Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy or Fast and the Furious.
A/N: A bit stuck on this crossover right now. I like playing with the 'What if?' scenarios. Also, I'm sorry about any spelling and/or typo issues. My spellcheck isn't working. When I have it on, it tells me that every word is misspelled. So it's off, and while I do several read throughs, I don't always catch issues since I already know what it's supposed to say. I just re-read a fic I published already and instead of far corner, I put car corner. Only just noticed. v.v So if you see any, point them out please!
Special shout out to hellbells for telling me where it made no sense whatsever, and what would make things more understandable. Thanks, friend!
Race Wars was going strong when Brian's phone rang.
"Yeah?" he answered. He was surprised to hear Agent Bilkins' voice on the other end.
"O'Conner. We need you to drop the Toretto case. Got something bigger for you."
Brian could feel his eyebrows crawling into his hairline. "Something bigger? Like what?"
"We need a fast driver to carry some precious cargo halfway across the country."
"And this is more important?" Brian was skeptical. Until Bilkins gave him the details. Then he understood.
"She should be there in just a few minutes," Bilkins said.
"You were that confident I could do this?"
Before Bilkins could reply, Brian saw someone he hadn't seen since his aunt's funeral over two years before.
"Nevermind, I see her."
"How do you know it's her?"
"Brian?" a female voice asked and he heard Bilkins groan in his ear at the thought of these two already knowing each other.
"So you know Miss Summers?"
"Yeah. Hang on." Brian grinned at the short blonde in front of him and pulled her into his arms. "Buffy. Good to see you again!"
"You too, Bri! So I hear you can get me where I need to go in a timely fashion?"
"Bri? Who's this?" Dominic Toretto came up behind him and Brian heard something crash on Bilkins' end of the line. Dom sounded pretty damned suspicious, too. Pretty soon the entire team was around them.
"Brian, I don't have time for this. Seriously." Buffy was definitely serious, too.
Shit, Brian thought. This was gonna blow his cover all to hell, but he might be able to do something for a good man at the same time, too.
Buffy sighed and held a hand out towards Brian, totally ignoring all the men standing around trying to be intimidating. To be fair, they would have been to someone who couldn't kick their collective asses with one hand behind her back, but it didn't matter.
"That him, Bri?" she asked, gesturing to the phone he still held that she wanted. He gave her an apologetic look, gave the same look to the bald man beside him and she just knew he was gonna do something stupid. He did. He put his phone on speakerphone. Buffy took that for the tacit permission it was and pissed off everyone but Brian just by addressing the man on the phone.
"Agent Bilkins," she said. Most heads whipped around to stare at Brian, and he was rather glad they were in a fairly secluded area near Dom's Airstreams. He had just come out from talking to Mia when he got the call, after all.
"Miss Summers. I see you've found your driver."
Buffy looked at Brian, then snatched the phone from his hand. "Hang on just a sec. I gotta have a chat with my cousin," she told the man then hit mute.
"Alright, Brian. Tell me what's going on in your head."
"I'm not the best for this job, Buffy. Toretto is a faster driver than me, and you need to be there as quick as possible, right?"
"Miss Summers! What is going on?"
Buffy unmuted the phone, winked at Brian, then used a perky yet mechanical voice to say, "Please stay on the line. Your call is very important to us and will be answered in the order it was received." Then she hit mute again and caught the smiles going around even as everyone was still pissed at the newly revealed – obviously undercover – cop.
"I need to be there now, but we can't get in with aerial support. They've warded against magic, and ground travel is the last option open to us. I can't even get any closer than this, and do you know how painful it was to have my teleport halted mid-travel? I'm gonna be feeling that for days."
Both cousins ignored the muttering and general disbelief that went around as soon as she said magic.
"You think driving in will work?"
"The Council has never used modified cars to get anywhere. Stupid of them, if you consider it, but it is what it is."
"Toretto's still the best to take you."
Buffy narrowed her eyes suspiciously. "What are you trying to get, Bri?"
"Bring Bilkins back in," was all he said. She unmuted again and Bilkins started in on them right away.
"Miss Summers! I don't care-"
"Agent Bilkins, this is a very serious matter and we were trying to work out the logistics of it. Now, according to Brian, I need at least two drivers. But one car will hold only me, the driver, and my bag-o-tricks, so we'll need two cars. Two cars means at least a third driver."
"We don't have anyone else that can get going right away or even close enough to meet you soon enough to relieve Officer O'Conner."
Brian jumped in. "Right. That's why the Feds are gonna back off Toretto and his team and Toretto will be one of those drivers," he said, talking over Dom saying he wasn't driving shit.
"The Bureau will leave Toretto alone provided he does this job, you get at least one more driver, and the hijackings stop." Bilkins sounded very much like he expected this outcome. Buffy wondered how long they had known that Brian cared for this group for that to be something they figured on.
"Dom?" Brian asked, looking to the bald man. He, in turn, had a silent conversation with his team and they all nodded.
"We're in," was all he said.
"Alright, Bilkins. You heard him," Brian said. Buffy wondered just what it was about these people that made Brian care that much to barter with the FBI while the world was on the verge of ending.
"Agent Bilkins, I'll need you to clear a route to St Louis. The faster we can get through, the quicker I can end this."
"Understood, Miss Summers. The FBI will help in any way we can. I'll need a way to track you so that I can have the appropriate stretch of road cleared at the right times, of course." Buffy just sighed.
"You can put the trace on my phone," she said.
"Be sure it remains charged and on, please."
"Magic battery. Never runs out of juice, never runs out of signal and is always on." Buffy and Brian exchanged grins. Magic was awesome.
