Forge Part Five - Steel
I promised her a short patrol.
I promised her I would go in and out. Not an all night fling, in return she would get a few movies, order a pizza and make some popcorn and I'd come back home fast and we'd spend a Friday night together. Just her and me.
What the hell did Giles mean by 'Beside Her'? I am beside her I'm always beside her and I never regret it or question it.
I love her. I do.
So why now..why at this very second, in the middle of beating a newly spawned vampire do I understand that I have been in front of her?
In front, beside, behind. Nice metaphors to cover that fact I don't know what's going on, that I don't know what the questions are much less how to ask them. I do love Willow, I do.
So..what's holding me back? I wanted her last night oh did I ever and she wanted me. That much was so obvious it's not funny.
So what held me back? Other than the graveyard, dark trees possibly un-dead creep factor?
There was something else, even if we had been in our dorm room it wouldn't have let me let her finish what she started. Scared? No. Nervous? Oh yeah. Over..over protective? I don't know.
I just want to protect her.
Oh. Let's think that through again.
I _just_ want to protect her.
Ooof! Okay introspection is ill advised during bouts of mortal combat with undead thingie.
I backflip a few feet away from the Vamp and strike a coquetish pose. Poor Xander, I used this on him once and he practically dissolved into a puddle.
"Yummy looking am I?" I purr.
This is so much easier than dealing with.. Strut my stuff, get a rise out of something recently risen. Ironic that, I get more attention from the undead male population than the male. Horrors I hope that's not why..I'm just kidding.
He charges, you'd think that because I've been pounding on him he'd have picked up on the fact that I'm not exactly paralyzed with fear.
Step into his outstretched arms, slap them aside, throw a double punch to his sternum. Not full power, don't want to knock him through a wall, just back far enough to..
I wipe a few ashes from my jacket before turning to a nearby crypt. She's sitting on the roof dressed all in black as usual. Just kicking her legs against the side, leaning back, putting her weight on her hands as she stares at the night sky.
"Thought you had left Faith." I say.
"In answer I say, for those who have been dusted, yes you do look yummy." She replies.
"No, no." I say. "You're missing the topic." And I add extra stress to my voice. "I. Thought. You. Left!"
"Oh." Faith says. She looks thoughtful for a minute before turning to face me.
I cross my arms and sit on a convenient headstone. "Why are you here Faith?"
"Hold up on a second." She says. "I need to go through a checklist." And starts ticking things off with her fingers.
"Uh..okay we just got past the obligatory hostile greetings that's one, you're now in the 'Serious Question' mode, that's two and I could waste time and cause added aggravation by being sarcastic and witty just adding stress to an already difficult situation and that's three." She says.
"You know what B?"
She pushes off the crypt and lands a few feet from me.
"I'm not in the mood." She finishes.
She sits down on headstone. She's about a good three meters away so there's not much chance of me making a successful rush if I have too. Same goes for me though.
"You called me a coward last night." She says after a few minutes.
"You betcha." I say.
Faith isn't looking at me, she's again looking at the sky.
"Stars aren't cowards." She says.
"How deeply poetic." I reply.
Faith turns and smiles at me, under the light of the moon I can see her perfect white teeth almost glowing. Perfect teeth, really flawed soul.
"Think I'm going soft B?" She shakes her head. "I'm not. Stars aren't cowards, how can a big ball of fire and gas thousands of miles across be anything? Other than a giant, cosmic, nearly infinite fart."
"Scratch the deeply part, yet still oddly poetic." I say. "Though I'll never be able to go to the beach again thanks ever so much."
"You're welcome." She's still smiling. It's an alluring smile. Meant to draw the person seeing it in. I know Faith though, she can be incredible charming almost instinctively. Very moth to flame like but I'm immune. I think I am at least.
"Red is really lucky." She says. "And I don't..
"Yeah she is." I interrupt. "No thanks to you though."
Faith sniffs the air. "Is that testosterone I smell? Christ B, you're taking the 'butch' aspect of a lesbian relationship way to seriously. What next, crew cuts and male bashing?"
I clench my teeth, don't want to get angry, don't want let her get to me. The night air feels suddenly cool against my hot skin, I'm pretty sure I just left fingerprints in the cement on the headstone.
Faith keeps speaking, not noticing, or pretending to not notice, how I'm just a hairs breath from forgetting she's human. Barely.
"She's lucky because of who she is." Faith continues in this light sing song tone. "Not because of you and your little 'scooby gang' and you know what B?"
My instinct says not to ask, my gut informs me it would be best to just ignore the bait and walk away so I do something incredibly stupid and not listen.
"No I don't know what Faith why don't you.."
She looks at me again and where her smile was, a moment before, actually quite lovely it now looks kinda..strained.
"You're a fucking idiot B."
What? Where the hell did..
