Title: Dance With Me 1/2
Author: Emmy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Fandoms: BtVS/Anita Blake
Rating: 18/Adults Only (For language and eventual sensuality.)
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters or situations, only the plot. Joss Whedon, et. al. owns all things BtVS, and L.K.H., et. al. owns all things AB. No copyright infringement intended: This was written for entertainment purposes only.
Summary: Set in Puerto Rico, no significant time or point ... just post-Chosen. After dealing with the demon problem they came to clean up, Willow, Faith, and Buffy decide to unwind at a local club. Faith feels the unexpected pull of her heritage, Buffy wants to “sample” some local flavor, and Willow finds them both highly entertaining.
Distribution: Emerald Illusions, Twisting the Hellmouth, and anywhere else I personally put it. All others please ask first.
Feedback would be very nice. :)
Author’s Notes: This story is now complete.
Any further additions will be added as seperate stories. :)
AN 2: On the show, the writers’ never really went into anyone’s heritage except Willow’s (and the vampires’). This is my take on Faith’s. Oh, one more thing. My Spanish is a tad bit rusty ... if you see a mistake, or if the phrasing is off, and feel the need to point it out, please do so politely. I’ve not spoken the language regularly since I was 20. Speaking of Spanish, the translations will be at the end of the fic. You will not have to scroll down to understand what you’re reading as you read it, unless you absolutely want to.
Thank you to my betas: I appreciate your time and effort so much.
Hope you enjoy!
Faith, for all her efforts to the contrary, could not help but like Puerto Rico. A lot. The culture she had long denied having any connection to was so vibrant here, so ... alive; she could almost taste it. It conjured up memories she had buried long ago, painful memories she would much rather forget. Yet here she was, sitting in a dance club that made her think of all the nights she had spent on rooftops and in basements as a teenager back in Boston. Part of her wanted to get up, grab a random guy, and jump into the music with both feet. The rest of her though, wanted to hide. She wasn’t sure she was ready to admit she even knew that her father had been from Cuba.
Her mother had, the very few times she had actually attempted to do the motherly thing and give advice, told Faith repeatedly to ignore the Cuban part of her heritage completely. She told her that exploring it or trying to find her father would bring her nothing but heartbreak. Faith had rejected everything the woman had said, like always. She had hated her mother by then, hated the smell of booze on her breath, hated the drugs she sold her body to buy, hated the life she forced upon them both. So, just to rub it in her Mom’s face, she embraced her Latin roots. She even learned Spanish from a boy (or four) she’d dated, and tried to track down her father. Like anything else that Faith actually set her mind to, she was successful. It had taken her three years.
She found him, Pedro Morales, three months before she turned sixteen. It turned out that he was every inch the bastard her mother said he was, and Faith still hated to admit that the woman had been right about anything. He was a drunk, and a mean drunk at that. Faith had spent a week with him before leaving, walking out the front door and never looking back.
She was called as a Slayer two months later and, after discovering how good it felt to have superpowers, Faith just sort of let her past slip away. All of it. She never mentioned it, and no one ever asked. It was a good arrangement, in her opinion.
Here though, on this island, where she was surrounded by a language she understood, spoke, and yet could not admit to knowing without having to answer questions, she could not help but wonder what it would be like if she just ... started talking. They had been in the country a week and Faith had already seen enough, felt enough, to know that it was not going to be easy to walk away from her heritage again. She wasn’t sure she wanted to.
The atmosphere of the club was intoxicating. It was smoky, heavy, crowded, and yet full of air -- of life -- all at once. The music flowed around them, filling empty spaces as if the notes were another person joining you at your table. Faith could close her eyes and feel the music flowing into her, and had to fight off the urge to sway in her chair.
“She’s not going to give up, is she?” Willow asked suddenly, pulling the Slayer from her thoughts.
Faith’s eyes snapped open. “What?”
“Buffy,” Willow clarified. “She’s not going to give up until she finds a boy to take back to her room.”
“Ah,” Faith said. “Well, she is persistent, I’ll give her that.”
Willow looked over at her. “Yeah. But you heard her before we left right? Was she serious? I mean, is she serious now? Does she really want to ... want to-”
“Sample a local before we leave?” Faith suggested, grinning.
Willow blushed. “She’s serious isn’t she?”
