All About Spike

Chapter: 1  2

His voice is like a Mars-bar
By dutchbuffy2305

Pairing: Faith/Spike

Rating: NC-17

Spoilers: from Dirty Girls to Chosen

Author's note: started as part of the flashfic-athon, but, um, got too long. Thanks to my fabulous betas LadyAnne and Meko for helping me with this!

Author's website: http://home.planet.nl/~dutchbuffy2305

Feedback: Yes, please, to dutchbuffy2305@yahoo.co.uk



Faith is lying on the chaise lounge in Buffy's backyard, legs and belly in the sun, head in the shadows. She needs to burn off the prison pallor from her skin, because it reminds her too much of the countless Friday fish bellies she remembers staring up at her. Prison doesn’t buy fillets, it buys whole fish coz it's cheaper. So Faith knows how to handle the filleting knife. Fins off first, scrape off the scales, head, tails, slice into the belly horizontally, turn, same slice on the back, peel off the flesh gently over the little white ribs, turn, slide other side off, done. She could do it with her eyes closed.

She opens them again. She's not there anymore, she can look. Why is she thinking of prison when she's here? The garden is probably not too well kept, not that she'd know, but she loves the smell and the colors of the cute flowers, whose names she doesn’t know either. She does know grass, there was some grass on their lot in Boston, and this here needs mowing. Maybe she'll get up and do it for them, as a surprise. But then again, maybe they wouldn’t even notice. Everybody's heads are somewhere else these days; they're up in grey shadowy clouds where cold winds are gonna tear through pretty soon.

A small sound makes her crane her neck to check on it. It's only Buffy's pet vampire, copping a smoke on the relatively dark porch. She's reserving judgment on him, but it's really just giving up on categorizing, because he fits in none of the slots she's tried so far. At first sight, her instincts said evil. Now he's not evil she gathers, at least according to Buffy, has been, but is no more. Giles and Dawn have completely opposite views on this. Willow seems indifferent, or undecided, and the girls are scared. She doesn’t know about Xander yet. And for her there was that moment she was totally ready to jump his bones, which is still confusing her.

Is she ever grateful she didn’t, coz it's only later a couple of the gals clue her in on the Spike and Buffy deal. The last thing on earth she wants is to poach on any guy of Buffy's ever again. She's got plenty of groveling ground to cover in that area already. But still, when she thinks of it, was that man giving off the hot vibes or what? He's just the kind of guy she'd go for, a looker, not easily hurt coz he's been around the block a coupla times, well, shit, around every block in every city on this here earth, she supposes, in a century or more of opportunity.

There being good reason for ignoring him and all, she gets up off the chaise lounge with some slow lazy stretching moves and saunters up to the porch. She leans on her elbows, the railing against her back, just like he does, only it shows off her assets a little more.

For a girl who used to be so good at this she's kind of at a loss how to begin.

"What are you thinkin' about so hard?" his voice asks, and for a moment, she feels all poetic. His voice is like Twix, she thinks, crunchy on the outside and melty sweetness on the inside.

"Keep out, property of Buffy Summers," she blurts out. Fuck. Not what she meant to say at all. She sneaks a look at him sideways, and he looks amused, and is turning a little bit closer to her.

The sexy vibe between them, that's been hanging limp and neglected since their talk in the basement, snaps taut and starts to thrum. Whoa. Faith swallows. She's never done this before, this holding back because the guy belongs to someone else, even if that someone else seems to be abstaining. She didn’t use to give shit about stuff like that, she thinks with chagrin, but she can't just shake it off right now.

She's suddenly self-conscious about the way she's standing, she's practically shouting, grab these tits. Hastily she stands upright, but her arm brushes against his. Oh man, this train is going downhill fast and there's no stopping now. She can practically feel his skin giving off sparks under her fingers, and she isn’t even touching him.

Spike looks at her, really looks at her, and she can hardly breathe. She moves. He moves. They're standing there, close but not that kind of close yet, just gripping each other's forearms.

Faith is about to die from sheer expectation, and the smell of creamed denim is overpowering. They're not moving, though.

