Disclaimer: No copyright infingement is intended, no profit is being made and none of this belong to me. All of this belongs to Joss Whedon. (grumbles about bastards who take fun shows off the air.)

Author's note: As will become apparent in the first few paragraphs of the story, it is set in season 2 right after killing Angel, although instead of running from Sunnydale to LA, Buffy does the more practical thing and does the last thing everyone will expect.

Chapter I - Sunnydale: Tradition (or perhaps, against it.)

"Take me with you."

Spike froze. He turned and looked questioningly at the slayer; her face was pale, drawn and immeasurably tired. It looked like she couldn't believe what had just happened.

He didn't blame her.

Hell, he couldn't believe what just happened.

Angelus-his grandsire, mentor and greatest rival-was gone.

He had seen her close her eyes and kiss him before slamming the curved sword into his gut. His Dru had run in a last attempt to save 'her Daddy' but Spike had foiled her plans. He had swiped her away carelessly, had back handed her into the sunlight, and then watched impassively as she writhed and burned and screamed and eventually disintegrated. It had hurt him, that was true, but he had made a promise, to aid the slayer and he would stick to it.

Sides, he had told her long ago that he would not take the scraps of affection from people who gave their love to someone else, and if scraps were all he was going to get from her well then, he was going to do something about it.

He wasn't going to settle for anything other than a feast ever again.

Buffy had stared at the portal as it closed, peered at the ugly statue before grabbing the nearest bit of furniture and bringing it down as hard as she possibly could. The dormant Acathla was no match for supremely brassed-off slayer, not matter how weary, the ancient piece shattered.

He had turned and glanced at her questioningly and caught a few way ward tears spring from her eyes. he had wanted to shed a few himself, in fact, he had felt the tell-tale stinging from behind his eyes, but he forced the tears back, he was not going to lower himself enough to cry in front of the slayer. She had done enough damage to him already, he was not going to let go of his dignity so he had walked off, lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply. He let the nicotine enriched smoke smolder his unworking lungs for longer then any human could; maybe if he held it there long enough it would burn him from the inside. He deserved as much.

Ha! The slayer and merry little band of ignorant twits, going around staking vampires on the basis that they didn't have consciences. Vamps didn't have souls, but they had consciences, consciences were a lit trickier than the former. The existence of a completely unfeeling vampire is bloody nonsense.

They had stood in silence for a while.

It was then that he had realized that he might as well follow though with the rest of his promise, he would just leave Sunnydale. Perhaps even set off and start a whole new chapter of his unlife. spend ninety percent of it piss drunk off his arse and well, that was his plan until he felt the slayer's powerful hand on his upper arm effectively staying his escape.

He glared at her and shook himself out of her iron grip.

"Why?" he asked.

The blonde shrugged.

"There's nothing for me here."

Spike arched an eyebrow. His thoughts sweeping back to her mother and her friends and that infernal watcher of hers. Was she really that daft?

Stupid bint.

Didn't even know what he had going for her.

He tilted his head to the side and considered it for a moment. Though the slayer was not the ideal company he liked to keep, in fact quite the opposite, at least he wouldn't be alone. Alone meant thinking of Drusilla and Angelus, it meant endless hours of silence or meaningless music, it meant thinking. At least with the slayer around something would distract him.

Well, she wanted to leave behind the sodding sweet deal she had over here on the hellmouth, that was her choice. He would let her tag along with him, that is, if she could keep up.

When his attention shifted back to her, she was still staring at him; her gaze was hard but fragile at the same time, like she was desperately trying not to feel anything. It was obviously not working very well.

"Alright, slayer." he said.

She responded with a slight nod.

He lead her to the covered garage where his de Sotto was parked, they both climbed in and he began driving in silence. after a while he pulled into a familiar street, Buffy was too far gone to notice, she had though that they were on their way to outer Siberia. When he stopped at her house and looked at her expectantly, she stared back at him in confusion.

"I thought you would take me with you." she asked softly, not daring to raise her voice as if worrying her mother would hear her from all the way inside and come out and make things more difficult.

He nodded.

"yeah." he replied. "But I'm not going to be lending you my sodding clothing."

She paused for a moment, mentally processing what he had said. It took her a little longer than normal but she finally got that he wanted her to pack. She nodded silently and exited the car. He didn't have long to wait, she soon materialized back beside the passenger door; she got in and deposited her large suitcase and a few other bags onto the back seat.

"Packed enough did you?" he asked eyeing the baggage.

Buffy shrugged her face still emotionless.

"I didn't know how long we're going to be gone."

Spike smirked.

"Isn't that the point?"

For the first time, she cracked a smile, a small one.

"A big uh-huh to that."

Spike peered at her curiously for a second and shook his head. California talk. He hoped that that was the first thing that would go when they left good ol' Sunny California, because they weren't going to be anywhere near it for some time. He smirked when she shifted away from his gaze and turned to study the passing desert country side as if it was the most interesting thing in the work. After that, he kept his eyes on the road. His smirk slowly turned into a wicked grin when he saw the sign saying "now leaving Sunnydale". He gestured with his chin to the seat belt.

"Strap yourself in, slayer." he said. "S'going to be a wild ride."

She complied immediately, but before she could ask what the hell he though he was doing, he accelerated and powered right through the sign.

"Did we have to do that?"

Spike chuckled under his non existent breath.

"Tradition, pet."