Author – D. M. Evans
#1 in the Postcards from the edge series
Rating – PG-13
Spoilers – to the end of Buffy S7 and Angel S4
Disclaimer – They ain't mine. ME owns all
Summary - After defeating the Beast and helping with the First. Evil, Faith takes a little well-earned vacation time and she doesn't go alone.
Author's Note: Story # 2 in this series, Wasteland, was written by my co-author S.J. Smith and can be found here:
I feel my wings have broken
in your hands
I feel the words unspoken inside
when they pull you under
and I would give you any thing you want
you were all I wanted
all my dreams are fallin' down
crawlin round and round and round
Somebody save me
Let your warm hands break right through me
Somebody save me
I don't care how you do it
Just save me, save
I've been waiting for youSave Me – Remy Zero
I had forgotten how beautiful nature could be. Maybe I never knew it. I'm still shocked that I'm alive given things had gone all apocalyptic again. At least I didn't have a hand in bringing it about this time.
Still, I just needed to get away from everything, especially from L.A. and Sunnydale in particular. I had been in jail too long and I needed to run. Funny, when I first tasted freedom I expected to just bolt. I didn't want messed up in this shit again. But I didn't run. I stayed and fought with Angel then high tailed it to Sunnydale to help Buffy and crew. Don't ask me why.
But I don't want to think about the ugly stuff right now. I needed a little downtime so I headed out of town. Angel had asked me for a huge favor. Could I take Connor with me? The boy had lived a life in hell then came to this world. He had never been out of L.A. I pitied the kid. He had known nothing but misery and I had the inside track on that myself.
And boy, could Connor fight. I loved going out in the streets with him. Maybe it was the slaying makes me hungry and horny thing or the years in jail but it was hard to keep my hands of that skinny little body during those battles.
Not only did I agree to take Connor with me, I upped the stakes and invited Angel, too. It wasn't that I was dying for company but Angel had missed his son's whole life. I couldn't image how that hurt. They had such an angry relationship it made it hard to be with them and topping it off what that bitch Cordy put them through with the pregnancy…okay, maybe it wasn't all her fault with the going evil since she's part demon. No, I'm not going to spoil my first honest to God vacation thinking about the ugliness. I promised myself that much. No one was even allowed to speak of what we three were and did for well, not exactly a living but you know what I mean.
Connor hadn't been thrilled about Angel coming along but I think secretly he wants to know his Dad. He just can't bring himself to admit it and given how he was raised we all understood why.
Angel had taken to sending out postcards from whereever we went. Some were going back to L.A, probably to Fred who had given us a camcorder to bring home some of the beauty for the rest of them. The rest were going to Sunnydale and we all knew who those were addressed to. Still, I think it was a way for him to enjoy things he'd never see in the light of day himself.
First we hit Knotts Berry Farm amusement park. I think it scared Connor a little at first but being the adrenaline-junkie he is, he grew to love it fast. But the kid can't wait in line to save his soul. Angel, at least, had more patience. It was worth putting up with the crowds and the heat until nightfall so Angel could join us. By then Connor was addicted to the Ghostrider rollercoaster. That thing pulled over 3 G's but we didn't tell Angel that. I think we both nearly split a gut hearing Angel scream like a girl on that one. It was the first time I had ever heard Connor laugh and probably a first for Angel.
I thought we'd make a quick trip to Oregon or Seattle then head right back to L.A. but Angel pointed the GTX eastward. We were running away at least for a week or so. We ended up in the Black Hills of South Dakota for a few days. I was so glad to have that video camera since Angel couldn't join Connor and me when we climbed Harney Peak. Standing there on the top of the world, nearly eight thousand feet up in the pristine air free of smog, looking at juts of rock and trees older than Angel soaring above us, it was like we were the only two people alive. Connor wept at the beauty of it. I joined him but since I had the camera he's the only one on tape bawling.
On the way back down the mountain, Connor and I went off the beaten track into a secluded clearing that you practically had to be a mountain goat to get to. I had a blanket in my backpack for picnic purposes. Hell, I'm almost getting domesticated. For a long while we just lay on that blanket, listening to the world talk to us. Anyone who thinks the woods are quiet has never been in them. The wind through the pine is a soft musical hiss. Songbirds serenaded. Squirrels scolded. Once an honest to goodness deer wandered in and gave us the evil eye like we shouldn't be in her woods.