"Very well. You'd best be on your way, then. And Toretto, if this Apocalypse happens and we survive it, there will be no where you can hide and nothing the FBI will not do to put you away for the rest of your life."
Buffy blinked at the threat. Seemed they really wanted this man.
"So!" she chirped brightly, looking at the man she was going to be spending the next thirty or so hours with. "Let's get moving, then!"
"Does she have to ride with me?" he asked.
"Yeah. She's the special cargo that needs to get there, and you're the fastest driver we know of around here. It's all you, man." Brian gestured to Buffy and said, "This is my cousin, Buffy. Buff, this is Dom, Mia, Leon, Jesse, Letty and Vince."
Introductions done, Buffy grabbed her duffel and followed the man to his red Mazda. It sure was a pretty way to get there, that's for sure.
"Anything you need before we go? The Council will pay for any gas or food on the way, and I'll get you some money for the return trip, but if you need any personal items that you don't have out here, you'd better head for them now," Buffy told Dom.
"Listen up! I need someone to stay here and run the shop, drive the campers back and take care of the cars. Me, the cop, and one more driver is all that's going on this little trip."
"I've got classes and the store to run," Mia said.
"I ain't ridin' with the Buster," Vince said, ignoring Brian's muttering of 'I wouldn't let you'.
"I gotta take care of my mom," Letty said, and at least she sounded regretful. Dom growled.
"Leon, you're running the garage. Jesse, you're coming with us. Go home, grab some clothes, then Brian will pick you up. We're gonna hit the house so I can get some stuff for me, then hitting the freeway," Dom said. Everyone nodded and left to do their thing, Buffy and Dom sliding into his car to head out.
Buffy called Bilkins once more and let him know that they were heading to Toretto's home for some things then leaving and that Brian would be following in an orange Supra. The way would be clear, he'd assured her. With a sigh, she turned and studied her driver.
Dom saw her watching him and could almost feel her eyes on him as he drove. Finally, he growled out, "What?!"
"I'm just trying to figure you out," she said, unapologetically. Dom looked over at her.
"What'd you come up with?"
"I don't get you. I know there's a lot of money in street racing. Yeah, you put most of it back into your cars, but there's still profit. Brian's made decent money over the years racing, and when I was in a tight spot, he raced and got me what I needed in one night. I'm sure you have a job or something, too, so I don't get why you went the criminal route with the jackings."
"Mostly for the thrill. The money was good, yeah, but it was more to see if we could do it at all, then the rush when we pulled the first job was too good to give up."
Buffy snorted. "And a job?"
"Me and Mia, we got a store and a garage we own and run."
A sigh. "Well, hopefully it'll be enough of a rush for you since doing this is clearing you."
"You wanna tell me what I'm doing?"
"After we're on our way," Buffy said as Dom pulled up in his driveway. She trailed him into the house, but stayed downstairs while he ran up and packed up what he'd need for a few days of driving. More what he'd need on the way back, since they weren't stopping for much on the way there. Gas, food, bathroom breaks, get out and stretch your legs breaks... No sleeping or showering or any cleaning up that they can't do in a bathroom at a rest stop. And the goddess knew that Buffy was not looking forward to that aspect. But it was the only way in; even flying her (or anyone on her side) in proved a bust. They couldn't land any closer than LAX. They'd tried commercial flights that had no problem getting into the area until one of their team was on board. They tried military aircraft. Teleporting, portals, it all did the same – painful – end. Los Angeles or Rome. LA was closer, so that's where Buffy was moving from. The FBI knew who the Council was, so they agreed to help with minimal fuss when they were told that multiple Apocalypses – Apocalii? Apocalypi? – were cropping up all over the world. Buffy was the only one available to handle this one, and this one was proving to be the hardest of them. She didn't know what made that Archway in St Louis so special, but it was being used along with places like Stonehenge and the Taj Mahal to generate something that Buffy stopped listening to. She got the gist: get in, take out the demons, stop the Apocalypse or World Endage occurs.
Dom pounded down the stairs, a bag slung over his shoulder. He grabbed a couple bottles of water and tossed one to the small blonde woman and led her back to the car. Brian called her just then to let them know he'd be waiting on the shoulder of the Glendale Freeway, just east of I-5, and that he and Jesse were already on their way. Apparently, Jesse had a bag packed for emergencies. She told him they were leaving Dom's place now and would see him soon.
"Alright. We're on our way," Dom began as they merged onto the freeway. "You gonna tell me what this is all about and why the Feds are bendin' over backwards to accommodate you?"
Buffy leaned her head back and kept her face tilted towards the window so she could watch for Brian's Day-Glo car. "Yeah," she said. "Do you believe in the boogeyman, Dom?"
"Of course not," he said derisively.
"So you don't believe a five foot four inch girl can bench press this car? Or that vampires and demons exist?"
"Nah, girl. No such thing."
"Then I can't tell you anything just yet. Ask me again the first time we need to stop, okay?"
Dom pondered her words, but couldn't find it in himself to think she was telling him anything more than a joke. But her credit card had bought his gas already, and he didn't care as long as the Feds were off his back.
Somewhere around three and a half hours later, they pulled into a rest stop for a bathroom break. The blonde had declared it deserted enough and joined him to watch Brian pull up next to them. He wondered what she had in mind, since she had asked him to wait for a moment before taking care of his business. Brian seemed to know, though. He took one look at her and stepped back, as if giving her the floor. He also pulled Jesse to a halt and told him to wait just a minute here while Buffy proved something.
The car was hot, that was for sure. Buffy looked over at Dom and grimaced.
