Cornfields, Coffee and Conciliation
Title: Cornfields, Coffee and Conciliation 1/4
Author: Bastard Snow
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of this stuff.
Author’s Note: Okay, my muse is leading me in many different directions these days. This is a follow up to my story “Three Coffee’s and a Destiny To Go.” Thanks to Drake for Beta’ing.
Author’s Note 2: I do not watch Smallville, so all my characterizations rely on the 3 episodes I’ve seen (from the first season) and my beta. This does not take place in or after any particular season so far as I know. And fair warning, Clark and Lana are a couple, and Lana knows his secret. I think that’s all you need to know.
“You’re kidding, right?” Xander asked. He was sitting on bed across from his long-time best friend, in the hotel room they were sharing with Buffy.
“No,” Willow said. “I’m being completely serious.”
“You mean he just picked him up, threw him into a big crowd, and now he’s in the hospital?”
“That’s what happened,” Willow said. “Apparently some of the people in the crowd were holding some things, and he got stabbed in the side, and had to be taken off in an ambulance.”
“Wow,” Xander said, as he turned back to the television. “The things that happen in the world of professional wrestling when you miss one week.”
“Hey guys, new assignment,” Buffy said as she walked into the room.
Willow and Xander groaned.
“Where now?” Xander asked as he flopped backwards on the bed. “Somewhere that’s more exciting sounding than Smallville, Kansas, right?”
“Uh, actually, no,” Buffy said. “We’re going to Smallville.”
“What?” Willow asked. “I thought Robin was taking that one.”
“He was,” Buffy said. “He did, actually.”
“And?” Xander asked, leaning up on his elbows.
“And, he got injured.”
“Injured?” Willow asked. “Is he okay?”
“Yeah,” Buffy said. “Or, he will be, once his leg is no longer broken. And a couple of his ribs. And his nose.” She paused. “And his concussion goes away…”
“What?” Xander asked, sitting back up completely. “Did that girl beat the crap out of him or something?”
“No,” Buffy said, sitting down next to Xander.
“So what did?” asked Willow.
“Giles didn’t say, only that it wasn’t this girl, uh… Lana. Apparently Wood wasn’t exactly with it when he got in contact. Anyway, we’re flying out there tomorrow morning. Faith is flying in, too.”
“Really?” Xander asked. “Flying? G-man must be worried, spending all that money.”
“Yeah. He said he’s closer to figuring out how to get a hold of the Council money, but nothing yet,” said Buffy. “I don’t know why he’s sending Faith, though. I mean, Kennedy usua—oh. Sorry.”
“It’s okay,” Willow said. “It wasn’t right between us. I’m better having realized that.”
Xander smiled over at her, switched beds and wrapped the redhead in a big friendly hug, which the young woman happily returned.
“You do seem happier, overall,” Buffy said.
“I am,” Willow said. “But, I’m glad I was with her… she… kinda got me through stuff.”
“For which we are grateful,” Xander said, flopping down on Willow’s bed now.
“Nuh uh, mister,” Willow said. “It’s my turn to single-bed it.”
“Yeah, but come on. I get to say I slept with a hot lesbian,” Xander said. “How is that not fun?”
Xander then raised his arms to block the pillows that were flung – by Buffy – and swung – by Willow – at him.
“Geez,” Xander muttered, grabbing the pillows and retreating back to the other bed. “At least I called you hot this time. Did you guys ever regret offering to share one room between the three of us?”
“No,” Buffy said. “It saves some money, and plus, we all get to spend more time together, which was a big part of the draw of this thing anyway.”
“Yeah,” Willow said. “Why, did you?”
“No,” said Xander. “I was a little worried at first, you know… but hey, what sane guy is gonna pass up the chance to sleep with a couple of hotties every night?”
“What time is our flight?” Willow asked, rolling her eyes.
Buffy told them. They both groaned.
* * * * *
8 AM the next day, Tweed-New Haven Airport.
“This is an ungodly hour,” Buffy said from behind her sunglasses and coffee.
“And we’ve been up for over an hour,” Xander said, hefting his backpack off the security check-point’s conveyor belt and limping towards where Willow waited for them. “That was an even un-godlier hour.”
“Ugh,” Willow said. “And I slept horribly, too.”
Buffy and Xander turned to glare at her.
“What?” she asked.
“Consider yourself lucky,” Xander said. “You didn’t get kicked in the middle of the night by the Chosen One-of-Many. And she’s strong. Real strong.”
“And you weren’t almost shoved out of bed by Mr. Cyclops,” Buffy said.
“Not afraid to emphasize the strong,” Xander continued.
“But… my neck is all…” Willow trailed off and withered under their glares. “And anyway, we’ll all have single beds until this thing is over, right? Giles is getting us two rooms.”
“Oh yeah, that’s right,” Xander said as he limped along after them. Buffy really was very strong. “Say, which one of you is rooming with Faith?” he asked.
They turned and looked at him. “One of us?” Buffy asked. “Why not you?”
“Me, Faith, hotel room,” Xander said, bringing his hands to his throat. “Bad associations.”
“Ohhh,” they said in unison.
“I’ll do it,” Buffy said. “We’re getting along better, I guess.”
“That’s good,” Willow said. “Wouldn’t do to have our two oldest-living Slayers hating each other.”
“Nah,” Xander said. “And hey, Buffy and Faith together? Not a bad picture in my head.”
“Xander!” Buffy and Willow scolded.
Xander smirked for a second, waiting for the inevitable reaction.
“Actually…” Willow said, looking off into space.
Buffy looked at her incredulously.
“Sorry, sorry,” Willow said.
The trio resumed their journey to their gate.
