TITLE: The Illusion of Distance (1/1)

AUTHOR: Rebecca Parker

EMAIL: NumfarGal@aol.com


PAIRING: Buffy/Lindsey, mention of Buffy/Spike

SPOILERS: Up to and including big ones for "Smashed"

SUMMARY: Buffy runs away after her encounter with Spike and finds a like soul…

IMPROV: #30: moving -- boxed -- wistful -- wine

FEEDBACK: this is a little something different for me, so I would really appreciate it.

DISCLAIMER: Joss and Mutant Enemy owns all.

DISTRIBUTION: All the usual suspects. Anyone else, just ask first.

DEDICATION: To Moe and Jen'fr. Thank you two so much.

NOTE: Title comes from a lyric in the Amoeba song, "Traces"

She hurt.

Her back from the way he had pressed it up against the wall. Her hands from the way she had grasped the ground when they fell to it.  Her thighs from the way they still vibrated from the feeling of him between them.

She wasn't used to this; her slayer powers usually eradicated any pain or injuries within hours. But it had been days since her tryst with Spike in the abandoned building, and she still felt it all.

When she was ten, her father had taken her out fishing and, for hours afterwards, she could swear the ground was rocking and swaying like the water.

That was exactly how she felt now; but instead of waves, she could still feel his thrusts and movements inside her. 

She couldn't face him, or anyone. She could hardly face herself.

She ran again. Packed a quick bag and boarded a bus to anywhere.

The bus was bumpy, and each time she bounced in her seat, she felt like she was being pushed up against the wall again.  Each squirm to readjust herself felt like moving to feel him deeper inside.

The landscape whipped by outside her window, her eyes trying so hard to focus on it. "Anything but this", she would repeat under her breath. "Anyone but him", came after.

She didn't know where the bus was headed any more than she knew where she was. She had to be better anywhere but there, with anyone but him, doing anything but that. The thought repeated.

She tightened her fist as the miles went by.


Days had passed before she decided it was far enough.

Stepping off the bus, she noticed her knees weren't wobbling. Her thighs weren't vibrating. Her back and her hands weren't aching.

She had made the right decision.


She shouldn't drink. She knew this.

But she had screwed him sober. 

One drink, she had promised herself.

Four drinks later, and the world was looking better. Blurrier. Better. All the same to her.

As long as she couldn't see the decisions she had made clearly. She hadn't made them with a clear mind; she didn't want to see them with a clear eye.

Blurry was good. She had another drink.

She didn't notice him staring at her. She didn't see the way he looked her over and sized her up.  She wasn't paying attention when he moved to the seat next to her.

She heard her name, and she turned.

She expected a demon. She expected a vampire. She expected some dark underworld groupie asking for an autograph.

She didn't expect a handsome man.

Buffy tried to pay attention as he spoke. At first, only every few words came through.

"Listen", she thought.

She tried. She failed.

"Coffee," she beckoned the bartender.

She smiled coyly at the man, a trick learned years ago, yet laid dormant for nearly as much time. "Sorry," she had said, sipping the coffee slowly and wincing at the bitterness.

He stayed with her, to her surprise. Through two more cups, he sat waiting next to her.

Things became less blurry and more clear. She fought the urge to ask for another drink.

"Sorry," she said again, and this time she understood his response.

"It's alright. I've been there."

Buffy smiled, doubting very much that he had. "Do I know you?" she asked, although she knew the answer. She didn't know him any more than she felt she knew herself right now.

"No," he said, and she wasn't surprised. "But I know you. You're," he said, leaning in. "-the slayer."

"I guess." She didn't know how else to answer. Another sip of coffee, another desire to move on. She obviously hadn't gone far enough.

"Yeah," he said. "I know you."

Buffy laughed. Short and breathy. "Lucky you. And you are?"

He was Lindsey. The name meant nothing to her. The name rang no bells. She nodded and took another sip.

He asked her what she was doing in Oklahoma.

She said wished she knew. She laughed again. She couldn't lie- she knew. It was more that she wished she didn't know.

He had tried for some small talk, but she stopped it short. She asked how he knew her, and he told her.