"I had lunch with Red y'know? 'Cause she invited me an' all and while I did turn her down last night I figured 'What the hell maybe she' buyin' and she did." She says. "We had an interesting conversation."
She rolls the 'r' in interesting turning it into a purr that she accentuates by choosing that moment to lazily stretch.
"She knows what she wants, y'know and she's lucky enough to have someone to give it to her."
She says. "I'm jealous in a way but not that jealous cause I know something she doesn't..or refuses to know."
"And lucky ol' me you're going to share! Yay I'm so happy." Witty sarcasm at three o'clock.
She finishes her stretch and being to walk toward me, slow, careful steps, measured and precise with just the right amount of hip swing to catch the eye but not enough to be accused of being 'slutty''. She stops just outside what could be considered my 'personal space'.
"You're the coward B." She says softly almost like she regrets what she's saying. And she will, 'cause I'm gonna pound her into the ground.
I don't care where the anger comes from. Most of the time I'm a pretty even tempered person and slow to lose my temper but this time it's just..on me and I don't even try to fight it or not give into it. I welcome it, welcome the distraction, the rage, the fury..the need to bury my fists in Faith's sneering faith. I need to feel her soft, white flesh crumbling under my power. I need it so I don't have to admit that..she's right.
She's ready though and she steps around my initial charge.
"Clumsy, clumsy Slayer B." She clucks her tongue. She'd probably try to start waving her finger at me but I don't give her the time and follow through with a leg sweep but she jumps over it.
In mid air she turns her leap into a leap kick and I dive to the side, she wasn't pulling it. The headstone she connects with is pulverised and she's still airborn! Leaping off the remains of her victim she flips back launching through the air with an inarticulate scream!
I know the feeling and rise to meet her with a outraged shout of my own.
Stepping into the kick I rob it of a lot of it's force and what of it there is I absorb with my forearm, before she can recoil the limb I wrap my arms around it, turn and heave but I don't let go. If I did she'd probably flip out of the throw. So I hold on tight as she is flung over my shoulder, centrifugal force doubling her speed and slamming her into the ground with a hearty crunch and the whoosh of air being forced from their lungs.
Normally I'd let her get back on her feet. Normally, I'd give her a moment of respite but then..normally I don't want to rip my foe of the moment apart. Just shove a wooden pointy object into em'.
It flows so wonderfully hot through me. Pulling at me from the inside telling me where to move..warm, delicious and above all so simple. No questioning, no doubt. Just action.
Ah, I think I get it Faith. Want, take, have.
Take- Your life.
And I don't even care that it's all an illusions, that any sense of comfort will be fleeting and I'll have to reap the consequences of this action.
I DON'T CARE!!
And I'm on top of her. She struggles trying to push me off of her. I wrap my legs around her own, immobilizing them, shove her arms out of the way she's clear..she's open. Her white, white, throat is before me and it'd be simple, again so simple, to wrap my strong hands around it and squeeze.
I've never told the others how good it felt with my hands around the necks of the men who hurt my Willow. There's something addictive about it. That's where I nearly lost myself that night. Not cause of the rage, not cause of the need for Vengence.
I lost myself in that soft flesh.
I'm losing myself again but I still don't care.
Course it's a moot point as I realize a second later 'cause Faith is not a normal male, rapist or otherwise. She's a Slayer and therefore a very good fighter as she reminds me with a headbutt. I guess I took too long admiring the aesthetics of her throat.
Stars burst in front of my eyes and she uses that time to punch me twice in the chest right above my breasts. Her position doesn't offer a lot for leverage but she knows where to hit and it hurts.
My arms lose their strength too, she must have hit nerve clusters and I almost collapse on top of her but she grabs me and throws me off so I am sent rolling and tumbling across the grass to slam into another headstone. I get to my feet as fast as I can expecting her to be following up after to finish me off but she's wobbling like she's on her last legs. Damn, I'm just getting warmed up!
"Jeeze B." She groans. "Mad-On much?"
I shake my head. "Sorry Faith but we've already passed the witty banter part. Did you forget to check that off on your little list?"
"So you're gonna kill me?" She laughingly asks.
"Seriously considering it." I say but she doesn't stop laughing.
Still giggling she only says "Goody." Before launching at me again.
I could've stepped out of the way, I couldn't have moved aside but I don't. It's Endgame time.
We meet in the middle of a row of graves, one destroyed from her kick, the other cracked from me being flung into it. Mute witnesses to two people possibly destroying themselves.
The blond cause she's a coward but doesn't want to admit it.
The brunette..well who cares?
I cross-block a punch to my gut and counter with a forearm that should have rocked her head back but she weaves out of the way. She tries to knee me in the side but I raise my own leg to intercept it and while she's still reacting to that a fast one-two snap to either side of her face. She recovers instantly and goes for a hook to my ribs.