"Remind me to do the whole thing again when I won't be burning my hands, yeah?" That said, she grabbed the front bumper with one hand and lifted, showing no exertion or sweat as the car tilted back onto its rear wheels.
Dom and Jesse were both staring at her as she set it back down and looked at her hand. "Oh, gross! I have to go wash my hands now."
Brian laughed and followed her into the rest stop building, parting from her as she entered the bathroom. When she came out, she found all three men leaning against the wall, waiting for her. Brian tossed her a bottle of water followed by a Diet Coke and she grinned at him.
"So, you got time on your hands after this?" she asked him as they made their way to the cars. Next stop would be a gas station and they could grab a few more things to eat and drink there. Or at some fast food place. Whatever.
"Plenty. Tanner's putting me on Administrative Leave after we get to St Louis. He said I got too close to the mark and it looked like I was gonna turn, so I needed to get my head screwed back on straight before coming back."
"Was I what?"
"Were you turning?"
He sighed and ran his hands through his hair. "Yeah, maybe. Probably. Signs are all there for it."
She gave him a smile as they got to their respective doors, Brian and Dom still driving. "You okay to give the kid there the low down on the nightlife?"
"Yeah. I got him covered. Your little show of strength was a nice touch, by the way."
"You love it every time; don't lie. I'll see you for gas," she laughed, climbing into the car. Buffy rather liked the feel of the engine rumbling throughout as Dom turned the key.
"So, about that nightlife," Dom said.
The blonde slayer grinned and gave the 'This World Is Older Than You Know' speech, affecting a terrible British accent as she did so. Then she gave the 'She Is The Slayer' speech in a solemn voice, and told him she was a slayer. She was, at one point The Slayer, then one of the Chosen Two.
"Me and Faith? We're what the boogeymen fear," she grinned.
Now there were many around the world, but still only two who were Chosen. Activated, they called them. They didn't have all of the slayer package. Not like she and Faith did, at least. It seemed that being Mystically Chosen had benefits that being simply Activated did not. She told him all about the First and the spell that awakened all the girls and how they sank Sunnydale. She paused long enough to get gas for both cars, giving Brian a Council credit card as she did so. Her thinking was that they wouldn't have to wait on him if he had his own means. At least, not until Dom got tired enough to be relieved. He seemed to be going strong still, though, and he told her he was the type that could drive for hours on end and not get tired until about fifteen to eighteen hours in. She told him he was switching before then. Brian and Jesse switched out at the gas station, with Jesse hyped up on sugar and brand new info to assimilate.
After they were driving again, she continued her story. He seemed genuinely interested in her life, and she thought that was cool. So she told him about how she was a JV cheerleader at Hemery High in Los Angeles before she was called. How she ruled the school until the weirdness that is a slayer's life crept in and ruined it. How she became Destructo-Girl on the high school gymnasium.
"But wait, that part gets better. You'll see," she'd said, then told about the asylum, moving to Sunnydale, and that first year. Meeting Willow and Xander and Cordy and Giles. How Giles was her father more than Hank could ever be. She talked about her second year on the Hellmouth and sending her beloved to Hell just to save the world. That's when she'd gotten interested in cars. Having run away to LA, she found the racing scene by accident one night and was enthralled.
"You see, regular cars don't respond fast enough for a slayer's reflexes. That's why most slayers get motorcycles if they get a vehicle at all. In the past, she would rely on her Watcher to get her where she needed to go. But now, with so many slayers around, the Council has actually had to hire on garages to keep all the bikes in shape. We're hell on wheels, apparently.
"I don't drive much since I never got a car that handled the way I wanted it to. In fact, I meant to ask Brian if he had time to help me with that little problem..." she trailed off a moment, just looking at the dash of the car that was flying down the highway at unbelievable speeds and still she could see the slightest movements with her enhanced senses.
"I'm sure he'll be happy to help you out," Dom rumbled and she smiled.
"Yeah. He's gotta help me find a car, though. He's been teaching me a bit about them when we get time, of course, but I don't know enough to do more than basic maintenance yet. So it'll be car shopping, then doing all the modifications to make it respond to my every touch." She sighed dreamily at the thought.
"You sure you trust Brian to get what you need? He hasn't been doing mods that long, you know," he replied.
"Yeah, but unless you're willing to help me out with it, I don't actually know anyone else who knows enough to do it. Bikes, yeah. Faith can tear a bike down and do whatever to it, but I don't want a bike, you know?"
"Yeah, I hear you. Never cared much for bikes, myself."
Buffy smiled at him then drifted into silence. He looked over about ten minutes later to find she'd fallen asleep.
This driving on freeways that had a lane left completely open for him was a novel experience. Even though Brian O'Conner had turned out to be a cop – and a narc – his cousin was pretty cool. So far. If she really was the person she was presenting herself as, then she was pretty damned real in a world of fakes. Another novel experience. Sure, his crew was pretty real, but he always figured them for the exception, not the rule.
But he wasn't sure how he felt about this just yet. He didn't know if he believed it all, but that little girl definitely lifted his car. Something he needed two hands to do, and a bit of force behind it as well. And Brian didn't seem to be shocked by any of this, and Dom thought that even though he didn't pick up on the cop bit, he was still a pretty good judge of character. Maybe Brian had more bad boy in him than they all thought, to slip past Dom's radar?
Either way, this girl believed in all the hokum, and, according to what he understood from that Bilkins guy, there was supposed to be some Apocalypse or other happening. In St Louis. Now he really wasn't sure that could even try to believe. Not with St Louis as the end point.
