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Death is Easy…Living is Hard

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“Not only are these knives the sharpest of their kind, but they have a lifetime guarantee!” the woman on the Home Shopping Network trilled in excitement. She granted the television audience with a winning smile, but it looked awkward. Too straight, too white. Almost inhuman.

Inhuman, Buffy snorted. Kinda like her. Like how Buffy couldn’t buy those knives and expect a lifetime guarantee…not considering her lifetime was forever.

Well, unless she died in battle. Otherwise, Buffy was immortal.


She sighed heavily and stirred more sugar into her coffee. It was eight at night and she was stuck at yet another rest stop – this time in the Tri-Cities, Washington; her final destination. Since the revelation on the condition of her mortality, Buffy had been joyriding across the country.

Or more like ‘somber’-riding, considering she was feeling less than joyful.

“Here’s your fries and burger,” the waitress said softly as she set the plate in front of Buffy; softly like she was afraid of the slayer. Likely Buffy was exuding some bad juju due to her dark thoughts, so Buffy pushed them to the side for the moment. She was hungry and there was food to eat.

Fifteen minutes later Buffy paid her tab and ambled out of the diner. It was late and she had yet to find a place to stay, but she wasn’t particularly worried. There was something calling her, urging her to keep walking, and avoid the adventure of finding a nearby hotel.

That ‘something’ had never been clearly defined by Buffy. It was just this feeling that settled in her gut, heightened her senses, and sent enough adrenaline coursing through her veins to make her feel uneasy. It was the Call to Hunt, more or less.

And after twenty-nine years of being the slayer, Buffy had learned to listen to her instincts. So she walked.

The waxing moon rose higher in the sky, nearly full and easily illuminating the surrounding area. Buffy was grateful for the extra light to hunt in but grunted in annoyance that it also made it harder for her to blend into the shadows.

Walking down the street from the diner, Buffy took in the storefronts of locally owned shops, including a coffee place, salon, and used book store. This side of town was kind of cute, she thought as her hazel eyes took in the small-town look of the place. It reminded her of Sunnydale – well, not the gaping hole it was now but how it used to look when she was a teenager.

A wistful smile crossed her face. She missed the Bronze and hanging out with Xander, Willow, (and hell) even Cordelia. Those were simple times.

Her gut clenched at the thought of Xander and Buffy forced herself not to cry one more goddamn tear.

Yes, those were definitely simpler times, she thought with a bitter smile.

After some time Buffy heard a noise down the block, the scuffling of several pairs of feet and the hissing sound that she had come to associate with vampires. That special something in her chest tightened, as their presence became known to her. Buffy’s legs leapt forward as she began to race soundlessly down the sidewalk. A car repair shop came into view. Its parking lot was dimly lit with a fading light and several vehicles cluttered the area – and effectively obstructed her view. A sharp cry rang out, a woman’s cry, and Buffy increased her speed.

It felt good, running like this. Slaying was the only constant in Buffy’s life, for better or for worse. At least, she opined silently, it made her feel alive during a time in her life when grief always waited in the wings.

Pulling the stake from her jeans, Buffy’s sharp eyes took in the sight of four nasty forehead-wrinkly vamps and a lone girl. The girl was taller than Buffy (not that it said much) with long dark hair and deep brown eyes that glittered under the moon’s light. Tattoos adorned her body, but they somehow fit the girl. She dressed like a mechanic, with dirty jeans and a stained green t-shirt, so Buffy figured she worked here.

“Crossed bones means your life is forfeit. You have no protection, girl,” one of the vampires, a blond guy with enough hair gel to put Angel to shame, cackled.

“I am mate to the Alpha of the Columbia River Pack,” she snapped back, anger (surprisingly not fear) flooding her voice. “And Marsilia absolved me of guilt last night. The cross will be removed by morning.”

The four vampires shared similar smiles. “By morning we’ll be in Seattle, werewolf bitch. Not our fault the vampires here were too slow for some spring cleaning,” a red-haired woman grinned. She reached out to grab the girl’s arm, but the girl blocked it with a rush of speed that surprised Buffy, and then she crushed the vampire’s nose with the heel of her hand.

For a second Buffy wasn’t quite sure what was going on. The werewolves had come out of the closet last year (and the fae twenty years before that, thanks to the threat of an army of slayers and a tricky situation) so she supposed it shouldn’t be so weird to hear it talked about in the open…but then again this wasn’t exactly ‘open’, was it?

The girl had managed to inflict some pain on the other vamps, but she didn’t have a stake and the odds were against her. Quickly the girl was captured, her back to the blond vamp as he eyed her neck.