“Seems that way.”
Both of them shifted their eyes back out to where Buffy was asking yet another man to dance. Faith smirked, amused, thinking that if Buffy had any clue she would just grab one of them, throw him against a wall, and kiss him senseless instead of trying to seduce him on the dance floor. The kissing tactic would work much more effectively, Faith was sure of that. Willow sighed, and Faith looked over at her. “What?”
“Well,” the witch began. “It’s just, I’ve never seen Buffy have such bad luck with guys before. None of them are dancing with her more than once.”
Watching as Willow’s eyes widened, Faith smirked again as the redhead glanced around the club for a minute before leaning in close to ask, “We’re not in a gay bar, are we? ‘Cause Buffy’ll need therapy before we leave if we are and we don’t tell her.”
Almost choking on her drink in effort not to laugh, Faith shook her head, smiling, “Nah. It’s not that, trust me. B just can’t dance.”
“She can to!” Willow defended automatically.
“Yeah,” Faith said. “In the States. But here ... dancing is different. I mean, look at ‘em, Red. Have you seen the way these people move? Like liquid? Buffy don’t move like that. Here, you gotta feel the music and shit. It’s not like clubs back at home where shaking your ass gets things done.”
Willow’s eyes narrowed. “Yeah, well, I don’t see you trying it.”
Faith heard the challenge in Willow’s voice. “Yeah, so?”
“Bet you can’t either. Bet that’s why you’re sitting here at the table instead of dancing the night away like Buffy’s trying to do,” Willow’s eyes widened impossibly wide. “Like Buffy’s doing
. No trying involved. Nope. Not at all.”
Faith chuckled. “Uh huh.”
“You didn’t deny or confirm Faith. I still bet you can’t dance like those people out on the floor.”
Hours upon hours spent in Carlos’ arms as he taught her how to truly move flashed through Faith’s mind, and the Slayer arched an eyebrow. “Yeah? How much?”
“Fifty, cash, and dishes for a month when we get home.”
Poker face firmly in place, Faith shrugged. “Yeah, sure. Can’t be too hard, right? It’s just dancing, only spruced up a bit. What’re your terms?”
“I pick the guy.”
Faith scowled. “That’s not fair. You’re gay.”
“I wasn’t always,” Willow reminded her.
Faith felt like pointing out that Oz hadn’t been much to brag about before remembering that the two of them had Xander in common. She smirked and conceded the point. “Fine. You pick. But, if I win ... if I win, you have to ask that new Watcher out on a date.”
Willow blushed bright red and Faith grinned. The new Watcher was a tall, leggy brunette who everyone knew had turned Willow’s head. They all knew it was just as much for her brains as it was for her looks, but it was really fun to tease Willow over the fact that her new crush was such a hottie. Faith leveled her friend with a steady gaze and the witch finally nodded, slowly. “Fine. You go ask that man to dance and we’ll see how it goes.”
Faith followed Willow’s gaze and mentally started to both do back flips and curse the witch at the same time. “Blue shirt? Short hair? Surrounded by people?”
“Uh huh. He looks tall don’t you think?”
Faith did not say a word. She licked her lips and wondered when Willow had caught her staring at the man in question, and did not doubt for a second that the crafty woman had. Knowing Willow, actually, she’d probably set the entire conversation up so that they would end up right here -- with Faith in the awkward position of either backing out of a bet because she was a chicken, or getting up and approaching the one man in the club who had turned her eye. ‘Red’s damn clever,’ Faith admitted. ‘I only hope I remember how to do this dancing thing.’
“Deal,” she said aloud. “I’ll go ask him to dance. While I’m out doing my thing, you get that little ‘do you wanna go out sometime’ speech of yours dusted off and ready, girly, cause you’re gonna need it when we get back to Cleveland.”
Willow just grinned. “I don’t doubt it. Do you see Buffy?”
Faith looked over and chuckled. “Looks like B has finally developed the ability to read my mind. You can keep your fifty bucks if you tell her that sometime real soon.”
Willow giggled. “She just threw him against the wall and started kissing him. I’m not sure he quite knew what to make of her, but he seemed to recover quickly enough.”
“I just bet he did,” Faith said, downing her drink. “I just bet he did.”
