Buffy stepped off the platform of the train and headed into the crowded station, eyes scanning for her friend. She finally took a seat and waited, after an hour she called.
“Where the hell are you?!” She snapped when he answered,
“Sorry Buff, me and Jess can’t make it there for another three days.” Her mouth fell open in shock and her fists balled in rage.
“So I was just on a train, a train, Sam, for seven hours for nothing?!” She exclaimed loudly,
“We’re up in Maine, ended up having to get a hotel room, the weather took a seriously bad turn, we’re snowed in until tomorrow night.” Buffy couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She was just stuck on a train for seven hours, five days before her birthday where, he, Sam Winchester, and his amazing girlfriend, were supposed to take her to some fancy ass restaurant and then go clubbing. She had come all the way from California only to get stuck because they were gonna be stuck until her birthday!
“Sam, what the hell am I supposed to do? I only brought enough money to pay for drinks. I barely even have enough to put myself up in a fleabag motel for the night.”
“I… I’ll call Dean.” Buffy’s eyes widen in horror.
“No,” she says. “Sam, the last time I saw your brother he was being taken into a police car.” She recalled the memory from her summer spent with Joyce and Dawn when she was sixteen in Lawrence with her moms family. That’s how she had met Sam, literally bumping into him at the store when she was told they needed more cheese…
“Yeah, and since then, he completed school, got his G.E.D, and joined the army. Buffy he’s… He’s changed. It’ll only be for three days,” she thought about for a minute and sighed.
“Sam, the only things I know about your brother are the fact that he’s ruggedly handsome, a total bad boy, has a criminal record a mile long, and is freshly out of the army on medical discharge and along with that is all his trauma… Is he even safe to be with?”
“Buff, I would not be sending you somewhere where you wouldn’t be safe… Not after what happened with Angel.” She sucked in a breath at the mere mention of his name. She was momentarily back when she had woken up the next morning naked and not remembering how she had gotten into that bed, the way her eyes hadn’t been able to focus. The way her vagina and core had ached… The blood. “Buffy?”
“Yeah… I…” She shook her head, when Sam had found out what Angel had done he had been rip shit. Ready to fly out to Sunnydale and take the fuckers head off. Now, about ten years had passed. Buffy was about to turn twenty seven and she was dreading it… Because on her seventeenth birthday is when he had drugged her. On her seventeenth birthday was when he raped her. And Sam knew all too well that she wasn’t going to be able to handle it by herself.
With Xander having gotten Married to Anya, Willow going to Yale, Dawn all the way across the country in college, and Joyce gone… Buffy truly felt alone. Yeah, she had Giles, but he was currently back in England visiting his remaining family. So, Sam talked it over with Jess and they decided that they would give her an amazing birthday, to prove that the “Bad Birthday Curse” didn’t exist, but the petite blonde was damned sure of it.
“Buffy, I would never put you in harms way like that. And Dean? Our dad would come back from the dead and tear him a new one if he ever hurt you. You’ll be safe, I promise.” She sighed,
“Okay, give him a call.”
“I’ll see you Wednesday,”
“You better… I’m holding you to it, Winchester.” He laughs and hangs up, Buffy is left sitting on a bench, in a horrible smelling train station, getting hit on by creepy old men and equally creepy woman. She had to fight off a few unwanted advances before she spotted him scanning the station for her. The first thing she immediately realized about him was the way the leather jacket that clung to him like it was almost too small. The way his short cropped hair barely hid the scar at the base of his hairline. The way his nose had been broken just so… Perfectly that it made his face even more symmetrical than she could remember from their one and only meeting.
She also realized that he had grown from being ruggedly handsome to just downright hot. But… The bad boy attitude he had seemed to have vanished, she could tell just by the way he carried himself. When he spotted her he spoke into his phone and nodded before disconnecting the call and heading over to her.
“You must be Buffy,”
“We’ve actually met before. About ten years ago during the summer…”
“Oh… You were the one who called the cops,” he said with guilty eyes. As he stepped closer she could faintly smell cigarette smoke on him, she guessed that would be his way of handling the weight of what he must have seen while deployed.
