By D. M. Evans Feedback - Disclaimer - Don't own them, never will, all characters are property of Whedon et al, all lyrics are property of the artist noted with them. Rating - R Summary - As Faith and Wesley put their pasts behind them they find that their future is becoming quite complicated Spoilers - All the way through season 4 of AtS Author's Note - This was written for the Secret Valetine challenge at Shipper's United. Hope you enjoy. And thanks for SJ Smith for the editing and help with the ending. And for those of you who want to see the full erotica NC-17 version of this (and are of age) head to

It's such a contradiction

Do I lie or tell the truth Is it fact or fiction The way I feel for you It's so complicated I'm so frustrated I wanna hold you close I wanna push you away I wanna make you go I wanna make you stay Should I say it? Should I tell you how I feel? Oh I want you to know But then again I don't It's so complicated

Complicated - Carolyn Dawn Johnson
Faith vaulted over Connor's back as he went low to cut out the demon's knees. Faith's boot crashed into its face. As it went down, she slid her knife into its glistening mauve flesh. It gurgled and died as she gave Connor a hand up.

"Good work, kid." Faith slapped him on the backside.

His blue eyes widened. Faith could see the blush rise in his cheeks, even in the dim light of the alley. "Thanks," he muttered, slinging back his hair.

It amazed Faith how delicate, nearly feminine Angel's son was. More astonishing was how well he could fight. She had started calling him the Boy Wonder and told him he needed a pair of green tights. He didn't get the joke and Faith, for her part, had been horrified at how much Xander Harris must have worn off on her in those strange months back in Sunnydale. Still, she enjoyed going out patrolling with Connor. The one drawback was that slaying still made her hungry and horny. She knew that tossing Angel's kid on his back and having her way with him was a really bad idea. He'd been through enough with Cordelia and things between him and Angel weren't good. She didn't want to add to the tension.

Faith understood they never had gotten along but having met Angelus had left Connor spooked. She didn't blame him. When she was paroled to help fight the Beast, Faith had found Angelus utterly chilling, even restrained as he was. And she had faced down Kakistos. The only thing better than destroying the Beast had been Willow and Wesley returning Angel's soul to him.

Angel was still a bit on the shy side when it came to facing everyone. Faith knew he'd get over it. He did back in Sunnydale and he had a lot more to be ashamed of there. But Faith understood how he felt. She felt the same way, especially with Wesley. She had done unspeakable things to him. He should want her dead and yet he had no troubles with talking to her. Of course, he hadn't any choice, not with what they had to do to beat the Beast. They had to work together to save the world, again.

But a month after the big showdown, he was still speaking to her. It made Faith grateful and uneasy at the same time. It was one of the reasons she chose to hang around with Connor and, to a lesser degree, Fred. They hadn't witnessed her darkness. She was almost relieved Cordelia had gone off on her own for a little while after some of the things she had done during the battles with the Beast. From what Faith had seen Cordelia and Fred had taken turns, unwittingly or otherwise, playing Yoko, nearly breaking up the group.

"Lots of night left," Connor said, cutting into her reverie. "Want to keep patrolling?"

"Sure." Faith clapped a hand on his slim shoulder. "Wouldn't want to get bored."

He favored her with one of those ghost smiles of him, so quick it was hard to tell if there had been a break in the sullen. Those were the times Skinny Butt seemed almost cute. Yes, she really needed to find a more appropriate partner for working through these urges. She had been on the shelf for too long and it was time someone took her down and dusted her off.

* * *

Wesley stretched as the CD player changed discs, Bartok for Mozart. A soft smile touched Angel's lips. He did so enjoy this music. Wes did as well. It was a slow night, a night off really. Wesley could have gone and done anything only he had nowhere to go and no one to spend his time with.

It was sad really. His life had a rather pathetic record of romantic conquests. A few fumblings back in school; the almost thing with Cordelia, the brief affair with Virginia; the stillborn affection he had for Fred; then came Lilah. How ironic was it that she had been one of the longest relationships he had ever had. Maybe it was because she understood his life. Virginia couldn't handle it. Not many women could. But Lilah was dead, killed by the Beast. And even if she had survived, Wes hadn't loved her. He could never have trusted her. He needed someone who could handle demons and danger. Cordelia wasn't an option, even if she ever came back to the fold. Fred was with Gunn and he had accepted that. That left Faith and she had had nothing but contempt for him since she'd met him. It seemed to have faded but the sting was still there. He couldn't imagine her ever giving him more than a second glance. He was rather strapped when it came to amorous possibilities.

That left him with no one and he was spending his night off at the hotel sorting through a shipment of books from friends back home with Angel's help. And all things considered, the vampire with the 'face of an angel' didn't do much for him. Wesley had heard that vampires were bisexual by nature but he was pretty sure that was just Anne Rice and Poppy Brite's insipid influence. And he had heard that all Brits were kinky by nature. All right, he did enjoy a little light bondage but he was strictly butter side up. Still, Angel's company was the best he could hope for tonight.

Given that, Wesley typed the title of the book in front of him into the computer. These books had come from the Watchers' Council or what was left of it after the First Evil was finished with it. They were rebuilding and they had offered him a spot back with them in London. He hadn't been interested but he took the books as a peace offering and a two-way relationship was born, hopefully to everyone's mutual benefit.

"Think Faith can talk Connor into telling me where he's living now?" Angel asked, handing Wesley a copy of the Monograph of Arias.

"Faith could probably talk him into moving back in here, given time," Wesley replied, tying the monograph's name into the database.

"I hope. I know he can take care of himself but I worry about him out there alone," Angel dug through the box for a fresh stack of books. "I'm glad he's letting Faith patrol with him."

"She's the only one who can keep up with him." Wesley grinned gently. Angel snorted. "I think it's a good sign that he's coming to the hotel again and talking to you."

Angel nodded, running a hand through his badly-chopped hair. "That's an improvement. I never wanted any of you to see Angelus and for it to have turned out to be a trick, just the Beast wanting another made it that much worse."

"You tried to prepare Connor for it," Wesley said. "He'll recover. You didn't do anything half as bad as he was expecting thanks to Holtz."

