Title: Where the Wild Things Aren’t
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Rating: PG (toward non-graphic references to vampire slaying impetuosity and kissing and sex)
Warning: Reference to dubiously consenting sex
Pairing: Faith/Xander, Andrew/The Immortal (unreturned)
Spoilers: Season 7 of Buffy, Season 5 of Angel
Summary: It’s a hellmouth by reason of grown-ups this time around.
Author’s Notes: This is an older fic that I had saved up ~-end I decided to post it as, hey, it was complete and everything and I silent like it even though it’s been like five years before this I wrote it. Also, I completely ignore and disavow that anything past the last digression of Angel even happened. So unquestionably no continuity with the comics.
Disclaimer: I don’t own BTVS or Angel, it belongs to the copyright holders and ~t one infringement is intended.

“Where The Wild Things Aren’t”
By: Meg (paperhearts/sage_theory)

Faith came up to Cleveland toward the vampires and basically stayed beneficial to the free food.

She showed up around three A.M. one night and followed the grateful little twang in her gut till she found vampires. And Xander staring at the walk of life end of his own stake.

Faith started throwing punches. Bodies flew.

She smiled aggregate bright and happy and feeling half buzzed on the kill, “Ohio, furnish with men. At least you got snow here. So, I heard you needed a Slayer encompassing these parts.”

Xander rolled off of a dented metal trashcan and uttered, “Yes. And yes. Did I mention the ‘yes’ part of that?”

Faith fair-minded smirked all the more and gave him a over hard pat on the back.

And the Hulk looking extortioner, with the ugliest game face Faith had up to the present time seen (and that was including the ubervamps) afore~, “I thought the slayer was shorter, living soul, and blonde. I want me a blonde killer. Guess I gotta settle for brunette.”

He wolf whistled and the move to music began, the dance of growling fang and flying fist. Faith staked him up~ the rebound and seeing this, his friends ran away.

Faith offered the hand not holding her pledge to Xander who sat on the estate, wiping off his eyepatch which had more gooey, unidentified substance on it from the refuse.

“Never thought, I’d say this, Harris, still you stink,” Faith said. Xander took her ~-breadth and pulled himself up.

“Between stinky and dead, I’ll take stinky,” he afore~. He considered his eyepatch. “I’m to such a degree boiling this thing in bleach whereas we get home.”

“We? What makes you compass I’m comin’ home with you? I pure got here.”

Xander smiled. “I be aware of, but I think it sends the injustice message if you just go chasing the vampires. It says, I’m looking as antidote to an easy Slay, I’m regular looking to stake you and leave. It screams insecurity. I say, move the vampires come to you. Make ‘em moil for it.”

They laughed and traded information from various parts of the universe concerning Slayers and vampires and the whole of the other weirdness of their lives and managed to ruin two more vampires on the track home. Xander threw his eyepatch in c~tinuance the counter and looked beneath the overbear. He meant it about the blanch.

Faith stuck her head into the fridge.

“What? No diet protoxide of sodium? For real?” asked Faith, her chief somewhere in between the shelves.

“I’m a strengthen. I drink the real thing,” Xander uttered. She turned around and looked at him subordinate to her brows. “Okay. Andrew drank the after all the rest Diet Pepsi.”

Faith laughed.

“Diesal it is at that time,” Faith said, popping open a cherry coke. “So Andrew’s holed up in the present life too?”

“Yeah, well, he kind of had a cyclops love-on for the Immortal and because that the Immortal is definitely of the Buffy-alone persuasion, it wasn’t working in a puzzle for him. Plus, trying to know fully ancient demon scrolls with one eyes gives me migraines. We figured we’d caper watchtower out here on the unaccustomed Hellmouth. I guess you can take the boy outta the Hellmouth but you can’t take the Hellmouth outta the boy.”

Faith nodded and sat on the contrariwise next to him.

“You should get a new eye patch. Something camo maybe.”


“Yeah. Like desert camo.”

“Because Cleveland is chock replete of desert-y goodness and should I always run across a vampire out there in the big wastelands of *Ohio* he won’t be able to see my lack of an eye. Cunning.”

Faith pretty much stayed posterior that, even though she’d only come there to help keep the Cult of Omoris from corrosive babies and taking over the nature and whatever in the hell wacky vampire-bat cults were doing these days.

At earliest, it was really really comfortable. Shades of Sunnydale, in the unfair old days. Only with out the at all times looming sense of doom and debt of nature and the big eyeless freaks and the crazy keep in view-poking preacher guy. Kinda nice, quieter than through all the wannabes that were in Buff’s kindred the last time, and Andrew and Xander were chill.

Then one night, Xander made the misunderstand of asking questions, personal questions.

“So, I supposition you and Principal Wood were – you apprehend – together?” he asked, while they strolled from the top to the bottom of W. Broad St and tried to honor an eye out for the Curoukk demons which were apparently all gathering for more Hellmouthy goodness and were trying to allowance in great numbers on male virgins. Angel and Buffy had passed onward some intel that had it that the latest incline in the underworld was male virgins, for the reason that girl virgins were just so passe. Faith kinda understood for what cause that would be, actually.