“Hey!” Buffy’s voice rang out into the night, shattering the illusion that this was going to be easy for the bad guys.

They turned to her, and dismissed her after a quick sniff. “Not werewolf,” one, an eighties punk styled vamp, snorted in disdain.

Buffy let out a huff of irritation and stalked up to them, knowing she needed to keep their attention on her. “Yeah, not a werewolf,” she said with a roll of her hazel eyes. Then a sudden grin tugged at her lips as she let herself play – her last slay had been far too long ago, after all. “I’m something worse than the Big Bag Wolf.”

The punk vamp scanned her with yellow skeptical eyes. “Doesn’t smell like a wolf and not a vampire,” he told his brethren.

Buffy took notice of the girl watching her with a penetrating stare. Recognition of some sort flashed in her dark eyes – she may not know what Buffy was, but she knew she was something Other. With a slight nod of her head – Buffy assumed the girl was a werewolf and would pick up on subtle body language – she gestured towards the vamp behind the girl. The two of them could manage these four weak vamps easily.

Punk vamp turned to her again. “Smells human,” he commented, his voice twisted in confusion, as if he couldn’t understand why a petite human girl would confront terrifying creatures of the night.

Oh, sigh.

Smiling grimly at his statement, she replied in an irritable voice. “Actually, I’m not. Not anymore.”

Then the stake in her hand flashed – near her waist one moment and in the punk vamp's heart the next. Dust exploded over them all, thanks to the damn breeze that had picked up, and the other vampires snarled as they rushed towards her. Fortunately, the girl had been expected the distraction and she quickly took on the one vamp that had been holding her, while Buffy killed the other two. When she was done, she tossed the girl the stake and she easily dispatched the remaining vamp.

As the dust cleared (literally), the two women just stared at each other. Finally, the other girl broke eye contact and gestured towards the ground. “In my experience you have to set them on fire to get them to die.”

Buffy’s lips quirked up a notch. “You a slayer I haven’t heard about?” Her question, however, wasn’t serious. Buffy knew each and every one of the slayers – regardless if she had ever met them before or not. They were all in her head, closed off unless she opened the bond she had with them.

The girl – although Buffy probably shouldn’t call her that. The woman was in her late twenties…but apparently now that Buffy was freaking forty-four years old, everyone seemed like a youngin’.

Anyways, the woman smiled at her comment, but it was an unsure smile that carried numerous questions with it. “Slayer?” she queried.

“Slayer,” Buffy confirmed. “Werewolf?”

The maybe-werewolf’s evasive eyes turned towards the garage behind them, and then back on Buffy. “Walker, actually.” There was a bit of an apology behind the statement, as if she was asked this question often and felt like she was supposed to be a werewolf.

“Walker?” Buffy thought that sounded familiar…Native American, she decided. Glancing at the woman she noticed that her features were more Anglo than Native, but her skin was dark and her very-straight black hair had that beautiful shine to it that the indigenous peoples of America were blessed with. At first she had appeared Latina, but apparently not.

“Wait,” Buffy said quickly as her stance turned more defensive. “Aren’t Walkers black-magic mamba jamba people?”

The woman gave her a dry smile. “I’m not one of those, but it’s the only name I know for me. I turn into a coyote.”

Weird. Trust Buffy to land in a city that had werewolves, vamps, and a freaking coyote. Not to mention the fae had a reservation just ten miles away – god, she hoped she didn’t run into any of them. “Okay then.” Which it was – okay, that is. Buffy was pretty much a total freak herself, so what did it matter?

“Well, I appreciate your help,” the woman said quickly after she glanced at her watch. “But I have a date and still have to scrub all the dirt out from underneath my nails.” She paused. “You need a lift anywhere?”

The realization that this woman had a date and things to do settled oddly into Buffy’s mind. It was like, yet again, she was an observer of life – others carried on their human actions, simple things like dates, while she had no connection. It made her sad, but she quickly waved away the useless emotion. There was no way she was going to treat her immortality like Angel and be a brooding broodster.

“Nah, I’m good,” Buffy smiled, a bright cheerful one, like how she used to back when she was just ‘Anne’ and worked as a waitress.

“Okay then, see you,” the Walker said quickly as she went to a VW Bug. It seemed like she was waiting for Buffy to leave before she vacated the premises, so Buffy did. She didn’t know anything about coyotes but they were like dogs and thus they were likely territorial.

Buffy was silent as she walked back to the diner to get her car. It was only now, away from the Walker, that her words sunk in a bit more. She was the mate to the werewolf Alpha. That was interesting.

Well, at least she would have something to talk to Oz about tomorrow at lunch.

…that is, if they got tired of discussing how to deal with immortality first.