"I know." Angel slumped in his chair. "He hates me so much already, I'm not sure he will get over it."

"Well, I am. Give him time, Angel. I think he does love you. He might not want to admit it but he does or he would have killed you. He's had the chance more than once."

Angel sighed. "Thanks. I think I needed to hear that."

"Just give him time. Doubtless there is so much he has yet to learn." Wes paused, thinking on how best to say it. "This is still a very new world to him. He has a lot to learn and he hasn't had very good teachers."

"I'm a little worried what Faith might be teaching him."

"We're all aware of Faith's proclivities but I'm sure she realizes Connor is sexually off limits," Wesley replied, reaching for another book.

Angel nearly dropped a book. "Wes! I wasn't even thinking that. I meant her impulsiveness and her temper. I know she's trying to change. I believe she has but you saw her fighting the Beast. That violence isn't going anywhere and Connor has those same tendencies." Angel set the books aside, fixing his gaze on Wesley. "I've never asked you how you felt about Faith working with us, living here at the hotel."

Wes hit the save icon and turned away from the computer. He folded his large hands on the table. "I'm all right with it."

"Wes, it's okay if you aren't. We can work something out if you don't want her here," Angel said diplomatically.

Wes got up and headed out of the room. Angel followed, not surprised Wes headed for the kitchen. He expected him to put the kettle on for tea, a habit Wes had when nervous. Instead he pulled two Boddington Ales out of the fridge from the case Angel knew he had put in there a few days ago. He handed one to Angel, who just shook his head.

"Take it," Wes said. "I know vampires drink."

"It has no taste."

"Did you drink more as Angelus?" Wes asked, a slightly harsh tone in his voice.

Angel's brow furrowed. "Why would you ask that?"

"Because it's a social thing to do." Wesley shrugged, nearly dropping one of the bottles. "Angelus had to be more social to have gotten into half the trouble he did. Eating and drinking are very social and you never seem to do either."

Angel plucked the beer bottle from Wes' hand with a look that said, 'happy now.' Wes headed out into the courtyard. He sat on the cement bench while Angel took the stairs. Wes glanced up at the sky.

"I should drive out of the city every so often," Wes said softly, his eyes still skywards. "I miss the stars."

"Light pollution can get depressing," Angel agreed. "At least Sunnydale had pretty skies. I wonder if Connor has ever seen stars."

"Ask him." Wes slugged back some beer. "And since you brought it up, I'm honestly all right with Faith. I appreciate your concern, though."

"What she did to you is not something most people could get over," Angel said cautiously.

"I'll never forget what she did to me, Angel. But I have forgiven it." Wesley took another swallow. "And I'll tell her so if she gives me half a chance. The way you said Giles gave you a second chance after what you did to him as Angelus." Angel stared down at his big hands at that. "I'm sure it'll mean a lot to her, Wes."

"The way I see it, we have a lot of history of things going balls up around here and forgiveness coming along afterwards, perhaps a bit late in some cases. We were terrible to you with all that happened when Darla came back, childish even but we've worked past it." Wesley paused, his breath catching. This was still horribly painful for him. "You've forgiven me for what I did in regards to Connor. I think you understand now I never meant to hurt you or Connor. I believed that prophecy and you were acting so erratic that I acted without thinking it through."

Angel nodded. "I know you didn't mean for what happened to happen. You nearly died and if it wasn't for the Beast, I'm not sure anyone of us would have forgiven you, even though you saved me at great risk to yourself. I don't think I've ever thanked you for that."

"It's all right, Angel. That wasn't why I did it." Wesley killed his beer. "The point is, you've forgiven me. I've forgiven Gunn and Fred for their stunning lack of support and intolerance. If we can get passed all that, I can find it in me to forgive Faith."

"I like the idea of everyone starting again with a clean slate." Angel finally took a swig of his beer.

"Since we're on the topic, have you forgiven Connor for what he did to you?"

"I never really blamed him, Wes." Angel kicked at a clump of weeds. "What bothers me is that I don't think Connor regrets what he did or understands the ramifications of it fully yet."

"You can't expect him to easily unlearn nearly two decades of being fed hatred for you," Wesley replied.

"I know."

Both men fell silent. There was no sound expect for a night bird and some passing cars.

"Do you like the beer, Angel?" Wes asked finally, heading back to safer waters.

Angel took another taste. "Not bad. Guinness would have been better. Then again all things Irish win hands down over the English." Angel smirked over his beer bottle's neck.

Wesley glowered. "Sod off."

Angel snorted. "I appreciate the beer, Wes. And the conversation. It's good to get all this out in the open."

Wes nodded. "Sometimes a good lancing is the only thing that helps to heal a wound. I'm getting a little tired of cataloging books. I think I'll head for home." Wes only wished it had some appeal for him. Sometimes it was hard going home to an empty flat.

* * *

"So much for some supervised father-son time," Faith said, hanging up the phone. Her dark eyes held excitement.

"What?" Wes asked, looking down the stairs to the training room. Raised voices floated up, their pitch and heat increasing with every word. He'd have to send Faith down there in a moment.

"A lady reported seeing things like little whirlwinds terrorizing her block and when they slow down they look like really skinny two year olds," Faith said with a shrug. "Any clue what that's about?"

"Wind folleti most likely," he replied after a moment's reflection. "They're mischievous, not particularly evil."

Faith cracked her knuckles, obviously relieved to have something to do. "How do I stop them?"

Wesley thought briefly how to explain her Slayer strength wouldn't be a help. "Magic."

Faith pouted. "That's a little out of my field."

"I could go with you," Wesley offered.

Faith's eyes widened. Unease flooded her pale face. "Shouldn't you stay here to make sure those two don't kill each other?" She pointed down the stairs. "Especially since Fred and Gunn are up in Sacramento so Fred could attend that physics conference. Poor Gunn."

Wesley laughed. "Hopefully Charles will find something more interesting to do while she's in the conference. And as for the two bullheaded Irishmen downstairs, if they get into a ruck I'm not going to be very helpful. On the other hand, I can take care of the wind folleti with your help."

"If these are wind folleti," Faith hedged, not meeting his eyes.

