Disclaimer first chapter
The girl’s lip was bleeding, bruises already darkening on her upper arms, but she didn’t look badly injured; in fact, though she was trembling slightly, she didn’t look nearly as shaken as Faith would have expected of most girls her age. Looking at her, Faith suspected with her usually uncanny sense for such things that this was because she was quite used to things like that, to life on the streets in general. Faith hadn’t been homeless for a while now, nor living on the streets, but it was something that stuck with you for years, being able to recognize your own.
“You alright?” she asked the girl, keeping a distance away from her. She didn’t want to scare her, after the rather impressive display of strength and violence for a young woman of her size the girl had just seen her perform.
Not to mention that most street kids had knives or weapons of some kind at all times. Just because the kid hadn’t had the chance to whip one out on those assholes didn’t mean she couldn’t on Faith, if Faith let down her guard for a half second. Granted, Faith could kill her with her bare hands, but all it took was one well- placed slash of a very sharp knife to take her down, Slayer strength or not, and Faith had no intention of letting that happen with his kid.
The girl didn’t answer her directly. Instead, she continued to stare at her before breaking out into a grin, taking a half step forward.
“Shit, you really know how to take some bastards down!”
“Yeah, you could say that,” Faith replied, her lips quirking with some surprise, mostly amusement at the fervor in the younger girl’s tone. “Look…you alright? They didn’t hurt you too bad…they didn’t…”
She glanced over the girl’s body quickly, her gaze lingering for a few seconds on the start of her unbuttoned jeans, the implication clear. Catching her meaning, the girl quickly looked down at herself and rebuttoned them, her chin jerking up in defensive defiance, shoulders stiffening.
“No, they didn’t get shit off me, the stupid cocksuckers, bet their peckers are too small to stick anywhere other than a toe ring. Ain’t no one ever gonna get that from me. I had it covered. I would’ve taken them down any second if you would’ve held your damn horses a minute.”
“Right,” Faith said skeptically, almost snorting in spite of herself as the amusement playing at her lips became an outright smirk. She raised her eyebrows as she continued. “Looked like you had it all under control, alright, the way they had you pinned down on your back with their hands at your crotch.”
The girl drew herself up tall and belligerent, her pale eyes stormy, eyebrows knitting together quickly as she took another step towards Faith, her body taking on as aggressive a stance as she could manage given her shorter, considerably less toned and muscled teenage form.
“You don’t know nothing about me or my plans, Wannabe Supergirl. I had it covered, I had the assholes covered!” the girl almost shouted, her hands forming fists at her sides, her words almost spitting out, as if she were attempting to use them as weapons on assault Faith’s ears. “Who the hell are you anyway, Miss Hero Complex?”
“Faith,” Faith said evenly, crossing her arms and staring right back at the girl. She was no stranger to any scare tactics or attempts at domination she might try to pull. She’d used them all herself, not so long ago; the kid was preaching to the choir, if such a metaphor could be used in reference to Faith without her being burnt to a crisp on the spot or something. “And for someone who just got her ass saved, you sure have a hell of a way of showing your thanks. Who the hell are YOU?”
At that last question, the girl’s angry expression faltered, disbelief flooding her eyes instead. Her staring becoming incredulous once more now rather than enraged, she almost sputtered in her response to her, actually giving a double take.
“You mean you don’t KNOW who I am? You don’t recognize me?” she exclaimed, her hands loosening at her sides as she took another step towards where Faith still stood with her arms crossed, several feet away. “You’re shitting me! Where the hell have you been, a hole in the ground?!”
“No, left that back in Sunnydale,” Faith remarked, rolling her eyes. “What, you some wannabe actress or something? Been on a Barbie commercial when you were six or something? Because I always flip the channel on commercials-“
“I’m Persely Snow!” the girl almost shouted.
At Faith’s blank look, the girl’s eyes bulged, and she made a rapid gesture of her continued disbelief. “Shit, you’ve gotta be shitting me here! You never heard of me?!”
“Nope,” Faith said easily, eyebrows still lifted, and the girl- Persely- almost choked.