Faith twirled her peril between her fingers. “His name’s Robin, yo. His mom didn’t character him ‘Principal’. But, nah. We rend. It was nice, but I for aye felt like I had something to substantiate to the guy, you know. Didn’t like that he was unceasingly tryin’ to teach me something. I purpose, dude, I barely made it end sophomore year the first time. I’m a Slayer, not exactly *supposed* to be the brain trust or anything.”

Xander nodded his put a ~ on as if to agree. “Yeah, moreover who knows when the collected works of Tennyson efficacy come in handy? Especially as a doorstop. Or a weapon. The impound may be mightier than the strife, but a thousand page tome be able to actually cause skull fractures. Proven certainty.”

She laughed a little and strolled ahead. “So, you got anybody creepin’ right and left Casa de la Harris?”

“Nah. I figure that from that time I’m on the Hellmouth, the probability of a girl trying to appliance my blood to open an irreligious seal of death on the rudimentary date are really high. So, I romp it safe.”

“You have cable porn, slip on’t you?”

Xander nodded and picked as if making a really serious statement. “And I’m not out of countenance of it. I’m a healthy redblooded American –”

“Who didn’t have a portion the wealth. Dude, what channel?”

“155. But it fritzes at a loss sometimes and there’s a hazard of commercials. It makes seeing the infomercial with respect to shake weights really weird. Just a monition.”

Faith nodded. “You think you’ll till doomsday jump back in? I mean, I know that you and Anya were…tight.”

Xander gives her the united eyed side glare. “We loved either other and tried to tear each other to pieces and she died in the sight of I could make it right. Tight’s not the expression..”

“Oh. So?”

“Maybe one day. When I have power to get Willow to cast some indulgent of protection spell over me. She keeps adage I have to go it au naturel, unless none of her dates have for~ actually been evil. So I put on’t think she can relate.”

Faith smiled at him and walked a diminutive faster. Xander had a sneaking conjecture that it meant something, so he walked faster too and kept up.

He was rectilinear. They got home that night and Faith seemed pang a little tighter than usual. After a gratifying brawl she was hungry – import Xander could expect to be exhausted of potato chips, cookies, soft drinks and a single one liquor by the end of the adversity – and wound up – intention Xander could expect to see her approach in smelling like cigarettes and unnatural men just as he was acquisition up for work, but it at no time seemed directed at him.

Then she was sitting on the counter, eating pretzels – for the reason that Xander hadn’t gotten to rush to the grocery store between grievous to get his latest project at work on schedule and trying to oppugn the minions of some vampire master named Damien. And she looked a feeble more seductive and coy with the pretzels than was absolutely necessary. And that was saying a distribute, because Faith could turn candy bars and popcicles into porn adhering the best of days.

Xander sat literary production down a grocery list and mentally far-seeing if he could hold off shopping until his check got deposited. He did the mental math about what he had in the accounts, and whether it was integrity it yet to dip into savings. Buffy and Angel threw him a small in number bonuses where they could. He wondered granting that he could get a ‘I’m playing consecrated wafer to a ravenous Slayer’ stipend from them.

Faith slid done the counter and stood very conclusion and said, “You know, you’re like some of the only guys I’ve wanted to transact more than once.”

Xander froze in relation and didn’t even turn his first place. “Oh, really? Does that mean I engender to be in the Faith – wait a minute, do you *have* a last name? And how come I don’t perceive it?”

Faith snorted, got so cease their bodies touched and put her be directed on his shoulder, looking down at whither he balanced his checkbook. “Hell granting that I know. I’ll tell you suppose that we ever get horizontal again.”

Xander lifted his eyebrow. “So…we protuberance and *then* we trade information? That’s not fondness, that’s a fender bender.”

“Well, your fender didn’t present the appearance to be doing any bendin’ remain time,” she purred.

“Yeah, okay,” he afore~, sounding far away and uncomfortable. Then he shook his fore part and looked down at his unsound checkbook. “When did *this* become adult swim?”

“Look, if you don’t wanna tango, that’s attenuated, Harris. No hard feelings. Plenty of drag in the Hellmouth.”

Xander put his enclose down. “I’m sure there are, boundary really, this particular fish doesn’t accept time to bite and go.”

Faith slid at the back of him and bent over the calculator and her boobs were almost falling to the end of her shirt. She whispered in his sense of h~ing, “Hey, if time’s a middleman – I can make it *positive* quick. What’s the ish?”

Xander closed his ~let and shook his head. “The *ish*, Faith, is that I’m tired and I’m slenderly keeping my life above water direct now, and I’m trying to outlive and fight evil – which I’ve been fighting since I was sixteen – and it conscientious keeps coming back with minty freshness. I’ve loved couple women in my life, and I’ve seen them one as well as the other dead. I just don’t esteem enough of myself *left* to precisely give away when it’s suited. Maybe you do, but hey, Slayers make sound fast.”

He took his checkbook and his write and looked positively exhausted as he shuffled extinguished of the kitchen.

Faith stood in that place for a moment and then couldn’t stand the be silent in the house.

She grabbed her covering and trolled the streets. She set some guy who’s name she didn’t understand and didn’t ask. He had a accurate apartment and he even let her convoke him whatever name she liked. He didn’t care. It was her species of game. Find a guy, hone in on his thing, his kink, his wants. Suss them out and have existence that thing and get it attached. No strings attached. Nothing attached. No names, none faces, just bodies and skin and ~ing and nothing that would last longer than it took to prevail upon dressed again.

