It'd been a while since he'd had a one-night stand. It wasn't really his thing. Any itches he might get usually managed to subside with time until the proper outlet was discovered. He hated the club scene, the exchange of numbers, knowing you'd never call or if you did that the number given was a wrong one.
He'd been out with a small group, celebrating the guilty verdict brought down on one of his cases. Domestic disputes weren't glamorous or front page headline worthy so the case was just a blip on the radar, one of several. The victims usually recanted once they'd had a day or two to think things through. Or to realize that the person they were pressing charges against could kill them before a trial ever got underway.
This one, though, the vic had stayed strong and true until the very end. The man who had beaten his daughter to within an inch of her life because she wore the wrong colored shirt to school one day was now behind bars. Mike hated when children suffered, those were always his hardest cases. The ones he couldn't leave at the door when his shift ended. It wasn't just because it reminded him of his own childhood either; he just hated to see children the victims of crimes. Their whole lives effected by something they had no control over at an age that they should have been worried about collecting baseball cards or Barbie's instead of violence.
The blonde caught his eye immediately upon entering the bar, sitting alone as she was. She was young, younger than he usually went for but there was something about her sitting by herself that got to him. Everyone else there was with someone else at the very least. All were having a good time at the end of the day, unwinding before heading home. She was pretty, dressed nicely, and didn't appear to be there to pick anyone up. A business traveler stopping to have a drink before returning to a lonely, generic hotel room perhaps. She had an air of confidence to her that added to her physical appeal. She wasn't looking around the bar nervously or as if she was looking for an easy mark to buy her the rest of her night's drinks.
His partner saw Mike eyeing the blonde-haired woman and encouraged him to send her a drink. So he had, assuming she'd accept courteously and that would be that. He hadn't expected her to come over to their table or to be somewhat knowledgeable about detective work. She wasn't a police officer, she'd admitted as much. She knew stuff about fieldwork that only those who'd logged hours out there on the street could know.
He'd expected her to turn her attentions to one of the other cops at his table. A younger one, one who had a long career in front of him instead of someone who'd seen as much as he had. He wasn't on the verge of retirement but he wasn't fresh out of the academy either. She hadn't, though. She'd talked to them, sure, but he had gotten her attention the same as she had his.
They'd closed down the bar, but he didn't get the impression she was drunk when she invited him back to her room. He wouldn't have gone with her if that was the case. She was from out of town, staying at a hotel not far from the bar. He accepted her invitation for that reason. A hotel was neutral, anonymous, and since she wasn't from here they both knew what they were signing up for.
They'd barely gotten her door closed when he had her pinned against it. His lips were on hers, urgent and needy. It had been far too long and he was sure his kiss betrayed that fact. He would have felt bad except it seemed as if she was on the same page. He broke for air, taking a minute to assure himself this was really happening and not a dream. She found something else to kiss. His neck, an ear, his throat, his jaw, and the sensitive spot under his chin.
Hands fumbled in the dark for clothes, shedding them without preamble or any talk of what this was. What it meant. Unfamiliar with one another's body, but for what they were after familiarity wasn't necessary. And a lack of it didn't prevent them from finding the necessary parts once clothes had been discarded.
He hadn't been particularly gentle but she hadn't seemed to mind. In fact, he was pretty sure a couple of the bites he'd been on the receiving end of weren't going to be gone for days. She seemed to thrive on it, encouraging him with her body to stop holding back. He wasn't a violent guy, very rarely toeing the line between consensual sex and something with a more violent slant to it. His past and his line of work kept him on the up and up. He hadn't been able to stop from giving into her prompts for him to thrust harder. And harder. And still harder to the point he thought the door supporting her might give.
Eventually, they'd ended up on her bed for more. Though not as urgent as their first time, there was nothing more to it than what it was. Sex. Need. Lust. It'd been a while since he'd let his cock do the decision making for him, but this was one time he was glad he had. And that he had enough condoms to let it make quite a bit of it before the night was over.
They drifted off with nothing but the hotel bed's comforter covering them. The top sheet and blanket were in a tangled heap neither seemed willing to take the time to deal with figuring out. He didn't sleep long. It wasn't his bed and he didn't want to complicate matters by being there when she woke in the morning. Not that he was against sharing breakfast with someone he'd spent the night with, but the invitation hadn't been made.
The sun was far from coming up when he found his clothes with the aid of the bathroom light. He tried to keep quiet as he dressed. His cock gave a little twitch of protest when he caught sight of her in the mirror. Naked on her side, she made an inviting picture. It didn't matter that she was asleep. The covers had pooled in such a fashion that he saw the swell of her breasts and the taut belly he'd lavished kisses on earlier before going down on her.
"Aw fuck," he cursed under his breath, taking her up on the unspoken invitation. Enough clothes shed so he could take her one last time he returned to the bed.
She stirred when he grabbed hold of her hips and shifted her to her stomach. She said nothing until he slid inside of her. She pressed against him, grinding her ass against him, telling him she hadn't gotten enough either. He wasn't the most gracious lover this go around, but evidently she didn't need his help to get off this way as most women did.
He left not long after that. He'd gone home to shower and dress for the day, making his way to the 27th for the start of his day. He felt better rested than he had in some time; sleep wasn't something he got enough of. He doubted it was the amount of sleep he'd gotten that led to his feeling good today.
"So, I see the night went well."
"What makes you say that?"
"You have that look in your eye, Mikey."
Mike sipped from his coffee cup, regarding his partner. He didn't want to get close, but the guy had gotten under his skin. You had to have someone that you could let loose with once in a while after a hard day at work. Working the streets wasn't easy for detectives. Lennie didn't drink, but he still knew how to have a good time. And seemed to know when Mike needed the company.
"What look's that?" he asked.
"The look of someone who didn't get much sleep, but in a good kind of way."
"Yeah, yeah," Mike said.
"So, where's my compensation?"
"If it weren't for me, you would have gone home alone last night."
"I did go home alone."
"Yeah? You saying I'm wrong?"
"Well, it was before the sun had come up anyway."
"Now that's what I'm talking about," Lennie said with a chuckle.
"Logan, Briscoe, in my office," Cragen said.
"No rest for the wicked. Maybe we could tell the Lieutenant you deserve a day off in light of you getting lucky and all."
"Lennie, quit will ya. It hadn't been that long."
"As long as you remembered how to use it."
"I don't think she woke up this morning complaining," Mike said, taking a last sip of his coffee before heading into the captain's office.
He shook his head as Cragen told them about yet another vic who was backing away from pressing charges. It went against everything Mike believed in to let an abuser get away with it. Perhaps that stemmed from his own dealings, the helpless feeling he'd experienced as a child. Knowing something was wrong, not at all right, but not having anyone to turn to for help.
These days, well, things weren't kept so hush-hush. Teachers reported (or were supposed to anyway) suspected abuse. Children were encouraged to talk about bad touches and things that when Mike Logan had grown up remained a secret. There were options, alternatives. Shelters, assistance, attorneys willing to take a cut in pay to help someone out of a dangerous situation. Granted, it wasn't always easy. Mike knew for a fact the red tape that stood in the way of people getting help had cost more than one person their lives. It wasn't a perfect system, but he was one cop who did what he could for those in abusive situations. Not everyone was willing to help themselves, though.
This case was particularly bothersome. A young teenaged girl's father had beaten her severely because she stayed out past her curfew. Mom had her head buried in the sand, denying anything was wrong. Their only hope for a conviction against the bastard was the daughter testifying as to what had happened. Without it, well, the father could lay the blame on anyone in their gang infested neighborhood. (And thus prove his point that she shouldn't have been out late.)
Briscoe and Logan left Cragen's office neither happy about the turn of events in the case. Expected as it was, both just hoped they wouldn't be called back to the house for a murder next time.
"What are you going to do? She wants to keep a roof over her head."
"And I told her we could find her a good place to stay."
"Her mom, too? Mikey, you know how it goes."
"Yeah," he said, taking a seat at his desk. He took a sip of his now cold coffee, wondering if there was anything more to do.
"We can't help her if she doesn't want it."
"I thought she did."
"Hopefully she'll get to that point soon."
"Yeah, because the next time he may not stop at putting her in the hospital."
"He knows we're onto him."
"Like that does her any good, Lennie."
"Maybe it will. Maybe he'll think twice the next time he gets mad."
"I doubt it," Mike said, speaking from personal experience. Of course, he'd never had anyone on his side or that knew what his mother was doing, so his experience was biased to some degree.
"Well, that's all we can do. Hope that it does. It's done."
"Maybe," he said with a shake of his head.
"Don't interfere, risk making it worse for her. The last thing you want is her ending up in the morgue and having that eat at you for the rest of your life."
"I know, I know," he said.
Word Count: 4,659
She really had no business being here a second night in a row. She'd been living on the road, staying in hotel rooms for a while now so she was used to it. Some nights, though, the idea of going back to her anonymous hotel room for the night before dinnertime was so lame. That was something old men who worked their lives away as traveling salesmen did, not twenty-something women. Tonight was one of those nights.
She nursed her Long Island Iced Tea. She'd been unsure if it would be some sort of faux pas ordering one of them while in Manhattan, but the bartender didn't bat an eye. She glanced at the table where Mike and the others had been sitting the night before. Not a familiar face was there now. She doubted any of them would give her the time of day anyway since she'd left with one of their friends.
And she really wasn't up for striking up conversations with virtual strangers tonight. She just didn't want to be alone. A bad day at the office, more or less. It came with the territory. Slayer territory. Even cops who had seen the monsters that go bump in the night found it difficult to stomach what she was trying to tell them.
Today she'd had a street cop question her authority on the subject. You'd think the fact that the governor of their state and mayor of their city felt she was an authority would be good enough. Evidently not. The problem was while she had vast experience and examples to call upon while giving her symposiums; she had no real proof beyond calling upon her experiences. Until today, that hadn't been a problem. Maybe she'd gotten lucky until now, but she wasn't used to having her teachings called into question. At least not publicly by people who didn't understand how the monsters worked.
She'd come here tonight wanting to let off steam. In the back of her mind she supposed the hope of running into Detective Logan was a thought as well. Surely there were other bars she could have gone to. For that matter, she could have picked up a bottle of her own and taken it up to her room with her. Lots of options that didn't require her coming back to the scene of the crime. So to speak. Not that anything they'd done last night had been a crime. (Though there might be some old sex laws on the books they might have broken.)
One night stands weren't usually her thing. In fact, they weren't her thing at all. He'd caught her at a time she'd felt somewhat … vulnerable wasn't the right word. She had spent the day with Faith and Robin. Seeing the other slayer in a relationship with someone human and making it work made Buffy feel something for the first time in a long time.
That didn't really explain the one-night stand aspect of her meeting Mike, but she sort of figured she had to put herself out there again to have a chance of having what Faith had. She had to start somewhere and while long-term it didn't win her anything the sex had been very good. As good sex for the sake of that and that alone had been pretty sparse in her life she figured it was a start in the right direction.
She'd woken up that morning wishing she'd told him to stay the night through. That seemed to go against what they were both looking for last night so she hadn't asked. He hadn't offered and she'd woken up this morning alone. Well sexed, but alone just the same. The number of condom wrappers she'd picked up and thrown into the trash made her cringe. Fortunately for her, she had slayer healing so no one could tell by the way she walked that she'd been a participant in a number of sexual positions the night before.
