Spoilers: BtVS/AtS: Post-Finales. SPN: Set sometime after “The Benders”
Pairing: Dean/Faith (Mentions of Faith/Other and Dean/Other)
Summary: “Don’t worry, boys, I’m built to take massive damage.”
Author’s Notes: Major thanks to pheebs1 for taking the time to not only beta this but also for her patience in listening to my mad ideas. She’s made the story a hell of a lot better. Yikes, this story is over 9,000 words, y'all. Although this is set after The Benders, parts of the story take place after earlier eps, all are referenced within the story. The timeline has been split into “Now” and “Then” as shamelessly stolen from Supernatural. This is Part Three of Other Myths That Aren’t True series. Previous parts include Sasparilla Boots and Broken Antennae.
He doesn’t know how the fuck she manages it. Every call, every damn time, she calls him and it’s just the wrong time. He’s convinced that this is some sort of joke.
Some sort of a sick joke that isn’t funny the first couple of times, but gets to be damn hysterical once an actual freaking pattern settles.
She’s called at least ten times since they last met (okay, since they last fought in a graveyard, went to an IHOP, and fucked on the hood of his car in a cemetery parking lot, if that’s what they’re calling meetings these days and hell, maybe they oughta, ‘cause that wasn’t too shabby). He just likes to think of it as a friendly meeting. Or a friendly fuck. Somewhere, he likes to shoehorn the word friendly in, even though friendly ain’t a real fantastic description for that woman. No, for that chick. Yeah, she’s just a random chick. Absolutely.
He keeps on saying it. It’s gotta turn out to be true sooner rather than later.
Dean hasn’t managed to actually speak to her. The bitch of it is that he actually does want to speak to her.
He just has no idea what the fuck he’ll say. So he doesn’t return the calls. Instead he twitches his jaw and scratches at a patch of stubble that needs to be shaved down soon, figuring one day, maybe he’ll actually give her a call.
It itches along his skin sometimes. This need to find some monster and kill it. One day, maybe he’ll be worried about it. But after dealing with those weird Deliverance boys back in Minnesota, Dean’s been aching for something familiar – for their usual gig. Not people, just monsters and angry ghosts, with no freakass reasons for friggin’ hunting people for sport.
Sam says something about The Most Dangerous Game and Dean’s answer is, “No, that’s the most friggin’ creepy-ass game.”
Sam just smiles and shakes his head. Goes back to futzing around on the laptop. A few minutes pass, before he points to something he’s pulled up from a website, The Daily Cardinal, a university paper. Shifting in his seat, he says, “Seems that there’s been several disappearances of girls over the past month. College students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. No witnesses of what happened, although several of the girls said they were going to Lake Mendota to conduct studies before they disappeared.”
Dean raises an eyebrow at that and Sam adds, “It’s one of the most researched lakes in the country, Dean. Yes, they’re probably nerds. And this lake, there’s a myth about it-”
“Let me guess, angry water spirit?”
Sam frowns. “It’s not what I expected. There’s a Winnebago myth about a spirit fish that could change into a raccoon–”
“We got a shapeshifter on our hands?”
And it’s just like that. Automatic. There’s a case and now that’s what he’s gotta focus on. He pushes the order of worries around in the back of his mind – Sam’s new psychic powers, Dad, the Demon – and keeps ‘em on the backburner. Because it ain’t going away, but there’s something more pressing now and that’s how you gotta deal.
They both force themselves into one of those restless short sleeps (not a nap, Dean’s never been a napper) that barely do a body good in their shitty (as usual) motel room before clearing out. A new purpose offers up some order to their freaky lives.
Hey, not like freaky’s a bad thing.
He’s driving east now and doesn’t ask for directions. Because they might just have something on their plate that Dean can deal with and he knows the way. There are plenty of signs along the highway to get them there and he grins a bit, his face half-obscured by the darkness as they head off.
“Hey, man,” he says to Sam, making it sound like he just realized it, easing into this familiar role, “College chicks.”
He grins in that gross leer of an expression because he knows it irritates Sam.
“This time, I’m interviewing the girls’ friends, and hey, since it’s college, maybe some of their girlfriends. You can figure out what we’re hunting and how to kill it at the library with all the other dorks.”
Sam just laughs softly under his breath and that’s great to hear.
He doesn’t hear his phone ring.
The first time she calls, Dean misses the call ‘cause he was too busy having to fly on a fucking plane that was gonna crash. They don’t let you keep your cell phones on. That’s way down the list of reasons why planes are so freakin’ wrong.
“Hey,” she says. It’s a word that means a hell of a lot when she says it but Dean can’t quite figure out what it all means. Not like he wants to figure it out. Really. “Took a red eye back to New York. Turns out I still had unfinished business and there was something in the sewers besides the radioactive crocs and mutant turtles. Damn, people say California is fucking weird; they should visit New York sometime and see the freaks in their natural habitat. And yeah, I do kinda like it here. Jerk.”
There’s that engine rattle of a laugh that punctuates the comment.
Dean can’t help but smile and he’s glad Sam’s taking a shower right now. Sam won’t see it and give him shit for it later. He stretches his legs as he rests on the bed, ignoring the lumps in the crappy mattress as they dig into his back.
“So now let me tell ya what I’m not wearing.”
Her voice drops low like a reckless swerve in busy traffic and hell, he has to shift again on the bed.
Okay, now Dean’s really glad that Sam isn’t here. She makes it sound like a strip tease, all the layers she ain’t got on, and he’s hard in under a minute. Bedsprings that aren’t underneath him shift and groan under her weight and he can imagine the bounce of her breasts as she says, “There’s only a few things that break the tension coiling in my back and I’m all out of bubblegum and I did my asskicking. Wanna hear me test out this bed?”
