TITLE: Seeing Eye-to-Eye
TIME: After "Dirty Girls"
RATING: PG-13 (for language)
DISCLAIMER: I own none of these wonderful characters; they all belong to the genius that is Joss Whedon
Spike descended down the stairs to "his" basement, lighting up the current cigarette in his mouth. His neck ached a bit, the fight with Caleb taking more on a toll on him than first thought. He glanced up towards the basement door he had come from, all quiet above.

The Potentials were all put to bed, those that weren't in the hospital that was.

Giles was attending to those who were having trouble getting comfortable due to their injuries.

Willow was still at the hospital, being the watchdog for those Potentials that were there.

And Buffy...

Well, Spike had no idea where the blonde Slayer was. He considered going to look for her, act as comfort, but decided against it. The girl looked more distraught more than anything. She needed to be alone. He knew there was going to be much confrontation soon. It had been a very tough night filled deaths, injuries, and losses....

The blonde vampire shook his head descending a few more steps before having to jump back as the washer slammed into the concrete wall - from the otherside of the room. "Bloody hell!" he cried, stumbling and landing on the steps. He got back up and looked through the wooden bars of the railing, seeing the back of Faith as she had her hands atop the dryer and leaning forward, taking deep breaths.

"Thought I was safe down here," Spike commented descending the stairs all the way. He continued to puff away at his cigarette.

The dark Slayer didn't turn around.

"Right then," he said. "Want me to bum you one? Looks like you could use it." When he still didn't get a response, he moved towards his lone bed and sat on it. "It was a tough night. I understand that. Girls gettin' killed. I think Buffy's taking it hard, too."

"It was a trap," Faith finally remarked, but still didn't turn around.

"That it was." He leaned back to lean against the concrete wall. "No stopping Buffy when she's got stuff to do, you know that, I take it."

Faith pushed the dryer against the wall roughly, rattling it. She turned to him. "Just what the hell did she think it was gonna be? That damn guy in black ripped through us like we were nothin'!"

"Two girls were killed," he said softly.

"Right! Two were killed, and we got these little Wannabes upstairs hurt and now scared shitless! She shouldn't have brought anyone else in there. They weren't strong enough to handle anything yet."

"Buffy said she had to test them in battle."

"Well, they fucking FAILED." She slammed her fist into a shelf, making things clatter to the ground.

Spike wasn't fazed by her actions. He puffed out another billow of smoke. "I wouldn't say that. We got more lasses out of there than we lost. Not saying that's all daises and roses, but it's better than not coming out of there at all."

But Faith didn't respond to that. She just continued to have her eyes closed, taking small breaths to calm down.

Spike threw down the rest of what was left of the cigarette. "Those girls didn't know what was comin' just like Buffy didn't. Hindsight, luv. That's all it is we're seeing now."

"Right... the girls," she murmured and seemed to deflate a bit. "That's exactly what I'm talkin' about."

Spike cocked his scarred brow up. "It's not then?" he questioned.

She turned away and stared at the opposite wall, crossing her arms over her chest.

The vampire had no idea, then, what she was talking about. If the losses of the girls weren't really what was on the Slayer's mind... "Oh, wait." He leaned forward a bit. "The Potentials weren't the only ones that got it good." He stood up, now fully understanding. "The Harris boy. He got it bad."

Faith once again didn't answer.

"I didn't know you had such a concern for the kid. He's gonna be okay, Faith. He maybe something of a nusiance, but he's tough."

Again, no answer.

"Go see him," Spike said. "It'll do you good."

"I don't wanna see him like that," Faith murmured.

"Well, hate to break it to you, but that's not gonna heal overnight, luv."

"Buffy shoulda never had let him - "

"And Harris always listens to what Buffy says. He'd have gone there no matter what. And it seems Buffy saw a need to have him by her side."

"'Cause he was the only one who would be..."

Spike blinked. "Well, he wouldn't be the only -"

"Screw your 'Ode to Buffy,' Spike." She moved towards the stairs. "This ain't about you."

Spike gave that to her, watching her move up the steps. "Where are you going?" the vampire asked.

"Taking your advice," she said before closing the basement door behind her.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Willow sat beside Xander's bed as he lay there, still under sedatives, but the doctors said he would be waking up soon. Willow wanted to be there when that happened. The beeping of the monitors was the only sound.

Until now...

"W-Will?" came Xander's scratchy voice.

Willow quickly went to his side, slipping her hand into his. "I'm here, Xander."

The man laying in the bed opened up his one eye, focusing on the redhead. "I never mentioned wanting to be a pirate when I grew up, did I?"

Tears streamed down Willow's face then, leaning into him, wanting to take him into her arms. "Xander..."

"Hey, I'm the one who should be crying a little." But he squeezed her hand. "I'm okay, Will. I promise."

A figure stood in the doorway, scuffing her boots on the floor to announce her arrival.

Willow looked up, blinking back the further tears. "Faith?"

"Heya, Will."

Xander looked down his nose at the dark-haired Slayer nicely silouetted in the doorframe. "What? I got more than one visitor? Cool." But at the same time he exchanged a questioning look with his best friend.

"Guess he's doing good," Faith said, slowly coming into the room. "I didn't mean to... interrupt or nothin'."

"Um, do you need anything?" Willow asked, wiping her tears. "Did Buffy get back to you?

Faith shook her head. "Nope. On both questions. Just... passin' through, wanted to see how tough guy was holding out. Hadn't really talked with him since I got here. Busy and all."

"Not looking my best and you choose NOW to talk?" Xander asked, half-jokingly.

Willow glanced down at Xander, brows raised in concern.

He gave her a quick squeeze. "Go check on the other girls, Will. I'm okay."

She hesitated then nodded, slowly getting to her feet. "I'll be back." Then she exited the room.

Xander continued to stare at Faith. "So, how about that priest guy, huh?"

Faith sat down in the chair Willow had just abandoned. "Yeah. How about him..." She bowed her head a bit, unsure about what she wanted to say, even more unsure she wanted to say it.

Did she want to tell Xander how incredibly furious she was at Caleb for doing this to him?

Did she want to tell Xander how incredibly relieved she had been that that was all Caleb had done to him?

Did she want to tell Xander how incredibly sorry she was for everything between them?

"Life in the big house," Xander began, butting into her thoughts. "How about we start there..."

She looked over at him. "Huh?"

"My life's not all that interesting," he said. "Yours really would outdo my 'so what's been going on?' answer. So let's start with it." He smiled underneath the bandages on his head and his left eye. "You said you wanted to talk. So... let's catch up."

Faith stared at Xander for a moment then her lips fell into a small smile. That was one thing she really admired about Xander; he never gave up. Not on her, not on Buffy - not even on himself. She leaned back in the chair, propping her feet up and began talking, keeping Xander company for the night.

Finding company in him for the night as well....

- END -