A/N: Originally I pitched this idea in my head about an alternate reason for Angel dumping Buffy in Season Three's The Prom. There was a little bit of reality in that idea, as Angel and Buffy's relationship dissipated soon after Angel pretended to be Angelus after Faith's attempt to seduce him. This story is loosely based off that idea, and the idea that Faith has been haunting Angel ever since.
I'll let the story explain itself.
Rating: M – for sexual themes, and mild violence.
Summary: All she needs is for someone to care. Someone to tell her she is beautiful. Someone who doesn't breathe yet still lives. Someone who lets her trace the black wings on his back…Faith/Angel
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy.
It's raining. She likes it when it rains, when it pours down in sheets of grey streaks from the dull sky. It brings an excitement coursing down through her and makes her unusually content. It is this time that she is most vulnerable. It is this time when she is most likely to pout and cross her arms, pushing out her lower lip as it trembles.
It occurs to him that he has never seen her cry.
She is always calm, cold and hard like the center of a stone. She can be irrational and violent. Psychotic and sarcastic. Sadistic and cruel.
But never once has he seen her cry.
Maybe that will all change, as tonight she stalks in with a gloomy look plastered upon her face, like something is wrong but she cannot do anything to help it.
She immediately caresses the zip that holds her boot tight around her leg, and pulls it down without so much as a flinch. She is merely going through the motions, doing what every other man expected of her.
She touches her fingers to her sides, her arms crossed as she begins to peel off her black top.
He stops her. He knows she is wearing nothing beneath.
His cold fingers reach for her bloodied arms, stained crimson from her battles. He shakes his head, adamant that she doesn't have to prove anything to him. Not tonight. Not any night. She is not his pet, not his slave. She does not have to do anything against her will. He cannot even think what she is. Certainly not his girlfriend. Buffy already occupies that position. Or, at least she had. Not his mistress, either. She is not dirty, not something to be picked up and discarded whenever he wishes.
It is something else. Something above all logic and sanity, something above the laws of any relationship. Something above trust and devotion. Something that lies on the same contour as connection. Relation. A strange, sickening bond between killer and victim. Somewhere among those ties the line is blurred. He does not know which one is the killer or the victim anymore.
She stares at him, stunned for but a second, then she smirks. "Something wrong, Vampire?"
He raises her arm, his grip still pinching and solid. He pins it against the wall, trapping her in his web, like she is a useless fly to his deadly spider. She does not mind. She has been here many times before, with different men. She has grown accustomed to being the victim before. She just does not like it.
He moves in, like she is his prey and he is circling around her, and she complies with a willingness he has never seen before. In anyone. She is willing to give herself completely to him, without really knowing who he is.
He wonders fleetingly if she lets just anyone take advantage of her like that.
But before she can grasp what is happening, he twists her body so that she lands with a dull thud on the dusty ground, her back cracking beneath the pressure. She looks up, dazed, but he is stepping away from her slowly, as if repenting for hurting her. She snaps out her leg, catching his behind the knee, where there is a tender concave. He falls forward and as he does, she sits up and snatches his hair in a vicious clasp. He yells; she is immune to it. It doesn't bother her. She doesn't have remorse.
Her blood churns at the excitement. The danger. The prospect of him turning on her and talking her right there, like she wanted him to.
But he wouldn't. And he doesn't.
He takes the pain she throws at him. He grits his teeth as her nails dig deep into the side of his head.
She draws blood.
It stings as it slowly runs down his temples and through to his cheeks. She laps it up willingly, her tongue softly drawing small patterns on his cheek with the crimson stains.
He smiles fondly despite himself. She hurts him but it is like she doesn't. It is like he yearns for this, this torture.
This torture Buffy would never understand.
Not like Faith does. She knows he deserves it all.
The cuts sting, their small crescent holes bleeding with blood that ceases to flow inside of him.
Her lips purse as she lightly kisses the cuts, the blood staining her mouth. She presses her lips against his temple, flits them against his cheek, then brings them slowly down to his own swollen ones.
He sits there, his back pressing hard against the wall, blood sliding down his face. And he smiles. Tenderly. She's just a child, he knows. This is wrong, he knows.
But her innocence is gone.
She has none left; seen everything there is to see already. Seen death, torture, murder. Every sin there was. She has seen it all.
Her lips move, speak to him incoherent words that seem only to matter to her. Words, curses, taunts.
