Title: False Smiles
Author: Bastard Snow
Disclaimer: None of this stuff belongs to me.
Summary: After sleeping with Faith, Xander finds out that she's 'late.'
Author's Notes: Thanks to Drake for beta'ing, suggesting the idea in the first place, and smoothing out some bumps along the way. Also; the title of the fic comes from the Amy Studt album of the same name. Pick it up, it's good.
Dedication: To Shona (aka Mara). Merry Christmas.
Feedback: Yes, please.
The library wasn't usually crowded in the morning, but if anybody in the school had been asked who the most likely occupants were, Buffy Summers, Xander Harris and Willow Rosenberg would have been the first names dropped, after that of Rupert Giles, who was, in fact, the librarian. Anybody in the school would have been right.
"I mean have you seen that place?" Xander asked. It was a morning meeting of the Scoobies, which happened occasionally but could not be called common, and Xander had brought up the subject of Faith's living accommodations. It had taken him a good month after their 'encounter' to work up the courage to bring it up. "It's a rat hole. I wouldn't wish that place on anybody."
"Not even Angel?" Buffy asked, smiling.
"No!" he said. Then he paused, considering. "Yeah, no, I wouldn't. It's that bad!"
"I should look into it," Giles said. "I suppose she is my responsibility after all."
"What's all this supposing crap?" Xander asked, drawing a look from the older man. "I know you got fired and all, but… look, all I'm saying is… responsible adult, young girl in a fleabag motel. What more do you want?"
"How did you find out where she lived?" Willow asked.
"Huh?" Xander asked. "Oh, I was out driving, saw her, gave her a lift home. I tell ya, that place is no good."
"Since when are you interested in how she lives?" Buffy asked, her eyes narrowing.
"Since I saw it," Xander said. "I mean, I figure she's a Slayer. No way she should have living conditions worse than, you know, me."
"Xander," Willow said, "your living conditions aren't that bad. I mean, it's not as though you live in the basement."
"I know, and that's what I'm saying," he said. "Faith's room is like living in my basement, only without the washer/dryer combo. Add the fun urine smell, and the sound of people going at it in the next room, and that's where she lives. Which, come to think of it? Less disturbing there than it would be at my house."
"Yes, thank you for that… enlightening look at your home life, Xander," Giles said, pinching the bridge of his nose.
"You were in her room?" Willow asked.
"She offered me the use of her bathroom," he lied. "I had just had one of those, you know, super big Slurpees, and I had to go."
"Oh," Willow said, accepting the story.
"Still," Giles said, "it's a valid point. She shouldn't be living such a disreputable place. I'll see what can be done. In the mean time, in what free moments you have, I would appreciate it if we could get this library in shape. I imagine my… replacement will be arriving any time now."
"If this one's evil," Buffy said, "I'm gonna just quit the Council."
"Yes, well," Giles said, "I'm certain that shan't be a problem."
At that moment, the bell rang, and the Scoobies all had to get to their first period classes.
Xander stood in the library that day during what should have been his last class, sorting some books for Giles, waiting for the rest of the gang to show up. He heard the double doors swing open behind him, and turned, smiling, to greet whoever had entered. His smile faltered for a split second, but quickly returned to his face.
"Hey, Faith," he said, shelving a couple of the books he was holding. "What's going on?"
Faith was wringing her hands, and looked stressed. She avoided his eyes.
"Faith?" Xander asked, concerned. "You okay?"
"You remember that night a while ago?" she asked. "You know, when we screwed after those demon bitches tried to kill me?"
Xander held back a chuckle, but was amused by her bluntness. "Uh... yeah. I'm not likely to forget that anytime soon. Why?"
Faith looked up at him. "I'mlate," she rushed out.
Xander's face scrunched up in confusion. "Omelet?" he asked. "Are you inviting me to breakfast or something?"
"No, man, listen," she said. "I'm... late."
"Oh," Xander said. "Oh. Well... okay. I know just the thing." He promptly fainted.
"He's coming around," said a vaguely masculine voice through the haze of a throbbing headache.
Xander groaned loudly as his eyes worked their way open and he returned to consciousness. He looked around without moving his head, and recognized Giles kneeling over him.
"Are you all right?" Giles asked, as he helped Xander sit up. "What happened?"
"Huh?" Xander asked.
"We found you in here alone, unconscious on the floor," said a feminine voice. Xander's eyes swiveled the other way and he could make out blonde hair. Blonde hair meant Buffy.
"Uh," Xander said. "I don't know. I think I passed out."
"Are you sure?" Giles asked. "Nothing attacked you or…"
"No…" Xander said dragging the word out. He looked around the room as if searching for something. "No, I was just putting some books away and… boom. I'm out."
"Here, have some water," Buffy said, handing him a glass. "That's really weird, you just passing out like that."
"I'm not too keen on it either," said Xander. He rubbed the back of his head. "And might I add, ow."
"Here, let's get you properly seated," Giles said. He nodded to Buffy, who lifted Xander to his feet to lead him over to the table. "I'll fetch you an ice pack from the teacher's lounge."
