Spike took a long drag on the cigarette, drawing it out even more when he sensed her presence. He wasn't sure what it was about his connection with slayers. Maybe it was part of being a vampire, except he didn't think Angel had it with this one as he did with Buffy.
"You're late," he said amidst his exhale. It was cool enough out that he donned his duster. She was bloody lucky he felt like coming out tonight. Of all the ridiculous suggestions he'd heard, this ranked up there as being one of the most.
"You have a pressing engagement?"
He should have said yes. Truthfully, he enjoyed his time with her. They could be themselves without worrying about hurting, pissing off, or surprising the other one. He liked that. He liked that he didn't have to explain who Drusilla and Buffy were and what they meant to him.
No one gave her credit for working as hard as she did. Doing penance was a terrible thing. Or wonderful, depending on how you looked at it. Soloing it, not feeling comfortable being in charge of other slayers, she was on the East Coast in her native Boston. She still had demons to work out of the psychological variety. It hadn't helped when the son of a slayer who should have been able to understand the darkness inside of her for what it was had bailed on her. Too high maintenance he'd claimed. He was right, but abandoning her certainly wasn't going to help.
She was working on it, though. He was helping her. He wasn't sure what it meant or where it'd lead. She might very well leave him one day. Until then, he was content being her friend. Yeah, he'd gotten good at that his last year in Sunnydale. Being with someone just to be with them, not needing sex as part of the equation. Of course, sex helped and they had healthy doses of it.
"Not tonight," he said finally, tossing the butt on the ground and crushing it in his boot.
"You ready then?"
"I can't believe you're dragging me to this place."
She laughed then. This was no soft one either. It was a full on, tossing her head back, laugh. "Look at you making with the puns."
"Huh?" Then it dawned on him what he'd said. "Cute," he said with a smile. He was a ponce is what he was, going with her. He had no business going into a place like it. If Angel knew. Well, he'd never live it down.
Of course, he didn't have to worry about Angel finding out. He was gallivanting around Europe with the blonde counterpart to Spike's date for the evening. He smiled at that. As couples went, the foursome made a handsome set. Dark and light, light and dark. Not that the four of them had ever been out together. One day maybe when Faith was ready for that step.
She draped an arm around his shoulder, drawing him in close so she could plant a kiss on his cheek. It wasn't enough. It never was. He turned into it, his lips meeting her more luscious ones. She'd gotten dolled up and this close to her he noticed she even smelled good. He let his game face fall into place for a moment, grazing her lower lip with a fang.
"Good enough to eat," he murmured against her jaw.
"What?" She sounded amused.
"You smell good enough to eat," he repeated, drawing away. His human visage back in place as if he'd never changed.
"Well, that's the whole point."
He shook his head. "Lead the way. I have no idea where this place is."
She slid his hand into his. It took a lot for her to do that. Public displays of affection weren't her thing. The kiss was different for some reason. Kissing didn't detract from the hard-ass persona she tried to put out there. Holding hands was more intimate. Human. Emotionally attaching herself. He tugged her closer, sliding his arm around her waist.
"Come on. Where's your sense of adventure? It will be fun. And, hey, at least I'm paying."
He chuckled. "I wouldn't let you pay for me, Faith."
"No, I insist. I haven't had a night out in forever. No slaying and no demons to hunt. Just us. I want to have a blast."
"And this place is your idea of a blast?"
"For starters. Hell, yeah!"
He was quiet after that, letting her lead the way through the Boston streets. She knew the way, but he hated seeing the haunted look in her eyes. It wasn't always there. Tonight he saw no evidence of it. The harm that had been done to her, though, had started here. If the people responsible weren't already dead, he'd look into killing them himself.
That was the part that he hated. That he was willing to defend her, harm the people who had hurt her. He wasn't in love with her, but he was on the verge. And it was frightening to enter into something gradually as they were doing. He'd never experienced such a thing before. Neither had she.
The club was somewhat hard to find, designed to be that way he imagined. Wouldn't want Mom, Dad and the kiddies to stop in before catching a show just a few blocks away. They were in the Theater District after all.
She glared at him when he handed the bouncer at the door enough for both of their cover charges. As if she truly believed he'd let her pay for him. And since he was paying for one, may as well do two.
He watched her as she sashayed through the crowd. Her hips swayed, seductively, seeming to have a path open for her just from sheer will. All he could do was following in her wake. And enjoy the view.
The patrons were crammed in to the place like sardines in a can. They had made it just in time for the show to start. She found two empty seats at a table, claiming them once they'd confirmed no one had taken them.
He couldn't deny he had fun, even if drag queens weren't his thing. The look on Faith's face, though, was priceless. He wasn't sure if this was her first time at a place like this. She seemed a little surprised. Spike had seen too many things over the years to be well and truly shocked by much of anything.
She leaned into him, hand resting on his thigh. "They're really good," she said, taking a sip of her drink. The place wasn't cheap. Not only was there a pretty steep cover charge, but their drinks cost a hell of a lot for pretty skimpy servings. Their waitress was one of the performers, too, and was quite good. It was the only reason he didn't scoff at shelling out the money.
