Author: Regala Electra
Rating: R Overall
Pairings: Faith/Wood, Faith/Buffy, Faith/Wes, Faith/Others
Spoilers: Set after the BtVS & AtS Series Finales
Series Summary: Faith's seen The Muppet Movie. She likes to think of herself as a master of moving right along.
Part Five Summary: It’s like ripping off a band-aid, that’s what it feels like. Something that hurts just for a moment, but you deal and move on.
Author’s Notes: Series of short ficlets featuring Faith's life post-Chosen. Er, I also am using these fics to set up a context for Faith in the Other Myths That Aren’t True Faith/Dean Crossover Series of Sexy Doom. You do not need to read that series to understand these ficlets, they are mostly BtVS/AtS oriented. Titles to each section are song lyrics, all credited.
one more look at the ghost
This part is Faith/Wes. Feedback appreciated.
She’s got a state’s worth of dust covering her skin, a numb ass from riding for several hours straight, and, if she’s not mistaken, a hell of a sunburn on those patches of skin that were exposed. She catches her translucent image in a dusty pane of glass and assesses the damage. Rings around her wrists like angry red bracelets and just a bit of her neck. It's like one of those chokers she used to wear. If she turns around and cranes her neck, she’ll probably see some of her back got hit with sunburn.
So yeah Faith does have a reason to be pissed, especially when the motel owner hassles her when she requests the last room in his shithole.
—We don’t like trouble from gangs here. There’d be more warning behind his words if he hadn’t been trembling as he said it.
Faith doesn’t ease his anxiety, just glares at him, knowing her day old makeup’s run black streaks down her face. She forks over the cash (real cash too, usually she’s just got the credit cards to use, but she made sure to drawn out enough crisp green dollars to make sure there’s no questions asked) and says, One night and I’ll be outta here, okay?
The ghost’s in her room when she enters. Doesn’t even give her a chance to freshen up and take a decent shower. You let me shower last time, you know, when you were alive. Does being dead give you a new perspective on things?
—Destroyed my bathroom. Was terribly amusing explaining that to the landlord. The ghost doesn’t say that. He fucking whispers it in her mind and she’s only just sorted through all the nonsense, focusing on one linear timeline that doesn’t make her head ache.
(It’s so disturbing, how little things are different for her. A girl who’s a Key didn’t make a damn difference in Faith’s life. She still believed the Mayor, still gave into the crawling darkness and she always felt the knife sink deep into her stomach. Then real darkness, her coma and after that, the long, slow slog back to herself — trying to make some amends and heal wounds that’ll never fade. That’s her fucking Hallelujah.)
His voice — as it whispers in her head — is empty though. Clinical. It’s like ripping off a band-aid, that’s what it feels like. Something that hurts just for a moment, but you deal and move on.
At least, that’s what Faith believes. Faith’s seen The Muppet Movie. It was one of the last good times she remembered with her mother, watching that movie with a bowl of microwaved popcorn. She had very seriously asked her mother about the other side of rainbows. The slap was deserved. That wasn’t even her favorite song, anyway.
She likes to think of herself as a master of moving right along.
Sure, she’s shacked up with the ghost of Wes right now, but hey, complications happen. You just have to deal and hope it doesn’t kill you. Get made stronger or whatever.
Knowing about Connor makes things a hell of a lot clearer,”she tells the ghost as she starts stripping off her dusty, sweaty layers. It doesn’t matter if he sees her naked. He’s dead and she’s dead-tired. Beggars can’t be choosers. She dumps her jacket over the rickety wood chair in the corner, starts unlacing her boots. It was just a blank part of my mind. You telling me that Angelus was loose, then the search for him, and there was just something off. Didn’t really feel a need to look into it. It’s easy not remembering anyway, right?
She hates how hopeful her question sounds.
The ghost cocks his head as though he’s listening with all the obnoxious intensity of his living self. —Do you wish to die with a lie on your lips? I must say at the time it happens, it’s quite intoxicating, however the results afterwards are puzzling at best and unfortunate at worst.
Faith doesn’t have a snappy answer for that. Will I have to figure out a way to cross you over? Do I have to, her voice cracks, the sharp edges going fast, find a way to kill the rest of you?
Wes is a ghost (or the ghost is a Wes look-alike, it’s easier to think that way, so of course she’s gonna think of him as Wes because she can never do things the easy way) and he doesn’t need to move normally. But he does at this, moves (it’s like walking, only not) too close and she can’t feel a damn thing as he bends close like he’s about to whisper in her ear. Like he needs to when he’s already in her damn head. —You’ve shown aptitude for murder, let alone torture. Do not sell yourself short, I am quite sure you’ll realize what you must do.
Faith forces a smile and promises, I’d kick your ass for saying that one if you were solid.
—If. The ghost looks at her with its icy blue eyes that flicker, just for a moment, out of sight.
She makes sure the curtains are drawn tight against the sunset burning as it touches down on desert ground. In the shadows, the ghost is more than just an outline and a twisted memory. Faith’s not even running on the last vapors of fuel now, so she lets herself believe that this ghost is Wes, clear and solid. Not dead at all.
Her sweat-soaked shirt is dumped on the floor as she shucks off her sticky jeans.
