TITLE: Have Faith In Love
AUTHOR: Bwp Bard
SUMMARY: After ten years Faith is out of prison. She rescues a heartbroken Tara and together they find a way of dealing with their pasts and the women they love.
Revised version of a story posted on other lists. Sequel (Sins of the past) on the way.
PAIRING: F/T, W/T and finally F/C. For those who await the F/C you have to be patient. But the sequel is pure F/C.
DISCLAIMERS: All characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel belong to Joss Weldon and no copyright infringement is intended.
SPOILERS: I don’t know really, I pick events in certain episodes and use them for my own purposes. I haven’t followed the show that long and therefore I’m not familiar with details. I have read a lot of fanfiction though and it its there I have found my inspiration.
RATING: Don’t really know. I’m from Denmark and I’m not used to be thinking in ratings, but I must say NC-17 to be on the safe side.
WARNING: I’m am not from an English speaking/writing country and this is my first try with a foreign language. Any advice on grammar etc will be appreciated. It’s the only way to learn. And of course, feedback in any form is very, very welcome!
Prison life is a hard life, but life outside the prison is even harder. I’ve been looking forward to this day ten long fucking years.
Prison life is a lonely life; it was for me, anyway. I was never comfortable with making friends with the other inmates and they were never comfortable with me.
So for a long time the only one I really talked to was Angel. Until he died.
Surprisingly enough, after a rocky start, I found a friend in Cordelia. She visited me when Angel couldn’t and kept me up-to-date with the Sunnydale gossip.
After Angel died she continued the visits for awhile, but suddenly her mood changed and she became bitter and sarcastic.
Some time ago she got married to some actor-guy and after that the visits became more sporadic and short. Then they just stopped.
Now I’m free, and once again, alone.
In prison, life was mapped out for me, you eat when they give you food, you work when they tell you to, you fight when somebody pisses you off and you occasionally fuck somebody’s brain out if you get the urge.
Outside you don’t know shit. Nobody tells you what to do, nobody cares if you live or die.
I have forgotten what it means to be free, how to live outside the prison. I’m still a slayer. My job is to kill demons and vampires. But is it enough?
I work at the Sappho Lounge, a seedy bar for dykes. First I got hired as a bouncer, now I also tend the bar when the regular bartenders have a day off.
I found myself a crappy one-room apartment, two blocks away from the bar. It’s a shit-hole, but its home.
Nobody knows I’m out. Not even Wesley or Cordelia.
Going to Sunnydale was out of the question. B has been dead for years, Dawn is the new slayer now. Of course by choice, not by calling. The official line of slayers follows me and I’m not dead yet, so…
Cordelia told me that Xander still lives there with his wife and kids.
Giles took off years ago and is now in England. And Red? She’s a wicked powerful witch.
She still lives with her girlfriend in the Summers house and they have been a combination of surrogate mothers and watchers for Dawn since B died.
I didn’t want to face the remains of the Scoobies. They never forgave me, never wanted to hear my apologies and B probably hated me to the day she died.
It took me years to stop loving her. Maybe some part of me still does.
I fucked up and a paid the price, but they never saw it that way. They never thought my sentence was punishment enough. Sometimes I think they wanted me to sit forever in the chair. The electric chair. But I was too young to fry. So now I’m out on parole and I really don’t think they want to know.
-Come on, we’re closing now. Go home!-
It’s been a slow night, nothing much happening.
I look forward to a good slaying tonight, to get the energy out.
A young blond is checking me out. I like blondes and I haven’t been fucked in months. Not since prison. She has wonderful green eyes and a curved body that makes me drool.
No, slaying first, then fucking.
She gives me her number and tells me to call her anytime. Her bright eyes lit up, when I say “maybe later”.
But slaying first, then fucking.
The air is cold and the moon is full. It’s going to be a busy night.
I start walking. I know were to find the bad guys, that hasn’t changed while I was locked up.
The adrenaline surge through my body and I’m ready. As always it almost feels like arousal. I missed this in prison. I feel alive for the first time in years.
Screaming. From an alley just a few blocks away. Someone’s in trouble. I start running.
Vamps are jumping a woman. One of them must have clubbed her good, because she doesn’t look so well. There is blood in her blond hair and she is moaning in pain.
I jump into action and kick some serious ass. Vampdust falls and it’s a beautiful sight.
-Are you okay?-
Blurry blue eyes tries to focus on me, she’s confused and scared.
She looks familiar.
-You are Reds…Willows girl, aren’t you?-
I don’t stutter much anymore. I’m no longer the shy girl Willow fell in love with all those years ago. At least I didn’t think I was.
Then I met Faith.
-Yyyess, I’m T..Ta..Tara.-
Faith, the rogue slayer, the psycho slayer. Saved by a killer, a convicted murder, obviously not in jail anymore.
-What are you doing here, Tara?-
I couldn’t tell her that Willow and I broke up and that I just had to get away from Sunnydale for awhile. I couldn’t tell her that I found them in bed together when I got home, the sound of Willows climax warned me that something was wrong.
I had been out of town a couple of days and came home a day earlier.
And found her in bed with another woman.
It was an accident, she says, it had never happened before. They got drunk and… and fucked…
Willow says she still loves me and I believe her, but she slept with another woman anyway and I don’t know how to get past that.
-I’m vvvi…visiting some f..friends.- I lied.
-You know who I am?-
-Come on, lets get you somewhere safe.-
She helped me up and I got dizzy.
-Where do your friends live?-
I couldn’t answer her, I was afraid I would throw up all over her if I tried.
She sighed and almost carried me to her apartment near the alley where she found me.
I didn’t say a word, I just followed her. I followed Faith, The Psycho Slayer and I wasn’t afraid.
How does an unstable slayer react when you drown her in vomit?
The only furniture in my apartment is the unmade bed and my bookcases.
-Sit. I’ll get you something to drink.
When I get back she’s asleep. I study her intensely. Reds girl isn’t a girl anymore.
I remembered her as a shy, but cute girl with warm blue eyes. I wasn’t nice to her when I met her in Buffys body. It surprised me that Red was a dyke, my gaydar had never gone off near her. And then there was Oz. My surprise came out as a snide remark about Willow not driving stick.
“So Willow's not driving stick anymore. (Tara stops smiling) Who would have thought? I guess you never really know someone until you've been inside his or her skin. (Tara's uncomfortable and lowers her head) And Oz is out of the picture? Oh. Never seen two people so much in love. (whispering) She just couldn't get enough of old Oz.
Tara: She, um, said he, uh, uh, w-w-w-w-w-w—
Faith: (cruelly) W-w-w-w-what? You gonna get that sentence out sometime tonight?”
Yeah, I wasn’t a very nice person back then, to put it mildly.
When I look at her now I see a beautiful woman, still a bit shy, but her face is confident and mature. Her body is soft and curvy.
Cordelia once told me that Tara and Red broke up years ago. They had a fight about using magic and weren’t together a whole year or so. Then they made up and are probably still the happiest couple in Sunnydale, maybe the whole wide world, according to Cordelia and she wasn’t even THAT sarcastic. She called them “the real thing”, “the real deal”, a love that can’t go wrong, a love to be envied. So I envied them from afar.
Cordelia snorted when I told her that, she didn’t believe me and called me a cynical bitch, who had no idea what so ever what love was all about, and she is probably right.
But it hurt anyway.
It told me that it doesn’t matter how much I change, people will never see me differently.
They see what they expect to see, a cold-hearted murderous bitch that spent a good part of her life in prison. No friends, no family, alone by choice. And maybe even alone because most decent folks can stand a low-life killer like me…
Cordelia laughed at that, she thought I was joking.
And that hurt more than anything.
My head hurts, my thoughts a jumping back and forth and I can’t concentrate. I try to focus on what’s around me. The only thing in Faith’s room is a big unmade bed. And a lot of bookcases filled with books.
-Sit. I’ll get you something to drink.-
My head is finally clearing up and for the first time I really look at her.
Faith has changed. The only leather she’s wearing is a thigh-long black jacket. There’s no cleavage, no tight leather-pants. She’s wearing loose blue jeans, sneakers and a plain red T-shirt.
Her hair is much shorter than I remember and her face is without the heavy makeup that was her trademark before. She looks older. Her face has the marks of a person who has lived a live in pain.
But the biggest change is within her. I can see it and I can feel it. There is nothing dark in her anymore, only guilt… and sadness.
She gives me a lopsided grin and leaves the room.
I’m tired, oh so tired. It has been a couple of stressful days and I miss Willow. It’s hard to think about her. Every time I try, all I see is the guilty look on her face. I hear her cry hard and apologize. I hear her tell me that I’m the love of her life and then I hear the sound of her climaxing in another woman’s mouth.
I close my eyes.
When I open them again the sun is up and Faith is snoring lightly beside me on the bed.
I remember her probing me and asking me questions, probably checking me for a concussion. She must have done it, all through the night.
-Hi.- her voice is hoarse from sleep. –Are you feeling better?-
I nod. –I..I..must g..go.-
-You don´t have a place to go, do you?-
With eyes brimming of tears I look away, ashamed.
-You can stay here as long as you want. I’m almost never here.-
I don’t know why I stay with her, but I do. It’s been a week now. We don’t talk much. Most days she works from late afternoon to around midnight and then she goes slaying to early in the morning. I sleep when she gets home and she sleeps while I’m awake. Like now.
Her sleep is almost always tormented. Sometimes she has nightmares for hours; she tosses and turns, cries out in fear and begs for mercy.
Yesterday I touched her. I let my fingers caress her thick unruly hair, somehow it soothed her and made her calm down. I always liked hair, the feel of it, the texture. Willows hair is soft and light, I love the way it stands up in the morning, she looks so tousled and adorable.
I feel the tears well up in my eyes. Damn…
-Are you ever gonna tell me what’s wrong and why you’re here?-
Faith is awake now. Her dark eyes are concerned. It surprises me, she doesn’t know me that well, and still she cares.
And for some reason I tell her everything. All the pent-up feelings and hurt, not only for the recent events, but also for an all the things that let up to it. I cry my heart out to her and she listens.
-You still love her, don’t you?-
I nod. That was never the question.
-And she still loves you?-
I nod again and feel fresh tears begin to fall.
-Then don’t give up on her. There’s not enough love in the world for you to throw it away because of a mistake. And everybody makes mistakes, believe me I should know.-
She lowers her eyes, looking very uncomfortable, like she’s afraid of revealing too much.
-Do you have somebody?- I ask her, suddenly curios.
-For how long?-
Her eyes look like burning coal. –I fucked a few people in prison and a whole lot more before that. But nobody really loved me, I guess. I have never known what you have with Red… with Willow. Don’t throw it away, Tara, unless you’re totally sure it’s over and done with.-
Her honesty shocks me; this is not the Faith I have heard so much about. She jumps out of bed, clearly upset.
-I’m going for a run.- And she is out of the door before I can say something.
Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!
I can’t believe I told her that. What a miserable sorry ass I am!
I’ve never been one for sensitive chats, I really suck at them, and now this. One look at those sad blue eyes and I want to make it all better for her. I don’t even fucking know her!
I have to keep my feelings more guarded, when your feelings are out, terrible things can happen and I can’t afford that. My life is on track for the first time since… forever. I slay, I have a job, I have a place to stay and the dykes in the bar thinks I’m okay. And I’m not screwing it up.
Getting attached to people is dangerous, nothing good comes out of it. Never has for me, anyway.
Emotions got me into trouble before and I was never good with them, so…
Why the fuck did I ask her to stay?
She looked so thorn, so lonely, so fucking sad….
Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!
Gina, my cellmate, once told me she loved me. She was in for murder. Had killed her girlfriend in a jealous rampage and now she wanted to move on. With me.
She asked me questions about Cordelia that made me queasy. I believe she thought C was my girlfriend and she didn’t like it one fucking bit. She made threats.
Go figure, the first person ever to tell me they love me, is a murdering psycho, like the one I used to be.
I beat her up and told her if she ever got out and got near Cordelia I would break her fucking neck. Slowly. And then I would scatter bits and pieces of her all over LA. I told her to be afraid, very afraid, and she was. The next day she asked to be moved to another cell, where she probably still is.
I’ve never been lucky in love, pathetic as it sounds.
Never knew my father, and my mother… no I don’t want to go there.
I fucked a lot of people, but I never loved any of them and they certainly never loved me.
Then B came along.
In prison I finally admitted a well-kept secret to myself: I was in love with her back then. A lot of things happened in my life that made me go… booom, psycho slayer, but being in unrequited love, feeling left out and never quite good enough, sure didn’t help.
Not that I’m blaming her or the others, I was the one who fucked up. I didn’t ask for the things I needed, like friendship, I acted like a tough smart-ass who didn’t care, and they treated me the way I asked for.
And then suddenly it was too late. I was wrapped up in betrayal, in hurt and hate and everything in me went dark.
Beating up Angel in an alley and asking him to kill me, was the all too late wake-up call.
B couldn’t or wouldn’t forgive me. I asked for her forgiveness then, and over the years I tried again and again, but she never gave me that.
And now it’s too late forever. A couple of years ago she died, unfortunately this time for good. A big Sunnydale evil finally got her. I cried for weeks.
And after B?
No, fucking no, I certainly won’t go there! Those particular feelings are still too raw to be out in the open.
And now I consider a woman I have known for a week and hardly spoken with, a… friend.
Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!
Since our talk, things between us have been strained. Maybe I have overstayed my welcome? I must ask her, but I’m afraid that she will tell me to leave. I don’t know where to go if she wants me out, but I know for sure that I can’t go home. Not yet.
I don’t have any contact with my family and my friends are all in Sunnydale. Willow is in Sunnydale.
I make myself cry all the time and I hate it.
I turn my head and look at her; for once she’s peacefully asleep. Her face is relaxed and she looks much younger, more innocent. There’s a smell of alcohol on her breath.
We’re both feeling miserable and heartbroken, she acts tougher than I do, but her eyes and the lines in her faces betray her.
If Willow had been here I would have snuggled up to her, seeking warmth and comfort. I feel so alone.
I cry harder and curl my body around itself in a fetal position. I feel like the insecure and unhappy child I once was.
-Shh..- Strong arms are holding me from behind, caressing my stomach with small, comforting strokes. She mumbles unintelligible words into my neck and I can feel her warm breath in my hair.
Is she awake?
No answer, just a tightening of her arms.
I can’t help but respond by pushing myself more firmly into her embrace. Her hand move up and lightly caresses my breast, nipples hardening in her palm.