"They are," he said, unable to disagree with her. They were good. One wasn't so hot and was pretty obvious that she wasn't really a woman. The rest, though, if he was walking down the street he probably wouldn't have thought twice about them.
The show lasted longer than either of them anticipated, so it was midnight by the time they left.
"That was kind of fun," she said when they were out on the sidewalk.
He could think of better things he'd like to have done with the past ninety minutes, but the look on her face during the show had been priceless. He very rarely got the chance to see her let her guard down. She showed real emotions tonight, even if it was something simple like happiness. And amazement.
"You didn't think so?"
"It was all right, luv. You know me, though."
"Yeah, I do, not quite your style. I just had to see it with my own eyes. You know?"
"How'd you hear about it?"
"This girl that lives down the hall from me. She had her bachelorette party here."
"Ah," he said, understanding now. "So, she planted the seed."
"Damn right, Blondie."
He smirked. "Where to now?"
"I was thinking my place."
"You sure? You mentioned wanting a night out."
"I just needed a break from it all. You know? I haven't taken a night off from slaying entirely since I left Sunnydale."
"I know," he said simply. And he did. Even if he hadn't been around her the entire time he knew because she was trying to make up for the things she'd done. The person she was. The bad things.
He hadn't been around her for a year or so. Having survived taking on the Senior Partners with Angel and Illyria, Spike had needed to get away from California and things associated with hellmouths and apocalypses for a while.
Angel had felt the same way. He'd gone off in search of Buffy after discovering by an encounter with a slayer who apparently hadn't been in on the subterfuge that she hadn't really been in Rome when they were there.
That left Spike with nowhere to go and alone. He wasn't going to tag along while those two hooked up. Or whatever it was they ended up doing. Angel hadn't come back, so Spike could only assume that was how it had gone. A year or two ago he would have gone with, wanting to compete. He was no longer that man. He didn't want to be someone's second choice. He didn't want to be in the way either, or - worse - resented.
So, he'd headed out East. He knew Faith was from Boston, and when he discovered she wasn't with Robin Wood in New York he headed this way. Not that Robin had been too forthcoming with information. There was still no love lost between the two men and Spike couldn't blame the man. Spike had after all left him an orphan.
She had been glad to see him, certainly happy to have his help. And more than likely pleased she was no longer alone. The leper of the slayers. No one thought of her that way. One thing Spike knew, if Buffy didn't trust Faith to stay on the path she was currently on she wouldn't let her roam the streets of Boston free. Faith would be wherever Buffy was so the blonde slayer could keep a close eye on her.
She grabbed him by the lapels of his leather duster and drew him to her, lips pressing against his. Eager, needy. He loved that about her. She always needed him, wanted him around but there were times she'd go off like an inferno and just had to touch him. He was all for that.
She backed him against the brick wall behind them, hands finding sliding up the leather to his hair as her lips parted. He took the hint and dove deeper into her mouth, hands at her back keeping her close. He liked her close. She had a knack for bringing that out in him, neediness without making him feel like a poof.
He reached under her jacket, sliding his hands under her shirt to touch her back skin to skin and she arched against him.
She broke the kiss, needing to breathe, pressing a kiss against his jaw. She found his ear and kissed that, too. His head fell back against the wall.
"We don't have to do this, Faith. I want to show you a good time."
He chuckled. "Thank you, luv, appreciate it, but you wanted a night out. Night's still young for people like us."
"Positive. This is your night. You deserve it. Hell, nothing could be any more odd than what I just sat through for the last hour plus."
She laughed, he felt the warmth of her breath against his neck and groaned softly. "It wasn't that bad. Was it?"
"No, it wasn't. I wouldn't go again."
"Me neither. I just needed to see it. The thing that my neighbor was talking about got my curiosity piqued."
"Notice most of the people in there were guys?"
"Yeah, I did."
She drew away, hands sliding to either side of his waist under the layer of his duster. "What kind of guy goes into a club like that?"
"I don't know," he said with a shrug.
"Me neither. I was trying to figure it out, and I couldn't. So, I decided to kick back and enjoy the show. But I feel like I should make it up to you. I know it lasted longer than I thought it was going to."
He took her hands, brought them to his mouth and kissed the back of first her left hand and then her right. "You don't need to make anything up to me. It wasn't a bad time. I've seen things┘"
"Yeah, I get that you've probably seen things that make that look like a Disney ride."
He smirked. "Yeah, a thing or two over the years."
"All right, let's go paint this town red then."
"Red is my favorite color."
"Somehow I knew that," she said, stepping away from him so he could push back from the wall.
"Vampire, I'm somewhat single minded."
"I get that. Blood, it calls to you."
"Got that right."
"Mm, yes, I'd be lying if I denied that."
"Well, maybe, just maybe," she said, grazing his jawline with her fingertip. "Since you were such a good sport about all of this I'll give you a special treat later."
His eyes widened. "Faith┘"
Her hands in his, she tugged him away from the wall and started walking. "I'm not talking about a lifetime's supply or anything. But, you know, a sampling. It's like sex, right? So, put the two together and I bet we'd be in for a wicked good time."
"We'll see, luv."
"It would be a really good time, right?"
"Yeah," he said simply. "Yeah, it would." He couldn't lie about it.
"This night off business is just looking better and better."