"If you'd rather I didn't come along just say so, Faith," Wesley said, scrubbing a finger in his beard. It itched. It might be time to shave.

Faith hesitated. "If this needs magic, I'll need you. We'd better tell Angel."

Wesley nodded. "You might want to suggest what they're doing isn't exactly a good father-son talk."

Faith looked at him as if he'd lost his mind. "Me?"

"Connor listens to you, Faith. You can make him see reason."

"Seeing reason isn't why Connor listens to me, Wes." Faith crossed her arms over her chest. "He wants to see other things."

Wes smirked. "Yes, I am aware of that, Faith. I remember being a horny teenager."

Faith's eyebrows shot up. "I'm trying to picture this."

Wes made a face. "Please don't. It was quite ugly."

"I bet," Faith said, starting down the stairs to the training room. Wes followed her. "Guys! This is supposed to be bonding time. This isn't bonding."

Angel and Connor left off their squabbling. Connor was on his backside on a practice mat, a petulant look on his face. Both men stared at her.

"Wes and I are going out on a call. So there's not going to be any referees." She gave them a warning look.

"Let me go with you," Connor demanded, rolling to his feet.

"What did we talk about, Connor?" Faith's face softened as she touched his shoulder. "You need to spend time with Angel for the good of the team if nothing else and this is coming from a confirmed non-team player," Faith said.

"Might be better if we never talk ever," Connor said, his full lips falling into a sullen pout. His blue eyes flicked over at Angel, anger deepening their blue.

"Boy, you've got this moody, broody stuff down. Guess this is what they mean by like father like son," Faith said and Connor's lips trembled. She could see he most assuredly hated the comparison but wasn't sure what to say.

"What sort of call?" Angel asked, steering them back to safe ground.

"From Faith's description it's wind folleti so it's not something your strength will be much good against," Wesley replied. "I need to get a few spell bocks and ingredients before we go."

"Take the GTX," Angel said. "You know where the keys are."

"Thanks." Faith took a big breath and jumped in the figurative deep end. "Maybe instead of sparring you two ought to try something less violent. Perhaps you can tell him about when you were his age, Angel. Okay, things are real different now but still."

"Or tell him how you rescued Fred or befriended the rest of us and those in Sunnydale," Wes said. "Or show Connor your sketchbook. He might like to see what his mother looked like."

"And, Connor, maybe you could show Angel how to play your video game," Faith said.

"Or tell him a little about how you grew up," Wes said cautiously, shooting a glance at Angel. He and Angel had discussed this. Angel didn't like to talk about Quor-Toth with his son but Wes had stressed it was important for him to accept that Connor had adored Holtz. There was no changing that and to resist it made Connor feel bad.

"I can show him the game," Connor said begrudgingly. "And I would like to see pictures of Mother."

"We can do that," Angel said, daring a little smile that didn't dent Connor's armor.

"Good. Faith and I had better get going before those wind folleti do too much damage," Wes said.

After he gathered up some things he thought he'd need and headed out to the car with Faith. "Think the hotel will still be standing come morning?" Wesley asked, pulling away from the curb.

"I'm not betting on it," Faith replied.

She fell silent after that. They were halfway to where their destination when Wes broke the quiet.

"Is there a problem Faith?"

She glanced over at him then back out the window. "Why are you doing this? Why are you working with me?"

"What you told Connor about teamwork is very true," Wesley said, "And because it's the right thing to do."

She pressed her forehead to the door's window. "After what I did to you?"

"We're not dwelling on our pasts anymore, Faith," Wesley replied. "All of us have done things to one another that we might feel is unforgivable but we've all found it in our hearts to forgive."

"I don't think they come close to what I did," she argued softly.

"I don't know about that, Faith." Wesley sighed then decided his bet course of action was complete honesty. "I robbed Angel of his son's growing up and Connor of his childhood. Connor blithely put Angel under the ocean and still doesn't regret it. It's a matter of perspective."

Faith snorted. "What kind of perspective do you have to have to forgive me?"

"One that suggests maybe I deserved it," Wesley answered in a bare whisper.

Faith's head snapped around. "What? No one deserves what I did to you."

"Maybe not to that extreme but I had a hand in making you this way, Faith."

She pushed her hair off her face. "I'm not following you, Wes."

"Faith, what I did in Sunnydale was inexcusable." Wesley ran a hand over his beard. "I was such an arrogant ass. I was far too young for the assignment I was given."

"I had wondered about that. Giles was older and my first Watcher was positively ancient, way too old to be out in the field."

"I got the position because the Wyndham-Pryces are a big deal on the Council. I was far more interested in showing up Giles and impressing my Fa." Wesley bit his lip. "The Council. All I did was alienate everyone. I was blind to the trouble you were in, Faith."

"You followed the Council's procedures to try and help me. I'm the one who didn't want help," she said.

"That wasn't what I meant." Wesley reached over to her but stopped when she flinched away. "Faith, you were a teen-aged girl who was treated like she was second rate. Giles tried to get the Council to give him money to get a place for you. They told him no and working at a school he couldn't just take in a young girl. It wouldn't have looked right. I never even tried. We left you in that terrible hotel. You had to feel unwanted, that you were inconsequential especially compared to Buffy."

Faith said nothing and went back to staring out the window.

"If I had made more of an effort to make you part of the team, to get you out of the squalor then it might not have gone the way it did," Wesley hated how he felt but the truth was often painful.

"Guess we'll never know," she whispered.

"For what it's worth, I'm sorry about what happened in Sunnydale," Wesley said.

Faith rubbed her eyes, barely holding onto her emotions. "Thank you, Wes. There's no way for me to say how sorry I am about the things I did to you."

Wes took a hand off the steering wheel to touch her shoulder. "Thank you. Now, hopefully we'll be able to put the past to rest where it belongs and perhaps we'll be able to work well together."

* * *

"Wes, if you don't do something soon I'm gonna kick your ass," Faith roared, being held off the ground by her arms and legs as she struggled in the wind folleti's grasp. They were dangling her over someone's little tomato garden.

