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Running Towards Nothing

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Summary: Nathaniel finds himself drawn into 'hell' where he meets up with Buffy and Lily who are trying to escape.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Anita Blake > Buffy-Centered > Action(Moderator)AvaFR1515,41012405,22320 Feb 0520 Feb 05Yes
Disclaimer:I do not own BTVS or ABVH those belong to the wonderful minds of Laurell K. Hamilton and Joss Whedon.

Spoilers :BTVS seasons 1,2 and Season 3 opener "Anne": all of ABVH

Original dialogue from the Episode "Anne" was used in the making of this fanfic. No words or scenes were hurt during the making of the work of fiction.



Nathaniel looked up at the sign above “Family Hope” The newest addition to St. Louis’ answer to runaways. The building itself was small and run down but the energy run off was overwhelming. Anita Blake his Nimir-Ra and lover had told him to find interests outside helping her with household chores and errands. He knew Micah Callahan his Nimir-Raj and Anita’s boyfriend agreed. Nathaniel disagreed but followed their wishes. He wanted them happy because then he could be content. Shaking his head he made his way towards the front entrance. His long auburn hair was pulled back into an effortless braid that hung nearly to his ankles gave the clean lines of his face a chance to be seen and admired. He was beautiful in a delicate way. With lavender eyes this side of lovely and the smooth body of a dancer. His shoulders had been filling out recently after his twentieth birthday and he was coming into his own.

Pulling gently Nathaniel opened the door and shuddered at the sudden blast of magical energy flowing across his skin. With a mental shake he stepped over the threshold and made his way towards the front desk. A man that didn’t quite feel right stood to greet him. Neutral eyes and hair the same nondescript shade of brown and pale features that were just so normal made Nathaniel push the unease back.

“Hi, I’m Ken and welcome to Family Hope.” His quiet voice was strangely soothing.

“Hello, My names Nathaniel and I was wondering if you were in need of volunteers?”

The man was watching him with an open smile. “We always welcome new comers here.” He reached out to offer his hand.

Nathaniel smiled and took it within his own. The same sense of unease swept him and he staggered. Gripping the desk with his free hand the wereleopard looked at Ken. “What are you?”

Ken’s smile never slipped. “You’re a lycanthrope. Good. Your kind works harder than most.”

The same discharge of power washed over Nathaniel only this time it began to pierce the walls of his psyche. A sudden wave of pain flooded his mind. As the wereleopard’s vision was slowly being eaten by black bursts he sunk to the floor unconscious. Ken still watched him peaceful and content. This dimension was only to be used occasionally and never for very long. People here tended to notice when their own disappeared. Especially the lycanthrope community.

Ken motioned some of his followers forward to pick up the unconscious were. He really did enjoy his work. Humming softly he locked the door to “Family Hope” and turned to follow the others. The young Nathaniel was already being lowered into the inky blackness of the portal. Still humming he leapt to follow him down.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nathaniel suppressed a groan of pain as he became more aware of his surroundings. A cool hand was being pressed to his forehead gently. Nathaniel inhaled the scent of human fear and opened his eyes to the dim light of torches. A delicate girl no older than eighteen sat over him. She was thin and her frail wrist sat next to his mouth. “Are you all right?” She was dressed in a coarse tan smock that draped over her body hiding her body’s curves. Her long blonde hair looked unwashed and she haunted azure eyes instantly told Nathaniel she was a runaway.

Her voice was soft and had a slightly breathy undertone. Pushing himself up Nathaniel glanced around the room. Hearing another heart beat his gaze was drawn to the front of the cell. Another girl lay unconscious on the floor. “Where are we?”

His voice seemed to bring the other blonde around. She was dressed in casual work out clothes that didn’t quite match. Slowly pushing herself up as she spoke. “Lily?” Nathaniel watched a grimace of pain run across her face. He slowly stood and made his way towards the petite girl. He scented blood and his eyes were drawn to the slight gash on her forehead. Lavender clashed slightly with jade as each watched the other for signs of violence. Nathaniel because that is all he had ever known till Anita and Buffy because she had been taught this lesson on the steps of her first high school as she began the lose of her innocence.