Oh no… A soft, helpless moan escapes me. Oh please no…
She stirs behind me, bury her face further in my neck. My breath is quick and shallow.
-Tara?- Soft and questioning.
And then a loud knocking on the door makes us both jump.
A big part of me is relieved. Another small, but quite insisting part, is very disappointed.
With a sigh she gets out off bed, grabs some clothes and answers the door. She’s beautiful. She stopped sleeping naked when she asked me to stay, but apparently not tonight. My heart sinks. Maybe she’s drunk, maybe that’s why…
-Where’s my wife, you fucking bitch!-
A six-foot guy pushes the door in. He’s blond, broad-shouldered and good-looking. He reeks of booze and his green eyes are bloodshot and wild.
Faith looks at him like he’s some kind of bug, but says nothing.
-Where is she? What have you done to her?-
-Gerald, isn’t it?- She seems calm and collected, but her shoulders are tense and her fists are ready to fight.
-You know who I am, then?- he snarls.
-Yeah.- Faiths voice a low and tight. –C’s husband.-
-What do you want, Gerryboy?-
A few minutes ago I woke with a soft breast in my hand and a surprisingly aching wetness between my legs, and now this big fucker is yelling insults at me.
What a morning!
-Where is she?- He yells at me again and I’m losing patience. I grab him, kick his legs away under him and sits comfortable on his muscled chest. He obviously knows I’m dangerous so he lies totally still.
-Now, tell me what the fuck this is all about.-
-Cordy has disappeared and you know where she is, don’t you?-
He begins to struggle, tries to make me loose my hold on him.
I hit once… twice… and one more and one more and…
-Please, stop it, Faith!- It’s Tara. She sounds scared. Okay, who wouldn’t be. First I practically molest her, then some guy almost knocks the door in and now I’m beating him up. Even I would be scared!
I want to say I’m sorry, but now isn’t the time.
Finally I say: -I haven’t seen C in months, almost a year if I remember it correctly, so I ask again, what the fuck are you talking about?-
-Wes came and told us you were out, I don’t know who told him, maybe it was Kate, I don’t know. Cordy freaked. She didn’t talk to me, didn’t talk to Wes or anybody else. She was fucking scared, that’s what she was, now she’s gone and you’re gonna tell me where and why!-
-Listen Gerryboy. I don’t have to tell you shit! I haven’t seen C for a year and I sure as hell don’t know where she is now.-
I let him get up from the floor. He realizes that there is somebody else in the room.
-You’re so fucking unbelievable. They said you were a fucking whore, fucking everything with a pulse.- He pales. -Did you fuck her too?-
I don’t believe he’s asking that, I look at Tara. She’s looks adorable shy and red-faced under the dirty-blond hair, her eyes clearly shows her discomfort.
-Gerryboy.- I growl. –That’s none of your damn business.-
-It’s none of my business that you’re fucking my wife?-
I don’t believe what I’m hearing and apparently neither does Tara.
He’s gone. Faith looks sick. Her dark eyes are even darker and her face is drawn and unreadable. She’s standing by the window starring out without seeing, shoulders slump and body tight with barely controlled emotions.
-Faith, are you o..ok..kay?-
She flinches at my question and then shrugs her shoulders like she doesn’t care.
-Y…you don’t know where she is, d..do you?-
She looks up, eyes flashing with anger.
-Haven’t seen her for a fucking year. I told him the fucking truth, Tara!
She stopped coming to see me, why the fuck should I know where she is now? She’s probably out shopping, for all I know!-
Okay, this is obviously a sensitive subject.
-What happened where?-
She is not going to make this easy, but I think she needs to talk about it. And if we talk about this we don’t have to talk about… about other things…
-Why did she stop visiting you in prison?-
-I don’t know.- She question seems to cool her down and she walks away from the window and sits beside me on the bed.
-I thought we were becoming friends. We talked about everything. But suddenly she started being her old bitchy self, The Queen Bitch of Sunnydale. Everything I said made her blow up in my face, she criticized my hair, my choice of words, the way I swallowed the wrong way. Every damn thing I did was wrong. She ridiculed my feelings, my hopes and my need for some sort of redemption.-
There are tears in Faiths eyes.
-I knew she was dating some guy, but she never talked about him, so it was a big surprise when she told me they were getting married. Shortly after their marriage she stopped visiting me.-
-Do you k..know w..w…why? I mean, why she changed?-
Faith shrugs her shoulders.
-She probably promised Angel to visit, I mean, she practically hated me before so why should she… Finally she got enough of me, I guess. If I had known…-
She stops herself and turns her face away so I can’t see her tears. Tentative I reach out and touch her hand.
-If you had known…?-
-If I had known I would have released her from her promise. I wasn’t a charity case; I was being punished for crimes that I committed and I deserved what I got. I would never had wanted her to pretend… Fuck that anyway, this is how it is and there’s nothing more to say about it!-
-Why did Gerr…Gerald think you and Cordelia…-
I can feel myself blushing, but I nod, for some reason I like to know the answer.
-How should I know? As always I am convenient when things blow-up. Blame the fucking Psycho Slayer! He’s probably just looking anywhere for explanations for her disappearance, I fucking don’t care!-
Somehow I didn’t quite believe her.
Gerryboy’s visit is worrying the hell out of me. Cordelia is not one to just disappear; she has been in the game too long. If she needed to go somewhere without her husband’s knowledge, she would at least have told Wes. Maybe I should talk to him… and if he don’t know anything, I will find her, whether she wants me to or not.
Tara is very quiet and it makes me nervous like hell. Maybe I should apologize to her. My palm still remembers the feel of a hardening nipple against it. Okay, her body DID react to my touch but I was not invited. Not really, anyway.
God, it has been too long! Tonight I’ll say yes to the green-eyed blond from the bar, and maybe after a couple of hours of mindless sex, my brain will clear up and this damn attraction will fade.
Being attracted to my new roommate isn’t healthy at all, besides I genuinely like the woman, and I literally don’t want to fuck her over.
And she loves Willow and Willow probably still loves her too. I don’t want to screw up more things in her life; she got plenty on her plate already.
And frankly, so do I.
-Look, Tara.- I begin. –I’m really sorry about..-
-I.. It’s okay, F..Faith, there’s nothing to apologize for. Lets not talk about it.-
-Okay.- I won’t force her, if not talking about it makes it go away, I’m fine with that.
-I’ll go shopping for food today, is there s.s.something you prefer or don’t like?- she ask with that soft voice of hers.
-You don’t have to buy me anything, Tara.-
-P..please, I want to. You won’t take any money for rent, I got to do something!-
I laugh. –Okay, if you don’t buy anything to fucking healthy, then I’ll be five by five.-
She smiles and nods. –I’ll see what I can do.-
Faith called Wesley before she went to work. He couldn’t tell her anything about Cordelia and he was worried too.
She promised him that she would begin searching first thing.
Maybe that’s why she came home late.
But it doesn’t explain her reeking of alcohol …and perfume.
And I can’t ask her when she awakes, she doesn’t answer to me.
Oh, and Wesley told her that I was missing too and that he had been talking to a frantic Willow several times. A tracking spell had pointed at LA and he told Faith to keep an eye out for me.
I must be better at covering myself. Willow is very a powerful and highly skillful witch and if I slip one time to many she’ll find me, and I’m not ready for that yet.
We have… had… have a wonderful life, living on the top of the Hellmouth or not. Old friends died, new friends came and went, but we were always in the center of it all. We were strong when everything felt apart and we were cheering when things got better and nobody really needed us anymore.
We loved our life together, the good times and the bad. But when our daughter died…
Oh Goddess I hate crying. Someday this must stop.
-Damn.- Faiths voice is hoarse and thick with sleep. –Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!-
I turn around. Her eyes are large and red-rimmed. She looks mussed and the worry lines in her face stand out like they are chiseled in wood.
-You don’t look so well.-
She shudders and let a shaking hand run through her unruly hair.
-I’ve been fighting this. Last night I tried… It didn’t fucking work, did it?- She sounds angry, filled with loathing and self-hatred.
-Faith, I don’t understand.-
-No.- Her eyes are meeting mine. –I don’t suppose you do.-
Slowly she moves towards me, giving me every opportunity to get away from her.
-Tara.- she whispers softly. –I’m sorry.-
She closes the distance between us and her lips meet mine in a slow, soft caress. Waves of passion surge through my unprepared body.
The first thought that enters my mind are: Goddess, she sure knows how to kiss! And I am instantly ashamed of myself.
But she keeps on kissing me and even if I wanted to resist, I can’t.
I grab the courage by the throat and let the kiss deepen. Tongues dancing, hands searching. I try not to think of Willow.
-Tara?- A breathless question.
-Yes.- Is the only answer.
Soft arms are enveloping me; my head is lying on Tara’s ample breasts. I never sleep with people I have fucked, especially not that close, but I remember reaching out for her, half asleep, seeking her soft warmth, her alluring scent…
She’s very quiet when she sleeps, her breathing is slow and even and she looks, oh God… cute!
She looks cute… I’ve fucked somebody I think is cute!
I always thought Willow was cute too and that they make… made… make a cute couple…
What the fuck was I thinking?
You didn’t think and that is always getting you into trouble.
When I close my eyes I can feel her moving against me. Her breath irregular and her eyes hooded with desire. A hand moved up to my neck, softly curving it. That innocent touch sent a blazing fire through my veins and it added profoundly to the throbbing wetness between my thighs. It was the most erotic caress…
And the way she tasted, swelled and wet against my tongue and lips, the enlarged nub begging for attention.
Tara’s breath came in heavy pants; her skin was flushed and covered with sweat.
She arched as the orgasm took her, her sex contracting wildly against my fingers. I kept my lips around her jutting clit and tried to prolong her pleasure as longs as I could.
Afterwards she cried. And I felt lost. Did I hurt her? Is she regretting it already?
I comforted her the best I could and finally she felt asleep.
I feel her shift underneath me. She must be awake.
Please, don’t let her hate me. Please…
I woke up with Faith in my arms. Anxious and uncertain she raised her head from my chest.
-Hi.- she mumbled.
I couldn’t answer her; no words came to my mind and I just stared at her.
-I’m sorry if..- She looked like I had hit her. –If I hurt..-
-Please Faith, don’t.-
-You don’t want to… to talk about it?-
Clearly hurt she got out of bed.
-I’m going to get cleaned up.- she said, her voice clipped and emotionless.
This is exactly what started the problems between Willow and me, long before she… she…
After our daughter June’s death I stopped talking about my feelings, avoided heavy subjects in general and our relationship after her death in particular.
Willow said she couldn’t reach me, that I went to a faraway room and closed the door firmly behind me, and it frustrated the hell out of her. Talking was one of the many, many things we were good at together. Before.
We talked for hours, about nothing and everything, and it had been that way from the day we met.
But not anymore.
I couldn’t stop the erecting wall that was building between us, and the Goddess knows that Willow tried everything she could to break it down.
But she couldn’t. For some reason I didn’t let her.
Oh Willow, I’m sorry, I really am. You were grieving like I was, but I let you grieve alone, fearing for me and our love as well.
We were both unprepared for this crisis. Since our break-up a long time ago, caused by Willow’s trip on black magic, and later on Buffy’s death, there hadn’t been anything bad between us. Of course we fought once in awhile like other couples do but nothing serious.
And then it came to this.
The phone rings and I hear Faith talking in the kitchen.
It must be Wesley. They’re talking about Cordelia.
-Okay, great idea, did you talk to Willow then?-
-Oh, didn’t she know when… Okay….Yeah… Maybe I know one…yeah, I’ll ask her…Okay, talk to you soon, bye.-
She’s standing in the doorway, looking at me. Eyes caressing me, reminding me of …of…
-The kettle is on.- Her voice is husky, tinged with sensuality. –Are you hungry?-
How can you flirt so blatant with such harmless words?
-Tea would be fine, thank you.-
Suddenly all her attitude is gone and she sits beside me. She seems fidgety and her hands are never still.
-That was Wes. He phoned…- she hesitates. –He phoned Willow about a tracking-spell… to help find Cordelia.-
-H..how was she? W..Willow, how w..was Willow?-
-She wasn’t there, Tara. He talked to Dawn. Willow is out looking for you.-
Oh Goddess, I’m so selfish, poor Dawn, I must phone her. She must be worried sick.
-Could you do a spell like that?-
Expectantly Faith is waiting for my answer. I just didn’t hear the question.
-I’m sorry, what?-
Faith gives me a little smile. -Could you do a tracking-spell that will help us find Cordelia?-
-I don’t know, Faith, I’m a little rusty when it comes to magic.-
Rusty? What’s up with that?
-You’re still a witch, right?-
She nods. Hesitatingly.
-Another thing you don’t want to talk about?-
She nods again and blushes. Damn, she’s cute…
-What do you need to do the spell? There’s a Magic Shop a couple of blocks away. I don’t think it has much though, but maybe it will do.-
-I’ll go.- she says. –Just get me a map. The biggest and the most detailed one you can find.-
I don’t know what to say to her. She clearly won’t talk about what we did. What a fucking irony! I normally hate talks like this, and now I’m practically crawling out of my skin because we’re not talking.
This is why I prefer the “fuck them and leave them”-philosophy, no awkward situations, no guessing games, no feelings to hurt and no hurt to feel.
-Faith.- her warm hand against my cheek. –T..this isn’t… I’m sorry i..if I… thank you for…- she blushes and she lowers her eyes. -…for, you know… You were w..wonderful and I’m sorry I didn’t…didn’t…-
-You don’t have to, Tara. It was me. I was the one who…-
Soft lips touches mine, I relish her taste and the tingling deep in my gut.
-Thank you, Faith. You are a wonderful friend.-
She kisses me again. No tongue, just pure… pure what? I don’t have any words for this.
-I’ll be back in a couple of hours.- she whispers, and then she leaves.
Wes still don’t trust me, not completely anyway, and I can’t really blame him for it. He has scars to remind him of what I can do.
Over the years he visited me in prison, especially after Angels death, and the issues between us have been somewhat resolved. But the trust is still not there.
-She wasn’t happy with him.- he explains. –But she wouldn’t talk about it.-
-Did he treat her badly?-
Something in my tone of voice startles him and he quickly reassures me that Gerryboy is a very nice man. Very, very nice. No need to get protective.
-Why did she run away, then? From this nice, nice, NICE man?-
-I don’t know, Faith. I just don’t know.-
Maybe some of the bad guys have taken her, but somehow neither of us thinks that. The baddies would have killed her or given their demands by now.
