Buffy vaulted over a tombstone. It was something she’d done so many times she could do it no matter how tired she was. It certainly helped in this instance because her mind definitely wasn’t on the fight. The vamp avoided her blows and she pressed on with her attack.
Dawn had been acting up again. A big surprise to no one, but it still meant extra work for Buffy and an extra tired Slayer come patrol.
Her mom wasn’t in any position to help with Dawn. She was still recovering from her surgery and Buffy tried as hard as possible not to worry her. It was the same old story and song. Buffy couldn’t do what she wanted because she had to help everyone around her. But this time it wasn’t everyone around her, it was her family. It was slightly different when it wasn’t the world that was in chaos, just her life. Oh yeah, and there was a hell god after her sister.
The vamp decided to get innovative and started throwing tombstones at her.
“Funny thing about tombstones,” she said as she dodged, “they take a lot of time to throw.”
The vamp was busy uprooting another one and didn’t even see the stake coming.
Buffy brushed dust off her clothes. The cemetery was pretty dead that night and she could use a bath. She cut across the northwest corner of graves and jumped over the wall.
She almost landed on Spike.
“What are you doing!” she shrieked at him, annoyed that she hadn’t sensed him there.
“Dropped by your house,” he said in that cocky, annoying voice of his. “Your mates were all in a tizzy over some sort of squabble. Decided you might need some help.”
“You wanted to help me out of the goodness of your cold, unbeating heart?”
“Something like that. What, shocked, Slayer? Next time I’ll find my violence elsewhere.” Spike started to stalk off indignantly.
Buffy sighed. For some reason taunting Spike wasn’t fun anymore. In fact, it hadn’t been fun for a long time. Especially when he was the only one who didn’t nag her about her responsibilities. He was just there. There to block a stray punch or keep the fight even. She wasn’t sure why, but he was the one constant in her crazy, supernatural soap opera.
“Wait.” He didn’t stop and she tried again. “Spike, I’m…I’m sorry, okay? I’m just tense and you startled me.”
“Supposed to be all alert and such, yeah?” he said coming back.
“Don’t make me kick your ass,” she said calmly. “Walk me back to the house. Dawn’s probably still up and even though she should be in bed already, you’re the only one she will even contemplate going to bed for.”
“Admit it, you need me.”
“Don’t push me. You’re not stake fodder. Be happy.”
“Wouldn’t be fun to stake me now. No fight in it, no challenge. Get the chip out and then we could have a real go around.”
Buffy didn’t like the idea much. Yes, she liked fighting with Spike. But she’d rather have him fighting demons with her than trying to kill her. She couldn’t handle any more stress in her life and he was too engrained in her daily routine to remove that easily. Spike was also, surprisingly, the record holder of getting his teeth into her neck and having something else stop the drainage. Who knew if she would be as lucky next time around?
“You let me know when the day comes.”
Something bright flashed in Buffy’s eyes. She yelled at Spike to get down. Her own voice sounded far off to her and she could almost see her body crumple to the ground and feel herself floating away.
Veronica uploaded the pictures onto her laptop. It had been another top notch night of sordid photography from the locked doors of her car on a bright, well lit street in a nice neighborhood, and she was especially proud of her results. She couldn’t wait to show them to her dad.
Yawning, she looked at the clock. Her dad was out of town or there was no way she would have been allowed to stay at the office this late. Unfortunately, now she was stuck. As much as she could take care of herself, even just walking to her car could get her in trouble. The town wasn’t safe anymore.
Picking up the phone she dialed a familiar number.
“I was going to kick your ass if I’d gotten an inspirational message.”
“Hmmm, might be interesting. Let’s see if I can’t come up with one.”
“I’m tired. Come and take me home.”
“You know what this means, Veronica?”
“You need me.”
“You’ll need something else if you don’t hurry and get over here.”
“Ten minutes, my sweet.”
Veronica hung up the phone and gathered her stuff together. She turned off all the lights and locked the doors, but stayed inside the building.
She watched the street because as much as it wasn’t safe for anyone, it was doubly unsafe for Logan. The town either hated him or loved him. It didn’t seem to matter much why and the constant wear on him and her was slowly getting to her.
She didn’t regret her decision to stand by him. She still believed him. But his reaction to the hatred and division was something she didn’t agree with. She was starting to believe she was going to have to do something drastic about it.
But it didn’t change the fact that she was drawn to him, ached for his company and knew no one who so well suited her own quirks and sass. She just wished circumstances weren’t so down in the town of Neptune.
Logan pulled up to the street and she quickly got into the car. He drove off at top speed. He didn’t linger anywhere since their drive by shooting the week before.
“Long day at the office, sweetheart?”
“Bringing home lots of bacon.”
“It’s nice to know someone works for their living.”
“It’s nice to know some people get to sit back and enjoy all the other people who work.”
“Shall we get down and dirty with our quips this evening, Miss Mars?”
“Why are you so happy all the time?”
“I’m not,” he said, as if startled by her sudden question and lapse into serious conversation.
“You act like nothing bothers you. Everything’s a joke. Then you flare up and something bad happens around us.”
“I didn’t ask for any of this, Veronica.”
“I know.” She reached over and took his hand. “Believe me, I know. But I just don’t understand what you’re doing with it.”
“I’m not used to open hatred. Silent, hidden rages are more my child hood training. You laugh those off.”
“They’re not laughable,” she said sharply. It still ached inside when she thought about what Aaron had done to him.
“That’s over,” he said softly.
He looked touched by her sudden concern. She knew he’d probably felt her growing more distant lately. But in typical Logan fashion he obviously didn’t know what to do about it and it seemed to cause him a lot of headaches, like he was wondering how to keep her close when it seemed all she wanted to do was run away.
Not that she could blame him when she had absolutely no idea what the answers were herself.
It was a pointless invitation because she knew he was going to walk her to her door anyway. It wouldn’t be safe not to. But she pulled him inside, clutching and burning with energy and need. He responded in like kind.
So much hate surrounded them and they both had a desire to keep some form of positive feeling alive. They couldn’t put it into words as yet. Veronica would never dream of using the word love and Logan would only have said it in his dreams. But they felt it and their lips and hands communicated what their words could not.
Veronica suddenly felt woozy, like something was pulling her apart. She cried out and fell to the floor. Logan caught her before she hit and smoothed back her hair. Her eyes were open, staring.