"Thanks," Xander said. He allowed himself to be manhandled over to the table, and slumped down in a chair just as Willow and Oz entered the room.
"Hey guys!" Willow said. Xander looked up at her and smiled painfully. "What's going on? Are you okay?"
"Yeah," Xander said.
"He passed out," Buffy said.
"What happened?" Willow asked, concerned, as Giles returned to the room and handed Xander an ice pack.
"I don't know," Xander said, nodding his thanks to the older man. "One minute, I'm shelving books, the next thing I know, Giles and Buffy are kneeling over me, waking me up."
"Perhaps it would be best if you went home for the day," Giles suggested. "You needn't stay here if you're not feeling well."
"Yeah," Xander said, shaking his head. "Yeah, I guess that's probably a good idea."
"Come on," Buffy said, helping Xander to his feet, and throwing his arm over her shoulder. "I'll walk you. Giles, I'll be back in an hour."
"Of course," Giles said.
"Feel better," Oz said, his arm firmly around Willow's waist.
"And get lots of rest!" Willow called, worry evident in her voice.
Xander waved behind him as he and Buffy walked out of the library.
After Buffy dropped him off at home and he got in a yelling match with his father over God knows what, Xander grabbed a cold soda from the fridge and set off to find Faith. He checked the Bronze and Willy's bar, and finally made his way over to her hotel room. He stopped outside her room and listened. Hearing the television on, he decided she was, in fact, there.
Xander paused. What the hell was he going to say, anyway? 'Hi, you're possibly pregnant with my child, neither of us has jobs, and we're both probably going to die young. Fun, huh?' That wouldn't work. He was completely at a loss about what to do, and was about to give up and leave when the door opened in front of him.
"You just gonna stand there all day, or you coming in?" Faith asked. She was holding a white tank top that she was obviously in the middle of washing. Xander nodded and stepped into the room.
"So?" she asked, retreating back to the bathroom to scrub her shirt some more.
"So, uh… thanks for, you know… leaving, earlier."
"Checked you weren't dead and split," Faith said. "Figured there'd be too many questions if I stuck around."
"Yeah, good thinking," Xander said. "Because the last thing you want to do if you're pregnant would be tell people who might be able to, I don't know, help you."
"I'm not," she said.
"You know. Havin' a kid."
"But you said…"
"I'm late a lot," she said, shrugging. "Happens. Slayer thing, I guess."
"Then why did you look so worried? Why did you tell me?"
"I don't buy it," Xander said.
"Yeah, well, I don't care. It's the truth."
Xander watched her for a moment, bathed in the dim light of the bathroom lamp, washing her clothes, and decided not to pursue the subject for the moment.
"What are you watching?"
"One of those crappy Wopner rip-offs," she replied. "You can change it if you want."
"Do you like it here?" Xander asked.
"I guess," she said. "SunnyD ain't that bad. Always action somewhere, and your winters ain't nothin' like Boston. Though that snow thing was kinda weird."
"Yeah," said Xander. "I actually meant in the hotel."
"Oh," she said, pausing. With a shrug, she continued. "It's a roof."
"That's not much."
"It's enough. Why, offering me a place to sleep and a warm body to sleep next to? Lookin' for another roll, is that it?"
"I get it," she said, dropping the shirt into the sink. "B's knight in shining armor coming to the rescue of some helpless dame. Well I ain't helpless. I don't need your charity, and your body ain't that warm that I'm lookin' to go for it again. Sorry, boytoy, you're all outta luck this time."
Xander walked closer to the bathroom. "Well, I actually wasn't going to ask you to come stay with me," he said.
"That right?" she asked, skepticism dripping from her voice.
"Yeah," he said. "I don't exactly want my dad dead."
"Why would –"
"Because I doubt you take being called a whore particularly well."
Faith's glare froze him in his spot. "You might wanna watch what you say, if you don't want to end up broken, you get me?"
"It's just, if you were at my house, my dad would call you a whore," Xander said, not backing down. "It's just one of those things he does."
She continued glaring for a moment, before returning to her shirt.
Xander walked up to her and took her hands in his, stopping her scrubbing. "It's ruined, Faith," he said. "The blood's not coming out."
Faith looked at their hands for the moment, then up in to his eyes. Her own flared with defiance. "What the hell do you know?" she asked, starting her scrubbing again. Xander backed away.
"I've been washing blood out of shirts for a while now. Sometimes it just doesn't work. How late are you?"
Faith stopped scrubbing and looked up at him. "Screw you. Like you could handle it even if I was. You passed out after thinking about it."
"Yeah, well, I'm a screw-up. But I take care of people. Sometimes it seems like the only thing I can do."
"Look, just get out of here," she said. "Don't worry about me, I can take care of myself. Been doin' it for years."
"I'm not moving until you tell me how late you are," Xander said, his voice like steel.
Faith looked up into his eyes, and saw only determination looking back at her.
"Eighteen days," she said. "Now get the hell out."
Xander nodded, turned around and left the room. He reached the parking lot and sat heavily down on the curb.
"Jesus," he muttered to himself with a shudder. "That girl is scary." Another quick shudder and Xander was heading back home.
End Chapter 1