Author: syrai
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Series: Envenom
Timeline: post Chosen
after 'outcast'
Characters: Faith, original character
Prompt: #043 Candle
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: occasional curse words
Word count: about 3155
Status: -fin as in finished
Summary: Woah, icy. If Faith didn't know better, she'd say someone's acting like a fucking 10-year-old.

Author's Notes: Ok, it was Faith's beautiful, beautiful Jackal that Buffy stuck into her guts during that pretty fight of theirs, right, right?

Not my best writing, but I'm tired and I just wanna get this done, meh. So suck it up... woah, that sounded dirty.

Heh, anyway, since it's only F reading this (ah, my beloved fan, erp) I'll edit later, ok::sigh::


The room's only source of light is the blue candle standing in the middle of the round, wooden kitchen table.

She lets her hand travel through the fire, but it doesn't hurt. The flames touch her skin barely enough to warm it and so she does it again and again, all the way until she actually feels the warmth against her finger tips. That's when she finally pulls her palm away, placing her hands against her cheeks while supporting them with her elbows against the table.

Faith sighs.

She isn't sure, but she thinks she was around 7 or 8 when she first saw some other kid do it in the yard where they used to hang. Saw him play with the fire, you know, sweep a hand through the flame of a small lighter as if the fire wasn't even there. She'd been amazed by the trick, by the magic of it and naturally, wanted to try it herself. Plus, she remembers vaguely that the guy, who'd been a few years older than her by the way, he'd said something about a kid like her not being able to do it.

Hell, Faith never refuses a challenge.

She tried it alright, but at home, with a much bigger candle, too and ended up burning her hand in the process. Mom's boyfriend of the week - Cam, was it? Or was it Earl? - took her to a hospital nearby to get the hand checked whereas mom...

Faith shrugs.

Well, truth be told in all its ugliness, she can't even remember what mom said or if the bitch was home at the time to witness the little incident. Probably wasn't, not that she would've gone to the hospital with her daughter even if she had been, but, anyway. What the slayer remembers is what happened after she'd got home from the said hospital, though.

Faith still has a scar on her abdomen to prove it.

A nice little reminder.

The plastic garden chair (green, or at least it used to be) underneath her feels annoyingly uncomfortable, really not the kind to be used in the kitchen like this, and she figures it, plus its equally pathetic mate (the only other chair in the room), probably were the best Rhian could find without having to pay herself sick. Or without being found.

The first thing you have to remember when being an outlaw is to never use your credit card, so.

Faith sighs, again, adjusting her position a little. Hell, the chairs are probably older than Giles, so no wonder it's like sitting on a cement. Oh well, tough shit. Still, she doesn't bother moving again in order to ease the evil ache threading to stiffen her ass... and everything else all the way to her ankles.

Much good would that do anyhow.

Faith doesn't know when it happened exactly, but lately, she's noticed she's turned into a bit of a pessimist somewhere along the joyful ride. She wasn't like this before, was she?

Maybe she was, maybe she wasn't. She for one doesn't know or care, and so she just sits there in utter silence, staring at the flame; watching how the blue heart plays with the many colors of orange.

It looks pretty, sure, whatever, real fascinating, blah blah and all that crap.

Why is that people always rant about fire being so beautiful?

Faith doesn't see it like that... well, just that, after the whole I'll-stick-my-hand-into-the-fire-and-watch-it-burn-incident, she's always regarded fire more like a foe than a friend and so staring at it, making sure it won't go and jump on her simply feels safer than turning her back on it.

Rhian's taking a shower, or something, she doesn't know, but the vampire locked herself into the bathroom half an hour ago mumbling something indefinite and Faith heard water running a lil while ago. She could be taking a bath of course, but hell, who the fuck would attempt such a radical act in this kind of shit-hole-apartment? Faith's pretty sure the only kind of water one can get out of these damned taps is brown. Always fucking brown, damnit.