"Faith…" Spike says softly, and the vibration of his voice, now more Mars than Twix, make her bridge the tiny gap between them and it’s like leaning against a hotplate.

"I'm Buffy's," he goes on, still very softly, not physically rejecting her at all, not with his hard cock pressing against her belly. He is very still under her sizzling fingertips.

Faith can’t help it, she has to breathe, she has to move her breasts and her belly up and down, and as close as they are standing it's clearly making things worse for him.

"You together?" she asks, unable not to wriggle a little against him. She really needs his hands on her badly, like right now, only he's still holding her arms, and she is doing the same.

"No," Spike says.

"Why can’t we…?"

"Because," he answers, but his resolve is weakening, she can feel it, he's following the pressure of his cock, leaning into her harder and harder, she's gonna have bruises on her arms too, but that just makes it hotter.

"What do you need?" he asks. Yeah, right, he's doing this just for her.

She opens her mouth to say something to him, anything to make him go on, but a loud, needy moan comes out instead, and it shocks her. His hands start to slide slowly up her arms, thumbs brushing her breasts, and she is gonna melt if he doesn't put his leg between hers hard, and then he does, and she almost comes, and then she does. When she opens her eyes again, her head is a little clearer. She realizes they're standing on the porch, visible to everyone who walks by or comes out of the house.

"Come on," she says urgently. "Let's go somewhere private."

She grabs his hand, and he follows without a word, down the stairs into his basement. She looks a little doubtfully at the not so sturdy cot, but it'll have to do. They crash together in mid-turn, mouths meeting urgently, hands tugging at clothes. He shoves off her top and bra in one movement; his big hands are on her breasts, big enough to span them, touching first the underside then her nipples, just hard enough, then harder. She's flying. She lets herself fall on the bed, shimmies out of her jeans, sees him do the same. He's big, she knew that, she can’t wait to have it inside her. He's kneeling between her legs, opening her up, pushing back her knees.

Two, no three rough fingers in her pussy, she's dripping, so needy, wants it now, grabs his big cock, pushes the fingers aside and shoves him in. This is what she needs; she pulls up her knees farther, hooks her legs around his and lets him fill her so deeply she cries out. Then, what the fuck, who's on top here, he is, she can’t have that, tries to turn them over, but he's not having any of it, just fingers her clit and swivels his hips so he hits her hot spot, and she's jelly. Just lets him ride her, she's never let anyone ride her since, well, she's not going there, and it's just so good, feeling him slide in and out in her wet wet cunt, thrusting harder, oh god, he could go harder, she tells him, and he does. She's still in control here, he's not doing anything she doesn’t want.

She feels the first buzz of impending orgasm, and she grabs his hips, telling him, I'm coming, don’t stop. He slides out, and stops, tantalizing her. She cries out incoherently, trying to ram him back in by his butt cheeks, so smooth, but he takes his time and when he does it's so hard and hot her vision turns a little red and fuzzy at the edges. He does this a coupla times and she just hangs in there, knowing she's gonna come harder than she ever has.

Then all at once she's not in the basement anymore, she's at home in the trailer and it's Uncle Bob who's pounding into her and it hurts so much, and she's so scared, that she screams out in terror and pain, even though he made her promise not to. It's just a flash, and then she's back in the basement coming like a bat out of hell, but she keeps on screaming and Spike reacts immediately, he rolls off her, takes his hands off her with this freaked-out look and starts babbling.

"I didn't mean to hurt you! Did I hurt you?"

She can only cry and hiccup and spray snot on his nice creamy skin and is just a sniveling mess. She holds on to him for dear life, and after a long hesitation he folds his arms around her, just holding her tightly like a little girl, and even while she's crying her guts out like that she's ashamed and wishes he hadn’t seen it.

It takes a little while for her to calm down. Her face is still wet when she starts to rub away some of the snot and tears on his pecs, and wipes it unthinkingly off on her legs, like they did at home. She almost apologizes for it, but thinks, what the hell. Who knows what table manners they had in Spike's time, they probably, like, threw everything to the dogs.