Why'd she do that? Not only is the blow pathetically easy to dodge but my blows to her head left me open to both a throat punch and a backhand to my face. Is she avoiding my face?
I move around the blow then step inside her guard, grab the lapels of her jacket. I fall on my back pulling her over to land on her back again. Before she can move I roll back so I land astride her chest pinning her hands down with my own. She's laughing.
Our faces are inches apart, we're both breathing heavily. I smell ketchup.
"What's going on Faith?" I demand. "Why are you letting me win?"
She's still laughing.
"Cause I'm a bad girl B." She sticks her tongue out at me. "Or did you forget?"
I want to hit her again but that would mean letting go of her hands but..whatever madness grabbed me is..almost past, her throat does look inviting though..again, I'd have to let go of her hands though.
"Doesn't change the fact that you're a coward." She continues. "The bad girl and the the coward."
"Why do you keep saying I'm a coward?" I get out. My teeth are clenched so tight my jaw aches. Pain is good though, I can use it to focus, push the red blur back cause I really don't want to kill her, yet.
She just laughs a little.
Maybe pain will get her to focus, what the hell, I let her hands go but she doesn't move just lays there, giggling. I grab her and pound her into the ground, bouncing her, slamming, punishing but she just keeps laughing. Head lolling about, eyes spinning wildly but still laughing.
"Bad girl.." She giggles between impacts. "Such a bad, bad girl."
I stop punishing her but she doesn't stop babbling.
"Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad.." She repeats over and over like a mantra.
"Faith..Faith!" I'm scared now, the anger has abandoned me and where everything was simple it's gotten dangerously complicated..just like that. Snap of the fingers and life is crawling away from me. Understanding..gone. I'm scared..scared that she's right, scared that she's wrong, scared for Willow, scared for me..scared. Hot now cold, full, now barren..what's going on.
Where is everything spinning too?
"Faith! Talk to me! Why am I a coward!?" I slam her into the ground again, not because I want to hurt her, I have nothing left to do. I'm not thinking. I don't think I've been thinking for a long time.
"I'm a Bad Girl B. I have to be a bad girl." She says and dissolves into another wave of laughter.
A high pitched, kinda girlish laugh. Makes my skin crawl.
"Bad girls are safe." She says. "And I'm a bad girl. So I'm a safe, bad girl."
She's..she's broken. I..I think I broke her. Giles is gonna kill me!
I can feel my lips curling upward, I don't want to smile, there is nothing smiley about any of this but they're doing it anyway.
I cup her face in my hands. "Faith..are..Faith stop laughing!"
Cause if you don't I'm gonna start and...
She finally moves on her own, reaching up to put her hands over my own, still holding her face.
"You don't understand." She says. "You're afraid and letting it ..do something when something else has to be done. She needs you, Red needs you to be beside her, not in front of her. Love her you idiot. You'll understand then. I think."
That's the second time someone has said something like that to me.
I'm still holding her face, she's still holding my hands. I'm still on top of her, she's under me.
We're both still breathing into each others faces. I can still smell ketchup.
"If you don't fix it B. Red will be a bad girl." She says. "Just like me. That would be kinda fun though."
"Faith. You're not a bad girl." I say.
'No, she just tried to kill you, your friends, help the Mayor become a demon and devour the senior class.' My brain informs me. I shut it up.
"Yes I am." She nods. "I have to be. I want to be."
"Why?" I shake her a little. "Why? Why do you have to be a 'bad girl'."
Faith rolls her eyes like I've just asked her to pull my finger.
"Because he always called me a 'Good Girl' of course." She says. "Every time he came into my room, late at night he'd tell me what a good girl I am, over and over again."
My stomach turns into a knot and bile burns at the back of my throat.
"Who, Faith." I ask quietly. "Who called you a good girl."
My heart and mind are screaming at me not to ask, that I don't want to know that it'll make a terrible situation worse and I don't want to know, I don't want to know, I really don't want to know.
I couldn't agree with them more but I ask anyway.
She tells me.
No. That's not fair, because if this really happened, if she's not lying..she isn't..if she's not lying than now I really call into question the existence of Jesus.
"You..you're a bad girl Faith." I say. Dumb, dumb..stupid thing to say but I have nothing else.
"Damn straight. Now get offa me." She replies then with a wicked grin. "Unless you really want to get offa me."
Walls. So many walls she has. I want to pity her but I think that would be a premitnantly stupid move. I don't understand her, I won't ever understand her and I think I'll be very thankful of that for a long, long time.
As I climb off of her I try not let her see how my hands are shaking. It's the adrenaline withdrawal..really.
She stands up and brushes off some dust that isn't there. "Good tussle." She says.
"Uh..yeah." Again I have very little to say.
"Go home B." She says standing straight. She doesn't look bad at all, like everything, the fight, the confession, my hate for her.. she just doesn't care. Scary.
