Summary: For The Wes/Faith ficathon. Nikitaangel wanted one set during Release.
A/N Thanks to theLovelyBeta for the beta. I tried to be a good fic writer and fit this neatly into canon but I couldn't resist the schmoop or getting Wes out of Dodge erm L.A.
Wesley was sure now that he had lived in L.A. too long… the street lamp seemed to have a spotlight effect on the bench where he sat next to Faith, it was as if they had gone from the crowd and stench of that bar onto an empty stage, their emotions laid bare for an unseen audience. The recognition in Faith's eyes came as no surprise. She should recognize his bitter edge, he thought, she had hand in honing it and was the first to teach him to twist the blade.
"I'm sorry Faith." Wesley said at last to the irate Slayer. Not because he was, but because he wanted to be. It was one of many things he wished he could be.
"Don't say that. You're not sorry, but I get it. You're a Watcher being a bastard comes with the job." Faith ground out.
He noticed the way Faith's hands were shaking, the cuts and bruises on them from her attack on his shower were nearly gone, but her eyes still held shadows and his voice finally softened. "I'm not a Watcher anymore but apparently I haven't stopped being a bastard." He reached out his hand but at the last minute ran it over his beard instead. He'd never been the type to physically reach out that way, and right did he have to touch her after the things he had just said anyway?
"You're still a Watcher. Did you think it was a job- something you could quit? Fat chance - you didn't just choose to be a Watcher any more than I picked the job of Slayer." Faith said her own voice a little softer now.
Wesley was shocked by her words; this was not the turn he expected the conversation to take. He had long ago abandoned hope that Faith would acknowledge him as her Watcher. Was that what she was doing, now that it no longer mattered to him he wondered? "It's not at all like that. I was expected of me to follow in my father's footsteps of course but… "
"Screw your dad; I'm not talking about him." Faith cut off Wesley explanation.
"Good because he's the last person I wish to speak of." Wes shocked himself. It had been a long time since he'd slipped and revealed so much about himself.
"This is about you. You're a Watcher and like it or not, you're mine." Faith answered Wes's earlier unspoken question and then made him smile by qualifying his new authority. "That doesn't mean we do this your way. I'm not going to loose myself again. I can't kill Angel. You can't ask me to."
"So this was your version of my little motivational speech?" Wes asked.
"It didn't have as many painful bells and whistles as yours did, but did it work?" Faith asked with a rusty laugh.
"If there's any way to save Angel I'll find it." Wes tried again to reassure and apologize this time with real sincerity. Faith, what I said before calling you sick…" I could say that with more conviction about me he thought. "This past year…"
"Don't sweat it Wes, new start for us. And hey now that you've become a felon, you know busting me out and all; we've got a lot more in common."
"You have no idea." Wesley's said, but he knew his Slayer understood more about him than even he had puzzled out. She had seen him use that knife.
"This is starting to get a little soppy boss, before we reenact the last scene in Casablanca; we need to get back to business. You know, it's too bad Angelus doesn't like to chow down on druggies." Faith joked, "If he did we wouldn't need to worry about aiming the tranq-gun, and we could just wait until he got a fix and then chain him up while he was out cold. It would be a piece of cake just like rolling a drunk."
Wes felt the beginnings of hope. "You maybe on to something, I took this off the girl in there I don't know why, it wont prevent her from getting more. Just a reflex I suppose." Wes pulled the syringe out of his pocket and showed it to Faith.
"Reflex my ass. That was Watcher's instinct. Unless you have a little habit you need to tell me about? Is that the secret behind the extreme makeover? " Faith said with teasing smirk on her face.
"I can't say I've been a model of sobriety but I don't use drugs. I don't see why you're so focused on how I look. What's important is that we have the drug in our possession. If we could spike his drink, allow Angelus to bite me after I've injected the drug. Then you could subdue him."
"Are you nuts?" Faith shouted her hands on her hips. "I know you weren't asleep that day in Watcher school when they told you to let the girl with the pointy stick take all the risks."
Wes tried to keep his voice calm. "I must have dozed off in class for a moment because I don't recall ever hearing it." Wes did reach out for her this time touching her shoulder gently. "Orpheus is a mystical drug, its dangerous enough for normal humans especially in the dosage we'd need to put Angelus out. Your inherently mystical qualities as the Slayer would make it even more unpredictable."
"I like the sound of 'inherently mystical' better than 'sick freak'. Not that I have a clue what 'inherently mystical' means."
"It means that it would be far too dangerous for you to inject the drug- and for the record I've never said or even thought of you as a freak." Moving behind her Wes began to rub the tension from Faith's shoulders and she stiffened even more "Your shoulders and neck are a mass of knots; I'm trying to help nothing more."
"You think I'd mind something more if you weren't just trying to get me to let you be the one who plays hero?" Her tone of voice clearly saying, 'I just got out of prison you idiot.' She groaned when his hands dug into a particularly sore muscle and her mind switched tracks. Have you thought about what happens if Angel snaps your neck before he feeds? I hear he likes that."
"Then I'll die. It changes nothing you'll still be able to restrain Angelus. Willow will restore his soul. I would have liked to have made arrangements so that you won't be wanted by the authorities but there isn't time."
"Bull shit." "You're right we don't have time for this. Whatever your reason for the death wish I'm not gonna be the one to get you killed. I'm not losing another Watcher. Not when I just found out you give a wicked good back rub."
"But its fine for me to send you to your death or worse let you be dragged into hell- that makes a lot of bloody sense?"
"Now you're getting the hang of the Watcher gig Scruffy. I figure I'm winding up in hell sooner or later. Besides, I'm not going to die today." Faith said conviction ringing in her voice.
Wes said "You can't guarantee that." Wes said sharply.
"No I can't but I'll have a better chance at getting this done and you know it. Why else would you've busted me out? I owe it to Angel and to myself. I was never the chosen 'one' but I was still chosen." Faith's voice was warm, not honey-sweet like Fred's but tactile warmth like a cat's purr, the sound of it soothing his than the words. "Look you do your job I'll do mine. If we're both lucky and come out of it alive I'll give you a back rub. That is unless you'd like me to rub something else?"
"See Gunn, the Brits know how to say goodbye. Angel here wanted a hug." Faith joked. Wes had been the first face she saw when she woke up. Lorne told her that he had not left her side. Goodbye had to happen sometime it was better if it wasn't long and drawn out.
"I wasn't about to say goodbye."
"You weren't?" Angel and Faith said at once.
"I was going to ask if you wished to ride with me."
"You're going to Sunnydale with me?" Faith asked surprised that they weren't parting after all.
"Yes, Willow tells me there's a need for watchers there. You did seemed convinced before that I fit that description." At Faith's nod Wes continued. "Besides, I believe you owe me something."
"I do huh?" Faith smiled and put her arm around her Watcher's waist. "Have you decided how you want to collect that?"
Wes bent to whisper in her ear just one word that managed to make Faith shiver. "Privately."