I tell him about the visit from Gerryboy.
-She was very… upset… when we heard about your release, Faith. Why didn’t you tell us?-
Why didn’t I tell them?
I didn’t want them to feel obligated. Because of Angel. They were never comfortable with me, only cared because Angel asked them to.
Before I went to prison I hurt them both. I tortured Wes, hit Cordelia, tried to kill Angel, at least I made it look like it, and even back in Sunnydale our relationships wasn’t much better.
And then there was “The Thing” between Cordelia and me. “The Thing” we never talked about.
When she started visiting me, it stood between us like a wall. I felt her uncertainty, her mistrust, but I never addressed it and neither did she.
I knew that Angel wanted me to have some contact to the outside world, and he wanted the three of us to patch things up. So she tried, for his sake I suppose.
And eventually we relaxed with each other, started talking, everything seemed okay for awhile.
-Does C have any enemies that you know of?- I ask, ignoring his last question.
-No, I don’t think so. She hasn’t really been involved in the business for years, she does some research for us, that’s about it.-
An unwelcome thought penetrated me and it made me deep-bone freezing cold. Shit!
Was Gina out?
-Wes, can you go on-line and find out if a prisoner is released?-
Wes nodded. –That’s how I found out about you. I check regularly to see if any “old friends” are released. Your name popped up when I checked the release-lists.-
-I want you to check a Gina Rawlins. We were cellmates a short period.-
-Why? Has it something to do with Cordy?-
-Just fucking do it, Wes!-
(I know A B S O LU T E L Y nothing about the US prison system. Everything about prisons, halfway houses and so on, is made up to suit my purposes.)
I know were to find Gina. She is probably in that dump of a halfway house, where I spent my first days in freedom.
It’s not easy for a convict to find a place to stay on your own; so most people stay in one of the halfway houses longer than they are supposed to.
Even if she’s not there, somebody must know something. Every convict is severely monitored in the beginning.
The house looks the same. Worn, dirty and haunted. Tough looking chicks is sitting in every window.
-Faith, how’s it hanging, man?-
Joker was one of the few residents in the halfway house I liked. We played pool and cards, and talked about all the babes we were going to nail now that we were free.
She’s a large bulky woman with a face that looks like she has been hit in the face with a shovel one time too many.
-What the fuck are you doing here, man. You found some fucking dump on your own, right? He didn’t kick your ass out, did he, that shit-eating asshole?-
Joker is referring to my landlord, a lousy bugger who owns houses all over the LA. He treats his lodgers like shit and his houses are practically falling apart. But he’s one of the few who takes convicts in. Probably because they put up with his rat-holes without complaints.
-Do you know were I can find Gina?-
Joker looks disgusted. –You mean, Gina “ fucking Raw Meat” Rawlins? What the fuck do you want with her, man? Bad fucking news, that one.-
-I know, but I have to talk to her.- I smile reassuringly. –She burrowed something she forgot to return.-
Joker shows me Gina’s room. I’m lucky. She’s in there sleeping.
The door is easy to break up. She’s drunk and half-asleep when I grab her by the throat and smash her up against the wall.
Her eyes are huge and scared. She knows how much strength it takes to hold a big fucker like her glued to the wall, without her touching the floor. She sounds like she’s choking.
-Where is she?- I snarl at her, millimeters from her face.
-W..who, w..hat are you talking a..bout?- she stutters. It reminds me of Tara. I relax and let her feet touch the floor.
-You remember what I told you, right?- I squeeze my fingers a bit. She makes new choking sounds. She speculates like crazy, trying to remember what I’m talking about.
-I don’t know what… oh…your girlfriend.- she whispers in stark fear.
–You mean your girlfriend, right?-
I show teeth and squeeze again.
-Believe me, Faith!- She pleads. –I haven’t seen her! Please believe me. I just talked shit, you know? I wouldn’t do anything to her… I don’t even know where she fucking lives! Please Faith! Please!-
No more “Raw Meat”, she’s like pudding now.
Words tumbles out of her like shit from a horse. I listen to her for a couple of minutes and I believe her. She’s too scared to lie.
I let go and she falls to the floor in her own piss.
Damn… No fucking luck…
Maybe Tara’s spell worked.
She’s home. The map and the remedies from the Magic Shops are spread all over the table.
-Hi.- she smiles warmly. I can’t help but smile back.
-How was your day?-
-What?- My day? When was the last time anybody cared about my day? If ever?
She repeats her question.
-Uhmm...- I fumble after words.
She helps me out. -Did you talk to Wesley?-
-Yeah, but nothing came out of it.-
I didn’t want to tell her about Gina.
-How’s the tracking-thing doing?-
She shakes her head in frustration.
–Does Cordelia know how to cover herself?-
-Cover? I don’t understand… Oh, like you do? To keep Re..Willow from finding you?-
As always, when Willows name come up, her bright blues eyes turn a little teary.
-Do do think she knows how to do that?- she asks. –Cover herself, I mean?
-Yeah, Cordelia knows a lot about stuff like that. She’s been in the business long enough to know the basics of witchcraft.-
-Then I think she’s doing just that.-
-Meaning that she’s alive and has disappeared on her own free will, but is in hiding. Like me.-
The last words are barely spoken out loud.
-Can you find her?-
-Everybody slips.- Tara smile at me, a little sad. –And when she do, I’ll track her.-
(Oh! In this part “The Charmed Ones” are mentioned. I don’t own them either. They belong to the creators of “Charmed”. But if I could own ONE of them, it has to be Piper).
Last night I told Faith about Buffy's death. I never told anyone about it in detail before, not even Willow.
In a way it was the beginning of our problems. Willow and I have always been good at dealing with our feelings together even when it hurt, but not this time. I felt too guilty, too ashamed of the fact that I wasn’t strong enough to save Buffy, and save Willow from the nearly devastating grief she went through one more time.
The three of us were in San Francisco. Willow was called to help The Charmed Ones with a very strong and vicious warlock. Buffy needed some time away from a complicated love affair and went along for the ride.
While the three sisters and Willow worked their magic, Buffy and I went sightseeing.
For years I kept my magic on a level, where I was sure I could control it. I never experimented with it like Willow did. She’s a natural and she grows stronger and stronger each day. I consider myself her balance, her focus on the real world and I keep her from going too fast.
Anyway, Buffy and I had a great time enjoying views, driving trolleys, drinking lattés and I even got her to the Castro and the gay bars there.
We bonded in a way that we really hadn’t done before. That day we were not just Willow’s girlfriend and Willow’s best friend spending time, we were real friends in our own right. It felt fantastic!
And then it happened. The Warlock happened. Perhaps he sensed that I was a witch… He tried to eliminate me, but Buffy did what Buffy always did; got in the way and took it all by herself.
The spells I tried didn’t work right or I didn’t cast some that were strong enough.
Buffy disappeared and we couldn’t trace her, Willow couldn’t connect with her essence. She was gone, death for good this time.
And it was my fault. The guilt was paralyzing.
I cried in Faith’s arm and she cried with me. I always knew that she had feelings for Buffy. I sensed it when she occupied Buffy’s body and I know Buffy had some of those feelings too. She just didn’t want to acknowledge them.
Faith was so adorable sweet, told me all the right things, things I have heard a thousand times before, but coming from her it makes much more sense.
She of all people knows how guilt works. And guilt isn’t reasonable, guilt doesn’t respond to logic and facts. Faith understand, because she has lived with guilt most of her life.
We cried for Buffy until there were no more tears.
Her arms were holding me tight. Her scent was intoxicating. I kissed her collarbone, her neck and then the spot just below her ear.
She moaned and moved against me. I could feel her arousal like I felt my own.
Only Willow has ever made me fell this way.
This doesn’t diminish my love for Willow, I love her more than words can express, but Faith and I have connected on a different level. Familiar. Like I know what she’s thinking or feeling even if she doesn’t say anything.
Yes, it’s very sexual in a way, very primal. But I genuinely like her. To be honest I more than like her…
My lips devoured her strong body, mapped every scar and mark, every muscle, every sensitive spot.
Her throaty moans drove me wild and her orgasm thundered through me and threw me over the edge too.
Tara is making breakfast. I have taken some time off from Sappho, so I can concentrate fully on finding Cordelia.
We made love again last night. When we finally fell asleep we were both exhausted. I woke up blissfully sated and snuggled up in her arms. She makes me feel vulnerable but not in an uncomfortable way.
And last night I found out that Tara isn’t so shy after all. Willow is a very, very lucky woman!
Why did she screw it up? Somehow I don’t see her as a two-timing bitch. Something is wrong between them and it hasn’t got anything to do with Willow fucking around.
God, I’m so fucking stupid! Damn…
For years I lived on those story’s from Sunnydale. How come I didn’t remember this particular part? At least not until now…
Cordelia mentioned a child.
Shit, they got a child and it died. Something about an accident. The child, a girl, broke her neck and died instantly.
They must have been fucking devastated…
Two important deaths in a short period of time, a lot of grieve and guilt in the mix. Tara closing up. She mentioned that yesterday, her not being able to express her thoughts and feelings, and thereby shutting Willow out of her inner life. And the lacks of communication made the gab between them grow.
It doesn’t take the blame off Willow, but it sure explains a lot.
I added all the things Tara and Cordelia have told me together and got a full-blown catastrophe.
But Tara talks now and that’s a start. Maybe things can be better for her after all. They say talking is good for healing the soul…
-Faith, where are you?-
-Sorry…- I feel myself turn red. Damn! Big bad Faith DOES NOT blush!
-Are you okay?-
-What? Oh.. yes, I was just…-
-Daydreaming?- Tara laughs.
I get up from the bed and kiss her on the forehead. In return she kisses my temple and we just stand there, close and connected, in each other’s arms.
I know she can’t stay here forever, and she shouldn’t either, she has a life back in Sunnydale and some problems to solve, but I’m going to enjoy every single minute of it while I can.
Willow is a damn lucky woman.
We just stand in each other’s arms. It’s nice, its more than nice… it’s God damn wonderful!
We are doing a kind of gentle dancing. Slow and almost not moving. I caress her waist and lower back. She nuzzle the spot between my collarbone and neck, a place she obviously like, ‘cause she keeps returning to it. I love the feeling of voluptuous flesh and feminine curves against me.
I hum in her ear and she giggles like a carefree teenager.
I want to hear her laugh, hear her enjoying life and having fun.
My hands move slowly to a couple of very sensitive spots. Some very enjoyable moments told me that these spots could be used for very different purposes. They can make her moan in pleasure and beg for more. But right now that is not what I want.
She’s very ticklish. And that’s what I’m going after.
When my fingers are right on target, she convulses in my arms, and the adorable giggling starts.
-No Faith, please!-
She tries to get away from my fingers, but I’m stronger than she is. Tears of laughter are brimming in her eyes. It’s a wonderful sight.
-Please Faith, have mercy! Please!!-
I intensify my effort.
I feel myself being lifted from the floor and thrown hard against the wall. I can’t breathe. Everything turns black and an excruciating pain surrounds and penetrates me.
In a distance I hear Tara’s voice yelling at Willow to stop hurting me.
This is it. I’m going to hell. I hope Tara forgives Willow and forgives herself.
Forgiving others and forgiving oneself is important. I never got around to the last part. And now it is too late.
I’m sorry Tara. I’m sorry C…..
-She didn’t hurt you?- Willow examines me nervously.
-No, she..she…- I feel my cheeks turn warm.
-She what, honey?-
-She t..tickled m..me.-
-She WHAT?!!- Willow obviously doesn’t believe her own ears.
I look her straight in the eyes. –Faith didn’t hurt me, she tickled me. We were just goofing around.-
-Goofing around?- Willow looks like she’s been kicked in the face. –You were goofing around with… with…-
-Yes.- I try to stay cool. The pull towards her is so strong that I’m afraid of losing my reserve to it.
-Oh, I see..- Her eyes are dark with… with grief? I don’t understand.
-Has something happened?- I ask full of fear. –Has something happened to Dawn or..-
-No, no.- Gently she touches my arm. A surge of electricity runs through me.
She stares at her own hand like it has some how offended me and quickly removes it.
-Sorry.- she whispers, tears evident in her beautiful eyes.
She hesitates for a moment and then look at the bed.
Faith lies unconscious on it. Her face seems tormented, like it did the first nights I watched her sleep. The worry-lines are back and the more carefree Faith from the last couple of days is gone. Fortunately Willow didn’t release her full force on her. A couple of hour’s rest and she will be okay.
I can’t decipher the expression in Willow’s eyes. The fury and the hate are gone. She looks at Faith with a profound… sadness and… envy ?? She suddenly seems so small… and lost.
-I’m sorry.- she says with a voice so tiny and tinged with grief that I almost don’t recognize it.
-Maybe I shouldn’t have come.-
-No.- she raises a hand in defeat. –I know… and I’m the only one I can blame for all this.-
Her red-rimmed eyes meet mine for a moment. –I hope that some day you can forgive me, Tara. Please know that I love you. I never stopped loving you, even when things went so terrible wrong.-
Fresh tears stream down her cheeks. A part of me want to take her into my arms, say that I forgive her, tell her that I still love her, and that everything is going to be all right.
But I’m not ready for that. Not yet. Maybe some dark part of me wants to punish her…
-I know I messed up, and I’m so, so sorry.- She sobs openly now. I take a step toward her. I can’t stand seeing her in so much agony.
She raises both her arms to stop me. Her whole body is shaking.
-No, Tara, please. No pity, please…-
-Willow, I don’t..-
-Please, Tara, I know I messed up for good this time.-
-Willow, it wasn’t what I…-
-I’ll be staying at this hotel to end of the week and then I go back to Sunnydale. Please, come and talk to me before I go. Will you? No, don’t answer that. No pressure. If you need to talk… and say… and say …goodbye..before I… I’ll be waiting for you… if you come… I would really like that… I love you, Tara…-
She is out of the door and gone before I can say another word.
Oh… I’m shivering in shock and my emotions are running wild. I didn’t anticipate her giving up so easy. Why didn’t she stay and fight for me? (Yeah, like I did? What an awful irony!).
-Guilt squashed ones self-confidence, Tara. She doesn’t think she deserves your love anymore.-
Faith is sitting up in the bed, dark eyes heavy and a little bit unfocused.
-She takes all the blame on herself, leaving you clean and blameless. It’s her unconscious gift to you.-
I can’t feel my feet and my head is spinning like crazy.
-Sit down, Tara.- Faith’s voice is coming from a faraway place.
She’s touching me, comforting me. Her concern brings tears to my eyes.
