A/N: My first stab at a Buffy ficlet. I think it turned out pretty well considering. I am in the minority here, preferring Faith and Angel together over Angel and Buffy but I like it, so if you don't, feel free to leave.
This is set somewhere in Buffy season three, after the episode Enemies, when Faith tried to take Angel's soul. Just a little insight into Faith's mind.
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy or any of its characters. They belong to their respective owners. Also, the song Burn by Three Days Grace is not mine.
-So let me know just how to take this
You're way to cold
Now show me how before it breaks me
Did you come here to watch me burn?- "Burn" – Three Days Grace
She likes the burn. It never seems to die. She sees the eternal flames licking at the edges of her wooden stake as she plunges it into an unsuspecting victim of her rage. When the flames linger and crackle, her rage comes to life. It can't be caged. It can't even be suppressed. It just burns.
He knows that.
And she knows he does. He felt the same, way back when. He let the flames devour him into that sweet release. He knows how it feels to kill. Knows the burning for more.
He told her as much. He tried to help her. She wouldn't listen. She doesn't need him. Or his help.
She feels the familiar prickling of anxiety. The night is crisp and silent. The night rests with the undead. They come with their claws digging and their teeth bared, sharp as razors.
She kills them all. Watches them dissipate into dust. Burn.
She likes it. It makes her feel powerful, invincible even.
Just as he had, way back when. Hundreds of years ago, when the mere thought of creatures of the night sent chills down the spine of any man.
She doesn't like it, that he is old. It makes her own endeavors seem insignificant somehow. Knowing that he has seen so much more than she has, killed many more times than she has.
She hates that he has a soul, and that he can feel the pain. She hates it because she can't feel her soul. She can't feel the pain she causes.
All she knows is anger. Hatred. Rage. Fury. That is all she can taste when she eats. That is all she can hear when she listens in the dark. That is all she can see when she opens her eyes. That is all she can smell in this putrid cemetery. That is all she can feel when she touches.
She knows where she walks, knows where her hate is leading her. Towards him. So she can stake him, watch him burn. She'd like that.
She smiles despite herself. She knows how thrilling it will be when she kills him. She can feel the flames lick at him already, torturing him for his sins. Burning him.
He told her once killing was like a drug for him. It made him feel like a god. Perhaps, she muses. She doesn't know why it is so addictive. Something she gets high on. Passes the time. Makes her feel better than everyone else.
Makes her feel better than him.
He quit killing. He gave up. She holds it above him now.
She knows she won't give up. It is in her now, sinking into her blood. She has the taste for it, the hunger for more. That is why she wants to kill him. He made her realise what she really is. He knows what it is like. He knows just how hard it is to quit. He knows.
He will be there to help her come down, she knows. Just say the word, he says. Just ask for help.
She wants it. So desperately she wants it.
She wants to come down, She doesn't want to live like this. But it is in her. Scratching into her skin, lapping at her blood. Crawling around until it surfaces.
She know it will. A matter of minutes, seconds maybe.
That man across the street from her. He looks older, maybe a couple of years on her. Thirty, maybe. He's stocky, though she knows he would put up a fight. Not give up until that last, dying breath. She would stand above him, watch him sink to the ground, hand to his heart, the blood pouring out.
She smiles. Hesitates. Walks on.
She doesn't stop to kill the man. She keeps going. She knows who she wants. Who she really wants.
The blood pumps in her veins. It circulates through her body. Through her heart, cold and solid as stone. It warms her in the chilled night.
She finds herself standing in front of the mansion, its broken walls surrounding her from the outside. She sees him through the window, muscles flexing with the movement of his body while he exercises.
She feels the familiar sting of desire. Something she wants but can't have. She knows that.
That is why he has to die. That is why she has to be the one to kill him, to burn him to ashes.
The cobblestone beneath her is unsteady; it shifts upon her shuffling feet.
He senses her but doesn't stop moving slowly to the rhythm in his mind.
She sucks in a sharp breath, her hand moving across her stake, fingers raking over the smooth surface.
His hands move in perfect unison to one side before he straightens and looks over at her. His eyes glisten with amusement. He knows why she's here.
She takes a step forward, inching closer towards him as her heart races.