Shit, Sammy better be taking a long ass shower. Because things just got a bit awkward and he’s only focusing on a recorded message, a damn echo, like it’s something damn important. He quickly unbuckles his pants and focuses on that whiskey-smoke voice.
There’s a fog that shouldn’t be there, the kind of smoke that makes it a bitch to see, but all Dean’s doing is remembering how to kill the evil son of a bitch. It’s important to cut off its head in one clean slice.
All those stories the shell-shocked friends (sadly, no girlfriends in the bunch, he was really disappointed by this batch of college girls, aren’t they all supposed to be going wild?) had told Sam and Dean weren’t encouraging. This creature is nasty.
The first four missing girls were science nerds who had been out together doing research in the late afternoon, nothing too weird. And they’d been missing long enough that Sam figures that they might not have a shot at rescuing any of them.
There’s a fifth girl missing now. She’s a recent transfer, who hadn’t made any friends. Dean had gotten stuck talking to the Registrar department about her (Susan McRae).
He’d failed at charming the several battleaxes he’d spoken to, and only been able to get any information about this new missing girl from a bubbly student volunteer. A volunteer who’d scribbled her number on Dean’s hand after she’d blathered about the missing girl with gossipy facts that didn’t do a damn bit of good. Then she’d said how odd the girl was, so yup, right on cue, one of the thousand year old bats jumped in on the conversation. Yeah, because he was holding up the nonexistent line.
Dean suspects that they do not hire humans to handle admissions and he had stupidly mentioned this theory to Sam earlier in the day. He’d agreed with a vicious streak, starting in on a long story that Dean didn’t need to hear about Sam nearly getting locked out of an important class.
“Whoa, college boy,” Dean had said, “I didn’t mean to get your panties in a twist.”
That had shut Sam up.
Sam had pulled up more information on this Susan chick. Like the fact that she transferred to the school a day before she went missing, and hadn’t actually gone to any classes before getting herself good and disappeared.
This pattern isn’t making sense. Especially when it comes to Susan; it’s almost like she planned to head out to the area and look for trouble right in its ugly face.
That doesn’t matter though. They’ve found evidence of a large creature poorly hiding its tracks, and if there’s a shapeshifter out there looking for his water-bride, well, there’s an easy enough way to dispose of it.
Water-bride, man. The shit he sees in his everyday life.
He repeats the mantra in his head (one clean slice and it’ll be over) and ignores the sudden chill creeping down his back as the day slowly bleeds into darkness. He and Sam make no noise as they advance, save the sound of their breathing.
“Voicemail again,” she breathes out and Dean figures she’s smoking. This time, she sounds incredibly disappointed.
Hey, he was busy hunting the bastard who decided to be a sadistic, torturing son of a bitch while wearing Dean’s handsome mug. His phone had gotten confiscated along with other belongings that were more important in that freak’s twisted lair.
Ugh, he still can’t believe that his car was driven by that bastard. He’d pulled into a self-serve car wash as soon as he could and washed away that other’s stench.
“ You do sound sexy on your message, so that’s a plus. Never told you that I liked the sound of your voice. Or at least if I did, I don’t remember it.
“Only people awake right now are an ocean away. They’re gonna pick up my calls and I’m not in a mood to listen. They don’t like bullshit spun at them by someone who doesn’t do the sleeping thing unless she’s forced to. Sleeping is for people who haven’t been comafied.
“Don’t go to New York when you’re stone cold sober. Look, it’s just advice I’d thought I’d pass on. Don’t ever call me to figure out what I mean by that. Also, fucking people involved in the same business is cool and hell, it’s probably a perk. Just don’t do the relationship thing. That’s for suckers.
“I didn’t get any answers about that demon. You must’ve figured that by now.”
There’s a long pause, Dean can tell she’s smoking down to the end of her cigarette, just before the filter starts to burn. He hears a long drawn-out breath – a decision being weighed.
If he wants to imagine something he’s sure isn’t happening, she’s staring out a window, looking out into the distance for something she’s never gonna reach. But he doesn’t imagine that. He just listens and tries not to believe, because it’s stupid. Really, really damn stupid.
There’s no more bitter advice she passes on. She starts dishing out impossible stories of people she’s fucked and Dean listens. Sometimes he isn’t even paying attention to what she’s saying. Instead he’s focusing on how she’s saying it.
Man, he wishes that he couldn’t pick up on all the emptiness there. It’s just a voicemail, right? It’s nothing.
Nothing. Tonight’s been a bust. That’s just great. There’s got to be something, Dean can feel it, but he can’t see it. And it’s the seeing that’s important.
And from what they figured out, this girl’s only got a day left before there’s no chance of saving her from this bastard.
They’ve gone in a damn circle, following the path they’d figured out based on the spots the girls had vanished from and it’s not helped a damn bit. Then it happens, just like nothing at all.
Dean stares at a particular swath of trees like the monster’s gonna show itself now of all times.
It’s instinct. Drawing the gun he keeps on him, the one he prefers to keep closest to him in his car (safely tucked away in the glove compartment), readying the perfect shot. Won’t kill it, but it’ll slow the son of a bitch enough to let Sam slice the bastard’s head off.
The dark of deep nightfall shadows the figure’s approach but Dean notices that’s a hell of a weapon being holstered up, like a grim fucking reaper’s scythe, only he’s had the unpleasant chance to see a reaper close up and they don’t do the weapon thing. Their hands are deadly enough.
Then there’s a smile that matches the blade of the weapon, and he knows that sharp expression even though he doesn’t want to believe it.
Closer still and then Dean stupidly mouths the name, even though she probably can’t see his reaction, “Faith?”
Sam moves his flashlight, the light catching her face full on and fuck yeah, that’s Faith.
