Set after Chosen, thus spoilers to the end of Buffy.

Disclaimer: Don't own. Not mine. No money made.


Self Defence


Two tales of the Buffy universe, one serious and one humorous.


The Serious One:

Turn. Kick. Down. Punch and Block. Turn and kick and down....

Faith practiced. She didn't really have to; she'd be the first person to say it. But it was... comforting. The rhythm, the physical exertion, the fact that she didn't have to think. Faith didn't want to think. Thinking meant contemplating what she was going to do now that the whole First crisis was over. Thinking meant trying not to muse over the fact that sooner or later Buffy and Co, were going to send her ass right on back to jail. Thinking was, generally, something she damn well wanted to avoid right now.

Practicing didn't involve thinking. Practice was good.

Turn. Kick. Down. Punch and Block. Turn and kick and down and someone's watching you pretty damn keenly...

She stopped and turned to the doorway with a snort. "Enjoying the vie... Oh, it's you."

Andrew shuffled from foot to foot. "Umm, yeah. Me. Hi."

She flicked him an indifferent look, shrugged, and went back over to the punching bag. Punch. Kick. Turn and... He was still watching.

Impatiently, she turned to him again. "You wanting something?"

He bit his lip nervously. "Umm... yes. Actually."

Faith sighed and abandoned the bag for now. Something was obviously on the kid's mind, though god knows why he'd decided to talk to her. "So, what's up?"

He looked at her with an expression of earnest determination. "Could you teach me to fight?"

Hang on, what? She stared at him. "Teach you to fight?"

He elaborated hurriedly. "Not like you! I mean, I'm not looking to become Slayerish or anything 'cause that's silly, and obviously I'll never be that good. Just, y'know, self defence and stuff."

"You want me to teach you self defence?" Faith raised an eyebrow at him. "Don't you think you should be talking to Buffy about that?"

Andrew looked at his feet. "Umm... actually I kinda did."

"And what did she say?"

He flushed slightly. "That she was... busy. Mainly. Which is perfectly okay. She's got a lot on her plate, what with sorting out all the new Slayers and everything..."

She snorted. "So you decided to come to me, 'cause everyone knows I'm just killing time until I go back to the big house."

"What? No!" He looked mildly shocked. "It's not like that! I mean, I just thought that you're the second most experienced Slayer and all, so... umm."

She shrugged and rolled her eyes. "Look, why do you want to learn self defence anyway? You've got a whole bunch of Slayers around you at the moment. Not likely to get attacked any time soon."

To her mild surprise, the expression on his face was deadly serious and deeply determined. "I might need it later. I... I've got to do something good with my life. I've got to help people."

"Why..."

"Because I didn't die! And, when you get right down to it, if anyone should have died, it was me! But I didn't and that must mean something and... and I've got do something with that. I've got to... become a better person. And go out and help people and..." He paused. "Okay, so I haven't really got it all figured out yet, but the point is that I'm not just going to sit here. I want to learn things, and grow, and... get better. At stuff."

Faith was slightly taken aback. "Geez. Okay then. You've given this a lot of thought, haven't you?"

"Kind of, yeah." He looked at her pleadingly. "So can you teach me?"

Teach someone self defence. Okay, well that was just... "Look", she said. "I'm really not cut out to be much of a teacher. You should probably try Buffy again."

This time Andrew looked marginally desperate. "I did try again. She's not going to help me. She's..." He made a face and lowered his voice slightly. "She doesn't like me very much, I don't think. No one around here really does."

"Oh come on, that's so not true."

He looked sceptical, which was actually a pretty unusual expression for Andrew.

"Look, Dawn likes you. Xander doesn't mind you. Even Willow doesn't object to you that much. Hell, I got nothing against you. And it's not like anyone actively hates you or anything. You're just off most of their radar."

Andrew looked suddenly, terribly sad. "Yeah, well that's the point, isn't it? That's... That's kinda how it's always been for me."

She felt suddenly awkward. "Look Andrew, you don't have to stay here if you really don't wanna. Seriously. You walk outta here right now, I doubt Buffy would even..."

