Title: "The Amazingly Accurate and True Journal of a Crazy Summer Road Trip"

Volume 2: The Dead Zone

(2/6)

Written by: Shawn

 

 

Summary: 18 hours into their road trip Buffy and Xander encounter a little problem in Bellefonte, Kentucky.

Rated: R for adult language, naughty humor, and BtVS-styled violence.

Category: Romance/Humor/Action-Adventure

Ship: BX always!

Timeline/Spoilers: Post the BtVS finale "Chosen." In 2003 the Scoobies traveled with Giles and Robin to England to help rebuild the Watchers Council. That lasted for two years until April of 2005 when Buffy, Xander, Willow, Dawn, Faith, and six S.I.T's were sent to Cleveland in May of 2005 to officially keep a day to day watch over the Hellmouth there. BX began dating in 2005 just before they left England. All else is explained within.

Timeline/Spoilers Notes: I have not and never will write a story with a one-eyed Xander because it made no sense whatsoever, IMHO, for him to lose the eye. It felt like they weren't using him for anything and he wasn't important to the plot, so lets just take something from him. *rolls eyes* Xander has both of his eyes here.

Disclaimer: I own Zippo. Joss and Mutant Enemy own it all.

My personal archive: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ShawnsLibrary/

Email: DayShawn1974@hotmail.com

Authors Notes 1: No angst, sadness, or heavy drama here. Just a crazy, action packed, romantic story about two people and a road trip that will change their lives forever. Hope you enjoy it. Fun times are ahead.

Authors Notes 2: The Scoobies and S.I.Tís live in a seven bedroom, three bathroom home.

 

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The man who goes alone can start today, but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.

-Henry David Thoreau

Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and enjoy the journey.

-Babs Hoffman

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.

-Augustine (354-430)

I am one of those who never knows the direction of my journey until I have almost arrived.

-Anna Louise Strong

It is good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that matters in the end.