“Thank you,” he said sincerely. “What you did that day… Hell, I hated you for it… But it turned my life around, so thanks.” She smiled sweetly,
“Well, that’s what I do, it’s all comes with the name “Buffy.” Inadvertently turning peoples lives around for over a decade.” She stated,
“Alright, we got about an hours drive back to my place, we should get out of here.” She went to reach for her bags but he scooped them up and she shrugged before falling into step behind him. The way he carried himself… It all seemed different. He seemed almost lost in a way. The deep engraved sorrow she saw dancing behind his brilliant green eyes was just an indicator to the horrible things he must have seen.
The ride to his house wasn’t filled with silence, it was filled with classic rock before he decided he needed a drink. By this time so did she. Buffy was not an uncultured woman, he was thoroughly surprised when recognized most of his collection. Even more surprised when she had sung along to the lyrics to “Carry On My Wayward Son” by Kansas. What surprised him the most was when she did air guitar with the song.
But one could only listen to the blaring noise of classic rock for so long before getting a headache… And she decided that a shot of tequila wouldn’t hurt a thing. When they walked into the bar people’s heads turned at the newcomers. Older men, bikers, and some just plain farm workers were eyeing her like she was a piece of meat. A few cat-called, but an older woman stepped out from behind the bar.
“Larry, you even so much as talk to that girl I’ll blow your head off,” she threatened. Buffy smiled gratefully at the woman who nodded at her before walking up to the bar with Dean.
“What do you want?” Dean asked in a low voice that sent shivers down her spine.
“I was gonna go with tequila… But drunk Buffy needs to stay locked in a cage… Hell, I’m feeling rebellious, IPA.” She said, he nodded and ordered one for her and a different draft beer she had seen commercials for and that looked oddly familiar. Then it rushed back to her… Right before Sam had met Jess… Does sex really bring people closer together as friends? Because on her twenty first birthday she and Sam had gotten incredibly drunk and had fallen into bed with each other… One thing led to another and here they were, almost six years later, best of friends and not an ounce of sexual tension between them.
“Why are you looking at my beer like that?” Dean asked, she chuckled.
“Realizing why I haven’t had that beer in six years,” she stated with a laugh. The woman from behind the bar was eyeing Dean and she motioned him to come to her with a stern look on her face. He sighed and got up.
“Dean,” she said.
“The hell you doing with a girl like that? She looks the type you take her home and the next morning she’ll wake up expecting a relationship.”
“She’s Sammy’s best friend. He got snowed in up in Maine, so she’s staying with me until he gets back.” He answered with a shrug, “and I’m… Ellen a lot has changed with me in the last two years… That’s not me any more. Jo forgave me, I just hope you can too.” He arrived back at the table and Buffy had heard enough to know that the change may be recent his words held true. There wasn’t an ounce innuendo when he spoke to her, no alternate meanings behind anything he had said to her.
“So…” She began, he looked just as uncomfortable as she did. Making small talk with strangers was easy enough in passing, but spending half an hour in a car with him and then couple that with the fact that they’d be living together for the next three days was enough to cause an air of awkwardness.
“So…” He echoed, she thought of something to say.
“You ever think of going to college?” The look on his face said it all. “Sorry… That… That was a dumb question.” She mumbled,
“No, it wasn’t… I… I guess I never really thought about it, you know? I didn’t even think I’d make it as long as I did. Back when you first new me, I thought my life was gonna end with a needle in my arm in some shitty motel with Celine Dion playing in the background.” She cracked a small smile even though his voice was serious he couldn’t help but smile back.
“But now… Now all I’ve got to my name is a G.E.D, a dog tag and title as one of the best sharpshooters in the world… Not much to put on a college application.” She shrugged,
“Well… I still managed to get in and this coming from a girl that burned down a school gym and then tried to kill one of her teachers because she smoked laced weed before going into school that day…” She trailed off, eyes widening as she realized she had said that to all but a stranger… But was he really that much of a stranger? He was one of her best friend’s older brother. “Wow… I never even told Sam that…” She said in a far away voice.
“You’re secret is safe with me, sweetheart.” She glared at him, “what?”
“You just called me “sweetheart,” what do you mean what?” She asked with another icy glare. Dean had seen some pretty scary things but the little blonde in front of him was in league all of her own. She had… Well, everything he’d ever want in a woman. Funny, cute, smart, sassy, witty, snarky, and above all, she was smoking hot. When he found himself thinking these thoughts he tried to shake them off. But it was hard not to think like that if you asked him.