She took a sip of her drink, glancing at her cellphone when it vibrated that she had a message. She smiled at Dawn's brief text saying that she hoped Buffy had a good night. Buffy really wasn't big on technology, but she did find that having a cell phone with texting capabilities allowed her to stay in touch with not just Dawn but everyone important to her easier. Busy with only a minute or two to spare, she could send a message just so Dawn, Willow, Giles or Xander knew she was alive and well.
She used the keypad to type out her response to Dawn, telling her she was still in New York, looking at a quiet night when she felt someone take the seat next to hers.
"Come here often?"
She had a scathing retort ready about getting an original come-on line, except the voice sounded familiar. She'd heard it say some naughty things the night before. In the few hours they were apart she'd dreamt about him continuing to do those naughty things.
She looked beside her and saw that it was, in fact, the detective she'd met last night. She decided to save the witty retort for someone who couldn't arrest her. And who wasn't quite so nice to look at.
"I think you know the answer to that."
"I guess I do. Mind if I join you?"
"No, it's a free country anyway."
"So it is."
He sat, ordered a drink and took in the score of the ballgame on the TV before turning his attention to her.
"Did you have a productive day?" he asked.
She slid her cell phone back into her front pocket and shrugged. Her work was kind of difficult to explain. She so wasn't in the mood to talk about it now anyway. Especially to a cop since it was a cop who'd soured her mood. However, she couldn't deny that overall it had been a good day, difficult questions and all.
"Yes, for the most part. Yours?" she asked finally.
"The streets of New York are a little safer tonight."
"That's good to know."
"I figured you'd rest easier knowing that."
She laughed. "Is that why you came here? To tell me I was safe walking back to my room alone tonight?"
"That and I figured I'd take the chance you were here again and see if you wanted to grab some dinner."
"Oh," she said. "Really?" Maybe last night hadn't just been a one-night stand after all.
"Well, sure. I need to eat, and you're here alone. I figured why not. If you weren't here I wasn't going to hunt you down or anything."
"I see," she said, taking a bite out of the little lemon slice on her glass. It was tart, as she expected, and she took a sip of her drink right away to get rid of the taste.
"It doesn't look like you really have dinner on your mind."
"Hadn't really gotten that far with my plans. Just need to unwind."
"I can understand that."
She looked at him, into his eyes and saw that he meant it. "I guess you can."
He paid for his drink while she took a sip of hers. He got interested in the game on the TV for a bit.
"So, about dinner? Was that a no?"
"No, it wasn't," she said with a smile. "What were you thinking?"
"Well, someplace other than here."
"Afraid the other cops will come in and see you with the same woman two nights in a row?"
He chuckled, shaking his head a little as he took a sip of his drink.
"What gave you that idea?"
"No questions asked and no attempt to ask for my phone number."
"I could say the same for you."
She shrugged. "I don't live here."
He was quiet as he watched her.
"And I knew where to find you. Is that it?"
"Kind of," she said.
"Listen, I'm not asking you to marry me or even go steady. I just thought you'd like a break from eating dinner alone."
"Go steady. I think my mom and dad went steady."
He laughed and she realized that he had a nice smile. That nice smile made his face all that much more attractive. It was a handsome face to begin with, but when he smiled.
She wasn't the only one who noticed either. She caught a few other women in the bar glancing his way.
"Well, you know what I mean. I know you're from out of town. Here on business."
"I didn't tell you that."
"Why else would you be here for so long?"
"Maybe I'm on an extended holiday."
"You saying I'm wrong?"
"Hmm, you're the detective."
"I am, and my money's on business."
"Because I saw the selection of clothes you had hanging in your room. And while I wouldn't mistake you for a lawyer or anything, everything I saw screamed professional. Business."
He had her there. Except today she wasn't dressed that way. At least not as professional as she usually did. There was something about waking up with her body humming from good sex that made her want to dress with getting noticed in mind.
"Hey, they don't pay me the big bucks for nothing."
"So, dinner. Any favorites you have?"
"In this neighborhood? Most anything. Name it: Italian, Chinese, Greek, French, Thai, and, of course, good old American."
"You pick," she said, reaching for her purse to pay for her drink.
"I'll get it," he said.
Her phone went off again and she looked at it while he settled their bill. This one was from Xander. She sent off a quick reply so he wouldn't think she was ignoring him, telling him she'd get back to him tomorrow. Wishful thinking that she wasn't going to go home alone tonight, but either way he could wait until tomorrow.
He took her to a small Korean place just around the corner from her hotel. He never asked what she did or how she could afford a hotel in the heart of Manhattan. It was a good thing, too, because how The Council got their money was not exactly on the up-and-up. Or at least on the explainable level.
At first, Mike chalked up his showing up at the bar tonight as a booty call. Just without the telephone. He’d had a good time with her the night before and was pretty sure she had as well. The dinner invitation had sort of slipped out, not wanting to sound desperate. Or make her think she was just a piece of meat.
When he started telling her about his case that went south earlier that day, he realized why he'd sought her out. A second opinion. An outsider’s opinion who knew nothing about Mike's past.
"Is there anything else you could have done?"
He shrugged, running a fingertip along the rim of his beer glass.
"I go over it in my mind, you know? I just hope she’ll obey her curfew and not push him again."
She laughed, giving him pause. He imagined that was her intention.
"What's so funny?"
"You don't know teenaged girls too well, do you?"
"If your parent tells you not to do something that means it's exactly what you should be doing."
"You have much experience with that?"
"Not a lot, but I can relate. There was a time or two my mother put her foot down. Or tried to. And all that did was made me do just the opposite."
"Your mother didn't beat on you, though, I'm guessing."
She was lucky, Mike thought. And he couldn’t help but wonder what a normal mother was. He caught glimpses of them as a child, other people’s homes. As he grew older, though, he had no way of knowing if those families put on a show for outsiders just the same as the Logan’s did.
"Maybe she'll reconsider."
"I doubt it. I think she might be scared for her mother."
Buffy nodded as she pushed her plate to the side.
"You liked it?"
"It was very good. I have no idea what I just ate, but it was worth it."
"Good," he said with a smile. It was nice to share some of the hidden gems in this area of New York. If they were somewhere else, one of the ethnic neighborhoods, he could have offered her a selection of many good dishes. This area, though, was pretty commercial, so places like this were like a diamond in the rough.
She set her hand over his, running a fingertip along his knuckles lightly.
"Listen, Mike. I don't know the girl or her situation, but if she's protecting her mother. If that's what you suspect, there's nothing you can do. Beyond just hope she gets out one day. Soon. And takes her mother with her."
"And what? I'm supposed to just stand idly by knowing her dad may send her to the morgue next time so she can't press charges."
"I think you go on with your current cases and work hard on them and hope that you never run across her name in the course of an investigation again."
Her touch was welcome, even though they didn't know one another well. It just served to emphasize that she was listening, empathized with him, and ultimately her point all the more. He couldn't dwell on the past, on things he couldn't change. The here and now was all that mattered.
"Life's too short, Mike. You have to think about the ones you've saved, the ones you've served, and how their lives are different because of you. Maybe her life is, too. You don't know. Maybe she's stronger now, knowing someone's on her side."
"You sound like you're speaking from experience."
"Not really," she said. He could tell her answer wasn't entirely truthful. "Don't we all have experience dealing with things we regret or second guess ourselves on?"
"Yeah, I guess so."
"And maybe since charges were filed social services will investigate."
"Yeah, highly unlikely they'd get to her case before she becomes legal."
"Why?" she asked with a frown.
"This is New York City. I've seen their backlog. It's crazy. They'll never take the time."
"If only I'd been so lucky!"
"You had it rough at home?"
"No, nothing like that," she said, stopping as the waiter came and set their check on the table. She grew quiet as he pulled out his wallet, setting his credit card on top of the check.
"It's just after our mom died social services couldn't stay out of my business for a week."
"I didn't know, sorry."
"How could you have? It's all right, it just made it really hard for me to function sometimes worrying if this or that would result in my sister getting taken away from me."
"Out of the picture," she said.
"So, what happened?"
"I guess I eventually proved my worth, but it wasn't easy. Working minimum wage jobs while trying to go to school and yet somehow I was supposed to be home for Dawn, too."
"I could only do it for so long, dropped out of school."
"But you went back."
"Not yet. I'm working on it. Still have some other things to put in order first."
"You're here on business, I thought."
"Business without college."
"Not every job requires a college education."
"The ones that allow you to travel and stay at nice hotels usually do."
"Maybe I'm just good at what I do."
"I could attest to that," he said, grazing the top of her hand with his thumb.
She blushed; even in the dim light of the restaurant he could see it. He chuckled a little.
"Does your turning down dessert mean you're ready to call it a night?"
She took her hand back then and looked around the restaurant, almost appearing nervous about something.
"Well, I was thinking maybe you'd like to come watch Letterman with me."
He glanced at his watch, chuckling. He was very glad he stopped at the store before going to see if she was at the bar again. "I think Letterman's over by now, but I'm game for seeing if that's the case."
"Great," she said, each standing to leave before she could even reply.
They walked the short distance to her hotel, bodies bumping against one another once in a while but no effort at real contact was made. No hand holding, which was fine with him. He wasn't the type of guy that went for that stuff, certainly not in this type of situation.
He wondered what her deal was. Her job. Why was she here? How long was she here? She hadn't offered that bit of information last night. For all he knew when he went to the bar tonight she could have been on a plane back to wherever it was she came from.
"Where do you live?"
"As in across the Atlantic, England?"
"That very one, Detective," she said with a smile.
"I'm from California, though, and I'll be in the States for a while."
"So, no family there?"
"My sister, some friends."
She paused on the street well before they'd gotten to her hotel, but didn't look at him or say anything. At least not right away.
"Do you, I mean, we or I need to buy anything?"
"Oh," he said, realization dawning on him. Unlike him, she did not know how to find him so she wouldn't have gone out to buy protection on the hope he'd come find her tonight.
"No, I took care of that earlier."
"You did, huh?"
She didn't sound upset, so he knew he wasn't in trouble for admitting that.
"You're welcome," he said, falling into step next to her again.
She turned a table lamp on so he could actually see her room this time. The bathroom light hadn’t allowed him to see too much that morning. He hadn’t been thinking about things like the fact she had enough luggage to suggest she was here for more than just a couple of days.
It made him wonder again what she did for a living. The hotel wasn’t top of the line expensive, but it wasn’t cheap either. One night here pretty much exceeded his budget. Of course, he was a cop.
She offered him her hand which he took and walked to the window. He had some vague recollection of the drapes being open last night, too. He hadn’t been paying much attention, but when he was leaving that morning he remembered now being able to see outside.
“I don’t know many people who open the curtains in their hotel room.” He took his cue from her, sliding an arm around her when she rested her back against him. He hadn’t really taken the time last night to notice how much taller he was than her. It certainly hadn’t been a hindrance for either one of them as far as sex was concerned.
“Really? I love having them open when I can. I mean, I’ve stayed in hotels where I’m on the first floor and people can look in so of course I don’t. But otherwise I love being able to see what’s going on. Waking up to see what the day’s like.”
“I can understand that.”
Neither said anything for a few minutes. Both seemed content with watching the smaller than normal looking cars ebb and flow through the area. It was still early as far as New York went so there was quite a bit of traffic in the area still.
“It’s beautiful,” she whispered.
He had to admit, looking at the city like this. His city like this. It was beautiful. There was no evidence of crime or corruption. He could understand why visitors came here and fell in love with it. He loved it, too, he just knew the real New York.
She turned in his arms, sliding her hands along his forearms returning his thoughts to her. It was almost as if she knew he’d been starting to think about his job.
“It is, but so are you.”
