A/N I'm sooooo very sorry to have taken this long to post the next chapter of this fic. I've had it written for a while, but now I've tweaked it a bit and am posting it. Please forgive and point out any errors I may have (probably) made and I'll try to correct them? Thanks! :)
Late the next afternoon…
Faith gets a call from her Watcher, telling her a sister slayer is asking for help with a situation down in New Mexico.
She asks Shepherd, “I have to go help out a friend in New Mexico. Would you like to go with me?”
Appearing to think about it a minute, “That might be doable. Let me check in with the base first before I can say for sure.”
She nods and he pulls out his phone and makes the call. In the meantime, they’ve sat down at the restaurant and he points out what he wants on the menu so that Faith tells the waiter when he shows up.
A few minutes pass while John is obviously shuffled around, waiting for the General to be available to come on the line and then he finally gets the man.
Two bread sticks and a glass of soda in Faith later, the slayer hears, “Yessir, I’ll keep my phone on. Thank you, I will sir.” John shut the phone and put it down on the table.
At Faith’s expectant look, he grins and tells her, “The General said to have fun.”
“That’s it? After all that runaround, you ask permission to leave the state and your General just says ‘have fun’?” She asks in disbelief.
The waiter brings their food and that conversation stops for a moment.
He grins as the waiter walks away, “For a CO, Landry is a good guy and he knows that my normal duty station is pretty remote and dangerous. Those of us posted there have accumulated a lot of leave time, so a few days away from all things military really aren’t too much to ask. As long as I keep my phone on and check in every day so that they know I’m still among the living, it’s all good.”
She snorts at that saying, “You really have
been away for a while haven’t you?”
He sticks his tongue out at her in response and begins to eat his meal.
She laughs and makes a very audible comment on a better use for that, making him choke and blush, which only makes her laugh harder.
In New Mexico the next night…
“It’s a chick thing. Think you can hang out here for a while without me, maybe catch a game or two on cable? She’s my friend and I promised I’d help her out.”
John pouts, “Friends are important, so I guess so.”
Faith grins, backs him into the wall by the door and kisses him until he moans. She releases him and turns to the door.
He groans theatrically, “That was mean. Now I need a cold shower.”
“Just makin’ sure you’ll miss me while I’m gone,” she winks and starts to close the door, stops and tosses him the keys to her BMW.
John blinks in surprise, “What are these for?”
“Felicia is picking me up and there may be drinking involved later, so no driving for me. I’ll take a cab back if we end up far enough away from the hotel that I can’t hoof it back.” She grins and turns away again.
“Hey,” John catches the door before it can close, a worried frown on his face. “Maybe I should drive you and you can show me where to pick you up from later, after you and your friend have dealt with her problem. What do you say? I’d worry less.” He gives her his surprisingly effective pleading puppy dog look.
Faith stops and stares, filled with the warm tingly feeling again and can’t help the smile that crosses her face. “You’d do that? Even though I told you we might be out really, really late?” His return smile makes her want to jump his bones. Again. And he knows it, seeing how it turns into that infuriatingly adorable smirk of his.
Dropping the smirk and getting serious, “You bet I would. I’ll be up anyway, since I can’t sleep without you in my arms.” Saying that out loud surprises him, but he tries to hide that fact from her.
Faith sees it all and melts inside. She nods, “Let’s go then.” While he gets his coat, she calls Felicia and tells her about the change in plans.
Hours and hours after returning to the hotel, John is starting to worry. Midnight hadn’t fazed him, neither did 1:00 or even 2:00 a.m. 3:00 on the other hand, has him getting antsy and by the half hour mark after that he grabs the keys and walks out.
He goes to the bar first and they’re not inside because the place is dark and the flip sign says “closed” to boot. He can see through the window that they’re mopping up, no customers left in sight.
Walking back to the car, he hears the sound of a fight coming from half a block away and recognizes Faith’s voice crying out.
