Lessons From a Demon
Word count 1880
Pairing – Xander/Faith
Disclaimer – Joss’s characters, but he didn’t show us what happened after...
AN – written for a Christmas prezzie for Selene in December 05 – I think it fits the Xander category. I hope so. He’s good Xander in this one.
Lessons From a Demon
She dropped down beside him, letting out a heavy sigh, and leaning back against the wall. He gave her a sideways glance, but just nodded to acknowledge her arrival. They sat in companionable silence for a few minutes until she finally rolled her head towards him and said quietly, “I’m sorry about your girl. I didn’t really have much time to get to know her, but she seemed like fun.”
He gave a start of surprise, then nodded his appreciation. “Yes, she was fun. And she loved me.”
“Anyone could see that,” she answered. “And you loved her.” It wasn’t a question, but a statement.
“I did. I didn’t do right by her, but I did love her. I hope she knew that.”
“I’m sure she did, Xan.” Faith stood up, brushing her hand lightly over his head. “Got to go check on Robin. I just wanted to tell you…you know…trying to act like a real person.”
He finally looked up at her with his one functional, if red and bruised-looking eye. “You are as real as they come, Faith. Don’t let anyone tell you different.”
With a final half-smile, she turned and wandered toward the bus, which the hospital had graciously allowed them to leave in the parking lot until all their injured had been cared for. If the hospital personnel wondered how the collapse of a giant sinkhole had caused wounds like those from bladed weapons and/or teeth and claws, no one said anything. They just put their emergency room on full alert and began an immediate triage.
Robin, of course, being one of the most gravely wounded, had been hustled off to surgery and no one had been able to talk to him since he’d been rolled off down the hallway, leaving Faith with a weak wink and a thumbs up. He’d seemed so confident that she hadn’t really bothered to worry about him, just fidgeted impatiently as she waited for him to come out of the anesthesia.
As the day wore on and the girls were released if they didn’t require hospitalization, she became more and more impatient, prowling around the waiting room and glaring at the nurses as though it was their fault he wasn’t out yet. Nothing had prepared her for the grim-looking doctor who emerged from the recovery area and asked quietly, “Are you Faith?”
She nodded quickly, already moving towards the doors, sure that he had come to tell her Robin was awake and asking for her. The man’s hand on her arm stopped her forward progress and she paused to look at him with a raised eyebrow.
“What’s up, doc?” She grinned at her own witticism, feeling her smile fade as the doctor didn’t laugh with her but instead, gestured for her to sit down.
Shaking her head vigorously, she stared at him, refusing to admit that he was going to say anything she didn’t want to hear.
“Mr. Wood listed you as his next-of-kin. Is that correct?”
“I guess I’m as close to it as he’s got,” she answered, her voice faltering in spite of herself.
“I’m sorry,” the man said quietly.
“About what?” She was genuinely puzzled for the second or two that it took for his words to truly sink in, then realization hit and she sank into the chair she’d refused such a short time ago.
“No,” she insisted. “No. I thought he was dead; but then he wasn’t, and now he’s here. In a hospital. So he’s going to be fine. I mean, no slayer healing, so, yeah, it’ll take a while, but—
“I’m sorry,” the doctor repeated again. “If you will tell us what kind of arrangements you need to make—“
She leapt to her feet and ran from the room, sure that if she ran far enough and fast enough, the tears she could feel prickling her eyes would be left behind. She ran until she was out of breath, then stopped and looked around. She found herself out in the desert, miles from the town and hospital and the dead body of the first and only man to treat her like she was something special.
Squeezing her hands into fists at her sides, and squeezing her eyes shut even more tightly, she took deep, cleansing breaths until the uncharacteristic urge to cry was once more under control.
It’s okay. He was just another guy. I’ve had plenty of them. This one seemed a little more…interested, maybe. Maybe a little nicer, but still, just a guy. Only known him a few weeks. Its’ not like I’ve lost the love of my life here.”
Satisfied that she’d put Robin’s death in perspective, she began the long trudge back to town, not arriving until darkness had fallen and everyone had wandered off to find shelter for the night. She stared at the lights of the motel across the street from the hospital, knowing that somewhere over there was a bed meant for her use. Somehow, the idea of spending the night sharing the room with a girl who was, in many cases, almost a complete stranger was very unappealing and she turned away, walking towards the darkened bus.
She wasn’t even surprised to find Xander sitting in the doorway, staring at a crumpled Twinky wrapper on the ground as though by looking at it hard enough, he could force it to plump back out with sugary goodness. When Faith’s foot pressed it into the pavement, he gave up with a sigh and raised his head.
