Light the Wick
Faith’s behavior had become more erratic and more brazen.
When she could be bothered to turn up for patrol, her innocuous babble was laden with innuendo and delivered with predatory smirks, but was dismissed by the others as par for the course.
She was under the delusion that such action would somehow compel him to surrender to her advances, but he was not some adolescent who let the taunts of a wanton sex kitten goad him into a reaction. The more she pressed, the further he withdrew, frustrating her to the point of distraction. The only advantage was she focused her anger and disappointment into slaying, and thus the demonic population of Sunnydale was at an all-time low.
In the face of such results, neither Buffy nor Wesley bothered scolding her, though each had sensed she was troubled even more than usual.
It was with great reluctance when, at their urging, he went to speak with her.
He looked with disdain upon the slum in which she was living, while at the same time berating himself for allowing her to reside there in the first place. Surely some arrangement with the Council could have been reached. In truth, he considered himself well rid of the Council; their singular devotion to their own agenda made no time for such banalities as providing one of their only two warriors with a domicile which wasn’t infested with cockroaches.
He no longer was in their employ, of course, but what was stopping blasted Wesley from ensuring the health and safety of the Slayer?
He lingered outside the motel room door, his mind constructing and then disregarding scenarios of how best to approach the situation.
He couldn’t afford to be delicate with the girl, for she would perceive it as weakness and attempt to press an imaginary advantage; nor could he come down upon her as heavy-handed as he would like, for she would simply rebel and make life even more difficult for everyone. Despite her insistence that she was a woman, he considered her little more than a petulant child who pouted endlessly when denied the sweet she desired.
He paused in his thoughts, rolling that description around in his head, testing its further applications.
Perhaps it explained her rather pitiful attempt at seduction; she had neither the innocence nor the panache to play Lolita. Why had he caught her fancy, and why now? It must be a manifestation of a deeper internal problem; he most likely represented to her something she craved but had been denied. A father? Possibly.
He knew almost nothing about her, nor did Wesley, and for some reason, Linda had never kept a Watcher’s diary with regard to Faith; or, if she had, it had yet to be unearthed. He wondered if that was Faith’s doing. The girl had briefly mentioned a mother, but had made no reference to a father. Was she simply using sex as a lure to secure a paternal figure?
Unwelcome insight struck, and he suppressed bitter laughter.
She had no interest in him; he was simply a means to an end of hurting Buffy, of punishing her for some nebulous reason. He had long since realized that Faith was envious of his Slayer’s friends and family, of her title of primary Slayer and the expectations to live up to Buffy’s legacy, and of Buffy’s home and her maintenance of a life outside her Calling, but to be so petty and spiteful as to try and seduce her Watcher away from her?
He shook his head in frustration.
It was a ridiculous ploy, and one which never would have worked. He almost pitied the girl, but not enough to overcome his anger at her gall. He raised a hand, fingers lightly curled into a fist, poised to knock on the door of the motel room, when it was suddenly flung open.
She stood there in nothing but a t-shirt, the hem of which stopped just at where her thighs began. He hoped she was wearing undergarments. She leaned against the jamb, eyeing him with satisfaction, a triumphant gleam in her eye.
“Was wondering when you were gonna knock. Thought you’d just wait out here all night like a can of trash.” She curled a lip. “Ripper wanna play?”
He pushed past her and charged into the room, looking around in disgust at the empty beer cans and fast food containers, the scent of generic cigarettes hanging heavy in the air. What a sad statement of a life which was so much more deserving.
“Faith, this has to stop.”
“I agree,” she nodded. “Just give in, Jeeves. You know you want to.”
The frankness of the taunt was unsurprising; the reaction it incited was, as there was some veracity to it. Part of him did
want to give in, wanted to surrender to her beauty and her darkness, calling out to a part of him which he had believed resolved long ago. He was sure that, somewhere, Ethan was gleefully laughing at him.
She sensed his moment of indecision and came forward, wrapping and arm around his waist, exerting slight pressure as her fingers teased the front of his pants.
“Don’t have to mean nothing. It’s just skin.”
He shoved her away, more angry with himself than with her. “Then I rushed to judgment. You are indeed worthy of pity.”
Her eyebrows knitted together as she set her jaw and scowled. “Fuck off, Jeeves. I don’t need dick from you, let alone pity.”
“I thought my dick was what you required,” he purred, his amusement at her taciturnity clear in his eyes. Dear Lord! Had he really just said those words?
“Get the hell out of here, before someone jacks that high horse you tied up in the parking lot.”
He couldn’t leave without answers to some of his more burning questions. “Why are you doing this? Why me?”
She threw her head back and laughed. “Why you? Why not?”
She shrugged. “Because I’m horny. You don’t get that, do you? I’m not asking for a fucking diamond, Jeeves. Just a ride.” She shook her head. “Man, I thought you were cool. I thought beneath that stupid vest and stuffy tie, you were down, but you’re not. You’re just another fucking hypocrite.”
She put up her hands. “Ooh, look, but don’t touch. Want, but don’t take.” She sneered. “Life’s about choices, Giles, but you waste yours by sitting on your ass and watching everyone else live theirs.”