"I said they were pesky, much more so when they keep stealing my candles so I can't complete the spell." Wes' hand snapped out, his retractable asp whipping into one of the folleti and knocking it away from the makeshift alter. "And I told you, you couldn't just punch them out."

"Live and learn. Owww! Damn!" Faith cried, grabbed at her hair as the folleti yanked it.

"Ah here it is." Wes read the incantation and the folleti disappeared.

Faith squealed as she plummeted to the ground. Wes ran over, looking down at her in the squashed tomato patch. He grinned sheepishly.


"Well, I got what I asked for," she said as he helped her up.

Wes wiped away a smear of tomato from her hip. "Perhaps I could have timed that a bit better."

She rolled her eyes. "No kidding."

They stared at each other, Wes' hand still on her hip. For a wild moment he wanted to draw her closer. He opened his mouth to hopefully say something suave. Instead, he laughed. Faith's lips quirked up and she started giggling.

She slapped his arm. "Let's get out of here."

Wes headed back to his car with his books. He stopped Faith from getting in the car. He popped the trunk and pulled out the blanket Angel used to shade himself if he had to be in sunlight. He covered the seat with it.

"Angel has an odd affection for this car," Wesley said.

"Thanks. I'd hate to have to detail this boat," Faith said, glancing over at Wes again as he got in. There was something strange in the air between them. It went beyond the forgiveness he offered her which was strange enough. She decided it had to do with not only the changes in her but also the ones in Wes. He was stronger. He was someone she could respect and it was an odd thing. She had had nothing but contempt for him all along. Now she was seeing him in a different light. She liked what she saw.

"We'd better get home," Wes said.

"While we still have one to return to." Faith grinned.

"Yes, too much alone time for those two can't be a good thing."

"Wes," she said after more awkward silence. "It was good working with you."

He smiled. "I enjoyed it myself. Next time I hopefully won't use you to squeeze tomato juice."

Faith snorted. "Yeah, this job is hard on the leather." She brushed at her pants. "Maybe I should switch to something more washable."

"Pity," Wes mumbled. "I like the leather."

Faith ogled him, shocked at his smirk. Yes, this was definitely a new and improved man as far as she was concerned.

Once they got back to the Hyperion, she helped Wesley lug the spell casting ingredients and tomes back to the hotel. They froze, hearing laughter echoing around the hotel.

"Is that Connor?" Faith asked.

"I think so. I've never heard him laugh before," Wes said, a look of worry gleaming in his blue eyes.

"Let's hope he's not rolling gleefully around in Daddy's dust," Faith said, putting her armload of stuff down on the reception desk.

Wes did likewise and they both headed into Angel's room, following the laughter. The vampire had his new TV on. He had purchased it originally for Connor hoping his son would want it. That was before the ocean incident. Now Angel was propped up against the headboard watching TV and Connor was on the floor giggling loudly. Strewn about the room were several of Wesley's Boddington Ale bottles. Connor, upon seeing the newly arrived couple, tried to get up off the ground. When he managed to stagger upright, he stumbled over to Faith, colliding with her.

"You're all messy," he announced loudly.

"You play with wind demons and see what happens," Faith said, gently pushing the teen off her. He reeked of beer.

"Looks like you were rolling in the grass." Connor roughly extracted a broken bit of tomato plant lodged in Faith's hair.

Angel's eyebrows cocked up and Wesley found himself grateful his beard covered most of his blush. Faith shot him a smile and he wasn't sure if he was reading too much into it. She seemed to like the innuendo. ", fell."

"Falling down isn't funny," Connor said, taking Faith's hands. "But right now I can't stand up. Have you seen this show." He let go of one of her hands to gesture at the TV that had on a rerun of 'That 70's Show.' "Come see. It's funny. I like the big redhead."

Connor pulled Faith along, stumbled and fell onto the bed, taking her with him. They both crushed Angel's outstretched legs. Connor burst out laughing again.

"Angel, I dare say your son is drunk." Wesley shot an accusatory look at the vampire. "On my beer."

"I know," Angel said, extricating himself. He looked vaguely amused by it all even though he knew he shouldn't.

Faith rolled off of Connor who was none too excited about letting her go. "Not going to win Father of the Year any time soon, are you, Angel?"

"Hey! I tried," Angel protested. "He showed me that Gameboy of his."

"You sucked," Connor said, sprawled on the bed.

Angel prodded his son with his foot. "I'm just learning."

"He's got huge clumsy hands," Connor confided to Faith in a very loud 'whisper.'

"I'm not clumsy. I just don't have those long spidery fingers like you," Angel shot back.

Connor looked at his delicately-boned hands critically. "I have such big hands!"

"That's a good thing kid," Faith said, casting a glance over at Wesley and his large hands.

Angel gave her the hairy eyeball. "So once I failed to get past level one, we started talking about how lucky he was to have things like this. Connor asked what I used to do for fun at his age."

"Weren't you a carouser back then?" Wesley asked.

"I was trying to down play that, thanks." Angel shot a stern look Wes' way. "But when I mentioned ale, Connor didn't know what it was. I figured what would it hurt? I mean, if we were back home in Ireland, he'd be old enough to drink."

"So you got your son drunk." Faith shook her head in exaggerated disgust.

"I didn't plan it that way. He didn't even finish two beers and he's totally pissed," Angel said incredulously.

"Angel, look at him," Wes said. "He's skin and bones. There's no meat to take up the alcohol."

"I've noticed. I remembered what you said, Wes. Drinking's social so I had a few beers, too, and before I knew it Connor's on the floor, laughing hysterically."

"So your son's a cheap date." Faith grinned.

"Apparently. I've never heard my son laugh before." Angel looked terribly sad. "It was nice to hear it regardless of why he's laughing. I tried to get him to lie down in his old room but he wanted to watch TV so."

"At least you two are talking and no bloodshed," Wesley said.

"Exactly. We were watching 'Alias' earlier. It seems my son has a thing for tall, dominating women." Angel grinned goofily.

"I could have told you that," Faith said. "I go out there with him fighting all the time. He's dominant as hell with other men. But if you want him to roll over and show you his neck, get a woman to ask it of him. He can't wait to give it up."

