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Ellen watched with unabashed amusement as Dean persuaded Buffy to down a glass of whiskey.

Buffy swallowed the liquid fire in two gulps. As she set the glass down on the bar she stuck out her tongue, shook her head, and made the funniest noise Ellen had ever heard.

“Bbbllllllaaaaach!”

Dean immediately began roaring with laughter. His whole body shook and a tear rolled down his cheek.

With mock indignance, Buffy said, “It’s not funny.”

“Baby,” Dean replied, leaning over to rest his forehead against hers, “it’s hilarious.”

“It’s not nice to make fun of me.”

“Since when am I nice?”

As she listened to their playful banter, Ellen could not imagine a world in which they wouldn’t be perfect for each other.

*****

Ellen looked up when the door swung open. Most of the hunters in the Roadhouse glanced toward the newcomer before returning to their drinks.

Dean Winchester, the man Ellen had been talking to, didn’t bother.

“Well, I’ll be damned,” Ellen said, putting her hands on her hips, “It’s her.”

Dean didn’t stop contemplating his glass of whiskey, but did ask, “It’s who?”

“The Slayer.”

Dean did turn at this and afforded the Slayer a cursory glance. “Not how I pictured her,” he told Ellen.

The Slayer stepped up to the bar.

“Now, honey,” Ellen said to her, “I know for a fact that you ain’t twenty-one.”

The Slayer glared at Ellen. The effect was disconcerting. The girl had no light in her eyes and no expression on her face. A scar cut across what would have otherwise been a pretty face. Her hair was pulled back into a slick ponytail and she wore no make-up. Despite her young age, the girl looked menacing.

“I didn’t come in here for a drink. I came for information.”

Every hunter in the Roadhouse was trying to listen. As a result, the bar was quiet. Dean’s whiskey-graveled voice cut through the air, “Shouldn’t you be in California?”

The Slayer turned her harsh gaze toward Dean. “What’s it to you?”

“Nothin’. I just know that my baby brother was out there. Fighting a losing battle from what I saw. I just think that with all hell breaking loose out west, the Slayer should be there.”

“There’s a Hellmouth in Cleveland,” she shot at him.

“And there’s one in Sunnydale. The Master has risen, you know.”

“Every vamp over four hundred calls himself ‘the master’. It’s practically a cliché.”

“And you know that he was full of shit because you’ve been out there to see what was going on? Wait…you haven’t been there. You’d think you’d do your job.”

“Listen, you son of a…”

“No!” Dean slammed down his glass and whiskey sloshed out. “You listen. You should be there. You’re the god-damned chosen one. You should be where you are needed.”

“And what about you? You’ve got a whole hunter-vibe thing going. Why aren’t you out there?”

“I was,” Dean growled.

Ellen knew what was coming. She cast her eyes downward and let the fresh grief wash over her. She heard the Slayer accuse, “Too much for you to handle? That why you’re here instead of there?”

“I’m here to bury my brother.”

The Slayer shrugged. There was no sympathy in the girl. The fight had made her hard and unfeeling.

Dean turned back to his whiskey and muttered, “Cold hearted bitch.”

“Excuse me?”

Dean ignored her, downed the rest of his whiskey, and got up from the bar. Dean didn’t turn around when he said to her, “You heard me.” And with that, he stalked out of the Roadhouse.

The Slayer watched him as he left and then turned back to Ellen. “I need some information.”

Ellen shook her head at the girl. Everyone in the Roadhouse was still reeling from Sam Winchester’s death. And this girl comes in here like…

“Don’t you have a heart? Feelings?” Ellen hissed.

With pure honesty, the Slayer replied, “I don’t live in a world where that’s a possibility. And even if I could care, I doubt I’d care about him.

*****
“I love you, Dean,” Buffy slurred.

Ellen chuckled under her breath and shook her head. The Slayer was trashed.

Buffy slung her arms around Dean’s neck and declared, “I love you the mostest.”

“The mostest, huh?”

“Yup. The mostest of anybody.”

Ellen picked up her phone and dialed a familiar phone number. “Sam? Could you and Dawn come and scoop your siblings up off the floor of my bar?”

When she hung up the phone she glanced around the bar for Buffy and Dean. They were attempting to play pool. Buffy had ceased with the lovey-dovey stuff and they had resumed their affectionate bickering.

How could they be anything but perfect for each other?