Her mouth is so close to his skin that she can’t resist giving a dusky pink nipple a lick. Spike shivers, and she feels his cock twitch against her leg. She doesn't remember if he's come or not, what with her screaming and all, so she pushes him down on the pillow and climbs on. The head of his cock is pretty dark, he must have been really close to coming when she threw her fit. He deserves a good one. She's still really wet and sinks down on him easily. She starts riding him in earnest, as fast as she can, slamming down on him with all her weight, rising up slowly, angling her body so he hits her spot and bang, she goes down again. Spike lies rigid on the cot, hands digging in the sheets, head thrown back and eyes closed. He's not gonna last long, he's giving it everything not to come right there and then. She manages to come before he does, cuz she's so good at getting what she needs, and he lets go with a throaty scream when she starts to come and bucks on his hips like one of them mechanic Bronco things.

They are lying pretzeled together on the narrow cot, basking in the afterglow. Or that's what Faith would like to tell herself, but really, she is fucking uncomfortable. Her right arm has lost all feeling, and her dearest wish is to get out and slay something. Right now. Her vampire sense is tingling like crazy, and without the arousal to mask it, it's making her jittery. And she so doesn't want to look him in the eye and chat, even if that would at least distract. He knows something about her now, and that is just icky in combination with sex. Too scary.

Once a guy has a handle on you, he'll keep bothering you. Take Xander. One go, and he thought he owned her. No way is she going to go there with the vampire. She shifts against him, and immediately the tingling translates into arousal again. That's it. She's getting up right now. For the first time she completely gets what Buffy sees in this guy, in vampires, as she didn't when it was just Angel, and she's not going to follow Buffy's footsteps for once. These guys are too hot for comfort, and insightful, too, and they might just make you come back again and again for their hot loving and their sweet understanding eyes… No way. She's outta here.

She hops around in her string, trying to get in her tangled jeans, and inadvertently catches his eyes. He's lying on his side, one hand under his cheek, checking her out while she dresses, but the look he gives her chills her to the bone. Like he even understands why she's bailing. That creeps her out so much she almost forgets to put on her bra in her hurry to be out of there.

"Thanks, Spike," she says in a weird pinched voice. "That was great."

"You're not so bad yourself, Faith," he says, and all the meanings he puts in this make her wig even more. She stumbles over her own feet in her haste to get up the stairs. Give her a bastard anytime, these sweet guys just spook her. She tosses her hair back, says Hi! to Rona and makes a beeline for the fridge. She needs something to make the emptiness inside go away, and some food will do just fine filling her up. Cereal, Hot-Pockets, milk. Anything.

*******

Faith keeps glancing at him during patrol. She knows she's doing it, and it's irritating the hell out of her. It's like she's channeling a shy fourteen year old with a crush on a teacher, which so wasn't her at fourteen. She's itching to get the pots out of her hair, so she can ignore Spike in peace.

Finally, each of them has been taught some kind of lesson, and they start making their way home, grumbling and tired. Faith gives them hell about the grumbling, meanwhile subtly reinforcing the group bond. It's so fucking easy she doesn’t get why Buffy couldn’t do it. She's had Xander and Willow eating out of her hand for years, how hard could it be to do the same for these girls? Beats her.

When the last of them trudges across the front yard to number 1630, she gives Spike a look.

"Join me for patrol? Get the kinks out, work up a sweat?"

She turns away quickly and starts walking, not waiting for him. She's feeling a little hot around the collar, the bit about the sweat was way too obvious for a guy like that. He's gotta come to her, so she can say no this time. Fucking embarrassing stuff has gone down, and there's no way she's gonna let him know she's kinda interested, but laid-back about it. B. deserves him, he's that cool, she deserves the best.

Faith doesn’t really believe Buffy and him did the dirty. And no way was B. getting naughty, no way. That girl's as straight as they come. In Spike's fantasies maybe she wasn't, but in real life, never. Buffy's tight face and compressed lips tell their own tale. Hard to imagine her getting sweaty and grunty.

