Spain agreed with Hank Summers. He and Clarissa, his lovely young secretary, had moved in just a year ago, but he had already fallen in love with the countryside. They had a small, quaint cottage not a half-hour's drive from the city, but still far enough away to seem isolated. It was an almost ideal lifestyle.
Occasionally, he still felt pangs of longing for his daughters, Buffy and Dawn, but he knew they were happy with their mother. They had only tried to call him once, a few months ago. He had ignored it; he had no interest in hearing them beg him to come home. They were happy with Joyce, he was happy with Clarissa. No need to risk that happiness. The girls were still young. They would learn.
It wasn't the only time he had gotten a call from Sunnydale. He had gotten a call only a few days ago from a British man named Mr. Giles. Hank had hung up when Mr. Giles had said he was calling on Buffy's behalf. He didn't want the gloating from Joyce's new boyfriend again. What had happened to Ted anyway?
Right now, he wasn't thinking of his girls at all. He was thinking of the pivotal sale he was going to make tomorrow as he strolled down the street to the park. He had left his car there, enjoying the walk to his office. It was refreshing, especially in the late spring air. The sun had set, but he wasn't worried. This was a good town. No mysterious deaths. That alone made it better than Sunnydale.
"Nice night, innit?" A smooth, slightly dark British accent broke through his thoughts.
Hank turned around. The speaker was a young man, likely no older than thirty, with bleached blonde hair and a scar over one eyebrow. He wore a black t-shirt, black pants, black boots, and a black leather duster over it all. He was leaning against the wall of a nearby alleyway, casually smoking.
"I suppose so," Hank replied evenly, once he got over his shock.
"You don't like it?" the man asked, sounding slightly amused.
"I never said that," Hank said, unsure what to make of his impromptu companion.
"I like it," the man said with an air of finality. "Good hunting night." He chuckled softly and took a drag on the cigarette. "Not that it'll do me much good. Bloody soldier boys." His hand drifted up to his temple, almost like he'd forgotten about it.
"Isn't it easier to hunt by day?" Hank asked, now slightly nervous.
His companion looked at him like he was a moron. "Not for me. What're you doing out and about at this hour? It can be dangerous."
"I could ask you the same thing," Hank pointed out, trying to figure out how he had gotten dragged into this thoroughly bewildering conversation in the first place.
"You could," the man said agreeably. "But I asked first."
"I'm just out for a walk. Nothing wrong with that, is there?" Hank replied defensively. "What are you doing here, if it's so dangerous?"
"I can take care of myself." The stranger shrugged, and tossed the cigarette to one side. "I'm looking for a man I heard lives around here. Name of Hank Summers. Heard of him?" His eyebrows drew together and he tilted his head to one side.
"I am Hank Summers. And who are you?"
"Just a friend."
"I don't think I'd be friends with a man like you," Hank said coldly. "I think you should leave."
"I never said I was your friend," the man replied. "Bloody hell, if Angel ever finds out I said that..." he muttered to himself, shaking his head.
"Who's Angel?" Hank asked.
"I'm very sorry for your losses," the man said, sounding choked up all of a sudden. He turned to leave. That threw Hank off completely.
"What do you mean? What losses?"
The man looked back over his shoulder, gave him a look, and for an instant Hank doubted he was even human. He suppressed the feeling seconds later. Of course he was human. What else would he be?
"I'm very sorry for your losses." He turned away again. "Because someone has to be."
Hank never saw that man again. He never found out what he was doing in an alleyway in Spain on a warm spring night. He never found out who or what the man was, or what both of them had apparently lost.
He broke up with Clarissa a few months later when she met a younger, more attractive man. He stayed in Spain, though. He told himself it was because he didn't want the monotony of life in LA or Sunnydale, but he never shook the nagging feeling of guilt that had surfaced that night. He wasn't a man who could face his guilt.
He never found out that his ex-wife and eldest daughter had passed away. He never found out that his youngest daughter didn't even properly exist. He never grieved because he never had a reason to.
On the other side of the world, a lovesick vampire shouldered the grief for him, because someone had to, and there was no one better to do it.