A quick glance at his gauge told him that it was time to stop for gas. A look at the clock told him that he'd been lost in his thoughts for about an hour now and it was time for him to follow her example and sleep. He barely touched her shoulder and she was straightening in her seat, tensed and ready. Warrior's instincts.
"We're stopping for gas and I need to switch out with one of them," he told her. She nodded at him, the wary look fading from her eyes.
Brian drove the Mazda while Buffy slept for the first half of the drive. They talked the last two hours before Jesse needed to sleep some, and Buffy tried to figure out if they could afford to stop somewhere. Time-wise, that is. They had three days to get there before the Apocalypse would definitely happen. Maybe they could stop for six hours or so? They all needed real sleep. She talked to Brian about it, and he suggested talking to Dom about it. The man was a numbers cruncher, after all.
When they next stopped at a rest area, Dom slid back into the driver's seat of the Mazda with Buffy.
"Hey there!" she grinned. He groaned.
"Do you have to be so perky?" he asked.
"That depends. I'm trying to decide if we have time to stop for a few hours and get some real sleep," she began, then told him how long exactly they had left to get there, and he figured they could actually stop for about nine hours, but said six to six and a half would leave them time for any just-in-case scenario.
She called Brian and relayed the good news and wasn't surprised to hear his whoop through the phone and the window.
They stopped at the first place they saw, which was a Quality Inn. There was something – a wedding perhaps – going on in town, and every room was booked except one double. They took it.
"Only thing is I am not sleeping with Brian. That is a little too incestuous for me," Buffy announced. She ended up falling into the bed Dom snagged and was out nearly instantly.
Buffy woke up wrapped around Dom like an octopus and his 'morning erection' was pressing against her. Riley had once explained to her that it was a natural man thing, and had nothing to do with the beautiful blonde in his arms. It's just how guys were wired. They woke up hard. So Buffy knew it wasn't her that caused it; intellectually. But she was still half asleep when she felt it and the last time she felt a guy's erection on waking, she'd been dating the man and so she instinctively pressed against him, rubbing her body over his until her brain finally came online and said 'Danger! Danger! You are single!' to her.
She jumped away from Dom like something lit her on fire only to find his dark eyes glittering at her. She was happy for one thing, though, as she looked around, stumbling off the bed and far away from that delicious temptation; Brian and Jesse were still out.
"I'm just... um... gonna go..." she bolted into the bathroom and swore she could hear him softly laughing at her. Men!
The first couple hours of driving were awkward. Every time Buffy would look at Dom, or he moved to shift – either the car or himself – she blushed. It was embarrassing. Finally, she couldn't take it anymore; not her embarrassment or his amusement. She caught him smirking every time she turned away.
"Hey..." she started softly, almost tentative. "Look, I'm really sorry about this morning."
Dom chuckled. "It's fine. You weren't awake yet, and who could resist this?" he grinned, gesturing to himself. Buffy laughed and that was the end of it.
"You never finished telling me about your years in Sunnydale," he prompted her. It was interesting to him.
"Where'd I leave off?" she asked.
"You just told me about running away and seeing your first race."
"Ah. Okay. Let's see.. Oh! That's right. This girl I knew, when I met her in Sunnydale her name was Chanterelle. I saw her at the diner I was working in and she was calling herself Lily then. Her boyfriend came up missing a couple of days later, then we found him not long after and he was aged to like, eighty."
Dom raised an eyebrow at that, but didn't say anything.
"So we found out he'd been to see this guy running a home for the lost children or runaways or something. Anyway, the people that nobody in the city would miss if they disappeared. He had this portal at his place that went into a hell dimension. Time runs differently there. I think it was something like a hundred years there for every day or week or something here. So me and Lily got pulled in and I kicked ass, gave her my name and job and went home. I hear she's still going by Anne."
"Middle name. Buffy Anne Summers."
Buffy went on to tell him about her third year and Faith showing up. Then Faith going bad and working with the mayor who, get this, had been reincarnating his image for a hundred years because he actually founded the town in order to ascend to full demon status.
"And here's that bit I thought you'd enjoy. He ascended during our graduation ceremony, right? But we knew he would, so we armed all the kids that were going to be there and loaded the library – which was just above the opening to the Hellmouth – with explosives. I led him into the school and we blew him up. The fun part is we took out the rest of the school with him." Buffy grinned brightly while Dom laughed.
"So let me get this straight. You burned down your first High School's gym and got kicked out. Then you blew up your next High School as a graduation gift to your class. And then, as if that wasn't enough, you turned the entire town into a crater?"
Buffy nodded thoughtfully. "Yeah, that about sums it up," she said brightly.
"Yeah, I thought I liked you," he laughed. Buffy smiled and started her tale again.
The Initiative was a sore spot for her, and she didn't bother trying to hide her disgust at their actions.
"It's not that I'm not all for the eradication of the bad demons, but they didn't care if they were good, bad or neutral. If it was supernatural, it was bad. They took a friend of mine because he's a werewolf and has a bit of a furry problem three nights a month. And when we closed them down, we found some plans for a breeding program," she spat.
"Breeding demons?" Dom asked, confused.
"No," Buffy said and shivered once. "Breeding me. They were trying to make a Super Soldier, and when the drugs they were pumping their Army boys with caused side effects they weren't prepared for, they turned to a more... natural method."
"Damn. That's some fucked up shit," Dom muttered. Buffy agreed.