All this thinking about B. and Spike has gotten her a little hot. She needs to slay real bad. They have arrived at the closest cemetery, Restfield. Spike's been half a step behind her all the way. Annoying, but then, he's a guy. For some reason, there's lots of fresh vamps that keep hurling themselves at her stake of their own accord. She practically just has to hold it at shoulder height and there they go, poof. She needs more, she needs to put in a little oomph before she can feel happy about a slay. Then she spots what must be Daddy vamp, nice and big and all upset about his kiddies. That's what she needs.

Before she can even open her mouth to claim her prey, Spike flashes past and engages Daddy. She gets so fucking pissed she literally howls in anger. When Spike turns around with a triumphant smile, his white curls framed in a cloud of dust, she throws herself at him, pummeling and kicking like he's the one she's gonna slay. Actually, some part of her knows damn well she's not and loses the stake.

She wrestles him to the ground, and though he puts up some defense after the initial surprise, she holds him easily with one hand, her hips pinning him to the ground. She's cottoned on to what's she's really doing and smiles at him in triumph.

"Time to get sweaty, Spike. How about this?" She grinds her hips on his, and the thick ridges of denim between them don’t keep her from knowing he's hard.

Spike tries to buck her off and growls at her, but that's just foreplay, she guesses.

 

"You know what?" she says. "I kinda like it when you struggle. Don’t want ‘em to go all sugar and spice on me.”

 

 

Rang, his belt goes, and she starts fumbling with his zipper one-handed.

“Stop fucking about, Faith. …” He's struggling, but Faith can manage him easily.

“Hey, what! “ She tries to sound puzzled and aggravated. “Your flesh is clearly willing…” She wishes he talked more. His voice sends shivers down her spine, smoky and salty like sex itself.

“Why bother? Must be plenty of blokes who’d go for you without the coercion.” He's gasping now.

She’s finally wrested open his zipper with her one hand and gets a grip on his cock, which is way too hard for a girl he says he doesn’t want.

"Faith, stop this, I don’t wanna..."

Faith shuts him up by putting one hand on his mouth. Risky, cuz it means leaving his hands free, but she's feeling sure he'll use 'em for other things than knocking her out.

Next thing, she's lying flat out on her back on the cool hard ground. Okay. Little misjudgment there. She want to say something cool and harsh, to show she's fine and doesn’t care, but all that comes out is, "Ng."

Spike's face swims into orbit, pale and shining like the moon. It spins around Faith, a lot faster than it’s supposed to.

"Faith?" Spike's voice says worriedly. "You alright?"

"Blue moon…" Faith sings to him cuz he's so damn pretty, but it comes out all garbly and she meant his eyes, only she can't see their color in the moonlight so she must have known they were blue.


There's a cool hand on her forehead, and Faith closes her eyes in bliss. A touch as light as whipped cream brushes away the hair from her sticky face and she's lifted onto something hard yet springy. Besides grass, she now smells leather and denim and tobacco.

For some reason she feels really safe and comfortable. She's at her Gran. She thought she'd died, but it must have been a mistake. She turns on her side with a deep sigh and reaches out a hand to snuggle around the pillow and meets a belt-buckle instead.

Instantly her head clears. She decides to moan.

"My head..." She says piteously. The cool hand returns, lies for too short a moment on her forehead, then cups her cheek, which is really nice too.

Faith lifts a hand as if to touch it, and then groans again. "Ouch! My ribs. I think…."

Spike's all concern. He shoves her shirt up and tires to find her injury. "Here?"

"Higher."

"Higher," Faith repeats.

His fingers stop their careful exploration when they touch the underside of her breast. Faith turns her head and looks straight into his eyes.

"Higher," she says for the third time and she knows he won’t mistake her meaning. His eyes, big and black in the semi-darkness, regard her steadily. If Faith wasn't feeling his chest rise and fall rapidly, and his jeans tighten against her cheek, she'd doubt, but she doesn't.

She takes a deep breath of her own, and at that, Spike pushes her bra up and roughly pinches her nipple. Faith arches and cries out her sudden shocking pleasure. Oh, man, the guy really does it for her.