She’s carrying a huge honking scythe – a wicked blade made crueler by the violent smear of red against its bright metal surface – like it’s no freakin’ big deal, like next to a purse, it’s just another accessory a chick’s gotta bring with ‘em. Stumbling forward, she says with a bloody (way too fucking bloody) grin, “Hey. Hell of a thing seeing you here, all in Technicolor and everything. Can you give me a lift back to town?”
He’d have a smartass answer to that but she sinks to her knees right after getting the words out. Her jeans are soaked (and though it’s dark, he knows it’s blood, so damn much of it) and all he can do is to start checking her over for wounds. It’s automatic, taking stock of the damage and shit, this is bad
Sam says, a little stunned, “Uh Dean? You know her?”
Dean mutters, “Long story,” and leaves it at that.
It’s not a story this time. Not fucking steamy storyteller’s porn corner for pervs or whatever.
The next call isn’t a real call at all. She waits too long and lets the voicemail pick up thirty seconds of dead air before a barely audible fuck it is muttered. There’s no click now, because it’s a cell phone. The call just ends.
Dean’s not tempted to call back. He keeps seeing his mother walking towards him. Burning. Then not. Then burning again. It’s not something that disappears when he closes his eyes.
Faith opens her eyes when Sam gets close to her. He takes the weapon out of her hand and tosses it aside, checking her pulse.
A cough that’s too wet for comfort. “Susan?” She looks at Dean first, then Sam. There’s an interesting flicker of something in her eyes, but Dean doesn’t give it much thought. “Wrong guess there, man. I sent her back to her dorm. To pack up and book it before I decide to get really angry. Christ, she doesn’t know what the fuck wait for Faith means. Nearly got herself married under the fucking sea. Lake. Lady of the Lake. She’s so not getting a gold star for that shit.”
Sam shares a look with Dean, his patented Why do our lives have to be damn weird? look.
Like there will ever be an answer that makes any friggin’ sense.
All Dean can offer is, “This is Faith.”
“No,” Faith grumbles, pausing to spit blood on the ground, “This is Faith really goddamn annoyed with little Susie. Different person when I’m missing a couple of pints of blood. Yeah, Susie’s ready to do a duo mission my non-tattooed ass.”
“Um…” Sam offers, at a loss for words.
Faith pats his knee, or some part of his leg; she misses the mark, “The problem’s taken care of. No monster in the woods, everything’s good and dandy. Soon as everything stops being blurry, I can head out on my own.” To prove that, she forces herself up, nearly passing out in the process. Sam keeps her head from slamming back on the ground.
Dean isn’t willing to get too close right now. It’s wrong seeing her like this. Instead, Dean puts his and Sam’s weapons in their duffel, passing it to Sam. Then he decides something, weighing it like stones in his hand, deciding which one is the best to toss over the water, the one that’ll skim the surface for the longest time.
Without another thought, he picks Faith up from the ground.
Faith’s really not tiny, which is surprisingly easy to forget especially when she’s crumpled to the ground like a broken puppet. But she’s easy to carry.
This is a chick who’s easily bested him several times just to show him that she could, yet Dean can pick her up without complaint, not caring that she’s bleeding all over him (hell, it’s time for him to do laundry as it is).
Sam picks up the scythe. It has a shorter handle on it than a normal scythe would. It’s no longer than an axe’s handle and fits easily in the trunk. They’d wiped off the blade with an old towel. Dean figures if she’s as invested in hunting as much as she claims to be, she’d be pissed if they let the blood dry on her weapon. That’s just bad manners.
“We have to get her to a hospital,” Sam says. And there’s a little tinge of what the hell is going on only Dean doesn’t have an answer for that.
“Really, Sammy?” Dean says too sharply. “’Cause I was thinking of dropping her off at the convenience store and let the jackoff working the counter deal with giving her some first-aid.”
“Hey man,” Sam begins, but Dean cuts him off at the pass.
“Sorry. Just,” he doesn’t know what to say, so he doesn’t. Instead he carefully helps her into the backseat of the car, hoping whatever wounds she’s got, he isn’t fucking them up majorly. “Dude, she’s not doing so good.”
Faith opens her eyes at that, trying to sit up from the backseat. She’s bleeding all over the handful of shirts Dean had laid down before he’d gotten her set up. “Son of a bitch,” she moans, shutting her eyes, probably wincing at the pain. Damn, it looks like she took on fucking Mother Nature herself. Dean doesn’t think there’s seaweed out in lakes, but there’s some lake gunk in Faith’s hair, even though she’s mostly dry. Save for all the fucking blood. “Look, no hospitals. I heal fast.”
Sam answers for Dean, “You have massive injuries. You could have internal bleeding.”
“No,” she says while forcing herself up, grimacing. There’s dried blood freaking caked down the right side of her throat and exposed shoulder (the top of her shirt is ragged and torn, like something with claws had a go at it) and she’s saying no. Unbelievable. Then she says, “I will kick both of your asses if you try to take me there.”
Wincing, she brings back her left leg, like she’s preparing for a fight, coiling her leg up to unleash major damage.
Dean looks back at Sam. He sighs and says wearily, “She’s really not joking.”
Sam attempts to protest but says, defeated, “We better take care of her injuries.”
Faith slumps back, saying, “Fuck yeah.”
Dean slumps back into the chair, trying not to think of apples, scarecrows, a nasty fight with Sam that’s finally been resolved, or what the hell is wrong with people.
And because he’s an idiot, he checks his voicemail while Sam is still in the room, rustling through one of his bags, just before he heads out to pick up their reheated dinner from the nearest quick mart.
“Maybe one of these days I’ll actually try to speak to ya. Not today though. Now I’ve got a story about this sexy blonde with real tits. Damn soft and perky as fucking apples. She had cute little nipples pinker than her pussy. No lie, dude.
