Title: Junkies Running Dry
Author: Lint
Email: CrashDarby@aol.com
Summary: Clean doesn't mean sober.
Rating: R, for glorified drug use.
Disclaimer: All BtVS stuff belongs to Joss Whedon, and UPN too I guess.

***

A stray beam of light creeps through the makeshift bed sheet/curtain and crawls across my face stinging my eyes into alertness. I squint against the dull pain, not wanting to acknowledge the presence of another day. I yawn deeply, my chin nearly touching my chest. I really don't want to be awake yet. I scratch my nose and open my eyes seeing that our room is the same as always. I don't know why I sometimes wake up thinking it'll be different. Some naive part of my brain called hope I suppose. Our mattress plopped straight onto the floor, the Mickey Mouse sheet stung haphazardly across the window. That old crappy TV (stolen) sitting on top of some old milk crate. I can't see the kitchen from here, but I know nothing is different in there either. We're not too fond of washing dishes and the pile has only grown bigger.

Her hair is flung across my chest as she's nestled comfortably in the hollow of my arm. I take a moment to enjoy the feeling. Her warm breath against my side, that soft silky hair on my skin, the mere presence of her naked body next to mine. I smile and kiss the top of her head. No matter how cynical I can be about the outside world, its moments like this that make me glad the sun has risen one more time. She stirs and mumbles something. It almost sounds like she's saying pancakes... I know that can't be it. She sighs contently and falls silent. I look at her and smile. She looks so innocent like this. Ah, the illusions of sleep. It can make anything look so innocent.

I gently lift her arm off my waist and crawl slowly from beneath her and stand shakily on my feet. My head is still spinning from last night and I can't control my motor functions with exact precision just yet. I look for my boxers on the floor, but they're most likely lost in the apocalypse of all the crap all over our place. I walk into the kitchen and try to ignore the mountain of unwashed dishes. I pop open the fridge hoping we hadn't drunk the last of the Dr. Pepper last night.

Shit.

We did.

I find my boxers on the table. I laugh. That girl has an arm all right. I slip them on and have some delicious tap water. Tastes like gasoline. Yum, yum. Hell, I would probably drink gas if it got me high. I heard huffing it does, but that's not really my scene. I pick the scabs on my inner elbow without even realizing it. I only notice when they start to bleed. I stare at the little trickle of blood for a minute. It makes me want to shoot up right then and there.

I walk back into bedroom/living room and watch her sleep a few minutes more.

Faith.

My precious angel. How I love her. I'll never say it to her face because I know she doesn't exactly go for the lovey-dovey shit. She'd probably call me a pussy if I did. She must feel me watching because she lifts her head and looks right at me; her eyes still clogged with sleep.

"What are you looking at?" She asks with a laugh.

I smile.

She may not be soft and cuddly, but I take what I can get.

"Tell me we didn't drink all the Dr. Pepper last night," she says, rising from the bed and not even bothering to look for her clothes.

We did, I say.

"Fuck. What do we have then?"

Water.

"Oh, that's great. That shit tastes like gas."

I know, I just had a refreshing cup myself. You know, I say. If you huff gas it's supposed to really fuck you up in a short amount of time.

She looks at me. Then at the marks on the inside of her arm.

"Fuck that," she says.

She walks toward me in this sexy little sway of hers I just can't seem to get enough of. Her skin is like... Divine ambrosia. Well, that or a good fucking hit. I'm not too particular. She kisses me softly before stretching the waistband of my boxers and letting it snap back against my skin. I flinch and laugh.

"What's with these?" She asks.

I shrug. Felt like putting them on, I say.

"I like them better off," she says.

We stare at each other for a minute, a silent showdown. I expect her to make the first move and she does, ripping the material from my hips and tossing them back into the kitchen.

"That's better," she says.

I simply shrug again. Doesn't matter much to me.

She walks into the kitchen to get a drink and I wander back to the bed and flip on the TV. Jerry is talking about how 15-year-old prostitutes make a better living that their parents. What a sick, sad world we live in.

Ha.

Like I'm one to talk.

"What are we doing today?" Faith calls from the kitchen.

Her question causes my eyebrows to perk. I honestly hadn't thought about it yet. That was my little firecracker for you. Always wanting to be on he move. I click off the TV and check the small box next to our bed and notice the all the bags are empty. If we don't have anymore, I have one errand for us at least.

I yell at her to check the box in the freezer. Our emergency stash. She yells back that's it's empty too.

No cash? I ask.

"Nothing," she shouts.

Fuck.