“Sorry…” He trailed off, they finished their drinks in almost relative silence. Buffy stole glances of him every now and then, just appreciating his company.
By the time they pulled up to the large apartment complex she would say she had found a friend in Dean. He was witty, kind, handsome, laid back and all at the same time had an air about him that was just pleasant. She walked into the apartment and almost wondered how someone with no job could pay for such a huge place but she assumed that he didn’t, she made the reasonable assumption that person who paid for it was most likely his big shot lawyer baby brother. She looked at the pictures that were on the mantle.
She noticed one that looked a tad more recent. It was of him, a beautiful woman and a young boy that looked a lot like him. Then she noticed the ring box that had collected dust.
“Who’s this?” She asked before she could stop herself. He looked over and sighed.
“Uh… Back in high school, I dated a girl named Lisa, got her pregnant… That’s her and my son Ben. Second to last time I was home we ended up getting back together because she saw how I was changing… Two years on her birthday I was ready to propose and…” A tear slipped past his lashes, “uh, she got shot going out to her car to bring Ben to her parents…”
“I’m so sorry, I shouldn’t have asked. Is Be-“
“Living in Palm Beach with his grandparents.” He said, “uh… I’m gonna call it a night. The guest bedroom is ready, there’s a TV in there if you don’t go right to sleep.” She nods and watches as he retreats to his bedroom, his shoulders bobbed as he got into the doorway and she could tell her was crying.
“Hey,” Sam answered when Buffy called. Not being able to sleep was definitely a bad thing and this was brought on by her incredibly guilty conscience.
“I suck,” she began.
“Because I asked Dean about a picture on the mantle and he started crying the second his back was turned and now I feel like a huge bitch.” He sighed,
“Buffy, Lisa… That was almost two years ago, but he loved her. He was just starting to build a relationship with Ben and now the Braeden’s won’t let Ben see him… It… He really went a little hey wire after that. Drinking again, different girl every night.” She nodded though he couldn’t see it, “but… Then it just stopped one day, he kinda dropped off the face of the planet for about a month and then he turned up on our moms doorstep basically with nowhere to go because of he was living with Lisa and now he’s just… Dean.”
“Sam, I feel horrible. He didn’t sound angry or anything but I feel like I really hurt him asking that.” Buffy flicked off the TV deciding she was in no mood to be watching Seinfeld reruns.
“You didn’t, all you did was make his “boys don’t cry” attitude shatter.” Sam said, “look, it’s three in the morning, go to sleep you insomniac.”
“You’re one to talk, you actually answered on the second ring,” she laughed. “So…”
“I’m gonna propose to her,” Sam blurted out. Buffy grinned,
“Tomorrow night, the hotel has a pretty fancy place in it…” She could hear all the nerves and anxiety in his voice when he spoke those words.
“Sam Winchester you listen to me. If Alexander Harris, the most socially awkward person I have ever met can propose to the most blunt and sometimes rude lady I have ever met than you, Mr. Bigshot, can propose to Jess.”
“Thanks Buffy, I needed that.”
“It’s what friends are for,” she answered.
Buffy woke at around ten, the smells of breakfast wafted through the apartment. She yawned and stretched before getting out of bed and getting ready for the day. She had begun to strip when there was a knock at the door.
“You alive in there?” Dean asked,
“Yeah, I’ll be out in a minute!” She called before rushing to get ready. She opened the door and headed to the bathroom across the hall and ran a brush through her hair before brushing her teeth. She walked into the kitchen and almost immediately found a mug of coffee in her hands.
“Are you God?” She asked in a tired voice,
“Been called it before, princess.” She rolled her eyes,
“Someone is feeling self-absorbed this morning,” she remarked, he cracked a smile.
“Well, this self-absorbed guy just made you breakfast.” He put a plate in front of her, it was piled high with bacon, eggs, sausage, French toast… This man was adorable, funny, snarky, kind, hot as hell, and could cook. If he had a nerdy side he might just be the one.
“Wow…” She said looking at the plate, she cut into the French toast and took a bite and moaned. “Holy shit,” she said with a mouthful. Dean couldn’t help but smile at her.
“Like it that much?”
“Yes!” She exclaimed, “you should open a factory. A French toast factory and market this. You’d make millions Winchester.” She said before taking another bite, he laughed and she gave him a look that basically said “I’m serious.”