-Ursula K. LeGuin

 

~~~~~~

 

 

******

 

******

 

 

Some nights were simply magical.

With her small hand clasped firmly in his, Xander led Buffy down a stone path that curled into the park just

ahead. After enjoying a very romantic dinner at Chivago's, they enjoyed a romantic horse drawn carriage ride around the nearby Lyons Park, and now strolled through the moonlit park at their leisure.

A truly beautiful evening thus far.

They hadn't spoken since exiting the carriage, choosing the quiet route instead. Tonight's special, and they both know it. Accept it as such, and so things are progressing slowly. A set pace to an inevitable conclusion. They walked hand in hand past the immaculately sculpted stone fountains, a vibrant rose garden, and the many delightful secluded nooks where strollers enjoyed a little privacy.

Xander appreciated the warm weather a great deal, but not nearly as much as the woman he loved.

She's a dream wrapped in silk.

From the moment he picked her up to now, Xander could hardly keep his eyes off of Buffy. She wore that slinky black dress like a second skin, tantalizing him throughout dinner. Her look tonight was a perfect blend of class meets lust. She charmed every man that looked her way this evening, but none more then the man that loved her with all his heart.

Envious stares came their way from appreciating older couples enjoying the evening as well. Buffy saw them, smiling the whole while. She knows they make a very good-looking couple. Even more so tonight when they're dressed up. Xander called their date a 'very special occasion.' Pizza and a movie just wouldn't do. So a trip to the hair saloon and to the mall for a new dress was undertaken earlier. Her boyfriend looked so handsome in his dark blue button down shirt and slacks.

Buffy's a little misty-eyed as they transversed along a path leading to a large artificial lake where rowing boats could be hired. She's quirky and tough and sometimes a bit more withdrawn than she wished she were, but she's definitely not stupid. She knows her Xander, and then she knows the difference between him and tonight's Xander. Also hers, but so much more grown up and serious. Flowers were given to her the moment he saw her. Beautiful, expensive flowers. He wore that antique silver watch Willow bought him for his birthday two years ago. The one he's only worn on special occasions, and only three times since he received it. His jokes over dinner carried with them a flair that was not usual for him. They lacked his trademark silliness, choosing to amuse her with his humorous inner thoughts of work and their friends. He sat up straight. He ate his food as close to normal as he was capable of. A far cry from his familiar Neanderthal-like approach. It was just different. He was different, and she noticed. The way he gazed at her lovingly all night long. Less with lust than... dare she admit it, awe. She blushed under his tender affections more times than she could count.

The hardened Slayer of legend wasn't reduced, yet evolved into twenty-five year old woman who had a feeling everything in her life was about to change. Something truly profound was on the horizon. Something that equally terrified and thrilled her.

"Penny for your thoughts?"

Buffy lifted a curious brow. "My thoughts are only worth a penny?"

"After springing for that 'last in the rainforest before extinction' flower bouquet and that half-a-years salary dinner... among other purchases," he added mysteriously enough, "You'd be lucky if I could afford a penny for your thoughts. I might have to put them on layaway for some lent. Then again, maybe you should just lend them to me instead."

Ah, there's her Xander. Over the top as usual. And so sweet. "I'll tell if you do."

"Those are tough terms."

"You consider meeting me halfway tough terms?"

"I'm a guy, Buff."

"You're going to do it, and that's final."

"You're so sexy when you're bossy."

He could always make her smile. She gently squeezed his hand as they reached the lake, gazing out over the moonlight reflecting the surface of the water. Buffy inhaled the brisk night air and felt invigorated. "I'm thinking that while I have had a great time tonight, it's really not us. We're pretty casual and stuff. Takeout and a movie arenít boring to us. We usually prefer it," she said, stealing a glance his way. He looked so deep in thought. And nervous. "So I'm wondering, why go all out for the Harlequin romance kinda date when we do just as well on the couch with a bottle of wine and a DVD?"

Offering her a slightly shaky laugh, Xander guided them to a park bench. He sat down, and then pulled her into his lap and kissed her deeply before she could say a word. They fell into that age-old rhythm of lips and tongue, not caring in the least that they were out in public. Her arms slipped around his neck, her fingers caressing the soft hairs on the back of his head. This was a stolen moment in time and it was beautiful.

"What was all that for?" Buffy sighed when he stroked the side of her face with the back of his hand. She leaned into his touch.