I know we can still get some. But the method we have to use to do so always leaves my pissed off beyond reason for the rest of the day. I don't want her to do it. I close my eyes and fight the wave of anger and disgust with myself. I think of my parents' hypocritical and drunken taunts. I sigh. We have no choice. Unless we want to start getting the shakes in the next two days it has to be done. I know we can't get enough cash by then. She comes back into the room and flops next to me on the bed. I run my hand through her hair and sigh again.

"I know you hate it when I have to," she says softly. "But we don't want to get sick."

I know, I tell her.

I know.

***

I sit with my back against the dumpster; my eyes squeezed shut and humming loudly. I can still slightly hear the sound of her tongue working it's magic. I hum louder. I hate this. I hate what this makes me. I hate what this makes her. I hate having to resort to her giving that asshole Ricky a fucking blowjob for maybe a few grams. I hate sitting next to this stupid green dumpster making sure no one is walking by while she's going at it. My fingernails dig into my palms. I almost want it to bleed. I hear him moaning. I hear his "yeah baby, just like that's." I want to bang my head against the metal. I want to go over there and kick the holy hell out of the worthless dealer. Though, in reality I am aware of the fact that I am a consumer of said worthless dealer that's not the point. Inside I'm going nuts. That dire need for the shit. Whoring my girlfriend out to get it. Right now I feel so fucking low I want to fucking kill myself. Well, maybe not that low. When you get the shakes you feel that low. When you sit there on your floor in some of the most painful spasms, coughing and sweating. Puking and pissing yourself. That's when you want to die.

I've done that once.

I'm never going back.

I what know I am.

I've learned to live with it.

When Faith finally taps my shoulder my fingernails have begun to make my hands bleed. I look at her, my eyes already beginning to do the apologizing. She waves her hand dismissively. We walk a few blocks away and she takes out her little bottle of Listerine. She gargles, spits, gargles, and spits. She gargles one more time and swallows, her face contorting with the burning sensation in her throat. She grabs my face and kisses me. Now I know what you're thinking, How could I kiss her after she just sucked another man off with me not ten feet away? It's part of the cleansing process. She needs me to help wash it away. She breaks off and we start walking again.

"I really wish he would shower more," she says.

I laugh, and feel the need to punch something.

"Got enough for awhile," she says. "Should last a week or two."

And as much as it makes me sick that she is that good with someone else. I can't help but feel a little pride in it.

That's my girl, I mutter.

***

Back home Faith throws herself down on the bed and begins to kick her clothes off immediately. She really doesn't like them. If not for a slew of indecent exposure laws I'm sure she'd be naked everywhere. She throws her pants at me and then her shirt. She sits there a minute in her underwear and smiles coyly at me.

"Want to finish the rest?"

I smirk as I crawl on the bed next toward her, kissing my way up her legs. She purrs like a kitten the farther up I go. I run my tongue over her navel and she shivers and wraps her legs around me. I kiss between her breasts, along her neck, just under her ear in that magic spot of hers. Her legs wind tighter around me and for a second I almost can't breathe. She laughs to herself and tells me I have too many clothes on. She rips them from my body quicker than I have time to process. Our lips meet in molten fiery passion and our hands have minds of their own. We've been together long enough to have memorized every part of each other's bodies. I know what to do with her. She's know know what to do with me with me. I'm ready. She's ready.

She whispers in my ear.

"Make it clean."

I do.

***

Faith grabs the two silver tablespoons we use every time. It's tradition. Before we got them we had just used whatever happened to be in the flatware drawer, but when we saw these, we knew we had to have them. We stole them from this really nice house over on Oak Avenue, also called Platinum Card Row amongst locals. Cordy used to live around there. I kind of wished her family still lived there. They had never approved of me and I would have loved to steal this solid gold heart-shaped broach her mother adored. The house we found served our purposes well enough anyway. It was so funny how easy it was to break into the place despite many costly precautions to ensure petty lowlife druggies like us didn't. They had spotlights conveniently scattered around the property (easily avoidable due to lush vegetation.) A really big, really vicious looking guard dog (asleep.) A thick, heavy oak door (key under the mat.) Top-notch security system (not turned on.) All the deciding factors in this pursuit of ours made it less of a hassle on the conscience. In our minds, if these highly unlikely amount of circumstances actually did all exist against these people, who were we not to teach them a lesson? They deserved to get robbed.