“Well there’s an idea,” he said with a low chuckle. He gave her an almost appraising glance and she felt her cheeks heat up. Here goes nothing he thought. “Hey… Wanna go out tonight?” Buffy almost choked but swore she would not and made a show of grabbing her coffee. “Wow, okay.”
“No, I’m sorry!” She exclaimed trying not to die of sheer embarrassment. “I just wasn’t expecting that.” She said in an honest voice. “But I’d love to.”
Night rolled around quickly. Dean had run out to grab something and she was just sitting in her room. She didn’t want to call Sam so she called Willow to get her advice.
“Wills!” She exclaimed into her phone,
“Buffy! I miss you,”
“I miss you too, Willow. I need help.” She explained how she was staying with Dean because Sam got snowed in then she began to explain her problem. “He asked me out this morning, Wills. Is it a date? Like, a date date? Or is it a “lets go out as friends”? Because I really think it is a date date.”
“Buffy, calm down.” Willow said, “I think it is a “date date” as you put it. And… I think you should give him a chance.”
“Buffy, you listen to me.” She could just about picture Willow’s resolve face. “You haven’t been with anyone since Parker. If he’s as different as Sam says then go for it.”
“Hey, Sammy.” Dean said when his little brother picked up, he was standing in front of the building smoking a cigarette.
“Uh… I need some advice man.” Dean said,
“About Buffy.” Dean began, Sam could tell just by the sound of his brothers voice where this conversation was headed.
“Dean, Buffy doesn’t need your baggage. I get that you’ve changed, a lot, but-“
“Sammy, this could really be something… Please,” Sam sighed.
“Fine… What do you need?”
“Anything, something!” Dean exclaimed,
“Well, take her to the movies and make sure it isn’t an action movie because she will point out holes in the fighting styles. Go either romcom or horror.”
“Thanks man,” Dean said before hanging up. He stubbed out the cigarette and tossed it before going back up. Buffy was standing waiting for him.
“Where are we going?”
"We’re going to the movies… What do you wanna see? I was thinking either that new Sandra Bullock one or the one about the doll.” He likes romcoms?! She smiled,
“Let’s do the one about the doll.”
They arrived at the theater and Dean paid for everything.
“You’re a sinner,” he said looking at the package of chocolate covered raisins
“Hey, don’t knock ‘em till you try ‘em.” She shot back,
“And I have tried them, I’d rather be burned alive than have to watch you eat those things.” She smiled,
“You’re dramatic,” she then eyed the movie theater nachos. “And you’re one to talk, that cheese is like a molecule away from being plastic.” He rolled his eyes and put a dollop of cheese on her nose. Her eyes went wide and he smirked. “Oh you’ve done it,” she threatened. “I know where you sleep. I know where you live,” he rolled his eyes and cleaned her nose off with the napkin and she blushed.
“Better?” They walk into the theater and got pretty much the best seats in the house. Dean didn’t do the thing where he put his arm around her shoulder, she didn’t play the “I’m cold” card either. But halfway through the movie she had her head buried in his neck.
“It’s not that scary,” he whispered.
“Yes it is, not all of us are battle hardened. A doll that is killing children is pretty damn scary,” she whined. He put two fingers under her chin and lifted it so her eyes would meet his.
“Want me to chase away the scary?” He asked, Buffy could only nod and his lips pressed lightly against hers in a short kiss that stole her breath. When he pulled back he smiled at her, “still scared?” She shook her head and they both turned back to the movie. His arm had found its way around her shoulder at some point during the last half of the movie and she was reveling in this feeling… Now there was the problem that she was only going to be able to stay in Kansas for another two weeks and now it dawned on her with sudden horror that she was slowly falling for the man she had known for a day and a half.
What if we decide to become a couple? What if things actually start working with us and then I have to go back to school?! All these thoughts swirled around her head as she looked up at him, he was too engrossed in the movie to see her staring, so she took a deep breath and looked back at the screen and jumped when she saw the mother of the only surviving child claw her way out of a shallow grave.
They arrived back at the apartment and she sat on the couch in the living room, it wasn’t even ten o’clock yet and Dean decided on steak for dinner. Before he went into the kitchen she grabbed his arm.
“Thanks for taking me, I had an amazing time.” She said, he smiled.
“No problem… Wanna go out again tomorrow?”
