DISCLAIMER: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its characters are the property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By The Last Good Name Left


Buffy knows this beach. She's been here before. It's evening in LA and the light is blinding, but she can't tear her eyes away from the setting sun. It hurts to breathe, it hurts to remember, but it doesn't hurt to burn out her corneas.

She can hear someone approaching behind her, fighting with the sand and swearing softly. Buffy closes her eyes; she knows who that is, and he's dead. She's been here before, and it never ends well.

He stops just beyond her vision, and she hears him slide a cigarette out and flick his lighter. She refuses to turn and look. The first time the lighter doesn't catch — there is a light breeze, and it makes her skirt billow. If she weren't so tired, she'd feel like a character from Passions, wearing something light and white and letting it caress her curves in the wind, what curves she still has. Of course, Spike was pretty bony, too, and there were always bruises; that wasn't quite how it happened in the soaps.

She waits for him to speak, to say something snarky or sage or whatever. Instead, he inhales one, twice, and watches the sun set in silence.

Neither of them move until the sun has set, and even then, Spike doesn't say anything. Buffy doesn't think she's ever heard him be this silent for this long; he loves the sound of his own voice. She feels momentarily bad for thinking that, but the sky and water are too pretty, and she's mourned enough for one day. Besides, he's here and it's her fairytale, so it's all right.

Finally, though, the wind becomes chilly, and she sighs. Back to the grindstone. The thought of a thousand screaming newly called Slayers makes her want to throw herself into Spike's arms and never move — more Passions imagery. Maybe there's a white horse somewhere that they can use to ride away into the just-after sunset. She giggles slightly, and turns to share the joke.

It's not Spike. Buffy stares, completely confused: she doesn't think that Faith knows how to ride a horse.

Faith smiles softly, tosses her cigarette into the sand, and stretches her hand out to Buffy.

"Been a long time since I've seen one of those," Faith says.

Buffy stares at Faith's hand, perplexed.

"I got a tip on a great taco stand. My treat," offers Faith.

Buffy nods absently, but can't move otherwise. She's waiting for the orchestral music, or something; she wants a cue to let her know what's going on.

Faith raises an eyebrow, and Buffy shivers. She's not sure if it's the wind or the look in Faith's eyes, so she blushes and takes Faith's hand. She can feel the heat Faith's pumping out, now that she's standing closer. Perhaps the throwing-herself-into-the-arms thing might work out after all. She is getting cold, or maybe there's another reason for her suddenly perky nipples.

Buffy turns to Faith speculatively. "Do you know how to ride a horse?"

The End

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