It's been a month, ok, and that's the only kind of stuff she's gotten. There's just something very fucking wrong in one's life when even inanimate objects, like houses, start spitting shit on your face. Sad, sad thing.

She sniffs and out of habit, briefly wipes her nose with her over-length sleeve that has been stretched around her freezing fingers. It's cold, too freakin' cold to be off bed, and the chapped, thin fabric of the shirt doesn't really help. Guess Rhian, being a vampire and all, doesn't really feel the need to pay any attention to the fact the place where she's staying is as warm as a fucking fridge in Siperia. She meant to say something last night, after they got home from the most recent hunt, but it totally slipped her mind.

Come on, no one's cold after a hunt. Faith the least.

Anyway. A lonely fly is buzzing somewhere around her head; annoying little bastard. She glances up, but the fly is swallowed by the darkness. You know, the lighting in there really isn't the best, either. That's probably why she didn't even try and turn the lights on when they got home today.

But then, Faith doesn't mind the soothing darkness so in the end, it's fine. Ever since being a kid, she's always liked being in the dark by herself. Hiding in the closet, trying not to listen to your mom fighting or fucking some jerk, with only your own raging thoughts accompanying you, it really makes a difference, huh?

Maybe that's why she didn't turn out to be the next Buffy, you know?

And why the fuck has she been thinking about her so much lately?

"We should get the lights checked," Rhian says suddenly, starting the slayer who was too deep in her own thoughts to realise the vampire has finally returned the small room with perfectly dry hair. They call it kitchen, but in reality, it's the only room 'sides the bathroom the household holds inside. Kitchen, living-room, bedroom, all in the same. There's a single bed farther behind Faith's back, the kind that keeps creaking with every damn move you make, no matter how light or careful. Then there's the old, buckled sofa next to it, which has been occupied by Faith for the passed days.

God, new sheets would be super.

"Maybe so," Faith replies breathing out and drops her left hand flat on the table, all the while turning her head to look at the vampire on the right. She takes a moment before she continues with a hand muffling her voice slightly, "Don't think we should stay here for long."

The vampire frowns and twists a hand to her back in order to scratch from underneath the shirt, revealing a fair amount of white skin. It doesn't look like the most comfortable pose, but hey, when it itches, someone scratches.

And man, that belt. Faith's been trying to snag it from the vampire ever since she first laid eyes on it, but it's proven to be a bit more difficult task to go through with than first anticipated. The damned creature seems to adore that particular belt as much as Faith would, if it only was hers... Such beautiful color of beige with this beautiful clasp shaped like a dolphin.

Ok, fine, so she's a softie. Faith happens to like dolphins, big deal.

Go screw yourself.

"Where would we go?" Rhian asks then, straightening her shirt before closing the bathroom's door and therefore producing a faint click as the lock takes it place. It sounds unnaturally loud in the otherwise quiet apartment and it makes Faith jump. The belt stops flashing itself in front of the slayers eyes like a fucking tease, and so her mind returns on the other, more important issues.

One of these days, though, one of these days...

Licking on her bruised bottom lip to mend the healing wound, Rhian takes a step closer. The plastic chair whines as the vampire grabs it firmly and pulls it from underneath the table to sit on the damned thing.

Holy Jesus, Faith hates the freakin' sound its legs make as the vampire drags the chair, but she doesn't say anything. She's not about to whine, you know, not her style. For some reason, in her mind, it'd be almost like admitting your weaknesses to an enemy. Right, not a smart move, nuh huh.

"I dunno," Faith shrugs after Rhian settles on the seat, "anywhere. It's not safe here."

Usually the slayer likes danger, but somehow, it doesn't seem that tempting this time. Not this kind of danger, anyway. Honestly, she should've forced the vamp's pretty little ass away from Neopolis days ago, but that would've required a fight and as much as Faith loves to throw punches, she, strangely enough, doesn't wanna throw them at Rhian.

Probably 'cause there's a chance she would get punched too if that was to happen.