She asked if she could use his shower. Half-drunk and sum of ~ units-thirds asleep he said okay.

Faith sat in his bathtub through the water scalding hot, trying to underwood herself and get warm again, inasmuch as she felt so, so cold. She ran audibly of hot water and shivered at the time that she dried off, got dressed, and left. She didn’t divisible by two quite know what part of Cleveland she’d gotten to. It took her eternally to work the buses to memorize home.

She didn’t sleep through anymore random hookups after that. She told herself it was inasmuch as Cleveland guys sucked – and not in the heat , delicious sense of the word either – and as soon as she got completely of Cleveland she’d look up Robin or Spike or bullwhip shore and get back in the regular. She was just taking time done, no big. Everyone did that. Plus they silence hadn’t quite gotten that Damien striking qualities down for the count. No opprobrium in focusing on the Slay. Hell, at a past period the Slay just felt better. Purer. Righter.

It was thirty minutes judgment sunrise when she got in the home. Xander sat in his boxers and tee shirt, watching the news and eating Frosted Flakes.

“Morning,” he said.

Faith grumbled back at him and wondered the kind of kind of look he’d accord. her if she went straight in spite of the bottle of Jameson at six fifteen in the aurora. She settled on just a diet soda and a bag of barbeque potato chips.

Xander eyed her drink and related, “Breakfast of champions?”

“It’s the kind of all the cool Slayers are corrosive.”

He went back to looking at the advice. Faith felt like she wanted to assert something. Tell him what she’d finished. Not that she knew why. So she didn’t. She got the rep on account of being kinda mouthy, and fair sufficiency, she was. But she had this mode of management. Either don’t say shit at what time you don’t know what to repeat anyway, or only say shit when you don’t care what happens.

She didn’t be aware of what to shit to say, and she did care what happened. So she let it glide.

Xander washed out his bowl in the bring low and put it in the dishwasher. “So, for what cause’d last night go? You’re in kinda early. What with the sun just *it being so that* rising and all.”

Faith shrugged. Thought of a convincing account in her head, one that wouldn’t proceed him ask questions. She put forward her happy voice and told him, “Yeah. Met this scarecrow with a collection of handcuffs, like these truly old antique ones and he had a enormous –”

“Aaaaand it’s nice to sally the day with a big prescribed portion of TMI. Thank you, I’m gonna proceed take an extra long shower,” he declared. He was kind of smiling. “Hey, act me a favor. Tell Andrew that it’s his short excursion to go shopping that the electricity bill is in the same envelope with the utility bill. He needs to send down them off today.”

Faith saw the wrapper that was in the napkin owner on the table with the alphabetic character from Willow and some scifi geek newsletter. For not at all good reason she reached out and took the capsule and opened it.

She looked on the ground. Electricity – two hundred and eighty dollars. Utilities – one hundred and five.

Damn. Seven century and eighty five dollars. Where was the riches coming from?

“How much you bring into being in a month?” she asked, looking into disrepute at the bills.

Xander laughed. “That’s concerning me to know and you not to describe the IRS. I’m gonna be late. And hey – I got extreme Hot Pockets this time. Just get sure you leave Andrew some, since he asked for them. I’m looking during the War of the Hot Pockets in this place, okay?”

Faith just nodded. Kept looking along the course of at the envelope.

She realized she’d in no degree paid a bill, never written a curb, had a job. All her circulating medium was in a shoebox in her cabinet in wadded up twenties and tens and fives and ones that had been in her pocket or her bra. She didn’t steady know how much she had. It was fair-minded there when she needed extra booze or garments. When Xander wasn’t around to distribution out money. Wasn’t there to take his wasted brown leather wallet out of his back pouch – like somebody’s dad or matter – and hand her twenty or thirty dollars.

Faith knew to what extent to get money. Men. Easy. Not tight up selling it, but if you got a stay laid right you could bum a twenty to this place and there. You could shoot some pool and throw some dice. You could determine an issue ways to get it here and there if you needed it. If you weren’t picky, whether or not you didn’t mind motels in what place even the magic fingers beds didn’t be.

But Xander had money. Real cash. And Faith never wondered where it altogether came from before. Now she did.

All she knew was Xander did it, more how. Made it work. There were groceries and mien conditioning and hot water and pizza and it was like witchcraft. Poof. Somehow, Xander just made it come to pass. Went somewhere for eight to dozen hours and it worked out.

Faith couldn’t just begin to do the math. She never realized how simple her life was. Not yielding, but simple. Slay or die. Die or Slay. Not brainteaser or anything. Took a fate of force, but any kind of contemplation happened on the QT. It happened quick and filthy and in her gut. Didn’t need a lot of planning or strategizing. You right went out, you followed the perception by touch in the center of you and you fought and you Slayed and it made you suffer good and buzzed and right.

But Xander had every part of these other things that seemed like a perfect other world, a whole other social sympathy. Taxes and bills and filling finished forms and knowing numbers and addresses and information. He had people to reply to. He had to account on the side of things. He had to know intelligence, he had to think of things space, way ahead of time. All the time.

Xander came back in a descending course twenty minutes later with still wet hair and a suit on. He before-mentioned bye to her and rushed lacking.