“She was straight before she met me.”
Dean stops listening to the voicemail message there.
He waits until he has some damn privacy. Goes into the bathroom and presses play again and listens to the rest of the story. Faith does her best to imitate the blonde’s breathy noises, all hurried and secretive. But she fails at innocent.
Not like Dean’s complaining. Naughty is damn hot.
Dean comes ‘round about the same time that Faith comes. Faith now, Faith isn’t hurried at all when she’s coming. She’s all grunts and dark noises.
He’s glad Sam had gone out to get dinner otherwise Dean woulda never heard the end of it, What a freakin’ ruckus he made. It’s the kind of mess that warrants a stupid word like ruckus.
Spent, he contemplates saving the voicemail, but he hasn’t saved any of her messages yet, and he doesn’t start now.
Now, he’s got too many things on his mind to care that he’d already figured that the next stretch of road is just perfect for a speed trap, all dark and secluded. He’s not speeding, he’s fucking racing at this point, and Sam, noticing that he’s going faster than normal (normal being too fast and this being way too fucking fast), finally speaks up, “Uh, Dean?”
“She’ll be fine,” Dean says even though he doesn’t believe that. And he should be taking her ass to the hospital even if she’s saying hell no. That’s the right thing to do. But they do have more medical supplies at their motel room and better light too. If it’s seriously bad, they’ll deal then.
Faith groans from the backseat. She’s sitting up again, not listening to Dean and Sam as they tell her to lie back down. She’s leaning forwards, her chin on top of the bench seat. She’s not bleeding as much from the superficial facial wounds, but she still looks like hell. Man, it looks like she’s got slime on her head, only it doesn’t smell as gross as it should.
“It’s…” she pauses, wincing like words hurt to even think. “Only a flesh wound. You know? Like that movie. Fucking Christ.”
Sam nods – a total patronizing yeah right gesture.
She narrows her gaze at him. Dean, staring at her by using the rearview mirror, can see a purpling bruise on her temple. Faith cracks her neck and it’s really fucking loud and Dean once again is real curious as to who she really fucking is, despite all the bullshit she’s been telling him since day one.
“You’re the nice one, huh?” She flicks her tongue at the bottom corner of her mouth, and okay, Dean’s just gonna focus back on the road for a moment. And think of cement. Jesus, he should not be this kinky. She looks like a building fucking fell on her. Not the time to think of how she does that thing with her mouth. “I’ll be fine...whatever.”
Faith goes to raise her hand, like she’s about to ruffle Sam’s hair, but thinks better of it. Instead she pushes back the slimy strands of hair stuck to her face. They’re actually sticking there cause of the blood drying to her skin. Fuck.
“You could be dead...whatever,” Sam gently chides, trying to turn on his sensitive would you like to hear some of my poetry? voice and Dean clenches his jaw at that. Not really knowing why it irritates him.
“Shallow scratches to the face, gash to the shoulder, got a deep cut on my left side and scratched all to hell on my right thigh. Add in some kidney punches that the bastard got in before I knocked him down and I’ll still be good in day’s time. Don’t worry, boys, I’m built to take massive damage.”
She then pats Sam on the shoulder, suggesting in a strangely sweet voice that she uses all too well, “Tell your brother to exhale before he winds up killing us all.”
Dean exhales at Faith’s familiar voicemail greeting, “Hey.” It’s becoming more familiar and Dean’s thinking he can read at least three different things into that word now. He doesn’t really want to say them out loud though, just in case he’s wrong. So long as you never have to say it, then it doesn’t really matter when it backfires.
He has no idea how she got knocked to voicemail this time. He’d had a fitful night of sleep after Layla had visited him, accepting her fate, and it’s just so fucked up, that she’s going to die and someone’s died in place of Dean. The world is a cruel place and whatever sleep he had managed is worthless. His dreams are full of a placid reaper reaching towards him but always failing to connect at the right moment, and Layla waits for a miracle that isn’t ever gonna happen.
He’d gotten a moment to himself when the morning light slowly broke over the horizon, and that’s when he sees that he’s missed a call.
“Almost got to go to Kansas to track down this sorcerer. Yeah, exactly like that. Spells and shit. Which sucks a hell of a lot.
“Met a girl all sugar and spice. Not a single damn vice till she met me.” She laughs then, the way ghosts don’t, but should. “That’s always how they want to remember it. I’m a memory to them, a great fuck, an experiment. Whatever. It was out the middle of nowhere in Nebraska and she wasn’t an innocent hoping to find home again, clomping around in ruby shoes. Her shoes were red though. Four inch heels. Maybe she’d been sweeter if she was a real Kansas girl, but I didn’t get a taste of anything but tequila off her stomach.”
He can imagine her flicking her fingers in the air as if she’s swatting away a fly. He doesn’t know why though. This call was from a pay phone, he knows that much, and he likes to think of her out on an open stretch of road, wasting quarters just to tell him a story of some chick Faith claims to have fucked just for the hell of it.
“Just for the hell of it, Sam, don’t ask me any questions,” Dean says to him as they haul Faith to their motel room. They get her on the bed and do the best with the wounds as they can. They’ve had enough experience, but damn did she did take a beating.
It’s amazing she walked out of there alive, let alone with a smile on her face.
Shit, she's wounded a lot worse than she let on, which is really damn bad, considering she's barely keeping it together right now.
Sam’s talking, even though Dean isn’t really listening. At least Sam isn’t repeating a mantra of hospital, we should take her to the hospital (no, instead that’s what’s bouncing around Dean’s mind, and it’s annoying as all hell).
Dean might have said something, maybe reasonable, maybe not, but he’s invested in damage control now, and hey, that wound on her leg isn’t as bad as he thought it was and that’s weird. It’s the kind of thing that needs some follow-up questions.
