid out his hand, full house, fours over queens, and started pulling the candies towards him.
“Hey,” Buffy said, putting a hand on his arm to stop him, “what if my hand beats yours?”
Dean raised an eyebrow. “You’ve either got two pair or a small straight, neither of which would beat my hand.”
Buffy scrunched her face and frowned as she showed her straight. He couldn’t help the smug smile from spreading on his face. She started to take her hand away so he could collect his winnings, but he grabbed it and pulled her into his lap, making her erupt in a fit of giggles.
“Looks like Buff needs to buy in for another bag,” said Xander, shaking his head as he smiled at them. “Would anyone else care for a refreshing beverage while I’m out?”
Since everyone raised a hand, Oz volunteered to help carry the sodas back.
“You guys know where it is?” asked Dean.
Xander nodded his head and said, “Got it covered. But thanks, man.”
Dean watched as Xander and Oz walked out, leaving the door slightly ajar so they could get back in. The hunter in him wanted to get up and shut it, but that would mean letting Buffy out of his arms. And he was afraid that if she did, the empty feeling might creep in. Because it hadn’t yet. Not after they’d made love. Not after they’d taken down the notices off the wall. It hadn’t even come with the twinge of guilt from Sammy’s accusing eyes when he climbed out of Oz’s van with the rest of Buffy’s friends. Maybe it’s going to take him a little longer to get over this crush
, Dean thought. His little brother had seemed alright with the plan, especially after he met Giles and saw the man’s library. An actual, literal library, according to Buffy, since it was everything they’d thought worth saving from her unofficial headquarters at Sunnydale High. Dean should have been a little surprised that no one noticed books on pagan rituals shelved next to poetry or a catalogue of demons in the biology section, but he couldn’t remember ever going to the school library. At least, never to look at books or the way they were indexed.
“Hey, Willow,” said Sam, “is something up with Xander?”
“He kinda has bad memories of this place,” Willow said quietly.
“He’s been here before?” asked Dean. He hadn’t noticed anything out of the ordinary. Well, maybe Xander had been a little tense and jittery, but that didn’t seem too unusual for him. After all, they’d been playing poker and he was bad at bluffing.
She put down the book she’d been flipping through and nodded. “He was almost killed in one of the rooms upstairs.”
“What kind of demon rents out a motel room?” The Winchesters stayed at no-tell motels for a reason and had no illusions about the type of people that rented out the rooms. But demons were a new kind of low. “On that note, who rents out a room to a demon?”
“Not a demon,” said Buffy. “Faith.”
Sam frowned and tilted his head. “Who’s this Faith person you keep talking about?”
“We thought she was our friend, at first,” Willow said. “And then it turned out that she was, ummm...”
“Bat-shit crazy,” Buffy finished for her. “She killed a human, which is a total no-no for a slayer, then turned to the dark side and became a henchman for the mayor.”
“But you’re the Slayer,” said Dean. He looked at Buffy for confirmation, that she was the one girl, the only girl, currently Chosen. She gaped back at him, her mouth opening and closing a few times as she tried to find a way to explain. But he didn’t need an explanation. If another girl was called, it meant one thing. “You died?”
The emptiness came whooshing back in. It wasn’t the cold, distant loneliness of before. This one was hot, jabbing needles poking his insides, filling his brain with one thought – Buffy was dead.
“Sammy,” said Willow as she got up from the bed, “maybe you and I should—”
“No, stay.” Dean waved her back down. He stood up quickly, forgetting that there was someone sitting in his lap, someone who would have fallen on her ass if she didn’t have superhuman reflexes. “I think I need a little fresh air.”
“Dean—” her voice called as he went out the door and closed it securely behind him.
He didn’t know where he was going. He thought maybe getting drunk would be a good option, something to dull the pain, but he couldn’t leave the motel. Dad’s orders. Then his eyes lit on the familiar shape of the Impala, the neon glow of the motel sign reflected in its soft black sheen.
Climbing onto the hood, he rested his back against the windshield, arms crossed over his eyes so he could block out the world. A world without Buffy. It may have been just his imagination, but he felt the warmth of the engine through the thick layer of metal beneath his legs, even though the car had been idle for a few hours now. It was soothing, nevertheless.
He heard the door open and close, footsteps coming towards him. “A couple of years ago,” she said, “I fought a vampire called ‘The Master’. I... he bit me so he could escape his magical prison, and I passed out in a pool of water.”
“And that’s when Xander gave you CPR,” he said, remembering the story from yesterday. “He told me. I guess I just didn’t realize what it really meant.”
He raised his arms and opened his eyes to see Buffy standing there, looking down at him. He reached out, sliding an arm around her waist, feeling the solidness of her body, her warmth. She was here, and she was real.
“It was only for a minute. Maybe two.” Her fingertips brushed his temple.
“Enough for another girl to be called.” He closed his eyes again, briefly. But the image of her was burned into his mind, her lifeless body floating through dark, murky waters. His eyes flew open. “Faith, huh?”
“Actually, she’s the second since I died,” she said, hesitantly, seeing him flinch at her use of the word. “That girl from Jamaica, the one in the obit, was the first. Her name was Kendra. She was kind of a nerdy slayer, read all the books, trained with her Watcher since she was a little girl. Perfect technique, almost zero social skills.” She let out a little chuckle. “But she was my friend. And it’s my fault she died.”
Her sobs filled the air, and he quickly sat up, pulling her into his arms. “Baby, don’t cry. Please. I’m sure she was a nice person, but I’m glad it was her and not you.”
He could feel the emptiness seeping away as he held Buffy. His hands stroked her back as her tears fell onto his shoulder. And even though he didn’t really believe in God, he said a silent prayer of thanks that she was alive and in his life.
“Faith showed up last year,” said Buffy when her sobs had subsided, “running from a butt-ugly vamp who killed her Watcher. But she– she’s not the kind of person who asks for help. And we... had some misunderstandings. Doesn’t excuse her for trying to kill An- any of my friends.”
Dean could have sworn that she meant to say something else, but he didn’t push it. “Where’s she now?”
“Permanent fixture at Sunnydale Memorial.” She looked up at him, a mixture of concern and fear in her frown. “Doctors don’t know when, or even if, she’ll wake up. I couldn’t... I can’t justify pulling the plug on her.”
A vegetable. That was almost worse than being dead. With her in that state, and apparently homicidal, Buffy was the only one capable of being the Slayer. Which meant that she’d go on fighting demons and vampires, constantly in danger of dying – again. But this was the life they led. Slayers and hunters protecting normal people from creatures they didn’t believe existed.
He sought reassurance in her lips, a way to forget the past that held her death and the future that no doubt included his own. Her kiss held the promise of now, this moment, when they were both full of life and heat and wants and needs.
“Too bad your friends are here,” he said, his breath ragged as he drew back from her.
“Too bad you can’t leave the motel.” Her lips brushed his again as her fingers traced little circles on his leg.
His eyes traveled back to the room where light was shining from the window. The room above it was dark and vacant. “He said we had to stay in the motel. He never said anything about getting another room.”
She turned her head, following his gaze. Her little half-smile appeared, granting her assent with another kiss.
Next up Chapter 22: Sam
Sometimes, investigating pays off. And some things are better left unknown.
*Oz’s line taken from an article by Joey Sweeney, Philadelphia Weekly