-She loves you, Tara.- Faith whispers in my ear. –And so do I.-
It feels like my insides are exploding.
-Don’t forget that she loves you and you love her. Hang on to that, Tara. Nothing else matters.-
Darkness surrounds me...
We eat in silence. Both of us in heavy thoughts.
Tara cried for a whole hour after Willow left and the heartrending sobs almost tore me apart.
She avoids my touches and averts her eyes when I try to look into them. For the first time since we met, that odd connection between us are broken.
-Let’s find Cordelia. I have an idea.- Finally she looks at me. Her eyes are dark blue, not the bright color I’m used to.
-What?- She wants to find Cordelia NOW?
-I have to do something.- Fresh tears forms. I’m really starting to hate that.
-You could go and talk to Willow.- I suggest. Some selfish part of me hates that thought, but it’s the right thing to do.
-No.- Her voice is clipped and toneless.
-Why the hell not? It’s…
-Not yet, Faith.-
-What the fuck are you waiting for?- I feel like yelling, like screaming, like…
-I don’t know.-
Okay, she’s obviously not in the mood for talking.
She gives me a lopsided grin. –Go for a run or something. It will take me an hour or so.-
-Hmmm…- I’m not entirely happy with this, but I get up and prepare for the run.
She is standing behind me.
-I’m sorry, Faith. I know this isn’t easy for you either.- She kisses me softly on the mouth. –I need some time.-
-I know. And I’ll be here for you as long as you want it.-
As long as you need it…
-Thank you.- She hugs me briefly. –You’re a wonderful friend.-
I run like Lucifer himself is chasing me.
Thoughts of Tara and Cordelia blend together in an uncomfortable way.
What shall I say to Cordelia when we find her?
Is it really my responsibility to track her down, when she has left on her own free will? Is it really my fucking business if she’s in a shitty marriage and wants to disappear from it all?
My stomach twists and turns as I predict her anger, her disgust.
Her telling me to get the hell out of her life… For good this time…
I hate feeling like this. I hate when everything is out of my control.
I want to snuggle up to Tara and never go out in the real world again.
But time is up. The real words knocks on the door. Insistently.
I’m exhausted from the run, but my shaky legs always carry me home.
Tara is waiting for me; her face glowing with anticipation and she excitedly grabs my arm.
-She slipped! I found her, Faith! She slipped. I knew I could make her slip!-
-Where is she?- I think I’m going to throw up…
Tara gets the map and points.
-She’s in this area. Give me a little more time and I can be more precise.-
I follow her finger, look at the names of the streets she’s pointing out. Shit in a bucket full of…
-Her old apartment, she’s in her old fucking apartment! Shit, she kept that old damn fucking…-
-Faith!- Tara interrupted amused. –Phone Wes, take a bath and then let’s go.-
-Sorry…- I do as she tells me.
Faith is nervous and fidgety. Her whole body is strained and jumpy and the skin around her eyes seems fragile and tense. She looks like she’s going to throw up any minute.
Someone knocks on the door. Wesley.
He stares at me in surprise.
-Tara! What are you doing here? Does Willow know? She’s looking for you. Where have you…?
-Wes!- Faith interrupts him impatiently and tells him what he needs to know.
-Oh.- he says and fingers nervously with his glasses, looking very uncomfortable.
-Let’s go then.- Faith is already out of the door.
Silently we follow her.
Wesley is driving and Faith sits stiff and edgy beside him. Both of them seem very uneasy.
-Did you tell Gerryboy?- Faith asks and stare out of the window, no emotion in her face.
-No.- Wesley shrugs. –I want to find out what is happening first. Cordy will take our heads off if we interfere in something she doesn’t want us to.-
-We’re already doing just that.- I point out.
Wesley nods. –Yes, but I have to know what’s wrong. She’s one my oldest friends and I don’t want her to be in trouble.-
Faith is brooding. Her eyes only meet mine when they have to and her talking is down to a minimum. The guarded look on her face makes my heart ache.
We’re doing a strange dance, Faith and I. Both of us unsure of what to do, both of us moody and tense.
Earlier today I kept her at distance, trying to sort things out. I thought I could control the situation by keeping my emotions at bay. I was stupid. I have to deal with it all. Problems don’t disappear just by not addressing them. Pushing everybody (pushing Willow…) away doesn’t diminish the pain or makes it easier to handle.
Now Faith’s doing the same.
She tries to protect herself and distance herself from me, from the whole situation. She knows all this has a potential to be very hurtful and she fully expects the hurt to be mainly hers.
I don’t know Cordelia’s part in all this, but I know my own.
She’s expecting me to leave soon, go back with Willow and continue my life in Sunnydale. And soon forget about her.
I know she want’s what’s best for me, but it hurts her anyway. A part of her doesn’t want to feel lonely again.
Being with her these past weeks has given me time to think. Time to revalue my life and my recent decisions. These weeks has made me feel loved again, wanted and appreciated. I no longer feel numb and useless.
Faith has done that.
The former psycho slayer has been the sanest thing in my life for many, many months.
And I really do love her for it…
It’s totally and utterly a mess.
-We’re here.- Wesley parks the car and we get out.
I grab Faith’s hand. It’s cold and clammy.
-Are you okay?-
–No.- She pulls her hand away. –Let’s go.-
-Faith?- I feel like crying. I can’t stand this, I can’t stand her acting like a complete stranger.
She stops. Her shoulder slumps and she turns around.
-I’m sorry, Tara.- The pain in her eyes twists my heart. –I didn’t mean to…-
-Are you two coming or what?- Wesley is already inside Cordelia’s building.
Faith takes my hand and kisses it softly.
-This is probably not going to be pretty.- she whispers. –C’s temper is a well-known fact.-
She smiles a little and tries to lighten the mood, but all I want is to feel the connection between us again.
-F..Fa…Faith…- Nothing but a stutter comes out of my mouth. I want to hit myself hard in the head.
-Come on!- Wesley yells, annoyed and impatient.
Faith let go of my hand and once again averts her eyes.
I want to cry….
I’m on the run. Again.
When the going gets tough, I’m the one that gets going.
As always, seeing Cordelia felt like a fist knocked through my gut. She’s so fucking beautiful.
She wasn’t pleased to see us, me, to put it mildly.
She yelled and screamed and cursed and called me everything nasty she could think of.
Wes tried to calm her down but she ignored him, didn’t even say hi.
Tara looked stunned, her eyes big as saucers, while she watched the terrible scene unfold.
I did expect Cordelia to be angry, but not like this. Our fragile reconciliation when I was in prison was clearly forgotten and she no longer bothered to conceal her anger and hatred.
I had hoped…
No, it doesn’t matter. Dreaming gets you nowhere…
We found her and she’s okay, that’s the main thing. Wes will take care of her, my presence makes her uneasy and she doesn’t need that.
Long time ago I forfeited any chance of a real friendship with her, I know that and this is what I deserve from her.
I just thought…
No, she did that for Angel, not for me.
It happened back in Sunnydale. Back when Buffy was the Chosen One in love with Angel the Vampire. Before Dawn, Anya and Tara. Before Mrs. S died.
Willow dated Oz and Cordelia had recently broken up with Xander.
She was just out of the hospital and she was hurt and drunk, dancing in a seedy bar outside Sunnydale, a place a snob like her normally wouldn’t set her manicured feet.
But that day she just wanted to get drunk and forget about Xander. And Xander and Willow kissing.
I was there too. Sitting in a corner nursing my fourth or fifth beer. I watched her dance, the slim but curved body moving sensually to the rhythm.
I was not the only one watching her. Not the only one getting horny.
A guy approached her, tried to get her interested in his proposal. I couldn’t decipher their words, but I saw Cordelia not so politely decline his offer.
He didn’t like it much, so I stepped in.
A little squeeze in the right place made him see my point.
Cordelia glared at me like I had just dropped from a truckload of shit.
-Cordy.- I greeted her.
-Don’t call me that!- she hissed.
-C..- I said, knowing that irritated her more than the first.
-Why is it so difficult for you people?- she slurred. –C O R D E L I A is my name, C O R D E L I A !-
-Alright… C O R D E L I A…-
I laughed at her; she looked so damn funny with that arrogant pout and her Queen C attitude. She was way to drunk to convince anybody of her superiority.
For the rest of the night we bickered and bitched, called each other names and got more and more drunk.
Perhaps, in the technical sense, it wasn’t rape, she didn’t say no, and she participated rather enthusiastic. I was forceful and demanding and got off by fucking her hard.
After I made her come on my tongue and fingers, she cried.
She told me that she had been a virgin and I didn’t believe her. –Yeah right! The Queen fucking Cheerleader haven’t fucked before?-
-No-, she answered with tears in her eyes. That part had always been hers to give and hadn’t been taken from her with the rest of it. She always had hoped to give it to someone she loved and who loved her back.
There was something hidden in her words, but I never took the time to find out what.
I had never seen her that vulnerable.
What did I do?
I mocked her, made fun of her and laughed her right in the face.
She slapped me.
And I laughed even more…
-Wes, I would like to speak to Cordelia. Alone.-
Finally she looks at me, surprised by the demand.
Wes, who is squirming with discomfort, is happy to leave us.
-I.. hmmm I will try to find Faith.- he says and almost run out of the apartment.
Cordelia measures me up. Coolly. We have seen each other over the years, but we have never really talked. I think that in her mind I‘ve always been “Willows girl” and nothing more.
-What are you doing here, Tara? Where is Willow?-
-Why did you treat her like that?-
I repeat the question and she glares at me.
-She’s has been worried sick about you and you just treat her like…-
-You don’t know shit!- Cordelia is pacing now. Her legs eat the carpet up like she’s on a running track.
-Why are you hiding, Cordelia?-
Maybe I can make her open up to me? I have to understand what’s between them, for Faiths sake. Maybe then I can do something for her? Make her happier… Make things right for her…
-I can’t deal with this…- Cordelia shakes her head in confusion.
-Why do you hate Faith so much?-
-What’s not to hate?- She grins, but there’s no humor in the grimace. –Our favorite Psycho Slayer strikes again.-
-She has changed, Cordelia, you must know that. You visited her…-
-Yeah…yeah…yeah… Redemption is sweet, isn’t it? All your sins of the past are forgiven.-
-Why did you visit her, then? If you didn’t think she was worth it?-
-Angel asked me to and when he really wanted you to do something he had a convincing way about him .-
-What did she do to you?- Faith must have done something horrible. Even now, years later, when Cordelia heard she was out, whatever happened between them made her run away. I didn’t think for a minute that her disappearance was a coincidence.
For a moment she considers her options. She doesn’t really know me. Why should she tell me anything? But the need to talk is swallowing her. I’m counting on that.
And then she tells me about how she lost her virginity.
-It wasn’t rape.- she says and her eyes are brimming with tears. –But when she laughed at me it sure felt like it. It reminded me of…-
She stops herself and finally sits down on the bed. She buries her face in her hands and sighs heavily.
-And when Angel asked me to forgive her, I said no. No fucking way! But I gave in and began my visits. In the beginning we didn’t talk much, we just sat there and looked at everything but each other.
My plan was to humor Angel for the time being, since it meant so much to him. But slowly Faith and I began to talk; I began to see a different side of her, and especially after his death we bonded in our grief.
It wasn’t part of my plan to start liking her. It wasn’t part of my plan to start listening to her, asking her for advises and care what happened to her and I sure as hell didn’t plan to fall in love with her, did I?-
Wesley drove me home. Faith was nowhere in sight.
Cordelia and I talked for an hour or so, and ironical enough I made her understand that running away isn’t the answer to anything and she promised to call her husband.
So tomorrow I will follow my own advice and go see Willow.
But right now the pressing problem is Faith. She’s out there hurting and I want to find her.
I saw the open wound in her expressive eyes. Every word Cordelia threw at her, was caught and turned inwards. She never defended herself. Didn’t try to reason with Cordelia. She just kept repeating the words “I’m sorry”. Her voice was full of despair and so faint that I think I was the only one hearing it.
What a mess!
Cordelia doesn’t handle her feelings for Faith very well. She kept telling herself (and me) over and over again that she didn’t want to be a “fucking dyke”.
That she was talking to one obviously didn’t cross her mind… Or perhaps she didn’t care?
She married Gerald because she liked him, they clicked on a lot of levels, he was totally in love with her and he was kind and thoughtful in bed. Maybe he could help her ignore the fact that she was in love with another woman?
And not JUST another woman, but a supposed sociopath and potential dangerous killer, who had not only hurt her but practically all of her friends in the past, and easily could do so again.
That was even harder to face than the fact that Faith was a woman.
I’m nervous and a little bit on the edge. Everything is happening so fast now. Faith. Cordelia….. and Willow. All of them hurting and none of them knowing where all this will take them.
And me, in the middle of it all and every bit as confused.
I love Willow. I have never questioned my love for her. She’s the one who always completes me, who rests in my soul and is the love or my life. Despite the hurt she has… no… the hurt WE have put each other through. But I also… yes… love… I love Faith.
Where was she? Out slaying?
In The Sappho Lounge drinking herself into oblivion.
The young blonde’s hand is high on my thigh; she’s breathing suggestively into my ear. Hot and fucking sexual. She clearly wants a repeat performance. Her green eyes shimmers with arousal.
Perhaps when Tara leaves I will explore the possibilities with this girl, drown in her for awhile. Fuck her until she makes me forget…
I know my time with Tara is running out and that thought makes me… make me incredible sad, the pain in my chest becomes almost unbearable when I think about it.
Hell, I’m going to miss her…
I’m going to miss talking to her.
Yeah, yeah I’m going to miss the sex too, but most of all I’m going to miss her soothing presence in my life. She’s soft and kind and yet incredible strong, and she makes me relax. Gives me a sense of belonging in this world.
The blond presses her breasts against my arm. Her tongue caresses my earlobe.
Tara probably knows it all by now.
Know what I did to Cordelia, how I violated her and treated her like trash.
Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!
No, Tara already knows what I am, she was there when I stole Buffy’s body and once again caused havoc in everybody’s lives. But I think that maybe she has forgotten it for awhile.
As long as it lasted, she saw me as a different person. As Faith the woman, not Faith the menace. And I think she kind of liked that Faith.
Cordelia’s story has probably ruined that image. Made her remember what I really am.
I’ve been living a dream.
In that dream Tara was mine.
But she isn’t.
And Willow leaves soon, taking Tara with her.
And then I’m alone again.
And maybe it’s the way it should be.