She sat there, listening, and she drank her coffee.

When he finished, she looked for the nearest exit. She didn't want to be here with someone connected to Angel. She didn't want to be with anyone connected to anything familiar.

"Stay," he said, and she blinked. She didn't think she had said something. He could just tell. Somehow.

It unnerved her.

"I think I should go," she said, but she didn't get up to leave. She didn't know why.

That unnerved her more.

She told him everything.

That unnerved her most.

She didn't know why she told him. She didn't know why she thought she could trust him.

Just like everything else lately, she didn't have a clue. She went in blindly, and told him everything.

She expected him to laugh. To scoff. To scold. To get up and leave.

He did neither.

He surprised her. He told a story which shocked her for many reasons, not the least being that the central character was, to her knowledge, a dead one.

She listened intently, and tried to absorb it all. Tried not to hit something when she realized all that had been kept from her.

When he was done, she had one question to ask. His answer put her off.

He had never slept with Darla.

"Ah," was all she said.

For a moment, she had thought he could understand. That he could impart some wisdom and make things clear.

They weren't yet clear, but at least were less blurry.

He tried to explain that he still understood, but she brushed him off.  Suddenly, she felt stupid. He had known enough not to sleep with a vampire. She didn't. He was smart. She was stupid. That was what she could see now that things were clearer.

She could see even more how much of a mistake she had made.

"I have to go," she said for the second time that night, and this time, he didn't try to stop her.

She made it out the bar and halfway down the block before he caught up.

He offered to drive her home.

She laughed. "Home is where your heart is," she said, and laughed again.

He looked at her and she could tell he was confused. "So where is that then?" he asked.

The laughter stopped. The pain came back. Not her hands, not her back, not the shaking of knees or thighs.

The pain came back that Spike had taken away for that one night.

"I don't know," she answered, and she was sad to admit it was the truth.

"Let me take you home," he said again. "Sunnydale," he added.

Buffy wanted to give him a map. She wanted to show him how far it was. She wanted to give him a reason not to. She wanted to give herself a reason to stay here.

"No," she said, but she nodded instead. "But not tonight. Not yet."

"Do you have a place to stay?" he asked.

She had a place. A miserable hotel a few blocks up. But she didn't want to go there.

"With you."

Lindsey shook his head. "I don't think that's wise."

Of course it wasn't. That was why she was doing it. She didn't make smart decisions anymore.

"I don't care," she said, and she opened her mouth to explain.

She didn't know how. She didn't know where to begin. She didn't know how to say it without seeming like a whore.

"I don't want him to be the last," she said, and she swallowed hard. "Someone else. Anyone else." She looked down.

"He won't be your last," Lindsey said, and he shook his head. "But I won't be next. Not now, anyway."

She sighed. He didn't understand. It was coming back to her again, bit by bit. The feeling of Spike's lips on hers. The feeling of- all of it.

She didn't think she could ever run far enough.

Maybe he did understand. 

"Why did you run?" she asked, eager to change the subject as her embarrassment set in.

"I didn't," he answered. "I went home."

Buffy nodded, and they walked the few blocks to her hotel. 

They stood outside it in silence for several minutes, before she spoke again.

"Thank you."

Lindsey leaned in and moved his hand to the side of her face. He gently cupped it, slowly brought her face to his and tenderly pressed his lips to hers for a brief moment.

He stepped back. "I'll take you home tomorrow."

She looked away. The taste of Spike on her lips was gone. Lindsey replaced it. She wanted to go farther. She wanted him to replace Spike completely, but he wouldn't.

"The best thing you can do," he said, "is not make the same mistake again."

She sighed. She was about to. She wanted to. Like she had used Spike to make her feel something, she wanted to use Lindsey to make her feel something else. Anything else.

"Good night," she said, and she moved backwards towards her room. She needed to go away before she tried harder. Before she convinced him somehow to do what she knew she shouldn't.

She watched him watch her. She could see he was worried. She could see he doubted her.

"I'll see you tomorrow," she assured him. "I won't run." She smiled, as hard as it was, and as much as she didn't want to. "I'll go home."

The End…