The Last Bus Out Of Hell
By Maquis Leader
No stop signs, speed limit
Nobody's gonna slow me down
Like a wheel, gonna spin it
Nobody's gonna mess me 'round
Hey Satan, paid my dues
Playing in a rocking band
Hey Momma, look at me
I'm on my way to the promised land
~ AC/DC, Highway To Hell
Author’s note: After Chosen
The remaining girls were all settled. Two had died of their wounds, and another was barely hanging on. They’d left behind at least ten, either dead or too wounded to carry out in the mad scramble to escape the collapsing of the Hellmouth.
Xander was sleeping, having cried himself out in Willow’s arms once the shock had worn off and Anya’s death had hit him like a baseball bat in the face. Kennedy sat across the aisle, jealousy coloring her face as she watched her lover cradle and kiss Xander.
Giles was driving the big yellow bus as fast as was safely possible. Several of the girls needed medical attention, as did Wood. The man wasn’t complaining, but Faith had walked up the narrow aisle to tell Giles that the sword wound was still bleeding. The bus had been coaxed to go faster.
Buffy closed her eyes and let the swaying rock her to sleep. She had just slipped into a gentle drowse, dreaming of strong arms, soft cool lips, and the familiar tingle in the pit of her belly, when Dawn shrieked. Instantly, she was awake and alert. “What’s wrong?”
“Oh my God! Oh my God!” Dawn ran to one of the bus windows and pulled it down. “Look!”
Buffy pulled herself up out of the seat. She was tired, and if the First had followed them, she wasn’t sure she could fight it. Wait… The tingle in her belly was still there, and she knew before she looked out the window that it was –
“Angel!” Dawn leaned out the window and waved.
There was a honk from the black convertible pacing alongside the bus.
“Angel!” She turned to grab at her sister’s shirt. “Buffy, look! Hey, Angel!”
Buffy looked out the window at the car. Black tinted windows hid him from her, but she knew Angel was looking at her. She could feel his eyes on her. It was no surprise that he was there to meet them on the way out of Sunnydale. The surprise was that he hadn't been just on the other side of the city limits sign.
“Angel!” Dawn was practically hanging out the bus window now.
“Dawn, he can’t exactly roll the window down and wave.” Buffy pulled her sister back inside the bus. “You’re going to fall out.”
When she leaned out the window, the Plymouth’s lights flashed at her. Flashed again and again. She smiled and waved.
“My gut feels funny.” One of the girls said.
“Mine, too.” Another of the girls rubbed her belly. “Maybe we ate something bad?”
“Oh God.” Amy clutched at her stomach. “Maybe it’s my period?”
Buffy grinned and shook her head as she walked up the aisle to the front of the bus. The older the vamp, the stronger the spidey sense, and Angel was two hundred and fifty years old. Well, they’ll learn soon enough. She brushed a hand over Willow’s shoulder, meeting the reddened eyes for a moment, and then she stroked Xander’s dark hair before moving on.
The bus slowed and eased over onto the shoulder with Angel’s car close behind. Buffy stepped off the bus and walked back to where the Plymouth purred at a steady idle, like a house cat sitting on a sunny windowsill. The passenger door swung open as she reached it.
“Need a lift?”
“I dunno, you might be a rapist or something.” She looked in to see Angel sitting in the darkened interior.
“You can hope.” A slight smile lifted his lips.
“Angel!” Dawn barreled past Buffy and dove into the car.
Angel grunted as she crashed into him. “Dawn, still throwing yourself at strange men?”
“Oh God, Angel! Anya’s dead and Becky and Nicole and Sasha!” She clutched at his jacket, digging her fingers into the leather. “And Spike!”
Angel looked at Buffy over her sister’s head. When she nodded, he wrapped his arms tighter around Dawn. Despite his dislike – okay, hate – for Spike, he knew that Dawn had cared for him. “I’m sorry, Dawn. But he saved everyone. You have to look at it that way.”
“I know.” She pressed her cheek against his. “But it hurts, make it stop!”
“He saved you, and he wouldn’t want you to be sad.” He rubbed a hand up and down her back. “Well, actually he would – he was terribly self centered.”
There was an urgent honk from the big yellow bus, and Buffy patted Dawn on the back. “Go on, tell Giles we’ll meet him at the hospital.”
“Love you, Angel.” Dawn gave him a fierce hug and a quick kiss on the cheek.
She wasn’t real. Had been created from mystical power and planted into their lives complete with false memories. And Angel didn’t love her any less for all of that. “I love you too, brat.” He brushed a kiss across her temple and cheek.
Buffy gave her sister a quick hug as Dawn crawled out of the car. “Go watch the troops.”
