Disclaimer: I do not claim to own these characters or their source materials.

A/N: Thanks to Spuffy-Luvr for looking this over.


Faith punches him in the jaw.

Angel stumbles backwards, somehow manages not to overturn Giles' end table when he throws his arms out to try and catch himself, but lands on his ass anyway. "Hey!"

He makes to stand, but the Slayer crowds him up against the wall before he can regain his feet and stands over him. "Look, I'm gonna hope here that maybe you just haven't been paying much attention, so listen up."

She starts to lift up her shirt and Angel hurriedly averts his gaze to stare at the floor instead. "Faith—look, it's not—well, you and I, I don't think of—"

"Shut up. Look." She jabs him in the ribs with the toe of her boot and so he looks before she gets any rougher. "See this?" she asks, pointing to her abdomen. Pointing to the scar that stretches out there, spreads thinly across her belly as a reminder of things past. Things like darkness and arrows and all-consuming snakes. "Know what this is? Huh? This," she taps her scar for emphasis, "this is eight months of my life I ain't ever gettin' back. This is how much she loves you. So you don't get to say stupid shit about how she doesn't. I'm the barely living proof."

Angel shakes his head. "It's different now." It's so far past different he's not sure he'd see different in the rear-view mirror. After Wolfram and Hart, after Twilight, after Giles… there's nothing here for her to love. Not in him. He'll always love her, but he needs to learn how to accept this, because he can't ever earn the same from her.

"Different my ass. Sure, maybe I had a beat-down comin' anyway, but let's keep in mind how this one's coming from the good Slayer, and how this whole fun event comes after you break her little heart in a sewer and kill some of her friends." Faith lets her shirt drop and settle back into place. "Maybe she shouldn't love you, I'll give you that, 'cause, Angel, you are one fucked-up dude." She holds her hands up when he frowns at her. "No judgement, man. Pot and kettle, you and me, right?"Faith steps back and hauls Angel to his feet after her. "Maybe she won't trust you. Maybe she won't forgive you. Hell, maybe she'll even hate you. But B'll be dead by your hands before she ever stops loving you. You do your thing, she'll do her thing, but neither of you are gonna make it stop."

Hadn't Spike told him that before? 'You'll be in love till it kills you both.'

He needs to stop surrounding himself with perceptive people. They're cutting into his brooding.