I don't know what we were doing there. We hardly spoke, staring up at the sky, just two very broken people looking for someone to save us. At least that's what I was thinking. Someone please save me. I've been screaming that inside since I was a little girl only I've been too proud to admit it. Those woods witnessed an epiphany, I wanted saving and I knew that Angel had already gone a long way to doing that the day he refused to kill me. I'm not sure what Connor was thinking. He was busy watching life go on around him.
I don't remember taking off my clothes but had prefect recall of the fact that Connor was looking at me so peculiarly when I said I wanted to feel the sun on my skin. It had been so long since I felt warm. And for a while he just let me soak in the brightness. I don't know why I kissed him then. I knew what I was doing was probably wrong but it felt right. I knew Angel would find out and only hoped he'd understand. I glad that there was a blanket between me and getting pine needles stuck in my ass. It wasn't hard to seduce Connor but given he was a teenaged boy that was hardly a shock. I was more surprised that he had restrained himself while I was lying there like Diana at the stream. Okay, that's more my ex-cellmate talking. She killed her prick of an abusive husband. I figured she should never been jailed. She was full of Goddess stuff and I looked out for her on the inside. I hoped she was okay now that I wasn't there any more.
Connor seemed to enjoy letting me lead the way. I had to teach him what a condom was and what it did. Lucky I always carry at least one. I should have stopped it before it got that far but I looked into those big blue eyes and saw myself. Connor's so much like me in a lot of ways. Both of us had it rough growing up. Both of us were desperate to be loved. I remember whispering 'save me,' to him. If he said anything I couldn't remmeber.
And there in the woods we found that healing for a little while. Connor could be surprisingly tender for someone so used to being rough and he wasn't half bad at it. He's young. He has things to learn and there, with those damn voyeuristic squirrels looking on, I taught him a few of those things. At some point a hawk cried out, circling above us, and I wondered if this was like it was in the Garden of Eden. Of course, I didn't really buy into that story and I've never been one for nature. But holding on to him, those bony hips of his digging into me, the pines whispering above us, I was ready to change my mind on that.
When we got back to the hotel, Angel knew what had happened. I could see it in his eyes. It probably had something to do with that bloodhound nose he and Connor had or something but he didn't say anything. He didn't even look angry.
We went from there to Deadwood. Angel absolutely went nuts over the 'Old West' town, probably some guy thing. We saw where Wild Bill Hickok got his brains splattered all over his poker hand. Main Street was little more than a really steep hill lined with casinos and bars. Manniquin whores looked down at us from the upstairs windows reminding us that this used to be nothing but a strip of brothels. Connor loved the slot machines. Angel had to rein him in and explain how money didn't grow on trees. Connor did a lot of eye rolling and for the first time they looked like a real father and son.
We trundled south to Hot Springs and stared at mammoth bones. All three of us got drunk in a dive bar there that didn't care that Connor looked like he was twelve. We took the local rednecks for a load playing darts. Connor had never played before but he's not into missing a target. I tried to teach him to dance but since I don't know how to two-step it was a disaster. Angel wisely didn't let me lead him out onto the bare patch that passed as a dance floor. Connor was a completely silly drunk but at least he was easy to carry home. Angel, on the other hand, passed out on me literally. How does a vampire eat enough to be that heavy? We were all hung over the next day but Angel and Connor seemed to take it as a real bonding night.
We left South Dakota after visiting some of the caves. I was a little claustrophobic but Connor was really into it. Now we were busy discovering Wisconsin. On an overcast day we managed to get Angel into the House on the Rock. I can't describe the place. It was a house built into a rock chimney and the museum was mostly underground. It took hours to go through, nearly three miles of museum. My mind couldn't hold onto all the stuff we saw. Poor Angel had to pass on the Infinity room, a weird glass walkway jutting out over the cliff. What really stuck out for me were the animated musical displays that were a hundred years old or more and still working. Connor was fascinated by the giant carousel, over a hundred creatures on it and not one a horse.
