|Go Wherever You Will Go
Author: Monet PM
A post 'Chosen' joint fic: the open road found them, while they found each other...Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - Xander H. & Faith L. - Chapters: 11 - Words: 50,497 - Reviews: 38 - Favs: 16 - Follows: 20 - Updated: 07-04-06 - Published: 06-13-05 - id: 2436842
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Go Wherever You Will Go"
by: Monet and Varyar
A Post-Season Seven "Buffy" Series
(feat. Xander and Faith)
STORY ONE: SAN FRANCISCO, THE PROLOGUE
It had been a long trip. Well, longer than the last trip. He believed that the time alone in the car was beginning to get to him. He totally bypassed Los Angeles, and where Sunnydale HAD been. It was the first time since his hometown had gotten sucked into the ground that he was even within miles of it. When the borrowed yellow bus with the few survivors of the battle that had ensued left the crater, Xander Harris chose NOT to look back. It was too painful.
He walked into the bar on a random San Francisco street to take a load off. He would probably stick around here for a bit until he moved on. He called it the road trip that was never taken between his senior year of high school and their "supposed" freshman year of college.
It was doing him good... although, he had a feeling he was denying the worse. With the black eye patch and a few days of stubble on his face, he seemed to almost fit in. Except he never lost the awkwardness. "Hey, there," he greeted the bartender. "I'll have something with alcohol in it." He smiled, trying to show it was a joke. But the guy grunted, waiting. "Oh, yeah, so maybe a gin and tonic..." He sat down and began to toss the beer nuts into his mouth, accidentally hitting the person next to him with his elbow. "Whoa, sorry there..."
"You better be sorry," Faith said, turning to kick the guy around a little, then she stopped, recognizing the voice a half-second before the face.
He was busy trying to recapture the lost beer nut to notice who the girl was. "Thus with the sorry part of my 'whoa, sorry,'" he answered, lightly.
"Xander?" she asked, grinning in a mix of surprise and happiness. "Well, damn."
Xander's eye looked up at his name and that gravelly, sexy voice. "Faith?"
"That'd be me." She gestured at the empty stool next to her. "Have a seat. I'm about halfway to drowning my sorrows. Wanna jump in?"
He blinked twice before accepting her invitation and sat next to her. "Wow, didn't think I'd run into anyone I actually know considering I know ... hardly anyone around here." He looked at her with a smile. "Drowing sorrows? Why with the drowning?" He received his drink, thanking the bartender.
"Why not?" Faith asked by way of reply, then drowned herself a little more with a mouthful of - whatever it was, she couldn't even remember.
"Your drink looks pretty strong. Don't really know if I can jump in without hitting bottom right away."
"So?" Faith grinned wickedly and clapped Xander on the shoulder. "C'mon, X-Man. Join the party."
Xander winced at the force of her hand on his shoulder but he kept smiling. It was obvious, by drowning her sorrows, there had to be sorrows to share. Of course, this was Faith - of all the people Xander had ever come across, sharing was not an option with her. "Okay, I'm game. What kind of party is this based off of?" he ventured, holding up his glass as if to toast.
Still grinning, Faith clinked glasses with Xander. "Best kind, Xander. Pity party." She emptied her glass and sent it down the bar, waiting for a fresh one. "I figure you're up for some of that. Another natural loser in the game of love," she said, then winced. "Hey, I'm sorry... I didn't mean it. Really."
Xander did feel the sting of the comment. "Well, you're not wrong," he murmured downing the rest of his drink. "Especially since really the only girl who managed to love me... well, you know the details."
Faith raised her glass again in a silent salute, then lowered it, embarrassed.
He put his glass down then gave her a sideways glance. "So, this is a pity party. Since when was this a part of your agenda? Especially in games of love?" This was an interesting twist to their meeting.
"Girl can change, can't she?" Faith asked, then shrugged. "Wait... no. That's why I'm here," she amended.
Xander turned around slightly in his seat. "Hey, not gonna try and be best buddies with you since me and you really didn't talk when you came back to Sunnydale, but can I say just how much you HAVE changed? So yeah, a girl can change - sometimes to a woman, even. Although there are those crazy surgeries that can turn a girl into a man..." He paused.
Faith stared at Xander. "Um... yeah."
"But that's not the point here, now is it?" He signaled for another drink for the both of them. "So what's the 'why' in why you are here?"
"Why?" Faith drummed her fingers on the bar. "Where else would I be, Xander? You know me. Can't stay in one place too long. Boy in every port."
Xander nodded as if understanding. "Knew you were the always on the go gal; never can stay in one place. Well, for once, we have something in common besides our hair color." He pointed to their heads. "But what does that have to do with pity parties?"
Faith exhaled impatiently. Her Slayer physiology was starting to tackle the alcohol in her system, and her clearer head didn't like anything that was going on. Well, hardly anything. Xander being here was probably - definitely - a good thing. Especially since someone else WASN'T.
Yeah, who's fucking fault is that?
"Always on the go gal..." Faith made a face. "That's the problem."