Xander took a long, deep breath. He seemed to be psyching himself up for something. "A little while ago I was thinking about how I've known you for nine years." Sighing, Buffy nodded in his arms, her hand absently stroking his forearm. "That's a long time, you know."

"Almost a decade. Next year it will be."

"I've loved you all nine of those years," he confessed to her. His direct and serious expression was focused solely on her "I've been madly in love with you for the past year and some change."

"Me too. All of that, I mean. The loving you and stuff, " Buffy stumbled over her words as her emotions bubbled to the surface. His stares and his kisses and the things that he's said and done and the way he's treated have all been amplified in the last three months. She's tried to ignore it. Push it away. Think of it as no more than him being romantic and sweet. He knows how to treat a woman well. But it's more than that. Far, far more than that. He's emotionally exposed himself in every way. He's been trying to make a point to her. One no man has attempted to make before. "You're still here."

Her whimsical phrase caused him to smile. "You sound surprised."

"Men haven't exactly proven themselves to me over the years."

"Have I?"

"Always." That pleased him and was the point, after all. "Now tell me what's on your mind?"

Taking her hands in his, he held them on her lap, and took his own dear time before speaking again. "I've been wrong about a lot of things in my life, honey," he began, stroking her palm. "I'm so far from perfect and I've made a ton of mistakes and Iíve hurt people that I cared about. I guess what I'm getting at is that I'm a very, very human kind of person."

"As opposed to a mutant or alien?" she teased, trying to follow his lead. He did smile.

"I'm not saying this right, Buff. I'm trying and all, but..."

"Just be yourself."

"Myself isn't good enough for what I have to ask you tonight. I have to be better than I've ever been."

Suddenly, everything became all to clear. Buffy exhaled a breath she didn't even know she was holding. She's scared and she wants to run and hide. She also wants to hear him out and accept that she's not a teenager anymore and that things arenít' the way they used to be and that he's not the man she befriended the day she met him, but the man she now so deeply loves. "Just go for it," she said even as her heart pounded in her chest and the butterflies flew in her stomach.

"I love you."

The first tear that fell signaled more and she could do little to hold back the tide because she knew exactly what he was about to do. He gently set her on the bench, then moved before her, and down onto one knee. Her hand quickly covered her mouth as the tears fell, one after the other. This moment wasn't tragic or sexual or anything that marked any other intimate moment in her life. This was unique. This was Xander. This was perfect.

"Buffy, I have to ask you a very important question." Xanderís sweating and he knows he's sweating and he's so happy he used her deodorant before they left because it's strong enough for a man but made for a woman. Why that suddenly went through his mind at this time, he'd never know. "If you say yes I'll be the happiest guy on the planet. If you say no I just might jump off the nearest cliff, or sky dive with no parachute, or go swimming with some sharks. Maybe wrestle some grizzly bears at a circus, or..."

"Enough," Buffy declared as she wiped away a few more tears. "Just ask so we can celebrate."

"Celebrate?" Xander's eyes widened with such unbridled joy he thought his heart might burst out of his chest.

"Ask me?"

"Buffy?"

"Yes." Testing out that word felt of so good. A dress rehearsal for what was to come a second later.

"Do you know where you're going?"

Her smile slowly began to falter. "Huh?"

"I said do you know where you're going?"

"Wha... Xander, I thought..."

 

 

******

End of dream sequence

******

US-60 WEST

Xander's gray 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Monday, July 29, 2006 11:30 PM

 

 

Her hands were clutching onto something... something solid. She was sitting up right, but not on a park bench. There was music playing. Kelly Clarkson maybe? And she definitely wasn't outside.

Coming around slowly, Buffy yawned a couple of times in succession, blinking her eyes until at last they opened and... and...

'OH HOLY CRAP!!!' Buffy mentally screamed to herself as she gripped the wheel so tight she nearly tore it from the steering column. Up ahead she saw nothing but the road stretching endlessly before her. She swallowed hard a few times, blinking away the last of her sleepiness as reality set in. Okay, at least they were alive.

Buffy's eyes opened as wide as they ever had before. Reality hit her like a ton of bricks. She's behind the wheel of Xander's car, and all of a sudden she remembered everything. Two hours ago she noticed he was getting tired after having driven several hours straight already, and offered to take over the driving for the rest of the way to the motel in Bellefonte. He tried his best to politely pretend he wasn't tired, and then flat out told her that he feared her driving skills and ability to navigate the open road. Somewhat insulted, Buffy defended her sketchy driving record, reminding him of having been in only two accidents thus far this year, and five in the previous three. She pouted, flirted, and promised naughty goodness when they reached the hotel if he would let her take over for a

