Secret Slasha — The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project
Secret Slasha — The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project

Heading East
By Brutti ma Buoni
For Dariclone

Joyce was driving without attention. The roads were pretty clear that evening, and she had a lot to process. But she wasn't so far gone that essential parenting and female responsibility could be ignored.

So she pulled over, wound down the passenger window and said, "You really shouldn't be hitch-hiking at your age. Where are you going to?"

The girl by the roadside looked at her resentfully. "I'm more than adequately mature for this and all other eventualities, believe me. If my car hadn't behaved unpredictably at speed, I wouldn't be seeking help from strangers, but believe me also, this is the lesser evil. I'm not going anywhere. I'm running away."

Joyce couldn't resist. "Really? Me too."

"Graduation?" The girl seemed unsurprised.

"Yes. You know about that?"

"It was supposed to be my graduation too. It would have been my first, you know."

That was a little odd. But there was a lot of odd around today. Joyce opened the door. "Look, I can get you out of here safely. Want a ride?"

"Please. That was the purpose of the hitchhiking, after all."

Already, Joyce was regretting the offer to let this irritating girl share her journey. But she didn't want to give up on all vestiges of Sunnydale just yet.

"You must know my daughter then, if you're graduating?" Joyce was determined not to flinch from it; and there had to be conversation during the miles. "Buffy Summers?"

"Yes indeed, the Slayer and I have met several times."

"Uh.. you know about that too?"

"Oh yes. Mrs Summers, you must know a lot about the demonic, given your parental position. So you won't be too startled if I tell you I'm over 1100 years old, most of them spent as the vengeance demon Anyanka, wreaking righteous damnation on the menfolk of this pitiful earth. Till my retirement, recently, that is."

"Uhhm. No. No, not too startled." Joyce carefully didn't drive off the road. Just.

"So none of this stuff is news to me. And please take me seriously when I ask you where you think you're driving to?"

"It's supposed to be my sister's place. But I really don't want to spend time with Lolly just now-"

"Does she live somewhere inaccessible?" The girl was impatient.

"No, Santa Barbara."

"Sorry, that's not good enough. I've been trying to work it out; at first I thought airplane, of course, but if the sky is filled with flame and ash that's not going to work so well. So instead I thought about the desert; but snakes love the desert. And I think they can swim. So I think the mountains might be best."

Joyce tried to get back to what she could understand, since the girl seemed to have taken many dozens of steps ahead of her. "Uh... snake?"

"Yes, large snake. The Mayor. The Ascension. The reason we're fleeing."

Joyce sighed, "I think you'd better start at the beginning."

"And assume you're totally ignorant? Yes, that was the impression I have received." The girl's manner was really starting to grate.

"Thank you... er.... what's your name?"

"Currently I'm going by Anya Emerson. Or possibly Jenkins, it's a little unclear right now. You drive, I'll talk."


Hours of educational discourse later, Joyce realised she had nearly steered the car into the path of an oncoming SUV.

"Do we need to keep running? I'm so tired my eyes are crossing." She somehow assumed Anya would know the correct distance to flee from a giant demon snake, even if she couldn't operate an automobile. Joyce was correct.

"Well, we're past the preliminary blast area, and it'd take a while for Olvikan to reach this far. We can probably have a break for a few hours."

The next motel they passed looked bearable, so Joyce pulled over. "Do you have any money?"

"I have some, but I object to wasting it. Would you be prepared to share a room?"

Whatever. "Fine." Besides, I don't want to be alone. Anya was infuriating, but at least Joyce didn't have to pretend with her. And there were times when Anya talked about those she'd left in Sunnydale when she let just a few hints of vulnerability and affection show through. It was enough for fellow-feeling, in extremis.

They got a twin, one of those cheap motel specials with two beds crammed together into a single frame. The room was painted brown, with brown carpet and lighter brown walls. One of the light bulbs was out.

"Cosy," said both, simultaneously. The laugh that followed was the first lightness they'd shared, and it made for a warmer atmosphere as they got ready for bed. Joyce wasn't even slightly surprised by Anya's lack of self-consciousness, as the younger (er, much older, though perkier) woman wandered the room in her underwear, fiddling with luggage and trying to get reception on the ancient TV.

There was no word from Sunnydale, but that was hardly surprising. Graduation wasn't till tomorrow. Joyce wished once again that Buffy had a cellphone; calls to her home went unanswered. But then, Buffy must have been busy. Out somewhere. Doing something dangerous, no doubt.

Joyce put down the motel phone one last time. "I hate this. I hate this so much." She sat on the edge of her horrible little bed, desperately seeking not to cry. "Why Buffy?"

She could hear Anya moving behind her, settling into bed. The girl's precise tones followed. "It's always someone. Or several someones. Some brave humans take on the forces of evil. Sometimes it's an army; sometimes it's a bunch of kids at their graduation ceremony. Pretty often, it's just one girl in all the world. This time it's more. But you and I, we are not that girl. We're not those heroes. So we run."

Joyce continued to sit, too desperate to lie down, though she knew she should be grabbing rest. After a while, Anya stirred again. One arm draped round Joyce's shoulders. "Come to bed. You need to sleep."

"I'm cold."

"I'm not."

Anya tucked Joyce in carefully, then moved over to her own bed. Joyce's hand reached out and clasped Anya's, wordlessly. They slept, always touching.


They kept driving the next day. At around graduation time, the rearview lit up with a huge flash of light.

Anya blinked, "Huh. Looks like they got Olvikan."

"Seriously? But we're hundreds of miles away."

"Yes, but bringing down a pure demon is pretty big business; you need something like the force of a volcano. I just hope they haven't opened the Hellmouth with that blast."


"Well, have you seen a light like that before? It's the Hellmouth or possibly a nuclear weapon. Either way, I think Olvikan's gone."

"... And Sunnydale too." Joyce put it like that very deliberately. The people in Sunnydale were not to be mentioned.

"Oh yes. All gone, I guess."

Joyce braked sharply. "We should go back."

Anya left her for a long pause, before she gently said, "Why?"


They kept driving. Always eastwards, away from the past. They used cash, as though on the run. Though they were running from absence, not pursuit.

The second night, after a silent afternoon of grief, Joyce stripped off her clothes in front of Anya, uncaring. Saw the girl watching her, and almost angrily said, "What? Do you want this?"

Anya nodded, solemnly. "Yes. I find you attractive. I believe having sex would be a good distraction for both of us."

Joyce wanted to cry.

Don't think about distractions. From being homeless. Childless. Not thinking is the most important thing now.

She reached out, sightless now, towards Anya, and found her hand met by a warm body in motion, Anya coming to meet her.

It was rough, near-painful sex. Grabbing, biting, moving restlessly throughout, shifting from tongue-tangling kisses to desperate squirming, rubbing touches. Getting off, to show they were alive; to know it and believe it.

They ended silently, dry eyed and separate, locked into thoughts they didn't want to speak and share. But they shared the same narrow motel bed all the same.


Next morning, they finally switched on the news, still unspeaking. It confirmed what they expected: a huge explosion had wiped out the city of Sunnydale with massive loss of life. Explanations were still coming in; military involvement was assumed.

It didn't matter. Whatever Buffy had done, it was successful and final. The Hellmouth was apparently still safely closed, but southern California was a smoking, irradiated zone of panicked refugees and overwhelmed hospitals.

Their Sunnydale lives were gone. All they had was memory, and each other. One tangible remnant of the past. Someday they would break apart, the link too fragile and painful. But not yet.

They got into the car, and continued driving eastwards. Into the rising sun, and to Nowhere Land.