She reached up to kiss him then. Even with her heels still on she had to reach up to do it. Of course, he remembered what her kisses did to him so he was more than willing to meet her halfway. Her hands started working the buttons on his shirt about the same time his slid to her thighs. Her skirt was short. He had to wonder how men she worked with could concentrate because he was pretty sure if she was sitting anywhere near him dressed as she was he’d find it hard to get any work done.
He should be upset, he supposed, that she didn’t seem to want to get to know him. She’d listened at dinner and all. He imagined there was little doubt why he’d come back here with her, especially with her asking him if he had protection.
He backed her against the window as he slid a hand higher, cupping a breast through her blouse before moving both hands to work the buttons. It fell open, revealing a satiny number with lace. He didn’t look, but didn’t need to either as he stroked the material with the pads of his thumbs.
He took his wallet out of his back pocket when she started working on his buckle and the fastening of his pants. He took out the required item and tossed the wallet to the floor just as she slid her hand inside of his pants. He kissed her forehead, groaning softly as she stroked him to further attention, letting his pants fall to the floor. Somehow he managed to kick off his shoes and the pants without falling over or completely ruining the mood.
His mouth found hers again as she slid her hands to his waist. She backed him up the short distance to her bed. He sat and she straddled him, shedding her blouse as he slid his shirt off the rest of the way. He ripped open the wrapper when she slid off his lap. He sheathed himself, watching as she unzipped her skirt and let it fall to the floor with the rest of their clothes.
He liked looking at her standing there naked except her heels. He hadn’t really had the chance to look last night. Not like this anyway. He swallowed at the realization that she was beautiful. He wasn’t just using a line when he’d said it earlier. Looking at her like this, he knew that for sure.
“No, don’t,” he said when he noticed her start to take off her shoes.
She quirked an eyebrow but didn’t say anything, instead returned to his lap with her shoes on. She slid her arms to his shoulders, hands stroking the nape of his neck as she took him inside of her. She gasped a little and then found his mouth with hers as she settled herself completely over him.
This first time tonight wasn't nearly as urgent as last night's had been. Well, in a way anyway, at least they made it to her bed this time. And, as it turned out, they stayed there all night. The shoes had been removed pretty early on. While she didn't specifically ask or say anything to the effect of wanting him to stay the night, he made no effort to leave when he woke up at one point.
Her alarm woke him.
"Sorry," she whispered, turning it off.
"It's all right,” he said groggily. “Do you always get up this early?”
“Yes, things to do, people to see.”
“Do you always dress like you did yesterday?”
“No,” she said with a soft laugh. “Why?”
“Just wondering because whoever you do business with would certainly be distracted if you did.”
“What can I say? I woke up yesterday feeling kind of sexy.”
He rolled on top of her. “You don’t do that every day?”
“No,” she said with a shake of her head.
“Now that’s a crime.”
“You would know.”
“Absolutely I would.”
“Do you make it a habit of being so up close and personal with someone who commits crimes?”
“I make an exception once in a while.”
She smiled then with a laugh. “That’s good to know.”
“So, how long until you actually have to start your day?”
“What did you have in mind?”
“I think I still have one left.”
She rolled her eyes. “And what you can’t go home with one left in your wallet?”
“It’d be a shame. It might get lonely.”
“It might, huh? Maybe it’ll reproduce while you’re at work today.”
He winced a little.
“It was a joke!”
When she finished getting dressed for the day his wallet was empty. He’d dozed off again while she showered, waking when she sat at the foot of the bed to put her stockings on.
“Need help with those?”
“Not the type of help I imagine you have in mind.”
“Are you asking to see me later, Detective?”
“I am. Unless you’d prefer I just keep showing up at the bar like a stalker.”
“It’s been a while since I’ve had a stalker.”
“Are you serious?”
“Oh, kind of. Long story and so years ago,” she said, standing from the bed. She looked a lot more professional today in a knee-length skirt and boots, though he noticed her blouse was unbuttoned one lower than he probably would have liked.
And why did he care?
She walked to the nightstand and grabbed a pen and the hotel’s pad of paper, wrote something down and tore the paper off.
“My number,” she said, handing it to him. He held his hand out for the pen and paper, which she gave him and he returned the favor.
“I was thinking I could bring you dinner.”
“So, now you don’t even want to take me out?”
“I suppose it could be taken that way, but that’s not what I meant. I just thought you’d enjoy not having to go out after working all day. You know, just come back to your room after a hard day and all that. This place has a pool; we could go for a swim or work out in the fitness area.”
“I’ve been told I can be quite charming.”
“I bet you have. You can stay however long you want to.”
“Not afraid I’m going to go through your things?”
“I have nothing to hide, and if I did, being a detective you’d be able to find them anyway.”
He chuckled, leaned up on an elbow to kiss her.
“So, is that a yes for bringing you dinner?”
“Yeah, why not?”
“All right. Do you usually get done about the same time as the last couple nights I’ve seen you?”
“Yeah, unless the subway runs late or something.”
“All right. I’ll call to make sure you’re back before picking food up.”
“Great. What time do you have to be at work anyway?”
“Oh, I should get up and get dressed here pretty soon I suppose.”
“Feel free to use the shower. There’s an extra towel.”
She stepped away from the bed then and he couldn’t help but admire the view as she walked to the dresser to collect her bag. It was bigger than a purse so he imagined it was one of those catch-all bags women carried around with them.
“See you tonight then.”
“Count on it,” he said as she left.
He drifted back to sleep for a little while, eventually getting up and making his way home and into work. Being detectives he had no real concrete schedule, though showing up at noon without a reason wouldn’t go over too well.
Word Count: 2,543
Buffy dozed on the subway back to her hotel. Perhaps it was not the smartest thing to do, but it wasn’t as if she couldn’t handle herself coming up against a mugger. In fact, she’d almost welcome a spot of violence. She wasn’t sound asleep, knew that someone was now standing next to her seat, and felt her phone vibrate in her front pocket easily enough. She was surprised it went off actually; she didn’t usually get reception on the train.
“Buffy Summers,” she said, answering her cell phone.
‘Well, hello, Miss Summers, this is Detective Logan calling.’
“It is, huh?”
‘It is. I’d say in the flesh but that would be a lie.’
“And you never tell a lie?”
‘Not to the pretty woman who agreed to have dinner with me.’
“Oh well, I believe you for sure then.”
‘So, we on schedule?’
“We are, in fact. I’m about fifteen minutes away from my stop.”
‘Waiting for me to call, huh?’
‘No, I understand.’
“I don’t know what you mean.” She paused. “And we’re about to go underground again, which is the reason I didn’t call you first if that’s what you’re implying. So, I’ll be at the hotel in a little bit.”
‘Okay, see you then.’
She hung up, smiling, realizing that was a stupid thing to do so she put her phone back in her pocket and prepared to get off the train. That itch to get into a fight was still there, though, and she realized she should probably give Faith a call one of these nights to see about joining her on a patrol.
She hated that part of her, needing to slay. To kill something, but she’d learned to go with it. When she tried to stifle it was when bad things happened. Like she went all crazy on people. And that wasn’t good. So, she had to kill things once in a while to let off steam. Everybody had to have a hobby, right?
She glanced around the car as it slowed to a stop, wondering what other people did to let off steam. Sex. Working out. Walking. Any number of things. One woman was clearly a dancer, judging by her clothes. She knew dancing would be a great way to let off steam. So was ice skating, though she hadn’t done that since high school.
She walked to the doors with the others getting off at her stop and joined the crowd as they pushed their way through those wanting to board the train they were trying to disembark. Up the stairs and she was back on solid ground. She had a fairly crappy day and hoped that Mike was serious about going for a swim, which would have to do as far as letting off steam for her until she could get ahold of Faith. There was no way she could work out in front of him. He’d know something was up and she hoped to not have to cross that bridge with him.
She’d just gotten back to her room when he knocked so he must not have been too far behind her.
“Is it that obvious?” she asked.
“You just look stressed.”
“A little, yeah. One of those days when the expert is called on the carpet by someone who thinks they know more.”
“And you’re the expert?”
“I see,” he said, though she knew he didn’t. “Want me to arrest someone?”
She gave a soft chuckle at that. If only he knew!
“No, that’s all right. I’ll get over it. It’s not the first time and won’t be the last someone doesn’t want to accept what I’m teaching. I was wondering if you were serious about going for a swim.”
“Well, I didn’t bring my trunks, but you go right ahead if that’s what you need to do.”
“Are you sure?”
“But you were going to bring me dinner.”
“I was just going to order from this Italian place around the corner. I can wait a little while longer to eat.”
“Are you sure?”
She grabbed her suit and went to the bathroom, closing the door partway.
“So, your day wasn’t stressful I take it?”
“Not too bad.”
“You know, I have to wonder just what detectives do in New York. You seem to have a lot of down time.”
“Knock on wood,” he said. “Believe me, there are days I wonder if I’ll get to sleep that night.”
“I suppose. Criminals never sleep.”
“That is true.”
“So, slow day then?”
“For the most part. My partner stayed at the precinct to put the finishing touches on a couple of reports.”
“Yeah, but it’s fine. Really. I’d do the same for him.”
“Well, that’s good,” she said, stepping out of the bathroom.
“You want company?”
“You’re going to watch me swim?”
“Why not? I could think of worse things to do with my time. And then I can head out to pick up the food once you’re done. That should give you enough time to shower and dress afterward.”
“Sure,” she said, handing him her cardkey.
“Wow, I’d be flattered except I realize it’s only because you have no pockets.”
The swim was great. The dinner was fantastic. Eating alone made it even better. And the lounging afterward with someone was a bonus. The sex was like a cherry on top of her good evening sundae.
It was her turn to get woken up by his cell phone. And it was early.
“Mike,” she whispered.
“Your phone’s ringing.”
She smiled a little, glad he was comfortable enough here to sleep so soundly. But the hotel supplied bedside alarm clock indicated it was just after three o’clock in the morning. Something told her it wasn’t a social call coming in for him at this time of the day.
She shook him, using some of her Slayer strength to put a little extra behind it.
“Your phone,” she said just as it stopped ringing.
“Oh right,” he said, sitting up and reaching across her to grab it.
She sat up, too, turning the table lamp on so he could see.
“Logan,” he said into the phone.
“Yeah, sorry, didn’t hear the phone ring until it’d already stopped.”
“Sure, yeah, be there in a little bit.”
He disconnected the call and regarded her.
“I guessed as much.”
“I could come back after the scene’s been cleared.”
“If you knew how long that would take I’d say fine, but I have to work today, too.”
“Right. Okay then,” he said, drawing the covers off of him so he could get out of bed.
She watched quietly as he gathered his things together.
“You can turn the light off if you want. It wouldn’t be the first time I dressed in the dark.”
She smiled a little with a shake of her head.
“I’m enjoying the view.”
“You are, huh?” He took a seat on the foot of the bed to slide his pants on. His shirt came next and the tie she’d removed a few hours ago he draped around his neck without making an effort to tie it properly.
“I’ll call you later,” he said, leaning down to kiss her. He switched the lamp off and drew the covers back up around her. “I hope you have a good day.”
“You, too,” she said, realizing that was stupid to say. “Well, I mean, I hope you catch the bad guy quickly and don’t get hurt in the process.”
“Thank you. Bad guys beware,” he said with a chuckle, kissing her again.
The last thing Mike expected to see at his precinct later that day was the blonde he’d been spending his downtime with recently.