I just hope the video comes out of it since its one of those things you have to see and it would be worth it to see Angel and Connor acting like normal humans. Okay, admittedly Connor and I aren't really museum people but Angel was in heaven. He and Connor had stopped their bickering and they were talking, actually talking. Connor listened patiently as Angel explained a lot of the weird stuff in the museum. They were healing a little, learning about each other right before my eyes. I was a catalyst and I felt more needed than I ever had in my life. I was looking to them to save me and I think I was saving them, too.
"It's beautiful," Connor said, breaking my reverie. He was pointing to the moonlight on the water.
"It really is," I said as the warm night air kissed my cheek. We were taking a sunset cruise in the Wisconsin Dells. It was supposed to be a romantic cruise and it really was. Okay so we were a threesome but that can still be romantic even if I wasn't thinking of Angel in that way. I had once but I think that was more to piss off Buffy, to prove I could have anything she did. Now Angel was like my big brother or something. My best friend, the only one who believed I could be good some day.
Some people stared at us almost hostility. Others looked at me like I was the luckiest girl in the world. I felt like it. Here I was, cruising down a lovely river, moonlight highlighting the sandstone the river cut through. They told us how it was Precambrian sandstone, whatever the hell that meant, and it was only found here and in one other place in the world. It reminded me of Wind Cave in South Dakota where the box formations were only found in two places in all the world. How special was that? You almost felt like royalty getting to see something that rare. It was like me, only two Slayers in all the world and here I was with two others who were just as unique.
"I think we're going ashore," Angel said as the dock came into view.
The tour people had done it up right. There was a torchlight trail through the sandstone called Witches Gulch. It was romantic, like something out of those bodice rippers my cellmate had been addicted to. We were last in line going through this little shore leave, strolling in the firelight arm in arm. It felt a little strange, one guy on my left all muscled and cool and the little guy on my right, wiry and warm. And yet it felt right.
Angel detached himself from me, looking at us. "I'm going to go on ahead and look at those formations they told us about." He smiled at us and headed off.
I guess that was his way of giving us his okay. I mean, we had to struggle to find things he could join in on with that major sunlight allergy of his. Night after night in bars could get boring and I can't believe I was even thinking that. I used to live for it. I pulled Connor over to something called the Witch's Bathtub or some such thing. I could just imagine Willow's reaction to it. We could barely see the water churning in the rock formation blackly.
Connor's face seemed so pale in the torchlight. Next stop, somewhere to put a little color into him. I stroked his cheek, drawing him in for a kiss. He was still a little awkward at it and that big nose of his wasn't a help but he'd learn. I'd make sure of that. Somehow I didn't think this was gonna end when the vacation did. Maybe it should or maybe we were what each other needed right now. There was something needy in him and I could understand that. He had a hungry, demanding mouth and the next time we were alone I planned on showing him other was to use it other than French kiss. I took his hand and hurried along to rejoin the group.
"He knows," Connor said, softly.
"I know. I think he's okay with it," I replied.
"Yeah. I wasn't expecting that."
I didn't ask what he was expecting. Angel was just ahead of us now and he could probably hear us. They both were a little creepy with that hearing thing. I took Angel's hand again.
"We're going home soon aren't we?" Connor asked, sounding disappointed.
Angel nodded. "I'd love to just keep going, let you see the Atlantic, take you all the way back to my homeland but we have to get back. It's not fair to the others to make them shoulder my work."
"It's not like we can't do this again," I said.
Angel smiled. "Next time, Ireland."
"You paying, bub?" I asked.
"He'd better be. I don't have a job," Connor said.
"We'll work on that when we get back," Angel said and Connor looked horrified.
As for me, I didn't mind going back to L.A.. I guess I'm part of Angel Investigations now. I was part of the family. And that felt right.
I see the world has folded in your heart
I feel the waves crash down inside
and they pull me under
and I would give you anything you want
you were all I wanted
all my dreams have fallen down
crawlin round and round and round
all my dreams are on the ground
crawlin' round and round and round
Somebody save me
Let your warm hands break right through me
Somebody save me
I don't' care how you do it
just save me, save me
I've made this whole world shine for you
just save me, save
I'm still waiting for you
Save Me – Remy Zero