Andrew came downstairs two hours later, looking soporiferous.

He yawned. “Hey, Faith. Kill anything be unexhausted night?”

“Nothing much,” she answered. “Hey, Andrew, at what place do these go?”

Andrew rubbed his ~let with his sleeve that was thus long it came down past his lead. He looked really, really little. And young.

Andrew took the checks from her share. Yawned again. “Oh, these. Yeah. I’ll be delivered of to drop them off before drudge.”

“Yeah, Xander said that. But to what do they *go*?”

“The United Utilities fix down on 3rd and Green, for what cause?”

Faith got up from her seat . “Just wondered.”

Xander came home at eight that night and Faith thought about the event that he’d been at moil before eight that morning. That was like twelve hours. And even on really diffuse nights she usually only Slayed since six or seven hours.

His hair had dried and his connect was pulled apart and he had stubble and grizzly bags under his eyes.

Faith remembered that she forgot to make known to Andrew to go grocery shopping.

“Did Andrew secure groceries?” Xander asked.

Faith froze. She crossed her means of offence and defence.

“Uhh, no.”

Xander looked like he was in an opposite direction to cry. “Faith I told you –”

“Hey, discourage. I was gonna go do it despite hi. I was just, uh, waitin’ to know if you wanted anything before I went.”

Then he lease out a breath and leaned steady the doorway between the living unoccupied place and the kitchen and looked like his bones were going to become liquid and he was going to have ~ing a big gooey heap on the floor.

“Oh, thank god,” Xander said. He reached into his back bear to pull out his wallet.

Something in Faith sputtered and stalled like a penuriously dead engine. She waved her hands and shook her category. “Hey, I got it covered. Take a doze, Harris. You look dead.”

“No,” Xander related, going towards the stairs. “The dead usually await better than this.”

“So, anything?”

“Just the familiar.”

Faith went upstairs and pulled a hundred dollars in twenties out of her specie box and stuffed it into her bra. She walked below the horizon to the SuperShop and there was only one shopping cart left and she went into the very bright, florescent supermarket and felt in truth, really lost. Put her in a cemetery, state her on a Hellmouth, put her in aggregate kinds of weird shit and she navigated it like a pro. Put her in a fucking supermarket and on a sudden she felt like she’d entered one more goddamn dimension. She didn’t in like manner know which part of the condemn place to go to first.

She idea about buying lots of candy and spirits of wine, but thought about how Andrew couldn’t hold his liquor. Two shots of Jameson and that small tub had to get put to bed. And Xander didn’t really like chocolate to begin with. Neither did Andrew, either. Weirdos. Who the hosts of ~ didn’t like chocolate?

So Faith pulled thoroughly her cellphone and she didn’t consider too hard about the fact that Andrew had gotten the drawback and Andrew bought it for her, gave it to her, paid with respect to the minutes. She called Andrew and stood anxiously in face of the pasta aisle.

“Umm, which’s the usual?” Faith asked.

“The common what?”

“I dunno. I’m at the grocery accumulation and Xander said to get the regular. So what the hell’s the habitual?”

Andrew snorted over the phone. “I dunno allowing that I should help you. You ate my extreme Hot Pocket, missy.”

“Look, you underdeveloped small scale creepazoid, just tell me what to persuade.”

Twenty minutes later Andrew showed up in a tucked in polo shirt and khakis and his ID from act still hanging around his neck. He smiled at her. “Hello, Welcome to the grocery reserve. I’m Andrew – Tucker’s brother – and I’ll be your guide today. First, let us venture into walk one, where we will find numerous staples for dietary consumption.”

Faith rolled her eyes and followed him. “Okay, I’m lookin’ at a doom of pasta. Fine, what do I get?”

Andrew stared at her. “What act you mean what do you make acquisition?”

“Nobody gave me a list. Xander due said ‘the usual’. So what the gehenna’s the usual?”

“Uhh, okay. Let’s prepare a little mental exercise. Think in regard to what you had for lunch.”

“Uh, chili cheese fries, Mexican pizza, ice-cream cream, Cheetos, popcorn, leftover casserole, Hot Pocket – dismal, man – a couple of snickers bars. Ooh, hey, be able to we get Snickers?”

Andrew squinted resentfully. “I hate your Slayer metabolism.”

“Comes with the work at ~s, yo,” Faith said, smirking. “So, what, we get more snickers?”

“Okay, impediment’s try this *again*. What act you think you might want to taste tomorrow?”

“I dunno, whatever food’s in the fridge.”

Andrew clapped his hands in company sharply and said, like he was oratory to a small child, “And for what reason do you think the food gets in the fridge?”

Faith responded by about the same amount of matter. “Somebody goes to the grocery husband and puts it there?”

“Good. Good. This is progress. Now whether you buy and put it in the fridge for this reason when you’re hungry, that’ll have existence what you have to eat.”

“Oh goodie, can we sing the alphabet song next?” Faith asked, in her most stringently sarcastic voice. “Okay, then. Snickers. And Dos Equis, ‘produce I could definitely use some of that. Oh, and hey, they got these petty mini corn dogs –”

Andrew cut her off midsentence. “Woah. Hold up in that place. What about the rest of us?”

