All in all Faith was glad Buffy couldn't make the trip. As she and Giles stumbled into his flat at the same time, bruised and full of adrenaline. She was supporting him with his arm slung around her shoulders and she practically threw him into a chair. They'd just come back from patrolling and he'd been hurt. Without pausing she went to his liquor cabinet and pulled out the bottle of scotch. She bit down on the cork and tossed it across the room before taking a long swig. Rupert could only stare in horror as the brunette took what she wanted.

"Faith, what's in your head? What are you doing?"

"What?" She lowered the bottle to her hip, giving a look that plainly said she had no idea why he was protesting.

He sighed and got up, yanking the bottle from her hand. "You're underage, Faith, and I'll not have you drinking my whole supply of scotch."

She rolled her eyes. "Oh, c'mon, G, lighten up! You are seriously too repressed in all that tweed. Did the Watcher's Council suck out all the fun when they trained ya or were you just born to be boring?"

He looked at her darkly and took a drink himself. "You have no idea." he responded gravely.

"Oh yeah?" she looked up "Try me."

"Oh come off it, Faith. You're a nineteen year old girl trying to be something you're not. Stop pretending you're in the deep end when you're still wading around in the paddling pool."

"You don't know nothin about me."

"I'll make you a deal, Faith." he replied, bottle in hand. "If I can drink more than you can then you'll answer me one question of my choosing honestly to a satisfactory answer."

She arched an eyebrow at him. "You? Drink more than me? What do I get if I win?"

He shook his head. "Whatever you want, I suppose."

"Whatever I want?" She perked up. This sounded promising. He cleared his throat looking at her and knew her mind could come up with all sorts of things he might not be ready for but a deal was a deal.

"I'm going to win, Faith, but a deal's a deal. I've been drinking men under the table since before you were born. Still, one thing you want from me, I promise."

She smiled, rubbing her hands together as she sat on the table opposite him. He went to fetch two shot glasses and placed one before each of them. He poured a stiff shot for them both and she took hers without hesitation after lifting it to him in a mock salute. He took his own shot after studying her face and poured again. "Why don't we make things interesting. For every shot one question each. Truth to truth."

She shrugged, cocky. "Alright with me."

He poured their next shot. "Ladies first."

She took hers, feeling the pleasant burn down her throat. Ever the gentleman Giles took his and poured her another. "One question, Faith."

She didn't even hesitate. "Why don't you ever go out and have some fun?"

He peered at her. "I have fun. It's just not of your brand. What is it about you that compels you to have nothing but fun?"

"Life's short. I'm a Slayer, G. Longest I can expect to live is twenty five. I mean, Buffy died her first year in and then again couple years later. I only have a few years left so I gotta have my fun now while it lasts."

He nodded absently, not sensing any lie in her words. Appropriate, really, since he knew the situation of a Slayer well. This time he took the first shot and held onto the miniature cup a while. The amber liquid warmed his belly and the warmth was beginning to spread out a little at a time the more he ingested. Nice, really, being out of control like that. He wanted nothing else in the world than to escape the pressures being a Watcher could bring.

"Fun isn't all one can ever have, Faith. There's more to life. Love, family, friendship, hope?"

"Who says you need those things to get by? I've been solo a long time."

"Yes, and look where it's gotten you. A former murderess, a coma, and prison sentence. Come now, honestly, could trying things another way really hurt you?"

"They already did."

He stopped. They already did? That spoke to him of loss. And for her to lose, she had to love.

His question now, and the truth. "Faith, have you ever loved anyone in your entire life?"

Her eyes widened and she slammed the shot back before pushing the glass down hard on the wooden table. From her lower vantage point she watched the man pass his glass back and forth between hands, waiting for her answer. She immediately wanted to lie, to throw out some sarcastic answer and be done with this stupid game. What right did he have to get so personal with her? She was only trying to lighten him up, have some fun with him. Now he had to go and ask the one question she just couldn't answer. Promise is a promise.

"Yeah. I loved someone once. Didn't last."

"Who?" The word was out of his mouth before he could stop it. She raised her hand, silencing him. "That's another question, G. Those aren't the rules."

She closed her eyes and thought long and hard about her question. If he was going to play hard ball, so was she. And, in her arrogance, she was sure she played it better than he did. She lifted on eyebrow in his direction as a wicked thought came to her and was genuinely something she wanted to know. She was around then, in a manner of speaking, but had heard about the incident since.

