We're all going on a
No more worries for a
Week or two
Fun and laughter on our
No more worries for me or you
For a week or two
- Cliff Richard, "Summer Holiday"
"Do you know that Cliff Richard movie 'Summer
Holiday'?" Xander asked cheerfully, as he haphazardly
stuffed a sweatshirt into his bag, "You know ... the
one where his friend tries to buy bread in Italy and
accidentally proposes to someone?"
"No." Anya answered with far less enthusiasm, eyeing
Xander's enormous pile of bags and then glancing at
her own neatly packed suitcase, "How are you going to
get all that in the car?"
"I've seen it twice." Xander seemed oblivious both to
Anya's question and to her complete disinterest in
British pop icons of the sixties, "That's what living
in your parents' basement and watching all night TV
does to you. And I gotta feel sorry for Cliff. He
tried so hard to make movies as truly awful as Elvis,
but he never quite had the same style as the King."
The young man paused, cocking his head thoughtfully,
"Of course, Cliff's now sixty and looks younger than
Elvis did when he choked on his last cheeseburger, so
maybe he had the last laugh after all."
"Xander." The girl's tone took on a warning edge.
"Yes, my love?" he bounced over to Anya and smooched
her exuberantly. "Are you packed? We gotta go soon."
"I've been packed for over an hour." She reminded him,
feeling her irritation collapse under his infectious
excitement, "You're the one holding us up."
"Oh." Xander looked genuinely surprised, then
shrugged. "Well, I'm packed, now. And the car's
filled with gas. So we're ready to roll." He grabbed
the first three of his bags, then frowned at the
enormous pile of luggage. "How long are we going for?"
"A month." Anya reminded him, "Assuming the car
doesn't break down. I know what happens on these
cross-country trips. I've seen 'National Lampoon's
"A modern classic." Xander nodded agreeably, randomly
throwing half of his bags back into the closet as he
did so. "But perhaps not the best film to have shown
you the night before we left. Still, at least it
Anya picked up her single bag and watched with a
mixture of amusement and exasperation as her boyfriend
loaded himself with luggage.
"Don't hurt yourself." She cautioned, suddenly
concerned. "Remember when you strained your back and
we couldn't have sex for a week."
"That was your fault." He reminded her, defensively.
Anya shrugged, trailing after him as he staggered to
"I said I was sorry, didn't I?"
They were really doing it.
Even as they sped out of the city limits, Xander had
to suppress an urge to pinch himself. The urge to
follow in the tradition of Jack Kerouac had been
burning inside him for nearly eighteen months, but his
first attempt to do so had been so disastrous that it
had taken nearly a year for him to work up the courage
to try it again.
But now they were really doing it. They. Not he.
Xander hadn't really known how Anya would react to the
idea of the trip when he tentatively broached it to
her nearly six weeks before, but her response had been
"A month away from the Hellmouth? Sounds like a good
idea to me."
He grinned at her across the front seat, and was
surprised by the warmth of the returned smile. Anya
always kept him guessing. There were times when he
wondered if she saw him as any more than someone who
had the appropriate 'interlocking parts'; and then
moments when she stunned him with her tenderness.
"Where do you want to go first?" he asked, trying to
figure out how far the first tank of gas would get
"Las Vegas!" Anya grinned, "I want to see the tigers
eat those two so-called magicians."
"Yuck. Vegas is full of lounge singers. Like Wayne
Newton. Or Barry Manilow. And I don't think that
Siegfried and Roy get eaten in their act."
"There's always a first time." The ex-demoness
muttered darkly. Xander laughed, a little nervously.
It could be hard to tell when Anya was joking.
"Vegas it is, then."
Prudence Munroe glided through the lights and noise of
the casino, relishing the attention her flowing blonde
hair and form-fitting red cocktail dress were
attracting. She loved Vegas. It was a perfect
playground, with its constant flow of visitors from
around the world. So many of them men. So many of
them eager for attractive female company. So many of
She glanced around for a likely prospect, her eyes
lingering on a dark-haired young man at one of the
blackjack tables. He was boyishly good-looking, with
a quirky tilt to the corner of his mouth. For a
second, she thought about approaching him, despite the
small size of the pile of chips he was using to play.