We were just looking for jewelry, or maybe a small TV set. We found both. About twenty-five grand worth. The woman who lived there had excellent taste in gold and jewels. Or so Vinnie the pawn guy said. Anyway, we're coming down the stairs that led back into the kitchen when Faith sees these two old fashion silver spoons on display in this China Hutch. For a second I think they're the most beautiful things I've ever seen, and my mouth is already salivating at the thought of watching a gram or two cook up in it. Faith looks back to me for a second and knows she doesn't even have to ask.

That night felt so right in so many wrong ways.

One of our steps in becoming worthless scum.

We had ourselves a party.

Faith flops herself on the floor right in front of me, grinning that little sensuous grin of hers. I watch as she ceremoniously wraps the belt around her arm exactly one and a half times, simultaneously cranking her forearm up and down and slapping the skin of her inner elbow till its red. I smile and concentrate on the shot I'm making for her. The brown powder sizzling into the mix. I glance back up at her and see this almost hungry need to have this magic elixir running through her veins. I take the needle sitting next to me, one of our near lifetime supply that we stole form the hospital. I suck the smack into the syringe as precise as I can. She's smiling at me now, running her tongue across her lips, eager for the shot. I can feel her veins sing to me as the needle pierces the skin. Her hands tighten on my wrist as I push the plunger down. I look up to her, her eyes glazing and losing focus, a satisfied smile forming. She starts to sway, as her eyes roll back, and for a second it looks like she'll topple over. I get the needle out before she does. As she's on her back I wipe the little trickle of blood leaking. I cook myself a shot and wait for her to come too. I shoot myself up when she doesn't.

Oh...

Oh, I can see why.

It's good.

Oh god, it's so fucking good...

She is truly blessed if she got us something this good with only her mouth.

For a moment I'm connected with everything in the universe. A chemically conducted clairvoyance of the ultimate Zen experience.

I know all.

I am all.

I hardly feel the floor as my back crashes into it.

I hardly feel anything.

***

A few hours later my senses are calmed enough and I lift my head to look at Faith still lying unmoved in front of me. I crawl on my hands and knees toward her. I see that her eyes are open, but not focused on anything. I prop myself on my elbow next to her. I nudge her shoulder gently and her head turns toward me, a far-gone grin on her lips. I lean to kiss her, and after a moment of nothing, our tongues begin to battle each other for supremacy.

We can't fuck yet.

Heroin is hell on the libido.

My dick's pretty useless when I'm floating anyway.

My tongue trails down her neck, to her chest, across her stomach. I lift her hips and nestle myself between her legs. She's still off in never-never land as I start to move my tongue.

I try my best to bring her back.

***

It happens in a flash of unexpected clear mindedness. I don't know what time it is. I don't know where I am. I don't know what I am. The blackness of the room doesn't help anything. I stare at my arms and am suddenly blasted with a revolting sense of shame at what I've become. I look to Faith lying there next to me. I love her, but I'm feeling the dire need to be rid of this.

This room. This habit. This life.

I have the urge to flee.

Out, out, out.

I want out.

I grab my pants from the floor, struggle with throwing my shirt over my head and finding my shoes at the same time. The shoes are still in my hand when I'm out the door. I don't know where I'm going. All I know is that I'm gone.

***

The bitter shakes of withdrawal happen sooner than I thought they would. The concrete is so cold as I lay here on my side in the basement of some building on the run down side of town. There are boxes everywhere and I think it's all dog food. It would explain the funny smell.

I'm cold.

I'm sweating and shivering so much I hope I don't have hypothermia. My stomach is howling at me for something to eat but I know the first thing I put in my mouth is coming back seconds later. I want to move but I don't. I just lay here. If I move I want to get high. If I get high I lose this sudden mental clarity that I think might just be worth all of this. I think of Faith and the need to move becomes desire right before my very eyes. I don't know how many days it's been. I start to miss her. I wonder is she's okay. I wonder if she's out looking for me. I wonder if she cares.

The one thing I don't like about this clear-minded thinking is the memories. They invade my mind with fiery vengeance accompanied by its even more vicious brethren.

Guilt.

When you're high nothing involved in the outside world matters. All that counts in your mind is the next hit. Stealing doesn't matter. School doesn't matter. Work doesn't matter. The people close to you? They sure as hell don't matter.

Yes.

The guilt tears through you like razorblades through paper.

It hurts me. I'm paying with this pain for every time the needle went in.

I know I deserve it.

I think of the time I was supposed to be watching Oz in his wolfed-out state. I was so far gone I never heard him get out. He didn't kill anyone or anything. He never got passed the library. I have a nice sized scar on my leg. A reminder of my worthless junkie stupidity. I remember Giles' voice seemingly so far off as he shouted at me, asking if I was all right. The look of disgust on his face when he noticed I hadn't felt a thing.