She talked about Adam and his Frankendemon freakiness. When they moved on to her fifth year in Sunnydale, though, she was a bit more somber. She told him about her mom's illness and coming home to find her on the couch and how much it hurt to lose her. Then she told him about Glory and how the Hellgod was after something called the Key that could rip apart the dimensional walls until every dimension spilled into this one. She didn't tell him that it was her sister or about Dawn not being real. The fewer people who knew, the better, and Buffy was keeping that number as small as possible. She told him all about taking down Glory, but she left out how they got the portal closed. He asked one time and she closed up tighter than a clam, so he left it alone. Then her phone rang.
"Hey Faith. What's up?"
"Just checkin' up on you. How long, do you think?"
"We've got about twelve hours left, I think?" She looked over, "Dom?"
"Yeah, maybe a little less," he replied.
"Mmm... sounds hot, B."
Buffy laughed. "Very."
"Good for you!"
Buffy laughed again. "Not really. Not mine."
"So why you with him?"
"Fastest driver Brian knew."
"Your cousin? What's he got to do with this?"
"Long story full of shit and potholes. I do not want to be involved in it. Any more than I am at any rate. But listen, Faith. I need you to do me a favor, okay?"
"Sure, B. What's up?"
"If anything happens, I need you to make sure the FBI doesn't back out on their end of the deal, alright? Have Giles do the talking, though. The whole British thing with the 'I can keep my temper in check' bit helps. A lot. You can intimidate them, though, if you want. But make sure that they let off on Toretto, and that Brian is safe. Alright?"
"Ain't nothing gonna happen, B. But alright. What was the deal?"
"The guy driving, Dominic Toretto, had the FBI watching him for something."
"Damn, girl! When you go bad, you go bad!"
"Not mine. Anyway, so Bilkins said they'd back off him if he got me to St Louis in time. I don't even want to know what he'll do if this goes bad, but just in case..."
"Nothing doin', Buffy. Won't go bad. But if it does, what do you want me to do? You know the Feds won't honor shit if you don't get it taken care of."
"Yeah. So if it does go bad, take him in. Put him in Council protection, okay?" Buffy was stuidiously not looking at Dom now. She couldn't help it, though. Dom was doing this for a deal, yeah, but he was still the only option she'd had left and she didn't want to see him screwed if she messed things up.
"Yeah, Buff. No problem. What about Blondie?"
"Brian will likely be fine, but make sure he doesn't need anything. I'll text you his contact info, so you can reach him if you can't get hold of me."
"G-man says that all the other apocalypse type shit going on around the world are diversions for this one. This is the big one, B. Be careful, alright?"
"Yeah. No pressure, right?"
"Alright, Faith. We're stopping again, so I'll send you Brian's info then talk to you when it's all over. I'll let you know when we're close."
"Yeah. You do that and I'll be there after."
Buffy hung up just as Dom slid the car into a space at the rest stop. He sat there, just looking at her for a few minutes, until Brian tapping on her window shook them out of it. She knew he'd have questions once they were back in the car.
Dom didn't know what to make of this woman. She hardly even knew him, but she was making sure that if shit went sour, he'd be taken care of. What the hell kind of person does that these days? If Brian was related to her, maybe he'd have to give the boy a chance. Just one, though. Because if he fucked up again, there might not be such an easy way out.
Back behind the wheel and cruising down the interstate at insane speeds, he finally asked her.
"Because. Brian trusts you, whether you believe it or not. If he didn't, he never would have told me you would be the better driver. He never would have worked that deal, either. He would have just accepted that his cover was blown and taken off with me.
"Because you're a good guy, mostly. Yeah, you were into some stuff that you never should have touched, but he must think you had good reason for it if he's willing to put himself on the line for you.
"Because you didn't have to do this, but you did. You didn't do it for yourself, either. Well, not just yourself. I saw how you looked at them; your family. You would do anything to keep them safe. I know how that feels, and I know you do, too. And because you've never done a single thing that could make me think you were the bad guy. Not yet, at least."
He didn't say anything to that, but he thought about what she had said. Especially about Brian O'Conner.
He found himself telling her a bit about his past, as well. Spending so long alone together in the car made sharing easy. He told her about Kenny Linder and doing time. He told her about Letty and the ups and downs of that relationship. How he and Letty were comfortable, but neither of them was in it for the long haul. They didn't go home alone, but they didn't love each other the way they should if they planned to stay together. Letty would always be his friend, and he did love her and she loved him, but right now they were just warming each others' beds. It was easy and familiar and protected them both from those out to use them.
He talked about racing, and the thrill of it when he hit the NOS. How the speed gave him a rush and gave him true peace in his life. He told her about being banned from professional racing for the rest of his life, and how he would have loved to live that life; to bring the Toretto name into the big time. He told her how much he loved working on his car, and after racing, it was the next most peaceful time for him.
"I can relate. Slaying, while violent at heart, is peaceful and calming. And hey! If you have anger issues, we can work with you on doing some slaying on the side. You can take out your aggressions on something that won't put you in prison if you beat it with a bat or a hammer or whatever."
"Yeah. I had this great Troll God hammer that I used to beat on Glory. It was good times."
Dom laughed. This girl was something else. And this slaying thing sounded pretty good; if he ended up believing it all. The jury was still out on that.
Buffy could see the Gateway Arch now. Dom had slept earlier so that he'd be driving this home stretch for her. He'd told her about the hijackings and how they'd pulled them off. She figured she'd put his skills to use. Buffy had told him that she might need him to pull those fancy moves for her once they got there, but she didn't elaborate. Soon enough, she had a feeling she wouldn't need to.
"What the hell are those things?" Dom asked once he got a good look at the demons. He didn't notice what Buffy was doing until a glint off – chrome? – something caught his eye. Then he saw that she had some kind of red and silver ax thing in her hand and was shimmying out of the window.
