It had lasted longer than she’d expected it to, and years longer than anyone else had. She and Robin were together for a solid two and a half years. They’d done regular things, dinner, dancing, movies. He helped her quit smoking and had even gotten her to go to the theatre.
All in all, they’d had a pretty good thing. He’d made her feel special, safe, important…all things she’d never felt before. He’d broadened her horizons in so many ways. Her vocabulary had more than tripled, for starters. He’d thought it funny that he had a harder time convincing her that she was intelligent than he’d had convincing her that she was a decent person.
But then, he was smart enough that it was easy to feel like an idiot in comparison. And he managed to be smart without being a sissy, and the only smart men she’d known before had been British, arrogant and prissy. Well, Giles was kinda cool, but he was still just…too British. Wesley had gotten all right at the end, too, but he was dead now, and it hurt to think of him. But Robin was tough, Faith never had to worry that he was going to get himself killed; he was steady, her rock, the guy she could depend on.
It was Rent
that did it – Robin had seen the play, thought she’d find it all sorts of sappy, so he’d never taken her to see it. But when the film came out, well, suffice it to say that she was willing to dole out ten dollars for the chance to mock a sappy musical. Oh, it was
sappy in places, but to Faith’s surprise, the story struck a chord within her. Mimi reminded her so much of herself – she
may never have been a junkie, but a lost, confused, out of control teenager she damn well had
But it was Angel and Collins that grabbed her heart and squeezed until she thought it would burst. She’d never loved anyone like that, never felt that overwhelming need to devote herself, body and soul, to another human being. And it hit her, hard as Buffy’s right hook, that she wanted
to feel like that some day. She’d turned to gaze at Robin then, a lone tear falling down her cheek, and knew that, though she did
care about him, he would never be the one
. Spike actually said it best later, that Robin was her ‘Riley’ – the man who taught her what she deserved, but not the guy who was ultimately meant to give it to her.
She and Robin had had a long talk that night, and then it was over…and that was what led to her current situation, namely being cold, miserable, alone, and feeling deeply stupid. Well, okay, so that was an oversimplification, but if he’d been with her, she’d never have been chasing through underground tunnels after a demon, alone, without doing the research thing. Robin
might even have known
that this kind of demon could make with the time mojo. She’d assumed it was trying to escape, but no, the bastard had apparently created the portal just to shove her through it.
At least they’d know she was missing soon – ever since the breakup, Buffy had been calling her more and more often; they wanted her to come for a visit, ‘they’ being Buffy and her husband
…Spike. Xander hated it, and Angel was still sulking, but ever since a freshly human Spike turned up on her doorstep, in the midday sun, asking if they could start over, Buffy had been happier, and decidedly less anorexic, than Faith had ever seen her. At any rate, the three of them were supposed to meet up in the morning to wander around Paris, and then head to their house in Rome in the evening. Only that morning was now over a hundred and thirty five years in the future.
Faith had gotten turned around while trying to get back out of the tunnels, coming up through a trap door and into a large auditorium. The gas lights had been her first clue that something was terribly, terribly wrong, so she’d gone in search of information. Fortunately, no one was up and about, as it was still the middle of the night where she’d wound up. So now here she was, staring at the playbill she’d grabbed while sneaking around the stupid theatre…the playbill that was dated September 4, 1870. She was stuck in eighteen-fucking
-seventy! This was sooo
Cursing herself for getting all introspective and lingering out in the open, Faith made her way back to the tunnels. It would do her no good to get caught wandering around the place. She didn’t speak a word of French, and that would obviously cause problems, but she was also pretty sure that her outfit would stop some poor schmuck’s heart. History had never been her thing, but even she
knew that a woman in the 1800s would never walk about in public in a cami, skintight jeans and Docs…not that any of those things even existed in 1870. She had tried to scrounge for something, but could find only costumes, and no thank
you. Aside from the fact that she couldn’t even figure out how to put most of them on, they were beyond ridiculous-looking.
Before long, with any luck, Buffy and Spike would hear about the demon, figure out what had happened to her (since they actually did
research), and then find a way to get her back. How long could it take? Long enough, she thought miserably, for the battery in her iPod to die. Long enough to need a survival plan, a plan that hopefully involved little interaction with the locals…what with all the not
speaking French or having any sort of clue how to behave properly.
For the moment, the only plan that interested her was finding a way to blow off some steam. She really wished the demon had followed her – she needed action
. And as there was neither a demon to pummel, nor a hottie to jump, she pulled out her earbuds and cranked the volume on the pod. What she wanted was a willing partner
, but she knew that dancing would help burn off her excess energy. Knowing she was alone and far below the theatre, Faith never even tried to be quiet. Instead, she ran down corridors, kickboxing, leaping, shouting, singing, dancing, and when the corridors began, slowly but surely, to grow brighter, she figured she was nearing another way out of the tunnels.