Faith walked away from the table, steadily making her way across the club. She winked at Buffy as she walked past and knew that the blonde Slayer would not be in the club much longer. She only hoped Willow didn’t mind sitting at the table by herself for a little while. She let her gaze drift over to the ‘target’ Willow had selected for her to dance with and took a deep breath, releasing the air slowly. He was certainly a looker. Strong, dark features, and Willow was right: He did look tall. His hair was short, and Faith could tell it was thick. He was wearing a blue tank top and black slacks. She had been watching him, though much more obviously than she’d thought, since he and his friends had come into the club.
She was halfway across the room when she felt it. The power settled over her like a cloud, and the Slayer in her instantly wanted to come out and play, to kill. Faith closed her eyes and focused, forcing herself to calm down, to adjust to the feeling, and soon she was able to open her eyes without wanting to jump down the throats of whatever shifters were sending out such powerful vibes.
Her eyes darted around the club, but she didn’t see any danger, and relaxed slightly. She knew that, generally speaking, most shape-shifting groups were harmless and kept to themselves. Cleveland had a pack of Werewolves and a pard of Werelepoards and, along with the Master of the City, they had all lived in relative harmony for about three years. The Slayers took care of anything the Hellmouth threw at them, any demon that came to town, and any shifter or vampire that went rogue. For the most part, though, they lived a pretty normal life training new Slayers.
They did have to, every so often, take care of business outside of Cleveland, which was how they ended up in Puerto Rico in the first place, but that really didn’t happen as much as they had thought it would. After Sunnydale collapsed, after Angel and his crew took down Wolfram and Hart (and the Black Thorn people … Faith could never remember their actual name), things had pretty much settled down, and for that, Faith was grateful. She did miss the chase sometimes though ... which was why her inner-Slayer had wanted to come out and kick some major ass as soon as the wave of power hit her. It was clear that, wherever the shifters were, they knew who she was and were trying to send a message.
‘Slayer go home,’ however, did not fly with Faith. It never had. Regaining complete control over herself, Faith started breathing normally and began walking once more. She had a bet to win.
It was not until she was within ten feet of her would-be dance partner that she felt it again, that rush of power. It was not quite as strong this time, they did not thrust it into her face, but she couldn’t help but roll her eyes at the typical way the evening was playing out. ‘Figures,’ she thought as she felt a hand close around her arm.
“Going somewhere?” One of the man’s friends
American, Faith realized. They were American. American shifters. She smirked at the irony. The one Latin man in the entire club she had taken an interest in, and he was not only American but a shape-shifter as well. She did not look at the bodyguard holding her back. She knew they were guarding the man she was after, that much was very clear from the looks they were all exchanging. Faith didn’t do any kind of politics well, and when it came to shifter and vamp politics ... well, she couldn’t stand them. ‘Such a waste of time,’ she thought to herself.
She met the man’s eyes. She didn’t know who he was, or exactly what he was, but she’d figured out that he was pretty important. It was always, in her opinion, better to deal with the heart of a matter than to dance around it for hours going from one middleman to the next. Especially when the person you needed to talk to was only a few feet away.
“Got a bet to win,” she said. “And I don’t lose. I’m Faith. You got a name?”
She was almost positive there was amusement in his eyes, though she was still too far away to tell for sure. He did smirk though, saying, “Rafael.”
“I don’t dance.”
Faith shrugged. “Neither do I. Well, at least I didn’t plan on it, but like I said, I don’t back down from a bet.”
“And what,” he asked. “Do I have to do with your bet?”
Faith looked at the bodyguard then as his hand tightened on her arm. “Wanna let me go?”
She arched an eyebrow. “Your friends are real polite, Rafael.”
“Answer my question and he’ll let you go.”
She shrugged again. “Well, it’s like this. You’re my target, in a way. You’re the one my friend picked out for me to dance with.”
“And why should I,” he began, “or my ... friends trust you not to slay me while we dance?”
Faith smirked. “So you know what I am. Good for you. I know you’re a shifter. Point for me. Thing is, you can trust me not to slay you ‘cause it’s just not good business to kill people in the middle of a club. Too many witnesses. Plus ... it tends to get messy.”
Laughter, familiar laughter, filled her ears then, and Faith easily broke free of the hold the bodyguard had on her as she turned. A huge smile on her face, she sidestepped the other guards on her way, and threw her arms around the vampire. “Spike!”