"What're you doing, Buffy?" he called out, anxious for her.
"Just keep her steady, Dom!" she called back, ducking her head so she could see inside the window she was now seated on. "Once I get clear, get away as fast as you can. I don't want you caught in this shit." She smiled at him once more, a brilliant, blinding thing that nearly took his breath away. "Tell Brian I said I love him, alright? Then you can fight it out over his job, but do that for me first."
She didn't give him a chance to reply to her fatalistic words before she was on her feet on the door, then on the roof. He only knew that much because her foot slipped a bit onto the windshield before she found her balance. Then, with a mighty war whoop that put Brian's joy filled ones to shame, she leapt from the roof of his car. It buckled on the passenger side, to his everlasting awe.
It was over. Apocalypse averted, guys in sweet rides... still here. Huh. And there was ringing in her ears, likely from the whack her head took when one of the demons tossed her into a wall. Right before it got slammed into the same wall by an orange car. She caught the occasional glimpse of Brian and Dom both putting their driving skills to the test, walloping on the fringe demons while Buffy herself was in the center of the melee. The demon Brian had pinned to the wall had lost its head shortly after, when her Scythe swung up and removed it. At one point, she had lost the Scythe momentarily, and next thing she knew, Dom was driving by with one of her swords getting tossed her way. Soon enough, she was fighting with a weapon in each hand, taking heads and arms and – once – a tail. Weird.
Now she was lying on the ground, the world around her was fading in and out. Sounds, too, were coming like waves to the shore. She saw Brian leaning over her, then, what seemed like seconds later, Dom was kneeling next to her, Jesse hovering over his shoulder. Someone was pressing on her stomach and she wanted them to stop but couldn't tell them then suddenly, Faith was there, holding Buffy's head on her lap and saying things that the blonde slayer couldn't quite understand. The world went black.
Buffy awoke in a white room with a bland landscape on the wall and white sheets with a beige bedspread over her body. She rolled her head to the side and found the IV machine, tubing going into the back of her hand and saline and another bag flowing through it.
"Either I'm not dead, or this is hell."
A laugh caused her eyes to open up again – when had she closed them? – so she could see who was there. Blond hair, eyes so blue they sometimes hurt to look into. Brian. And a darker shape there... was that... no. It's Faith, not Dawnie.
"Hey, B. Glad to see you back in the land of the living."
"My head hurts," was Buffy's eloquent reply. Was it okay for her to be sad that Dom wasn't there? She just met the guy, but she felt like she'd known him forever.
"Still say you've got great taste in men," Faith said, and Buffy wondered if Faith had been having a conversation with her that she didn't know about. Her confusion must have shown because the dark slayer smirked at her.
"Your cousin isn't hard on the eyes, and the hottie that was hovering over you when I got here? Dayam, woman!"
"Told you. Not mine."
Brian was looking uncomfortable, but he never once let go of her hand. She didn't even know he'd been holding it.
Brian and Faith both stared at her, then Faith started laughing like a hyena. No! Bad comparison! Loon. Like a loon.
"Her thoughts must be all over the place, yo. It all makes sense to her, I'm sure."
"Yeah, alright. Haven't ever had to be on the 'good drugs' before, so I don't know."
"I have. They had me on the good shit when I came outta my coma back in Sunnyhell. Took a while to get it out of my system, and it was a fuckin' trip, yo!"
"Trip the light fantastic. Mom always would say that. Remember, Brian?" Buffy slurred, sloshing her head over towards the blond man. Then her eyes slipped closed and she was asleep once more.
When she came to again, her head was a bit clearer and she groaned as she remembered acting like a fool in front of Faith. Without opening her eyes, she turned her hand so she could lace her fingers with Brian's. She didn't remember his hand being so rough, though. Maybe Xander, then? But she was still tired, and drifted back off without ever even looking.
She heard low voices talking when she next swam the consciousness river, and she tried to determine who was there without letting them know she was up. She heard Faith and Giles, but also Brian and... Dom? Really? She pried her eyes open and sure enough, there was the large form of the man who got her to St Louis on time and stuck around to make sure she was safe. He was standing closest to her bed, but his back was to her as he argued with someone she couldn't see. Then she figured it was the doctor.
"Look, we'll just give Miss Summers another morphine drip and wait for her to come around," the doctor was saying.
"No," Buffy rasped out, causing everyone to look at her. She tried clearing her throat and was grateful
when Dom help a cup with a straw to her lips. The cool water was the best thing she'd ever tasted, hands down. "No more drugs," she said when she could speak again. Her voice was stronger after the water and she glared at the man with the stethoscope.
"The pain must be nearly unbearable," he began.
"No! No drugs. I want a clear head and besides, I don't really feel much pain."
"Told you she heals fast, man!" Faith said, anger evident in her voice.
"But for her to feel virtually no pain now, less than forty eight hours after a wound of that magnitude, well! We'll have to run tests, of course-"
"No!" The word came from, surprisingly, five different voices.
"Giles, I wanna leave," Buffy pouted. "Isn't there something... AMR or ADA or something... so I can leave even if they don't want me to?"
"AMA, yes," Giles said, turning to the doctor again. "Buffy wishes to leave against medical advice, and I expect discharge papers no later than an hour from now."
"I'd listen, if I were you," Brian said. "I hear he gets pretty vicious when he's mad, and he's not even the one you have to worry about if you try to pull anything on Buffy."
"Bri," Buffy said. "Call your FBI friend, see if they can't get my status classified. I know Dr Walsh said something once about doing that with a few of her guys when they got injured because of the stuff they pumped into them, so maybe...?"