The drinks finally came back, which was a good thing, Xander noticed. Faith was getting pretty impatient - not that patience was really a virtue with her. He took his glass. "Okay, so... we're back to me asking... you know what, I'm just going to ask: what's going on with you? Did... something happen to you? Demony-kind?" He lowered his voice at the last statement.
"No! Nothing like that." Faith gestured impatiently. Why couldn't she just come out right and say it?
Faith being Faith, she did just that. "Robin and I are done."
"Robin? Who's...? Ohhhhh..." Xander turned back to face the front of the bar, kind of surprised at the news. "Guess that wasn't my imagination," he muttered, drinking his second gin and tonic. "Um, so... what happened?"
"You said it already. Always on the go gal." Faith leaned forward, her expression cold and bitter. "Tried the demon hunting domestic bliss thing. It didn't work. So..." She raised her glass one more time. "Here I am. Time of my life."
Xander stared at her glass a moment, soaking it in. First of all, that she had opened up like this and second of all, "...demon hunting domestic bliss?" he couldn't help but say aloud. People turned to look at him. He smiled sheepishly. "Sorry, um, drink talking." He looked back at her. "Domestic? You... domestic?" He laughed.
"Watch it, Harris," Faith snarled, glaring angrily at him. "I'm this close to kicking someone's ass for the hell of it, and you're standing right there."
Xander abruptly stopped, coughing to hide the extra chuckles he couldn't hold in. "Um, sorry.. it's the whole... imagining you in an apron with oven mitts while slaying..." He started to laugh again but was better at controlling it. "Gee, why don't you take another drink?" He pointed to her untouched glass.
"Good idea. Yo!" Faith gestured at the bartender and then down at her glass.
"So... you and Principal Wood are living here, in San Francisco. And... you are - were - together? Was he too Principal-like for you or something?"
"Gee, Xander, you're so good at piecing together the obvious." Faith made a good start on her next drink. "Yes, we were, yes we were, and no, he wasn't. Dammit. Forget it. Let's talk about something else," she said in a uncharacteristic mumble.
"About you and the apron?"
Xander recovered from that comment that had managed to slip. "Uh, I mean... um, yeah, I am bad at puzzles." It was obvious she was done talking about it, but he got the gist of it. "Okay, let's talk about something else then... how 'bout them Giants?" He grinned then sagged his shoulders, his face falling with them. "Look, it was great seeing you, Faith. Really it was." More than she'd ever know. "But, I'm only in town the night so I should be heading back to...well, I guess my car. Get some shut eye...literally." He pointed to his one good eye with a smile. He placed a few dollars to cover both of them. "I'm sorry that you're having one crap of a day. But... hey, you'll pull through. You always have, and I really don't doubt you will this time."
"Yeah..." Faith managed a shaky smile. "Energizer Bunny but sexy, right?"
"Actually, at a certain angle, that bunny...oh, yes. Sexy. Is you. Definitely." He wiped his suddenly sweaty hands on his jeans.
She laughed, took one last drink and then shoved the glass away. "All right. I ain't about to let you sleep in your car when I got a double room," she told Xander. "But don't get any ideas. This is just me taking pity, not me looking for a pity fuck."
Xander raised his brows at her invitation. "Um, I'm sorry. Did you just invite me to stay with you?"
He paused. "And did you say pity fuck?"
He shook his thoughts out of THAT hole. "Look, you really don't have to. I know you and me don't really...well, mesh. Heck, I think this is the longest conversation we've had since... ever. I really would hate for you to take the self-pity away from... you to place it on me. I've been on the road for a few weeks now; the car's getting to be like home."
"Dammit, Xander. For once in my life, I'm being nice. Take advantage," Faith said, grabbing him by the sleeve.
Xander looked at her, slightly dumbfounded with the thoughts that came after that. It had been a DAMN long time since he really had been with anyone. And this was just the wrong time to have current thoughts. "Uh..."
"You know what I mean."
"Oh, yeah, gotcha," he said as he was literally dragged out of the bar. He pulled out his keys. "Faith, you really don't have to be nice to me. Really, I'll drop you off at your place since you're plainly too drunk to think, inviting me to stay with you." He chuckled.
Faith just glared at him for a few seconds. Part of her wanted to deck him for the attitude. But time, and prison, had managed to dull those instincts. Mostly. At least when it came to people she liked.
"Xander, don't tell me you'd rather sleep inside your car than in a hotel room with free cable and a vibrating bed," Faith said, smirking at him. "But I will let you drive."
Xander dropped his keys at the mention of "vibrating bed." He quickly bent down and picked them up. "Hey, I stayed in a posh hotel room in the last city...okay, so 'posh' entailing hot water... Wait, why are you staying in a hotel room?" he asked, unlocking the door and opening it for her. "Do you just like hotel rooms or something?"
Faith gave him a funny look. "Where else would I stay? Sleep in an alley? Homeless shelter? Not a lot of options when you don't know anybody." Well, hardly anybody, but that door was closed for good. "Last city?" she asked, changing the subject quickly. "Where was that?"