“Slayer,” he said affectionately, returning the hug.
“What’re you doing here?”
“Own the place.”
Faith pulled back. “Get out.”
“You didn’t know?”
“Are you kidding? Do you honestly think we would have paid to get in if we’d known?”
“Buffy know you’re here?”
Spike shook his head. “Nah. Didn’t want to disturb her ... quest. It’s been damn funny watching her all night, though.”
“She was determined.”
“I noticed. Left about five minutes ago with some poor bloke. I hope she doesn’t break him.”
Faith laughed. “She’s got more sense than that ... most of the time.”
“You met everyone?”
“Not really. Was asking Rafael to dance. Not getting too far.”
“He doesn’t dance.”
“He’s gonna have to.”
Spike chuckled. “Uh huh.”
Taking her by the arm, he led her over to a chair and plopped her down. “Everyone, this is Faith. She’s ... one of the Slayers. Not a Slayer, mind you, one of the Slayers, naturally called.”
Faith watched as the shifters at the table got a bit more nervous than they had been previously. She placed her hands firmly on the table, deciding to be honest up front. “I don’t kill shifters unless they kill humans who don’t deserve it. Simple as that.”
“So you say.”
She met the eyes of the bodyguard who had been holding her arm. “I could have ripped your head from your shoulders and handed it to you. I didn’t, did I?”
“How do you know each other?” a man with intense, almost yellow, eyes asked suddenly, looking between Spike and Faith.
Faith grinned. “We have a Hellmouth in common.”
“And a few other things. Let’s just say Faith and I are old friends and leave it at that. Now, onto important business, what’s going on in town that brought both you and Buffy here?”
Faith just arched an eyebrow. “Ah, Blondie. Don’t disappoint me. Either your nose is stuffed up or you’ve been away too long. Just me and Buffy?”
Spike looked at her funny before closing his eyes and taking a deep breath. A slow smile spread across his face. “Where is she?”
“Back at our table. I didn’t think I’d be gone this long.”
Spike pushed away from the table and grinned. “Be right back. I gotta go grab a witch.”
Faith watched him walk away before shifting her gaze so that she could see the rest of the table. Closing her eyes briefly, she said, “You are not all the same type of shifter, right? I’m getting different vibes from some of you.”
“Very astute,” a voice said softly.
Faith sucked in a sharp breath. The fact that there was a vampire at the table hit her like a ton of bricks. “Holy hell. You’re good. I had no idea you were even there. You could have killed ... you are very good.”
“You and your friends are also good at masking your powers. We did not know you were here, either, until you began walking this way, and until Spike mentioned it, none of us knew there was a witch in the club.”
She nodded, looking at him, his golden hair covering half of his face, spilling across his features like a curtain. “It’s safer, for us all, to shield. We have reputations, ya know? Lots of folks want all three of us dead.”
“You can meet my eyes.”
“I’ve never met a vampire who could roll my mind. Well ... one, but I killed him.”
Faith saw something akin to respect flash through the vampire’s eyes. “I am Asher.”
“Nice to meet you. Everyone else, too, for the record. Any friend of Spike’s...” her voice trailed off.
“This is Micah to my left,” Asher said. “And you’ve already met Rafael. The others are with them ... bodyguards, if you will.”
Faith nodded. “Got that part.”
bring you here?” Micah asked.
She tilted her head to the side and watched as Spike walked up to the table with Willow’s hand in his. “Nest of Fyarl demons hatched under that great big church yesterday. Me and B cleaned up and Red did something witchy.”
All eyes turned to the witch as she sat down. “What?”
“I was talkin’ ‘bout you.”
“Instead of dancing.”
“Do I win?”
“‘Cause dishes for a month ... that is a really, really great-”
“You ain’t won nothing yet, Red.”
The two friends glared at each and Spike just started laughing. Faith wished she had something to throw at him, but Willow solved things by hitting him. “Thanks, Will.”
“How many girls you got living in the house now?” Spike asked, calming down.
“Fifteen,” Faith and Willow answered at the same time, their voices leaving no room for doubt at their true feelings on the subject.
“And Giles is still refusing to get us a dishwasher,” Willow said.
“Or a maid.”