"That's just what a father wants to hear," Angel said wryly. "And apparently he idolized this Hyde character on this show. He seems to be a lot like I imagine Giles was like when he was a kid from what I know of him." Angel frowned. "I'm not sure if that's good or bad."

"How's the bed spinning like this?" Connor asked, clutching the mattress for dear life.

"Oh, boy. Let's stand him up before he gets sick on my bed," Angel said, rolling to his feet.

Faith hauled Connor up. " Better?"

"Yeah." Connor looked at her unfocused. "You're really pretty, you know."

"Down boy." Faith patted him on his head.

"Aw, my show's over." Connor gestured at the TV, his interest in Faith already waning. "Gotta find something else." Connor stumbled toward the end table and the remote. He careened into Wes who steadied him. Connor touched Wes' face. "Prickly. Can I grow something like this?"

"Doubt it, baby face." Faith laughed. "I'm not sure if I like the beard or not, Wes. It certainly gives you a different look."

Wes rubbed it. "I'm thinking about shaving it."

"You'll probably want it back the minute you do." Faith said, her eyes raking over Wesley then a sound distracted her. "Um, Angel." She pointed at Connor who had a beer bottle in hand.

"You've had enough, Connor." Angel tried to take it from him.

Connor jerked his arm free. "It's mine. I didn't finish it," he said petulantly. Connor swallowed it down before anyone could take it from him.

"I should head for home," Wes said. "Need help getting Connor to bed?"

"Yes." Angel said, gratefully.

Faith draped an arm around Connor. Wes regarded that with an odd tinge of jealousy. "Come on, kid, let's get you to bed."

"You coming, too?" Connor let Faith lead him out of the room. His blue eyes fixed on her hungrily.

Faith popped him gently on the back of the head. "You're going to bed alone."

He pouted prodigiously. "No fun."

"Connor, this would be the time to become your usual silent self," Angel said, glad he couldn't blush.

Connor stopped dead, digging in like a mule. "I'm having fun. I don't want to go to bed."

"You need to," Faith said, propelling him forward.

"How did you two get along out there?" Angel asked, helping Faith wrestle Connor into the bedroom.

Faith looked over at Wesley. "We're five by five."

"We didn't do so badly. "Wes smiled. "Barring the tomato incident."

"Here we are. On the bed with you," Faith said, letting Connor flop down bonelessly. "Come on, shoes off."

"This bed is spinning, too," Connor said then went extremely pale.

Faith leapt back. Angel darted in, yanking Connor off. He all but catapulted his son into the bathroom. Faith made a face as the sounds of vomiting echoed in the small room. Wesley hunted up a garbage can as Angel came back out of the restroom.

"Better not let him fall in, Angel. He's skinny enough to slip past the U- bend," Faith said.

Angel just wagged his head. "This could have turned out better. Even worse, this is pretty much the best father-son time we've ever spent."

"True. So come morning are you going to explain hangovers to Connor or feign ignorance about his headache?" Wesley asked, smiling.

"That second one," Angel said as Connor staggered out of the bathroom.

"I feel terrible."

"Lie down," Wes said, putting the trash can at the head of the bed. "Use that if you get sick again."

Connor just nodded and collapsed on the bed. Faith rolled him onto this belly.

"You'll feel better this way," she promised.

"Want me to stick around for awhile, Angel?" Wes asked.

"No. I think we'll manage," Angel said then looked down as his son started snoring. "Looks like he's down for the count."

Wesley rolled his eyes. "As much as I enjoyed working with Faith, perhaps next time, we shouldn't leave you completely alone."

Angel shrugged. "We didn't try to kill each other. You and Faith didn't either. All things considered, this turned out to be a good night."

* * *

Wesley returned early to the Hyperion. There was a lot to do, like get paid for the wind folleti removal. Faith had no patience for the bookwork. Lorne did help with that sort of work but not without copious complaining. So Wesley was surprised to see Lorne behind the reception desk warbling a song Wesley didn't know. Faith was sprawled on the round couch, looking good in her black jeans and russet sports bra. No wonder Connor jealously guarded his workout time with the Slayer. What Wes wasn't prepared for were Gunn and Fred to be back already. Fred seemed to be working on the books. Gunn just looked bored.

"Did something happen at the conference?" Wesley asked, setting a box of breakfast donuts on the table.

"I should be so lucky," Gunn mumbled. "Do you know how boring physics is?"

"I can imagine," Faith said.

"It is exciting," Fred protested. "But all the string theory lectures were yesterday, which were what I really wanted to hear. Gunn sat through enough."

"I can imagine that unless you're into the science it could be a bit dull," Wesley said cautiously. He and Gunn had smoothed over some of the bad patches of their relationship but not all of them.

"Next time I'll take Fred up on her offer to let me go sightseeing. I paid money to be tortured," Gunn said, hugging Fred.

"So we figured we might as well get caught up here," Fred relaxed into Gunn's grip. "But if we knew Connor was going to be here and be so bearish we might not have hurried."

"Yes, what is the delightful little munchkin doing here?" Lorne asked. "Did he actually spend the night?"

"Angel convinced him to," Faith said. "Connor's starting to tame down a bit."

"Connor reminds me of a barn cat when I was a kid. I tried to tame it, luring it out with food until it would let me touch it. After a while I could hold it but you never knew when it was going to bite. Connor's a lot like that," Fred said, fishing out a donut.

"Well, Connor's mood has an excuse." Wes leaned against the wall, debating on heading into his office or staying here and socializing. Faith laughed. "No kidding. I'm shocked he was even up and about."

"You lost me," Gunn said.

"Father-son time, which was their most successful one yet, was well- lubricated by my Boddington ale," Wes said.

Fred, Gunn and Lorne all gaped.

"Angel got the kid drunk?" Gunn asked.

"Well, it wasn't in his plans. The kid's a light weight," Faith said. "Angel never considered the fact two beers would have the kid puking before he passed out. But Connor was a happy, horny drunk."

"Almost sorry I missed that," Gunn said, trying to smother a snicker.

"Charles." Fred playfully slapped his arm.

"The idea of the kid being happy boggles the mind," Lorne said.

"Where is he now?" Wesley asked.