His first thought went to how she'd found him, not that he'd lied about his name so finding him wouldn't have been that difficult. He’d never revealed which precinct he worked out of, though. What was more, he couldn't decide whether he was happy or angry to see her here. Parts of him were plenty happy, just the ones that mattered when he was at work weren't as sure. One of the things he liked about her was that being from out of town there was no question what they were doing. Not that he was just using her for sex, but there wasn’t going to be much more to it than that.
His second thought was more in-line with the happy parts of him, wondering where in the precinct he could take her to be alone for a few minutes. Clearly, it had been too long since he’d had regular sex if he was thinking like that. His lieutenant would have his ass if he even caught a whiff of Logan having sex with someone in an interrogation room.
"Isn't that," Lennie said, seeing where Mike's attention was currently focused.
"Yeah," Mike said. He wasn’t the only one looking either, Mike noticed. More than one cop had paused what they were doing to check out the attractive blonde. And she was attractive. And fit. He’d almost been ashamed at getting turned on watching her swim. It wasn’t an activity he really thought of as being sexy before, but she made it look that way. Graceful. Sleek. She was muscular. Not bulky or anything, but just watching her swim he could see the muscles flex as she extended her arms and legs for various strokes.
The muscles she used when he was inside of her. Holy crap. She’d gripped him so hard a time or two that he thought she just might cut off circulation to that part of his anatomy. It felt incredible, no complaints from him for sure. He’d never in all of his experience felt anything like her, not even the more inexperienced girls he’d been with in his younger days.
Thinking about her like that wasn’t helping him get his attention where it should be. He wondered if he should save her the trouble of searching for him by going to her. Only she didn't seem to be there for him. She spoke to the desk sergeant. Had something happened to her? She wasn't there long, but her visit to his precinct had made him curious enough to ask questions.
"That woman that was just here."
"What about her?"
"What was she doing here?"
"Looking for an officer."
The desk sergeant regarded him for a minute and shrugged. "Robin Wood."
"You know her?"
"The blonde? Never seen her before in my life."
"No, the police officer."
"No, just the name. Rarely comes in here, out on special assignment or something."
"Oh," Mike said. "She have business with her?"
"Why don't you ask Officer Wood. I'm not his secretary."
"Yeah, his secretary. You going deaf or something, Logan?"
"Nah, just don't hear of too many men named Robin."
So she hadn't been there to see him. Instead, she'd been there to see another guy. He found himself oddly disappointed - and a little jealous - by that.
"So," Lennie said. “The rose off the bloom so fast, Mike?”
"Here to see an officer."
"Maybe she just has a thing for men in uniform."
"I wasn't wearing a uniform the night we met."
"That's my point; maybe she decided she wanted the whole package not just a cop."
Mike rolled his eyes and shook his head.
“She’s made no complaints about my package, Lennie.”
"Who's the officer?"
"Robin Wood. Know him?"
"Of him. New guy if I'm thinking of the right one. Came here from Los Angeles. Never met him, he got assigned right away to some special deal."
"He was an LA cop?"
"Don't think so. I don't know for sure. I've just heard rumors about the new guy a while back. Many were wondering how he came here new and got such a sweet assignment as to never have to set foot in the precinct."
"Huh," Mike said.
"Maybe she had business with him."
He waited until after eight o’clock to call her. He’d left that morning without making plans to see her that night and he didn’t want to presume she was free. So, he’d gone home when his day was done, assuming she’d call him if she was free and wanted company.
He dialed her number, hovering over the disconnect button for a moment before the call went through.
‘Hello,’ she said.
“Hi, Buffy, it’s Mike. Mike Logan,” he said, realizing she may possibly know more than one Mike.
‘Well, hi Mike Logan. Did you catch the bad guy today?’
“No such luck, but tomorrow is another day.”
‘So I hear.’
“How about you? How did your day go?”
‘Fine. Nothing too exciting.’
“Well, that’s good, I guess.”
‘Yeah, believe me, no excitement is a welcome change of pace for me.’
What did that mean?
“So, are you in your room?”
‘No, actually, I’m out with a friend.’
“I see,” he said, walking to his window to look outside. “That’s good you know someone in New York.”
‘Yeah, it helps make the stay not quite so tedious.’
“I can imagine,” he said, pinching the bridge of his nose. He wasn’t sure why it left him feeling a little unsettled that perhaps he was nothing more than something to alleviate her time being tedious as well.
"So, I saw you at my precinct today," he offered without really thinking on whether he should speak up on that point or not just yet.
‘I didn't know it was your precinct.’
"I get that."
She gave a soft laugh. ‘You probably thought I was a stalker or something.’
"The thought crossed my mind until I found out you were there looking for another guy."
‘He's just a friend.’
"You in trouble for something?"
‘No, I know him from LA.’
“I see,” he said. “You’re with him tonight?”
‘Yeah,’ she said. ‘Hang on one second,’ she said, covering the mouthpiece. He could hear her voice, but whatever she said was muffled and unintelligible, which he realized was the point.
‘Listen, I have to go. I’m sorry.’
“No, it’s okay, no reason to be sorry.”
‘I’m glad you called.’
‘I was wondering how your day went, it started early. You must be tired.’
“Yeah,” he said. He was. He’d dozed on the couch watching the news before calling her, but he was beat. A few nights in a row of inconsistent sleep catching up with him, he imagined.
‘Well, get a good night’s sleep.’
“I could think of a way it’d be better,” he said.
‘Mm, me too. Maybe tomorrow?’
“Yeah, sure.” He wasn’t in the frame of mind to go out again tonight anyway. Not that she’d invited him to meet her back at her room.
‘Good night, Mike Logan.’
“Good night, Buffy Summers.”
He disconnected the call and set it back in its base. And then he did something he’d never thought to do on a date or a girlfriend or anyone else before. He sat down at his computer desk and decided to do a search on her name.
Word Count: 2,417
He was beyond exhausted, but he'd been unable to pull himself away from his computer. So, besides a brief nap on his couch in the evening, he'd been up for over twenty-four hours.
"Lennie," he said when his partner answered his call.
'Hey, Mikey, what's up?'
"I'm taking a sick day. Something comes up, you can get me on my phone."
'Everything all right?'
"I'm not sure."
'All right, well, you take care of yourself. I'm sure Cragen can spare someone to team up with me for the day.'
"Thanks. I'll see you tomorrow."
He knew she started her days early, but he decided to take a chance she'd be there still this early. Whether she'd open her door for him at such an unreasonable hour was another story altogether.
He had plenty of time during the night and on the drive there to think. Digest.
She opened the door after a few minutes. She was clutching a robe around her slight figure. Not a terry cloth robe like his mom had worn. This was a satiny, silky number that didn't look at all motherly.
"Mike? Hi. Is everything all right?"
She stepped aside, letting him into her room. He noticed the humidity from the bathroom as if the shower had recently been run. Yet she was clearly sleeping.
"Late night?" he asked. He was unable to check the moment of jealousy that shot through him at the idea of why she would need a late night shower.
"Uh, yeah. Out with a couple of friends."
"Yes, while I don't live here I have a couple of friends in town." She turned on the bedside lamp and sat on the edge of the bed. The robe fell open now that she was no longer clutching it in front of her. He was reminded that he thoroughly enjoyed what she looked like under that robe. "Are you going to tell me what this is about?"
"You're hurt," he said, noticing some cuts and bruising now that she'd turned the lamp on.
"You sure?" He took a seat next to her, regarding the cuts more closely.
"You didn't come here knowing I was hurt, so what's going on? Is everything all right?"
"Tell me about your job."
"I don't understand. I'm tired, so maybe I'm unusually slow on the uptake."
"I've been awake since I left here yesterday morning."
Her eyes widened a little at the admission, processing how long ago that was.
"Why?" she asked. "The case you had to leave for?"
"Part of it."
"Oh," she said. He wouldn't blame her for being confused. He wasn't really thinking clearly himself.
"I'm a cop. I try not to be suspicious of people. And you're not committed to me."
"But you can't help it."
"Not that I pretend to know you real well, but you showing up at my precinct."
"I explained my reason for being there."
"Our phone call last night was different."
"Cold. As if you couldn't get off the phone with me fast enough. I don't know. Like you were brushing me off."
"I was in the middle of something, Mike, that's all."
"It got me thinking, though," he said, barely letting what she'd said register. "So, I searched your name."
"Because I couldn't talk on the phone? Or because I didn't invite you to meet me back here later?"
"I was too tired to come here anyway."
"Yet you were up all night and are here now."
"Turns out there's a lot to read about on you."
"I'll bet there is for a cop."
"I've heard about you."
"Most cops have now since your mayor hired me."
"Is that where you were last night?"
"I was doing my job."
"Yes, another slayer, Faith and her boyfriend, Robin, who is the reason I was at your precinct yesterday. I couldn't get a hold of Faith on the phone, which isn't entirely unusual. She likes to drop off the grid sometimes. I needed to hunt, though, so I thought Robin could tell me where to at least look around here."
"Is that why you're hurt?"
"Yes. Vampires tend to fight back when you're trying to kill them."
"Why do it then?"
"I have to, Mike. It's not something I can turn off. Believe me, I've tried. I can't. You – most people – choose their occupations. You choose to get married or not. Choose to have kids or not. I can certainly choose to get married or have kids, but until recently that wasn't an option for me because of what I do. Some people may not have a choice due to parental influences or financial shortcomings. I get that, so not everyone has a choice when it comes to their career. I didn't, though, at all. This is what I was born to do. I could do something else, I've tried. It always ends badly. My calling always interferes. So, here I am, using my calling and my experience to help law officials get educated. And, hopefully, prolong their lives so their spouses aren't widowed too soon and their kids have two parents for much longer."
"What about your life?"
"I've lived longer than I should have. I consider every day from the time I was sixteen a gift."
"When do you come to my precinct?"
"Going to skip that day?"
"I'm not, someone else, the other slayer is. I didn't want it to be weird for you. The other cops you were with the night we met and saw us together."
"Get some odd reactions?"
"To say the least, even from the ones who've run across vampires on a regular patrol."
"Didn't the mayor hire you, though?"
"The mayor hired The Council. I'm the one who does the conferences because I have the most experience."
"Why is that?"
She smiled a little. "It's a long story."
"I have time, unless Lennie calls me I put in for the day off."
"Oh. Well. In that case, let me get dressed."
"Actually, I like how you're dressed just fine."
"Why couldn't you sleep, Mike?"
"I was trying to wrap my mind around the woman I was reading about being you."
"Not because you think I'm crazy or some sort of charlatan?"
He kicked his shoes off and moved to lie on the bed. Presumptuous maybe, but she'd let him in and hadn't kicked him out yet.
"Come here," he said.
She went to him, settling against him. "You're so little."
"Yeah," she said with a soft laugh.
"Not the first to say that?"
"So tell me your story."
She was quiet for a while; he thought maybe she wasn't going to tell him. She did, though. It was a pretty far-fetched story. He knew, though, things weren't always explainable. There were special teams in place.
"Your friend Robin."
It dawned on him then what her friend was doing here. The special assignment. He'd heard rumors, but things were kept so secret.
Buffy was evidently an attempt to make things less secretive.
"Still think I'm not crazy?"
"I think I believe you have a purpose and it's not my place to question God."
"I'm not sure how much God has to do with it."
"I am. Why else would you have the purpose of stopping evil?"
"You make it sound so simple."
"I'm not anything."
"Really? Despite everything you've seen and experienced?"
"Honestly? It's not something I grew up with, and usually that's where it comes from, isn't it? Being taught?"