I think of the time I was strung out walking home by myself from the Bronze. I remember Angelus catching up with me. I remember him spitting out my blood like it was anti-freeze. Buffy swooped in and saved the day. The look of disgust on her face when she noticed I hadn't felt a thing.

I think of the time Willow caught me shooting up in her bathroom. The gut wrenching painful look of shock on her face. The shame. Her fumbled words, and questions, and pity. I barely remember the event. But I remember the look of disgust on her face when she noticed I hadn't felt a thing.

I think of the time of my so-called intervention. The family had one of those for Uncle Rory once, and it was this big supportive thing to attempt to get him to stop drinking. Everyone was patient, and caring. Telling him how much it would mean to them if he had stopped. It didn't work. But the way in which it was carried out was all for one. Not mine. Everyone pretty much lambasted me with disgust and shame for even knowing me. They couldn't believe I could sink so low. They couldn't believe I could keep doing this to myself. Instead of support I was slapped with an ultimatum. Quit doing smack, or my services and my friendship would no longer be needed. I would unceremoniously be kicked out of the Scooby Gang. I remember the looks of disgust on their faces when I didn't feel a thing.

Sensing a pattern here?

My whole life has been this same exact scenario. Get fucked up on drugs, botch something I was supposed to be or not be doing, and get shunned by anyone that ever meant anything to me.

Now that I think about it.

Who wouldn't want to be a junkie?

You go through life day in, and day out.

And sometimes living isn't like living at all.

***

The memories won't stop.

I see too much. Too many moments of my past haunting my mind. They won't leave me be. The shakes have gotten worse. I'm to the point of pissing and shitting myself as well. I feel so fucking low; I want to fucking kill myself. Oh, this time I'm deadly serious. I can't take this. I don't want this. The guilt is ripping me apart. My mind won't slow down. So many things I've done. So many things to be sorry for. So many houses robbed, and money taken. So many people pushed aside, or away, or just plain ran down in the process. I want it to end. Fuck having a clear head if this is what it gets me. I need out of this basement. I need to be rid of this guilt. This disgust state of waste I find myself in. I no longer wish to hide from what I know I am. What I always will be.

I need a fucking shot.

***

Faith has this annoyed look on her face when I walk into our apartment. She was sitting on the bed like she's been expecting me, but there is no warm welcome. I know I look like shit, and she's staring at me like that's exactly what I'm made of. She's right. I grab some clothes from my pile and waltz into the bathroom to shower. I wash all the piss and vomit off of my body. The rush of water feels so pure. I stay in it a long time, letting the flowing water wash away any idea of ever being clean. I get out and look into the mirror. Bloodshot eyes set above heavy bags stare back at me. My skin is so pale it looks like you can see right through it. My hands are shaking when I lift my razor to shave. It takes all I have not to put my fist through the glass.

"Xander?" Faith calls from the other side of the door. "Are you almost done in there?"

I finish up shaving my face and open the door to see her standing there expectantly. At first she doesn't say anything. She just stands there and looks at me for a few minutes. She looks at the frail, skinny, wasted form of the better man I could have been. She asks me where I've been. I tell her I tried to get clean. She laughs for a second, before realizing that I was serious.

"Do you really want that?" She asks.

I don't say anything. My answer is obviously no. I came back didn't I? I expect to be yelled at. I expect to get my ass kicked. What comes out of her mouth is so surprising I almost have to ask her to repeat herself.

"I missed you," she said.

I stand there for a second processing her declaration of emotion toward me. Usually she shows none. Well, nothing besides feeling bad for blowing Ricky all those times. She takes my hand and leads me to our mattress. For the first time since we've been together, we don't fuck. Oh, we had sex of course. But it wasn't fucking. Making love is such a cheesy way of putting it, but that's what it was. Things change. Times change. Feelings change.

People...

People don't change. Not on the inside anyway. Not deep down where it counts. We are kindred she and I. Worthless junkie scum that have nothing but each other. I don't think she ever admitted that to herself. I think my being gone, my actual attempt at change had scared her into realizing what we were to each other. We first got together because we were so alike. This only thing that's ever meant shit in our lives has been shot into our veins. It's a strange feeling, this shared feeling.

She's standing naked in front of me, cooking up a shot and smiling. I smile too. I know what this makes me. I know what I am. I know what I've become. She shoots the needle into my arm and it's all suddenly a million miles away.

The tracks get longer, and the scars get deeper...

And I can't do anything.


-End.