"Yeah, okay. One hour, doc. Then we're leaving, whether you want her to or not."
He pulled out his cell and went into the hall, Faith following him with a look from Buffy.
Buffy watched the man leave, then turned her attention to her father figure.
"Hey, Giles. I see you've met Dom."
"Yes, Buffy. Buffy..." Giles trailed off a moment and pulled off his glasses to start polishing his lens.
"Oh no," Buffy said to Dom. "Whenever he does that, I'm in trouble."
Dom grinned at her. "Yeah?"
"Oh yeah. Watch."
"If you're quite through," Giles said, irritated. "Dear girl, whatever were you thinking to jump into the middle of a pack or Surpaka demons like that? They're cousin to the Polgara, after all, and have bone skewers too! And not only that, you jumped from a moving car that was driving over a hundred miles an hour! Did you leave your brains behind in California? Or perhaps you thought the adrenaline rush would be worth it?"
"It so totally was, Giles! I mean... erm... Look, Giles. I'm fine. Well, I will be fine, at least. And you never told me they had skewers, you know! I didn't have time to do any recon, since the deadline was coming up on us," Buffy said. "I did the best I could with what I had," she added in a small voice.
Dom was impressed. First, the mild mannered British dude ripped into her, then she played him perfectly. This was definitely a routine they had down pat. And he thought the rush might have been worth it, too. Except for the damage to his car.
Brian and Faith chose that moment to come back in. "They'll be sending someone down with some non-disclosure forms for the staff who treated you. He won't be able to talk about you or your amazing healing abilities to anyone who isn't already in the know and signing one."
"Thanks, Bri. That's a huge relief."
A bit over an hour later and the entire group was pulling up to the hotel where the Council had reserved suites. Buffy and Faith were sharing a two bedroom suite with Giles, with both girls sharing the king size bed in one room. Brian, Dom and Jesse were sharing another two bedroom, where Jesse apparently either opted for or got booted to the couch.
Buffy had been bundled into the front seat of Dom's car, the seat reclined all the way while Faith rode in the back. Brian and Giles were in the Supra, and Buffy giggled to see her staid Watcher getting into the bright orange racer. It was pretty banged up, and looking up showed that Dom's car didn't fare much better. She told him she'd have that taken care of, since she did it, but Faith told him that if he waited for Buffy to get better, she could bang most of the dents out with her fists for him. Buffy smiled; she knew what her sister-slayer was doing. The brat. But she went with it, because she'd like to spend more time with him.
When they got to the hotel, Dom lifted her out of the seat with great care. She protested, of course, saying that she could walk. He set her down, staying right there in case she couldn't and she was glad for it. She got wounded in such a way that stepping out with her left foot pulled on the healing gash and she couldn't comfortably move on her own. So she allowed him to swing her back up into his arms, Faith smirking at her over his shoulder. To avoid seeing that – at least, that's what she told herself – she rested her head on his shoulder and enjoyed the ride. But as they were passing through the lobby to the bank of elevators at the other end, Riley and Agent Bilkins came out of the couches there. They must have been waiting on her to get there, as they both tried to swarm Dom. Finally, she swatted Riley with enough force to bruise and told him to back off.
"If you wanna talk, we can do it in the room."
So they all made their way up to the suites, Riley looking around, glaring balefully at the nice rooms.
"I see you're still hanging out with the criminal element, Buffy," Riley started off saying, and he couldn't have shoved his foot further down his throat if he tried.
"Really? Let's see. I see a kid I didn't get a chance to get to know yet, but still know that he should be in MIT with his brains. I see an FBI Agent and one of LA's finest. I see a man who runs a multi-national company that trains people to fight off the evil underbelly of the world and a man who owns not one, but two businesses of his own and still finds time to have fun. And lastly, I see two women whose mystical calling says we're Hot Chicks with Superpowers. Then there's you. The bigot who couldn't handle his girlfriend being stronger than him and went to a suckhouse to deal. One of these things is not like the other, Riley. One of these things just doesn't belong. Can you tell me which one?"
Faith burst out laughing at the taunting way Buffy ended her mini-rant with a childhood song and watched Captain Cardboard turn red.
"I'm a Major in the United States Army, Buffy!"
"And yet, you still don't belong here. So what are you doing here?"
"I just wanted to make sure you were alright. I still love you, Buff," he said, all earnestness.
"Does your wife know you're telling other women you love them?" Giles asked archly. Buffy tried and failed to smother a grin.
"I'm fine, Riley. I've come through worse. So go report back to your bosses that I'm still alive and kicking and to go take a long walk off a short pier."
"With cement shoes on," Faith added. Buffy laughed.
After Riley left, and Buffy was finally settled down on the sofa, Agent Bilkins stepped forward.
"I've got everything cleared, Miss Summers. Should you need our assistance again, don't hesitate to call the FBI. We'll do everything in our power to make sure you get what you need."
"Thank you, Agent Bilkins," Buffy said, and held a quick conversation-of-the-eyes with Giles. "If you ever need us, the Council will do what we can to assist you. As long as it doesn't go against something we've already got in motion."
Bilkins smiled and shook the young woman's hand, glared at Toretto, then, with a nod for everyone else, left the suite, too.
"Well, now that's all over, how about dinner?" Faith said and Buffy nodded.
"Did you know, Faith, that Brian's never seen a slayer in a full on H and H eating binge?"
"Oh dear Lord," Giles said. "You boys won't know what hit you. Shall I just order you the entire menu, Buffy? Or perhaps just half?"
"Pizza," she decided. "I want pizza. One Italian Sausage, one Supreme."
"Pepperoni and black olives for me. Just one."