"Not sure... somwhere between here and Fresno." Getting behind the wheel, he started the car when she got in. "And I just thought you and... him, you know... being together... well, lived... together. Just thought you lost that whole 'it's cool to stay in a motel room' fad when you left the first time from Sunnydale." He smiled.
"The hotel's about ten minutes up the road," Faith said, ignoring Xander's comments. She'd told him the sitch. That was all she wanted to say. Or at least, she thought it was. "The Kingsley Arms. Like a Motel 6, but cheap."
Okay, going to tone down on the remarks if I expect to not have bones of broken, Xander thought as he drove towards the motel. Why was it he was feeling like he and Faith had been good "pals" from the past? That was a funny, non-memory.
He pulled up to said motel, cutting off the engine. But he sat there a moment, not moving.
"Well?" Faith finally asked.
"Truth? Really awkward right now."
Faith frowned. What was that all about? She was the one with the issues here. "About what?"
He looked at her. "Um, remember when a few years ago when we were hanging out and drinking together, trading crazy demon-hunting stories?"
The Slayer just stared at him for a few seconds before saying "No."
"Yeah, exactly. Me and you..." He was waving a hand between the two of them. "... not exactly buddies. I mean, not saying I hate you, but... do you really want me to stay with you 'cause you're being friendly or because you're just still feeling really sorry for Xander Harris?"
"I want you to stay..."
Xander stared at her, dumbfounded again. It wasn't that he thought she was playing some game... he just didn't know what to think. She had been the first real person that he was so glad to see since he left the others.
Faith shrugged. "Fuck it. You don't want to, you don't have to." She kicked the car door open and slid out. "Thanks for the ride."
"Yeah, sure..." he said, watching her as she got out of the car. His hand was on the keys, wondering just what happened. Even though he was used to his less than 20/20 vision, it still took him by surprise at how bad his preception from his left side really was. That's why he didn't notice the hand that shot through the glass and grabbed at him. He turned. "Yikes!" He ducked his head, trying to turn the key while avoiding the vampire's grip.
As soon as she heard the glass shattering, Faith was on the move. She turned, sized up the situation, and jumped over the hood of the car, planting both feet in the vampire's face and landing on top of it with a satisfying thud.
She pounded the vampire's face into the pavement a few times, then staked it. "That wasn't any fun..." Faith turned to Xander. "Hey - you okay?" she asked, staring at him through what had been the window up until thirty seconds ago.
Xander let out a breath. "Yeah...didn't think they'd find..." He stoppped. "I mean, thanks." He looked nervously behind Faith. "So, I guess I should go..."
"The fuck you are. Didn't think they'd find you?" Faith demanded, placing one hand on the hood of the car in a 'don't even think about it' gesture.
He looked at her as if insulted. "I wasn't going to say... yeah, okay, I was."
"What'd you do to piss the vamps off?"
"Oh, the usual. Stopped them from accomplishing some spell that I couldn't understand... I didn't MEAN to. Glad I did, but they've been kind of following me from somewhere in Portland. So, I think it's better if I go before the rest of them come." He turned the key.
"Right. I never pegged you for the stupidest Scooby, Xander, but you're proving me wrong here," Faith said, shaking her head.
"What? What are you talking about?"
"Jesus! Who am I, Xander?"
"Um... is this a trick question?"
Faith rolled her eyes. "Apparently..."
Xander looked up at her. "Faith?"
Faith made an impatient gesture. "The whole thing."
"Faith..." He motioned his hand as if trying to roll more words out. "...sorry, I don't think I ever caught your last name." His eye widened. "There's a vampire coming up behind you..."
Without missing a beat, Faith ducked down and spun around, kicking out and knocking the approaching vampire down. She jumped up and staked it, then looked around in case there were more. The coast was clear.
"There. Now, where were we? Oh, yeah, you were telling me about how you had vampires problems," Faith said, idly tossing the stake into the air and catching it.
"Oh, right... and I was telling you how I was just thinking that since all these girls are now Slayers, that maybe this gang of vamps would come across one and..." He halted. "Oh..." He ducked his head, slightly embarrassed. "Yeah, right. So, you're a Slayer."
"That's what the tattoo says..."
He smiled then it faded. "C'mon, though, you don't wanna get involved in vampire revenge sitches. You're beyond that."
"Right." Faith rolled her eyes in exasperation. "Maybe you haven't been keeping track, Xander, but that's all I'm about. You want to save the world, go look up B."
"Yeah, kind of beyond that, too..." he couldn't help but murmur. He cut the engine. "Okay, I'll stick around for the night since I'm kind of on the uneasy that they're around here. Plus, you make a pretty good bodyguard if I do say so myself." He reached in the backseat and grabbed his duffelbag.
"You know this ain't gonna be free, right?" Faith asked as she lead him towards the motel.
"You know I'm broke, right?"
Faith laughed and clapped him on the shoulder. "I'll run you a tab."