Disclaimer: Joss and ME own everything Buffy. Maud Hart Lovelace and her heirs own everything Betsy-Tacy. I own nothing but the words.
Faith blinked and looked around, noticing first how Angelus flinched as they appeared, and then how much snow was on the ground all around them. She almost rubbed her arms to warm them up before she realized that she wasn't actually cold; it just looked so cold that she felt like she should be. There was several feet of snow on the ground, it was nighttime, and she could see the breath of the many people skating on a frozen pond just a few feet away.
Not Angel's breath, of course. He was standing under a tree a good ten feet away from the pond, his arms crossed over his chest, staring at the skaters. Brooding, of course.
“What's up with this place?” Faith asked Angelus. “Why would you even come here?”
“I didn't,” he said. He was looked out at the skaters on the pond, too, not looking anywhere near Angel. “If I had come here, it would have been because it gets dark really early and stays dark really late, and the people are friendly and trusting. Him...”
He didn't say anything more, so Faith looked back at Angel. After a few moments of watching him, she realized that he wasn't just brooding or staring at the skaters without seeing them. He was watching
them. Watching one of them in particular.
A petite blond chick who looked like grace personified.
Faith let out a snort. “It's always blonds with you, isn't it?”
Angelus rolled his eyes at her. “Him, not me.”
Faith coughed out a, “Darla.”
“Whatever,” Angelus said. “That's not what this is about, anyway. If it was just blonds, that's a type – tacky and wasteful, but not embarrassing. No, this is about her.”
Faith looked from him to Angel to the girl, but then gave up. “Her?” she asked.
“As a person,” Angelus almost growled.
Faith studied the young woman. Her golden curly hair peeked out of a too-cute-to-be-true hat that was trimmed with white fur. It even had a tuft of white fur on top. The hat matched both her coat and, remarkably, her skirt, which were both trimmed with the same white fur. The skirt looked a little shorter than the skirts of the other women who were skating on the pond, and even though this wasn't even close to her own time period, Faith suspected that it was a fashion-forward choice the blond was making. The girl's cheeks were pink with the effort of skating and the cold, and she was doing what looked like planned circles, loops, and spins on the ice, instead of just skating around the pond. Faith had skated a few times when she'd been growing up in Boston – not often, because it was expensive, but a few times – and she could tell that this chick knew what she was doing. Not Olympics level, of course, but more than just someone who skates sometimes for fun.
The girl was also talking to herself. Faith could hear her because of her Slayer hearing, and she knew that Angel was able to hear her, too. She almost laughed out loud when she realized what the blond was telling herself.
“You are not going to do this again. Rocky was bad enough, and you barely managed to pull away from him in time. You became someone else with him. Someone you didn't like, remember? You do not need another moody, needy, depressed, tall, dark, and broody man. You don't. And poor Betsy would have to cheer you up again. She doesn't need that, either.”
After a few more minutes of listening to the girl keep telling herself not to pay attention to Angel brooding under the tree, Faith did laugh.
“It is a type,” she said. “Short blonds who are determined, cheerful, friendly, connected, and alive
Angelus drooped. “Shut up,” he said.
Faith laughed again. “Dude, all you really want is to feel a connection
.” Then, she sobered. “It's all any of us wants, you know.”
Angelus turned away, growling. Before turning herself, Faith watched as the blond, who still looked like grace personified, actually fell down, her skirts flying and tangling every which way. A good-looking, clean-cut young man skated up to her and held out his hand to help her up.
The young woman glared at him, ignoring the mess of her skirts. “I am not the blond you are looking for,” she said, lifting her chin and obviously trying to sound haughty.
The man just smiled down at her.
“How do you know you're not?” he asked.
Angel just watched the scene play out, still huddled under his tree, but Faith smiled as she followed Angelus out of the snow and the cold. Angel would find his blond, the one that would pull him out of the sidelines and into the fight. And then he would pull her out of herself and her despair, and back into the world. And now she would return the favor.