She's seducing him.
Carefully picking her way through his barrier and lifting a hand to cautiously hang a noose around his neck. And as she pulls him into that swelling pool of the forbidden, he obeys. And drowns.
Her lips seem small on his, like a child's, with his covering hers a little too well. She paces them. It's slow, not hungry and desperate like it had been all too many times before. Slow, passionate.
His hands rest gently on her back, fingers sliding along the rough bumps of her spine. She doesn't make a sound. Just devours him, occasionally biting down on his bottom lip and drawing blood again. But this time, there is no pain.
With a stray hand she caresses the hardened flesh of his arms, grating her nails along the fine hairs. He lets a primal growl escape his lips. He can't help it. It is instinct.
He lets her believe she has control. He lets her believe that she will not succumb to the darkness that rages deep within her.
Just for once.
It only takes one touch with his cold hand on her bare skin and she growls, pushes him hard against the wall and forces him to stand with her hand bunching his shirt into a taut fist. He grunts as his back collides heavily with the glazed tile, a crack sneaking into existence with the force.
She stops kissing him, ceases to devour him while she sucks in little gasps that burn her lungs.
She looks, almost as if trying to speak to him without having to speak, deep into his solid dark eyes. She sees nothing there. "I hate you," she whispers, her voice barely breaking past a whimper.
He bows his head, shameful. He knows he's been touching the fire every time they meet. He knows he is burning. Slowly. But he won't stop. There is something there, some spark that ignites, that bursts into licking flames that devour entire nations each time they touch. There is something there.
"I'm sorry," he murmurs beneath his breath, if he had any.
She smiles sadly, her lips twisting from an ugly sneer. "She was here."
He knows she can sense her. Buffy. The Chosen One. Chosen for whom? Certainly not him, for didn't he end it not some hours ago?
There is silence. A simple silence that lingers and acknowledges her perception. She spent the night, he recalls distantly. A night in which he realised what the Mayor had spoken of was quite true; the two of them, the star-crossed lovers they thought they had been, Vampire and Slayer alike, could never be together. Not in any sense of the meaning.
She could never give him perfect bliss, not in the way he wanted. Faith could. Buffy could never shrink to his level, his level of murder and desire. Faith could. Buffy could never see the anguish in his eyes every time he was faced with a choice. Faith could.
It is all about choice. The ones they make. The ones they don't. The ones that they regret. The ones that they don't.
The choices that will eat away at them, that will feed on them, that will gnaw and suckle at them until they can't stand it. Until they give up. Until they die.
He speaks, tenderly, sadly, regretfully, "I ended it. She won't come back."
She scoffs, near silently, her broken laugh resounding bitterly. "Is that why you're turned on? I thought it was because of me…"
He snaps up in anger, hurt, and retreats slowly away from her, careful to avoid her dark eyes. "Did you hear what I just said?"
She notices he's hurt, pain twitching within him. She knows he has given up what he loves so much. She knows it was hard for him, unbearable, constricting.
Soothing to her.
Knowing she has something her sister can never have again.
Angel saunters across the room, heaving himself down upon his bed. His shirt is damp already with painful sweat. It drenches the seams, frosts the buttons that are flayed open and exposing the ridges in his chest, the crunching chisels of his core.
He shrugs, the scrunching movement enough to release the satin shirt. As it drops to around his waist, he uses his hand to lash it away from him, streaks of sweat spraying across the bed and pooling on the ground where the shirt lands with a dull splash.
All the while she is watching. Watching his torment play out in a disturbing scene. Here is a tortured man – demon – who should have been burned years ago, long before she herself was called.
A smile stretches from her small, chapped lips.
He lets his cupped hands fall from across his pained face. He sees her walking towards him, the smile small but still alive. Her feet at the end of the bed, she pushes her knee out, her black leather pants stretching in all the right places. She places her knee against his side as he sits still on the bed, hypnotised.
She kneels down, keeping his body firmly beneath hers as they land together softly on the velvet covers of the bed.
He exhales slowly, craving the breath he cannot have.
"I heard you," she keeps her lips close to his as she whispers into the darkness, "and it means nothing."
He holds her arms firmly, keeping them planted next to his head. "It that the prayer you chant every night, before laying down for the Father? Is that what you say? It means nothing?"
She looks at him, eyes searching his face, finding his own dark ones. She smiles, thinning her lips and forcing the excitement, the anxiety, the anger into her voice. "Yes."