Sliding into the car, Buffy shut the door. She was immediately enfolded in strong arms and Angel’s cool lips came down on hers in a hard, hungry kiss. His tongue lapped at her mouth, sliding in to taste and possess her.
“Oh, nice…” She panted when he let her breathe. “So, I guess you’re glad to see me?”
“Very.” He gave her another soft kiss before letting go.
As the Plymouth eased back into the flow of traffic, Buffy settled herself against Angel’s side. Nuzzling along his neck, she sighed. “You smell good.”
“You always smell good.” She took a deep breath of Angel air. “Nice and earthy.” She frowned. “In the good, fresh sense. Not the just-crawled-out-of-the-grave sense.”
“I knew what you meant.” He put his arm around her shoulder and pulled her tighter against his side.
“Do I smell good?”
“You always smell good, too.” Actually, right now Buffy smelled like blood and sweat and a few things he didn’t want to think about, all overlaid with vanilla. Even Angelus was urging him to stop and dunk her in the nearest pool of water and scrub her off. Preferably naked. “Always.”
“Do I smell – “ She swallowed a big lump of fear and nerves. “Like cookies?”
The Plymouth protested as it was jerked to the side of the road, the tires squealing angrily on the pavement and the brakes smoking. The chocolate eyes were wide as he threw the car into park and turned to her. “Cookies? Are you – “
“I love – “ His lips on hers cut off the rest of her words. One big hand tangled into her hair and held her so that his tongue could thrust ruthlessly in and out of her mouth. The other hand splayed across her back, pulling her tightly to his chest.
Air became an issue, for her at least, and Buffy pushed at Angel’s shoulders until he broke the kiss. “Okay – okay – you’re happy then?”
“Safely so.” He caught her bottom lip in his teeth and bit down gently, but firmly.
Her lip stung, but it thrilled her that Angel was still so possessive. The thrill was bypassed by the bolt of pure desire that shot through her body as his teeth bit into her throat. His human teeth, not his vamp fangs, but the bite was hard and right over the artery. Buffy let her head fall back as he sucked and licked at the flesh captured between his teeth. Her fingers dug into the leather covering his shoulders for support as he growled softly.
Angel kissed the red mark and laved it gently with his tongue. The demon inside urged him to give her a real love bite, but he resisted the temptation. “I love you, you know that never changed.”
Pushing him back, Buffy climbed up on his lap and pressed her lips to his. The kiss was sweet and slow, much like their kisses had been early in their relationship. Back before they knew what the curse would do to them.
Sucking at her warm tongue, Angel slid his hands down Buffy's back to her waist, pulling her snugly against him. He arched up into her, fingers digging into her as he ground himself into her.
A sharp pain made her yelp and stiffen. The sword wound through her side hadn’t healed and Angel had unknowingly aggravated it.
“Buffy?” He watched in concern as she closed her eyes and sucked in short, shallow breaths. “What’s wrong? Are you all right?”
“I – I’ve got an owie.” She leaned back against the steering wheel and pulled her shirt up to show him.
The cut was healing, but was still red and ugly. “This looks serious. Who did this to you?”
“One of the ubervamps I guess.”
“You guess? How could you not – “ He slid his hands carefully around her waist and over her back. In a moment, Angel’s sensitive fingertips had found the matching cut on her back. “Buffy – God – “
“I’m okay.” She stroked the thick, dark hair as he laid his head against her breasts. “Nothing major, just a big owie.”
“I don’t have to worry about wounds like this.” He lifted his head and glared at her. “You do.”
“Sorry.” She kissed him. “I’ll be more careful.”
“I can’t lose you again.” He cradled her carefully against his chest. “Not again. Never leave me, Buffy. Please.”
“I won’t.” She rested her forehead against his. “But you can’t leave me either.”
“Never – never again.”
Their lips met again, tongues twisting lazily in a sensuous dance. Buffy drew back and panted against his lips. “Still safely so?”
“Yes.” Angel traced her lips with the tip of his tongue. “All I have to do is remember we can’t make love – “
“Oh – takes the edge right off.” She pouted. “No fun.”
“Jesus, lass, don’t pout.” He nipped at her lower lip. “You make my cock ache.”
“Don’t say cock.” Buffy countered. “Makes me ache.”
“Get off my lap then.” He patted her bottom. “Before we get ourselves in trouble.”
Sliding off Angel’s lap, Buffy snuggled against his side as he guided the car back into traffic. “Now that I’m cookies – we have to work on that curse.”
“Hot for my body, are you?” A smug smirk curled his lips.
“I want to sleep with you, Angel.” She said seriously. “I want to go to sleep with you and wake up in your arms.”
