I own nothing; not Faith; not Xander; nor do I own the potentials. As a matter of fact, depending upon whom you ask, it is questionable whither or not I have any potential at all. Summery:
A sequel in spirit to ‘Halfrek’s Gift’. Yet another scene from the show that may, or may not have been left on the cutting room floor. Twelve Steps to a Better You…And a Toaster
Faith absently listened to Kennedy’s voice as it drifted in from the Summers’ back yard while she watched the potentials train through the window over the kitchen sink. From what the Boston slayer had heard the dark haired potential, Willow’s new squeeze, had mellowed out a lot from when she had first shown up in SunnyD. Trailing and bitching along behind Jeeves when he had come back from Tweedland and sure that she was the answer to everyone’s problems.
“Damn it, Rona. What the hell was that? You couldn’t stop a spitball with a limp assed block like that.”
But she was still a real drill instructor while training.
“What difference does it make,” Came the response to Kennedy’s question. “Yeah, Buffy, or Faith, or maybe even Spike, can face-off with one of those uber-vamps, but what can any of the rest of us do?”
Faith put the glass she had used in the sink and took a deep breath and psyched herself up for what she was about to do.
“What we do,” Kennedy’s voice answered from outside, its tone softer than it had been a moment before. “Is last as long as we can. Do whatever we can until Buffy, or Faith, or maybe even Spike show up and pull our asses out of the fire.”
Closing her eyes the Boston Slayer mentally donned her armor of confidence and strode from the kitchen, letting the sounds of the potentials fade behind her.
“Whether we believe it, or not; whether we even like each other, or not; we are sisters. We’ve already buried too many of our sisters. I don’t want to bury any of you and I sure as Hell don’t want any of you to bury me. So, back to first position. One…Two…Three…”
With the potentials training in the backyard, almost everyone was out of the house. This was Faith’s chance, maybe her only chance, to say what she wanted to say…what she needed to say…to the only other person left in the building. Leaving the sounds of training behind her she followed the sounds of hammer meeting nail into the living room and to the man she sought, who was once again repairing the front window.
“Yo, X, need a hand?”
“O hank u,” Xander answered. After a few seconds of thought, which apparently involved shaking his head and rolling his eyes at himself, he removed the spare nails from his mouth and tried again.
“No thanks, Faith. I got it.”
Catching the tone of her voice, the young man turned and looked into her eyes for a second before nodding.
“Well, you could hold the nails and hand them to me when I need one,”
Spotting the disgusted frown on the dark-haired woman’s face from the corner of his eye, he looked down at the saliva soaked nails in his hand then dumped the offending metal into his breast pocket.
“Not these nails, of course,” He quickly amended, wiping his hand on his shirt. “I meant the other nails sitting on the table over there.”
“Right,” She said grabbing a handful and handing one to the carpenter. “So what’s the deal with guys putting nails in their mouths when they work anyway?”
A mischievous grin flickered across Xander’s face briefly as he lined up the nail on the window frame.
“It’s one of the rules of the secret order.”
“You know, ‘The Super Sacred Society of Well-Paid Woodworkers’. It’s not as catchy of a name as ‘The Free Masons’, so we keep the name to ourselves. So…don’t tell anyone.”
“The S.S.S.W.P.W.W.?” Faith asked incredulously.
“Yep, there is a whole induction ceremony and everything, but it’s mostly just, ya know, showing the secret hand-shake, drinking a lot of beer, and, for some reason, involved me putting on a blindfold and walking back and forth while the guys took turns hitting me with a paddle, which, oddly enough, was made out of plastic. I think the crew foreman added that last part on because he thought it was funny.”
By the time he was done Faith was having a hard time controlling her smile.
“And what does this all have to do with putting nails in your mouth?”
“It’s all very important and historic and…well…They explained it to me after the beer part so it’s all kind of blurry.”
After that, they drifted into a, if not a comfortable silence, a quiet one that wasn’t completely painful while Xander finished setting the window frame. When the last nail was tapped into place, the dark-haired young man sat on the stepstool that he had used and turned to face the young woman.
“So, Faith, what did you want to talk about?”
He was almost surprised when the dark slayer appeared uncomfortable for a moment before her usual cocky grin reasserted itself on her face and she answered with a casual shrug.
“Yo, I did the whole one on one thing with Red on the way up, ya know, and I had the up close and personal with B when I got here. So, I was thinking, I’d grab you while I had the chance and do the whole ‘Sorry for trying to kill you’ thing, ya know?”
“Ah,” He nodded sagely. “So, part of the twelve step program, then?”
Faith felt a surge of anger at his words and opened her mouth to snap off an appropriately venomous response, but then it hit her that there had been no bitterness, or recrimination in his voice and a quick look into his eyes showed only curiosity in his expression. Catching the words before they left her mouth, she visibly relaxed and shrugged out a different reply.
“Yeah, the apology thing is like step six, or seven. I’m not sure which, I didn’t get a pamphlet, but I hear there’s a wicked sweet toaster in it for me when I get to step twelve. So…”
Xander shrugged and a genuine smile crossed his lips.
His grin widened when he noticed that the young woman completely failed to keep the gob smacked expression from her face.
“Okay? You’re kidding me. That’s it? Okay?”
“Everyone had tried to kill me at one point, or another,” The Sunnydale native chuckled as he raised his hand and began ticking off of his fingers. “Fangless locked me and Willow in a basement and left us to starve. Deadboy knocked me cold and left me in the middle of the street after dark,” Faith flinched a bit at the memory. “Buffy tried to feed us all to a demon. Willow’s tried to kill me twice, but she’s my best friend. So, she’s special. One of our substitute teachers wanted to bite off my head and feed me to her spawn. The first girl I ever dated tried to suck out my soul, and not in a good way. Cordy bashed me in the head with a baseball bat, or something. Though that was mostly her trying to turn me into a pod-person, but it still counts,” He took a deep breath while his brain caught up with his mouth. “Oh, and let’s not forget that Anya wouldn’t even be in Sunnyhell, if it wasn’t for wanting to kill me, or make Mr. Happy fall off…”
“…Or turn me into a giant man-eating worm, or rip out my heart, or…well, you get the idea.”
The Boston slayer didn’t even try to keep the amused smile from her face.
“So, what about G and Pip?”
He tilted his head in thought for a second. “Well, I’m sure Giles has wanted to kill me at least once a week for the last seven years. And as for Dawn? Dawn’s still kinda young, ya know,” Xander paused to wipe an imaginary tear from his eye. “Someday little Dawny will be all growed up and chasing me with an axe, just like her aunty Willow.”
Faith snorted a rare bit of genuine laughter as she pushed off from the wall she had been leaning against in preparation to leave.
“So, we’re good, yeah?”
“Yeah, we’re good,” He agreed. “And, Faith…Thanks.”
She turned and raised a questioning eyebrow.
“It just seems…I don’t know. It just seems that everyone else has done steps one and two, but then just skipped ahead to step twelve, ya know,” The original Scooby said, struggling with what he was trying to say. “I mean there have been apologies galore, but it always felt like I was expected to be alright with everything. Does that make sense?”
“Hey, no prob, Boy toy. If I get my toaster, you’ll get the first batch. Cool?”
“No, Faith. When
you get your toaster, you will have earned the first batch all to your self. But I call dibs on the second batch. Deal?”
“You got yourself a deal, X.”
Then the potentials returned from the backyard and once again 1630 Revello drive was filled with the crowded chatter and laughter of teenage girls.