"Notice?" He looked even more miserable. Well shit.

Jesus. She didn't know how to deal with this kind of conversation. This was just... crap. "I'm not saying that, okay? I'm just saying... Look, I don't think Buffy is all that set on keeping you hostage anymore. You fought the good fight with us. You wanna leave; I'll back you up. You must have somewhere else you can be, right?"

He sighed, and his voice was toneless. "Well yeah", he said. "There's prison."

There was an awkward silence.

Faith gritted her teeth. "You don't have to go to prison."

"Why not? I killed Jonathan. You killed someone too, and you went to prison. Shouldn't I do the same thing?"

"Yeah, but..."

"And you're planning to go back. Everyone can see it. It's like you're sitting here counting the days 'till you get locked up again. So I should go too. It's only right. I should do my penance."

"It's not about penance!" She almost shouted it, and Andrew stepped back in surprise. "It's not about penance, okay? It's about..." She scowled at him. "It's about accepting you've screwed up, and turning yourself into the kind of person who isn't going to screw up like that ever again. That's what it's about."

Andrew looked at her and frowned. "But you've done that, right? You're not going to do it again. So isn't it... Isn't it better to go out and help people and try and make up for what you've done instead of sitting in prison where you can't achieve anything? Isn't that better?" He stared as her almost pleadingly, and she wasn't sure whether he was asking for her, or for himself.

Maybe it didn't really matter that much. Faith suddenly felt very tired.

She took a deep breath and came to a decision. "Okay, come here."

"What?"

"Come here. Stand in front of me, and try to copy this pose, okay?"

A hopeful smile. Andrew bounded onto the gym mat and attempted to do as she asked.

She walked around him, correcting his posture. "Look", she said. "I'm not going to promise that I'm gonna do this very well. I've never taught anyone before. I think mostly my technique's going to consist of me kicking the crap out of you and then telling you how you could have stopped me. But hopefully if things go okay you'll pick things up."

"That's okay. It's probably the best way to learn, right? With practice?"

"Yeah. With practice. And I'll be honest with you from the start; you're never going to be that great. You might learn enough to keep yourself alive though, and really, that's the important bit, right?"

He nodded, and their eyes met, and for just a moment there was an atmosphere of mutual understanding.

And then she kicked the crap out of him.


The Humorous One:

Andrew winced and walked into the kitchen. He hurt all over.

Kennedy frowned at him from where she was stirring something on the stove. "What happened to you?"

He managed a half-hearted smile. "I was with Faith. She was helping me with some stuff."

Kennedy stared at him. "Stuff."

"Yeah." He opened the freezer and rummaged around. There had to be an icepack there, surely? Noticing that Kennedy was still looking, he elaborated. "She's teaching me. There's a lot of manoeuvres I want to know."

Kennedy raised an eyebrow. "She's teaching you?"

"Yeah. Giving me pointers. Geez, I'm really sweaty. I don't know why, really. I mean, all I did was get thrown on the floor a lot. She did all the work!"

Kennedy was staring at him in horrified fascination. "Well, you don't want that."

"Oh, it's okay. She says I'll be able to do more next time. She just had to demonstrate some things."

"Demonstrate. Right. You know, I really didn't think you were... into that kind of thing."

He looked cheerful. "Oh, I'm not really. I just thought I should try a bit of everything. You never know when you might need it. But I'm not going to, y'know, try anything stupid. I just... I don't wanna be the one on his knees when everyone else is holding their own."

Kennedy choked. Andrew continued on oblivious. "I just think I need to be a bit more coordinated. And assertive. I need to be more assertive. I think Faith's really going to help. And she seemed pretty enthusiastic once we got going."

"I...I..."

"This is really exciting! I should try something new more often."

"...Right."

"Anyway, I'm going to get some sleep. Faith said I needed some discipline. She's going to wake me early in the morning. Bye Kennedy!"

He bounced out.

*******

And the moral of this story is:

For god's sake think about what you're saying. This is how very bad rumours start.