You coulda had a whole fucking army at your disposal, she tells him, not turning around as she unsnaps her bra. Faith has to stand facing the curtains, refusing to let herself look back. She strips off her panties with little fanfare, adding with a vicious punch, You can ask me to break out of jail and go after Angelus, but you don’t even think I might like to help you guys take a stab at knocking down some bastards in Wolfram and Hart. Not even a fucking call. Angel didn’t even say—
Faith cuts herself off. Not because she’s just realized how very, very pissed she is at Angel, but because there’s a cool solid hand touching her shoulder. It’s cool like it belongs to a person who’s spent a day inside of nice air-conditioned rooms (and the A/C here is broken and forces out wheezing hot air) and she can catch a scent now. It’s so damn real. Leather and dusty old books and sharp iron-tinged blood (not freshly spilled) and moldering whiskey.
—Were I alive, perhaps I would accept your apologies and I would listen to your anger and regrets. But such things are meaningless. The ghost's voice is empty but its touch is almost fucking gentle, like a caress. —Now I must tell you that I do regret that this echo of myself has been unfortunately linked to you as a frail revenge for a murder I didn’t manage to finish.
I’d ask why that bastard picked me, but I don't give a shit. She ducks out of the ghost's way and pads to the bathroom. Sometimes a lie is worth it and she leaves the near empty room.
Wes's voice follows after her. —Because he couldn’t kill you. So he unraveled a spell in hopes that you will take matters into your own hands.
Her hand is on the doorknob and she pauses before opening it. That’s pretty fucking stupid. My death wish meter’s been running low for a damn long while. I’m just missing the dessert fork to my full set of sanity tableware. She laughs then, a little too hysterical and almost negates her claim that she’s teetering closer to sanity these days.
Unless there are more ghosts to come, like her very own ghosts of Murders and Regrets Past, she isn’t going to freak. Instead, she ignores the ghost and turns the water on, frowning at the icy water that dribbles out of the showerhead.
Knocking on the faucet doesn't do a damn thing and she sighs, jumping in. Grits her teeth and closes her eyes. It reminds her of the first time she staked a vamp, damn, she'd been nervous and after, she'd thought there'd be nothing else as exhilarating as that feel of something crumbling to dust. Of something ending by her hands.
—Perhaps that is why events occurred as they did. Infinite decisions and you always chose the same path. Alas, I found things were simpler when I did not recall my own choices that lead to tragedies and grave mistakes.
She turns around, the water streams over her face and obscures her vision. The ghost almost looks like it's smiling at her, but it's a watery mirage. All of it is a damn mirage. Madness and guilt still sticking to her body as the water washes off the dirt and freezes burning, damaged skin.
Fingers warmer than the icy water run down her arms, dragging down slow. It feels like something familiar, done so many times. But it's never happened before. I'm not going to fuck a ghost.
Broken, staccato laughter. Faith could mistake actual feeling behind the noise. But she doesn't and when the water pressure suddenly kicks up with a vengeance, she curses.
Two fingers press down, drawing a long line down her right cheek. When she opens her eyes, there are two fingers (not translucent at all this time) streaked with black makeup. The ghost isn't wearing anything and Faith does the long scrolling gaze down Wes's body.
It (he) kisses her with detached interest. She can feel lips that aren't cold and dead, a tongue that moves with scientific curiosity. She's being examined, figured out and she hates that.
So she gives up the hesitation and shucks off her claims of being on the bright, shiny path of sanity. Wraps wet arms around the naked ghost's body and opens wide and goes for it. Just like fucking that, she wants to tell him, that's how it is. She's damn easy when it comes to this.
Leverage isn't easy to keep but she believes it'll work and it does. Their body temperatures are almost evenly matched. If she admits to being a horrible person, she wondered, just so briefly, what it would be like to fuck Wes, to really fuck the rigid Britishness out of him. When he had come to her telling her that Angelus was freed, she'd had a snap realization that somewhere down the line, she would fuck him.
Only he fucking died. Only things don't ever work out the way Faith plans him. She's good at backup, good at the frontline. Plans ain't a part of her bag of tricks.
The ghost probably turns off the water, she isn't paying attention. Somehow in a split second's time, she winds up on her back, soaking itchy sheets. Wet hair fans over the bed and she really looks at the ghost, sees the parts of it that are almost Wes and knows so much of it isn't really Wes at all.
—Will you lose your mind again for the sake of mourning the dead?
She grabs his neck and pulls him down, bites at the scar that is and isn't there. Whatever I'm doing, I'm doing it because it's better than doing nothing.
—Inaction is not mistaken for mercy.
She responds the best way she knows how. Angles her body just right, wraps legs around him (around a fucking ghost) and he goes in and it's almost normal.
Normal for a Slayer in the middle of a mental breakdown and a fucking ghost, she means. Yeah, like that.
It's dark now, past dusk, and she can make out his form fully in the darkness. Can see the parts of him that are still Wes, even though it's still just an echo — a shadow that she's filtering through the remnants of a sucker punch of a twisted spell.
She fucks the ghost till the sun comes up and the light breaks through the curtains. Faith's riding him even though she's exhausted, even though her body is screaming for sleep. Because she can feel it now, how time is fading and turning to dust. How it's just like a kill and how she's not ever going to get answers from the dead.
Squeezes eyes shut and comes one final time, feeling nothing against her body. No tears sting her eyes, no aches deep in her heart. It is absolution and understanding and she fucking hates it.
The ghost whispers one last time in her mind, —Truth releases a spirit trapped by a lie. Really Faith, such things are obvious.
Faith says to the empty room, Wes.
And she doesn't hear it, but knows it's spoken (or whispered, or echoed, whatever), —Faith.
She strips the wet sheet off the bed and curls on her side. Checkout's in a few hours and she'll need a few more hours of sleep before she chases nothing into the horizon.
To be continued.