“I always knew I would come here sooner or later.” Lily’s haunting voice pulled their attention away form the one another. “I knew I belonged here.”

Nathaniel turned to her. “Where?”

“Hell.”

Buffy shifted her gaze more fully on the lost blonde. “This isn’t hell.”

Nathaniel shook as power began to seep into their cell. Surround in the smell of smoke, decay and rotting corpses his more delicate sense was over run but his sensitive hearing could detect light foot falls.

“Isn’t it?” The wereleopard eyes grew wide at the sight of Ken. His face was nothing more that muscle and superficial openings that revealed darker scarlet tissue beneath. His essence was the only indication to Nathaniel that he was the man from “Family Hope”. “What is Hell but the total absence of hope? The substance, the tactile proof of despair. Your right Lily this is where you have been heading all of your life. Just like Rickie.”

The shock faded enough from Lily for her to ask, “Rickie?”

Ken smiled benevolently down at her his eyes once brown now shone crimson. “He forgot you. Well, it took him a long time. He remembered your name years after he had forgotten his own.”

Lily gazed at the demon confused. “Years? But…”

Ken interrupted. “Oh, interesting thing time moves more differently here than in your own realities. A hundred long years will pass here. On your Earths it’s just a day.”

Buffy moved her head to the side and regretted the motion instantly as nausea warred with pain inside her skull. “Realties?” One-word questions. Now Lily had her doing it.

Ken nodded to the pretty man still standing between herself and Lily. “Nathaniel here is form a world slightly different than your own. Their monsters vampires, demons and lycanthropes are common knowledge. Their vampires even have lobbyist in congress trying to get them the right to vote. Nathaniel here is a were-something or other. It doesn’t mater really because we don’t have a moon here to govern his changes. He’ll just be a reliable source of strength.”

Buffy glared at the demon. “So you just work us till we’re to old and spit us back out.”

Ken smile faded. “That’s the plan. See Lily, you’ll die of old age before anyone wonders where you went. Not that anyone will. That’s why we chose you.”

Nathaniel growled low in his throat. “You didn’t choose me.”

Buffy glanced at him quickly his skin was prickling slightly form his snarl of warning. “Ditto.”

Ignoring Nathaniel, Ken focused on the Slayer. “No. But I know you Anne.” He emphasized her name with a laugh letting everyone know he thought it, false. “So afraid. So pathetically determined to run away from whatever it is you used to be, to disappear.” Nathaniel watched some of the fire flickered. She averted her gaze from the demon before her. “Congratulations. You got your wish.”

“What about me?”

Ken smiled. “The portal to your world is heavily warded and we make sure your body stays here.” The demon pointed to the bones that lay across the bunk beside Lily. “He was an excellent worker.” Nathaniel had some trouble meeting his crimson gaze. “Though you have the same look as Anne here. Having to grow up to fast. I wonder if mindless labor will be type of release for you. No longer being ruled by an alpha. No pull to the lunar cycle.” His gaze fell on the cadaver once more. “He thanked us in the end.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nathaniel watched as the metal doors slowly opened before him. Several human teenagers of varying age surrounded him. All of them had the same air of lost innocence and endless pain that Anita had helped disperse from his own life. The creatures surrounding them were terrifying and fascinating to look at. Flesh had been stapled or laced to their faces in different designs. Their true skin was like Ken’s. Just muscle and sinew in different shades of red, blue, purple and black. One of the demons shoved the delicate Anne to the ground. Nathaniel moved to her side and helped her stand. A slight look of gratitude crossed her face and then he was roughly pulled from her and placed at the end of the line. These creatures felt false. Their very essence made his skin feel tight. A small corner of his mind told him he belonged here with the lost children of different worlds. Anita would be relieved maybe even glad.