Spike's hand is on her body, pinching, caressing, scratching lightly on her flanks, making her insane with lust, but his voice remains steady, if a little breathless.

"Gonna run off afterwards, aren't you Faith? Not gonna look me in the eye all week, are you?"

Well, yeah. Or no, actually she was gonna blow him off and he was supposed to be the one trying to get in her pants, but running off after they're done and ignoring him sound like a good plan.

He's gotten her pants off while he was distracting her with his talk and now he's bending over her pussy. A cool breath of anticipation gives her shivers, his chill tongue on her overheated body makes her scream from the moment he touches her. She comes in great bursting spasms, the lightshow behind her closed eyes going from orange to deep purple.

And he's one up on her again, because before she can make the move he's rammed home inside her and she can't help continuing to buck and moan. He flips her over, so she's on top, and smiles a little smile at her while he does it. Her gut tightens in fear and she starts up a punishing gallop before she scratches that kindness of his face, she never wants him to look like that at her again. She hates pity.

Those soft pink lips of his are way too pretty to damage, so she kisses him instead. The moment she opens his lips with her tongue she realizes she hasn't really kissed him before. So this is their first kiss. This makes her all fluttery inside, and she loses her rhythm. Spike's hands dig deeply into her hips, steadying her, she's sitting still now, his cock still nice and deep within her, but she doesn’t want to stop kissing. Who knew kissing was this great? Every slide of her tongue against his causes a quiver deep in her belly and her heart is beating like crazy.

Shit. Her eyes have opened and Spike's baby blues are staring straight into hers. So not going there. She's recovering from her little mushy moment there and with her eyes closed again goes back to a firm even rhythm. She can't resist peeking through her lashes at the place where their bodies join. For a second, their curls nearly merge, although hers are clearly darker. Then she pushes off and the glistening length of his pale cock is slowly revealed and right then it's the most beautiful thing ever.

She's starting to know the little signs that he's gonna come, second round after all, there's not a lot of guys she's done that with. He clenches his teeth and grimaces as if in pain and his fingers scribble poetry in the grass. She grabs his balls and is gratified to hear him moan louder, feeling the sac pulse and contract under her fingers.

Her own orgasm takes her by surprise, which is weird, coz she usually takes real good care of herself in that department. It's not as big as the last one, but that's fine with her. She collapses on his chest with a satisfied sigh, and has just settled down when she remembers she doesn't do this. She gets up and kicks them out. Well, she's just gonna stay for a minute because she's feeling so damn good right now.

She nests her chin in her hands, lying on top of Spike, and looks at him. He's lying as relaxed as she is, hands behind his head, and looks back. Faith feels very naked. Well, she is, of course, but that's not what she means. He sees her. Better get up, girl. Her body is sorta unwilling to give in to this plain common sense and stays put. It wiggles her ass a little, causing Spike to twitch in pleasure. She giggles. He laughs back. Faith closes her eyes in deep shame. Holy shit. Giggling no less. She doesn’t think she's done that since 6th grade. She's fucking losing it.

"You still love Buffy?" her voice asks and she could kick herself. Great plan, Faith, remind him about your rival. Rival. Whoa. She's not gonna, like, date him, right?

Spike looks at her seriously and tucks a strand of hair behind her ears, like her Gran used to. "Yeah," he says eventually. "Always will. Doesn’t mean I don’t like you."

It's fucking embarrassing how happy this makes Faith. She buries her face in the crook of his neck to hide the huge grin she can't seem to lose. Spike's arms tighten around her and she could cry, or stay like this forever.

For some reason it's over and they're getting up and dressing. During the walk back Faith thinks about holding hands. She thinks that she'd like to, but doesn't know how to go about it. She has no experience at normal teenage stuff like this. How does it work? If he says he likes her, does he mean just for fucking, or more? This is so weird, next thing she's gonna need to ask Dawn's advice or something. Jeez. Good thing Valentine's Day is a long way ahead yet.

They don’t speak at all until they're almost on the porch.