"Angelus," she began and Giles immediately wanted her to fall silent. Anything involving the demon was not something he wanted to think about, let alone answer. He all but pressed his fingers to his ears and sang a loud song to block out the words that came next, as if ignoring them might make them go away. She continued on without his blessing, oblivious to his thoughts. "tortured you for hours. Drusilla used your dead girlfriend against you. You ever wish you'd died then? Right then, in the moment, did you wish for them to kill you?"

He hung his head, mind going back to that place without his consent. He remembered seeing Jenny so clearly, hearing her soft words begging him to just tell her the secret and then they could be together. And her kiss! The sweet touch of an angel turned to devil when he opened his eyes. He resented reliving the moment, that dark fateful night. Even he couldn't deny the truth. "Yes. I wanted to die, even if it meant leaving Buffy behind. When I opened my eyes and saw Drusilla and realized what I'd done I longed for death."

Next shot. He had to burn away the pain, the images roaming his head like beasts in a jungle. His heart ached in a way it hadn't in a long time. Once again he ascended the staircase behind them and saw Jenny on his bed, neck snapped like so much kindling. He was sure he'd never hurt so much in his life. That was, of course, until he found her again only to have her dissolve away into a monster. Now here he was reliving the moment thanks, in part, to the question of the girl across from him. Nothing could clear his mind of the memories. Nothing could take away the knife wound to his heart as he heard Jenny whispering his name.

Reliving all this because of a challenge he made with Faith. He hated her for it in a small way, and yet he promised to tell the truth. It was, after all, his suggestion. He had no one to blame but himself in the end. He offered the next shot out to her. It was perfunctory, really, since both of them found an avenue they were truly curious about and wanted the question more than the drink. It didn't matter who went first. So happened Giles took his turn again, swallowing the shot and noticing the lack of a burn.

"Who is it you loved, Faith?"

For all of their time together he still didn't know much about Faith's past or even about her inner workings. He suspected the two of them were very similar but never really got down to the grit of the matter. She was so rough on the surface, abrasive, that no one bothered with what lay underneath. She took hers back and looked at the floor, refusing to make eye contact. The answer she gave was not the answer he expected.

"David Wells."

"Wells…" he mused. "Wait, your Watcher? The first one, I mean."


"Do you want to tell me about him?"

He was being forward and he knew it. It was just such a surprising response that he couldn't really fathom it. Maybe it was the healthy buzz he was developing that dropped his inhibitions. Maybe it was genuine interest. For Faith to love anyone, let alone a Watcher, was a feat in and of itself and he immediately wanted to know more about the man who accomplished such a task. Her body language, on the other hand, held her closed off. Her arms were crossed over her chest and she had her knees drawn up in front of herself.

"No." she responded flatly, though she knew it was probably his next question and sighed in premature defeat.

"Why did you spend so much time as Ripper? What were you running from?"

Cheeky girl. She wasn't pulling her punches. Just as well, he supposed, his tongue was loosened by the scotch marching through his system. He wasn't exactly hitting above the belt himself, asking her very personal questions she obviously wanted to keep private. He only supposed her sense of pride was what kept her going.

"My father. Well, more honestly, my calling as a Watcher. This was never something I wanted to be but it was something they always assumed I would be. Rather like you Slayers, I imagine. The weight of it is really intimidating. But, in the end I suppose I just couldn't keep running. I had to be who I was meant to be."

He paused and realized he was babbling. A good tell tale sign he was getting more inebriated. At this point he might gladly belt out his life story if she'd ask it of him, without so much as an edit or a by your leave. "Yeah, great game, Rupert," he mentally admonished. "drink the Slayer under the table and in the process tell her your whole sodding life so she can see everything you've tried to keep hidden. Brilliant plan!" And yet, it was his turn to question.

"Tell me about David."

"That's not a question."

"What about David made you love him, then?"

She sighed again, glad to have had something to relax her nerves. "I don't know." she began softly. When she fell under his questioning stare she tried again to answer the question properly.

"All my life I knew I was a monster. I never tried to be anything else. Times when my mom would be so drunk she couldn't remember how to open the liquor bottle she could remember to yell at me. Seemed like the only thing she could do. You grow up hearing the one person in the world that should love you calling you every name in the book you start to believe it. I was always fighting, didn't have anyone to trust."