But then the girl beside the boy slid her arm through
his, shooting a dark look at Prudence as she did so.
The blonde flashed a smug smile back at the other
girl, who wore a dress as skin tight as her own.
"I could have him if I wanted, sweetheart."
But she moved away. The girl's body language said
"couple", and it was much less trouble to pick a man
who was unattached. That way there was no-one else
around who might remember you.
"Excuse me, Miss." The deep male voice came from
behind her, and had a slow, southern drawl, "I was
wonderin' if I might buy you a drink?"
Prudence turned, a welcoming smile already on her
lips. It was far from original, as pick-up lines
went, but she wasn't after a man for his
conversational skills, after all.
"That would be lovely." She murmured, admiring the
man's strong physique and expensive clothes, "Perhaps
a rum and coke?"
"My pleasure." The man offered her his arm, and she
took it delicately. "I'm Hank Parker, just up from
Texas for the weekend."
"I'm Prudence." The blonde's smile was genuine. She
liked Texans. They tended to carry a lot of cash.
And they tasted so good. Must be all that red meat
As Hank walked her to the bar, she felt the eyes of
the dark-haired boy upon her. She glanced back,
giving him a playful wink, then laughed lightly at a
clumsy joke from Hank. Yes, it was just as well she
hadn't gone for the youngster. If he'd been smart as
well as cute, she might have been tempted to turn him.
Xander winced as Anya jabbed him firmly in the ribs.
"If you're so taken with the blonde tramp, why'd you
invite me on this trip?" she snapped, glaring daggers
at the back of the girl who was now walking off with a
tall, broad-shouldered man.
"What?" Xander frowned and shook his head slightly,
"It's not like that. If I went off with her I'd get
the kind of hickey you can't show in daylight."
Anya opened her mouth to yell at him, then closed it
with a snap. Peering after the couple, who were now
at the bar, she leaned in to whisper,
"She's a vampire? Are you sure?"
"You don't spend four years around the Slayer without
picking up a few pointers." Xander muttered back,
sliding a chip out onto the table to signify he would
play the next hand.
"Typical." The ex-demoness complained, "we finally get
away from the Hellmouth, and the first place you take
us is crawling with the Undead."
"It's one vampire." He reminded her, "And why not get
on the loudspeakers next time? That way you could
really make sure everyone heard you." he didn't bother
to point out that coming to Las Vegas had been Anya's
"Sorry." The apologetic response surprised him.
"Though it's so noisy in here that no-one would have
heard me anyway." That was more like the Anya he
"Maybe." Xander went bust drawing the Queen of Spades
on a 12, and cursed distractedly. "Anyway, we should
stop her. She'll kill that guy if we don't."
"Are you crazy?" Anya hissed, favouring him with a
withering stare, "Last time I checked, Buffy was the
Slayer, not us. Look, just because she's sizing that
guy up like a McDonalds' burger is no reason for us to
"We're not going to get killed." Xander scooped up his
chips and stepped back from the table. "I have a
"Oh, wonderful." Anya shook her head slightly, "You
have a plan. And what are we going to kill her
with, harsh language?"
"I should never have shown you 'Aliens'." He grumbled
in response, then patted the pocket of his jacket,
"I'm carrying two stakes and a bottle of holy water.
Standard issue for Sunnydale alumni. Why aren't you
Anya glared at him,
"I can't even wear underwear with this dress. How
could I carry a stake?"
It took a while for Xander to recover enough composure
to outline his plan.
Prudence was surprised when the dark-haired boy slid
up to her at the bar, familiarly placing his arm
around her waist.
"There you are, darling." He flashed a lively smile at
both her and Hank Parker, "I'm sorry I was so long at
the tables. Who's your friend?"
The vampiress suppressed a small smile. The young man
had really noticed her, it seemed. And he was making
his play with far more verve and charm than the Texan.
Briefly, she considered turning him away. He was
almost too cute to eat.
"This is Hank Parker, honey." Almost too cute. "He
was kind enough to buy me a drink. Hank, this is my
"Alexander Harris." The young man shook Hank's hand
firmly, ignoring the half-startled, half-surly look on
the Texan's face. "Very kind of you to keep my baby
"Think nothing of it." the Texan blinked slowly,
obviously deciding not to press the issue, "But now I
really must be going, if you'll excuse me."