"It depends. For me, well, it was the only thing I knew growing up. It's what working-class stiff Irishmen did. Brought their kids to church on Sundays and worked their asses of so their kids could go to Catholic school. Ensure their entry into heaven through us or something. I can't say I haven't questioned what God thought letting me grow up with the kind of experiences I had, but it made me become a cop. It made me want to help people so I have stayed a good cop. So, I guess God knew what He was doing with me. I can't speak for anyone else and I certainly don't go anymore."
"I'm sorry. Was it bad?"
He shrugged, tugging her so she was on top of him. "I could think of better things to occupy my unexpected day off than talking about my childhood."
"You can, huh?"
"Finding new ways to exhaust each other."
"What if I have to go out?"
"Actually, today, no, that was why I went out last night. I knew I could have a late night and not have to be up at the crack of dawn."
"I suppose, vampires aren't fond of daytime hours."
"To say the least."
"Well then. Let's work up an appetite and order in some room service."
"I like the sound of that," she said. "I don't do it often."
He joined her in the shower, which she didn't mind at all. She'd known him less than a week, but she was oddly comfortable with him. Partly, she supposed because she didn't have to hide who she was from him. He didn't know the full truth, but she wasn't lying to him. She was just withholding information that really didn't affect things.
"Let's go down to the restaurant to eat."
"Are you sure?" she asked, toweling off her hair.
"If you called in sick."
"And the chance that someone's going to come into the restaurant here is pretty slim. I'll take the discipline if I get caught."
"All right," she said, watching somewhat sadly as he got dressed.
"You look nice."
"Thanks. Spending the morning having good sex does wonders for a skin's glow."
"It does, huh?"
"So, I've heard anyway."
He brushed his fingertip along her jaw. "I guess I should have shaved before coming over here."
"Why?" she asked, confused.
"You've got some chaffing here and there."
"It'll go away."
"Your bruises from last night look better already."
"I don't know how it works. I just heal fast."
"One of those cuts probably needed stitches."
"Last night when I got it, yeah, but I knew it'd go away."
"Have you ever had stitches?"
"Not since I got called, no. I got into a couple of ice skating accidents as a kid."
"Yes," she said.
"You still skate?"
"I haven't been since high school, but I know how, sure."
"Maybe some evening we could go."
"You ice skate?"
"Sure, played hockey as a kid. I still play once in a while with some friends."
"Sure, that sounds fun."
She finished getting dressed, wondering just what this was they were doing. They'd picked one another at a bar as a one night stand, and somehow it was becoming more. She wasn't sure how much more or even for that matter how much more it could be with her job. When she was done in New York, there'd be another city somewhere who wanted to enlist her services. She was only in New York for so long because it was so large. Otherwise, she'd be here for a week or two and gone in smaller towns.
After lunch they walked around the area by her hotel for a while and ended up back in her room.
"You know," she said, peeling off his shirt. "I don't usually behave like a rabbit."
"No. It's been," she laughed as she kissed his collarbone. "You don't even want to know how long."
"I could ask you the same thing."
They didn't leave her room again that day, ordering pizza in once it got dark and they were both hungry again.
"I think this is the best sick day I've ever had."
"I'm sorry I was the cause of you not being able to sleep."
"It's all right. I know we're not more than what this is, so it's my fault for letting the idea of you with another man rub me the wrong way."
"Not more than what this is, huh?"
"Well, I mean, I'm all yours until you have to leave. Another town, right?"
"Yes. I'm not sure where to next, I have a while yet here as it is. You have a lot of precincts here and none seem to want to cooperate, let me speak to a few jointly."
"Yeah, we're like that for some reason."
"So, you're stuck with me for a while."
"What's in London, anyway?"
"My sister. The other slayers I activated."
"So, nothing really holding you there."
"Well, my sister."
"Sure, but she has no one but you either, right?"
"Yeah, our dad's not in the picture."
"Maybe you'll like New York enough to stay. Your friend is here."
"She's actually in Boston, but she's here this week visiting her boyfriend because he's working here. It's the only place he could find work near her. He was the principal in Sunnydale, but I think it left a bad taste in his mouth."
"Things wanting to kill you can do that."
"Yes," she said with a laugh.
"You effectively changed the subject."
"What are you asking me, Mike?"
He shrugged, rubbing his cheek against her shoulder. More chaffing from his much beyond five o'clock shadow. She didn't mind, though. There was something oddly refreshing and real about it and him letting her see him like this. Human. Imperfect.
"I don't know. Maybe there's a reason a one-night stand has turned into my wanting to spend time with you and getting to know you."
"Well, I'd say we have time to figure it out before I have to go anywhere anyway. Are you in a hurry?"
"No," he said.
"Well, then. I'm not committed to living in any one place. London was where I was needed for a time. Places in the States seem to want to educate their public officials about the things that go bump in the night and I'd much rather be State-side.
"Just throwing it out there."
"You just don't like the idea of me going to another town."
"And sleeping with someone else? You caught me. I can't stand the thought."
"Hm. Well, you'd better do some good convincing then."
"Is that right?"
"The evidence is still out on whether satisfaction for the long-term can be guaranteed."
Word Count: 3,285
Over the next few weeks they fell into a routine. He didn't mention her living in New York full-time again and she didn't bring it up either. Not that she was opposed to the idea, but she had Dawn to think about, too. Though her sister was growing up to the point where she could live wherever she wanted without Buffy's say-so.
They spent their evenings together, sometimes at her hotel to take advantage of the pool or the room service. Most of the time they ended up at his house, though. She wasn't sure how it happened, but she was spending more nights there than at her hotel room about a month after meeting him.
He was at her room for the night when she went out for a patrol. Robin went along who was full of advice on what a good cop Mike Logan was. She ended up calling it a night early, though, because she wasn't feeling well. She didn't really get sick, but it appeared she'd succumbed to the flu just as everyone else did once in a while.
"You're back early."
"I know. I feel like crap so Robin and I called it a night early."
"All part of the vampires' nefarious plan."
"Yes, I'm sure," she said. She shed her clothes and got into bed with him, glad it was warm and cozy under the covers. "Warm me up?"
The urgency from their lovemaking had lessened somewhat. Both seemed to be getting used to the fact that they were able to get some regularly. It didn't mean they had sex less just that it wasn't as intense as it was at first.
Their first night. God, Buffy still remembered. He satisfied her, that wasn't the problem, but she just needed something more base than simply sex. He hadn't balked at giving her the fucking, for lack of a better term, she needed that night. It seemed now that she was getting it regularly that urgency wasn't quite as bad. Not to say she didn't enjoy it when he was aggressive and hard on her. He knew she could take it and it seemed as though sometimes he needed that, too.
A week went by and she wasn't feeling any better. It seemed like anything she ate came right back up. It was the worst case of the flu she could remember having because it just never let up. Every day.
It wasn't until midway through the second week of being sick that another thought occurred to her.
She was late.
Not hugely late, but one thing she could always count on was being pretty regular where that came. So, it was one evening when Mike couldn't be with her that she went to a neighborhood market and bought a home pregnancy test. They'd used condoms. Could she say without a doubt that they used one every time? Well, no, especially towards the beginning when they were having sex three or four times a day.
She debated about using it, but she had to know. She wasn't much of an instruction follower, but for this she did first thing the next morning as it suggested.
She felt sick to her stomach as she waited. The past couple of weeks seemed to be so obvious as to what the problem was now that she thought about it. She hoped she was wrong. She knew condoms weren't one hundred percent effective, but they hadn't failed her when she was with Riley.
The positive result had her sitting on the hotel's toilet, staring at the little stick.
She stood, glancing at herself in the mirror. A hand at her stomach slid along the skin there. A baby. She'd never thought about kids, always assuming they were out of the question. She wouldn't want a child to end up like Robin.
She'd beaten the odds, though. Defied them really. She still wasn't sure about her faith in God, but maybe this was her sign from Him. Pushing her into a more stable, meaningful life.
She almost didn't answer his call. Would he know? Impossible.
Oddly, she had missed him the night before. She wasn't going to admit that outright. "Maybe," was the closest she got.
'Better than an outright 'no'.'
"Did you get your confession?"
'Yes. Lennie and I worked our magic.'
'Are you feeling any better?'
"Not really, no," she said softly.
'I'm sorry. It's not contagious obviously, so I'll make us dinner tonight.'
'Okay then. I'll talk to you later on, Buffy. Try to get some rest.'
She showered and dressed, then crawled back into bed. She dozed off, waking hours later. In time to make a phone call she couldn't make earlier due to the time difference. She hadn't talked to him in a while, but knew he'd tell her the truth.
"Hi Angel, it's me."
'Well, hey you,' he said and she could hear the smile in his voice.
'The usual. Never a dull moment. Rebuilding.'
'It's okay. Connor's actually been helping me. So I guess if there's a bright side to all of this it's that he's functional in a good way. And we're getting along.'
"Well, that's good."
'So, what's up with you? Not that I don't welcome the call.'
"Thank you. You, too. And well, I need to talk."
'I'm all ears.'
She filled him in on the last six weeks.
'So, you like the guy?'
"I don't know that it's a long-term thing. He mentioned my staying in New York."
'Do you want to?'
"I'm really not sure. I'd kind of planned on working my way west."
'Me, too. Hoped you would, I mean.'
"I know. I mean I wasn't presuming or assuming."
'Buffy, it's okay. So, New York?'
"Well, I'd have to leave anyway when I'm done here. I figured we'd see how it went when I was in the next town and the next after that. He may not feel the same way."
'Right, not everyone can take someone being gone weeks to even months at a time.'
"And it's only been six weeks. It's not a lifetime or anything."
She sighed heavily.
'But?' he asked.
"Is it that obvious?"
'Only because I know you.'
"I haven't been feeling well the past week or so. The flu."
'You haven't been sick since.'
"Yeah," she said, knowing full well the last time she'd been sick was when she was seventeen. Angel had been without his soul.
"I even stayed in a couple of nights I was going to go on a patrol with Robin."
'Wow. Are you better now?'
"Well, that's the thing. No matter what I did I couldn’t shake it. Chicken soup, hot tea, and lots of sleep. It dawned on me yesterday in all my efforts to make myself kick the flu that it may not be the flu at all. I was late."
"You know," she said. "Late, late."
He was quiet.
"Angel. I missed a period."
'Ah, oh. Sorry. Darla, well, was different. Vampire and not with me when she found out she was pregnant. Being late never entered the equation.'
"So, I took a test this morning."
'And it's positive I'm guessing.'
'So that changes things.'
"If I have it."
'You don't think you will?'
"I don't know. I mean what kind of mother would I be?"
'Buffy, you'd be a great mom. You're done slaying every night, and for the most part no longer in danger. Look at what you did with Dawn, thrown into it like that with Social Services breathing down your neck.'
"I suppose. I also wonder how he'll react."
'Did you do it on purpose?'
"Of course not! We used protection every time. At least I thought we did."
'So there may have been a time or two?'
'I'm sure he'll realize the same thing. If he's a good guy as you say he is he's not going to think you did it on purpose.'
"I hope not."
'And if you need a place to live, there's always LA.'
'I'm always here for you, Buffy.'
'If you need anything, just let me know.'
"I know, thanks. I'll talk to you soon."
'Thanks for telling me. Have a good day. Stay relaxed, it's important for the baby.'
They hung up. She wasn't sure she felt any better, but at least she'd told someone.
Over the course of the next month she took three more tests, all positive. Angel called to check on her a few times. She downplayed her nausea as much as she could to Mike.
Faith knew something was up the weekend she saw her, but didn't press her on it.