One of them moved to stand before the line of teenagers. “You work and you live.” His voice was deep and felt like sandpaper across Nathaniel’s flesh. Drawing him out of his morbid thoughts. “That is all. You do not complain or laugh or do anything beside work. What ever you thought, whatever you were does not matter.” His gaze paused on the wereleopard and smirked. Though Nathaniel was hard pressed to tell you how he knew there was a smirk because the demon had no lips. “You are no one now. You mean nothing.” The demon moved away form Nathaniel’s side of the line and place himself before a small teenage boy with long black hair.

“Who are you?”

The kid looked up and then back down. “Aaron.”

The demon glanced down the line to make sure everyone was watching and brought his club down on the boy’s head. Nathaniel heard his skull give under the pressure and watched helpless as his body began a slightly haunting dance of death. Anita would not allow this. She was strong. A flare of magic brought his gaze to Anne. Her head was high and her jade eyes had darkened slightly. A fire had replaced the hollowness leaving a frown across her brow.

The demon had moved on to Lily. “Who are you?”

Her head never rose. “No one.” Anita would fight.

The demon nodded and moved on to the next boy. “Who are you?”

“No one.” Micah would be by her side.

The lipless demon now stood before Anne. “Who are you?”

A smile spread across Anne’s face that was slightly comforting and terrifying to Nathaniel. It was the same smile that his Nimir-Ra had when she had had enough and was finally going to do something about the situation she was in. That smile usually meant violence.

“I’m Buffy. The Vampire Slayer and you are?” Buffy?

The demon screamed in rage at her audacity and raised his arm to deliver a killing blow to her head. Nathaniel was already in motion but he knew he would be too late.

Buffy’s arm rose up in a sweeping motion blocking the blow and catching the demons arm as it swung downwards. She slipped easily to the left and broke it’s arm effortlessly stealing his club and swinging it in one motion to stop another charging demon. Her arm arched backwards to take out the demon coming form behind her. Gorging its stomach with mind-bending normality she turned to everyone in the room. “Anyone who’s not having fun here, follow me.” With a last slightly sadden look at Aaron’s still form on the floor she spun and began to make her way through the darkened halls. Nathaniel followed because he would have been at Anita’s side as well.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Executioner stood silently outside “Family Hope” it rose small and decrepit. An air of unease surrounded the building and she felt a chill chase it’s way up her spin. She huddled deeper into the leather coat covering her black suit and skirt set. She had been at work when Death had popped in to give her some disturbing and unwanted news. Edward had come to her not even twenty minutes before explaining to her that this particular shelter had been popping up in various large cities across the country and in every city it had visited lycanthropes had disappeared. She swore softly and with feeling under her breath. Anita kicked absently at the sidewalk with her knee high boots wishing she had thought to bring her Nikes to work. The necromancer had told Nathaniel to expand outside the house and she may have sighed his death warrant. Though through the connection she now shared with him she knew he wasn’t dead. Yet.

“Why are we standing outside?” Edward’s hollow voice was somewhat soothing to hear. As was the long duster she knew was filled with goodies for this particular adventure.

“Backup.”

Death nodded and continued to stand next to Anita gazing at the building. “Doesn’t look dangerous.” The statement hung there a moment. “Though neither do you.”

Anita looked sideways at the assassin. “Are you speaking just to hear the dulcet tones of your own voice?”

Edward smirked. “Dulcet tones?”

Anita sighed. Focus on saving Nathaniel. “Is there more to this than your letting on?”

The assassin just smiled and inclined his head. Anita would have said more but her backup had pulled into the small parking lot. Bobby Lee’s large body rolled out of the driver’s side of the black Ford Explorer dressed in black jeans and white undershirt. Claudia smiled at them as she made her way from the passenger’s side. “We should stop meeting like this.”

Anita forced a small smile. “I promise to call you with something mundane next time.”