* * * * *
Eight hours later, outside of Wichita Airport.
“Jesus,” Xander said as he dropped his and Willow’s bags into the trunk of car they had rented, using a bit of Willow’s magic to pretend Xander was 25 years old. “You know they never really tell you how tiring flying is.”
“I think part of it’s the lay-over,” said Willow, who dragged herself into the car. “And stress.”
“And confined spaces,” Buffy said she hefted her own bags into the car. “Confined spaces are no good for a Slayer. Too much energy. Being cooped up like that drains it out of me.”
“Did you call Giles?” Xander asked.
“Uh huh,” Willow said. “He said Faith’s already checked in at a motel, got the rooms and everything. We just have to meet her there, and check the town out.”
“We’ve still got a couple hours to drive,” Xander said, flopping down into the driver’s seat. “So we’re not doing that checking the town out thing until tomorrow, right?”
“Uh huh,” Willow said, curling up in the passenger seat.
Buffy lay down in the back seat. “Home, James,” she said, haughtily. “And… take the long way.”
Xander grunted and put the car in gear, quickly made his way North out of Wichita.
Five hours later, after a couple of wrong turns, and multiple map consultations, for which he had to wake a bleary-eyed Willow, Xander pulled into the motel’s parking lot. Quietly, he looked for the rooms Faith had checked into. Seeing the light on in one of the rooms, Xander knocked, and was greeted by Faith, wearing a too-tight tank top and white cotton panties.
“Hey, y’all finally made it,” she said, leaving the door open and moving back into the room.
“Yeah, long drive,” he said. “Also, Connecticut with a lay-over in St. Louis is farther than direct from Cleveland.”
“Pays to stay in the middle of the country,” Faith said, with a smirk. She handed him a couple of keys. “First two are for the other room, right next door, other one’s for this. Who’s crashin’ where?”
“Me and Will are next door,” he said. “Buffy’ll crash with you. If that’s cool, I mean.”
“Hey, whatever,” she said. “I’m flexible.”
Xander nodded. “I’ll wake the girls and bring ‘em in.”
Faith smiled. “You’re good at that, ain’t ya?”
Xander raised an eyebrow, confused. “Moving people into hotel rooms?”
“Nah. Takin’ care of ‘em.”
“Oh,” he said. “Yeah, I guess.”
“Need help with the bags?”
“I got it.”
Faith nodded and sat back down on the bed to watch TV.
Xander went back to the car and moved everybody’s bags inside, before attempting to wake the girls, and then eventually giving up and carrying them inside. After laying Buffy down on her bed, Xander brushed some hair off her face, kissed her on the forehead and made his way out of the room.
“Hey, hold up,” Faith said, hopping up off the bed. “You got a sec?”
“Faith, I’m really tired, and –“
“It won’t take long,” she said. “Promise.”
Xander sighed. “Fine.”
Faith grabbed her cigarettes from the table and followed Xander outside. Lighting up, she hopped onto the hood of Xander’s rental car, not having put on any more clothes than before.
“What’s up?” Xander asked.
Faith looked at him for a second. “Listen. I pretty much already straightened up with everyone else. Not that we’re all peachy or whatever, but… well, I never talked to you.”
“Anyway, I know it don’t take it back and whatever, but for what it’s worth, I’m sorry. For you know… trying to kill you. I get you were trying to help me… and I appreciate it… you know, now. But… well, sorry.”
Xander looked at Faith and nodded. “Okay,” he said, before turning and walking towards his room.
“That’s it?” Faith asked. “A frikkin ‘okay’?”
“What do you want?” Xander asked. “Do you want me to forgive you? Done. You’re forgiven. Good job.”
“What’s with you?” Faith asked. “I’m tryin’ to do something here, tryin’ to make it better.”
“You want to make it better?” Xander asked, walking back to her. “Fine. Then don’t make it about the past. Be sorry for what you did, sure, but make things better in the future. I can take care of myself. Make sure the new slayers don’t have to go through what you and Buffy did. That’s what we’re out here for. To find these girls and give them a better chance than you guys, or Kendra had. Make it better for them.”
“I will,” Faith said. “But… look, I was trying to make things better between us. I mean… you’re civil and all, and that’s great, but… I uh… crap.”
Xander waited as Faith finished off her cigarette and tossed it on the ground.
“Look,” she said, looking at the ground. “I just… I wanted to be friends.”
“Friends?” he asked, confused. “With me?”
“Well, yeah, Xander, Jesus,” Faith said. “I sit around and hear the way Dawn talks about you, and Andrew kind of… adores you from afar, which is kind of funny, really. And then I see Giles trusting you with these two girls he loves like daughters, and I see the way you are with them, and… I don’t know. I guess I just wanted in on it.”
Xander stood there, jaw hanging out below the rest of his head.
“Whatever,” Faith said, hopping off the car. “Just forget I said anything.”
“No, Faith, hold on,” Xander said, grabbing her by the arm. “Listen. Friendships… especially post-death attempt friendships, they take a lot of work. You can’t just decide to be friends.”
“I get it,” she said, wrenching her arm away from him. “I’ll just –“
“But!” Xander said, causing Faith to pause once more. “I’m willing to try, if you are. I’m willing to work.”
Faith’s head sagged on her shoulders. “Yeah,” she said. “I’d like that.”
Faith walked back into her room and shut the door. She turned off the light and hopped on the bed.
“How much did you hear?” she asked.
She was met with silence, and let the subject lie.
A few moments later, Buffy spoke. “It’s worth it,” she said. “Take it from someone who knows.”
Faith silently nodded to herself, then turned over and went to sleep.
End Chapter 1