AUTHOR'S NOTES: This was written for the Buffy&Angel Significant Others Ficathon back in May, 2004. The requestor wanted Spike/Faith or Anya/Faith, set in S7 training the potentials. This presented something of a problem since I hadn't seen Buffy Season 7! As a result, this story may be a little dodgy in the details, and I apologise for any canon errors. I've also adjusted some of the language to account for 's more delicate sensibilities. Just in case.

A Little Bit Of Darkness

The best Slayers worked in concert with the darkness that had made them. They gave into it just enough so the power flowed through them.

Not every Slayer understood that before she died.

As Spike caught Faith's fist in his gut, he wondered if the girl had ever not known that.

Buffy's strength was primarily in her friends, in the people she'd gathered around her to fight the Things That Go Bump In The Night. She was a strong, powerful Slayer, but her independence and determination not fall to 'the dark side' of things had worked against her more than once. And she'd been getting a little shrill lately what with the First upping the ante, and all the Potentials she was supposed to be looking after.

And now Faith had turned up and... Well, things were complicated for Buffy right now.

Spike doubted Faith had ever complicated a thing in her life.

Certainly, the girl fought like...well, like a demon. Her technique could do with a bit of work, but she had absolutely no compunction about giving it to him with all the viciousness of which a vampire was usually deserving. Even if this vampire didn't deserve it. Not right now, anyway.

He leaped at her, grabbing her and spinning her around. His plan was to hit her with the cement pylon in the middle of the room and give himself some battered Slayer to work with. Instead, she somehow changed the direction of their momentum, and twisted them around, overbalancing them both, but with the momentum of that last spin still acting on them, so they turned as they fell.

Spike landed on his back with a jolt and a wince, Faith landing on top of him. She slapped her hand down over his heart. "You're dust, Spike."

He regarded her, more than a little irritated, especially as the potentials started up their applause for Faith's win. This was the second time she'd taken him down tonight before this audience, and it was beginning to irk. Okay, so it was more than just irksome. It was downright depressing. Spike had been the big bad the vampire scene for years. All that time when Angelus had been stuck eating rat and moping around, depressed and boring, Spike had been the Vamp Not To Cross...

And now, he was taken down by a slip of a thing who'd just spent three years in the slammer and should be out of shape. And she'd said she would go easy on him - although he wasn't sure about that. Faith seemed like the type to get really involved in what she was doing and forget all the little things she'd said beforehand.

"When you're fighting, you gotta be aware of your surroundings," Faith told the girls as she climbed up, patting Spike on the chest as she did so. "Thanks for the ride, babe. But next time, give it to me hard." Her grin was wicked and Spike firmly told his libido to behave. The girl had sensuality and then some.

He snorted, "You like it hard, don't you, Faith?"

She winked at him and turned back to the potentials who were watching this exchange with open mouths. "He was pulling his punches."

"You don't know that," he protested as he climbed up and dusted himself off.

"You hold back when you're...fighting B, don't you?" The pause before the word 'fighting' gave the impression she'd been about to say something else, and again he saw the mischief twinkle in her eye.

At least one of the girls caught the pause and it's significance. There was a lone titter, rapidly hushed. If Spike had possessed enough blood to flush, he would. As it was, he felt sulky. "Sometimes," he hedged. On both counts.

"And she holds back when she's fighting you," Faith concluded as she turned back to the potentials. "I guess that's what you're here to learn - not to hold back when you're fighting against the vamps. Even friendly ones."

"But there aren't any friendly vamps except Spike and Angel," Rona said.

"And Angel's in LA."

Amanda looked uncertain. "How would you tell the difference between Angel and Angelus?"

"Offer him your throat and see if he bites it," Rona suggested. Amanda shot her a dirty look.

"You can't," Spike told them. "You can't feel the soul - no human can." He glanced at Faith, "Not even the Slayers can tell." Faith gave him a mocking bow. "More sensitive vamps can, though."

"So...how do you fight Angelus?"

Spike looked at the Slayer. She'd been taken out of the pen to deal with Angelus. This was something that she had to tell. "You'd better tell 'em, Faith."

And she did.

She talked about the rain of fire and the Beast - things that they'd only heard about on the news in the last month, kept busy with the training Buffy was putting them all through. She talked about the tactics she and the ex-Watcher 'Wesley' had employed to capture Angelus. The backup plan they'd had in place to ensure that even if Angelus beat her in a fight, he wouldn't come by a whole victory.

Spike had heard of Orpheus before. He'd even tried it somewhere in Turkey back in the seventies. It packed a powerful and dangerous punch during the best of trips, and a really horrible one at the worst.

Then he realised something else as she described getting the drug from the dealer. Given a Slayer's constitution... "You double-dosed, didn't you?" He interrupted her, appalled by the tactics Wesley had adopted. "The bastard made you do a double dose..."

"Hey, hey, there was nobody making me do anything, Blondie!" She looked back at the wide-eyed row of listeners. This was a new story about Faith, one that they hadn't heard before. "The double-dose was required to be sure Angelus was taken out..."

Spike wasn't so sure about that. And since she was protesting so hard, he wasn't so sure that it had been all her choice either. She'd said she'd never heard of the 'human filter' situation before, so she wouldn't have had any idea what the drug did. The bastard of a Watcher - ex-Watcher, whatever - had drugged her up and just about handed her over to Angelus.

Ooh, if I got my hands on the ponce...

The protectiveness surprised him. He hardly knew this slip of a girl who was everything and nothing like Buffy, but he was just about ready to go for the throat of this Watcher who'd thrown her to the lion.

"Angelus is old, he's powerful and dangerous," Faith said. "You gotta get sneaky with Angelus. Pure strength might do it, but guile and cunning are better."