“And they have all that money!” Willow exclaimed. “I mean, Anya was almost 1200 years old and she was a really good at investing. Giles and Xander got to split her money evenly. Do they share the wealth? No...”
Faith looked around the table and grinned. “You guys need a few baby Slayers? They can be really entertaining, and they’re really useful.”
“Useful?” Micah asked, clearly amused.
“Yeah,” the Slayer said. “Moving furniture, hired muscle, pretty desk ornaments.”
Willow shot her a glare. “They are not paperweights. Don’t listen to her.”
“Are all of your friends this amusing?” Asher asked Spike.
“Most of them. What were the terms of the bet?”
Faith grinned and glanced at Spike before looking at Rafael. “I ask him to dance, prove that I’m a better dancer than B, and Willow does my dishes for a month. Oh, and there was a fifty in it, too, but I told her to keep it so long as she told Buffy she’s starting to read my mind.”
“Don’t forget ... damn it.”
The laughter that bubbled out of Faith only made Willow blush deeper, and the witch refused to meet anyone’s eyes. Faith looked at Spike. “And, as Willow has just reminded me, if I win, she has to ask one of the new Watchers out on a date.”
Spike grinned. “Yeah? Nice looking?”
“If you go for that sort of thing, I guess. Leggy, brunette, lips like Angelina Jolie ... we tease her about it all the time.”
“She’s smart, too! Real smart. It’s not just her looks, Spike, I swear.”
“Sure, Red. I believe you,” his voice teasing.
“I can set you on fire with my eyes.”
He grinned. “I know.”
Faith just rolled her eyes. Looking over at Rafael, she decided to throw caution to the wind and just go for it. “¿Quieres bailar?”
His expression never changed, though he did push back from the table slightly. “Can you?”
“Been a while, but I think I can pull it off.”
He smirked, standing up and holding out a hand to Faith. “Veremos.”
Rafael watched as the woman seemed to consider his hand, and whether or not she really wanted to dance with him, for a moment. She met his eyes after a second, though, and placed her hand in his.
“Yeah,” she said. “You will see.”
He knew he managed to once again hide his surprise as he led her to the dance floor, but the fact that she seemed to both speak and understand Spanish did come as a bit of a shock. The music was flowing around them and the other dancers moved aside only enough to make room for the new couple. Rafael had not danced in a long time, not since before his wife had left him, taking his family with her. The music called to him, though, and he knew the steps would find him easily.
He squeezed Faith’s hand before twirling her around to face him. He could hear her heart pounding slightly, but she hid her nervousness well. Pulling her to him, his eyes never left hers as his hands settled on her hips. They began to move together, finding the rhythm. He suppressed a smile as they moved in perfect time with the music, her feet moving gracefully to the beat.
Leading Faith was easy, he discovered quickly, and when the song ended, Rafael pulled her even closer, whispering in her ear, “¿quieres bailar?”
She grinned. “Didn’t I already ask you that? Besides, we’re already dancing.”
His body still moving with the band, he smiled. “Yes, but I never asked you.”
Faith’s answer was to wrap her arms around him as she moved closer, and they danced, their bodies melting together as the music played on. He knew a little about her, had known who she was as soon as she said her name, but only because of Spike. The vampire was one of his best friends, had been since they met two years before, and with that friendship came stories. A few of the more colorful stories from Spike’s past had included the woman in his arms.
Rafael’s fingers tightened on her hips as the music slowed down, a bass heavy, sexy song beginning to play. He pulled her closer and increased his footwork, smiling when Faith adapted quickly to the change. She was a very good dancer and it was clear that this was not the first time she’d danced to a Latin beat. He shivered as she ran her hands over his back and met her eyes. Heat, passion, and something else, something more primal, looked back at him, and Rafael licked his lips. “You have danced before,” he whispered.
She moved her hips against his. “Yes. A long time ago.”
“And you speak Spanish, understand it.”
“Si,” she said, automatically. “I learned when I was a little girl. Well, when I was about twelve, I guess.”
Faith was silent, her body speaking for her as they danced, and Rafael let her be, content to wait until she was ready to answer. Song after song played until finally, their bodies slick with sweat, a slow, almost sweet tango began. Only the second slow song of the night. Rafael pulled her to him. “Last dance.”