Starting with, I know that something gashed your shoulder, so where the hell is all the damage? Why does it just look like the kind of scratches you get from pissy house cats?
Sam’s trying to get Faith to speak to him, but she’s barely responsive now, her eyes fluttering closed (like she’s the type that ever flutters, that she could ever be capable of doing something so gentle, so weak).
Bruises mar her pretty face, making it look like she's cast in a purple and blue mess of a vicious shadow.
When Dean, after a moment of hesitation and a look from Sam, pulls off her shirt, he isn’t able to hide a flinch at seeing the real mess going on. Brutal deep bruising that almost looks like the sick purple mass of deep internal bleeding, but it ain't quite that. No, it can’t be that bad at all.
Because just when he’s about to agree with his little interior voice and hightail to the hospital, she opens her eyes and says too damn casual, like they've been carrying on a fucking flirtation, "Kidney punches. Ain't nothing like 'em. Homecoming, almost. A pep rally with the football team stomping in their cleats. Swinging a huge fucking branch at my stomach was goddamn rude. He’s lucky the only thing I chopped off was his head."
“Dean,” Sam warns, the hospital now implied, “I think she’s delirious.”
“No,” Dean says, dropping a little familiarity into all this strangeness with a glint of a smile, a crooked, tiny thing, like a penny dropped into a deep well. “That’s a good sign.”
She chuckles then. “Usually it’s much more fun to get my shirt off.” She starts feebly unzipping her jeans, and Sammy actually averts his eyes.
What the hell, Sam, Dean thinks to himself, This is the part you can’t see?
God, his brother needs to get laid if he’s this skittish about something like this. This is the damn opposite of sexy.
Only Faith’s apparently wearing lace panties and that’s chick logic, man. Who the fuck thinks to wear that crap on a hunt?
“I’m going to need these scratches cleaned out,” she says to no one in particular, even though her head is cocked slightly, eyes locked onto Dean’s face. She raises an eyebrow that says a hell of a lot, only it doesn’t calm Dean down, even though she does seem to be doing a little better.
She shouldn’t though. Christ.
Her breathing’s steady now as she moves against sheets ruined with grime and blood and slime.
Dean hears breathing now and Faith’s low rumbling laughter. It’s an inelegant noise and he strains to hear more of it. If he listens close enough he can hear sheets slipping down inches of naked skin.
He wasn’t as good as you, she lies. She has to be lying. She’s the type that’ll lie through her teeth even when she’s offering bits of the truth spun into impossible adventures that can’t have happened. He needs to believe that it’s all lies. It makes it a hell of a lot easier. Got tired way too quick. Rode him for five minutes flat and he was down for the count.
He’s trying not to think of Max and that gun (his gun) floating in midair and what it means if Sam’s connected with someone like that.
He’d said Vegas not just to make a joke that he knew Sammy would dismiss. Vegas is the place to be when you need to forget all the bullshit and real shit that always piles up.
Now here’s a voicemail recording, an echo of something else entirely and it’s waking up things in him. Good times.
Good times with no complications that’ll one day bite him in the ass. If he keeps on thinking it, it’ll come true. It better.
Faith pauses for such a long time that Dean almost believes she’s forgotten she’d called him. Or maybe she’s thought better of these odd calls. They barely know one another and he’s never called her. Still, he listens to each one like it’s a regular part of his life.
“It’s not all bad. Fast. Messy. Reckless. Fun words when used right. It sucks when I’m aching for a slow burn all up and down my skin and all I’m getting is –” She breaks off and Dean could, if he wanted to, fill in the hollow spaces. He could read into these pauses and sighs and little gaps but he can’t let himself.
But he knows the thrill of it, hell, what greater thing is there than being able to find a new body, a new person and work out all the kinks (and not just the kinks)? Then, fuck yeah, being able to find that one small thing, that little spark that makes it all right. That makes it better than all right.
That’s the really scary thing about her. She figured it out and now he wonders if she’s just playing him for the hell of it. If she’s calling him because she knows he ain’t ever calling her back.
“You know, coming is great, but it ain’t the whole fucking thing...about fucking,” she finishes.
He laughs at that, at the way she says fuck, her accent jumping back into Boston city limits in one beat. And he realizes that it’s a real laugh. That’s just something else. She’s a stranger still and even less than that. She’s just a voice and a memory of a girl.
There’s a way to fix this. Gotta be something to do; something he can control.
He deletes the call and it’s over.
“The monster’s dead and it’s over,” Faith says an hour later. She’d tried to drift off to sleep several times but Sam had prodded her awake, much to her annoyance. Christ, the mouth on her.
Dean can’t help but be impressed by it. Though he still doesn’t get five by five. Or why she’s so aggressively irritated by being checked over by them. Thing is, most of these wounds, despite appearances, can be fixed.
Hell, he’d figured that she’d at least need some major stitches to repair the damage to her body. Turns out, it might not be the case, because as he flushes out the scratches, it becomes damn clear that it’ll heal on its own. Some things are miracles. Some things are wrong.
This falls right smack in the middle of those two sides.
“I got my bike stashed back there,” she says to them, speaking to Dean and Sam as a unit, only this time she’s looking at Sam, lowering her eyelids a bit. It would be doe eyes and be sorta hot, only with that strange history in her dark eyes, it’s damn clear that she’s not helpless. She really sucks at hiding all that secret pain. He’d tell her that, but that just isn’t his style.
“We can get it later,” Sam promises and he deploys his sad-eyed look (the one that gets them farther in questioning than any other tactic) and totally wins. Faith actually scowls at it and Dean ducks his head down to hide a half-smile.