The two of them watched Hank leave, Prudence amusedly
noting the stiffness of the larger man's back. A sore
loser, it seemed, but not sore enough to make a fuss.
"That was pretty brave of you, Alexander." she smiled
warmly. "I imagine Mr Parker would not have
appreciated your ruse, if I had exposed it."
The young man shrugged,
"If I see something I want, I go for it. And please,
call me Xander. Can I get you another drink?"
"Not just at the moment," Prudence cocked her head to
one side, feeling an indulgent smile tug at the corner
of her lips. She wondered how this Xander would feel
to know that the woman he was flirting with was three
times his age. "What happened to the girl you were
"I gave her a hundred and sent her packing." He leaned
against the bar, "she was just a Casino girl. Nothing
"Aren't I just a Casino girl?" she raised her eyebrows
"No." Xander shook his head, "You're something quite
out of the ordinary." She was surprised and amused by
the sincerity in his tone.
"You don't know the half of it." Prudence breathed
playfully, resting a hand on his arm. This one was
young and direct, so she didn't see the point of
wasting any time, "Why don't you take me to your room
and I can show you."
"I thought you'd never ask."
The blonde pushed him against the wall of the hotel
room, her lips cool but not unpleasant as they pressed
against his own. Xander cupped her face in his hands,
using the seeming tenderness to make sure she didn't
lunge at his neck.
"What was your name, anyway?" he breathlessly asked in
between two deep kisses, "I didn't catch it, earlier."
"Prudence." The vampiress played with the buttons of
his shirt, flicking the top one undone.
"That's quite an old-fashioned name for such a young
and pretty girl." He remarked casually, looking over
her shoulder at the mirror on the dresser, where the
reflection showed him standing alone.
"It was popular when I was born." The blonde chuckled,
obviously amused by her own cleverness. Xander
suppressed a smirk of his own as she undid the second
button on his shirt.
"You know," he said conversationally, as she played
with the third button, "you'll get a rude surprise if
you keep doing that."
Prudence licked her lips. Even knowing what she was,
Xander could understand the ease with which she
"Why is that?" she teased, "Do you have a nasty scar?"
"No." he answered calmly, pulling his shirt open
suddenly, "but you might."
The blonde recoiled from the iron crucifix around
Xander's neck, the ridges of her game face forming
from the shock and anger.
"You knew?" she hissed, her eyes narrowed.
"I'm from Sunnydale." Xander allowed his smirk to
break through at last.
The vampiress snarled, the sound coming from deep in
"So you thought you'd play the hero, did you? I'm not
some new-born cub, boy. And you're no Slayer."
"No, he isn't. But I am." Anya stepped out of the
room's wardrobe, where she had hidden before Xander
and Prudence entered the room. The ex-demoness spun a
stake slowly in her fingers.
Prudence whirled, half-crouching as she did so. Then
the vampiress frowned.
"You're no Slayer, either. Buffy Summers is a
"Oh please. With those roots?"
To her eternal mortification, the lovely Prudence
Munroe died with a look of bafflement marring her
usually perfect features.
Xander shook his head at the light pattern of dust on
"How are we going to explain that to the cleaning
lady?" he asked rhetorically, throwing the stake in
his hand onto a nearby chair.
"Who cares?" Anya grinned, then flung her arms around
him and kissed him deeply.
"Hmm ..." Xander mused thoughtfully when they finally
broke for air, "Perhaps I should go slay vampires more
often, if it's going to have this sort of effect on
"Don't you dare!" Anya punched him lightly on the arm,
then added in a small voice, "I don't want you to get
He tilted her head up gently and kissed her again. It
was more tender this time, but no less heartfelt. At
the end, it was the ex-demoness who stepped back, her
"That was ... different." She observed quietly, as if
not sure what had happened.
"Yes." The young man agreed, stepping close to put his
arms around her once again, "It was."
Their lips met, and it was not until an hour later, as
they lay entwined on the bed, that Xander sat up and
"Buffy dyes her hair?"