Middle Of Nowhere
By Weasy
Rating: R, mostly for language, some violence and minor adult situations.
Summary: AU, all human. When Buffy and Faith's thieving ways get them in trouble in LA they're forced to hide in Sunnydale, only to find they're not the only people with less than legitimate money making methods…
Pairings: Buffy/Angel, Faith/Lindsey

This story was written for the CyA ficathon, I'll post the challenge I recieved at the end of all the parts. Many, many thanks to my lovely abbagura who I had to ring up and ask to do my beta job, dragging her away from the much beloved footie, to correct all my spelling and tell me off for making up words...

By the way - I don't know who it was that gave me this challenge but I want to say that first of all I thought it was uber-evil and couldn't think of anything to write, and by the end of... definately the best challenge I've ever had. So much fun.


Los Angeles, California
Eight Years Before The Auction

Buffy took an elicit drag of the stolen cigarette, thrilling as the smoke powered into her sixteen year old lungs. For a moment she thought of those gross-as-hell tarred up lungs they had hanging in the biology lab at school, but she dismissed them just as quickly as their image had appeared in her mind. You had to smoke shit-loads to get lungs like that and Buffy knew she could quit anytime she wanted.

"Hey, sis!"

Buffy peered through the smoke at her twin sister making her way through the gymnasium toward her, Faith and Buffy were in almost everyway physically dissimilar. Faith was full of dark features and even now had far more chest than Buffy was every going to achieve, Buffy was blonde and blue eyed. In fact, the only thing the two really had in common - as their principal liked to remind them - was that they were way more trouble than they were worth.

The boys had arrived with Faith. Pike walked close to Faith's side, visibly checking Buffy out even as he slung his arm around Faith's shoulders. On her sister's other side Rodney had somehow bagged an invitation and was skulking along with a slightly worrying smile on his face. Whatever, Buffy ignored him; she didn't even know why that kid hung out with them anyhow.

"What'd you get?" Buffy called back and obligingly Faith started rooting round in her shoulder bag. They'd all reached the stadium seats that Buffy was sitting on, and they sat around a few steps below her so that they had to crane their necks to look up at her. Buffy smirked at the image – it looked like they were her royal suitors or something.

Faith had finally found her treasure and she flashed the red label under Buffy's nose before stealing it back to take a long sip. "Score!" Rodney yelled, "Smirnoff vodka!"

"Oh yeah," Pike leered, looking up at Buffy in an entirely indecent way. "Only the best for my girls."

Buffy shot him back a seductive glance of her own and took another drag from the white stick between her fingers.

"You got smokes?" Rodney asked impatiently and Buffy chucked him the packet to shut him up, amused she watched as he fumbled trying to get one lit.

Faith raised one eyebrow. "That all you got?"

"No way." Buffy delighted in making them wait to find out what it was she had bagged for their little impromptu get together in the gym. "I got some green from Jay."

"Oh man!" Pike slapped her hand, "you pay?"

Buffy grinned deliciously. "Nope, took it right out from his locker when he was making out with Janae."

"We gunna get started then or what?" Faith shot back impatiently

"Not yet," Pike frowned, "you're always in such a hurry to get to the goods."

Faith just rolled her eyes, "like you don't love it."

"I didn't say I didn't. All I want to know is, what did Rod bring to merit his invitation to this party?"

Rodney jumped up excited, "you'll see, it's great! Cost me a fortune." He bragged, shouldering his bag he set off for the middle of the basketball court and with his back to his audience started setting up.

Expertly measuring out an eighth by rote, Pike joked with Faith and Buffy as they made up their joints, twisting and shuffling the paper packets of beautiful drug-induced annihilation. In a matter of moments the first toke was lit and passed around, the bittersweet smell of the burning leaves clouding around the three of them.

"Guys!" Rodney was dancing around in front of them. "See!"

In the centre of the room a foot long stick had been anchored between some loose floorboards, sparks flew from one end, travelling up the cable like fuse far too fast for comfort.

"Oh fuck!" Pike was on his feet, moving painfully slowly under the cannabis cloud that flew around them. "Rodney you fucking retard!"

Frowning, Rodney backed away from them and hurried toward the firework. "Sorry… I'll just turn it out, I just thought it'd be cool, you know?"

"No!" All three of them were yelling at him, a string of curses and insults and please-god-Rodney-no's, but it was way too late.