“We’ll work on it, love.” Putting his free arm around her shoulders, he hugged her carefully, heedful of her injury.
“Am I – is it wrong?”
“No, no, it’s – “ He shook his head. “We’ve helped people – a lot of people – why shouldn’t we help us?”
“No, I mean – I’m glad it was Spike and not you. And I think – is that wrong?”
“Oh.” He edged the Plymouth around a slow moving Chevy. What could he say? I’m glad, too? Better him than me? He should have kept his mitts off of you? Mwhahaaa?
“I lied to him, Angel.” Buffy closed her eyes and laid her head on his shoulder. “I stood there and lied.”
“How did you lie?”
“I told him I loved him.” Tears leaked out from beneath her clenched eyelids. “All I could do was thank God it wasn’t you – “
“Buffy – “
“He knew it, Angel.” The laugh against his shoulder was bitter. “I told him I loved him, and he said ‘no you don't‘. He even smiled at me.”
“Buffy, you tried to – comfort him.” Angel stroked his thumb over the warm skin of her cheek. “There’s nothing wrong with that.”
“When he told me to go – I ran. I ran, and I didn’t look back.” Putting her hand over his, she pressed the cool fingers into her skin. “When I – killed you – I couldn’t move. I just waited.”
The moment came back, vivid and bright. The pain in his heart, the forces pulling at him and tugging him into hell. And Buffy. Buffy standing before him. Her face grief stricken, eyes gray and full of tears as she watched Acathla suck him into hell. He hadn’t been able to stop himself from reaching for her even as he feared for her life.
“And I wanted to go to hell with you.”
“Buffy, no.” He dipped his head down and kissed her cheek. “Don’t ever say that.”
“It’s true.” She wiped at the tears on her cheeks. “With Spike all I could think of was how glad I was that it was him and not you. And getting out alive to get to you.”
“He knew it was dangerous. That he might die. But he did it anyway.” Angel slid the convertible in behind the big yellow school bus. “And you took the time – precious moments that could have meant losing your own life – to give him something priceless.”
“So… nobody gets to feel guilty but you?” She asked. “You get to carry it all?”
“That’s my job.” He smiled slightly. “It’s what I do.”
“And you do it so well.”
“Practice makes perfect.” Angel traced a delicate cheekbone with his fingertips. “What’s important is that Spike knew what he was doing. And his sacrifice closed the Hellmouth.”
“So you’re saying it’s better than tripping and falling into a patch of sunlight?”
“Dying for a reason is better than dying for no reason.” A frown creased his forehead. “Or being deader – he was already dead – so – does Giles know where he’s going?”
“I… dunno.” Buffy shook her head. “I don’t think so.”
Sighing, Angel pulled out and around the big yellow bus, the Plymouth growling contemptuously as it slid easily in front of the slower moving vehicle. “After we take them to the hospital – what then?”
“Again with the not knowing.” She rubbed her cheek against the soft leather of his coat. “Giles is the man with the plan.”
“Those girls are all potential Slayers – with the Council gone – “
“They’re not potentials.”
“They’re not?” He glanced down at her. “I thought – “
“Nope, not anymore.” Grinning, she reached up to stroke the thick, dark hair. “Remember my kick ass scythe battleaxe thingy?”
“Yes.” His eyes lit up. “You still have it, right?”
“Yes… and yes you can play with it.” How typically male. “Willow did a kick ass spell on it, and now they’re all Slayers.”
“She activated their – oh, God help me – girl power?”
“Angel!” Giggling, she stretched up to kiss the cool cheek. “That was awful.”
“I said I was sorry." He grinned. "Sort of.”
“A long time ago – “ Buffy yawned. “These old guys locked the powers up into just one girl. Someone had to die to let it out. But these old women made the scythe so the power could come out. No more one chosen one.”
Angel found himself at the mercy of Buffy's logic. “That’s nice.”
“I don’t get it either.” She yawned again, the toll of the last days ganging up on her now that she was somewhere safe. “All I know is that I’m retired.”
“What about – “
“Giles will train, they’ll slay.” She flicked her fingers in a ‘whatever’ motion. “I will bask in your Angelness and share my cookie goodness with you.”
“Buffy, the – “
“Say curse and I put the top down.” She threatened.
“So we’re basking?” Angel flipped the turn signal on as they neared the exit that would take them to the hospital. “Basking is good. I can do basking.”
“I bask.” She laid a hand on his thigh. “You will be doing – “ Her hand slid up along his inner thigh. “Other things.”
“I can do other things.” Covering her hand with his, he slid it to a spot that needed basking. Much more basking. He purred into her ear. “I can do lots of other things.”
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