"He went back upstairs, a few minutes before you got here," Faith said, "looking as green as Lorne. I'm going to have to find a sparring partner today."

"I know you and Connor have a place you work out in but Angel's got a perfectly acceptable workout room here. You and I can spar," Wes said.

Faith's eyebrows raised. "You sure?"

Wes grinned. "Part of my training included working out with the Slayers-in- waiting. Granted, I avoided that duty back in Sunnydale."

"I'd have kicked your ass." Faith grinned back at him.

"I fully expect you'll kick it now, too," Wes said honestly.

"Guess we'll see." Faith levered herself up off the couch.

"Don't expect any rescues," Gunn said, a wicked look in his eyes. Wes just shrugged good-naturedly.

"No matter how loud you scream," Fred put in smiling.

Wesley laughed. "Understood. Try not to damage me too badly, Faith."

She just flashed him a cautious smile, probably thinking back on the time she had. He gave her a reassuring look then followed her downstairs. Faith took a quick glance around.

"So, where should we start this training session?" Faith asked.

"Either with some long distance weapons or perhaps something that requires you to be blindfolded," Wes said.

"That sounds like you're just making stuff up," Faith replied, a suspicious look in her eyes.

"It is standard training," he replied distractedly. "Blindfold, I think."

"So the Watchers are kinky?" Faith asked, rocking back on her heels.

"Some of us." Wesley smirked. "So, what to use as a blindfold?"

"You're serious." Faith looked shocked.

"The idea is to hone your skills if you have to fight in complete darkness or if you've been temporarily blinded."

"Do you Watchers dream this stuff up at keggers?" Faith flashed a quick smile at him.

"Yes," he replied, folding up one of the towels his companions most likely used after practice. "Ready?"

Faith shrugged. "What do I have to lose?"

Wes tied the blindfold around Faith's eyes. "Now somewhere there ought to be a tennis ball or something non-lethal I can throw at you."

"Okay, this is payback right?" Turning slowly, she tracked him by voice.

"No, I'd be throwing knives or axes in that case," Wes said. "The idea is you're supposed to be able to sense it coming and avoid the attack."

"Hey, Obi-Wan, isn't this where Han gets to laugh at Luke for getting shot in the ass?"

"Well, yes." Wes scouted around and didn't find anything non-lethal to toss. He finally removed his shoes.

"Is this going to start soon, Wes or is part of the practice to wait until the Slayer dies of boredom?" Faith's body lost some of its tension as she went off alert.

"Patience is part of the training." Wes circled away from her. He winged one shoe and raced to the other side of the room.

Faith batted away the missile and he tossed the other shoe at her back. As she spun and knocked it away, Wes stripped his belt out the pants' loops. He clipped her behind the knees. Faith stumbled and he wrapped the belt around her wrist, yanking her off her feet. Faith rolled and dodged the next blow of the belt. She swept out a leg and cut Wesley's out from under him. She swarmed on top of him, pinning his arms.

"Am I passing the test?" she asked, letting go long enough to tear off her blindfold.

"With flying colors," he said, staring up at her as she regained her grip on him.

She shifted, resting more of her weight on his belly. "Kicked your ass without even being able to see you."

"I've noticed." Wesley smiled. "Sorry I wasn't a better sparring partner."

Faith flashed him a cocky grin. "Connor does give me a better work out until I get him pinned like this then the fight goes out of him."

"I can't imagine why." A smarmy grin slid across Wesley's face.

Faith rolled her eyes. She leaned in close to him, letting his arms go. "I bet you can't."

Wesley's grin widened. He ran a hand over her hair. Cupping the back of her head, he guided her down to him. Without even thinking about it, Wesley kissed her. Faith stiffened a bit. Wesley dropped his hand away from her, confusion in his blue eyes. He thought she had been flirting with him. Had he been wrong?

Faith gulped in a huge breath of air, her dark eyes studying him as if she had never seen him before. He knew she had to be asking herself why he had kissed her given their history. He was asking himself that very question. He expected her to get off of him but instead Faith leaned in closer. Her lips brushed his hesitantly at first then her kiss became a bit more self- assured and warm.

Wesley caught her lower lip between his lips, gently sucking on it. Encouraged, Faith stretched out her body over his. Her tongue slipped into his mouth, probing. Wesley wrapped his arms around her, pulling her against him as their tongues fenced.

"Faith!" Gunn hollered down the stairs.

Faith jumped off Wesley like she'd been shocked. "What?"

"You'd better get up here. The Destroyer got in a snit when Lorne suggested a change of wardrobe and hairstyle might brighten up his demeanor," Fred answered, running down the stairs.

Gunn stayed on the top step, peering down. "Connor's threatening a little make over for Lorne and has him treed in a good line of sunlight where Angel can't get to him."

"Looks like I get to kick more ass." Faith rolled to her feet.

Wesley watched her dart upstairs, not sure if he wanted to help kick Connor one or thank him for the distraction. Wesley found his shoes and pulled on his belt. He knew that it was a lousy place to have a tryst with everyone upstairs and he should be thankful for the disruption.

By the time he got upstairs, Faith and Angel were squashing Connor into the wall. Lorne had escaped to wherever. Wes wondered if he could take a page from Connor's book the next time Lorne called him by one of those annoying pet names of his.

"Are you going to calm down now, Connor?" Faith asked, twisting Connor's arm behind his back.

"Lemme go. I don't feel good," he whined, squirming.

"It's called a hangover. No call for being so bad-tempered. Just ask your dad for something to make you feel better," Faith said.

"This is all his fault." Connor scowled at Angel.

"It is not," Angel protested. "And it's been a long time since I mixed up a hangover cure. I'm not sure you can find that sort of stuff nowadays. Can you still find places that sell bitter almonds and eels?"

"Bring him into the kitchen, Faith. I might be able to fix him something," Wesley offered, heading for the kitchen himself.

Faith dragged the grumpy teen in. Angel followed, carefully skirting some patches of sunlight on the way. Wesley took down the mixer, tossed in some bananas, milk and honey he used for his tea. He mixed them up and poured out the shake. He gave it to Connor with some aspirin.