She is drunk and a young blond girl is hanging all over her. I feel a surge of.. of… what? Jealousy?
There’s no joy in Faith’s laughter and no passion in the way she fondles the girl. I know how Faith’s passion looks and feels like….
-Faith.- I try to get her attention.
She turns around at the sound of her name. For a brief moment it looks like she doesn’t recognize me. Her eyes are unfocused.
-Tara?- she says with a voice tinged with disbelief. –You’re here? I thought you…- She stops herself.
The girl almost growls at me. She obviously thinks of Faith as her catch for the night and I’m ruining that prospect for her.
-Come home with me.- I plead.
The girl is about to protest, but Faith stops her.
-I’m having so much fun, Tara.- she says, her eyes avoiding mine. –I’ll be home later.-
-Is she your girlfriend or what?- The girl asks, clearly upset. –You didn’t tell me you had a girlfriend.- She slaps Faith on the arm. Hard.
Finally Faith’s dark eyes meet mine. –No.- she whispers. –She is not my girlfriend.-
The girl seems satisfied with that and begins nuzzling Faith’s neck. Her hand is moving even higher up Faith’s thigh.
I want to tear her tongue out, cut her hand off and kick her ass out of the bar.
-Please, Faith.- I try again.
She closes her eyes and a shudder runs through her frame.
-Please, Faith, don’t do this.- I beg. Tears are threatening to fall but I won’t let them.
-Go see Willow!- Her voice is harsh. –Go see Willow and leave me the fuck alone!-
-Faith…- I know what’s she’s doing, but it hurts anyway.
-No! I don’t want to talk to you, just fucking leave! What part of that don’t you understand?-
Now I can’t stop the tears any longer. It feels like everything in the room is zooming in on me. I feel faint. I feel sick. Something cold and frightening is clenching my heart. My skin is throbbing. I want to scream. I want to beg.
I turn around and run out of the bar.
Tara is lying on the bed. She looks so small. Deep sobs full of despair makes my stomach drop.
I know I hurt her and I know I have to make it better.
I get down beside her on the bed. Gently I touch her shoulder. She flinches.
-Tara.- I try to make her turn around but she refuses. –Tara, I didn’t mean to… I’m sorry.-
I touch her again, this time she lets me do it. Her warmth travels through my hand and embraces my body. I sigh with relief.
Then she is in my arms. Crying harder than I ever heard before.
-I’m sorry.- I whisper in her ear. –I shouldn’t have said those things to you. I’m so, so sorry.-
No more words are said. We just lie there in silence, trying to reestablish our connection.
I feel her relax in my arms. I tighten my hold on her and she lightly caresses my back. Her face is nested in its favorite spot between my chin and collarbone, and she softly kisses my pulse-point. As always it begins to race at her touch and blood and fluids rush to some very sensitive parts of my body. My breathing becomes labored.
I try not to let my excitement show. I don’t want her to think that I’m a horny hound, always panting, always ready to go.
I want her to know that she means a lot more than that to me.
-I could tickle you.- I murmur.
-No.- Her muffled voice is tinged with mirth. –You wouldn’t dare. And besides you are too nice.-
-Hmmm.- I consider my options carefully. She giggles against my sensitive skin. Thank God for that! I want to keep it light between us.
-Nice? I have never been… nice. For that alone I should tie you up and tickle you until you faint.-
-Tie me up?- Her hands stop moving. –That wasn’t mentioned on your informative label. I want a refund.-
I bite her lightly on the neck. -You should get the book instead of the label.-
Her breathing has increased considerable and I can smell her arousal.
-Faith..- She whispers. –Faith, I…-
She kisses me with an aggressiveness I have never experienced with her before.
In no time I am naked and Tara’s hands and tongue are all over me.
In no time I am in the grasp of a mind-blowing orgasm.
In no time I roll her over and reciprocate.
We lie content and sated in each other’s arms.
-That was…- I can’t find the right words for this wonderful feeling I’m having.
-I know.- she says. –Me too.-
This is probably our last time together and I want to relish it, bath in it and carve it inside my heart in eternal remembrance
-I’m going to see Willow tomorrow.- She looks at the watch and smiles a little. –Today.-
-I know.- I kiss her on her moist forehead.
Her warm blue eyes penetrate me. -I could have loved you, Faith, in fact I do love you, but this time around isn’t ours. And you have known that all along, haven’t you?-
I kiss her again, this time on her soft, sensual lips.
-But a part of me really wish it was!- She returns my kiss.
-I know. Me too.- I echo her earlier reply. I don’t know how to express how I feel, but I try to convey everything through my eyes and my touch.
I think she understands. She always understood.
We make love again. Slow, painfully slow.
Archiving every feeling and every part of each other’s bodies in our memories.
And then we sleep. Reveling in our connection and the love that, despite the bad timing, binds us together.
I left Faith’s apartment for the last time.
I’m going to miss her. Really, really miss her.
She cried, I cried and then we cried some more.
I made her promise not to stay alone. She need people, friends, like everybody else, and she has a lot to offer. I can testify to that. She laughed when I said that.
I told her to believe. She was strong enough to be there for me, to change the way I was viewing my life and my future. Now she has to be strong for herself. And I know she can do it.
I made her promise not to give up on Cordelia. I didn’t tell her about Cordelia’s feelings for her. But my message was clear: Go figure things out with Cordy!
We kissed each other goodbye and no more words were said between us.
And now I stand outside Willow’s room.
Anticipation and fear makes me shiver, hope and love makes my heart soar.
I knock on the door.
And there she is, pale and thin, huge scared eyes watch me carefully.
-Tara?- she asks hesitantly, not quite believing that I’m here.
-May I come in?-
-Hum.. yes, YES of course, come in, please come in.-
She’s nervous, her whole body is tense and she radiates waves of unease and fear. She clearly expects the worst.
I’m afraid that if I touch her she’ll fall apart.
-Y..you’re here… really here….- Her eyes swallow me up. –I was a..a..afraid you w..wouldn’t come…-
We just stand there like strangers and it’s hurting me more than her sleeping with another woman.
I never thought we would be strangers to each other.
My silence scares her.
-You’re here to say goodbye, aren’t you?- Her voice is cracking, hurt is pouring out of every word, every breath. -You’re not coming back. You are staying here… with…with… her…with….Faith.-
-Willow.- Finally I find my voice.
-Oh Goddess…- She sobs. –Please no…Please…- Her legs can’t hold her any longer and she’s on her knees on the floor.
-Willow, no, that’s not… I’m not here to.. it’s not what you think. You mustn’t think…- I give up, this is not working.
I move closer, gently touching her, trying to comfort her.
-Willow, look at me.- She doesn’t respond. –Please, darling.-
The endearment makes her react. Red and swollen eyes meet mine, unsure and flinching.
-We have a lot of things to talk about.-
-And a lot of hurt between us to work out.-
Another nod. Hope enters her eyes.
-I know you love me.-
-Yes! Yes I do!- She’s almost giddy, like the teenager that once stole my heart and never returned it.
-And I love you too, darling, and we owe it to love to find our way though this.-
She’s smiling through tears and it’s a beautiful, beautiful sight.
It’s been four long weeks since Tara left.
I’m back at Sappho’s Lounge and the Christmas hype is already beginning to show.
I miss her like crazy. We haven’t talked, but her letters keeps me informed about how life is treating her and how the relationship with Willow is slowly but surely coming back on track.
I’m happy for her, I really am. I have said it before and I’m saying it again: Willow is a damn lucky woman!
I talk to Wes quite often and I have helped him out a couple of times. I think he’s going to offer me a full-time job one of these days. And I think I’m going to accept. The short period when I felt like one of the Scoobies is my only experience with teamwork, but I like to learn.
I don’t want to fight alone anymore.
I haven’t seen Cordelia though and I’m scared shitless by the thought, but I promised Tara, so today is the day.
Wes told me at she’s back in the suburban house she shares with Gerald, so that’s were I’m going.
A nice but boring middleclass suburbia. A little like Sunnydale without vampires and demons. Children playing hide and seek in the front yards while daddy shines the car up. Mummy is in the kitchen wearing an apron, making warm cocoa and baking bread.
I really can’t see the Cordelia I know in this place.
Her house looks like all the other houses in the street. Well-build, well kept and totally unimaginative.
They must be home. The car is parked in front of the house and the light is on in several rooms.
The pain in my chest makes me uneasy. Should I just go and knock on the door?
No, that’s way too fucking scary.
Under the cover of darkness I sneak up to a window. Nothing hinders me from looking inside.
I see Gerald… and Cordelia. A big Christmas tree fills the room. They are walking around it, putting hearts, bells and whatever one it.
They’re smiling at each other, looking like they’re enjoying themselves. The problems between them seem to be solved. Maybe a little time apart did the deed.
The pain in my chest intensifies.
They’re “A Handsome Couple”, a fucking “Hallmark Moment” and I’m not going to disturb that.
We were never really friends. She barely tolerated me. And after what I did to her, I can’t really expect anything more.
Cordelia is laughing. She has a beautiful laugh and she doesn’t laugh nearly enough. Maybe she’s happy, maybe they just had a… a minor crisis of some sort?
Knowing Cordelia made that theory sound reasonable. Her temper and sharp tongue are two well-known facts. Maybe they just had a fight? Maybe he really is a nice guy?
And maybe I should just leave her alone. What am I trying to accomplish by seeing her? Mess her up some more?
Does she need my “I’m so sorry’s”? Or is it me who needs them? Probably the latter. She just wants me out of her life. For good. She expressed that wish very specifically when I last saw her.
I guess Tara would say that I’m doing my “chivalrous stunt” and bow out before even going in. If she were in a lousier mood she would probably call me “coward”.
But that’s the way its going to be.
(Shed Productions owns Nikki and Helen. A date or two with the actress who plays Helen, though … hush… hush! Please, don’t tell my girlfriend…)
I called Tara tonight but Willow answered the phone so I hung up. I’m not up to talking to her yet.
I’m restless and in a lousy mood.
The Lounge is quiet tonight, almost no people and even my little blond friend is missing.
I’m drinking a little too much these days. Nikki, one of the owners, is keeping an eye on me, but I don’t care. She knows I can handle the job, regardless of how many whiskeys I have consumed. It’s a slayer thing, but of course she doesn’t know that.
I think Nikki likes me. She’s always watching me, even when she isn’t concerned about my drinking. It’s not… sexual or anything. At least I don’t think so.
She’s tall, probably about 15 years older than I am, dark hair tinged with gray and deep brown eyes. She’s quite hot looking, even at her ripe age! And she has a temper that even I don’t want to cross.
They, her and the co-owner, who is also her lover, are from Britain. Rumors say that they moved to the States about ten years ago when Nikki was freed from prison. The rumors say that she killed a cop.
So in a way we have a lot in common.
-Hiya, Faith, what’s up? You look like somebody pissed on your shoes.-
I grin at her and she grins back.
-You found your friend, didn’t you? So that’s not the bloody problem?-
-No, Nik everything’s fine. I’m just a moody bitch sometimes.-
-Trust me. I know the feeling. If you ask Helen, she’ll say I perfected “moody”. Keep working for me and you’ll learn from the master.-
Yeah, maybe that was an idea? Getting out of here. Away from memories of Tara, away from those feelings for Cordelia. A fresh start. A clean cut.
-When are you going back to San Francisco, Nik?-
-When Helen’s work here is done, we’ll head back. I hate this frigging town. If we didn’t own this bloody bar, I would never set my foot here. Why?-
-Do you have a job for me there? In one of your bars?-
She looks at me. Thoughtful and a little bit concerned.
-You’re not running away, are you?-
I can’t deny that, so I don’t answer the question. I just smile charmingly at her and tilt my head cockily.
She laughs and rolls her eyes. –Cute, Faith. Very cute. But if you come, you got a job. –Oh, by the way, your groupie is here.-
-Great.- I sigh.
-So I reckon you don’t fancy a shag then?- she asks mischievously.
-A fuck, dear Faith. A good old-fashioned fuck.- She laughs at the expression on my face.
No, I don’t want a fuck and it surprises the hell out of me. I haven’t had “a shag” since the last one with Tara and I don’t want to either. I want to keep the impression of her intact. At least for awhile.
If this keeps up I’ll become a damn nun!
Last week I got a letter from Faith, telling me that she had moved to San Francisco.
She lives with a couple of friends there, who also got her a job managing one of their bars.
I knew from Wes that she had been subdued and kind of depressed just before she took off and she didn’t visit Cordelia before she left.
Something is wrong, I can feel it. I have a sense of Faith I haven’t had with anybody other than Willow and that sense tells me that she’s in trouble.
And now I’m here. The bar she’s managing is far classier than the Lounge.
I look around, trying to spot her.
Willow and I had a fight over this. She didn’t want me to go after Faith. I think she’s afraid that my feelings for Faith will make me stay forever.
I tried to reassure her and she said she believed me, but there were tears in her eyes when I left.
There she is. My heart swells at the sight. She’s talking to an older, tall and dark-haired woman with a commanding presence. The woman looks familiar…
Faith seems tired and a little ruffled, and I sense sadness with a touch of resignation surrounding her.
Every now and then her eyes scan the room looking for irregularities or guests making trouble. The slayer in her is always alert and ready to jump into action. It was a thing that fascinated me about Buffy when she was alive, and in Faith the quality seems almost feral. You know she’s dangerous and that she can kill you before you blink an eye and yet you’re drawn to her like a “moth to a flame” as they say.
Buffy was so controlled, so unlikely to give in to those darker instincts of The Slayer, and she rarely did, but with Faith you never know… That element of danger is always present and it’s quite exciting to be close to it.
I think Faith would be deeply hurt by this, if I told her. She wants so desperately to be perceived only as Faith the Woman and not The Slayer. Life has taught her to think of The Slayer as a symbol of all the bad things in her life and now she desperately wants what being a slayer can’t give her: a normal life, friends, love….
I think that’s a big part of what’s troubling her.
-Tara, what are you doing here? Has something happened? Where is Willow?- She asks me frantically and grabs my arm in concern.
Why is it that everybody always asks about Willow? Like we always come in a two-pack and never should be separated.
-Everything’s okay. I just came to visit you.-
And then I am in her arms. She’s hugging me like she never wants to let go again.
-I missed you.- she whispers.
-I missed you too.- I whisper back and gently kiss her on the lips.
The tall woman is looking at us with curiosity and a slightly bemused expression on her face.
-You’re sure everything’s all right? With Willow and stuff?- She kisses my temple and her arms hold me tight.