“I’m PERSELY SNOW!” she repeated, as if Faith simply hadn’t heard her correctly the first time. “Those assholes, they were Snow Hunters! THEY heard of me!”
“Looks like it would be better for you if they hadn’t,” Faith remarked, then snorted. “Snow Hunters, huh? Looks like they were missing a gun to me, unless you count the way they were trying to shoot blanks there.”
Persely’s eyes flashed, narrowing almost to slits, and she bared her teeth, snapping at her like a dog. What the hell, Faith thought, somewhat startled, but mostly irritated. Was the kid some kind of werewolf?
“Shut up!” she snarled. “They weren’t gonna do shit to me! I never would have let them, you’re full of shit, I never would’ve let them!”
But even speaking as aggressively as she was, there was fear in her eyes, a desperation that Faith recognized with both unease and pity. She exhaled, backing down, and shifted her weight, crossing her arms to make a gesture of surrender. It was probably best if she just left the kid alone. She obviously didn’t want her help, and she was acting like a pain in the ass.
But something in Faith wouldn’t let her walk away just then. Instead, she spoke to her a little more calmly and seriously than before, taking a slow breath.
“Hey, sorry. Look, Persely…those guys are just bastards, like you said. Guys are monsters, they’re always gonna do shit like that. Doesn’t mean-“
“THEY know who I am,” Persely cut her off, her words defiant, almost a challenge. Obviously she was much more comfortable on that line of discussion than the one Faith had been starting down.”They’re a bunch of cocksucking assholes with small peckers, and THEY still know.”
“Bet they’re gonna remember me pretty strongly after tonight too,” Faith smirked. When Persely glared at her, she asked with obvious skepticism, “And why exactly is it that I’m supposed to know who you are and be starstruck by your presence?”
“I’m PERSELY SNOW!” Persely repeated yet again, and when Faith opened her mouth, she cut her off, her voice rising. “I’m FAMOUS! I’m on the news across the whole country! I’m in the paper and on TV, everyone knows who I am, EVERYONE! What, are you blind, can’t you even read, can’t you even watch TV?!”
“Not blind, just not interested,” Faith shrugged. “If I watch TV, which by the way,, isn’t much fun compared to beating the hell out of something, it’s gonna be action stuff, not the news, and whatever I need to know, someone else who read the paper can tell me. Anyway, it’s not like people pay much attention to articles about kids who won the science fair or whatever-“
“Won the science fair?!” Persely almost screamed, and she looked so comically furious by this point, her face crimson and strained with feeling, her eyes so wide, that Faith had to keep herself from laughing. “I didn’t win the damn science fair! I poisoned my parents, you moron! I killed my mama! I’m a damn murderer!”
Somewhat surprised, Faith’s eyebrows lifted, her eyes narrowing, and she looked Persely over carefully, studying her from head to foot as the blonde continued to glare at her defiantly, her jaw thrust forward. Coming to a decision, she shook her head decisively.
“Nah. You’re not.”
Persely, judging by the dumbfounded expression coming over her face, was clearly not used to this sort of reaction. She blinked, taking a half step back, and though her voice held aggressive swagger, it was also confused.
“What? Yes I am!”
“No you’re not, “Faith replied with mostly uninterested assurance in her tone, shrugging, her eyes briefly skimming over the alley walls, as if she were contemplating their design and finding them to be fascinating in comparison to Persely. “Kid, I know murderers, and all I gotta do is take a look at you to know you’re not one.”
“I am too!” Persely shouted, taking a step forward now, her chest jutted forward, and Faith almost snickered, because she looked insulted as much as outraged, like she was offended she didn’t look homicidal enough or something. “Ask anyone! Pick up a paper, turn on the news! They’ll all tell you!”
“They got it wrong then,” Faith shrugged, and Persely’s face reddened further, her eyes practically popping out of their sockets with her frustration and anger.
“How the hell would you know?! You don’t know me- you ain’t never even heard of me before! You’re dumb, deaf, and stupid when it comes to me, you ain’t never-“
“Because I am one,” Faith cut her off, her voice even, not quite casual. “I am a murderer. And we know our kind. You’re not one of us.”