Los Angeles, California
Three Years Before The Auction

Buffy spun the cocktail stick around the inside of her martini, pushing the olive round in ever more hypnotic circles. Over the sugared rim of the glass she could see Wes peeking at her as covertly as he could in the shadows of the sleek dark bar at The Black Rose. Probably wondering if she was ever going to have a little of the drink he'd placed in front of her as soon as she sat down. But then, he had a vested interest in her fitting in despite the fake ID nestled in her purse, or more honestly, because of it. It'd been Buffy that Wesley had come to when he needed his own similarly fake ID and working permit. He needed to leave LA, and to leave first he had to be able to work, to work he had to be able to stay. Buffy smiled into the colourless liquid. It was the way of her world. And she had no objection to that.

A man was hovering at her left, half-heartedly pretending to be trying to get the bartenders attention he brushed against her limbs and she let him bodily direct her arm straight into her top heavy cocktail glass that promptly spilled it's contents over the bar.

Wesley was helping them in an instant, wiping a soaked cloth over the spill while the man apologised profusely. He was fairly attractive, tall with closely cropped hair and dark skin, but the regulation boots sticking out from under his jeans screamed 'Marine' and as far as Buffy was concerned anyone in the armed forces just wasn't worth the trouble. Marine-man was trying to subtly perve down her top as he leaned across to help Wesley mop up the mess.

"It's no trouble." Buffy smiled politely and slipped down from her bar stool, marine-man caught her arm.

"Wait, let me at least buy you a drink-"

"I'm sorry, but I'm really not into swinging."

He dropped her arm abruptly, mouth hanging open. "U-uh, sorry. I didn't realise you were married, ma'am."

"It's fine." Buffy smiled wryly and turned away. And she didn't really mind, he was cute enough and while it had been a shame that she couldn't take his wallet, the thought of his retroactive search to find the cell phone that had been sticking out of his back pocket kept her quietly amused. She glanced around the bar looking for somewhere inconspicuous to sit and find another mark. She'd just about settled on a sullen looking cowboy huddled in a dark booth and knocking back beer like it was holy water when a petite pale skinned and dark-featured girl sauntered in with half a dozen guys drooling in her wake. Buffy resisted the temptation to roll her eyes. Her sister had absolutely no concept of subtlety. In the short term, it made her a hell of a lot more cash than Buffy but in the long term… what Faith wanted she took, and consequently the law held the same opinion about her.

Still, they'd managed to stay out of trouble so far.

She'd totally just jinxed that.

Faith caught her eye and dismissed her followers, blatantly leafing through one skinny geek's wallet while he watched her with absolute adoration, she took a couple of hundred, gave him a good look at her cleavage as she kissed him on the cheek and headed in Buffy's direction. Although, Buffy considered, Faith always seemed to give the guys she stole from a little slice of heaven in return, geeky guy definitely thought so; he'd collapsed into a chair and was hyperventilating into a brown paper bag.

"Hey, B!" Faith swiped a drink from the hands of a guy hovering next to them and steered Buffy away as the guys shouts after them were drowned out by the steady thump of the music pumping from the dance floor. "Doing okay?"

Buffy shrugged. "Average. There's too many hustlers in here already, let's go somewhere else."

"What about the cowboy?" Faith sipped at her beer pulled a disgusted face and pressed it into the hands of a passing guy, she smiled wanly, murmured "on the house," in his ear and reached round to grope his arse. Before he could reply Faith had pocketed his wallet and the crowd had carried him far away.

"He's an attractive man that's been drinking alone all night, it's a lost cause." Buffy shot back, it didn't matter that she'd been contemplating the exact same move two minutes earlier, her senses were spiking all over the place. It didn't feel right. And in a business where you relied on manipulating other people's feelings, your own were pretty important.

"Then he'll be going to the bar to get another drink soon." Faith sighed. "Just this one, Buffy, and then we'll go. We've easily pulled enough for the next month's rent, he can be our victory dance."

Buffy knew there was no point in arguing with Faith when she'd made up her mind about something. Plus, she'd called her Buffy and not B; she only ever did that when she really wanted Buffy's cooperation.

"Fine. But-"

"Yeah, I know, you broke it you bought it." Faith looped her arm in Buffy's and led her back toward the main bar, carefully controlling the pace of their strides so that their path would coincide with the cowboy's. Buffy's heart beat faster as they approached the denim-clad man, nervous in a way she hadn't been since her first ever lift. She could see the depth of the stubble on his chin and the exact detail of his jacket. The bulge of cash in his shirt pocket. Faith brushed into him.