-Yeah. We are working things out and I think we’re on the right track.-
-Good. As it should be.- she mumbles against my hair.
It’s wonderful to feel her again. I find my favorite spot and bury my face there. Her pulse is picking up and so is mine.
This is not good, the sanest part of my brain reminds me, that I can’t do this to her OR to Willow.
She senses the shift in my thoughts and steps slightly away from me.
-It’s great to see you.- she says, sounding almost breathless. She coughs self-consciously and gives me an adorable, almost shy smile.
I swallow hard and manage to smile back at her.
Yeah, it’s really great to see her.
-Tara, this is Nikki, my boss.-
They shake hands and smile politely to each other. Nik gives her an appreciative glance and mouths “cute” to me.
-I think I’ve met you before. At The Sappho Lounge.- Tara says.
Nik’s eyes sparkles and I can see the dirty thoughts pass through her. She’s a charmer and a flirt, and I think Tara is about to be “Nik’d”.
-Oh Nikki, what are you up to now?- a sexy Scottish voice purrs.
Saved! Helen, Nik’s long time lover, lays her hand on Nik’s arm.
-Behave.- She says and purses her lips in the sexiest way.
Helen is beautiful, a lot shorter than Nik, reddish light brown hair down to her shoulders and intelligent gray-green eyes. If it’s possible she’s even more of a flirt than Nik.
Nik grins and kiss the full lips of her lover with an uncanny adoration that sometimes makes me envious of the love they share.
-Don’t pay attention to them.- I whisper to Tara, high enough for my friends to hear. –You get used to them, eventually, you have to. Especially when you lives with them like I do.-
Helen flashes her tongue at me and Nik smirks.
-Come on, Tara, I’ll show you around.- I grab her hand and lead the way.
I show her the place, tell her what I do and what my plans are for the bar. I’m going to open a disco in the basement. The small dance-floor in the actual bar-area isn’t enough for the guest’s demands.
Nik is all for it and have already given me a “go ahead”.
-You’re not slaying anymore, are you?-
Shit. My whole body stiffens and my heart pounds like crazy. How does she know those things?
-Can we go somewhere to talk?-
I nod and point in the direction of my office.
The music isn’t so loud in here. I have a desk, a sofa and a few bookcases to make this my second home.
-What’s going on, Faith?-
It’s difficult for me to explain what has happened within me the last month or so, but the conclusion is that I can’t be The Slayer anymore. I know that killing vampires and demons are an honorable job and that I was born to do just that, but maybe the price is to high.
Slayers aren’t supposed to live this long. We die before we are old enough to want another destiny. I should have been dead years ago. Even B lived too long and she couldn’t make her life as an adult slayer work either.
I’m was a screw-up then and now I’m just fucking pathetic.
And what can I do about it? Two things really: get killed or stop being a slayer.
The first one doesn’t appeal to me right now, so that leaves: not being a slayer.
I still have the instinct and the abilities that come with the job, but maybe Wes can help me with that. I remember hearing the story about Giles putting B through some shitty kind of test that made her loose her “slayer-ness”. Maybe Wes can do that to me.
-At least I have to try.- I conclude my explanation.
Tara stares at me like I have grown an extra nose or something.
-But Faith, you still know all the things you know. The vampires don’t disappear along with your “slayer-ness”, your time in Sunnydale and the years in prison won’t be erased. Everything that has happened to you won’t change. You can’t stop being the sum of your experiences, but you can learn how to deal with them differently.-
I take her hand and look her straight in the eyes. I want her to understand this.
-I have made mistakes all my life, Tara. I have lied, cheated, betrayed and killed my way through most of my fucking teenage years. I became an adult in prison and almost everybody remotely close to me on the outside either hated my guts or felt sorry for me.
I want a life free from all that. I want to make new friends, who don’t know or doesn’t care about my hideous past. I no longer want to wallow in dreams that can’t come true.-
Tara looks at me with profound sadness, her lips quiver. –Like us.- She whispers hoarsely.
-Yeah, like us.-
-And like Cordelia….-
That woman certain knows how to ram a nail through sensitive issues!
When things gets too personal, too close to the real issues, she runs. In the old days she might have laughed at me or even hurt or simply ignored me, but nowadays she just run and hide. Deals with her pain in privacy.
I think she tells me more about herself and what she’s feeling, than she really is comfortable with. And I feel honored that she trusts me enough to let me be the one to get this close. Even if the closeness scares her sometimes and makes her flee.
In a way I can identify with that.
I have always been shy and a little bit scared of the world. For years I believed I was a demon and that I didn’t deserve the life I tried to live. I felt isolated and alone. And being segregated from the world was the way I “dealt”, I thought it was the only way to survive.
Then I met Willow and suddenly I wanted my whole life to change. I wanted love, commitment, security, friends and I was terrified, afraid that she would hate me if the saw the real me.
Well, I wasn’t a demon and Willow stayed and I became one of the Scoobies.
But the feelings originated from my earliest childhood, stayed with me, and my insecurities caused a lot of agony over the years, for me AND for Willow.
But I grew strong. I accepted who I was and what I had become. When Buffy died and then June, some of the old feelings emerged. I lost focus and let myself be swallowed by them.
I think Faith is experiencing something similar to that. In some ways our stories are alike, or at least the feelings they awoke are. She chose defensiveness and a “I don’t give a shit”-attitude as her way of surviving. We reacted differently and got different results, but some of the issues are the same.
-Tara, what happened to Faith?- Nikki stands in the doorway with a concerned expression on her face.
- I..I..think I need your h..help, Nikki.-
Nik found me down by the water. She knows I go there to think or clear my mind.
We stood silently beside each other for a while and then I told her about Tara… and Cordelia, the two women that all my thoughts was centered on these days.
We talked for an hour or so. It was nice to voice some of my thoughts and concerns to another person. A person who wasn’t directly involved. Thoughts sound different when they are out in the open and you tend to revise some of the conclusions you have made, when you hear them out loud.
-Maybe I should go and talk to Tara.-
Nik nodded. –Great idea, but you have to wait.-
-Wait? Why? Is she gone? Oh shit, she’s gone isn’t she? Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!-
-Easy now!- Nik smiled and put her arm around my shoulders. –It’s not what you think. Her girlfriend called. Somebody named Wesley is in trouble. Tara has gone to LA to help.-
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Wes was in trouble and Tara left without telling me? It wasn’t at all like her.
The plane is about to land and I get more and more… what? Anxious? Nervous? Afraid?
I think I will try the office first. Somebody there must be able to tell me something. Sometimes being a fucking slayer is nothing compared to a wicked wicca who can do tracking-spells and stuff!
I hate this. I hate being in the dark and not knowing what to go after.
It was easier when I was younger. I lived from day to day, tried not to think and plan ahead. Want. Take. Have. Right now. Yeah, that philosophy brought me lot of good!
I think I managed to make everyone believe that I was a tough bitch, wicked cool and totally self-centered. I didn’t care for other people. What a load of bullshit that was!
Buffy, at least for a period, saw through my scam, but then I fucked up and she kind of lost her… faith… ha..ha…in me.
The office is closed. Not even that Fred-woman is here. I fix the lock and go inside. Nothing looks suspicious.
A feeling. A little tickle-like sensation along my spine. Somebody’s here. Not a vamp, probably a human.
Slowly I move to the door, which leads to another room. It sounds like someone is walking around. Wes? Fred? Somehow I don’t think its them.
Preparing to fight I kick the door open.
-Faith? What are you doing here? You sure know how to make an entrance, that hasn’t changed, has it?-
Oh shit, oh damn fucking shit…
-Don’t call me that! You are not a teenager anymore. It must be possible for a grownup to form more than one letter in people’s names.-
She looks like she’s about to tear my head off. I lift my hands in surrender.
I am tempted to call her Cordy, but I don’t. -Okay…. Cordelia.-
She snorts and rolls her eyes.
-Do you know what’s going on here?-.
-No.- Cordelia obviously doesn’t want to talk to me. I sigh. I can’t let this hurt me. Finding out what’s wrong is more important.
-Listen C… Cordelia, I know Wes is in some kind of trouble and I want to find out what it is. You can either stand there looking sour or you can help me. And I’ll even be out of your … life faster that way.-
-It’ll never be fast enough.- she mumbles.
She always had a way with words and she still has. I close my eyes to block out the pain.
-I talked to Wesley an hour ago and everything’s fine. He’s in a meeting somewhere.- She sounds bored. –I’m here to keep an eye on things. So you can go now, slayer.-
-What? I heard that…Tara…- I’m totally confused.
-If you’re looking for Tara she and Willow are staying at my house.
My stomach just dropped to my knees. This is a nightmare. Cordelia and Tara bonding is bad enough, but Tara, Cordelia AND Willow…
Maybe Nik misunderstood something. Maybe Tara just needed to get away… from me. Maybe she missed Willow… But what is she doing in L.A? In Cordelia’s house of all places.
-No I..- The lump is making my voice thin and vulnerable, like I could start crying any minute. I hope Cordelia’s not listening. –I… think I’ll just… go back… to San Francisco, I mean. I think I got some messages mixed up or something. Tell them… no tell them nothing. It’s not important…-
Cordelia enjoys watching me squirm and babble like Willow in the good old days.. Even her eyes have softened a bit.
-I’ll…- I turn around to leave. Tears sting in my eyes and the lump is almost choking me.
The phone rings and Cordelia picks it up.
-Yes. Yes, she’s here. Why… I don’t want her… I know but… Okay okay, I’ll tell her that… yes… I SAID yes..yeah…bye.- Irritated she throws the phone down.
-Willow wants to talk to you.-
I’m sure I’m awake now. Aren’t I?
This is just too fucking unbelievable! Unbelievable stupid! How did this happen? Okay, I KNOW how it happened, but this is so NOT good! What the fuck am I going to do?
There was nobody there when we got to Cordelia’s. Just a note telling us to stay put and wait for them. They were out on a “errand”, and who the fuck knew what that meant!
I was pissed-off and so was Cordelia.
-This is nice.- Cordelia said with venom dripping from her voice. –A cozy afternoon between old friends.-
Yeah, this was going to be a looong and not at all cozy afternoon! I closed my eyes, trying to find words that could make this less painful.
-Cordelia…- I began.
-Do not “Cordelia” me. I don’t want to hear what you have to say. We don’t have anything to talk about. You’re in my home because Willow asked me, not because I have anything to say to you.-
So we just sat there for awhile in an uncomfortable and acerbic silence that corroded my nerves.
Cordelia polished her nails and looked like she could explode any minute, and I just sat there, waiting for it to happen. Preparing myself for the hurtful outbursts I knew would come.
Once in awhile I glanced at her, taking in her beauty, which hadn’t lessened over the years. On the contrary, they way she had matured, the confident look in her eye, the small wrinkles on her skin, made her even more attractive. She wasn’t just a scared young woman anymore, hiding behind sarcasm and an air of superiority. She was a competent and skilled adult and even more beautiful with the reminiscences of her life showing in the lines of her face.
I remembered our talks in prison, when she tried to be my friend. She’s really quite funny, a sharp and dry humor that slaps you in the face, but nevertheless made me laugh.
We talked about personal stuff, too. She confided in me, at least I thought she did, and I was honest with her, like I only have been with Tara, and I told her things that few people know about me.
I forgot my precautions and paid the price, she got ammunition to hurt me, and she did just that a numerous of times, before she finally stopped visiting me.
I should probably hate her, but I don’t. She had her reasons and I understand them.
I never did her or her friends any good, so why should she forgive me?
It isn’t her fault that searching for redemption has made me meek and vulnerable. I’m not that good at defending myself these days. Tara would call it my guilt-trip, letting myself be hated and punished and thereby feeling some sort of release for the burden of all my wrongdoings…. Wow, I didn’t know I was THAT screwed up, even when I’m not ramping around trying to kill people!
Maybe Psycho Slayer wasn’t a wrong nickname at all…?
Man, I really love self-pity… It’s one of my finest and most refined features!
I chuckled and Cordelia’s glared at me like I was some kind of slimy creep from outer space.
-What?- I smiled at her, trying to lighten the mood.
-What are you laughing at?-
-Yeah, it sure sounded like nothing!- Once again she was angry. –Do you think this whole situation is funny? Do you?-
-It’s not funny at all! I planned never to see you again and….-
After that her words just faded out. If I listened, I knew they would hurt me, so I blocked her and them out.
They had a lot of explaining to do when they got here, especially Tara.
“Errands”, my ass!
-Faith, are you listening to me?!-
-No, should I? I mean….
-Hrrrr…- Cordelia scowled. –You make me crazy!-
-Listen, C, neither of us has to take this. I’ll just go. I’ll call back every half-hour and hear if they’re back. Okay?-
-You’re running away?- She said with disbelief. –Big bad Faith, The Psycho Slayer, is running scared?-
I grinned with no trace of humor. –What do you want from me, C?-
-Want from you, Slayer?- She mocked. –What can you possible give me? An elbow in the face? A hard fuck on the floor? Kill, or at least try to kill, everybody I care for?-
Every word hacked into my chest with a force that almost tipped me over. When was life gonna give me a fucking break? I really didn’t need this.
I got up on my feet and my legs were shaking like a newborn pub.
I was standing an inch away from Cordelia’s distorted face.
-Stop this!- I shouted, close to tears. –Why can’t you just let it be? I’m sorry for everything I’ve done to you. I really am, but can’t we just stop this?! Soon I’ll be leaving this damn town, this damn job and you don’t have to see me ever again. I can’t die for you, if that’s what you want, for that I’m ever so fucking sorry!-
We stood there, almost nose to nose, and stared at each other. The air pulsating with…
There wasn’t any tenderness in it. Like animals we were tearing each other up. Our lips crushed together, our bodies fought for survival. Hands tugging at hair, moving with fevered haste on curves, planes and breasts, finding vulnerable targets that made the other scream in ecstasy.
It was almost like a battle. Like a punishment from the hurts of the past.
Her eyes were dark with anger when she penetrated me. She bit my neck, my nipples and my inner thigh, and the pain distracted me from the sorrow and hurt I was feeling in my heart.
She made me come so hard, that I almost passed out. And she screamed when I did the same to her.
And then we attacked again. Devoured each other like hungry predators.
It wasn’t beautiful. It was hard, almost hateful in its intensity, and it lasted to be both fell into an exhausted sleep.
-Do you really think this will work, Will?-
-We are forcing them to talk, aren’t we? And even getting them in the SAME room any other way, would be difficult, if not impossible. You know how stubborn Cordy can be.-
Willow is very optimistic and the idea was hers to begin with. And she personally convinced Wesley that this was the best thing to do, and that took some effort.