"So what are we celebrating?" Buffy asked Mike discreetly at the bar where a bunch of them had gathered.
"Tony there made sergeant."
"Oh," Buffy said. "Good for him."
"Yeah, he's a good cop."
"What about me?"
"Any sergeant plans for you?"
"I like working the streets, helping people too much."
"You're not drinking tonight?"
"You haven't been much recently I noticed."
"I'm not really a huge drinker."
"And I suppose if you're still getting over being sick. Some hot brandy might help."
"I'm fine, really, Mike, thank you, though."
"Okay, I'll stop pestering."
"You're fine. It's nice to have someone pester me."
"Hey you two," Lennie said. "Stop whispering sweet nothings to one another and join in the fun."
"Yeah, yeah, Lennie," Mike said.
The night was fun. Mike even danced with her a couple of times on the super tiny dance floor. It was nice. Too nice, considering she'd been withholding a huge piece of information from him for a month now.
"Can we talk for a minute?"
"Sure," he said. "Let's step outside."
He took their being outside as an invitation to hug and kiss her. Of course he would, they were very good that way.
"Mike," she said, breaking the kiss.
"Mike, I have something to talk to you about."
"You really wanted to talk? I thought you just wanted me alone for a few minutes."
She giggled a little, kissing his jaw. "Yes, I really wanted to talk to you."
"Okay, sorry." He offered her his hand and they walked a little ways away from the bar.
"So," he prompted.
"God, I've had this conversation in my mind and it's never been this hard."
"What conversation, Buffy? You're obviously ahead of me."
"I didn't have the flu. I mean, I thought I did, but I found out it wasn't."
"Okay. Is there something wrong? Buffy? Are you sick?"
"No, I mean, nothing's wrong. I'm okay. I'm not sick."
"Then what?" he asked, obviously confused.
"The flu stuff was a symptom."
"Of? Buffy, just spill it."
Silence. He didn't let go of her hand, though.
"Well, mine, too, but yes."
"And you've known for a month?"
"Yes, I was deciding I guess."
"I see," he said, dropping her hand then.
"Actually, you may not. My life is dangerous and I wasn't sure how you'd react."
"Well, come on we've known one another less than three months. We picked one another up in a bar."
"I haven't been seeing anyone else, Buffy."
She smiled a little at that. She knew that even if he hadn't told her that before now. He just wasn't that type of guy.
"That doesn't mean you're ready for a baby. Or the possibility you could be solely responsible for it if something happened to me."
"The same could be said in reverse."
"Yes, but I have people I'd trust a baby with."
"Yeah, I'm kind of short on that."
"Listen, we didn't plan this. We weren't expecting anything permanent."
"I mentioned you staying here."
"Mentioned, yes. I just don't want you to think I expect anything from you."
"Well, of course, I'll help any way I can."
"I'm not going to run away, Buffy. Presuming you still want to see me, I have no intention of bailing on you."
"Okay. Good," she said, more relieved at that statement than she realized she would be.
"You weren't sure?"
"Well, I know how it looks."
"Like I did it intentionally."
"You're not the one who was supposed to be sure the condom was on right."
"I just assumed you'd forgotten once."
"I may have. You do have a habit of distracting me some nights more than others."
"So what? Six weeks?"
"I assume, yes."
He hugged her then, kissing the top of her head before kissing her full on the mouth.
"You were always going to have it?"
"God, yes. I admit I thought about it the first day, and had it been two years ago."
"When it was just you?"
"Understandable," he said, starting to walk them back toward the bar.
"I never thought of being a mom, single or otherwise. I have a friend who never thought he'd be a dad. It hasn't gone smoothly for either of them, but I see the way he looks at his son and lights up at the mere mention of his son. I want that."
"You're handling this surprisingly well. I expected some shouting at least."
"I never thought I'd get a second chance to be a father."
"Second chance? You're a dad?"
"No, she decided not to have it."
"And you wanted it?"
"I believe every life God creates is a blessing and for a reason. I may not go to church, but I still have my beliefs I guess. Can't completely take the Catholic out of a lapsed Catholic. I would've raised it without her if she wanted, but maybe she thought with my upbringing our child was better off not being born."
"I'm so sorry. I didn't know."
"How could you have? I don't walk around broadcasting it. I feel guilty about it to this day."
"I'm glad I know now."
"You going to find a doctor here?"
"I guess I should. I'll be here for a while yet."
"I'll come with"
"You don't have to."
"No have to about it. I want to."
"All right," she said.
They returned inside. A few had left in the time they'd been gone, but there was still a good number of cops there.
Mike sat at his spot at the table, Buffy sitting next to him. He glanced at her as he slid his arm around the back of her chair.
"So, it looks like the next round is on me, guys."
"What's the occasion, Mikey?" his partner Lennie asked.
"A guy can't just buy his fellow officers a drink?"
"Not you," someone Buffy didn't know said from another table. Everyone laughed at that.
"I'm going to be a father."
Lots of congratulations went out around the bar. Mike kissed Buffy's cheek.
"You going to make an honest woman out of her, Mike?" someone said from another table.
"I'm at least going to get her out of her hotel room, Perez."
"I thought you liked my hotel room."
"Oh, I do. A lot."
"Obviously," someone said followed by a chorus of laughter. Buffy felt herself blush.
"Are you asking me to live with you?"
"We'll talk about it later. Just sit back and enjoy."
"All right," she said, taking a sip of her 7-Up.
The night went much longer than most probably thought because of Mike's announcement.
"Congratulations, you two," Lennie said once the three of them were outside privately.
"Thanks, Lennie," Mike said.
"Are you feeling all right?"
"Yeah, some days are rougher than others."
"My ex-wife was sick the entire time, but that's not common. It'll pass," he said, sliding the collar of his coat up, sliding his hands into his coat's pockets. There was a definite chill in the air tonight.
"All right, you two, have a good night."
"Good night," they both said.
"So, your place or mine?" he asked?
"Yours," she said.
He smiled a little at that, opening her door for her before going around to the driver's side.
He turned the light on once he'd unlocked the door and let her pass through the threshold.
"Long night," she said, shutting and locking the door behind them.
"I'm sorry. Are you feeling all right?"
He closed the distance between them after he hung their jackets in the closet, sliding his hands around her waist.
"I actually feel pretty good."
"You look really good."
He slid his hands lower as he brought his mouth to hers. She groaned softly as he deepened the kiss, sliding his tongue against hers. Her hands worked his tie off and his shirt open as he slid the hem of her skirt higher. Hands stroking along her thighs as she worked the zipper of his trousers down and his belt unbuckled.
"God, I love you this way," he said, as she wrapped her legs around his waist.
"Me, too," she whispered as he slid inside of her. She cried out, clutching around him tightly. Those muscles of hers he loved so much worked wonders on his cock as he moved in and out of her.
She found his neck with her mouth and kissed him there, quickly changing to sucking. He groaned as he felt her marking him, and one that would no doubt show. He didn't care. Lennie would only laugh.
It wasn't as urgent as their first time together months ago now against her hotel room's door. He wasn't any gentler with her, though. She liked him in her hard and fast, as deep as he could go. More than once he'd had scratches on his back and shoulders from her enjoyment of when he did that over and over again.
Once, she'd crushed the door knob to her room's bathroom. It was after he knew her secrets or he probably would've left there and then for good. It was still a little odd to think how strong she was.
They ended up on the marble floor of his foyer, his back against the door with her pressed against him.
"Wow," she said softly and he chuckled.
"Bet you wish you'd told me sooner."
"At least I know now I didn't forget a condom."
"I would remember if I'd been inside of you that way before. So, one broke, tore, had a hole, or something because there's no way I've been in you without one until now."
"I see. You can always keep using them if you'd prefer it."
"You're sure," she teased.
"You're teasing me, right?"
"I am," she said.
"That's good, because I never want to use another one again."
"I'm not going to be pregnant forever, Mike."
"Then we'll find other means. Obviously better working ones."
She slid onto his lap, tilting her head a little as she settled herself there.
"Hmm," she said, kissing his jaw. "I like that idea."
"I've never used anything else."
"No reason to."
"Now it's my turn to like that idea."
They grew quick, kissing and touching.
"I can tell," she whispered.
"Our bed would be more comfortable."
"Sounds better tonight than my bed."
"I guess it does."
He stood, picking her up and carrying her to his room. His house wasn't huge or new, but it was solid, well-built. Big enough to raise a family in? He'd never thought about it until now. He'd have to tomorrow. Right now, he had more important and enjoyable things to worry about.
Word Count: 2,818
He woke the next morning with her pressed against him firmly. His hand was resting possessively over her abdomen. She was awake, something he knew only because her fingers were stroking his hand.
"Morning," he whispered.
"Morning," she said.
"You better get used to early bed times."
"You can't possibly think you can go on patrols or hunting in your condition."
"No plans to, no."
She turned to face him. "You're taking this news way better than I thought you would."
"If I thought there was a chance you'd done it deliberately I would be. I know you didn't, so what else can I do?"
"I'm glad, and thank you."
He brushed her hair away from her face, watching her quietly for a few minutes.
"Move in, Buffy."
"Mike. I don't want to make that kind of decision or change because of a baby."
"I understand you may move, leave New York, but I hope you'll stay until the baby is born at least. I'm not asking for a commitment or a promise. I'm just offering something more stable than a hotel room. A kitchen of your own so you can buy unlimited quantities of fruits and vegetables. I have a spare room. If we're not suitable as a full-on couple you can still stay here. If we are compatible, you can help me decorate it for a baby. Even if you're not here afterward, I'm going to be involved."
"You make it sound so logical, calculated."
"Well, I like you. You know that. More than that? We'll have to see."
"She sees reason."
"I've got to get to work. You've got someone at the hotel that can carry your stuff down to my car?"
"Take my car, check out, and then bring my car to the precinct. I'll get my spare keys from Lennie and you can catch a cab back here. I'll bring your stuff in when I come home."
"I can carry my luggage."
"I know you can, but you won't."
"All right," she said.
He slid lower along the bed, resting his head against her belly.
"Seven months you're going to take care of yourself and let me help ensure you do."
"I'm used to taking care of myself."
He slid lower, kissing her inner thigh.
"You can't do this for yourself," he quipped before doing some terrific things with his mouth. Waking up to this every morning could be worth the loss of privacy.
It was another month before she had her first doctor appointment. True to his word, despite working he made it to the appointment. He got there last minute and had to leave before she did, but he did hear the heartbeat and meet the doctor.
Living together? It was proving taxing at times, but overall was working. Giles wasn't too thrilled with her current situation despite the fact she hadn't planned it.
Dawn, on the other hand, was super excited about becoming an aunt. So was Willow.
Xander? He was still kind of quiet on the subject. He'd come around and make a great uncle.
The sickness grew less and less every day. It seemed to help, too, that she had complete control over what exactly she ate. And when she ate it.
Today she was running late. She rode with Mike to his precinct each morning and took the subway from there. She assumed she'd be on her own this morning because she still had to eat. He had a bad habit of letting her sleep until the very last minute.
A plate of eggs and sausage with toast was waiting for her at her place along with a glass of milk when she walked into the kitchen.
"Thank you," she said, taking a sip of the milk.
"Happy to do it, you know that," he said, adjusting his tie. He folded his collar down over it and slid his suit coat on. He took a seat at the table then. "Busy day ahead of you today?"
"Yes, I'll probably be home later than you tonight."
"All right," he said, finishing his coffee. "I'll figure out something for dinner then that will keep for you."
"I wish you'd rethink getting your own car."