"Why didn't you just stake him?" One of the girls asked, "The situation with the...uh...'revolving soul' doesn't sound very safe."

Faith went very quiet and very solemn. "I owed Angel a debt," she said. "A couple, actually. And I pay my debts." The room was silent for a moment, the force of her words hitting home to them before she moved and the spell was broken. "Wes was right," she added, all business again. "I was holding back against Angelus at first. I've been in prison the last three years for not holding back. And, as a Slayer, against the demons and vampires, I can't afford that." She eyed the girls, all of whom were paying her very close attention. "You can't afford that, either. Not against the First."

Silence.

"And that's about it," Spike said, deciding that the girls had seen and learned enough for the moment. "School is out." He waved them up the stairs.

The clattering and chattering took a few minutes, and when they were gone, Faith had settled herself down on the mattress in a comfortably lazy sprawl that took up all the space.

Spike watched her a moment, noting the long legs, and the trim body. She was less curvaceous than Buffy, with a longer line to her figure. More relaxed, too, just flopping down on her belly without being selfconscious about it.

She had a nice butt. He wondered what she'd do if he ran his hand up her inner thigh and thrust his fingers into her crotch. No niceties, straight to the point.

Probably thrust right back, if her reputation was any indicator.

To distract himself from such thoughts... "I could've beaten you, you know," he told her.

She waved a hand lazily at him. "Sure. Tell yourself that. Got smokes?"

He snorted, "I'm not giving any to you."

Before he knew what was happening, his heels, buttocks, and shoulderblades were kissing cement and Faith had straddled him and slipped the packet of smokes out of his jacket with a delighted laugh. "Knew you had some."

"Hey! Give them back..." Faith held them out of reach, grinning at him as he lunged for the pack and found himself weighted down by her body.

Spike tried to knock her off, but the next thing he knew there were warm hands on his shoulders and her hair was swinging down on either side of their faces like a curtain, blocking out the world beyond.

"Ah-ah-ah!" She tilted her head at him, a wicked gleam in her eyes. "Didn't your momma ever teach you to share?"

The things his 'momma' had taught him...

Probably best not to think about that.

His body was providing alternatives to 'not thinking' with enthusiasm. Spike grimaced, glancing down at the thighs resting either side of his hips. She was warm and sexy, and his body was definitely responding to her proximity. The proximity of a Slayer - all that life, all that energy, all that strength...

His mind presented him with the image of her beneath him, hair spread out across the floor, strong hands on his shoulders, on his body, on his buttocks...

Oh, God...

He was getting a hard-on. And she could feel it. Sitting where she was, she could hardly avoid feeling it. Her mouth curled, and Spike wondered what that mouth felt like on his body.

Bad Spike. Bad, bad, Spike.

"Got a thing for Slayers, Spike?" She grinned knowingly at him.

"Shut up," he snapped. Then he swore viciously as she rocked back and forth on him a couple of times. "Stop that."

The curl of the mouth turned into a full blown smirk, but she stopped moving on him. Spike banged his head back against the floor, not sure of whether to curse or swear or get the hell away from her.

She jiggled the box of smokes at him. "Want one?"

And now the girl was offering him his own smokes! Arrogance.

He snatched the proffered box from her hand. "Give me that." She produced a lighter, and lit up. Spike took a deep drag to soothe his frazzled nerves.

"So," she said, breathing out a thin stream of smoke, "How's things between you and B?"

"None of your business," he told her, shortly.

"Okay," she conceded. "Just asking. Because, hey, she needs the tension reliever." Spike glared at her and a wicked grin settled around her mouth as she wriggled a little on his lap, "And maybe she's not the only one. Got a bit of a boner happening here, Spike."

"Will you bloody shut up?"

"Nah." The grin really was impish, he decided. "Having too much fun," she twinkled at him.

"Bitch," he muttered under his breath.

"Vamp," she responded, and took another drag on the cigarette. "So things not so good, then?"

"I told you to shut up."

Where blunt directness failed, kittenish playfulness was attempted in its stead. "C'mon, Spike, you know you can tell me." Bloody hell. The girl was like the drip-drip-drip of acid on his psyche, small and irritating, but wearing her way in bit by bit.

"No," he snapped. "I can't. And I won't." And if she didn't move away, then he was going to flip them both over and screw the living daylights out of her, from sheer frustration if nothing else. "And get the bloody hell off me!"

Faith rolled her eyes, but rocked on him one last time then climbed off, settling back down on the bed with her cigarette, a long-legged dark-haired siren.

Spike had always had a thing for the crazy brunettes. Even more than the sexy blondes.

So he stayed carefully on the floor and smoked, and she stayed on the mattress and smoked there, and if his mind came up with all kinds of interesting scenarios involving a dark-haired Slayer, he didn't say a thing.

He was grateful for the cold of the floor, though, and never so much as when Dawn opened the door and peered down. That would have been the last straw for sure, the bit coming in and seeing him and Faith all over each other.

"Are you two coming upstairs?" She asked, her voice a little curious, but otherwise not bothered.

"Sure, little sis," Faith carolled, kicking her legs off the mattress and standing. The cigarette was ground out in the ashtray by the bed, and she glanced at Spike. "Coming?"

"In a minute." He waved her and Dawn on.

Spike watched her as she raced up the stairs and tackled Dawn with laughter. Buffy was familiar, known, loved. This Slayer was different. Wilder, darker, edgy with the knowledge of what was in her and the skill of her being.

Oh yeah, there was darkness in the Slayers, and anyone who'd ever thought otherwise was kidding themselves.

And the best Slayers had always walked close to the darkness.

-fin-