She met his eyes. “For now.”
He couldn’t help but smirk. He had to admire her confidence, the feisty way she seemed to approach everything. He led her in the dance, enjoying the feel of her body against his ... enjoying that very much. They moved together, letting the music guide them, and Rafael was sorry to hear the last note of the song play. He lifted her hand to his lips and kissed her knuckles. “Wine or beer?”
She grinned. “Beer, definitely beer.”
“A woman after my own heart. How will I ever resist?”
She just chuckled as he led her off the dance floor and over to the bar. They ordered and, as they were waiting on their beers, Rafael said, “You are a very good dancer.”
“So are you. That was fun. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed it.”
He knew she was talking about Latin dancing. Nodding, he said, “Me too.”
“My father was Cuban,” she said softly as the bartender handed him their drinks. “I only met him one time ... but, I got to know the culture a little bit.”
Knowing a sore subject when he heard one, Rafael just nodded and handed her the beer. As they walked back to the table, he said, “Cuba? I have never been there. My family is Mexican.”
Faith smiled. “Been to Mexico a few times. Got arrested there once or twice.”
He laughed as they sat down at the table. “And you admit it so proudly?”
“Hell yeah! It was fun. Spike had to come bail me out once. The local Master in the city I was in ... he didn’t like it too much when I killed a demon without asking his permission first. Didn’t seem to matter that the demon was trying to tear off one of my legs when I killed him...”
Rafael watched Spike roll his eyes. “You talking about that little hole in Mexico where you got thrown in jail?”
“Yep,” Faith grinned. “Fun times.”
“Our lives are weird,” the witch said, and Rafael couldn’t help but agree with her. “By the way, you win.”
Faith watched as Willow finally agreed to let Micah and his bodyguards walk her back to the hotel and rolled her eyes. ‘She couldn’t have just said yes. She had to argue...’
The night had been fun, they’d met some good people, and she had energy to burn. She’d told Willow that she was gonna do a quick patrol, just to be sure that all of the Fyarl demons were dead, before coming back to the hotel. Spike’s ears had instantly perked up at that, and the vampire had said he’d go with her. Faith had just grinned. She’d missed Spike’s company on patrols, to be honest. He brought an energy to them that not even Buffy could duplicate.
She watched Willow and her small entourage walk off and looked over at Asher. The other vampire stared back at her for a moment before walking over and extending his hand. Faith still wasn’t sure why he tried so hard to keep half of his body covered by all that hair, but she had decided halfway through the night that whatever his reason was his business. She clasped his hand in hers, firmly. “It was nice to meet’cha, Asher.”
“Likewise, Faith. I do hope you take us up on our offer. St. Louis is a nice city, most of the time, and the Slayers you and Miss Rosenberg are training might benefit from spending a night at the Circus of the Damned.”
She nodded, thoughtfully. “I’ll talk to Giles about it.”
“Very well,” Asher said politely. “Have a good evening.”
“You too,” she said as he waked away, heading back into the club.
She looked at the empty doorway and sighed, wondering what was keeping Spike. ‘Come on, Blondie. Night’s a-wasting.’
“He’s not coming.”
Faith blinked as Rafael appeared out of the shadows suddenly. “I really hate it when people do that.”
“Sneak up on you?”
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
She smirked. “Where are your boys? And why isn’t Spike coming?”
“Spike has been detained by a fight inside the club. He asked me to tell you to go on without him, that he will catch up. As for my ‘boys,’ they are inside.”
She took a step closer to him. “They let you out of their sight. Such naughty bodyguards.”
He chuckled. “They know I can take care of myself. Besides, there is no danger.”
“So you say,” she kept walking until she was right in front of him. “What makes you so confident?”
He moved quickly, grabbing her, reversing their positions, and pinning her to the wall, his arms on either side of her body. His face inches from hers, their bodies brushing against each other, he said, “Are you saying you’re dangerous, Faith?”
She held his eyes. “I can be.”
“So can I.”
Faith could feel the energy coming off of him in waves. He was all heat ... pent up frustration, both physical and emotional, so thick she could almost taste it. It was something she knew, something she understood very well. She’d felt it while they were dancing, felt the tension in his muscles, and hadn’t understood it. But this - what she saw staring back at her now - this was something she could name if she had to. Rafael needed an outlet, a release. Leaning into his body, she pressed herself against him as she whispered in his ear, “You armed?”