She nears his face; he can smell the desire in her anxious sweat, her heart pounding out of control. He lets her draw near. He watches intently as she moistens her lips by running her tongue, very slowly, over them. He does the same, only his action is quick, almost hidden.
Her lips touch his softly, no hunger yet. His face distorts and his veins ripple into tiny crevices within his features. His eyes swell, a screaming yellow gleaming in them, his pupils retracting quite intensely. His canine teeth protrude with a fatal sharpness.
She doesn't notice.
Or maybe she does, and doesn't care.
Maybe she wants this.
She growls and leans further into him, her head turned to his neck and her lips pressed against the crevice where his pulse should have been.
And she doesn't feel a thing.
She doesn't feel the rhythm, hear the beat his pulse was supposed to make. She doesn't feel the blood coursing through his veins, his arteries, his body. What she touches is cold, dripping with frozen sweat.
What she feels can't feel.
He growls a little as her teeth clamp down sharply on the lobe of his ear. He leans forward in one fluid motion, clasping one hand around her head and the other circling her shoulders.
They are both sitting up, now, one ready for the kill, the other praying for it.
It means nothing.
He opens his jaw, wrapping it completely around the nape of her neck, ready.
She braces herself for that sweet sting, that relishing howl of teeth between supple skin. Waiting for the ecstasy of being devoured, gulp by delicious gulp. She waits silently for the pain.
It never comes.
Angel relaxes his taut muscles, leaning into her, supporting his weight against hers. His face relents, his features return to that of a human's with a sickening ripple of split skin. His eyes darken, the pupils dilating to their full. His teeth retract with a rip of thin skin.
She lets a tear drop to his shoulders, its hot splash all but freezing at the touch of his cold skin.
He lets her hold him tightly, pulling herself into his chest and burying herself there.
She doesn't mind that she is crying into him, or that he is holding her tenderly and securely.
She sobs for a while, quick, rapid, like she is trying to rid herself of all emotion. Like she was before tonight. He slides his hand up and down her back, comforting her, whispering words to her that didn't quite make sense to the outside world.
But never mind, it is just them tonight.
She is calm now, drained of her tears, exhausted. She croaks weakly, "Why didn't you do it?"
He waits. He knows the answer. But still he waits. Waits until she herself knows the answer. He knows, however, she wants to hear it said out loud, before her, in his silky voice.
"Because it isn't what I want," he responds in an equal whisper, his voice shaky. "It isn't what you want."
She peels herself away from his tear-stained body, her face moving slowly past his neck, her lips dangerously nearing his.
He remembers. He remembers when that very action had begun all of this. When her lips had plagued him so furiously that he could not resist anymore.
This time, however, he lets her press her head against his cheek, pull back slowly, her hand still clasped gently around his head, and her lips meet his in a tender reunion. He lets it happen, because there is nothing between them anymore. Nothing stopping them.
The kiss was soft, secure, and tender. So unlike Faith.
She broke it quickly; it didn't need reinforcement. She didn't have to prove anything. Not to him. Not tonight.
She wraps a hand around his neck as she shifts and digs her knees into the bed on either side of his back. She presses the side of her face against his shoulder blade. Her arms drape around his strong shoulders.
She looks at his tattoo.
The spread wings of a bird perched on an invisible stool, its heavy beak pointing wearily to the sky.
She notices the wings especially. Angel. Angel. Wings.
She sighs and kisses the smooth rise of his shoulder. Sucking in a breath, she draws a question from her mind. "Why did you let it go so far? When I first tried to…kiss you, why did you let me get that far?"
He frowns, isn't sure of the question. The way she voiced it, like she was a curious child – wait, she is.
"Because," he answers tiredly, his voice straining, "I wanted it. But couldn't have it."
She leans into his back, satisfied.
He closes his eyes, praying for sleep to come upon them soon. He is so drained. He knows she is, too.
She lets her mind wander now that her body rests against his. What he had said, that he had ended it with Buffy. Maybe he had, for good. Maybe she wouldn't come back. Ever.
Maybe things could stay like they were; two lovers entangled in a warm embrace. No hate. No pain. Just air between them.
Faith knows, however many times Angel insisted that the other Slayer was out of his life, was gone to him forever, the more he would crave her. Crave the thing he couldn't have.
Faith knows, after all.
She also knew, there was no end to the craving.