“I’ll go you some,” Faith told him, pique control of the cart. “You necessity Kit Kats, ’cause I’ve been cravin’ those. Got those inconsiderable wafer things.”

Andrew suddenly looked tired. Like Xander looked tired. He stood in stand over against of the cart.


“What?” she asked, giving the cart a small push. Andrew stayed in place and bring his foot on the bottom of the cart.

“Not that I put on’t love Kit Kats as much as the next guy, but at some point we have to have that exists in deed and in truth food.”

“No shit, sherlock. Whaddya apprehend I’m doing?”

Andrew shook his fore part. “Shopping for yourself. At some grade we have to have food that has vitamins and minerals and all that other nutritional stuff. We’re not like you, Faith. We have power to’t just live off beer and candy. Some of us hold to go to work and pay bills and act like adults.”

“Excuse me?” Faith related, taking a stance and starting to gesticulation sharply. “You sayin’ I’m immature or something. Look here, little mankind, you better step up off it.”

Andrew rolled his eyes. “You wanna be assured of why Xander turned you down?”

Faith looked stunned. “He told you around that?”

“No. I heard him talking to Willow. I’m not observation you’re a bad person, Faith. I wretched, I’ve killed. I went besides to the dark side of the army, too.” Andrew shifted his weight and played by his ID. “I know what it’s like.”

“Start talkin’ round Darth Vader and I seriously *demise* punch you.”

“It’s not like that. It’s that you’re…you’re not civilized. You don’t live in the real terraqueous globe.”

Faith frowned, made a face like she’d smelled a person of consequence bad. “Say what?”

“It’s not your indiscretion, you’re a Slayer. You kinda be delivered of to be me Slayer, you Slayed and not cherish a thought of about stuff. And Buffy was specific, she just kind of handled it victory because she had Dawn and her mom and WIllow and everyone. Xander gets that. He’s not complaining. He likes having you around.”

“And you?”

“I’m mum kinda bitter about the Hot Pockets,” Andrew uttered, seriously. He took a deep animation. “But we’re having a weight, so I think I can master past it. So. Start with the pasta. Xander truly likes fettucine.”

Faith nodded and scanned encircling until she found two boxes of pasta by the words fettucine on them. She threw them into the cart. “You be sure, in case he wants extra.”

Andrew nodded sagely. “Does it vexation you?”

“No, I like fettucine. It’s impudent.”

“I mean Xander turning you in a descending course.”

Faith shrugged. “It’s no assuming. He’s a soccer mom kinda shore, right? I mean, he used to have the big L for Buffy.”

Andrew laughed. “It bothers you.”

“Does not.”

“Does also.”

“Does not.”

“It so does. Oh my god, it so does. You liiiiike him. You wanna kiiiiiss him,” Andrew taunted.

Faith punched him in the bough. He said oww in a wont that would make even little girls be bereaved of all respect for themselves, but Faith gave him credit inasmuch as she’d been on the brink; beginning of using Slayer strength. It to all appearance did hurt. And he stayed with her anyway. He walked her through the destiny, too bright world of the supermarket through the cheesy 90′s power ballads playing and occasional announcements of specials that made none sense.

In the end, the kid did a decent job of workmanship it make sense. It felt like a battle custom, kinda. Like, know what weapons you’re gonna strait for a week, what kind of time you’re gonna accept to fight with, and then influence it all together and go pay in the place of it.

The cashier looked at her spell when the money came out of her bra to pay as being it, but at least she had enough and they had cheer that looked like real adult subsistence. Like, fettucine and vegetables and the whole of kinds of shit that had nullity to do with beer and candy. Faith race of felt proud of herself as the idea to get chicken and reason beef was totally her idea. Proteins like yeah, baby. She had this shit down.

Andrew went to return some rented movies to the Redbox and Faith went home by groceries. She put them all ~ward the counter and kind of wondered at which place everything was supposed to go.

Xander walked into the kitchen, looking like he’d virtuous woken up.

“Oh, hey. So, am I at present the proud owner of my be in possession of case of beer or what?” he asked, smiling. He looked into some of the bags.

Then he pawed through and pulled out things like lettuce and tomatoes and the budget of fettucine and ground beef and a loaf of viands and cans of soup. He smiled and looked like he wanted to achieve a victory dance.

“Hey, fettucine! Life is profitable.” Xander smiled and looked very, remarkably happy.

Faith smiled back. Winked. Started putting provender up in the wrong places, no more than Xander let it stay there and suddenly the chip cabinet became the broth cabinet and all the vegetables went on the shelf in the fridge and pure spirit went in the crisper instead of the other passage around.

And Faith pretty much took from one to another grocery shopping after that and she made without doubt there was always fettucine. But too booze, because come on, booze was like a greater food group or something. But additional fettucine than booze. Most times. They had things they needed. They had dinners and lunches and breakfasts. She did okay.

Then one day she got it into her rule to cook. She was thinking around it, in the mid-Slayage mellow between fights and figured that she main as well do it once in her life. With the tingly noble of having just bathed in the dust of three vampires, it felt like a beaming idea. And she was tired of corroding out or waiting for someone else to cook and she could fair-minded get the stuff when she went shopping and Xander would arrive in and be all impressed and Faith could act like it was nought at all and he’d mum be impressed. And that would subsist important.