Spike says,"Goodnight, Faith," and clasps her hand briefly before opening the door and walking straight to his basement.

Huh. No kiss. No invitation to join him down there. So that's it then. Liking doesn't mean a whole lot, she guesses. It's, well, like for a moment there she really thought it wasn't just a wicked hot fuck. She wishes she had a girlfriend she could talk this over with, ask what it means, and what she wants it to mean. She feels hollow, and suspects that Hot-Pockets aren’t gonna do the trick this time.

**********

Faith wakes up with hammering heart and breathing harshly. She sits up and pushes her hair away from her face. Jesus, those were some dreams. They were all about hunting and vampires, but instead of staking them, she fucks them up against walls, bent over tombstones or lying down in wet grass, fucking them so hard little jets of water spurt up from the waterlogged turf. She could understand the dreams if they were about him, because they had some wicked hot moments together, but other vampires are just plain evil and nasty. She's so not going there.

She looks at the clock. It's too early to wake up, but on 1630 Revello Drive that's not so bad. She'll have the first shower. She showers sinfully long, sampling the shampoos and gels other girls have foolishly left behind. One particularly nice bottle of scrubbing stuff is probably B.'s, she thinks. She uses it anyway. Might as well spread the good stuff around, coz there sure as hell is no money to buy new.

She's not the first one down in the kitchen. Apparently, the Xander-based contingent has gotten up as early as she and they're ravenously devouring their second breakfasts. Faith wolfs down a couple of bowls of cereal, not particularly noticing which kind. She isn't fussy, could never afford to be. She lingers in the kitchen, feeling something nibbling at her and not knowing what, but taking comfort in the nearness of so many other people.

Buffy comes in. Faith checks out the empty space behind her, where most mornings her loyal shadow appears, but not so today. The sun shines a lot brighter suddenly, and Faith gets up with new energy and drifts casually to the porch, where the acrid smell of cigarettes points to Spike's presence.

"Hey," she says.

"Hey," Spike answers.

She leans beside him on the porch. She estimates he has about ten minutes before the sun hits this spot. They stare into the garden in companionable silence. Faith feels a kind of pleasant anticipation, like she's gonna go out and do something fun, when all that is planned for today is a mammoth food shopping trip with Xander and training the potentials. When Spike's finishes his cigarette and straightens up, Faith feels it's time for a talk, before he escapes her again.

"Not in your usual place at breakfast?"

He looks at her with raised eyebrows. "And where exactly would that be?"

How is she gonna put that? "One step behind Buffy?" she tries.

He jerks his head backwards in a gesture of acknowledgement. "Oh."

"Needed a moment to think," he says when Faith thinks he's long past the question by now.

"What about?"

He turns his head and smiles at her slyly. "You," he says. Faith doesn't know what to say back, but her whole body reacts, she can feel her pores springing open and sending out buckets of sweat, her knees are starting to shake and her cheeks are boiling. She sees her hands grip the railing so hard her knuckles are white. She eases her grip up quickly, she doesn't wanna destroy more of Buffy's stuff. She admits to herself she's too chicken to lift her head and look at him.

She takes a coupla deep breaths and does it anyway. A Slayer has no business being chicken. Spike's looking at her warily. She's actually a little relieved. This is a look she understands. She could feel the sweet smile down to her toes, but it's too far removed from her experience to know what to do with it.

She tosses her hair behind her shoulders again and sees with satisfaction that Spike's eyes are irresistibly drawn to the jiggle her breasts give when she does that. Familiar territory. She wants to stay there, and not cross rivers or bridges or so, because, you know, what if she can't swim?

"You think Slayers have a special kind of blood?" Spike muses. "Or are you this attractive because only very special girls get to be Slayers?"

Huh. Faith jerks her head in the direction of the house, where enough shrieks and giggles can be heard to suspect double the number of pots there actually are. Dumb question. They're just girls.

She wants to ask, Do you really think I'm special, but thinks it's too babyish for words.