Even if Wesley is beginning to forgive and trust Faith again, he is still very unsure of her. But Willow can be very convincing and I had, unwillingly, provided her with a lot of good arguments, when I told her of the talk I had with Cordelia.
I think a part of her wants Faith out of my “system” and the best way to do that is to give her a another woman than me to concentrate on.
And now Faith and Cordelia are locked up in a house, secured by a spell that are keeping them from coming out before we decide its time.
I’m really uncomfortable with this. You can’t play with people’s lives and emotions like that, can you?
Willow says they both will benefit form it in the end, and that may be so, but… I’m not sure I like it. Not at all.
Maybe I’m jealous…?
I hope Will don’t pick up on that.
-Come on, Tara. Let’s get some sleep.-
As always when we go to the bedroom we both feel a little uncomfortable. I know she wants to rebuild the intimate part of our relationship, but I’m not ready.
We just recently began snuggling up to each other again, and it feels absolutely wonderful. We kiss, but in an almost sisterly way.
I miss being with her, but I can’t, not yet, and I think it scares her. She’s afraid that the gab between us never closes and that I’ll leave her for good.
We undress, shyly and a bit awkward, like we were in the beginning of our relationship.
In her glances I feel apprehension and love. Her eyes take everything in, but she keeps her distance. I can feel her wanting so bad to touch, but she doesn’t dare. Her breath is irregular and ragged. I know she is trying not to cry. She turns away from me, trying to hide her tears.
-Darling.- I embrace her with all that I am, and she collapses against me and let go of her tears.
-I’m sorry.- she whispers between sobs and hiccups. –I’m so, so sorry.-
-I don’t want to put this pressure on you, I don’t want to fall apart… I know you’re not ready for all this, I know that. It’s just so…-
-I love you, Will.-
Her breathing stops and she looks at me with big, teary eyes. –Really?- She asks with that baby-voice she often used when she was much younger. It’s been a long time since I heard that tone in her voice. Years. It reminds me of our wonderful beginning and it makes me smile. And Willow smiles back at me. Relieved. And I see her eyes brighten and brimming with adoration.
-I love you to, Tar.- she whispers and we snuggle on the bed, rejoicing the emotions that runs between us.
2 hours later.
-Do you think they’re okay in there? I mean, there is some heavy stuff going on between them, Will, maybe…
-You say you trust Faith.-
-And she would never harm Cordy.-
-Then everything is fine!- Willow hugs me. –Don’t be such a worrywart, Tar. They just need time together to figure things out.-
Maybe she’s right. I just hope it doesn’t backfire…
In some ways it was almost an exact copy of the encounter between us years ago in Sunnydale. But this time, given more experience, she was quite the aggressor and I was the more passive one. And this time I didn’t feel compelled to laugh it off.
Her light snore brings my thoughts back to this fucking house.
Earlier I was fully dressed and prepared to do my usual stunt, when I’m in a situation I don’t know how to handle or when I sense failure ahead: Move myself out of the equation.
But this fucking house is somehow blocked. It’s impossible to get out and even the phone is disconnected. We are trapped like rabbits in a cage.
I really, really sense foul play, and I bet Tara and Willow is behind this. The purpose may be admirable and well-intentioned, but right know I just want to kick their wiccan asses!
Oh. Cordelia is awake. She just lie there staring at the ceiling, looking like the world has come to an end.
I sit beside her on the bed. She doesn’t acknowledge my presence. Carefully I place a tentative hand on her arm. She doesn’t even flinch. She appears almost catatonic.
-Cordelia?- I try. –Please, talk to me. Yell at me, just say SOMETHING.-
But she doesn’t.
-Please…- I’m cold inside, like everything in me has been put in a deep-freezer. I never wanted this to happen. Not this way…
I touch her chin and finally her eyes blink. Once… twice. But then the movements stop. And I feel all-alone in the room again.
(I don’t know a lot about the mechanics in Cordy’s visions, I haven’t seen that much of “Angel”, so (again again) I used my imagination and made her visions suit my purpose. If it isn’t quite “canon”, I apologize beforehand).
This is shit.
But shit happens. That phrase reminds me of Nik, she always respond that way. This is shit. Shit happens. She always laughs when she say it. And Helen looks at her fondly and then they kiss. Often passionately.
She must tell me that story sometime.
All those thoughts about Nik and Helen don’t remove the shit I’m facing right now.
Okay, I’m going to try again. I take a deep breath.
-Cordelia? I’m sorry, all right? This shouldn’t have happened. It’s my fault, I know that…-
-It’s not your fault.-
-What??- Did I hear that right?
-You heard me.- She sounds tired. And defeated.
I don’t know what to say. I sit down beside her on the bed. We sit there for awhile, adjusting to sitting so close to each other.
Finally Cordelia speaks. –I never thought I was going to see you again.-
I flinch. God, don’t let her start again. I can’t take hatred from her right now. Not after…
-Did you know that the visions stopped at almost the exact same time I stopped visiting you?-
-No, I didn’t…-
-Wesley explained it. He said that I emotionally blocked them out, along with a lot of other things that disturbed me at the time. You know, block one thing and get three things blocked for free? You see, I’m very good at blocking things. I have done it with success for years.-
For the first time since our … encounter… she looks directly at me.
-I wasn’t much use to him after that. I began working part time and nowadays I’m almost never there. Once in awhile I even miss the damn headaches. But anyway, it’s not the same without the moody brooder.-
A half smile opens her face and she looks radiating.
Angel brought that smile there. My stomach turns to knots.
-What about your husband?-
Her eyes turn cold. –It’s none of your damn business!- She snarls.
Fuck! I obviously stepped on some raw nerves. When do I learn to keep my big fucking mouth, or “gob” as Nik would say, tightly closed? Use my fucking brain, once in awhile!
I don’t want to ruin this… this… moment of no hostility between us.
-I’m sorry.- This is lame, I know it, but I don’t know what else to say.
And then Cordelia starts laughing, almost hysterical. –Aren’t we a pair of suckers? First we fuck each other’s brains out and then we…-
-Then we what?-
She quiets down and close her eyes. –Don’t be so fucking nice, Faith. It doesn’t suit your bad girl image.-
Now she’s trying to hurt me again. Successfully.
-If you had paid any attention to me in the period you came to visit, you would have realized that bad-girl-Faith has been buried for years.-
I can’t disguise the pain I feel every time she lashes out.
My words surprise her and make her falter for a moment. She calms down and her face relaxes.
-You really have changed.- It’s not at question but a realization.
-It took you long enough.- I mumble, too low for her to hear.
-What about the..the… fuckstival, then?-
-You did fuck me, right? On the floor of all places. I even broke a nail or two. I don’t suppose NOT fucking unwilling women is part of your redemption? Or haven’t you reached that step in the program yet?-
Now I am mad. –You were hardly unwilling, C. As I remember it you were quite the willing participant!-
She is silent for a long time and we just stare at each other.
-I suppose you’re right.- she admits dryly. –I can’t blame you for this, even if I want to. I too have learnt a few things over the years. Especially the last couple of weeks.-
She is admitting something here, isn’t she?
I’ve been crying for hours, trying to find some meaning in it all. Something I can hang on to.
-We are getting them out NOW!- I was losing patients. Fast.
-Honey…- Willow began, a little baffled at my unusual display of bad temper.
-No, Will. Right NOW!-
-Okay honey, let’s get them out.-
To say that they were angry was putting it mildly. They were furious, at least Cordelia was. Faith was mellower and not quite as explicit in her anger.
There was an almost visible tension between them. It disturbed their auras and told me things I really, really never wanted to know. Definitely ONE thing that I wished I didn’t have to see there. Sometimes having an extended vision can be very… uncomfortable.
Things happened between them while they were locked up. But it was still difficult to decipher if it was good or bad for their relationship.
Even if jealousy gnawed at my heart, I hoped it was going to be okay.
Faith deserves it.
We split them between us; Willow got Cordelia and I got Faith.
She looked at me with those deep, dark eyes. Asking WHY without words.
I told her everything about our plan. That we hoped bringing them together to talk would loosen the tension between them and that “things” might expand from there. That we were trying to help.
-That’s what I thought, but why was it Willow that called and not you?-
-If it had been me you would have been suspicious wouldn’t you?- I teased, trying to make her smile -You would sense that something was up.-
-Yeah, probably.- Faith grinned. -Willow calling what the last thing I expected, it sure got me curious enough to come.-
-Mission accomplished.- I smirked.
-You little sneak!- Faith tickled me without warning and I started giggling and she laughed with me.
I was so happy that the whole thing didn’t damage the connection between us. I had been afraid that Faith would be angry and perhaps unforgiving. I should have known better. The Faith of today is not like that.
I just hoped that Willow had the same luck with Cordelia.
And then it happened. The thing that plays in my mind over and over again. I keep analyzing it, could it have been prevented, could we have done things differently? Why didn’t we even think of this a possibility? But we didn’t and it shocked us all. Even Willow with all her powers wasn’t fast or alert enough to stop it.
Gerald, (or Gerryboy as Faith would say) entered the room with a gun in his hand and before either of us could do anything, he fired.
No she didn’t die, but she came very, very close.
It’s been over a week. The head-wound is the most serious one of her wounds and it has kept her in a coma all this time.
The doctor say that the prospect of her waking up soon is good, but no one knows if she comes out without permanent injuries to the brain.
We have been taking turns visiting her and Nikki and Helen has flown in from San Francisco to be with her.
The one taking it the hardest are Cordelia. She is completely devastated. The guilt is gnawing at her. She thinks it’s her fault that her husband was driven to do what he did and thereby her fault that Faith got shot.
She sits by Faith’s bed, every available moment, holding her hand.
I watch them with a maelstrom of different feelings running though me. Pain, love, jealousy, hope, envy and gratitude.
So I try to keep my distance, even though my emotions beg me to lie beside Faith, curl up against her and cry my heart out. Begging her to wake up.
Willow has been great in all this, setting aside her own guilt, discomfort and jealousy of Faith and she has been there for me all the way.
In a bizarre way this has brought us closer together and things are not so strained between us anymore.
But she blames herself for not being fast enough and I think she even questions herself. If it had been any other than Faith, what then? Would she have reacted differently, faster? Did some dark part of her subconscious mind wish for Faith to disappear? There are many years of hurt between them and I understand where Willows guilt is taking her. And I know I have to prevent it from getting her too far
-Hiya, Tara.- It’s Nikki. –How is she doing?-
-She’s the same. She hasn’t moved at all.-
I saw someone behind Nikki and it wasn’t Helen. It was a tall, blond woman around the same age as Nikki and quite beautiful.
-Tara, this is my friend Kim. She’s a psychiatrist, conveniently enough specializing in people who come out comas.- She grins that lopsided roguish grin of hers. And I can’t help but smile back. In some ways she reminds me of Faith.
Kim and I shake hands. Up close she is even more beautiful.
-Do you think she will? I mean, come out of it?- The words slips through my mouth without me wanting it to, tears pressing again.
Nikki puts a soothing hand on my arm. –Don’t worry. She got strength, that one. Nothing is going to keep her down. She has proven before that she’s a survivor, hasn’t she?-
I have to nod at this. All things considered, Faith really IS a survivor; she’s been through things that would have killed almost anybody else. She will survive this too. I know it.
-She’s awake! She’s awake!- Willow is almost screaming. –She’s really awake!-
I can’t describe the rush of relieve that runs through me and I almost faint. Kim grabs me by the arm and keeps me steady.
Nikki is already inside Faith’s room and Helen greets her brimming with enthusiasm. I can hear Nikki sob. For suck a large and intimidating woman she’s quite a softy.
Willow is beside me. Her eyes are bright with tears and she looks genuinely happy. It’s not easy for her to accept my feelings for Faith but she tries. For me.
-She’s going to be okay.- She whispers in my ear. –I just know it.-
I hug her a long time and gently kiss her lips. –I love you, Will.-
-I love you too, Tar. Very, very much.-
(And no, I don’t own the beautiful Kim, NBC does.)
-How is she?-
-Has she talked yet?-
-What does the doctor say?-
-Have someone phoned Wesley?-
-Oh God, she’s so bloody pale.-
-She’s going to be okay, isn’t she?-
Everything’s a blur. Where am I?
Tara’s hand. Nice. Safe. Warm.
I open my eyes again. It’s difficult. Everything is foggy around the edges and my eyes hurt. Something is covering my head.
It feels like bandages. I’ve have tried this many times before.
There are people in the room. Five or six. And a doctor. And a nurse.
Way to many people for my taste.
What are they doing here? What am I doing here? This is really fucking weird.
The hospital-people leaves. And I think that Willow and Helen does too.
I try to fix my gaze on Tara. She’s on my left, looking beautiful as ever, even if she looks dead tired and her eyes are red and swollen.
I think she’s crying for me.
Didn’t I see Cordelia here too? I want to see her, see for myself that everything’s okay, that WE are okay.
-Faith?- An English accent. Nik.
-Please, talk to us, Faith. If you can. Please.- Tara.
-Come on, Faith.- Nik again.
-This… is…shit…- My voice is thick and hoarse from the lack of use.
-Yeah.- Nik sniffles. – But shit happens!-
-How are you? How do you feel?- Tara takes my hand and tears run freely down her face.
-Like a fucking freight train ran me over… twice.-
She kisses me on the cheek. –Oh Faith.- she whispers and buries her nose in her favorite spot.
Cordelia is staring at us. I can’t interpret was going on inside her.
Tara senses that something’s wrong and moves away from me. She gives me one of her adorable little half-smiles.
-I will go and find Willow. We’ll be back soon.- She drags Nik along with her and I’m alone with Cordelia.
-Are you fucking her?-
-I have been sleeping… or whatever …for the hell knows how long and this is the first thing you want to say to me?-
-Are you?- She repeats relentlessly.
It takes me a moment too long to answer. –No.-
-Behind Willow’s back and all. I see you’re still up to your old tricks.-
-No, it’s not like that…-
-It’s never like that, Faith. Never! Especially not with you, right Faith?-
She turns angrily and heads for the door.
-No, Cordelia. Please. Please stay. Lets talk. Please.-
She hesitates. –Why, Faith. Why should I stay?-
I want to say so many to her, explain things, but I have never been good at that talking stuff. I kick ass, fuck and talk dirty.
Tara would say I’m living in the past in the way I view myself. And perhaps she’s right. Isn’t she always?-
-Please Cordelia, sit beside me.-
And surprisingly enough she does.
