Disclaimer: Anita Blake belongs to Laurell K. Hamilton, and BtVS to Joss Whedon et al. Not profit made, no infringement intended.
Notes: A thank you fic for Emmy who wrote the best ficathon request for me. Her story is Saved by Faith and should be read first, as this story presumes knowledge of it.
Faith was battering hell out of an old dummy that Richard had set up in his tiny basement. Punch, slap, kick, punch and repeat. Richard paused at the top of the stairs and watched her. He considered her to be poetry in motion, dancing to a beat only she could hear. He knew that she could rip the head of the dummy and disembowel it in one swift move, but she chose not to. Instead she as working out, letting her muscles ripple and the sweat build up. Eventually she spun up into the air, delivering a kick that rocked the dummy back on its stand and stood back, breathing heavily.
"Faith?" Richard called. He started to make his way down the stairs.
"Hey. Just working a little of this –" Faith made a grunting sound. "-out. It’s been hard kicking loose in the pad for the last few weeks." Faith stretched, her bones cracking as she pulled her arms high above her head. "Having been beating up vamps and demons every day for the last few years, makes it hard to relax, y’know."
"Actually, no." Richard grinned and Faith couldn’t help but grin in return. "I have news – Anita and Jean-Claude would like to meet you at the Circus about midnight. "
"Alright. Time to find out what the big-wigs have decided about me." Faith grinned. "Also a chance to see the Circus – the guys have really been talking it up. I can’t decide if it’s cool or gross."
"A little of both." Richard grimaced. "I’m not taking you – it’ll be Jason."
"Huh." Faith eyed him up and down. "I’m maybe not the best one to talk about reconciliation, as the last time I had to face friends I’d screwed over I ended up kicking them out of the house… But you should see them, talk it out." She saw Richard tense up, and a grim expression roll over his face. "Or you could borrow my stake?"
Richard relaxed again. "It’s just… complicated."
"Ain’t it just. Now, I am going to shower and find something decent to wear out of the pile of clothes that various members of your pack have showered me with. They really like the leather, don’t they." Faith was already up the stairs and heading towards the bathroom.
"Indeed." Richard muttered to her back. "Indeed."
Anita and Jean-Claude were both ensconced on the sofa in Jean-Claude’s formal office. Dressed as they both were, head to toe in black, they made a rather eye-smarting contrast to the white walls, carpet, and sofa. In fact, Anita rather suspected her current beau had designed it just so. They were sitting in comfortable silence, enjoying the peace of being in each others company without any disaster looming or underway.
Faith was brought to the room right on time, and gave Jason a quick peck on the cheek as he left. He was looking quite… embarrassed was the closest word that Anita could think of. Faith grinned as she flung herself into the comfy chair opposite.
"That Jase is quite the dancer," she said. "Still, I always say that Slayer-strength keeps up with anything."
Anita leant forward. "This Slayer thing – we can’t find any mention of it in any legends or anything."
"Must be a World of Sunnydale special then. I’ve never seen anything like your vamps neither." Faith was frankly appraising Jean-Claude at that point.
Anita scowled. "We had a private detective check you out. There’s no record of you anywhere."
"I’m an inter-dimensional traveller. I told you." Faith frowned in confusion. "You guys never met an inter-dimensional traveller before?"
"Well – there was Evil Skanky Vamp Willow…" Faith trailed off to think about it.
"Willow? That was the witch who sent you here." Jean-Claude asked.
"Yeah. She summoned an alternate version of herself who’d been vamped. Something to do with Anya from what I remember." Faith turned to look at the couple. "I’ve been honest with you. I’m an ex-con Vampire Slayer with a dancing addiction." Faith raised her hands above her head and did a little shimmy. "And you guys got landed with me."
Jean-Claude looked her straight in the eyes. Faith never flinched. "And I also seem to be immune to your vampy tricks. Which is cool."
Anita hid a smile behind her hand, as Jean-Claude described the situation
"You are a self-confessed vampire killer. That is illegal in this… country. By all rights, I should turn you over to the authorities." His sexy French accent did nothing to hide the steely threat. "However," his tone lightened, "if I did so, I believe our neighbourhood lycanthropes would tear me limb from limb. They are rather fond of you."
"Well, yeah." Faith silently let out a breath she was not aware she’d been holding. They accepted her here. They liked her. She didn’t stick out from the crowd and – best of all – no Buffy for her to be compared to. She felt a swift wave of longing swamp her, but sternly quenched it. She was here, she’d volunteered, and things were looking up.
"I thought Anita could train you." Jean-Claude calmly sipped as his wine as he waited -
"What?" Utter disbelief.
- And got the inevitable reaction. He smiled liked that cat he was so commonly compared to, and continued, "Anita, as well as being an Animator, is also a licensed Vampire Executioner."
Comprehension flitted across Faith’s shocked expression. She sat back in her chair, and bowed her head as if in prayer. Jean-Claude’s acute hearing picked up the discussion going on behind the curtain of glossy brown hair. "Legal. That means recognised. That hopefully means money. But she doesn’t slay that often. I don’t think I’d be up to zombies."
"And, of course, while Anita does not execute vampires all the time, she does seem to excite a certain level of danger. Ma petite may be capable of handling herself most of the time, but…" He was interrupted by a very irate Anita.
"You better not be insinuating what I think you are insinuating." She actually stood up and shook her tiny finger in Jean-Claude’s face. "I do not need a body-guard… I don’t. The others look out…"
"And what happens if the others are busy?" Faith ducked her head in embarrassment at the naked affection and worry in the vampire’s voice. The boy could do angst even better than Angel, and that took some doing. The silence stretched out and Faith decided that a subtle cough would serve as reminder that she was still here.
Anita turned to Faith. "As a bodyguard, I’d expect you to watch my back, not get in the way."
"Watch your back, no probs." Faith agreed with alacrity.
"And you’d need to dress appropriately for the office." Anita continued to read of a list of rules and regulations and she led Faith out of the room. Faith followed, shocked as Jean-Claude flashed her the thumbs-up.