“Unless you boys are into staring at me in my bra and panties,” she trails off, pausing for a moment. Correcting the obvious, she says, “Okay, that bastard hit me a little too hard. Hell yeah, you’d be dead if you didn’t enjoy perving out and staring at me. But I do have to get clothes on, unless you want people to start asking why there’s a battered girl walking out of some frat boys’ motel room.”
“I wasn’t in a fraternity,” Sam says, failing at hiding his irritation.
“Didn’t go to college,” Dean says, like that’s helpful.
“Still don’t have a pair of jeans,” Faith responds. “I do have keys to my bike and a motel room about...uh, where are we exactly?”
Dean answers that. At least this is something helpful he can say. It doesn’t have an underlying what the hell are you? question buried under the words when he speaks.
“Thirty minutes, no problem.” Faith nods, so damn sure of herself. “You guys can take me there. I’ll get my bike later.”
Dean glances at Sam and they do one of their quick conversations, the type that normally occurs in the brief moments during a hunt. Sometimes, it’s better to get it all aired out without saying a single damn word. Making the final snap decision, Dean gets up from the edge of the bed, saying, “So I’ll go –”
“No,” Sam says in a soft measured voice, after glancing down at Faith. “I know how to get there. Dean, you can look after Faith, since she’s allergic to hospitals.”
“Yeah,” Faith agrees and if Dean didn’t know better, she sounds grateful. “I break out into hives. Seriously boys, I’ve been hurt worse and I’ll be right as whatever. Nothing broken, just some surface fuckups.”
Issuing a half-hearted request to Sam, (don’t let yourself get kidnapped, again), Dean walks over to the battered table in the corner of the motel room, sorting through the medical supplies, looking for something to do. He overhears Sam say something to Faith, but he pushes it out of his mind.
There’s one more call she makes, even though he’s gonna ignore the call, pushing it out his mind when he goes into his voicemail, hoping that maybe, just maybe, he missed a call from Dad. It’s right before he and Sam head out to Minnesota to check out a case of some dude disappearing from a county know for its high rate of disappearances.
Dean could have answered it, could have spoken to her, and yeah, maybe he’s tempted to finally pick up the phone, to listen to her in real time. But these stories, they’re something else. He doesn’t want to risk making it real. He likes the shape of the illusion and the sexy timbre of some chick’s rough and careful voice. She’s completely out of sight, so she should be out of mind, right?
He listens, but he isn’t concentrating on words. “..arching beneath me, I thought she was trying to buck me off and she groaned later, tried to pull me close and try to get me to sleep next to her. She asked me to stay there, like she doesn’t know the one night stand rules.” Faith seems way too confused by that and she waits a long time before saying anything else.
Dean almost feels like he should answer, even though it’s pointless.
“The next night I searched for no complications. A Southern boy with a belt buckle bigger than his dick and tattoos up and down his arms. I miss tattoos, miss my old tattoo, and he was one sweet ride away from being a biker. Easy. Damn easy is the best way to go. ‘Course he turned out to be the guy that thinks a nipple tweak and an ass grab is all the foreplay needed.” She sighs and shit, she is aching for it. A good slow fuck that lasts so long it’s hard to remember that there wasn’t anything beyond the rocking of flesh against flesh, the slick play of sweaty skin and all the hard exercise of muscles finding new ways to make it even fucking better.
“No point in screwing guys who still classify as boys,” her low rumble of a voice advises him, like this is self-help A.M. radio crap. “Have fun hunting there, son.”
The message ends there and Dean really wants to call back and leave a message. Not for a good reason. Just because, hey, son? Dude, he really should call her and if he gets on her on the phone, call her sweetheart. He knows he’ll get a laugh out of her. And he wouldn’t mind speaking to her. Not like that means anything. Just, maybe it wouldn’t suck if he spoke to her.
The silence sucks, but Dean doesn’t have anything to say. He keeps on looking at her. She’s still banged up but the worst of the damage is hidden by the bed sheet that she’s thrown on. It is cold in the room, thanks to the crappy radiator.
Faith shuts him down with a sharp reprimand (say hospital and you’re joining me in the nasty bruises club) and she’s sticking with flipping through the channels on the battered television. Cable T.V. is a harsh mistress in the late hours and the porn channel’s soft-core nonsense – an hour and fifteen minutes of porn stars trying to act and only fifteen minutes of simulated sex. She comments on the pointlessness of soft-core porn and then rolls her eyes at a chick’s long nails, saying she’d gotten a hell of a scratch on her inner thigh from a chick with acrylic nails.
Dean thanks her for killing one of his fantasies.
“You’re welcome.” She flips to an infomercial about some amazing toaster oven. Shutting off the television, she adds, “So on a scale of very to not much, how pissed are you?”
“You ain’t giving me much of a welcome, Dean,” she says, failing at hiding her irritation.
Before he gets a shot to respond, a cell phone rings and it isn’t his and he knows Sam took his own phone.
“Is it London calling?” she asks, gingerly getting herself into a sitting position.
He roots through the bloody jeans he’d tossed in the garbage can. The phone’s shoved in the front right pocket along with a near-empty book of matches.
Eyeing the screen, he announces, “It says B.”
“Fuck,” Faith says, her accent ratcheting up a hell of a lot, but she doesn’t sound upset to Dean’s ears. More impressed, or maybe pleased. Something like that. It’s not at all what Dean was expecting. “That’s the Big Boss Badass B checkin’ in on my ass.”
“I could take a look,” Dean offers, giving her an appraising look, and there’s another annoying ring: the call’s ten seconds from jumping to voicemail. “Give her a live update.”
Before Faith can ruin his smartass comment with a quick remark of her own, Dean flips the cell phone open. He can’t even get out a word before a female voice bites out, “Faith, where are you? I just spoke to Susan and she said she’s at the hospital and you didn’t go with her?”
