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Crash and Burn

Crash and Burn
By NautiBitz

Info and Author's Notes: See introduction.

"Where to?" he finally asked.

There'd been a tense, heavy silence as they whisked down the mountain. Mostly because all she could think to say was how much it stank in there, and why was he headed for the cliff's edge anyway? Either one, she suspected, would get her tossed out of that "trick" door.

"Um, Palos Verdes. You can take the--"

"Palos bloody Verdes? That's over forty-five miles away!"


"So I'm not your bloody chauffer, woman! Don't you live around here?"

"What, you automatically assume that just because I drive -- correction, drove -- a nice car and my dad's a lawyer, I live in Beverly Hills?"

"Don't you?"

"Well, Bel Air. But... I can't go home right now."

"Who's in PV, your snugglebunny?"

"My mom," she said, sticking her head out the open window to see where they were going. "You can get on the 405 up here."

"Bloody just great," he grumbled, changing lanes to cut onto the freeway.

Seeing the bumper-to-bumper traffic jam ahead, he thought, Should've taken that cash. He patted his jacket pockets, the seat beside him. Her leg.

She recoiled in horror. "What the hell are you doing?"

"Sorry," he said, amused at her reaction. "Just lookin' for these." He pulled a crushed pack of Marlboro Reds out from under her thigh and singlehandedly yanked out a flattened cigarette. "Don't worry baby, you're not my type."

"Thank god," she huffed, puzzled at the heat that lingered on her thigh. Starting right where he'd touched her, and radiating outward. She rubbed her palm against it -- hot, hot heat that shot up her arm. She crossed her legs to make it stop, but then the heat went in a completely wrong direction.

Legs apart... And breathe. She stole a sidelong glance. Maybe he's Satan.

Satan flipped his Zippo, and her nose wrinkled. She waved a hand at the smoke and faked a cough. "That's repulsive."

"Oh yeah? Well you'll just have to deal, won't you?"

She sighed as they came to another stop on the freeway. Whee, a two hour ride with Satan, the suicidal chainsmoking maniac. Oh my god, what if he's a *homicidal* maniac? Maybe I should start a dialogue so he doesn't kill me.

"So... You're English, huh?"

He chuckled. "Onto makin' polite conversation now, are we?"

"No," she scoffed. "I really don't care what you are."

"Alright then."

So much for that.

He took a long drag. "Came out here from London three years ago."

Okay... "What for?"

Dru. "Bit o' sunshine."

"And that's why your windows are such a lovely shade of crust. Because you heart sunshine so much."

"Can't get anything past you, can I?"

God, this was like torture. He wasn't Satan, she decided -- he couldn't possibly be that important. No, he was just some lowly minion sent to do His evil bidding. And this ratty jalopy was the first circle of Hell.

She wished he'd just murder her already and get it over with.

"Came out here for a girl," he finally said. "I hate the sun."

"That explains the pallor. Did she dump you?"

He slammed on the brakes. "Get out."

"What?" The pallor? Oh, the dumping.

"Get out of my car."

"But we're on a--"

"Get. Out. of my. CAR!"

"What is your damage?" she asked, hands hitting her still-hot thighs. "So she dumped you, big deal!"

He reached across her, flipping up the door lock. "If you don't get out I swear to god, I'll--"

"You'll what?" she faced off, chin high, courage blazing -- even as she felt his angry nose-breath on her skin.

In the midst of their ensuing way-too-close-for-comfort staring contest, a cacophony of beeps struck up behind them. Jaw clenching as he gave her one last steely glare, he relented, stepped on the gas and set his sights forward.

She smiled. Nyah nyah.

"Don't think you're off the hook, Missy," he said. "Still might run this car over a convenient ledge."

"I can't believe you'd do that for a girl," she shook her head in disdain.

He looked at her. "You really have no idea when to keep your mouth shut, do you?"

"Hey, I haven't said a word about how much it reeks in here."

"God, you're--" he swerved into another lane, "unbearable!"

"I'm exceptionally bear-y. It's you that's un."

Sending her a quizzical glance, he shook his head.

Back to silence. Probably for the best. And what the hell is on my shoe? she wondered, looking down at the floor and kicking at rumpled, stinky clothing.

"What are you doing? Leave that alone."

She lifted her right foot into the air, showing him the Ring Ding two-pack that was skewered on her heel. "You're telling me you want to eat this?"

He smirked. "Which edible thing you referring to?"

What was that face? "Huh?"

One scarred brow arched and fell. "I see France."

Buffy frowned -- then gasped and dropped her leg. "Well, don't look at France! What are you doing looking at France?" She frantically stretched the short hem of her dress as that stupid Satan-heat crept up her neck. "I thought I wasn't your type!" She bent down to pull the nasty melted Ring Ding off her shoe. Oh my god, I said eat this. I said you want to eat this.

"You're the one flashed me the French flag," he said with an indifferent shrug.

Edible? Oh, ewwwwwww! "I didn't--! I would never, in a million years, not if you were the last--"

"I didn't see anything," he said over her, hoping that would shut her up.

She huffed, "You better pray you didn't."

"Wouldn't want to, alright?" Prissy little tease. "Not interested in seeing your naughty bits."

"Well, good!"

"Good!" He jerked the car forward.

Maybe he *didn't* see anything, she reasoned hopefully. He was probably just messing with me, being a demon minion and all. They're evil like that. Throwing the snack package into the back seat, she wiped her creamy heel and hands on a red button-down shirt.

"You better not be wiping yourself on my good shirt."

"This?" She lifted it up by one corner like it had the black plague. "Is your good shirt? What are the bad ones like?"

"A lot less covered in creamy center," he pointed out, ready to strangle her.

Dropping it back on the pile, Buffy spotted a half-empty bottle of Jack Daniels on the floor. She unscrewed the cap, sniffed it and made a face. "Is this what you've been drinking?"

"Regular Sherlock, you are." He swiped the bottle, took a swig and tipped it toward her, offering. Loosen that uptight little ass.

"Ew!" With a grimace, she yanked it out of his hand, then closed the top. "You know, friends don't let psychos drive drunk."

"Lucky for me, you're not my friend," he said, and took a deep centering breath. "And anyway, I'm not drunk. That was hangover treatment."

She saw another bottle, empty, on the floor. "How many of these did you have?"

"Last night?" He sniffed. "Three, maybe four."

"Shouldn't you be blind? Or dead?"

"Yeah." He looked straight ahead. "I should."

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