“Yes,” she smiled. He nodded and turned in the door way to the kitchen, a very boyish grin on his face.
“Alright, I’m gonna throw dinner together.” She nodded and retreated to the guest bedroom and called Sam.
“Hey,” he answered.
“Hey!” She said cheerily, he knew that voice, and if Dean’s phone call earlier was any indication, she had an amazing time. “So…”
“Spit it out,” he said with a laugh.
“Dean took me out.” She began, “and not as friends but on an official movie date, we even shared a jumbo popcorn.” She told him,
“I know,” he laughed. “Dean called me earlier.” Her eyes widened,
“What? Why?” He laughed again, picturing her wide eyed and horrified expression.
“Because he didn’t want the date to be a total flop. And I’m assuming it wasn’t,” there was a pause. After about a minute she spoke,
“He kissed me,” she whispered. “Sam, we weren’t even an hour into the movie and he kissed me, and I let him. Am I easy?”
“No, you are the furthest thing from… Buffy, I love my brother to death, and yes, he has changed… But he still has a lot of shit to work on, not to mention you live in California… Are… Are you sure you want this?” Did she? Sam had just pointed out the two biggest things on the forefront of her mind. Dean had a lot of issues, not to mention she lived a good day an half away by car… Did she want this?
“Sammy… I don’t know, I really don’t know. He asked me out again for tomorrow and I said yes.” He sighed,
“Look, Buff. You’re almost twenty seven, I can’t tell you what you can and can’t do, so do what makes you happy. If you want to date my bother, date him… Just be careful, he has a lot of issues and the man is too stubborn to actually see a therapist.” She sighed,
“Thanks Sam, and…” She began prodding him about the details, if he had proposed yet. He sighed,
“I’m getting cold feet here.” A call beeped in, she didn’t recognize the number.
“One second,” she switched over the call. “Hello?”
“Jess, hi!” She exclaimed, “what’s up?”
“Uh… I think Sam is gonna leave me.” She began with a sad voice. “He’s been acting weird all day and almost avoiding me and I don’t know what to do.” Buffy sighed poor girl, she thought.
“He’s not leaving you, honey. I know him better than he knows himself… Look, I’ll talk to him if you want?”
“Hold on someone is on the other line, I will be right back. Where are you right now?”
“Standing out on a snow covered balcony so Sammy can’t hear me.”
“Stay where you are,” Buffy clicked back over to her call with Sam. “Sam Winchester you listen to me right now. Jess is on the other line terrified that you are going to leave her because you’ve been acting weird and avoiding her all day. She is on the balcony right now waiting for me to get back on the line with her. So you are going to march your ass out there and get on one knee, you understand me?”
“Okay…” He hung up and she clicked back over,
“I’m still here, I don’t know what to do Buff.”
“Listen, Sam isn’t leaving you,” in the background she heard Sam say Jess’s name and then she heard a small sob followed by a yes. Buffy smiled and hung up, walking back out into the living room she looked at his display of movies. She flipped through them and when she saw Lord of The Rings, all in their extended editions she looked into the kitchen where she could hear him softly singing to himself. He was a nerd. This was a deal breaker for her. She put the first part of the Fellowship in and turned on the TV and waited. He came in with two plates and set them down before going into the kitchen and retrieving two glasses of wine.
“You’re such a nerd,” Buffy commented. He looked confused until she pointed to the boxset. “And I like that, so we are watching all of these and are not going to sleep until it is done, you understand me?” He nodded with a smile. They began the movie and ate in silence. Buffy noticed for one thing that the wine paired perfectly with the steak and she had to wonder what else she didn’t know about this man. Had to wonder where he learned to cook, how he knew what type of wine was best served with what.
He already had so much personality that she expected there was nothing new to learn about him after the night before but now… Now she found another side of Dean, one that was a nerd, one that was an excellent cook, and one that obviously liked her enough that he called her best friend for advice. About half way through the two hour long first part of the movie she had leaned against him.
“Hey,” he said looking down at her. She just snuggled against him and continued to watch, when he began reciting lines word for word she knew she was a goner. When it was time to put the second disk in he looked down at her and chuckled when he saw her asleep. He sighed and turned the TV off before picking her up and carrying her to the room she was staying. One handed he moved the blanket and sheet down before placing her in the bed before leaning down and pulling the covers over her.