"This will work?" Connor asked dubiously, poking the thick drink with a finger.

"Won't hurt you. The aspirin's for your head, the milk will settle your stomach and the honey will give you an instant lift. Once the sugar from that wears off the sugars from the bananas will kick in," Wesley said. "Why don't you take him back upstairs and let him lie down, Angel?"

Angel nodded. "Good idea."

He led Connor away as his son downed the pills with mouthfuls of the shake.

"My mom used to swear by mix of tequila and Tabasco. I think I like your hangover cure better," Faith said.

"It is a little less vile." Wesley looked at her. "Faith, about downstairs.I'm not-"

She held up a hand. "Forget it. Things just got a little.nuts."

"I'd rather not forget it entirely," he said softly.

"Oh." Faith looked away. "I'm not sure that's smart. I mean, I have a bad habit of messing this sort of thing up. Not the sex part but everything else that goes with it. Maybe it's because I always end up going straight to that part and miss all the steps in between." Her gaze went to her feet as she tugged on a lock of her hair. "You know, I'm not sure I've ever been out on a real date."

"Would you like to?"

Faith turned to him. "Go on a real date?"

He smiled softly. "Yes. Would you like to go out with me, on a real date, no strings attached, no expectations."

Faith looked away again nervously. "What kind of date?"

Wes couldn't think for a moment. He hadn't expected her to say yes. "Let me get back to you on that."

She nodded then smiled. "A real date. I think I'd like that. I'd better get back out there and reassure Lorne he's safe for now."

Wesley waved her on and started cleaning up the blender, wondering what he had just gotten himself into.

* * *

Wesley couldn't believe he felt like a schoolboy going on his first date. Then again what he couldn't bear to tell Faith, or anyone, was that he hadn't dated much either. As a young man he was too wrapped up in school to pay much mind to women and his arrogant, officious nature had been a good girl repellent. Sunnydale had been punctuated by an embarrassing flirtation with a teenager. He and Virginia hadn't exactly dated. Lilah wasn't about dating.

This idea of a date felt as odd to him as it probably did to Faith. He couldn't put it off any longer. Wesley opened the front door to the Hyperion. He wasn't surprised to see Faith in a little huddle at the front desk with Fred. They might not have much in common but they did have the female solidarity thing going. Lorne was in the huddle with them but that wasn't surprising. Wes didn't know if Agogics had sexual drives that were even close to a humans' and he could just imagine what might appeal to Lorne. He wasn't expecting the demon to come out of the closet. As far as Wesley was concerned Lorne had never gone into the closet in the first place.

Faith turned to face him. She looked anxious. Her dress was as simple black sheath and its elegant classic look was completed with a string of fake pearls. Her dark hair fell softly around her face. He was so used to her usual slutty attire he had no idea she could be so honestly beautiful.

"You look lovely," he told her with a smile.

Faith beamed, looking relieved. "You're lookin' good yourself." Her eyes raked over him, taking in his deep blue silk shirt and charcoal grey slacks. "You shaved."

Wes ran a hand over his pale chin. "I thought it was time."

"I like it."

"Thanks." Wes shifted nervously. "It's a bit quiet here tonight."

"Charles and Angel went out to investigate a haunted Irish pub," Fred said.

"And our beloved ill-natured brat didn't want to hear he was too young to go with so he's following them," Lorne said.

"That should keep them busy." Wes smiled over at Faith again. "Shall we?"

She sauntered over to him in heels far more impractical than he was used to seeing her wear. She took his arm.

"Faith," Fred called. "You almost forgot." She tossed Faith her beaded black handbag.

"Thanks. I'm not used to carrying one," Faith said sheepishly. Wesley had no doubt the little purse was loaded with stakes and probably a knife and some holy water.

"You kids have fun," Lorne called merrily.

"I'm sure we will," Wes said then led Faith out to his SUV.

"Where to?" she asked.

"Dinner first then I have tickets to a play," Wes replied, pulling out into traffic.

"When you said date, I didn't really think you were going to go all out," Faith said.

"No sense in doing things half-heartedly," he replied and her smile was the warmest he had ever seen on her pretty face.

* * *

"So, you really did go to Hogwarts." Faith grinned at him over a forkful of tiramisu.

Wes snorted. He was glad Faith hadn't opted for the cheap-out salad, a clear indication to him that not much was going to happen after dinner. She had gone for pumpkin ravioli. Dinner had been delicious and conversation, while slow to start, was flowing in a relaxed way like they were old friends. "Close enough. It's a school maintained by the Council to bring up the next generation with all we'd need to know and some cookbook magic thrown in for fun."

"Were you Percy Weasley?" Faith's lips pulled into a deadly wicked knife's edged grin.

Wes pursed his lips. "I can't believe you've read Rowlings' books."

"Me? I'm shocked you know Harry Potter. All I had to do in jail was read. I finished my G.E.D. and even took a few college classes."

"That's wonderful." Wes took a sip of his merlot. "I wasn't aware of that."

"I told Angel but he kept pretty private about all our talks which I appreciate," Faith said. "So, were you Percy?"

"I was head boy if that's what you mean."

"Head boy." Faith laughed. "I knew it. You were definitely Percy."

"I was not!" Wes glowered at her then submitted. "All right, I was."

"There was no doubt."

"With an unfortunate dash of Draco Malfoy, thanks to my father." Wes finished his wine.

"You don't like talking about him, do you?" she asked cautiously.

Wesley dropped his gaze to the table. "He's not worth the effort."

"I hear you. I feel the same way about my mom." Faith set her fork aside. "I think you mentioned something about a play."

Wesley brightened. "Indeed I did. We probably should head for the theatre."

Their seats weren't the greatest given the short notice and his restrictive budget but Faith didn't seem to mind. He doubted she had ever been to a play before. He had wanted to see "Chicago" but decided that would be insensitive given Faith's history. He selected "The Producers" instead.

He looked over at Faith. She was gazing at him as if they were royalty out slumming, instead of the people in the cheap seats. He felt like it himself. Faith reached over and stroked his shaved cheek. She kissed his cheek gently.

"Thank you," she whispered.