"Uh.." I say.
"She's waiting for you. You have a chance to show her how much you care. To get her to trust again. See, that's my big thing, I don't trust. Don't, can't..whatever. Doesn't matter, been this way so long the idea of being any different..well..you might as well ask me to breathe water. Better chance of that happening anyway." She says. "Teach her to trust, teach her to love you fucking idiot or she'll wind up just like me and you know?"
I think she's actually waiting for an answer, but I know her answer. "You'll be waiting for her." I breathe.
"Good. You're learning." She says and turns to leave.
"Faith." I call after her.
"God doesn't anyone here just let people leave?" She snarls before turning back to me. "What?"
"Will you come back?" I ask.
"Oh please B. You should know by now I don't want, or need your sympathy. Nor do I want to be your friend, and I'm pretty sure you feel the same." She says. "Do us both a favor and.."
"Here." and I hand her a slip of paper on it is the phone to our dorm room.
"Oh my God." She curls her lip. "Didn't you just hear a word I said? I don't CARE!"
She moves to tear the paper in half.
"Who said I wanted you to call me?" I ask. She stops and looks, really looks, at the paper in her hands. I think I, for a change, managed to surprise her. Cool.
She looks up at me. Her eyes are just a little open, that's all I need. I have the answer now, I think I do, it feels like an answer..here goes nothing.
"Her name is Willow." I say.
She smiles. A real, honest-to-God, smile. Not a leer, not a grin, a real smile. Have I ever seen one of those before? I'm not sure.
"Right." She says and her smile turns into one of familiar Faith-Grins. "Willy it is."
I'm successful in my efforts not to smile back but I think my eyes give it away.
Without a word she turns away and walks off into the night. I let her go having nothing left to say or do. Just me, in a graveyard..alone. Well not alone I still have my fear but I also have an answer.
Can't stay here long thinking about it though. I promised Willow a short patrol. And I think I'd kill for a pizza right now.
Finally..I'm back at the dorm. That was a long walk and I felt every step of it because now my body chooses to let me know, in every tiny step I take, just how much it doesn't like being banged around. Well..an early night, coupled with pizza, movies and girl talk..maybe even a little cuddling..will do wonders. I think I could go for some serious cuddling. Who knows? Maybe even a little more than cuddling, I think I can handle that.
I trudge up the stairs and meander down the hallway towards our room. It takes a little concentration but I manage to not lose my balance and fall against a wall. My chest hurts, my arms are still a little numb and ..oh..my back is killing me from where Faith threw me into that headstone. Feels like..well..it feels like someone through me into a headstone actually. Funny that.
Takes only three tries but I manage to get the key in the lock. Ahhh..home sweet home, first a shower, then a serious pizza-fest coupled with movies. Cuddling..mental note..massive cuddling.
"Luccccyyy I'mmm..hhhooo." My attempt at humor gets choked off when I get a good look at the room.
The lights are off but candles are everywhere. In the widows, the chests, there's even a small one on top of the closet. Willow's desk is drowning in them. The whole room is glowing with small shadows dancing across the walls. The windows are open and a cool breeze is making some of the candles flicker a bit.
The beds have been pushed together and remade. Instead of two blankets with their own sets of pillows..where's Mr. Gordo?.. the new 'double bed' has a deep, red comforter thrown over it. At the head sits a pile of three very comfy looking pillows, also having deep red cases. The candlelight makes the whole thing look like a warm cozy ember. Where something hot happens..or could happen.
That's not what makes my breath catch in my throat though. Candles are nice, bed it's a definite plus but..it's _her_.
She's standing in front of the bed, and all the golden light in the room seems to either center around her or pale in comparison. I'm not sure. I'm not sure of anything anymore except drinking in the sight of her. Am I still breathing? Someone check my pulse..someone else though. I don't want her to move.
She's dressed is a red gown, same color as the comforter and pillow cases actually. Deep, red..not bright and fiery though. Burning colored. Thin straps over her shoulders hold it up and the light shimmers off of it. I'm pretty sure if someone, not me I never could touch anything so holy, slipped the straps off her dress would fall into the most delightful puddle at her feet.
Her hair has been cleaned and falls over her, just ending above her pale, nearly bare shoulders. I can smell how clean she is..spring air comes to mind.
Her hands are clasped in front of her, her thumbs sliding over each other in a nervous twitch but she's looking right at me, not at the floor, right into my eyes and even though I shouldn't be able to, cause it's so dark, I can see her green eyes. Trick of the light, gotta be.
I'm frozen in my tracks. The doors half open, anyone could walk by and get a real look. Course I'd have to kill em'. When I could move.
I see her!
I see Willow! Like for the very first time.
She looks at me.
"I.." she says. "I forgot to order the pizza."