It cut more deeply than it should have. He had regrettably underestimated her.
“B runs around mooning over a fucking vampire; the same vamp who killed your old lady, from what I’ve heard. X chucks Choice Cuts for that mousy little witch, and couldn’t make it work with her, either; still, at least he was almost getting some. The wolf is cool, but he’s so fuckin’ Zen it makes me wanna hurl.”
She crossed her arms and smirked. “And then there’s you, Jeeves. You just sit in your office with your nose in a book, denying what you want, what you could have because it’s…what? Right?” She snorted. “Knew I shoulda gone for Princess Margaret.” She rolled her hips and gave a lascivious smile. “All Wes needs is a little breaking in. Give him a road map, and I’m sure he follows direction like a champ.”
He removed his glasses. “What is it you hope to accomplish? Removing me from Buffy’s side? Hoping that I will choose you over her?” He sighed and shook his head. “Obviously, Linda was not as qualified to be a Watcher as the Council believed, else her Slayer would not be so reckless.”
“Don’t you fucking speak her name,” she growled.
He took a step forward and looked down at her, hardening his gaze. Finally, he was getting somewhere with her.
“Why ever not? Although one should never speak ill of the dead, it is apparent the she was derelict in her duties if what I see before me is the culmination of her efforts.” Her eyes wet and she stepped back, but he raced toward her, grabbing her by the shoulders. “It wasn’t your fault.”
She planted her hands against his chest and pushed him away, sending him sprawling a few yards.
“Fuck you!,” she screamed. “You don’t know! You weren’t there!”
He looked up at her from the floor. “Did that you make you feel better? Did it make you feel powerful? Does anything
? Or is everything you do, every calculated move, every contrived utterance, designed to delude yourself into believing you have some modicum of control in your life?
"The truth is you have none, because you disdain what it would mean. You blame everyone else for your lot in life and refuse to accept any responsibility because it’s easier than making the choices you accuse me of ignoring.”
She glared down at him, panting heavily.
“You had no control over being Called. You had no control over Linda’s murder. But now? Now you do
have control. It is you who decides what your life will become, and you sit here,” he sneered, waving a hand about the detritus, “holed up in your hovel, endlessly replaying mistakes and regrets, as if the outcome will somehow be changed. Grow up and be the Slayer you can be.”
“What pretty words,” she smirked. “You and Wes and the fucking Council, you think you know everything. You think because you train Slayers that you know what it’s like to be one. You don’t, dumbass. You have no idea what it’s like to feel this shit moving through you, coursing through your veins, and knowing it’s you, but not. Having power that’s yours, but not really. Knowing you’ll die young, probably in a lot of fucking pain. Knowing all these people are depending on you, but they don’t know you, and even if they did, they wouldn’t give a shit beyond what you can do for them.”
“Do you truly believe that?” How depressing.
“That’s what I know
, Jeeves. Wes doesn’t give a crap about me. Neither does B.”
“And that hurts you.”
She stiffened. “I didn’t say that.”
“Not in so many words.”
“Not in any
words. Fuck B and her holier-than-though attitude!” She laughed. “Let me tell you, Jeeves, I’ve laid down for a lot of lowlifes, but never was one of them a goddamn vampire.” She sneered. “Oh, but she’s a hero
“Everyone makes mistakes, Faith,” he quietly said, rising to his feet.
“Yeah, but me and B? Our mistakes cost lives. When you go visit your girl’s grave, what do you say to her? Sorry for the mistake? You’re not the one who killed her.”
He cocked his head. “As you did not kill Linda?” He waited temporarily for an answer he knew she would not provide. “Jenny was taken from me by a vampire; Linda was taken from you by one, as well. They’re the enemies, Faith. Not me, and not Buffy.”
“Yeah,” she snorted. “B just sleeps with the enemy.”
“So sleeping me with will even the score? Make things better? Show Buffy something?”
“Jesus Christ!,” she screamed. “I just wanted to get laid!”
“And now you’re lying to yourself.” He crossed the room and put his hand on the doorknob, his back to her. “Faith, whether you believe this is or not, I do care about you, as a person. I wish you could trust me, but I understand why you don’t. I hope that will change. I hope you will allow me to help you.”
“I don’t need jack from you.”
He opened the door and sighed. “Good night, Faith.”
“Giles?,” she softly beckoned.
He turned around, willing himself to appear neither triumphant or relieved. “Yes?”
And her mouth was on his, her legs wrapped around his waist, her hand in his hair. Against his will, he pulled her tight against him, his mouth parting slightly as she invaded it with her tongue. Her small hand, teeming with warmth and life snaked into the front of his pants and exerted pressure which was neither gentle nor unwelcome.
He gasped softly, cutting himself off before the wanton groan gathering in his throat could escape. Just as suddenly, she released him and threw him out of the room, laughing as he landed in an oily puddle in the courtyard.
“When you figure out what the fuck you want, you let me know. In the meantime, thanks for the Hallmark moment, Jeeves. Catch you on the flip.”
She slammed the door behind her.