Forgetting the car, he runs toward the alley and skids to a stop at the corner of the building so that he can make the turn and enter.
A glance tells him there are seven men beating up on his girlfriend and her friend. He starts to run in their direction.
Another glance reveals that the women are holding their own, something that makes his chest swell with pride at his choice in female companionship and he scoops up a piece of metal pipe lying in front of a dumpster on his way by.
A third look tells him these “men” aren’t typical human beings when two of the deformed faced things disappear in clouds of dust after having what look like wooden stakes driven into their chest and back at heart level.
Then one of them grabs Faith, throwing her head first into the brick wall, more than ten feet away. Before he can freak out over seeing his girlfriend killed, she manages to not hit head first somehow, hitting her left shoulder instead and he can tell from the way it’s hanging when she gets to her feet that it’s dislocated.
John has never stopped moving and now reaches the nearest of the women’s attackers, taking out the man’s elbow and then both knees with well placed blows of the pipe in his hand. Human or not, joints are weak points and he attacks those with grim determination.
Felicia recognizes Faith’s boyfriend from their brief meeting hours before and is impressed. He’s not freaking out and is actually helping, leaving the vamps moaning and groaning on the ground in his wake, their joints and even skulls shattered by blows with his impromptu weapon.
His timely intervention is enough of a distraction that Faith is able to pop her shoulder back in and continue the fight, shortly dusting the vamp that had thrown her into the wall and then moving on to the next.
A minute later sees Felicia dusting the disabled vamps while John and Faith stand face to face, neither knowing what to say first.
Finally, John reaches out and lightly places a hand on her left arm, “How’s the shoulder?”
She shrugs with the right, “Hurts like hell, but the pain will be gone by tomorrow morning and it’ll be good as new by tomorrow night.” After what he’s just seen, she figures she might as well come clean about everything, starting with how fast she heals.
He obviously swallows as the implications of that sink in, “What are-?” the last vampire disappears with a quiet whooshing sound, “Were, those guys?” John asks.
“Vampires.” She holds up a hand to forestall his next question, “Before you ask if you can get the military involved in this fight, they already know to leave it up to us professionals.”
John blinks, “Us?” and glances at Felicia who waves at him, making Faith chuckle.
“If you’re only gonna ask a million questions and not freak out, can we go back to the hotel for the Q & A session? I’d love a long soak in a hot tub right about now.”
John smiles understandingly, “I’ll do you one better and wait until you’re feeling more like yourself. Felicia, you need a ride?”
The young woman nods, “Yeah, my place is on the other side of town and taking care of these guys on top of dealing with the Fuwhinka demons earlier…” she trails off, knowing her fatigue had led her to ramble and gets a deer in the headlights look on her face.
Chuckling and sighing at the same time, Shepherd puts his left arm around Faith’s waist and scoops his right around Felicia’s shoulders, leading them both back toward the car. “I can tell this is gonna be a humdinger of a story.”
Arriving back at the suite, John helps clean Faith up and gets her settled in the Jacuzzi, then brings her something to drink, gets in and sits down across from her. It’s a surprise when he reaches down only to pull her feet into his lap so that he can rub them for her. Touched, she tells him to ask away.
The talk that follows encompasses many things. The Worldwide Watchers Organization, the myriad demons to be fought, how a slayer is called and how long she in particular has been fighting. That leads to how her first Watcher died and he gets the full, unedited version with no flip commentary. Faith doesn’t know why she opened up like that, when no one else has ever been able to get it out of her and hangs her head when she’s done.
Upon learning all that, John drops all other questions, moves to her side and just holds her for a minute. He’s rattled and trying to hide that fact.
John cradles this incredible woman to his chest the rest of the night, watching the sun peek over the horizon alone while she sleeps and heals. Before it clears the Earth’s curve, his eyes drift shut and he finally relaxes into sleep.
Later that morning, Faith lies awake with John at her back, spoon fashion, listening to his quiet snore. The fact that his arm is still snug around her waist thrills and warms her no end.