"No, absolutely not. I've driven your car a few times, but I was so scared! I could hardly drive in Sunnydale."
"We'll work on lessons."
"I had Driver's Ed."
"Not from a New York City cop you haven't."
"Good point," she said with a smirk. "I'll think about it."
"That's an improvement over the flat out no you initially gave me."
"People take the subway."
"People get mugged on the subway."
"I can defend myself."
"Not when you're seven-eight months pregnant."
"I'll still be strong."
"You'll also do whatever you can to protect the baby, including not defending yourself and potentially getting hit or kicked in the abdomen."
"I said I'll think about it."
"By the way," he said, clearing her plate for her. "Claire asked me if you'd like to go to the gym sometime."
"Tell her sure. You can give her my number."
"She didn't want to just call you out of the blue."
"Yeah, an ADA randomly calling me would be a little freaky."
"She likes you."
"Well, good, because I like her, too. I wasn't sure what she thought of me at first, but she's nice."
"Good, I don't want you to think I'm pushing her on you, but I know you like to work out and she mentioned she can bring a guest with her."
"Well, we were talking. We do that sometimes. She knows you're not from here. I said you might be feeling a little cooped up after your hotel having a fitness area for you to use anytime you wanted."
"That's sweet of you."
He smoothed down and straightened his tie as she finished her milk.
"Yeah, that's me. Sweet."
"You are to me, but don't worry I won't tell a soul."
"Let's go before Lennie thinks I'm not coming in."
She was seven months along when she realized that she'd actually established a life here. She wasn't sure how it had happened, really, this long-term business trip because New York was such a large city with so many precincts for her to train. Mike's cop friends treated her decently. There were a couple of women officers she'd become friendly with and a few of the wives and girlfriends of detectives Mike worked with. Nothing super exciting, and nothing close to rivaling her friendship with Willow. Lunch here and there. The occasional girls' night out, not that she drank but it was still nice to get out.
Claire, on the other hand, was someone Buffy quickly became friends with once Mike mentioned it. She was busy, but they had the occasional lunch together or caught a movie in the evening a time or two. Claire was smart, Buffy sometimes wondered why she was interested in her as a friend. Then Willow was smart, too, and had friended Buffy so she supposed she couldn't judge.
She was feeling great. Better than great, actually. Her doctor was happy with her weight gain. The baby was kicking and active. She and Mike were getting along. Never once in the past five months had she contemplated using the spare bedroom.
Things in the preternatural part of her life started going a little crazy. Faith, Robin, and others had reported a pick-up in vamp activity in a particular area. Faith was able to winnow them out to a point, but the actual nest – and its leader – was impossible to pin down.
Buffy was stuck on the sideline for the first time ever. She'd never been research girl, and it was immensely frustrating to be delegated to that role.
"I'll get it," she said when the doorbell rang.
"You just don't want to look at the computer anymore," Mike said.
"I don't know how secretaries do it every day."
She looked through the peep hole, certain she was seeing things. She almost didn't open the door. What was he doing here? Not opening the door was futile as he'd hear heartbeats, know she – or someone – was inside.
"Angel, hi," she said, opening the door.
"Hi," he said, eyes drifting to her protruding belly immediately. "How are you feeling?"
"I'm good. You know, feeling kind of uncomfortable."
"I hear that happens."
"Yeah, me, too. What are you doing here?"
"I ran into Willow believe it or not. She mentioned you were having some increased activity here. I figured you could use some help."
"Help is always of the good,"
"I saw Robin and he said you were trying to pin down a location."
"Yes, but sadly I don't have Willow's computer skills."
"I'm not so bad with them. Let me try."
"Oh right, I guess, Mr. Adapt."
"That's me," he said wryly. "So, are you going to let me in?" He had to feel pretty foolish just standing there, she was still kind of processing the fact he was here.
"Uh, yeah, sorry. Come in, Angel."
He stepped across the threshold then and she offered to take his coat. He glanced at her with surprise, but took it off so she could hang it up.
"Um, Mike, this is my friend from LA, Angel. Angel, Mike, my boyfriend."
Mike set his beer down and stood. There was a Knicks game on that he was watching. He wasn't a huge fan to where being interrupted upset him. She'd actually gotten to like watching football with him. Basketball, however, was a little too boring.
The two men shook hands. Both said, "nice to meet you," but there was an underlying … guy thing behind the words. Sizing one another up.
She realized then that Angel wasn't here to help exclusively. He was checking up on her and her situation, making sure she was okay. That Mike was good to her, providing for her. Willow had just given him an in, and perhaps her friend had done that intentionally. Buffy would never really know.
"Would you like a beer," Mike offered.
"Uh no, thanks," Angel replied.
"I'll take the maps and laptop into the kitchen," Buffy said.
"Okay, Babe. You going to be up late?"
"Not sure, Angel wants to see what I've found so far."
She got them each a glass of water once they were in the kitchen.
"Sorry I don't have anything else to give you."
"It's okay, Buffy. So, show me your Watcher skills."
"I'm not sure I'm doing a very good job."
"Giles had a bit of a learning curve at the beginning, too, if I recall."
"You're going to be a mom, Buffy, and you have a chance to be a mom and not a slayer first. Hone your research skills. You can still do the conferences and consultations, but why slay when Faith can do it? Not to mention the one thousand other slayers out there."
"You don't get it. I can't just turn it off. I have to hunt, Angel. I have to slay. I will, literally, go crazy if I don't."
"I understand, Buffy," Angel said. "I do, but you can do it when you need to. You're not going to be patrolling cemeteries. There's no manual for this after a slayer's reached your age. You know that. I'm sure it's uncomfortable."
"Then you have to find another way to meet that need, Buffy."
"I can't go beat up drug dealers or rapists. Mike would have to arrest me."
"Find someone to spar with. Find a gym with someone you can fight equally. It may take a while to build up a repoire and get them to want to spar with you."
"It'd be so much easier if I could just spar with you. I wouldn't have to worry about hurting someone. Or someone wondering why I'm strong when I'm forty."
"I can while I'm here. Maybe we can find a gym for you together."
"Not like this!"
"After the baby comes, Buffy."
"You're going to be here that long?"
"I can always come back."
"Because I left you for a reason, Buffy. Finn, he was all right, but God it was too soon to see you'd moved on. Now, though. We've had our own lives for years now. You ending up in LA was a nice thought, but I never held out much hope it would actually happen. I can't honestly say I really wanted it to happen. You have a chance for the things I can't give you. A family, Buffy. I can't do that no matter how hard I try."
"My God, Buffy. A life away from all of this with no strings. Talk to Giles about one of the younger slayers who's thriving, find someone to take the helm. The doubles you have in place around the world should keep the bad guys away from you for the most part. Especially if you're not hunting anymore."
"Think about it," he said, sliding the laptop in front of him.
"What are you doing?"
"Emailing this information to myself. It's late; I'm here with no notice. I'll check this stuff out later."
"You'll do fine, Buffy. This isn't like the time you lost your abilities. You'll still have them, you're just moving on. The first slayer in history to be able to do that."
He stood, kissing the top of her head. "Get some rest, you'll need it."
"So everyone keeps telling me."
She stood, too, walking him to the door.
"Night," she said as he left.
She brought her laptop back to the living room, sitting next to Mike on the couch.
He was quiet. Too quiet. Usually, he reacted to a bad pass or block, or a score by either team. She closed her laptop and slid a little so she could face him.
He took a sip from his beer and glanced at her.
"Obviously still on good terms."
"And he's here to help you?"
"Yes, Faith could use the help."
"Why? I mean, we have cops trained to deal with this stuff. You've seen to that."
She sighed heavily.
"He's a vampire. He can get close enough to find out where the nest is if we can't find it through regular means."
"You dated a vampire?"
She sighed again.
"I sure wish I could drink a beer."
She stood, walking to a chair so she could see him while she told him that part of her story she'd left out initially. It was a lot to digest.
"So, how do you know that there aren't other vampires with souls out there?"
"There aren't. I mean, I suppose the same clan may have cursed other vamps, but no one's ever heard about it. And soul or not, if they're killing people, they're evil. Angel could have kept right on going. I know he stayed with his sire, Darla, for a while after the curse. He couldn't do it, though, live that way. So, eventually he left."
"Were you in love with him?"
"When I was sixteen-seventeen, yes."
"But he left?"
"You heard that?"
"Some of it. I'm a cop. I'm curious." He shrugged, taking a pull off his beer. "A guy from your past shows up at my doorstep who clearly knows you well. I may have eavesdropped a bit."
"Yes, he wanted me to have a shot at all of the things a vampire couldn't give me. Family. Doing things in the day. And well, I guess ultimately get out of all of it. The life of a slayer."
"I'm not sure if I should say that was nice of him."
"At the time I didn't get it. I was eighteen, and I didn't think I'd see legal drinking age. My biggest concern was making it through high school graduation and Mayor Wilkins' Ascension. So, his reasoning seemed very wrong and totally unfair."
"Well, I made it to legal drinking age and barring some all-hands-on-deck crisis I'm pretty much out of the game. My doubles make it difficult for anyone to pinpoint my location. He's right, too, I can't slay forever. I have to learn how to get my need out some other way."
He set his beer down and stood, sliding his T-shirt up and off as he walked the short distance to her.
"I can come up with an idea or two."
"You could, huh?" she asked, working the front of his jeans.
"Whatever I can do to help and all."
"Right," she murmured.
"So, you know, take your aggressions out on me sometimes."
"You sure I won't hurt you?"
"Not in a way I'd mind, no, so it's a chance I'm willing to take."
Word Count: 1,653
Angel had found a new version of Hell. He had no reason to feel jealous over Buffy giving Detective Logan a son. He was, though. He'd come to New York to help and stayed for some unknown reason long after his help was necessary.
Wesley would probably have some psychological term for it. Angel just wanted to be sure that Buffy was all right.
Seeing her with another man was pretty bad. Seeing her pregnant with that man's child was awful. Seeing her share a house with him, evidence that more pregnancies could occur was brutal. Seeing her with her son, glowing and maternal was pure torture.
Even Faith seemed to know what he was feeling because her sarcasm and flippant remarks were kept to a minimum whenever they worked together.
The vamp nest had been dealt with. The leader killed. Most of the followers had been, too. Some escaped and Faith would probably encounter them again.
So why hadn't he left?
As much as it tore him up inside to do it, he wanted to be sure before he left that she was settled here. Settled all around. That included finding a gym and someone for her to spar with.
He could have left as soon as the job was finished, before the baby had come and he saw the transformation in her once she'd become a mother. God help anyone who came between this slayer and her child.
She needed the physical exertion, though. He understood if she didn't get it there could be disastrous results. He wanted her out of the field, away from danger. When he'd left her years ago he hadn't envisioned this for her exactly. He knew, though, that her death would no longer trigger the next slayer, so her Watcher's Council would have no reason to end her life prematurely if she got too old to perform her duties. That meant the possibility of this life for her existed.
So, he was going to help her find a sparring partner or two. He figured she'd be taken more seriously if they saw her in action with him.
It killed a piece of Angel to say that Buffy had managed to find one of the good ones. Acceptance of all that was the slayer and the past that had gotten her to this point was pretty good.
They'd been working out for almost two hours today. They'd finally found a gym Buffy liked. He should've known she wouldn't go for a gym with frills and smoothie bars.
He hated hurting her, their sparring took on an appearance of actual fighting. It had to if she was going to be taken seriously and find someone willing to be her partner.
