Author notes: This takes place about June 1998, just after Faith was called as a Slayer, while she was still living with her Watcher Diana. It’s a companion piece/ficlet associated with my longer story Watch My Back.
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters.
The music was turned up to what Faith considered the only acceptable volume for anything by Rob Zombie- which was, of course, loud enough to make the walls vibrate. It was only a normal CD player, nothing with speakers or a boom box or anything like that, but it was a CD player that Faith had never been able to own before, and it was more than adequate in the maximum setting of its volume.
In the middle of her bedroom floor Faith danced with enthusiasm, jerking her head in rhythm with the music’s angry pounding, running her hands up her sides and closing her eyes. Without opening her eyes she could imagine the darkness of a dance floor, the energy of a crowd pressed close, heightening her adrenaline. She would have that this weekend, of course. But today was only Tuesday, not a night that she was allowed to go out, so for now she would have to make do.
It took quite some time before, when she briefly opened her eyes, she noticed that the door to her room was now open and Diana was standing in its entranceway, arms crossed, eyebrows raised. Not missing a beat or faltering in her movement, Faith grinned and waved at her Watcher and guardian.
“Hey, Di!” she called, and Diana raised her voice over the music, her tone dry.
“I would have thought you would be tired after your patrolling…foolish me, forgetting the endless energy of the Slayer.”
“Never too tired to work it, Di,” Faith practically yelled back; in earlier days in her Watcher’s home, she wouldn’t have dared even turn on the music, and if she had been caught dancing to it, she would have immediately stopped, embarrassed. But she had been living with Diana for over a year now, thought of her as the mother that her own mother had never been. She was quite secure enough to continue her provocative movements as Diana stood and watched, seeming just as amused as she was exasperated.
“So I am learning,” Diana replied, and Faith called to her over her shoulder.
“You want me, Di?”
“I want you to turn down that noise that you so optimistically refer to as music,” Diana clarified in the same dry tone, partly leaning against the doorframe now as she continued to watch her Slayer’s wild motions. “I don’t understand how with your superior hearing, it doesn’t disturb your ears worse than mine…where is this extraordinary focus on Friday afternoon trainings?” she added with a small smirk, and Faith grinned back at her, her heartbeat thudding rapidly, her color high as she danced her way over to the stereo and turned the volume down barely perceptibly. Diana raised an eyebrow again as her charge started to move away.
“Lower than that, Faith, please. If I must lose my sense of hearing, I’d prefer for it to be whilst valiantly battling evil rather than courtesy of your noise machine.”
“Aw, Di, come on,” Faith nearly shouted over the still-considerable volume of the music; she was enjoying needling her Watcher now nearly as much as the dancing itself, and she made her way closer, dimples flickering briefly into view. “You can’t possibly listen to this at whisper volume, it’s not what it’s made for!”
“I do believe that it is possible to listen to it at a lower volume and still enjoy it,” Diana rolled her eyes, which made Faith grin even wider, finding her general demeanor a hilarious bonus to exuberant mood. “Though how one could enjoy it at any volume is a mystery to me.”
“This kind of music is made to shout!” Faith proclaimed, throwing her head back and shaking her hair around, and Diana smirked again.
“More like screech. Faith, I-“
“You don’t listen to the words, Di, you listen to the beat,” Faith asserted, glancing over her shoulder as she continued in gyrations that to Diana looked alarmingly near dislocating the major joints of her body. A new song had started, one that seemed to Diana indistinguishable from the first, and Faith did seem to have shifted her method of movement with the change in songs, though not by much. “Just move to the beat!”
“There’s a beat?” Diana said skeptically, arms still crossed, leaning more fully against the door frame, and Faith, making her way over to her, suddenly took her wrists and uncrossed her arms with a gentle but firm tug. Diana started to take a step back, looking down at her in surprise, but Faith pulled her forward into the room with sudden impulsive intent, her smile growing.
“Yeah, you just feel it…just go with it. Come on, Diana, come dance with me!”
Her eyes widening, Diana automatically took a few steps forward in response to Faith’s steering, but then resisted, shaking her head and attempting to remove herself from the girl’s grasp.
“Faith, really, it’s growing late. I asked you to turn the music down, and I expect you to-“
“I will, Di, I promise,” Faith said loudly, her mouth near the woman’s ear as she readjusted her grip on her, pulling her closer and grasping her hands so that Diana would have difficulty pulling away as she twisted her body and moved her feet rapidly, hardly missing a beat even while talking and also keeping hold of her. “I’ll turn it off even. But dance with me first, just for a minute!”
“Faith-“ Diana started, and there was an awkwardness to her tone, an uneasy look in her eyes that Faith had very rarely witnessed before as she tried again to pull away. Faith didn’t let her go, directing with the pull of her hands a beat for Diana’s body to follow.
“One song, Di, one song!”
For the first sixty seconds or so Diana was participating with the utmost reluctance, allowing Faith to manipulate her body merely because the girl would not allow her to back away. Her limbs were stiff, and she moved only the bare minimum that Faith was making her. But as Faith continued to smile at her, dimples deepening in her cheeks, pure pleasure and enjoyment lighting her eyes, Diana couldn’t help but start to smile back. Her muscles loosened, and she allowed Faith to direct her movements more easily, laughing at the situation out loud.
Here she was, a respectable adult, and a British one at that, allowing her fifteen-year-old charge to make her dance to a song that, from what few words she could understand, seemed to be about zombies, necrophilia, or both. And she was actually enjoying it…strange how this had never been mentioned in her training.
“See, told you you’d like it!” Faith said gleefully, and Diana smiled back at her, rolling her eyes even as she followed Faith’s lead.
“You are insufferable, Faith Lehane.”
“Yeah and that’s why you like me,” she grinned, and Diana couldn’t disagree.
“I suppose so.”
They continued moving until the song had faded. As the next began, they stood close, smiling. Faith reached to turn the radio off, but it didn’t escape Diana that the girl was seemingly thoughtlessly still holding one of her hands.
Perhaps these moments had not been in the job description, but they were certainly an added bonus.