The wererats moved to the back of the Explorer and opened the trunk. As Anita moved to follow them the side door opened and Cherry stepped into view. The executioner could not help the frown that ran across her face. They need backup not canon fodder. She may be a wereleopard but Cherry was useless around violence. Cherry interpreted the face instantly. “I’m here for when you come out. Dr. Lillian had a house call to make.”

Her Nimir-Ra nodded to the leopard. Cherry had been a nurse before the hospital had sudden “cut backs” once her lycanthropy was exposed.

“I’m here as backup.”

Anita looked into the Explorer to see a pair of golden eyes peek out of darkened inside. Anita knew the alto voice belonged to Zane. His usual multicolored hair was gone as where his human features. A half leopard half man sat just inside the vehicle. Anita frowned.

“I don’t think you being on the streets like that is a good idea, Zane.”

“That’s why I have the trench coat and hat.”

“Zane.” Anita began but was interrupted.

“Anita, Micah sent me to help watch your back.” The executioner looked at him anger slowly rearing its head. “We can argue about this or we can go save Nathaniel.”

The executioner closed her mouth with a snap and turned towards the rear of the vehicle. “Ready?”

The two wererats nodded and Anita watched them both place coats over their various weapons. Glancing up the road she noticed few cars and no bystanders. “Ready when you are honey child.”

Bobby Lee’s southern voice ran smooth as they made their way back towards Edward. He merely raised an eyebrow at Anita’s backup. The odd group made their way towards the front entrance. All eyes scan the immediate area for possible threats. The lycanthropes could sense no one within their general area including the building in front of them. Edward glanced down at the closed door and reached into a pocket. Pulling out a slim case he picked two slim pieces of metal and effortlessly picked the lock. Zane’s smile was made disturbing by the flashing canines. “Cool.” Anita suppressed the urge to roll her eyes.

Edward placed himself to the left of the door and shoved it open enough to cause it to crash against the far wall. Allowing no one to stand behind it.

“I don’t think anyone’s home.” Bobby Lee’s voice was mild but amusement crossed over his features.

The assassin ignored the wererat and cautiously made his way though the doorway. The building was silent but Anita still felt uneasy. Magic prickled slightly across her skin and raised every hair on her body. Fear rolled a tight knot inside her stomach.

“What was that?” Claudia’s voice was steady and Anita gave her brownie points for effort.

The executioner had to swallow around the terror working it’s way up her throat. “Evil.”

The wererats stilled beside her. “Evil?” Bobby Lee’s drawl was unusually loud in the silent building.

Anita nodded and followed Edward as he made his way deeper into the structure. His eyes cold and unreachable reminded the necromancer of her Nathaniel and her spine straightened. She would save him dammit.

Edward halted in front of an open door. His head cocked to the side and he motioned Anita forward. “What is that?”

A large rectangle lay in the floor surrounded by candles. A dull black liquid floated freely inside the opening. It was radiating magic and death. Anita shook her head. All of the lycanthropes stared at the blackness with unease. Zane threw his hat into the opening and everyone watched stunned, as the liquid seemed to absorb it with burst of power. “That was bad.”

Anita nodded wordless. She felt Zane stiffen beside her and then leap. His body was absorbed in the same way.

“Fuck.”

Edward simply stepped forward and over the edge to disappear through the black tar. The wererats turned to Anita and awaited orders. “One of you stays behind to guard our backs.” And then she to disappeared into the inky depths.

Bobby Lee looked to Claudia. “Rock, paper, scissors?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Anita shuddered at the despair that perfumed the air surrounded her. She could hear screams in the distance and she looked up to see Claudia fall through the opening in the ceiling. She heard her mumbles something about stupid paper and push herself to her feet. The wererat had the gun out and pointed upward in the next breath. Anita’s browning was already pointed at the only opening to the room. She could see a hallway lit by torches and nothing else. Edward still had his submachine gun pointed at the ceiling and his eyes were sweeping the different corners of the room. Anita saw the other opening next to their own. Their portal… Jesus, they had fallen through a portal and it was surrounded in red tile while the opening was teal. She cataloged the difference for later.