Closing her eyes, Faith says softly, “She’s asking about the rookie, yeah?”
He notices Faith running her fingertips against her sheet-clad stomach, one of those motions that people make without knowing that they’re doing it.
The voice on the phone, trying for take charge but veering right down to concerned, says, “Who is this?”
“Better answer her,” Faith says again in that soft tone. “We don’t answer the phone with silence. Means trouble.”
Dean feels the lies ready to spill and he ain’t never been one to stop himself from rolling out a good one, “Sorry about that pause there. Yes, my name’s Dean and I’m an intern down at the county hospital,” because Dean has no idea what the hell is the hospital’s name.
Trying for that mix of incompetent and overly helpful that he’s seen in the many hapless young doctors and nurses who’ve treated him over the years, he starts rambling, “Faith seems to be okay, just a bit shaken and she insisted on staying here –”
“Where’s here?” the B person asks, a sharp tone in her voice that would be intimidating if she were more than a disembodied voice.
“We’re right by Lake Mendota,” Dean lies smoothly. “Just waiting on the ambulance, it’s a small hospital and we got budget cutbacks. My partner had taken Susan in our car. I think some wild animal got to these girls, but rest assured, Ma’am, they’ll be fine.”
There’s a pause and the sound of fingertips scurrying along a keypad. “Can I speak to Faith now?”
“Oh, well, she’s –”
“Right here, Buffy,” Faith yells, voice way too hoarse. She just puts a hand (relatively clear of bloodstains, so she’s got that going for her) in front of Dean’s face, palm side up. Cocks an eyebrow and Dean obliges her.
“B,” Faith says with an edge of kittenish purr and right there, Dean pings onto some very interesting ideas. It’s better than focusing on all the damage he and Sam weren’t able to clean up from Faith’s body. “Yeah, we recovered it. Little Susie will have to send it out. What? By one of the other girls, I guess. I didn’t ask. No, it’s not broken.”
There’s a long pause and Faith scowls for a second before snapping, “I had blood and slime in my eyes, B, but I did notice that it’s in great condition, I could sell it on E-bay for mint condition. Next time, get a charter plane here if you wanna oversee.”
Silence again. Faith’s bra strap is slowly slipping down her shoulder and Dean reaches out to pull it back up before he can stop himself. He’s surprised by the smile that flits across her face. Even more surprising, it doesn’t fade away.
“Yeah, he’s a terrible liar. But he’s a pretty boy, so he gets away with it.”
“Hey,” Dean says, affronted.
“He’s the one that has the hot car,” Faith explains to B (Buffy). “You know, graveyard sex guy.”
Huh. So apparently he isn’t the only one who gets Faith sex calls. At least she ain’t charging for ‘em.
“Hey, a girl’s got needs,” Faith says in response to something. “And Susan can send in the damn report. Let her explain how she’s such a go-getter, she nearly got herself killed and wounded a senior Slayer.”
A short pause, which Faith cuts off with, “I know, B. I’d gift-wrap the damn thing if I could, but I swear, it’s in perfect condition. I didn’t get any of my blood on it.”
“What,” Dean begins to ask, but Faith taps his bottom lip, a half-hearted hush motion.
She’s still listening and whatever she’s hearing is changing things. It’s getting serious and Faith’s body is rigid. Like it’s something she’s been waiting for, and hadn’t let herself deal with until this moment. “So, uh, B?” She frowns for a split-second before correcting herself, “Buffy. So, are you going to? You know? You’re going to tell him that he’s gotta call me, right? As soon as he’s back.”
The tension lines disappear, only she’s not back to being her flippant self. There’s relief there and she says, “You tell him everything. He’s...damn. B, you’ll know what to say. Just don’t hug him and tell him that it’s from me. That’s not how we do things. ‘Sides, when I see him in the flesh, I’m so wacking him on the head for that fucking memory whammy.”
She says her goodbyes more abruptly than Dean thought were possible, rapid-fire one word answers to questions Dean doesn’t hear.
“Next time you try to lie to Buffy, don’t suck,” Faith advises Dean as she ends the call.
“There gonna be a next time?”
“With the way she avoids anywhere without an international airport?” There’s a side of bitter with her strangely collected tone. She scratches the side of her nose and looks at him, really freakin’ stares at him and it’s a bit unnerving. “Hey, you want to take off your shirt?”
He stares back at her.
“Good reason to. Cheering up the sick. You’d work better as a candy-stripper than a doctor. Or a nurse,” she adds as an afterthought. She flicks her phone open again, scrolling down a list of names.
“Stripper, huh? Not a candy-striper?”
“You into crossdressing? If you got a pair of thigh-highs and some sexy heels, feel free to give me a sponge bath,” she says with a wink.
“Hot,” Dean deadpans. The thought of him wearing something that firmly belongs to the chick side of clothing is...damn disturbing.
“I’m still hotter,” Faith smirks. Then winces. “Even with all these bruises. God, they take forever to fucking heal.”
“Thought it wasn’t nothing.” He works the lie out between his teeth, biting out, “You said you’d be fine.”
“Broken bones are easier than dealing with bruises,” she mutters. “Superhealing kits always come up short when it comes to the bruises. They’ fade quick but I’m going to be sore and not in the good way.” She snorts and then presses a key on her cell phone, putting the phone to her ear.
Dean doesn’t want to admit it, but yeah, his look of surprise isn’t hidden all that well when his cell phone starts ringing. “Seriously?”
“Dude,” she says, once again doing that weird thing with the u, “answer the phone.”
Putting the phone against his ear, he says directly to Faith, “I ain’t asking who it is.”