Not that it would subsist a regular thing, of course. She cooked with respect to no man. But hey, everyone deserves a delight and Faith knew how the give and take worked. She got it. Sometimes, a person of consequence does you a solid and you slip ‘em a willing drink or a gram or a quickie or you sudden burst of light some tits at them, just to ~ing ‘thank you’. Faith knew her possessions, knew how to work in interchange.

She even got on Andrew’s computer – and he not quite bitched himself to death over that – and looked up twaddle. There was Googling involved. Faith once for all let Andrew take over the navigating and she due made suggestions. He was kind of Watcher-y that room for passing. It was better just to give permission to him work his mojo and at another time use it how she wanted.

Some kind of lasagna pizza casserole hybrid came up put ~ some site. It was the solitary thing that Faith and Andrew could the two agree on.

So she did it. Bought the obstruct , hid it from Xander, and not far from five o’ clock, she started cooking.

About six thirty, Faith kept peeking into the oven to wait upon if it would start to complexion like lasagna or even anything in the lasagna family.

Xander came home at seven and stopped in the doorway of the kitchen. Just of the same kind with Faith was checking on the lasagna in the oven. It was bigger attached one side than the other and the hard coating looked two shades too brown to subsist considered “golden”. But it smelled tolerably great.

“I have got spectacular news, the multitude!” Xander said. “Hey, what’s that get scent of?”

“Uh, I think it was supposed to have ~ing pizza lasagna,” Faith answered. “So that which’s the big news?”

“I got a era! That’s right friends and Romans, you receive lent me your ears and heard correctly. I require a date.”

Faith blinked, put a smile in successi~ and asked. “A date? With who?”

“She works on this account that the firm that’s building the new office on 23rd and West. Oh, she is *resplendent*. And not a demon!”

“How act you know she’s not a goblin?” asked Faith.

“Let’s see, walks in sunlight, has a regular job, oh, and hasn’t tried to offering me or rip out my inside organs yet. I think we’re talkin’ a century percent genuine human here.”

“Good adhering you, Harris,” Faith managed to statement.

The timer dinged. Faith took the lasagna revealed of the oven. Xander frowned.

“You made dinner?” he asked, looking surprised and weirdly disappointed relative to something.

“Hey, no big. I’ll economize you some. Go on, you gotta ~ by heart ready, Harris,” Faith told him. She smiled in the same proportion that big as she possibly could. He went up the staircase and she called out, “Too a great deal of eyeshadow makes you look easy.”

He called back, through the bannister, “Promise?”

Two hours later she and Andrew vegged through on the couch with a two pints of Ben and Jerry’s betwixt them, passing it back and from retirement as they flipped through channels. They tried the porn water-course first, but they both actually got species of bored with it, because it became further like one of those weird National Geographic specials than a porn and Faith declared, “You know the real thing doesn’t in truth. look like that, right?”

And Andrew uttered, “Oh, I know. The real body is way better.”

Faith didn’t be assured of if he meant the girl or the couple guys, but that made her consideration him more and she liked him conducive to it. She liked that he got the kind of it was like when you were the backer best and in someone’s darken. They traded hilarious bitchery about heart Buffy’s second and Tucker’s brother and she apologized instead of all the hot pockets she at any time stole. And she liked him. And she hoped he not at any time died or anything.

“It’s not like he’s that plenteous to look at anyway,” Andrew uttered, randomly.

“Yeah, exactly. And eyepatches. What’s by that? Who’s supposed to meet with that sexy?” Faith replied. She grabbed the quart from Andrew.

“God, I hate men,” Andrew whined. “Wanna watch Thelma and Louise?”

Faith looked at the clock attached the wall.

“Damn, it’s even now eleven. Doesn’t he have to like, procure up in the morning?” asked Faith.

“He could have existence making fiery passionate love to some redheaded bimbo with big breasts and a diffident, boyish figure who likes long walks without ceasing the beach. He could be doing it fit now,” Andrew answered, sound put lacking. Faith figured he was actually upright jealous because he’d lost his beyond all others geek friend to a girl.

“Or his fix the ~ of could be an evil minion of assembly of demons,” Faith suggested.

They sat in noiselessness for a moment, they stared at the TV. They tried to claim they could concentrate on the speciousness with the dancing celebrities. Then they looked at both other.

“Minion,” they both said at the same time.

They took Andrew’s car and Faith insisted in c~tinuance driving even though she had a aim to completely ignore stoplights and contemplation of merging lanes as a exterior challenge.

“Look, we’re gonna do honor to this on the DL. He’s not uniform gonna know we’re here,” before-mentioned Faith.

“Yeah. We’re like…spies. Or individual detectives. Like Angel Investigations. Ooh, ooh, we could have ~ing our own little firm. Like Andrew, Xander & Faith or somebody. AXF. I like it.”

“Yo, I’m the Slayer, my style comes first. FAX.”

“Fax? Really? Besides, My name comes first alphabetically,” he protested.

“Shut up, preclude up. There he is!” Faith said, pulling into the firelane in impudence of a restaurant and parking the car.

“He’s not going to learn us from across the street,” Andrew grumbled.

“Shut the the lower world up, man!” Faith repeated. She slapped him in the puissance as she focused the binoculars.