Zane was kneeling next to one of the walls sniffing the crack at the edge. “Nathaniel was here but the decay and fear makes it impossible to track his scent.”

Anita nodded and they made their way through the passageway. She glanced up at the large gate that would cut off their only means of escape if lowered and swore silently in her head. The day was not looking up.

Claudia followed Anita’s gaze and frowned. They were only a few feet down the corridor when an alarm began to sound. “Shit.” They all turned to see the gate close. “Fuck.”

Edward motioned them all for silence. Both weres could hear an uproar from further down the corridor. Suddenly twenty or more teenagers were flooding the hallway. Bruised and filthy they stood before their rescuers. Their wide terror filled eyes stopped on the four people who stood between them and freedom. Nathaniel pushed his way to the front. “Anita.” The executioner smiled beautifully at the wereleopard.

“Nathaniel, thank god. Lets get the hell out of here.”

Claudia needed no more urging. She turned back toward the gate and began to raise it slowly out of the ground. So much for being trapped in this hell.

“No!” The shout came from a tall blonde girl who moved forward. “We can’t leave Buffy.” Nathaniel turned towards the thin girl and nodded.

“We have to go back for her.”

Anita shook her head. “Nathaniel we came for you. This place is…”

“Evil.” The blonde meet Anita’s gaze unflinching. “She saved us. We have to try.”

Nathaniel was already turning back with the human girl. Anita gazed helplessly after them. “Dammit… Zane, Claudia, get these kids out of here. Edward.” The assassin followed her silently.

Halfway down the hall Anita spun to find Zane right behind her. “I told you…”

“Micah’s orders.” The statement was quick and efficient. Anita simply spun and followed Edwards retreating back. No one was fucking listening to her today and they were all risking their lives for a Buffy.

The opening of the hallway stretched out before them and Anita stopped to gaze in horror at sight below her. Humans everywhere working under the light of flames and their captor’s eyes. Demons or what Anita thought were demons surrounded them. The creatures resembled rotting corpses that had formed masks from some of their victims. Most of them stood watching other demons beat their slaves. The stench of despair and rot was choking her and Anita felt bile fill her throat.

“Jesus.” Zane stared outward and grimaced.

A demon stood not ten feet in front of them. His confused voice rang out over the alarm. “Humans don’t fight back.” Rage replaced the confusion. “Humans don’t fight back!”

Edward gazed out at what held the demon’s attention. A small girl was fighting several of the creatures at once. Her body a fluid grace of death. The light above her swung rapidly giving her motions a slight strobe light effect. She was carving a path through the chaos. She slipped on one of her victim’s blood and dipped to the wrong side. A skinless demon in varying shades of blue pounced and several more piled on trying to beat or tear her flesh. She shoved them off and out ward. Staggering under her injuries one of them caught her jaw breaking her concentration enough for two more to grab her arms and bring the girl to her knees.

They faced her towards their leader. “That was not permitted.”

Death watched a smirk pull at the side of her lips and a cold flash of ice enter the child’s eyes. “Yeah but it was fun.”

The leader inclined his head. “You’ve got guts. I’d like to slice you open and play with them.” As the demon began his threat Lily inched her way forward. “Let everyone know this is the price of rebilli…” Lily shoved the demon off the high platform and watched wide eyed as he fell with a sickening thud.

Buffy’s smile stretched wider and she broke the hold of the demon on her right and punched the demon to her left. She ducked beneath the faceless demon on her rights reached and bringing her arms upward slammed into him like a line backer throwing him several feet. Another demon came at her and she grabbed his raised fist and used his own momentum to flip the creature. Leaping over the fallen she grabbed for a chain that was hanging from the ceiling. Quickly she began to pull herself upward.