She shook her head. “Not what you need.”
Reaching around behind her, she pulled out a knife, sharp and wicked, before handing it to him. “Here. Just give it back later and you can borrow it now.”
He took the weapon, testing its weight, flexing his wrist to get a feel for it. “I didn’t feel this while we were dancing.”
Smirking, Faith shook her head. “Willow had them. That one’s part of a set. She carried them in her purse for me.”
“She can be.”
“I meant the knife.”
Faith grinned. “I know.”
Her grin widened as she pushed away from the wall, breaking out of his hold, and started walking. She glanced over her shoulder once, saying, “Coming?”
The sound of his footfalls behind her was the only answer she got, and Faith looked over at him when he caught up. “You ever seen a demon?”
“A few. Never a Fyarl.”
“Nasty things. Thick skin. Horns. You’ll recognize it as a demon instantly if we see one.”
“And if we don’t?”
Faith met his eyes. “Then I’ll be really frustrated and generally pissy.”
He laughed then, and she couldn’t help but smile at him. Normally, she would never take someone so inexperienced with her on patrol, but something told her that Rafael could handle whatever the fates decided to throw at them. And as it turned out, the fates decided to throw a street band and a nice sea breeze in their direction. Absolutely nothing else. Faith groaned as they leaned against the railing overlooking the beach, the band playing behind them. “Are you bored?”
“Well,” he said. “Watching a Slayer in action, actually slaying something, would have been very interesting, but not running into a demon isn’t something I’m going to complain about. Besides, the company’s not bad.”
She grinned. “True. And the music’s pretty good, too.”
“You like the music.”
It wasn’t a question and Faith knew it. She sighed. “I always have. At first I thought it was because my Mom didn’t. I mean, she didn’t like anything that remotely reminded her of my Dad, so ... well, I soaked up everything I could find that did.”
“You did not get along with your Mom?”
Shaking her head, she said, “No. Never. She wasn’t the type of person who should have had a kid. Neither was my dad, for that matter, but I didn’t know that until after I ... how the hell did you do that? I never talk about this with anyone, and I just met you.”
He backed her into the railing, mimicking their position on the club wall from earlier. His hands on either side of her body, he looked into her eyes for a moment before lowering his head and brushing his lips against hers. Faith moaned softly as his tongue teased her lips and she opened her mouth, deepening the kiss. Her arms went around his waist, tugging him closer, and he was smiling when he pulled away. Faith blinked. ‘What the hell just happened here?’ she thought, watching the smugness creep back into his eyes like a mask.
“Maybe,” he said softly, “It is time you talked about it.”
“And maybe I don’t want to.”
He just looked at her for a moment before pulling away, taking her hand and leading her a few feet away. The street band had started playing a new song, one that made Faith want to dance. The look on Rafael’s face told her he felt the same way. She moved easily into his arms, her feet stepping gracefully in time with the beat.
“Escuchame,” he whispered in her ear, and Faith knew she would, even if she didn’t want to hear what he was saying. “It does not matter that your parents are not who you wanted them to be. It does not matter that the father who gave you this culture turned out to be someone unworthy of it, what matters, Faith, is that he gave it to you. This culture, this people, it is yours.”
Faith closed her eyes and wished that, just for a moment, she could believe what he said was true. Because if she did, if she could believe him, then maybe she could have a home. Just once. Her hips moved with his, this dance much more sensual than any they’d danced in the club, and she pressed her body against his as the music led her.
He held her close as the song ended, and gazed into her eyes. “Te quiero...”
She nodded. “Me too.”
And she did want him. She’d known as soon as she had seen him, but hadn’t thought they’d end up here as the evening wore on. He seemed too ... distracted for that. Yet here they were, walking steadily toward her hotel, hand in hand.
Faith realized that, had he been anyone else, she would have thrown him down on the ground or pushed him against a wall somewhere, but ... after dancing like that, after feeling the way his body could move, feeling him pressed against her, she needed something more than a quick fuck in an alley, and she suspected he did, too.
¿Quieres bailar?: Wanna dance?
Veremos: We shall see.
Escuchame: Listen to me.
Te quiero: I want you.