Suddenly Spike's pensive mood seems to change. He turns around and leans with his back against the railing, tilting his head at her in that way of his. He curls his tongue at her in a smirk that's off-putting yet sexy. The stance makes his black T-shirt ride up a little, exposing toned and creamy vampire stomach and a hint of hipbone. Faith isn't sure if she has sufficiently checked out the hardness of that stomach and puts a hand under the T-shirt. Spike inhales sharply. Faith tries to kiss him and succeeds for a few seconds. The taste of his mouth reminds her that she hasn't smoked yet this morning, which is kinda weird. Then he pushes her off him and holds her a few inches from his body. He's taller than her, and much heavier, and she feels inexplicably daunted, and why would she be, she knows she can take him in a fight.

"What's this about then, Faith?" he asks, a blunt cool finger under her chin, which she really hates coz people did that all the time when she'd been bad, which was a lot. She was never good.

"Is this about you being horny and doing someone?"

Faith doesn't know what to say. What does he want her to say? She doesn’t talk about stuff like this with guys! Or anyone. She crosses her arms before her body. "Just wanted you," she says defiantly. "I take what I want." His face tells her this is not what he wanted to hear. Stupid Faith. Never gets it right. She should just do slutbag, she knows how that works.

Spike stares at her for a few moments as if waiting for more, than gives up and turns away. Is she imagining it or is he slumping just a little? He looks tired. He rubs his face and then heads off without a word to the basement, leaving Faith once again standing alone on the porch. She feels like crap. Something she wanted just slid from her grasp, that's how it feels like. Well, hey, if she wants, she takes. She's gonna take action, not stand around like a girl that got a brush-off. She stomps towards the basement door in a snit, not paying attention to curious looks from Dawn.

She finds her quarry where he always is, shirtless on the cot, staring moodily into nothing. She punches him angrily on his arm and pushes him down, and for good measure sits on him, so there will be no running away before she's satisfied.

"What the hell was that about just now?" she demands.

He just stares at her, still far way in some place in his mind. She hits him. Attention, please. It works. He sits up and throws her off on the basement floor.

"You Slayers are all alike, aren't you?" he asks angrily. "Lash out when people come too close!"

Faith feels it like a punch in the stomach. She's nothing like B., and she knows it only too well. B.'s a hero, a good girl, she's only baby-steps on the way there. Hell, she's only glimpsed that there is a road. He's made his point of view pretty clear. She's not Buffy, he doesn’t want her. She picks herself up and takes off. Fuck him.

His hand grabs her, and hauls her around, fairly gently. "What did I say? I didn’t mean to blow you off!"

Faith stares at him. He looks a little angry, but mostly concerned. This talking stuff is really awful. He doesn’t understand her at all, and she probably gets everything he says wrong, too. They should just shut up and fuck, that worked good so far. Except he needs something else. She doesn’t know what, but tries anyway. She puts her hands on his hips, just above the waist of his jeans, trying not to think of the feel of his smooth skin under her hands, remembers the milky color of it, and looks at him earnestly.

"What do you want?"

His mouth falls open for a moment. "I take it back," he says. "You're nothing like Buffy."

Faith wants to bolt at first, but slowly something gets through to her. He thinks she's better than Buffy. Buffy never asked what he wanted, Faith thinks, she just assumes she knows or doesn't care. Black and white girl, emphasis on the white. Faith thought she was the black, but maybe she's kinda gray after all, and it's not a half bad.

"I think you're wicked cool," she says, without meaning to, and it's that thing she does around Spike again, saying way too much, which is never a good idea, whether in high school or at home or in prison. Watching his face, she thinks it may be not so bad to say stuff to Spike. His face is so transparent, she can tell he's really pleased by what she said.

"I want…" He starts, and looks away in the distance, and then back at her. His eyes are so blue. Faith prefers brown ones, they're not so naked. She squirms in advance. There's going to be Too Much Honesty, she can tell. Ew.

"I want to be loved," he says. "By someone who loves me back."

Yeah, like she thought. Way too much honesty. She's dancing in eagerness to run away and forget all about this, but he's holding her by the waist and not letting her go. She really wants to leave now.