He raised an eyebrow. "For what?"

"For such a nice date."

"You're welcome. I hope you enjoy the play," Wes said, kissing her back.

Faith settled in, nestling against him. She took his hand as the lights went down. They both enjoyed "The Producers." It was nice to hear Faith laugh with abandon. When it was over they wended through the late night traffic, oddly quiet.

"It's almost a shame to take you home so early," Wesley said.

"I'd rather go back to your place," she said so softly he almost missed it.

Wesley looked at her sharply. "Faith, when I said no strings attached, I meant it. I'm not expecting you to."

"What if I want to?" She dared a cautious glance his way.

"If it's really what you want."

"It is."

Wesley wasn't sure what to say to that. He honestly hadn't been expecting her to come to his place. If they sincerely wanted a healthier relationship it was probably wiser to wait, but that wasn't how their lives were lived. Caution was for the mundanes. People like Faith and him had to grab life and squeeze it for what it was worth since their futures were little more than a vain hope.

They were both quiet on the drive back to his place. He wished that his apartment complex had assigned parking instead of having to park a few blocks away and make Faith walk. She didn't seem to mind, however. He locked the door behind them then looked at her suddenly shy and unsure of himself. "Would you like something to drink?"

She shook her head, coming over to him. Her lips met his softly. The kiss stretched out long and forever like mirrors reflecting back on one another Finally Faith broke it and took his hand. He led her back to his bedroom, thinking that for once she wasn't looking for wild and unusual. Tonight was more about doing all the hearts and flowers type of thing.

He turned on the small reading lamp on the bed stand, diffusing soft light through out the room. Faith caught hold of his tie, gently reeling him back in. She managed to get it off of him. Their lips met again, tongues slowly exploring then her lips traveled down his chin and neck. Her mouth moved over the buttons of his shirt, expertly undoing them as she went.

Sliding her hand inside his shirt, her fingers played up his spine as her warm mouth went back to his. The kiss was quick and hard then she took a step back. Her fingers trailed along the scar on his neck, far more visible now that he had shaved his beard. She started to say something but thought better of it.

Wesley caught her fingers, guiding them away from the scar. His hands reached around her, slowly taking down the dress' zipper. He slowly peeled down the black silk. Faith's bra as black and lacy and he had it off quickly. His tongue and teeth teased Faith's dusky rose nipples until they stood up, hard against his flesh.

Faith wiggled out of the dress. Wesley picked her up, laying her back on the bed. His tongue lathed the tattoo on her arm. Faith tugged his shirt off. Wesley sat back just a bit before hooking his fingers in her garter belt straps. Unhooking her hose he slowly drew them down until her heels kept them from going any further. He tenderly removed one shoe then the other. Taking the hose all the way off, Wesley kissed the instep of her foot then sucked her big toe before planting a kiss on her ankle.

Wes wrapped his arms around her, embracing her tightly. Faith melted into him, sweating skin against skin. No words were spoken or needed. After their love making, they rested in each other's arms quietly for some time. Finally Faith rolled out of bed and headed to the bathroom. When she came back out, she started putting on her clothes.

Wesley rolled up on one arm. "Faith, what are you doing?"

She paused in dressing, a heart-breakingly sad look on her face. "I.figured I'd get a cab home."

Wesley got out of bed, going over to her. He realized she was used to sex being a rather quick thing. It was over and then someone left like it had been nothing but fun. He had been in that sort of relationship before but he wanted her to have something more than that for once. "I want you to stay."

Tears tried to gather in her eyes. "Are you sure?"

He almost said he wouldn't have slept with her if he wasn't but he knew Faith wouldn't buy into that. Instead he pulled her into an embrace, kissing her forehead. "Please stay."

She snuggled into him. "I'm starving."

Wes smiled and went over to the closet, pulling out one of his robes, handing it to her. "Let's raid the kitchen."

Faith didn't wait for Wes to pull on a pair of jogging pants. She was staring in the fridge with a puzzled look on her face. "Do you actually have any food?"

"Nothing much most Americans would like. There's some crisps in the cupboard," Wesley replied.


Wesley pulled a bag of potato chips out of the cupboard. Faith took them with a grin and bounced over to the couch. She flipped through the TV Guide.

"Ooo, Jackie Chan. Ever see one of his movies?" she asked.

"I can't say that I have."

Faith waved him over. "Sit. This will be fun."

Wes stretched out on the couch and she curled up with him, tucking the bag of chips against his side. She rested her head on his chest as she turned on the movie. Wes settled an arm around her.

"This is nice," she whispered.

"Yes, it is."

They fell asleep on the couch half way through the movie, completely content.

* * *

Wes fumbled for the phone as Faith buried her head under the pillow. He couldn't remember when they had made it back to the bed but at this point most of the bedding wasn't where it was supposed to be and he had bruises in interesting places.

"'Allo," he muttered. "Oh, Angel.yes, what is it? Has something happened?. Faith didn't show for her sparring time with Connor, imagine that." Wesley cupped a hand over the speaker as Faith started giggling. "Do I know where she might be?"

Faith snagged the phone. "Angel, I'm being held prisoner by a strange Englishman. No seriously, he has handcuffs in his bed stand. Come rescue me," she bubbled then started giggling again.

Rolling his eyes, Wes took the phone back. "Don't you dare," he told Angel. "I mean it, Angel. You do and I'll arrange for an apology dinner for Lorne with you and Connor at Spago's.yes, I thought you'd see it my way."

Faith rolled on top of him, wrestling away the phone. "Guess Fred did manage to keep the date a secret.well, except for Lorne but how was I to know he could hear so well?" she asked as Wesley's hand caressed her. "Tell Connor I'll be there in a half hour," she said then Wesley's fingers trailed around the curve of her butt. "Okay, noon," she corrected herself as Wesley sucked on her free earlobe. "Dinner time. Bye, Angel."

Faith hung up with a final giggle and tossed the phone onto the nightstand. She caught Wesley's hands and pinned them above his head. "Now I'm going to show you all those little tricks I know."

He smiled broadly. "Maybe I have a few of my own."

"Really?" Her smile was much more wicked. "I guess you'll just have to show me then."