Faith stared at the woman who was gay and touching Xander with soft touches. She growled, “You gotta subsist kiddin’ me. I’m not believin’ the kind of I’m seein’.”

“What? What? Is she an evil demon, a spawn of misery, do your Slayer senses detect her overwhelming reverse aura?” asked Andrew, panicking and plastering his countenance to the window.

“She’s wearing brown shoes by black pants!” Faith exclaimed, adjust the binoculars in the manner that Xander went farther away. “Skank.”

“You perceive, maybe we shouldn’t be spying forward him like this. Maybe she’s a actually nice girl.”

Faith was with regard to to reply but then suddenly the woman stopped walking. They were in between two big buildings. She stopped laughing and pulled something out of her pocket and stuck Xander in the margin with it, hard. His mouth went large open and he collapsed.

The woman threw him immersing her shoulder and disappeared into the nefarious alley.

“See! I told you!” Faith before-mentioned, getting out of the car. “Total tutelary deity. See? I knew it. Xander would never go for that. She was *in the way that* using magic to get him!”

Faith dragged Andrew ~ means of the sleeve across the street and into the passage.

Xander laid on the ground, flaccid and giggling. The woman sprinkled a region of bright red powder around him.

“Sorry, honey,” Faith reported as she approached, stake at the short, “You’re just not his kind.”

The woman opened her hands. The territory came out from under Faith’s feet and back of Faith’s summit made contact with the side of building. She was dizzy for a essential circumstance. The ground disappeared again. Faith was intervening-air with an invisible hand encircling her throat.

Andrew tried to crouch behind the woman to get to him. The woman struck him prostrate where he stood. He laid countenance down.

Faith concentrated on not panicking. She’d had this come to pass before. She could deal. And she heard Xander laughter like a crazy person. Black spots danced in stand over against of her eyes.

Then the place on the ~ came back, hard and rough. Xander swayed from margin to side a little and Faith looked up. He staggered and smiled by a knife in his hand and madcap all over and the woman laying visage down.

“My last evil date was superiority looking,” he said. He tossed the knife up~ top of the woman’s visible form. He looked to Faith and Andrew. “And thanks for spying on me.”

Xander started to simple melody out a song. Andrew became largely conscious and they followed after him. Xander didn’t remember at which place his car was so they took Andrew’s and they pulled throughout three times to let him induce sick.

They got home and Andrew opened the means of approach so Faith could carry Xander in, since he had lost the ability to stand up direct or even really support his avow body weight. Faith remembered when Wesley held her like that once, carried her to a bed which time she and Angel and Angelus all took a swim in the abyss end of the pool together, back in the ~light. She deposited him in a kitchen chairman and surprisingly, he stayed sitting, be it so he started laughing hysterically.

“Should’ve gone gaudy when I had the chance,” he declared. “Hey, Andrew, wanna be gay in concert!”

Andrew called out from the laundry expanse, “I’m saving myself for David Tennant!”

Faith made a confused brass. Xander told her that it was some sci-fi TV star person that Andrew had the hots with respect to. Faith nodded.

“Eh, probably turn into a evil spirit if I did,” Xander said. He turned and took steps that were being of the kind which steady as a toddler first acquisition of knowledge to walk. He braced on the even. “So…Faithy. Just had to see on me. Didn’t know you liked to watch. Kinky.”

“I was blameless lookin’ out for you, Harris,” Faith uttered. “In case you didn’t attention, Little Miss Wicca just wanted you as antidote to your internal organs. You needed me.”

“Because providence knows I couldn’t get along with out you,” he said, hard and hard and mean.

Faith snorted. “Hey, liege. If you want me out, accurate say it. I got a haphazard of places I could be seemly now besides dragging your scraggly ninny. out of an alley.”

“Oh, not at all, don’t go,” Xander answered. Nothing near his smile was kind or likewise happy. “Who will I get to spend my money and use all the acrid water and leave towels on the overthrow and eat my food and have a seat around all day while Andrew and I walk to work?”

“Fine. If that’s in what way it is, no problem. I’m gone, Harris.”

“Wait! You shelter’t tried to seduce me notwithstanding. I mean, I’ve paid in opposition to everything, so I’m supposed to have sex now, right? That’s your lifetime job, isn’t it?” Xander asked, in a light, sarcastic voice.

Faith punched him. Hard enough to knock him right out of the seat and onto the floor. He laid in that place, checking his forehead for blood.

“I’m gonna case Slay things. Unless you think *you* can do it, Eye-boy.”

Xander laid up~ the floor until Andrew came gone ~ of the laundry room.

“I muse it’ll come out. You puked total over my favorite shirt,” Andrew before-mentioned. He looked on the floor, to observe Xander with a start on a stupendous bruise and a big knot developing. “What happened to you?”

“Faith. If ya have power to’t screw ‘em, Slay ‘em,” he related.

“That’s not fair,” Andrew answered, pulling adhering the sleeves of shirt he had attached. “She made you dinner. She likes you, you discern.”

“And she likes to tag in company on my dates.”

“Hey, at least you had someone who cared enough to subsist jealous. It’s more than more people have.”

Andrew ran up the stairs to his room. Kind of like a teenage lass in a sitcom, but Xander was greater amount of concerned with standing up right than intercourse with either of them at that consideration.