I take her hand.
And surprisingly enough she lets me.
I bring it to my lips and kiss it softly.
And surprisingly her mouth shivers and her hand trembles.
-There’s so much I want to say to you, Cordelia.- I whisper. Always be honest, Tara said.
–But talking isn’t one of my many skills, you know that.-
A little smile in the corner of her mouth. Her hazel eyes are bright and damp.
And surprisingly enough she squeezes my hand in gentle encouragement.
-I’m really not at my best right know.- I close my eyes for a moment and weariness creeps up around me. I’m so fucking tired.
–But please, stay around. Please.-
She squeezes my hand again and I feel her lips on my chin, so very, very close to my mouth.
-Go to sleep, Faith. I’ll be here when you wake up.-
And surprisingly enough she is.
-I don’t need to see some fucking shrink, Nik!- I think why voice just crashed through the sound barrier. –I’ve been in a fucking coma before, you know. Nothing new under the damn sun!-
-Yes and see how well THAT went.- Cordelia’s cool voice pins me to the bed. My heart rate picks up considerable. I didn’t even know she was in the room.
I sigh heavily in surrender. –Who is she anyway?-
Nik grins. –Kim, an old friend of mine. She helped me a lot when I first came here. You know, coping with the prison years and all that.-
-So Dr. Kim gets two for one, Faith.- Cordelia is now by my side, staring down at me with that… “look”… on her face. That … cool “cheerleader-look”... mocking and stuck-up.
–Maybe you can get some discount? A newly released prisoner in a coma, that psychiatrist could have been made just for you.-
-Har..har..har..- I narrow my eyes at her. And she gives me the tongue. Oh shit, that tongue brings back some damn hot memories.
Cordelia must read my mind, because a deep red color is spreading on her cheeks and down her elegant neck. I grin rakishly and wink suggestively at her.
The tension between us has lessened considerable. We’re almost flirty in the way we deal with each other. But we are never really alone. Not for long, anyway. She always manages to get one of the others with her.
We haven’t talked much yet. Not about anything serious. We have talked about Gerald a bit, but nothing about were the two of us are going after this.
I really, really hope things work out. One way or the other.
I was horny for The Queen Bitch back in Sunnydale, and hell yes, I fell in love with Cordelia the Friend in prison.
And now? There’s so much unsaid between us, so much hurt to deal with, but I know that my feelings hasn’t changed and I’m still… yeah… in love with her.
What I’m going to do with this and how SHE is feeling about it all, is a question I’m not able to answer. Yet.
-Faith, this is Kim.- Nik’s voice brings me back.
Wow, what a babe! Around Nik’s age, I think. Tall. Slim. Curly blond hair down to her collar. Amazing, warm blue eyes that remind me of Tara.
Wow, is a shrink supposed to look like that? How can the patients concentrate on pouring their souls out and tell their dirty little secrets to a face like that?
Cordelia slaps my hand. –You’re not in a coma again, are you?- She asks icily.
Nik laughs out loud and the shrink… Kim… looks a little perplexed.
We shake hands. And Nik tries to stifle her mirth.
Cordelia’s face is a mask.
Uh uh… That’s not good, that’s not good at all. Damage control. Where is a small and not harmful fire when you need one?
Faith is sleeping. She is pale and she looks uncharacteristic small and fragile, though even in this state she’s probably the strongest person I know. And it is not just because she’s the slayer.
Carefully I sit down on her bedside. Watch her even breath and the lines of strain in her face. Her beautiful hair is still covered by bandages. The skin around her eyes is dark and there are small cuts on the cheekbone, where she hit the floor after the bullets found her.
She has been awake over a week now. The hospital staff marvels at her extraordinary quick recovery, they can’t understand why she has come so far so quickly. And we marvel with them, some of us for show because we know the reason why, some of us for real. But all of us relieved and happy that she’s doing so well.
She stirs and groans a little.
I take her hand and she slowly opens her eyes.
-Hey you.- I kiss her cheek. –How are you feeling?-
-A lot better, thank you.- She narrow her eyes. -And now I just want to go home. This place drives me nuts.-
-I think you have to stay a little bit longer. The doctor said…-
-Why?- She whines. –I’m a slayer! I heal in no time. I don’t need all those hospital-people in white with all their tubes and stuff. I hate this! It reminds me of…- She stops herself.
-It reminds you of the last time you were in a coma.- I finish the sentence for her.
-I deserved it then.-
-That’s crap and you know it!-
My outburst startles her and she looks at me like I suddenly have grown an extra head.
-No one deserves a thing like that.-
-You weren’t there at the time, Tara. Ask Willow, she’ll tell you how fucked up I was. I killed people…I almost killed Willow. I have killed…-
-This is the past, Faith. Step away from it. Please! You’re are not like that anymore and you can’t live a life built on the past.- I try to reason with her. I’ve tried it before and I’ll try it until she understands.
-No, maybe I’m not like that anymore, but I’m still “her”, she is still in me and I fight her every day. And sometimes I’m afraid that one day I’ll slip, one day she wins and everything turns black again.-
-Oh Faith.- Her pain and her fear is almost palpable. –You mustn’t think like that. You’re NOT two personalities struggling for one body. You’ll self-destruct if you can’t find a way to integrate them into YOU and not let them fight against each other! Maybe Kim can help you with that? I couldn’t stand losing you…-
-Ah, the good Dr. Kim. I can hardly tell her the whole fucking screwed up story, can I?-
-No, but you can tell her enough. A big part of that has essentially nothing to do with you being a slayer, has it?-
-No, I suppose not. And she’s quite nice actually.- Faith grins. Enough seriousness for now and I let her get away with it.
-I bet she is…- I smirk.
-Oh, you got a dirty, dirty mind for someone so innocent looking!-
We chuckle and make faces at each other.
Faith turns my hand in hers and kisses the pulse point on my wrist. Her lips caress the throbbing vein and as always it jumps, stops and runs faster.
-H…Have you s…seen Cordelia?-
Faith grins again. -You certainly know how to kill a mood, don’t you?-
The expression on her face makes me giggle and she rolls her eyes.
-But no, I haven’t seen that much of her. Not alone anyway. She is always visiting with Wesley.-
-Do you know why?-
-No, I don’t really know what it all means. She seemed okay in the beginning.-
-I think she feels guilty. That could be a part of the answer.-
-Guilty?- Faith shakes her head in bewilderment. –Why should she feel guilty?-
-To quote Cordy herself: Duh! Her husband tried to kill you, Faith.-
-But that wasn’t her fault.-
-No, but you of all people know how guilt works, don’t you?-
I see some very important points smack Faith right in the head.
-Oh….- She murmurs.
-Yeah, OH !- I repeat, stressing the meaning and she gets it.
-Could you make her come and see me, Tara? Alone that is?-
I nod and get up from the bed.
-I will always love you, you know.- She smiles a little and her eyes are huge and dark. And sincere… The part of my heart that has Faith’s name engraved on it is breaking.
-Maybe next time around, huh?- Her voice is husky and trembling.
I close the door, leaving Faith behind it. Tears stream down my face.
-And I will always love you too.- I whisper into the silence of the hall.
I slip out of the warmth of the dream, the edges turn bright and the room clears up.
Cordelia is sitting in a chair by the bed.
Damn all those pills and syringes filled with God knows what. My slayer-senses are down to a minimum. People can walk in and out of my fucking room without me noticing it. I really hate that! Vampires would have a fucking field day with this if it weren’t for the protection-spells.
Her eyes are unfocused and faraway. What is she thinking about? She looks tired. Drained. All this has not been easy for her either.
I startle her. Her whole body jerks at the sound of my voice. She must be a nervous wreck underneath the relatively cool facade.
She tries to smile but she doesn’t fake it very well.
-Oh, you’re awake?-
-Can’t hide anything from you, can I?-
A flicker of hurt passes her eyes. I must be careful with the humor.
-You wanted to talk to me?-
Dear sweet Cordy, never the one for pleasantries and small talk. Oh, AND I kept THAT thought to myself…
-Yeah, I did.-
I try to find the thingy that gets me up in a vertical position. Oh, there it is. You don’t even have to sit up in your fucking bed by yourself in here. How the hell will I manage to do things be myself when I get out? Maybe I should buy one of these things? And maybe a cute little nurse…
-Faith!- Cordelia snaps.
-Hum, sorry… I was just…-
-Taking a nap? Yeah, I could see that. Maybe I should just leave you to it, then?-
-No!- I stop her before she gets up and pull her back in the chair.
A mocking eyebrow travels up her forehead.
-Sorry.- I mumble. –Please, stay.-
She shrugs her shoulders, but stays.
I don’t think guilt is the only thing that keeps her from being alone with me. I have given this a lot of consideration and maybe I should listen to the hints Tara gave me, even before all this happened.
The time for subtle probing and treading lightly is over. A more direct approach can certainly stir things up a bit and maybe then we can talk about the real issues… that is, if I don’t scare her away… or pisses her off…
I decide to make an emotional bungy jump right here and right now. –Why did you stop visiting me? Back in prison?-
Cordelia is visibly shaken by the question. Cascades of different emotions are in play on her face. Is she pulling “Queen Bitch” on me or…
-I…I…I..- She desperately seeks words that aren’t there for her. A Cordelia without a sharp retort and edgy sarcasm, isn’t the Cordelia I’m used to.
Should I be worried?
She closes her eyes and I see tears in her eyelashes. Suddenly she looks vulnerable. Fragile. Like she could crack any minute.
I’m almost out of the bed now, caressing her hair and trying to soothe whatever bad she’s feeling.
-Oh Cordelia, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have… we don’t have to… I’m sorry, all right? It’s okay. You don’t have to tell me anything. It’s really none of my business, anyway…-
-I didn’t want to be a dyke!- She sobs.
-I wanted a house in the suburbs, a fancy car for fun and station wagon for the family, I wanted a husband with a good job and loads of money. And I wanted the 2 point whatever… children… and a dog… and maybe a cat… Okay, what the heck! Toss a canary in the mix, too! I wanted to be respected and admired… I wanted to join social clubs with other wives… Gossip about the neighbors… I wanted…Oh God… I wanted…-
She buries her face in her hands and cry so hard and so desperate, that I would do anything to make it better.
-You can get all that, Cordelia.- I whisper into her hair. –Maybe Gerr…Gerald wasn’t what you wanted, but there's plenty of great guys out there who would be ecstatic and so very lucky to get a wife like you.-
It’s difficult to speak around the enormous lump of dread in my throat.
My guess that she’s harboring some kind sexual attraction for me may be correct, but it’s clearly not what she wants.
She wants the whole love-thing in a package complete with normalcy and a family. I can’t give her that.
Some part of me knew that sex wouldn’t be enough for her. It wouldn’t be enough for me either. Not any longer. Tara showed me what love could give you and I want that. I want to love and be loved.
I had hoped that maybe, given some time and some work, Cordelia might learn to… see beyond the sexual attraction and then maybe…maybe… No, no no! Dreaming never gets you anywhere, does it?
Abruptly Cordelia moves away from me.
-You really don’t get it, Faith. Do you?- She snarls. –A tough and streetwise convict like you should get those things. Man, you probably had sex with more people than I can count! How can you still be so fucking naive? I’m just asking here!-
-I was in love with you, you demented moron! How’s that for an answer to your question?- Her breathing is ragged and she almost spits at me.
She was in love with me? Oh…God…. WAS in love… At that time I never even considered the possibility. It explains a lot… It explains her sudden change, her bitchiness and the termination of her visits. She was in love with me back then… emphasis on WAS… The pain in my chest almost makes me gasp, but I keep it inside where it gnaws at the bits of my broken heart.
-Why didn’t you tell me, Cordelia?-
-Tell you? Ha!- She snorts. –So you could laugh at me again?-
-I wouldn’t have laughed.- I whisper and a sob almost escapes my control.
–I’m not laughing now.-
She stares at me for awhile and then her eyes soften a bit. –No, you’re not laughing.-
Courage. I’m a fucking slayer! If she turns me down, if SHE laughs at ME, so be it… I have been in lot worse situations than that.
-I was… AM in love with you too.-
-What!? You WHAT?-
-You heard me.-
The expression on Cordelia's face is indescribable. I would have laughed if the situation were different.
-But it doesn’t matter, does it? You don’t want to be a fucking dyke, do you?-
She just keeps staring at me. Her mouth moves in small gasps, like she’s a fish out of water
Trust your instincts. Don’t mess this up.
Gently I reach over the gab between us and caress her chin. Slowly, giving her all the opportunity she could want to get away form me. Then I lower my lips to hers.
It has never been gentle or tender with us. It’s has always been rough, feral and similar to fighting. But not this time.
I want to show her a different side of me. How things could be between us if she wants it to.
And how desperately I want her to want it!
None of us are comfortable talking about our feelings. As Tara said, we both have a lot to hide, but maybe this can be my way of explaining how I feel. If I’m lucky, she’ll understand and accept it.
Tentatively my lips explore hers, no hunger, and no tongue. Only tender appreciation of the woman I love.
In the beginning she’s tense and she don’t respond, but gradually I feel her relax and her lips starts moving against mine.
Her hands are in my hair. A soft moan escapes me. She presses so much of her body into mine as she possible can and a responding moan follows.
-Cordelia?- I whisper. –Are you sure?-
-No.- Her hazel eyes meet mine and in them I recognize a scarcely suppressed passion. -I’m not sure of anything anymore.-
-But…- I begin, unsure of what this means.
-I know I’m in love with you.- She mumbles against my lips. –Everything else be damned…-
Inside my chest my heart is swelling and I’m almost afraid it’ll burst.
-Are you…? Will you…?-
Cordelia smiles a little. And it gives me hope. –This is not going to be easy.-
-No.- I must agree to that. We’re not the easiest people around.
-I still don’t want to be a dyke.- she smirks and kiss me lightly on the nose.
-I can work with that.-
-And even if I don’t like it, we still have a lot to talk about.-
-Yeah, and talk we will.-
-But not tonight.-
-No, not tonight.- I kiss again and this time she responds with an eagerness that almost makes me tilt.
-Oh God…- I can’t believe this is really happening.
-God has nothing to do with it.- She smirks again.
I’m going to be in so much trouble…
-Come on.- I make room for her in the bed.
She cuddles up to me. Her hand caresses my stomach. There are no harsh words. No anger. We just lie there. Peacefully. Relishing in the feel of each other.
Maybe it’s going to be all right??
Slut (Not a bad word… just The End in Danish)