"And everyone else?"
After getting the pizza order placed, Giles sat down with Buffy and Faith. Brian, Dom and Jesse were all on the other sofa across from them, listening first as the girls debated leather pants versus jeans for easier kicks, then Giles burst their fun bubble by asking what they planned to do next.
"I was gonna do the Road Warrior gig, I think," Faith said. She'd been planning on going cross country for a while now, just slaying as she went, but hadn't moved beyond planning stages.
"I think I'd like to stay close to family," Buffy said, glancing over at Brian. "Dawnie's in school now, so that's out, but I thought maybe I'd catch up with my cousin."
"Besides, you've got a car to buy," Dom said. "I can't fix it up for you if you don't live nearby."
Buffy beamed at him and Giles was sold. It had been years since he last saw her so carefree. This is who his slayer was meant to be. This bright, shining, golden girl was his Buffy. He'd do anything to make her stay that way. Even move her to a place that was eight hours behind him.
Brian, it turned out, had talked to Dom while she was in hospital, recovering from the death defying fighting she'd been doing. They'd worked things out, so it was a far less tense affair to get back to LA than it had been to drive out. While in St Louis, they'd found a garage that rented out bays and they got two so the guys could work on fixing their cars. Jesse demanded they take pictures first, so they could show the gang when they got back just how badly wrecked they'd gotten in St Louis, of all places. Dom and Brian had worked with her on the cars, teaching her about them a little bit as they worked. Dom said he'd do more when they got back to his garage, since they'd have more time then.
Buffy rode back to LA the same way she rode out, in Dom's car. This time, though, there was no driver switching going on. They'd made the trip leisurely, and it took them three days to get back to the Toretto residence. They'd gotten two double rooms each night, and Buffy stayed one night in one with Brian, talking, and the other with Dom, sleeping. She'd also gotten to know Jesse a bit, and thought that he was definitely Willow-ish. She wasn't sure if she should get them together or keep them far apart, actually.
Faith said that she'd be in LA soon, and she'd give Buffy a call once she was close. They could do their Chosen Two thing again, and maybe Faith could get a look at the hotties that hung around Dom and Brian. Buffy laughed and told her she couldn't wait. She had seen some possibilities when she'd met them, and even just some others in the street racing scene that caught her eye. Dom growled when she mentioned that anyone had caught her eye at all, and she had a mental big old shit eating grin going on.
Dom must have called the team and told them to leave Brian alone, because aside from what Brian called the usual Vince-hostilities, everyone let him be. Nobody was surprised to see her, either, so she assumed he'd said something in that case, also.
She was staying at Brian's house until she found a place of her own. Since she was a Slayer, the Council would purchase a house for her. Her needs made it a necessity, since she needed to have a training room and an armory. It didn't really surprise her when Dom went house hunting with her.
They found the perfect place not far from his house, and she wasted no time. The Council had the money ready for her, and she paid cash outright for the place. Then she started using the Council card to get her training room up to par, and Willow teleported all her weapons over. Including her Troll hammer, that had been in a subspace pocket baggie that Willow did up for them when Sunnydale fell. She'd forgotten about the pocket thingy until Willow mentioned it, and then felt dumb because they could have just taken Dom's car, then. Brian's lanky ass could have squeezed into the back.
She and Dom were talking about having a housewarming party – read: Barbeque – at her place the next weekend, since Faith was due in that Thursday. He said he'd grill, and she agreed, citing that she'd burn it all or it would still be raw if she tried. They moved on to talking about getting her a car, and Letty volunteered to take her. Dom said he'd take them both, and the girls exchanged exasperated looks. He needed to be there to see the car, he'd convinced himself, but Buffy and Letty knew that he didn't want anything to happen between his old partner and his new interest.
Letty was another surprise for her. They got along like fire and oil. She didn't think they would, to be honest, and was prepared for cattiness. Not a nice girl. Once Dom had left the room, she'd slipped onto the couch next to the Hispanic girl and sighed.
"You think he'd come if we told him we wanted to go shopping at the mall?" Buffy asked plaintively.
Letty burst out laughing and Dom poked his head around the corner, eyes widening on seeing the two women together.
"Man, I think you found the solution," Letty said quietly. "Hey, Dom! Me an' Buffy are goin' shoppin' tomorrow. You wanna come?"
Dom looked like a deer in headlights and shook his head. Letty grinned.
They did go shopping, surprisingly. Buffy had suggested it just as a ruse, but Letty didn't think Buffy had enough diversity in her wardrobe. So they shopped and they talked and Letty pretty much said the same things Dom did. They were together because they were familiar and useful. She'd known it going into the relationship. She kinda had a thing for Leon, actually, but the man just refused to make a move.
Buffy had said that perhaps if Letty looked like she was available, he might finally catch a clue.
Brian came around on weekends and was working on being friends as Brian O'Conner with the team. Mia, it appeared, had lost interest in him. Or was using him to make Vince jealous. And while he'd cared about her, she wasn't it for him. He wouldn't tell her if he found his It Girl yet, though. And she didn't catch her own clue until Faith breezed into town on her bike, pulling up at the garage where Brian had decided he'd be that day even though it was during the week and thus not one of his usual days. Faith had kicked the stand out, jumped off the bike and locked her lips on Brian in a kiss so hot that Buffy was feeling the need from it. She groaned as she felt Dom move up behind her, and he finally made his own move by wrapping her up tight in his arms. She was glad that they didn't have their first kiss in front of everyone. Those first kisses could be sweet or awkward, and with her luck an audience would make it bad.
All in all, things were looking up in the world of Buffy Summers.