She breathes out a smile that could make bruises vanish. Only it doesn’t. He doesn’t know how long they’re staring at each other until she finally speaks. “I’d be naked right now just to not have anything touching my skin.”
“Now normally? This would damn hot, but you are wounded. Probably not right in the head, either.”
“Mmm,” she agrees, doing a bit of a stretching move and he forgets seeing her covered in blood. Forgets the litany of damage. Just for a second.
Then it comes crashing back and he shuts off the phone.
“Hey,” she tries to protest.
Dean sits down on her bed, a bit too carefully and it pisses her off, he can tell that, she’s damn clear about that. She scrunches her face at him, like he’s the freak for not thinking about fucking her even when she’s just been through the ringer.
“Hey,” he says back to her.
“Just ‘cause I’m not up for anything right now doesn’t mean you’re not.” She looks away for just a moment. It’s weird to reconcile the hesitation in her voice with that whiskey sex-operator voice he’s been wacking off to for the past few months. She places her fingers along the left side of his face and gives him a hard once-over. Looking for something and he doesn’t know what the hell she expects to find. Finally, she says, like she’s been defeated, “You’re not a bastard.”
“Well thanks for the vote of confidence,” he bites out, peeling her fingers away, but he keeps his hand curled around her own. Like he doesn’t want to let go. Not yet.
But he does. Or she lets go. Something like that. Whatever works best, that’s how it happens.
“Sam’s gonna be back soon.” He smoothes a wrinkle in the bed sheet, close to her hip. She wriggles a bit and there’s two more wrinkles there now.
“No time for a quickie, huh?”
“Yeah,” he answers shortly. “That’s the problem. No time.”
“Admit it. I’m sexy with a shiner.” Faith smiles in a way he ain’t never seen before on her and she’s got an arsenal of smiles. This one is comfortable and that looks weird on her face, something that doesn’t have an edge of danger and recklessness.
“You need people tellin’ you how sexy you are?”
“Best way to fix a crap day of work.” She nods thoughtfully and leans forward, dropping her voice, “This helps.”
He can taste the copper tinge of blood in her mouth. It should be disgusting and maybe that’s what his brain is telling him, but his body hasn’t figured that part out. Her lips are dry and that’s weird, because Dean remembers how soft they were. Probably thanks to the ten layers of lipstick she slathers on. It’s been washed off and now there’s nothing but her lips, opening easy, her tongue snaking in.
He ain’t about to protest.
But he is about to get cockblocked. Not like he’s planning on anything else. Hell, Faith’s the one that kissed him.
Sam’s staring at them and Dean knows that look. He’s so going to do those Mr. Sensitive talks later on. Son. Of. A. Bitch.
“You think that’s something, huh?” Faith grins as Sam hands her a duffel bag. It’s a beat up black thing with a badly stitched tear near the zipper.
“Faith was just uh...,” Dean trails off, unable to think of something convincing in light of the amused look on Sam’s face.
“Gratitude,” Sam offers. “She was just saying thanks.”
Blowing a kiss at Sam, Faith pulls a long-sleeved shirt on, a familiar crack of her neck once her head’s through. May not be about to win any beauty pageants for the moment, but she’s got a flush to her skin. Like she’s healing. Huh. Just like that.
“I do have to motor,” she starts, tossing off the sheet. Flashing a look of genuine surprise when Dean helps her into a pair of pants, she says, “I have places I gotta be, believe me.”
He does. There’s something being put right again, only he has no damn clue as to what it might be. “We just let you take off, huh?”
There’s a careless tug at her bootlaces. “I don’t have a concussion. You could be a fine upstanding guy and drop me off at my motel room so I could get some damn shuteye. I’ve got miles to go.” She bites her lip then and shit, she’s pulling out the big guns.
“No way to tell you to chill out here.” Dean says it as low as possible, but from Sam’s reaction, he realizes he didn’t lower it enough.
Sam helps Faith up and she barely needs to lean on him for support.
Dean makes a motion with his hand, a request for his car keys back. Catches ‘em from Sam the best way he knows how – one-handed and not even looking. Hey, he’s allowed to show off.
“So, Faith,” he drawls out, emphasizing how intimately he’s known her, enjoying the fleeting expression of disgust on Sam’s face. It’ll be something he’ll savor, ‘cause later, Sam’s gonna be asking just what the hell this whole thing’s been about and Dean barely has a friggin’ clue. “This a goodbye?”
“Disappointed, pumpkin?” She asks it with that saucily flavor of wicked back in full force. “Just have to make up for it next time.”
It’s not disappointing, he swears, getting kicked to her voicemail. Her voicemail message’s short and to the point: Faith. Missed Me. Maybe you’ll catch me next time.
He’s got time. There’s not much to do, they’re going to Chicago now to check out a nasty death that may or may not be their kind of thing. So he’s gotta make this one count.
“Faith,” he begins, drawling out her name, putting the emphasis in it that she reserves for a friendly hey. Dean doesn’t have to figure out which story he’s gonna tell her. The images are spilling over in his mind and he knows how it’ll be. And how much of it’ll be true, well, that’s for her to figure out. Payback’s a bitch, ain’t it?
To be continued in Liquid Wood (And Other Myths About Vampires That Aren’t True).
Additional Story Notes:
Faith's side of the story is actually referencing two other fics that I've written. For those curious, a quick synopsis:
In Regrets, Faith gets hit with a spell that opens up what was forgotten thanks to a deal Angel made with Wolfram and Hart (in A:tS Season 4 - everything that had to do with Connor basically). She doesn't take it well at first, but she learns to deal.
In here, not waiting, Buffy is given a task of discovering certain items all over the world and she isn't able to make it to Winconsin. Faith goes instead to recover one of these artifacts. It is also noted in that story that Faith keeps on talking about Dean, though he's not mentioned by name. ;-)