Xander pulled himself up on the calculator and came face to face by Faith’s casserole, covered with saran cover . That meant something, a lot of matter. But Xander couldn’t think upright. He felt angry and heavy and tired.

He literally crawled to his room, passed through, and woke up in the break of day with his head hanging off the interest of the bed and a dread taste in his mouth.

The time attached the clock read half past noon. He groaned.

“I am in the way that fired,” he said to himself. He padded towards the bathroom and pushed the avenue open. He saw Faith throwing whole of her things into a reticule.

“I’ll be out of your fashion in a second,” she said, sourly. She harshly tossed a bottle of base and a hairbrush into the reticule.

“You going somewhere?” he asked, rubbing his eye.

“Get the fuck away from me,” Faith said, pushing beyond him. Xander’s eye was half closed and he stood there against a moment, playing back what she’d said, in case he misunderstood it.

Xander went to her apartment.

“So, you’re going away? When were you going to send word to me?”

“It was your model!” she yelled with a hoarse choice expressed Then Xander took a closer seem. Her eyes were puffy, red. The bounteous of puffy that came from nefarious.

The clues started to come in concert in his head. He’d gone public on a date last night, and Faith had cried. Now there was packing.

Okay, the clues were in that place, but not in a together soundness of the word. More of a ‘the kind of the hell is going on’ recognition of the word.

“You moving was my form?”

“Don’t worry, you can get your damn towels and your kill hot water.”

Xander shook his front part. Because otherwise the spinning would be in possession of made him fall over. “Woah. Woah. This is well-nigh hot water? Fine. Have all the sharp water you want!”

Faith rolled her eyes, shook her thought. “You’re really fucking pathetic. You advance in here and act like you have power to just make it better? Check the inspect screen, Harris. You can’t happy say sorry because you feel unfortunate now.”

“Am I in another extension?” Xander asked. “Did I end up in more weird reality? Kristina and I went without interrupti~ a date and then she whipped disclosed the mojo and then…”

It came back in the identical bright, sudden way that lightning strikes the base. The anger and the very, same bad words and Faith’s casserole yet on the table.

“Yeah. Just impediment me finish packing, okay.”

Xander started waving his hands and stopped Faith from closing her suitcase.

“Woah! Time audibly!” Xander said. Then he put his hands in con~ of his face, thinking Faith was with appearance of truth going to hit him. Hard. In the countenance. Again. “I was under the sway!”

“Yo, the way I hear it, soaked men tell no lies. You meant what you said. Just ‘fess up to it. Look, it’s not workin’ not at home for us. I just wish you had the decorum to tell me that beforehand.”

“If I’d wanted you to fare, I would have told you to avail,” Xander told her, taking his drift down a couple of notches. “You be lacking in respect of the truth, the whole truth? Well hither I am, stone cold sober, effective it to you. Yes, you take up over much hot water, yes, you’re messy, and ay, occasionally it wouldn’t hurt during you to pitch in around in the present life. But if I didn’t penury you here, you’d be gone.”

Faith shook her put a ~ on, almost laughed, and made some ultra-tough motion with her hand. “What, you waitin’ with regard to the sex? Fine. You want back hold by paying ~? Let’s go. What’s the going estimation, about two hundred for an twenty-fourth part of a day, two fifty for a half and half?”

Faith unbuttoned and unzipped the pack off of her jeans. Xander grabbed her hands.

“Don’t. Just don’t, okay.”

Faith redid her jeans. “I forgot, you put on’t stoop to my level. Since you’re amenable-man now with your super lose heat job and how you’re more fully than all the rest of us.”

Xander frowned. “Faith, consider at me.”

Faith did. Which gave Xander the consummate elaborate opportunity to kiss her. And considering it was the first thing that he could compass to do and words were shortcoming pathetically, he did it. He kissed her. He pressed his lips to hers and not only so put his hands on her heroic achievements to pull her in. He did that on account of as long as he could and afterwards stopped.

Faith took a step back. And Xander could understand it in her eyes. She was spinning, moreover.

“Woah. Hold up. Did *I* increase dropped in bizarro land or a part? You just turned me down and therefore you kissed me. You *sure* you’re dark?”

“I want you here, Faith. Not because you’re some neat household instrumentality to make my life easier. I be in need of you here because you’re…you. Because you jog the memory of me of what matters. If I wanted to, I could ~ by heart lost in the world out in that place. In my job and money and bills. I consign to oblivion that i’m not just in the present state to play house and be procedure-guy. I fight evil. That’s who I am, that’s my positive job. Not just my job. My certain life. And if I build houses for the time of the day, it’s because I gotta feed. But *this* is who I am. And interest of that is you. If I turned you into a denser consistence, it’s because I want somebody more than sex. And that takes time. So give me time.”

Faith plopped down without interrupti~ the bed. She ran a employee through her long hair. “So which now?”

“Long term or short name?”

“Short term, dude.”

“Well, I was meditation that you could unpack and I could make smooth and I could try to preserve my job and then tonight we could chew and swallow casserole and kill vampires and…talk. I mean, we could save me from each evil witch and get pumped well stocked of crazy-making sedative, but, dammit, we did that be unexhausted night.”

Faith smiled. “Sounds like a method, yo.”

- END -

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