“I heard about the principal,” he said quietly. “I’m sorry. I guess we both lost someone today.”
“Not the same,” she said, as much to convince herself as him. “You and your girl were together for years. I just met him.”
“It’s not how long you’ve know them, it’s how much you loved them that counts,” he answered with a wisdom that shocked and surprised her into silence.
He moved his feet over and she joined him on the steps, sitting just below him and leaning back against the next step. Her head was level with his knees and she found herself fighting the urge to rest it against his strong leg. When the silence began to become uncomfortable, she asked cautiously, “How’s B doing? I haven’t seen her all day.”
He shrugged before responding quietly, “She spent the whole day insisting she was fine; that she was so proud of Spike she could dance a jig.”
Faith nodded. “So, is she still jigging?”
He shook his head. “She disappeared into their room a couple of hours ago and when Dawn came out for dinner she said Buffy wouldn’t be joining us for the victory meal. Dawn only made it though the salad before she said she had to go and she ran back to their room. They haven’t come out since then and nobody has wanted to knock on the door.”
“I expect Blondie’s spontaneous combustion left a pretty big hole in the Summers family,” Faith said softly.
Xander jerked involuntarily before asking, “How is it that you could be here for only a few weeks and see that? I’ve know them for years and never realized…never admitted to myself how much he was a part of their lives. Especially Dawnie – that whole summer Buffy was gone, the bleached menace was there; getting her off to school, helping with her homework, babysitting when the rest of us didn’t want to bother with her. And Buffy…much as I hate to admit it, I know he loved her and she…” He stopped, unwilling to go on.
“She loved him back, Xan,” Faith finished for him softly. “Maybe she couldn’t show it in front of everybody, but it was there. They had something pretty special. Leave it to B to finally pick the right vamp,” she added wryly.
“I am such a jerk,” Xander said, dropping his head. “Never gave him a chance, never gave them a chance – wouldn’t let her explain…She’ll never believe me now if I try to tell her I’m sorry.”
Leaning her head against his knee, Faith reached up with one hand and stroked his head. “Everybody’s sorry tonight. We’re all sorry about something or someone…”
Suddenly the tears she’d conquered earlier were pouring down her cheeks, and he felt her sudden shudder as sobs welled up from a place she hadn’t thought she owned. He pulled her body up onto the same step with him, and then into his lap when it became obvious there wasn’t room for both of them. As the hard-boiled slayer cried on his shoulder for all the people they’d lost that day, his own eyes, which he’d been sure had no tears left, filled again and he clutched her against his chest sobbing into her dark, fragrant hair.
When Faith’s sobs tapered off and she twisted around to fasten her mouth on his desperately, he met it with his own bereft passion, plunging his tongue out to meet hers. Without breaking the kiss, he pulled himself back up into the bus and twisted until they were lying in the aisle still kissing each other frantically. Without thought, hands went to belts and waistbands and pants were unzipped and pushed down legs to allow body parts to meet.
Faith struggled to be in her usual position on top but the large man was able to turn her so that he was looking down into her confused face as he kissed her again.
“Let me do this,” he whispered against her mouth. “Let me love you, Faith. Just for tonight.”
She nodded silently, opening her thighs and sighing as he pushed slowly into her dampness. For minutes they moved easily together, her arms wrapping around large body and her legs around his moving hips. They continued kissing as though to stop using their mouths might require them to speak about what they were doing. It wasn’t long before the man’s movements became harder and faster and she allowed herself to get lost in the feelings his body was creating.
When she arched up into him with a soft cry, he gave a soft grunt and allowed his own release to spurt into her, continuing small movements of his hips until he felt her collapse under him. They lay together quietly for several minutes before he rolled off, asking in a whisper if the floor had hurt her back.
She shook her head, then reached for her clothes, pulling them back on without looking at him. Xander grabbed his own pants and pulled them up, buckling his belt loosely and sitting up slowly. Faith looked back at him in the dim light reflecting off the parking lot lights and said without inflection, “You know this isn’t…it doesn’t…it’s not like we’re…”
He touched her hair and said softly, “Sometimes it isn’t about sex, it’s about solace.”
She nodded, not trying to hide her surprise. “I guess that’s what I was trying to say. How did you get so smart?”
“Anya taught me,” he whispered, his head dropping back against the seat behind him.
With a quiet nod, the second oldest slayer in the world stepped down onto the pavement and began walking towards the motel and the rest of her life.
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