Her pod shuffled again, and the opening notes of “Out Tonight” rang in her ears. If there ever had been a song that seemed written for her, it was this one. Faith knew damn well what it was like to have her body tell her it was time for danger, or time to put on a tight skirt and flirt with a stranger, well, usually it told her to do far more than flirt…
By the end of the first chorus, she knew she was being watched. It took her only moments to spot the silent figure watching from the shadows, and if she’d been thinking, she might have turned tail and headed in the opposite direction, but her primal side was in control. Her assorted senses told her he was human, tall, dark, well built, had good aftershave and was already getting turned on.
Only a few paces separated them as the song wound down. Hoping the gesture looked unplanned, she brushed a hand across her waist to turn off the pod, tugged out the earbuds, and sang the last few words a cappella. Now that she was close to him, she felt like she’d hit the jackpot. He was all sorts of tall, dark and handsome, though he did wear a mask that covered about a third of his face.
But fortunate as she felt at the moment, it really was too bizarre that some attractive, if partially masked, man was lurking underground, and she just couldn’t stop the corny line from bursting past her lips. “Hey, baby. Come here often?”
It seemed to annoy him, or confuse him, maybe. She probably shouldn’t have assumed he’d speak English.
“What do you think you are doing?” he asked then, his English perfect. “Did they send you to toy with the Phantom, girl?”
“No idea who they
are or anything about a phantom, hon. Was chasin’ something, but it got away. Then I was lost, but now
it looks to me like my night’s improving.”
He looked intrigued, but wary. “Chasing something, at this hour of the night?”
Grinning, she replied, “Suppose you could say I’m a creature of the night, yo.”That
seemed to frighten him, and he began to back away and to search himself…oh. “No,” she said softly, pulling her own cross out from under her camisole. “Not a vampire, got no plans to hurt you…unless you’re into that. I was
planning to jump the hottie. That sound alright to you?”
Oh duh, it was 1870. She’d have to be more literal. “Sorry, allow me to rephrase. Hello, you tall, dark, sexy thing. I’m Faith.” Reaching between them, she raked her fingernails slowly up his thigh, finally resting her hand on the damned impressive bulge in his trousers. “Wanna go for a ride?”
He jumped back from her touch as though scalded. “You mock me, woman! Do you not see what stands before you? Do you imagine that no horrors await behind this…mask
? Do not think me a fool, I have been met all my life only with hatred and fear, never
. So watch your step. This is a cruelty I will not bear.”
Wow, she thought, people had to be hella shallow here if he was a total outcast just cause part of his face was jacked up. Dialogue from The Princess Bride
running through her head, Faith smiled gently. “Hey, relax, no cruelty intended, and I didn’t figure you wore the mask just ‘cause it was comfortable. I’m bein’ totally straight with you when I say a hot body and two thirds of a gorgeous face are more than enough with me.”
Tired of all the talk, she grabbed the back of his head and pulled, capturing his lips with her own. It took a few moments for him to kiss her back, and when he did it was tentative, unsure. When she felt moisture on her cheeks, Faith opened her eyes, shocked to see tears coursing down his face. She began to stroke his back, the gesture more soothing than seductive, and he finally relaxed.
In light of his reaction to a simple kiss, Faith had all but decided to back off when, to her surprise, he lifted her into his arms and began walking down the tunnel.
She couldn’t help but chuckle. She felt like a chick from some cheesy-ass romance novel. “Not that this isn’t comfy, but my legs work just fine, uh…what’s your name?”
He looked into her eyes then, and she was both taken aback and really
turned on by the intensity she saw in his
“Erik,” he replied simply.
Hmm, strong and silent. That worked for her just fine. “Mmm…Viking name, sexy. I can definitely picture you doin’ the pillaging and plundering thing. So, Erik
, where are we headed?”
“My home; we are not far from it.” His voice was deep and rich, sensuous, almost musical actually.
“Fabulous,” Faith replied, stretching in his arms like a cat. “Hey, am I going crazy or do I hear,” she paused and inhaled deeply, “And smell water? Where do you live, anyway?”
Don’t own BtVS or PotO… Wish I owned Erik or Spike, but, hey, who doesn’t? The idea for a demon opening up a time portal into the time of PotO is
from RaeAngel's fic, "The Other Side of Compassion". Thematically speaking, I'm also borrowing rather heavily from the play/film Rent
. If you haven't seen it or heard the music, and you have a hard time following any of what I'm talking about, let me know. And I'll do my best to fix any mistakes that are pointed out to me. Let me know what you think!