"Don't you think I know that?" Rhian snaps in a way that tells Faith she hit a soft spot there. And, well, a one soft spot always means there is another to be found - where there's smoke, there's usually a fire - and she'd rather find them all as soon as possible. So much easier to control things when you know all the short-cuts and detours.

"Sometimes I think you dun," the slayer says, eyes fixed on Rhian in challenging manner. She's trying to find some clue telling what's on the vampire's mind, and the target of examination doesn't seem to notice her intentions.

Faith doesn't continue speaking, it's not needed, 'cause reading the girl isn't that hard at all. This particular vampire, she owns the kind of eyes that seem to speak out loud 24/7 in ten different languages. Yeah, it's a good thing the owner herself hasn't realised it yet and Faith's so not gonna tell her. What, why the fuck would she? Not when the slayer clearly benefits from it.

Like now, for example, the eyes are telling there's something big that the vampire is trying to hide. She looks like she'd want to turn her gaze away, hide her face or something, but it's simple pride that keeps her from doing so.

Faith knows that pride, recognizes it all too well in fact, and if she didn't think she'd have to explain herself, she'd laugh.

Although, from another point of view, it actually sucks pretty bad. 'Cause the girl is obviously keeping a dark secret all to herself, as said, and Faith, she doesn't appreciate it all that much. No, she's not fond of the fact she's yet again being mistrusted.

She honestly had enough of that shit with B the first time around and really isn't looking forward to play the same old game again. Seriously, what good did those secrets do, huh?

She came to the conclusion scoobie gang wasn't her thing and it all ended with B stabbing her guts with Faith's own knife.

... not to mention the fucking coma.


"Well, I do know," the vampire claims with venom, but somehow it seems she's more than anything trying to persuade herself, not Faith.

And Faith knows this.

Through the first week Faith wondered why she took up the offered job, knowing perfectly well how B felt about Illuminati. How badly it, for sure, would tick the slayer off. So, yeah, why did she do it?

Besides wanting to shake B up a little? Sure, most of the time she went through a day doing exactly what B wanted, living up to all the expections that had been about to suffocare her. But a fact was, if Summers was gonna have yet another go at being apathetic and depressed, there was no fucking way Faith could be blamed for it, not even a little.

But every other day she felt the need to protest, be it stupid or not.

Still, she isn't exactly sure why she decided to go through with it, but Faith has a theory now. It took a day or two for the slayer to figure it out, but nevertheless, a theory she has.

One that doesn't involve Buffy freakin' Summers. Praise the Lord.

There's simply something about this girl that makes Faith look back upon the things she's done, you know, relive her history act by act and it's not always pretty. At times it's damn annoying, especially when there are so many other things she should be thinking of.

But she can't help it, no matter how badly she decides to drop the subject, it just keeps enrolling itself. Without even trying Rhian simply makes the slayer go and pinpoint all the moments that defined the course of her life, the moments that moulded the true Faith Lehane. All the fucking 'what ifs' she never really bothers to think about 'cause it's nothing but waste of time. Yeah, all comes flooding the minute her mind turns to Rhian.

So, the theory.

"The girl is a slayer. Angry. Lost and alone. Killing everything that moves."

Ha, she feels so smart now. Perhaps she said 'yes' that day because even then she somehow knew. Knew they'd have something in common with this lost and lonely creature. 'Sides the obvious, that is.

At times, life sucks. Clean and simple.

"Sometimes, ya know," Faith starts silently, not wanting to hurt her feelings any more than necessary, "I'm thinking you wanna stay here cause you just wanna sit on your ass, wait and see if he comes back to collect you."

It's weird, isn't it? Faith knows she's grown as a person, B's told her so, but it's actually the first time she doesn't want to raise a fight or willingly hurt someone's feelings. The first time in a long time she doesn't feel it necessary to speak out her mind just for the sake of being heard. With Dawnie it's normal, she's a kid and despite the customary belief, Faith isn't into hurting kids' feelings.

But Rhian's not a kid. She's a fucking vampire! A big gap there between the two.