He smiles, small and amused as the corners of his lips twitch with the stretch. "Faith…"
"Save it, Angel," she cuts through his soft voice like a knife, "I'm laying it out; I'm here to kill you."
He considers this, looks her up and down. His look is serious and subdued all of a sudden, not amused like seconds before. He knows she wouldn't hesitate to be rid of her guilt, because it lies deep within himself. He alone has the power to bring her to her knees, begging for mercy. He knows he could make her see the pain she's caused. He knows he could make her feel something other than rage again.
He takes a step towards her, weary but not letting it show through. His mask cannot falter now. "Go ahead. It will make you feel better."
She looks at him, her deep brown eyes following his with caution. Her fingers grapple with the wooden stake, the end cutting into her skin as it lies over her torso, secured by her leather belt.
He feigns a frown, faking concern. "Won't it?"
She stops. She knows he is patronising her, trying to trip her so she falls to the ground. She won't let that happen. Not now. She came too far for that.
She pulls the stake out, aware suddenly of the renewed exhilaration that pushes her closer to the edge. "I'll kill you in a heartbeat."
He steps forward, a soft, shuffling motion on the dust-speckled ground. "Thought you liked the burn, Faith. Wouldn't you rather tie me up and torture me until the sun comes up tomorrow?"
She is silent. Her dark hair falls down heavily over her face, darkening her features and making her look pensive, younger almost in the dim light. Like a child. She curses him mentally, his obscure fearlessness to death, the way he remains unperturbed at the prospect of his life ending within a moment's hesitation. Like it is a joke.
He knows it is all very simple, nothing to laugh about. He wonders silently why it is she feels the need to end his life would be so satisfying to her. Then he knows. It would take away any chance of redemption, any possible reform or sorrow. And guilt. She doesn't want to feel the pain. She doesn't want to face it.
She sees the monster she has gradually become. She is almost a reflection of what he once was in the face of the ecstasy of killing. The only difference between them before the mirror is that she sees herself staring back. He doesn't.
Her heart is beating.
His is not.
He does not.
He wants so much for another chance at life. He wants so much for the chance to breathe again. To feel alive. For his heart to be beating.
She wants nothing more than to be dead. Gone. Lifeless. Like him. Though she would much sooner rip her own heart out than admit to that.
The stake grates beneath her cold fingers. They are numb from holding the hilt for too long, her knuckles white from exhaustion.
His lashes curl over his dark eyes before he turns away wistfully. "You torture me enough with every breath you take."
She is confused, frustrated. She doesn't know what he means. Plunging towards him with a single step, she yanks his shoulder, turning him around forcefully. Forcing him to look at her. Look at what he wants.
"What is that supposed to mean?" she spits out angrily, almost like poison seeping into his skin.
He shrugs off her hand after a moment's pause to take her in. Her tight clothes hug to her body, drawing her curves sensually. He tries not to look. "Whatever you want-"
She pulls him in closer with a flick of her wrist, her other hand shaking before his heart, the stake pointed and dangerous. "Don't give me that," she whispers in a dead voice. "I'm not here to play games."
He doesn't speak. There is no need. They're dark eyes speak to one another knowingly, familiarity lighting a spark between them. They have both seen so much disaster and destruction. Both been witness to horrific crimes. Both murdered selfishly for their own pleasure. Both been to the brink of disillusion. Both seen what the other is capable of.
As the cold wind whistles in through the open halls of the mansion, there is no other sound. Just the hollow breeze.
And her breathing.
He listens as it devours him. He can't look away from her now that his eyes have found hers. It is a melody that plays silently in their minds, soothing them and coaxing them forward, toward each other.
He leans forward and his lips capture the essence of her breath.
She doesn't resist while she is captivated by the chill of death his lips bring to hers.
Their lips do not meet.
He cannot give in to that moment of life he wants so much.
She cannot give in to that moment of death she wants so much.
She leaves. Turns sharply and slinks away, like the child she is reminded so much of. Like the child she is.
He watches. Eyes follow her quick movement as the walls become silent again, as the breeze rests in the dark night.
The flames disappear from her eyes as she walks slowly, her head down and her mind reeling. She can no longer see the fire, feel the comforting burn like before. She no longer needs it.
A/N: Done. Feedback is much appreciated.