"Come on, Spike," Faith pleads, angry and a little afraid too, "Lemme go, this is too much, I don’t do that, let go!"

There is a combination of arousal and squirminess in her belly that makes her want to puke. Somewhere private. She fighting in earnest now, but Spike is not letting go. She rips him one on the nose.

Through the spurting blood he bellows at her, "Bloody hell, woman, stop running away like a coward! Stay put and talk!"

"No!" Faith screams and kicks him hard in the balls. That gets his hands off her at least.

The yelling has alerted Buffy, who appears at the top of the stairs with a worried face. "What's up, Spike? You okay?" she asks.

Faith is pretty miffed that she asks Spike first. Jeez, she's really pathetic. First, she's jealous of Buffy because of Spike, now she's jealous of Spike because of Buffy. She should at least pick one.

"I'm fine," Spike grunts, hand to his nose to catch the blood. "Nothing happened. It's private."

"Faith?"

"What he said," Faith shrugs. She stares at the floor with crossed arms and waits for Buffy to go away. She doesn’t want to leave anymore.

But Buffy asks, "Wanna help me with Vi? She needs a little extra coaching on the sword."

Faith can’t say no to that, it's the whole reason of her being here, helping Buffy. She casts a last look at Spike, who sits on the cot with his head in his hands. She wants to stay so much it hurts in her chest. Who's the fucked up one? She turns around and follows Buffy.

There's no Vi to be seen. Shit. She's gonna get a talking to from B., like keep your hands of my man, for instance. She deserves it, and she’ll take it like a woman, head up. They sit down on the saggy couch in Joyce's classy living room. Faith remembers being so awed by it, and by the niceness of Buffy's mom. The room is getting kinda worn at the edges now, all these girls ragging on it all day and night. She fingers the soft fabric of the cushions. In jail she used to imagine having her own apartment, and she used to decorate it in her head in the long boring hours. She always tried to get close to this room, it's so pretty and stylish.

Buffy coughs, trying to get her attention. It musta been obvious she was miles away.

"Thinking of your Mom," she says apologetically.

Buffy's face softens. She's changed so much, Faith was really shocked when she saw her again. She's become thin, her face spare and hard, no trace of that pretty high school girl Faith used to know. The disapproving look on B.'s face is not new, she remembers it from before, but it’s hard to understand why Buffy wears it all the time now. Apocalypses never used to get her so down.

"Faith, about Spike," Buffy begins. Faith can see this is hard for her. "I'm good with it."

Well, that certainly silences Faith. For the first time ever she feels sorry for Buffy, who had everything in her opinion, money, family, friends, future. She sees that the other girl has had to give just about all these past few years. Weird that prison seems now the easier option.

"Okay," she says.

"Be good to him or I'll kick you out of Sunnydale myself, end of the world or not!"

There's nothing to say to that. "Okay," Faith nods again, throat dry.

"B., we're not…" she wants to explain, but Buffy doesn’t wanna hear and walks away, face closed again.

Faith doesn't know what to think. What has happened? Did Buffy pass along another burden, like training the girls, or did she give away something precious? If it’s the first option, she picked the wrong gal, she's a Slayer, a fighter, not a babysitter for heartsick vampires, even if they make her come like a nuclear missile. If it is the latter, even worse, she'll break the shiny precious toy or forget about it, or wear it with the wrong shoes after Labor Day or something.

Trailing her hands over the still shiny furniture, Faith leaves the sitting room. She stands in front of the door to the basement and hesitates. She remembers how much she didn't want to leave Spike alone a quarter of an hour ago, but now her feet would really prefer to walk the other way. She thinks about what Spike said. It would be chicken to run away now. Her hand is slowly going to the door handle, when Dawn sticks her head around the kitchen door and says, "Spike went out, Faith, and Xander is waiting for you in the car."

Wal-Mart awaits. Faith walks very slowly to the front door. She wishes she could still get out from under this, this whole feeling business. Life used to be hard, but simple. Now all the shapes and barriers are blurring and softening and she doesn’t know her way around anymore.



Continued in Part 2

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