Zane moved forward to offer a hand as one of the fallen raised. Pulling a small hand axe the demon threw it even as bullets from Edward’s submachine gun tore through its solar plexus. The attack threw off the demon’s aim enough for the axe to sever the chain the slayer was using rather than her neck. Zane reached out and caught her arm. His claws dug slightly inward through her flesh. He pulled her effortlessly up. His face a mask of worry at the claw marks that stretched from elbow to wrist. “I’m sorry.”

Buffy shushed him and began pulling him towards the others. “Escape now. Apologize later.”

They all ran down the hallway and Nathaniel was already holding the gate open for them. Only Claudia remand in the small room. The teenagers had returned back to Buffy and Lily’s dimension. Nathaniel turned in time to see Ken just as he crashed into him from behind. The gate fell on the demons legs effectively pining him to the ground. His screams were quickly cut short as Buffy slammed her fist into the back of his head.

“That felt neat.”

Lily looked to her leader and walked forward. “We couldn’t leave you.”

The slayer grinned. “Thanks.” She turned towards Nathaniel and held out her hand. He gaze at the claw marks with a frown. “I guess this is goodbye. How bout we never do this again.”

The wereleopard nodded. Lily quickly hugged him. “Thank you,” Was whispered softly in his ear.

Buffy turned to the others in the room. “I’d love to stay and get to know you all but I’m positive we so don’t have the time.” Introductions, goodbyes and thanks where said and the slayer moved to pull herself through the opening to her dimension. The black liquid that engulfed her hand was like tar. She pushed but the fluid would only bend not let her break through. “What gives?”

A gurgling laugh could be heard form the pinned demon. “Stupid child. You’ve been infected with lycanthropy and your world will not sustain your existence any longer.”

Buffy turned toward the demon. “Huh?”

Nathaniel frowned, “I believe he means your going to be a wereleopard next full moon and you can’t go home or you could infect your world as well.”

All of the color drained from the Slayer’s face as she glanced down at the claw marks decorating her arm. “No. That’s a bad. I want to go home. I…”

Nathaniel moved forward. “You can’t go. What if you infected someone else?”

“I wouldn’t…”

“You could.”

Lily walked over to Zane. His head was lowered in shame and he wasn’t even paying attention to the people around them. She raised his hand to look at the claws. Her touch pulled him out of his guilt. “What?”

The weak blonde gazed at him pleadingly. “I won’t leave her.” Lily quickly drew his claws across her left arm through her tattoo and deep into her wrist. The wereleopard could have pulled back at any time but he had held back. The child would not leave her warrior. Zane stared at her in understanding as her blood slowly dripped onto the dirt floor. “Thank you.” Leaning forward she placed a gentle kiss across his brow.

Buffy turned. “Lily, no!”

The Slayer quickly grabbed the girls other arm pulling her from Zane. “You won’t be alone.” Her voice soft.

Buffy stared at the other girl as tears filled her eyes. Before she could speak the demon laughed.

“You're fools. The monsters of their world will destroy you both.”

Buffy eyes cooled and she turned towards the demon. “Hey Ken. Wanna see my impression of Gandhi?”

The demon looked at her confused. The slayer picked up a discard club and swung it downwards. The inside of his skull gave with a slight pop.

Anita raised an eyebrow. “Gandhi?”

Buffy shrugged. “Yeah, well he was really pissed off.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bobby Lee looked downward as the others slowly made their way out of blackness. “You all weren’t even gone a minute. Was Nathaniel on the other side of this pit?”

Anita shook her head and watched as both blondes pulled themselves out of hell. The smaller blonde turned to watch the hole tile over and close the portal between the two worlds. “Guess that solves that problem.”

Buffy and Lily stood side by side and looked out on the street of a world that did not know them. A world that had never heard of a Slayer. Buffy felt a small smile cross her face as she watched Nathaniel greeted exuberantly by a pretty blonde. Anita moved up behind them. “I’ll have the police come and hire a witch to cleanse this place.”