"Sorry!" She cooed, steadying herself with one hand against his chest, the man barely seemed to glance at her as he nodded stiffly.

"Are you alright?"

"I'm just fine now." A southern note had subtly woven it's way into Faith's natural Boston drawl and Buffy marvelled at her ability to capture the male populations attention so mechanically. Faith patted his jacket. "This is gorgeous, where did you get it from?"

"The Gap." There was something about the hollowness of the cowboy's voice that had Buffy tugging at Faith's shirt sleeves. This was not a good time for Faith to make a night of it.

"Thanks for catching my sister, but we have to leave now." She politely interrupted.

"Of course." He nodded again, but Buffy paid him no heed, guiding Faith out of The Black Rose with no more than a wave to Wes and a cursory check behind them. The cowboy was at the bar now, but she could feel his eyes on them, and when the semi-fresh air of LA at night hit them Buffy couldn't have been more relieved. She felt a rush of giddiness at their successful night. She shouldn't have worried, Faith knew what she was doing, maybe they could go out tonight, hit a few bars in a more social capacity. Faith had charmed a business man out of his taxi at least, oh, Buffy judged his sharply tailored suit, three districts away from his house. Faith waved her over and Buffy slipped inside yelling goodbye to their favourite bouncer as he waved them off.

Faith flicked through a fat leather wallet passing a couple of bills forward to the driver as she gave him directions to their apartment at the Hyperion Hotel. Buffy settled back into the polyester seats of the cab and fished marine-man's phone out of her pocket. It was new, barely used by the look of it, and worth at least a two hundred dollars second hand. Good times. She closed her eyes and breathed in the smell of satisfaction.

"Hey, Buff, you know that last guy I was talking to?"

Buffy's eyes snapped back open.


"Guess where he works?"

Buffy twisted around to meet her sister's nervous gaze. "NASA?" She replied optimistically.

"The whole four-letter initial thing is close."


Faith frowned. "What the hell's that?"

"No idea. I heard some British guys bitching about it once."


Silence stretched out between them and Buffy tried to dampen down the rising panic in her veins. "Faith, are you going to tell me who he works for or not?"

The Taxi ground to a halt.

"Hey, that was quick, good work that taxi man." Faith joked, as she stepped out of the cab with all the air of somebody hoping that the conversation they'd just been having would be rapidly forgotten about. Buffy scrambled out of the car and slammed the door behind her, ignoring the disgruntled complaint of its driver as she seized Faith's elbow.

"Tell me."

Faith's shoulders slumped. "LAPD." She muttered quietly.

Buffy stiffened, short stilted sentences mostly consisting of swear words shot through her head in rapid succession. "Please tell me you're joking."


Lindsey's thoughts had been so full of a small dark haired goddess and her equally cute sister that he'd ordered another brew before he'd got his wallet out. And now it wasn't there. Those little bitches! He scowled, he couldn't believe they'd had the audacity to lift the wallet of an LAPD fraud cop. Sure, he wasn't in his district, but he'd heard often enough from crooks under pressure that cops gave off a certain aura and violent crime not with standing, a cop's money was pretty damn safe.

"Is there a problem?" The bartender spoke with a clipped British accent, but his tousled hair and a five o'clock shadow spoke of a man who'd seen better days. But those girls knew him. The blonde one had made an effort to say goodbye to him. Despite their post-crime hasty exit.

"Do you know where I can find those two girls that just left?"

"I'm not at liberty to give out that information, it's against company policy."

"I'm a cop."

The bar tender nodded. "May I see your ID?"

"I would, if they hadn't stolen it." Lindsey ground out. "Now, let's talk about your immigration status."

Their apartment was only a couple of blocks away, he'd managed to catch a lift in a passing cop car right to the converted hotel they lived in, on arrival he'd wasted no time in forcing his way into their crummy apartment. When the door isn't locked it's not a hard thing to do. Stripped furniture lined the walls, and cold air wafted in from the open window.

They'd left things behind. A couple of cheap trashy novels and a book about art, a pair of ripped jeans and a half eaten box of cream crackers in the cupboards. They'd taken the money and run, and now he'd have to clean up the mess they'd left behind. That was the way of his world, and in that first tiny heartbreaking moment, he was really tired of it.