while. Begrudgingly, Xander admitted he was tired and could use some shuteye. After checking the map, he figured they were not all that far from Bellefonte, so he relented, pulled over, and gave Buffy her way.

And then promptly fell asleep ten minutes later.

'Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! I am so screwed! Okay, Buff. Calm down and think.' The Slayer recalled that one of her favorite songs came on the radio at 11:10 PM. She quickly glanced at the car's console clock and saw that it was 11:30 PM. Shockingly enough, she fell asleep behind the wheel for twenty minutes, all the while still driving. 'Damn cruise control,' she mentally muttered in her head. Sparing a slow, careful peek Xander's way, he's reclined the passenger seat back as far as it could go and was facing away from her, sleeping, snoring

softly. 'Thank goodness.' Buffy exhaled a shaky breath, gripped the wheel tighter, and tried to regain her bearings. She remembers listening to the radio while looking out for their next right turn on Bob McCullough Drive. She had been sure it was coming up soon before she fell asleep and now feared she passed it altogether. She's lost and she knows it. 'Xander will never, ever let me hear the end of this. Not ever. I was doing 50 miles an hour while asleep. I could have run over a poor defenseless road animal, or driven us off the highway into a ditch, or hit a truck or Bigfoot or something. Oh well, there's only one thing to do. Wake him up, confess everything, and see if we can figure out where we... No... no, no, no. I will lie. I have to lie. Telling the truth here will only result in years upon years of teasing. A cover-up is needed. And I know just who to call to help me cover this up.'

Turning up the music a tad, Buffy slowed the car down to around twenty miles per hour, then pulled her cell phone from her purse and attached her earpiece for hands-free driving. Xander slept so deeply and she's never been more grateful for that than she was right now. Looking up at a road sign, she saw that she was five miles from Roberts Drive. She pressed number three on her cell phone and waited until a very sleepy, and slightly slurred voice picked up five rings later.

"Hello, hello."

Her best friend sounded drunk. Not a good sign. "Wills?" Buffy whispered into the small speaker piece dangling alongside her neck. "Willow, wake up. I need your help."

"Buffy-wuffy," the Wiccan chanted loudly, rolling over in bed. "Why are ya talking so quietly?"

She's giggling wildly. This was not good. Not good at all. "Listen very carefully, okay?"

"Have you been kidnapped, Buffy-wuffy? Is that why you're talking so quietly? Are you being held against your will? Are you tied to a chair?"

Patience. Buffy knew she needed patience. "Okay, you're drunk. I get that. Please just sober up for second. I need the brilliant witch, not the drunk witch."

"I'm not all that drunk, Buffy-wuffy. I just had a crappy day at work and I went to the bar with Faith and Dawn to unwind and listen to a band play some band music and then they had those super sweet grape drinks with the cute little umbrellas, and you know I can't resist drinks with little umbrellas. I even stole a few and shoved them in my purse. I'm so silly sometimes."

Willow's just laughing to herself and Buffy's about to lose her mind. "Wills, hon. Please go to your computer and hop on Map Quest. I need your help. Please, just do it." Silence... "Wills?" More silence... then snoring. Loud snoring. "This is not happening," Buffy shook her head, pressed end on the cell phone, cursed a few times under her breath, and then dialed number four. It rang six times before Dawn picked up.

"Whoever this is do you realize it's almost midnight and I have early classes tomorrow?"

"Dawn, listen to me."

"Why are you whispering? I can barely hear you. Are you some kind of pervert? Speak up."

"I need you to go on Map Quest."

"You need to see my breasts! You freaking perv! Who are you?"

"It's your sister, you idiot. It's me. Buffy. Check your Caller-ID."

"Why are you whispering like that?"

"I'm in a bit of a jam."

"Yeah, well you and Xander left all of us high and dry today, so you can get out of your own mess. I'm sleepy."

"Dawn, please. Just hop online for a second and get on Map Quest. I'm kinda lost and I need your help."

"You need your head examined. You ran off with your hottie boyfriend for a road trip and left us with the Brat Pack. You really and truly suck. In the history of the world of people who suck, you are their Queen."

"Dawn, if you don't get your bratty ass up out of bed and on your computer so help me God I am going to maim you with a ham and post your naked baby pictures on the internet."

"Do your worse, sis. You're on your own. Oh, and I'm raiding your closets tomorrow. Love you. Stay safe. Tell Xan I said hi." Dawn hung up.