"Collect? I'm not a fucking thing."

A few years back, Faith would've disagreed with the sour vampire. Now she just shrugs.

"Whatever," the slayer dismisses immediately, a presumptuous smile playing with her mouth, "Then you dun mind if we take off tomorrow, do you?"

Rhian's eyes gleam when she drops the acid words on her companion. "No, I don't."

Oh God, grow up. It's a lie and Faith can hear it. Hell, she'd hear it even if she was deaf and blind and on another continent. It's pathetic (and almost sad), the way Rhian's so hang up on her sire and former lover... even after what that fucking asshole did to her.

Bye bye self-respect, welcome slavery.

For sure, if Rhian's not a thing, he most certainly is, and there's not a damn thing anyone can say to change Faith's mind on this one. No. Honestly, if she ever runs into that jerk, she'll kill the guy in a half of a heartbeat.

Not because he's a vampire, but because of what he did to her.

"Good," Faith drawls in smugly.

"Fine," Rhian shoots, snappish.

Faith's lips breaks into an amused, yet a little surprised smile. Woah, icy. If Faith didn't know better, she'd say someone's acting like a fucking 10-year-old. It seriously isn't like Rhian to start biting down like that. Well, not with words anyway. She's more into physical kind of biting, imagine that.

She's actually tried to bite Faith a few times already, but both of those times were because the vampire was famished and Faith was stupid enough to stay around.

Lesson well learned: when the vampire is starving (keeps staring at you like a dog in heat, makes these nasty hissing noises and slight drool involved) the girl goes out to have some solo fun-time and the vampire stays in. Or then the girl fetches food, either way, staying in the same room with the needy creature ain't no option.

"Bitchy, much?" Faith's voice is dripping with entertainment, which doesn't particularly please Rhian - when she's miserable, Faith's supposed to be too, "You hungry or something?"

To that, Rhian sighs, giving in. What the hell, might as well admit it. It's at least half the problem here.


Not her fault hunger makes her edgy, damnit.

Without any explanations, Faith grabs the edge of the table, pushes the chair back and gets up all the while succesfully hiding the amused smile that seeing Rhian pout like a caught teenager caused just now. For a minute the only thing Rhian can actually see is her round bottom peeking from behind the opened door, but after a moment or two, the girl finally straightens her back again and slams the door shut with an apologizing grimace.

Right, Rhian knows that face - it'd been Faith's turn to shop, then.

"Okay," Faith states and leaning against the humming fridge while pulling her sleeves to cover her fingers better, "seems there's nothing in the fridge, besides cheese, which I'm guessing won't help here, and we've already agreed on the fact my neck is off-limits, so..."

Rhian snorts, not at all surprised. Most of the time the fridge has nothing but a piece of cheese, butter and dim light, if even that. Trust it be completely empty when it was Faith's turn to fill it up, though.

"Bank it is, then," the vampire translates with a roll of eyes.

"I'll come with you," Faith offers, "Not much to do here and you know," she continues smiling, "might run into something fancy."

Ah, of course, it's all clear now. "Fancy?" Rhian gives a laugh, "Your new pretty word for 'me wants to kill'?"

Faith's already walked to the sofa where her jacket was thrown earlier that day. "How'd you know?" She smirks, pulling the thing on before uplifting her hair to release it from the trap formed by her neck and the jacket's high collar.

Yeah, she rolls her eyes again, how indeed.

"By the way," Faith says suddenly turning to look at the vampire sharply when they're both already out the door in the dark hallway, "the next time we're gonna pick a place where I dun fucking freeze, ok?"

"Whatever, crybaby."

Only after the door's already closed, Faith notes it didn't even cross her mind to blow the candle out. Weird.

Plus; man, if Dawn were there, she'd be dead now.

Yeah, well, whatever.

A matter of a fact is, she isn't. But Rhian is and so, who really gives a shit? Not like neither of the two cares if the place decides to burn to ashes while they're gone. They're leaving tomorrow, anyway.