Buffy nodded. “Have them salt the earth.”

Lily turned to the Slayer. “ A new world.”

The smaller girl nodded. “A new beginning.”

Lily offered her hand and they made their way down from the entrance and into the parking lot. Zane climbed into the Explorer followed by the pretty blonde. Buffy caught the door as the female moved to close it. “Thank you.” Thank you in so many ways. Her eyes meet the wereleopards unflinchingly. Zane nodded and the blonde closed the door and the Explorer pulled away.

Buffy glanced at the man that had saved her from certain death with a submachine gun. “Do those work on vampires in this world?”

“With silver plated bullets they do.”

Buffy grinned, “Neato. Maybe one day you and I can talk shop.”

Edward arched an eyebrow at the delicate blonde. “Depends.”

“On what?"

“How many kills do you have?”

The slayer smiled and the assassin saw a slight refection of himself in the tiny girl before him. “Vampires or demons?”

Both eyebrows rose in amusement. “Both.”

The blonde cocked her head to the side and seemed to be thinking. “Lets average three vamps a week for about two years with one demon every month or so. I’d say…”

“336.” Edward stared at the tiny blonde with new respect.

Buffy nodded that sounded about right. “Roughly.”

“Ever use a flame thrower?”

She shook her head in the negative. “Nope. Though I did get a rocket launcher for my birthday this year.”

“I’ll be in touch.”

Buffy watched him leave and smiled as Anita and Nathaniel stared at her as if she had sprouted a second head. That sang the national anthem. In Spanish. “What?”

“336?” Nathaniel was kinda cute when he squeaked.

The Slayer rolled her eyes. “Don’t say it like that. You make me sound like a wacko.”

Anita shook her head. “Not a wacko. Possibly psychotic.”

The tiny blonde pouted. “That’s really not any better.”

Lily shrugged when they glance at her. “She’s saved my life twice now. Who am I to ask questions?”

Anita moved to give the smaller blonde more room and shrugged. “Let me make one thing clear. If you hurt my people I will not hesitate to kill you.”

Lily’s gaze went downward. “Yes ma’am.”

Buffy’s met her eyes head on and she nodded. “Understood.” Then she grinned. “Do you guys have McDonalds here?”

Nathaniel looked horrified. “Of course.”

“Cool.”

Lily sat in the back seat of Anita’s Jeep Cherokee next to the tiny Slayer. Her gaze traced the ruined flesh of her tattoo. One of the claws had dug through Rickies’ name and only the out line of half a red heart remand. “Buffy are you still going to be Anne.”

The other girl looked at her for a moment. “I haven’t decided yet.”

Lily nodded in understanding and than asked shyly. “Will you name me?”

Jade eyes met cerulean and Buffy reached out to brush a lock of hair out of the girls face. “What about Hope?”

“Hope.” The thin girl smiled. “Hope, I like that.”

Anita looked in the rearview mirror to see that Hope had placed her head on Buffy’s shoulder as the blonde stared absently out the window. The blondes in her back seat were going to be joining her pard. Well at the moment the executioner had no idea how she was suppose to feel about that. She knew Micah would agree that they could not be just thrown out. They needed more fighters and the tiny blonde certainly seemed to fit that bill to a T. The taller girl needed tending. Anita had become very observant to that particular personality with her pard. She reached out to grip Nathaniel’s hand with her own. They were in a situation that was hard at best. Other realties. Hell dimensions. This was a red-letter day even for the necromancer. Though as she waited for a red light to change she couldn’t seem to suppress the small evil smile that now graced her lips. Anita could not wait for Buffy and Elizabeth to meet and the smart money was on the blonde in the back seat with sad green eyes.

Author's note: I wrote this story because it would not leave me alone. I'm not sure if I'll write a sequel. Let me know if you want me to pursue this story line.

The End

You have reached the end of "Running Towards Nothing". This story is complete.

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