Buffy considered the many medieval torture techniques she was going to perform on her sister. They'd have to wait until she got home. She only had one last person to call. One last shot. She dialed number six. It rang several times, and then Faith's answering machine came on.

"I ain't here and I don't give a damn if you call back. Bill collectors can kiss my ass. You'll get it when I get it. Do not try to inform me of your ability to lower my car insurance or tell me how your satellite digital cable is cheaper than the one I already have. I'm an over worked, stressed out cop and will beat you with a nightstick. PS, if you're hot, a good friend, or have info that might save the world leave a message at the beep."

'damn, Damn, DAMN!!!!!' Buffy pressed end so hard she almost broke her cell phone, then pressed number six again. Sometimes you gotta try Faith twice. Six rings later...

"Yo, B. What the fuck you calling me so late for? I ain't got no bail money until next my payday."

"I need your help."

"Why are you whispering? You kidnapped or something? You and Xander doing something freaky naughty?"

"No, there's nothing freaky naughty going on. I'm lost. I fell asleep while driving and now I'm lost. Xander's asleep next to me. I am trying to avoid the utter embarrassment of waking him up. I want you to hop online and go to Map Quest. Pull up US-60 WEST and then a turnoff called Roberts Drive. I need to know if that leads into Bellefonte, Kentucky. Hurry."

"You are seriously having a Blonde moment. How could you fall asleep behind the will? That only happens to senior citizens."

"I don't need a lecture from a ex-con."

"Bitch, I'll hang up on you."

"I'm sorry, alright. Please help me." Buffy heard grumbling and a few curse words, but at least Faith was getting out of bed. "I know I owe you one?"

"You owe me five and I'm counting."

"Okay," Buffy smiled, relieved that she finally found some help. She heard some key presses being typed and waited patiently. The sign that read 'One Mile to Roberts Drive' caught her attention. "Hurry, Faith."

"Alright, B. Here's the deal. You need to... sssshhhhhkkkkkssshhhkkkkk."

"What? I need to what?" Buffy pleased into the small receiver, only to notice her cell phone said low battery. She almost threw it out of the window. Her grimace was legendarily pained. Roberts Drive was coming up fast. She was flat out of ideas and resigned to her fate. Buffy took a deep breath and took the exit. She'll eat a heaping helping of crow, but she had to get directions from somebody. These exits usually led to gas stations or restaurants. Any help would be appreciated right about now.

The exit led her three miles down, surprisingly enough. She expected to see something as soon as she turned off, but instead the road curled into another road that resembled a street. She saw a gas station up ahead and a larger building just behind it.

Xander's stretched next. Sighing, she buckled down and prepared for the worse. She knows she'll never hear the end of this, but whatever. She might as well take it like a man... uh, woman. "Honey, I, uhm... I got the funniest story to tell you." She wore her brightest smile, showing lots of white teeth.

Xander blinked his eyes open, then craned his neck about. When he gazed out the window his lips curled into a smile. "I am so proud of you, sweetheart. You made it here all by yourself. Not that I doubted you could," he hesitated to say at the end.

Buffy was listening, but then again, she wasnít. For up ahead was sweet salvation, otherwise known as the 'Swifty's' End of the Road Hotel, their destination in Bellefonte, Kentucky. Apperantly US-60 WEST didn't have a turn-off for Bob McCullough Drive, but became it. Lady Luck must have been be smiling her way and somehow she found her way here all by herself. Leaning back while wearing a confident smirk, she tossed a glance

Xander's way. "Told ya so."

"I know, I know," he conceded, even lifting his hands in a mock show of defeat. "I should have never doubted your amazing driving skills. You are the Ben Hur of the highway. You are the Moses of the road trip circuit. I love and adore you."

Pulling into the driveway of the roadside motel, Buffy wore a grin from ear to ear. "Thank you, sweetie."

Xander figured he would be wise to take the knowledge of knowing Buffy fell asleep while behind the wheel and her subsequent calling of all their friends to his grave. Surely he would miss out on years of teasing and joking, but at the moment his girl was beside herself with pride in having done something she felt he thought she could not do. He loved her enough to let her enjoy this moment.

"Perhaps I should drive for the rest of the trip as well."

"Honey, we'll discuss it later." She even pumped her fist when she killed the engine. That little gesture made him want to marry her so bad. And if she's not too tired tonight, he intended to ask. "I'll get our bags. You go and get us a room."

"Sounds like a plan to me."

"I love you," he said after her. She turned around, gracing him with the sweetest expression on her face.

"Always?"