He knew when Mike and little Matthew showed up. Usually, they waited for her in the car, but they were taking a little longer than usual today. She had found her place, they both knew it. With that Angel would be returning to LA soon.
She wasn't upset about it for the reasons she had been in the past. Losing him. Not wanting such a distance between them. Today, she just hated losing one of her team.
Their time in the ring was up. She stepped out, instantly lighting up at the sight of her family. It crushed him a little more each time seeing her like this.
He headed for the showers as she took Matthew from Mike. She was so careful with him, supporting his head as she was supposed to do. He wondered if anyone here, even her detective who while accepting what she was had never seen her in action, would imagine what she was capable of. The death to his kind she had dispensed with over the years. The burden she'd carried on her shoulders since she was fifteen.
"Does he have to hurt you?" Angel heard Mike ask thanks to his hearing. He glanced at them once more before entering the locker room to see Mike rubbing his thumb along an area on her cheek that had split open.
"Yeah," she replied.
"I trust you to know what you're doing."
"I'm sorry we ran late. Let me shower quick and then we can go home."
"I got here a little early. Matthew was cranky so I figured a car ride would do him some good."
"Well, it seemed to work because he's just fine now."
"So fine I was thinking we could grab something to eat."
"You mean it?"
"Sure. We haven't been out really since he was born."
"That sounds great."
"Okay then. I'll get him back in his seat then and wait for you in the car."
"Okay. See you in a bit."
She leaned in to kiss him, lingering a bit. Matthew was almost two months old now and he had been unable to take things further with her to this point. Her doctor had cleared her and everything, but he just hadn't been able to clear his mind from thinking it was too soon. Her ability to heal a factor or not.
When she kissed him like this, though, he questioned holding back. He knew how fast she healed, so why should this be any different? He kissed her back. How could he help it? She had that effect on him.
"Is there room in that shower for two?"
"Hmm," she whispered, smiling. "Probably, but Matthew might have something to say about it."
"Rain check," he whispered against her lips.
"I'll see you in a few minutes," she said.
"Hey Mike," she called just outside of the locker room.
"Yes?" he asked once he'd turned to face her again.
"We don't have to go to dinner."
He smiled, winking at her. "Yeah, we do. You deserve it."
Usually she liked to take her time in the shower. She hated public showers, bringing up memories of high school gym class that she'd rather forget. Those extra moments of relaxation, though, last minutes of being just Buffy. She cherished them. Not that she didn't love Matthew more than anything she thought she could possibly love, but since he'd been born going to the gym was the only time she ever had to be alone.
And Matthew's dad? She loved him, too. Neither had said it outright, but she thought he was just as obvious about his feelings for her as she was. They both wanted to be sure, though, that their feelings weren't brought on prematurely by a baby neither had planned for.
He took her to one of her favorite restaurants. One that was way out of the way from being on the way home from the gym.
"Best idea ever," Buffy said as she finished off the last of the dessert they'd shared together at the end of their meal.
"Pretty close to it. Yes. I feel like I've done nothing for the last three months besides stay home."
"Well, you've got to be cleared to go back to work soon."
"It's up to me when I go back. Giles knows I may not want to leave Matthew and I can't rely on Faith to babysit every day. Besides, she's as capable as I am to teach the sessions."
"There are some stay-at-home moms in the neighborhood."
"I know. I've met a few of them over the last few months. You know. Share coffee to get the dirt on schools and which parks to avoid."
"Parks," he said wryly.
Buffy knew for Mike it wasn't the parks where the danger lurked, but the one place he should have been unconditionally safe. His home and his church. The night she'd told him about her past and her relationships with not just Angel but also Spike. In bed, much later after they'd made love, he'd told her about his past as well. Her heart broke for the young boy he'd been, seeking refuge from his mother in church only to suffer another type of abuse there.
"Anyway," he said, as if they both knew what he'd been thinking. "Maybe you could find a sitter or two there."
"It's possible. I'm definitely keeping my options open. Giles will keep paying me, so I'm not going to be destitute."
"I wasn't thinking you would be. We'd be fine even without your salary."
"I know. I just don't like feeling like a freeloader."
"Matthew is a prime example of a freeloader. Eat and drink. And he has yet to clean up after himself."
"I know, right?"
They grew quiet as he paid the check, glancing at the Matthew in question. He looked so much like Mike it was eerie. He'd shown her a baby picture he had and they could be twins. So much for the Summers' genes being dominant.
"So, dinner out was a good idea then."
"Yes, I already said it was the best."
"You did, but I'd have to disagree with you on that."
"Oh? You would, huh?"
"Best idea ever was me buying you that first drink."
"You think so?"
"I know so, Buffy. Smartest move I've ever made in my life. I mean, now look at us."
"Keep saying things like that and you might get lucky tonight."
"I can't imagine getting much luckier. I already have you and a son out of the deal."
She leaned toward him and kissed him then.
"It's definitely better off than where I was a year ago."
"Me, too. I was a bitter old detective who saw little positive in the world."
"Me, too," she said with a laugh. "Now, let's go home so we can practice making another one."
"That is the second best idea I've had."
"It was my idea."
He shook his head and chuckled softly as he stood from his chair while she grabbed Matthew. "That's what you think."
Word Count: 1,438
Slowly, pieces fell into place, allowing Buffy to stay. A home. A life. A future. There was more than one slayer Giles felt was capable and competent enough to conduct the seminars Buffy did. Faith was willing to a point, but like Buffy she wanted stability.
Fortunately, New York was large and close to other areas that she could train Allison without having to travel much. An overnight here and there, but rarely. She hated being gone, swore once Allison was trained she never wanted to see a hotel room again.
By Matthew's second birthday, Buffy was out. Giles knew he could count on her if she was needed. The slayer based out of New York trained with Buffy and she did research.
Slayer turned watcher. It had never been done before. Obviously. It was weird for her, but she found she liked it. The Council paid to finish Mike's basement so that she could have an office and vast amounts of storage space. Books. Research. Potions. Scrolls. She was accumulating so much stuff. She liked it, though.
She was able to be home with Matt, which was important to her. She went to the gym when Mike was home or one of the neighbor girls was able to watch him after school. She'd taken on the role of trainer there. The women enjoyed having a woman to work with. It didn't pay much, but it got her out of the house and flexing her muscles regularly.
Tonight, one of the neighbor girls was babysitting because Mike and Buffy were going out for a rare date night. They preferred to stay home for the most part. Getting dressed up was fun, though. She was meeting him downtown so they could start their night out at the hotel with the revolving restaurant. It was one of the places she'd never been during her time here.
"You have our numbers, right, Sam?"
"Yes, Mrs. Logan."
"Okay, thanks again."
"Sure, I love babysitting for Matt."
"Well, we appreciate it."
She wasn't sure why the neighbor kids called her Mrs. Logan. She'd told Mike the first time it had happened and he'd laughed. She guessed it was a logical assumption and as she never bothered to correct anyone it continued. She supposed, too, that parents of young kids didn't want to explain why Buffy and Mike had a child but weren't married.
She got there with plenty of time to spare. Mike had taken the subway into work so they could ride home together later. She didn't mind driving before it got dark, but after dark was another story downtown.
"Wow," he said. "You look great."
"As opposed to usually?"
"No, as opposed to me."
"You look good. You always do."
"Well, thanks, but you look good enough to ravish."
"I do my share of ravishing, too, so you're not alone there."
"So, Sammie is all set?"
"Sam," she corrected.
"Yes, she's all set."
"Was chowing down on mac and cheese when I left."
"Ready for a night out as Buffy."
"It's beautiful," she said once they'd sat down and ordered.
"I was surprised you'd never been here."
"I guess it slipped my mind."
"It would seem so."
"Besides, it's not nearly as fun coming to a place like this by yourself."
Their server came toward them with two glasses of champagne and her heart dropped a little.
"I know," he said. "Just take a sip."
He chuckled a little as the flutes were set down in front of them.
"Hmm. Yes. You don't think I wouldn't notice you're not drinking your wine. Not to mention you're late."
"How did you?"
"Know that? I'm a cop. I remember things like it's been at least a month. I may not be the most sensitive guy around, but I know how to tell time and to count to thirty."
She set a fingertip at the mouth of the flute, running it along there.
"One sip isn't going to hurt you or the baby."
"I know," she said. Her doctor had told her that much during the first pregnancy. She lifted the glass, noticing then that there was something in the glass. Her heart skipped a beat at the sight of the ring.
"Mike," she whispered.
"I wasn't expecting you to tell me yet. Figured you'd probably just found out or suspected recently yourself."
"Well, I didn't drink with Matthew."
"I know. You do great."
"So, do I have to drink it to get the prize?"
He chuckled, taking the glass from her. He drank the champagne down, emptying the glass fast.
"I don't expect."
"Me to marry you? I'm not asking for the baby. It just made me realize it was time I asked you to let me make an honest woman out of you."
"God, yes. My upbringing aside, I want it to be legal."
"Til death do us part."
"If you'll have me."
"I think you already know the answer to that."
"Do I?" He held the ring up. "I had to save up or I would have asked sooner honestly. It's a good thing I know a jeweler who was willing to work with me so I could get you the perfect ring."
"Mike. You didn't have to."
"Sure I did. The baby may not come first but I believe in tradition."
"Is that a yes?"
"Good," he said, slipping the ring onto her finger. "It looks good on you. I knew when I saw it that it would."
"It's beautiful. Really."
"Beautiful ring for a beautiful woman. Now about this baby."
"I'd like to be married this time."
"Well, we have a few months."
"I was thinking sooner than that."
"Okay. What? Are you ashamed or something?"
"No, but it occurs to me that we love each other and one of our children should know you as Mrs. Logan from day one."
"I like the sound of it."
"You know what I like the sound of?"
"Hmm," she said, lacing her fingers through his. "Celebrating later?"
"That goes without saying, especially since Sam should be getting relieved of babysitting duties about now."
"Faith is taking him for the night."
"Oh, Mike, I'm not sure."
"With Robin's help."
"Okay," she said, feeling better about that.
He chuckled. "I'm not that dumb."
"I know you're not. So, celebrating?"
"That wasn't it. No. I like the sound of making good memories with my Mrs. Logan. For years, there's only just been the one. You know. My mother. Kind of haunting me and preventing me from moving forward. Committing. What kind of father would I make after everything I've been through? I know what kind of cop I am and what kind of man I am, and I'll do everything until my last breath to ensure our son and this one don't have any of that garbage to deal with. I know you may get called to do things from time to time, but our children won't know about that world until you're ready to tell them."
Tears filled her eyes at the statement. They'd both agreed they would have to tell Matt the truth. One day baddies might find out the Slayer had a son and go after him just for that. He would learn how to defend himself. Both Buffy and Mike agreed on that, though she wasn't altogether convinced Mike knew just how relished offing her would be to the baddies.
She knew that she had a lot of negativity to make up for, but she looked forward to it. "Ask the priest at your church when he can marry us. I know you haven't been to one in years and had no plans on going into one until you die, but you'd feel guilty later if we went to the courthouse. I won't have that on my conscious. We'll have Lennie and Claire stand for us."
"Positive. I don't have many people to invite anyway."
"Just do me one favor?"
"I'll try. What?"
"Don't ever buy a terrycloth bathrobe."
She smiled a little. "I promise never to do that."
"Thank you. Even if it means we'll need a bigger house and I have to moonlight as a security guard because I can't keep my hands off of you."
"I love your hands on me."
"I love it, too."
"So, house to ourselves?"
"Wanna grab takeout and celebrate in bed?"
"Absolutely," he said, signaling for their server to bring the check.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com