She stopped suddenly and looked at him with her large brown eyes pleading with him not to make her finish this line of thought. She'd always kept it back and she wanted it to stay hidden but Giles was too fascinated to notice or respond. He knew she'd had a troubled past but no one really knew what that meant and here she was spilling it all in near black and white. It was too much to give up. She saw it in his eyes and sighed.

"David came and found me when I was thirteen. He explained to me what I was, what I could do. At first I laughed him off. How could I take him seriously? One night he convinced me to go patrolling with him. As we were walking along a cemetery in Boston I was skeptical. Then one attacked us. He fought it off...until it grabbed him from behind. Almost bit him if I hadn't stabbed it with a stake. I missed the heart. But it was enough. He got free and got it himself and then the thing disappeared into ash and, well, I believed."

She shifted the glass in her hands, rolling it around as if looking for something she couldn't find. Her eyes settled on the crack within, near the top of the glass. Not enough for liquid to pass through, but enough that you saw the break. You could never fix the crack, it just wasn't possible. It would always be there until the whole thing shattered. It was always going to shatter, there's no way around it…only a question of when. Still, she continued.

"He was the first person that told me I was worth something. When I got into a fight he never yelled at me or told me I was bad. I remember that. He never said I did something wrong. He just told me what else I could have done that would have been better. He made me believe…I don't know what! He was just the first person in my life that wanted to know me and looked past what I did to who I was. He actually cared about me, something no one else did."

"People care about you, Faith."

"Who? Wes who took off cause he couldn't hang? Buffy ready to beat me down the minute she thinks I'm giving her too dirty a look?" And then she realized. He meant himself. Of course! That's why he'd taken her out patrolling. That's why he was telling her to open up to love.

"You didn't care about me before, Giles. You were just like all the others. Why you're starting to care now is beyond me. You can't just expect me to turn around one day and see what you're doing when you spent a long time doing the opposite."

Giles felt wounded. It was true. He recognized the feeling. He cared for Buffy in that way Faith said Wells cared for her. It was never something he tried to extend to the girl before him, Faith. To the brunette, he was just another in a list of figures that let her down. It was hard to look at her with the same eyes he had before once she opened herself up to him like she was. She looked bitter, still staring at her cup like she couldn't bear to think of anything else. They sat in silence for a minute or two while she stewed. Then, out of the blue, her question came forth.

"What is the one thing you regret in your life?"

He sighed. There was so much to choose from, things he couldn't have known until they were over with. He really thought about it a long time before he answered, sorting through the pain and near misses of his life. His mind could only settle on one thing. The only thing he truly wanted and never got to do.

"I regret not being able to offer destruction to Angelus, Angel, that demon. For everything he did to me, to Jenny, to Buffy. I make no distinction between them; I can't. I wish I could have looked him in the eyes and seen his face before he burst into ash. It was only for Buffy's sake that I never tried."

She blinked. That was Buffy's man he was threatening. She never realized his hatred for the demon ran so deep, even after all this time. Powerful words. Powerful thing to admit to the person who tried to resurrect the demon once he had a soul again. In that moment she felt a pang of regret for that move.

And, really, was he supposed to be slipping in and out of focus like that or was it the scotch?

She moved from her place and sat next to him, offering her glass for a refill. Once she found it her eyes didn't leave the cup's imperfection. It was all she ever needed to see. Once he followed her gaze, Giles, too, found the crack and understood her a little more. No matter what part of it was whole, she clung to the part that was weakest. He gave a small sound of pity and poured her a drink. She took it and he poured her another. She didn't hesitate before consuming that, too. He offered her the bottle but she only held out the cup. He refilled it again.

This is when they stopped counting.

She leaned back and took the shot, feeling the room spin each time she closed her eyes. He watched her in the dim light of the apartment coming from a single lamp across the room. Relaxed by booze and truth she looked as young as she was supposed to be. Innocent. His heart warmed to that sight, feeling in a lot of ways that he failed her as much as he'd succeeded for Buffy. He and the one time rogue Slayer were remarkably similar creatures if he stopped to think about it. They both were searching for something unnamed from a world they felt boxed in by.

While she rested he thought about his own life and what it meant, sipping straight from the bottle with hollow swishing sounds. He remembered feeling so free as Ripper, pushing himself into a life without consequence. It's not that he didn't feel his life as a Watcher was rewarding but it didn't provide him with the same satisfaction. Saving the world? A bonus. Feeling power beneath the skin itching to be used every minute of every day? No so much. He'd murdered. He'd caused destruction with his hands. Really, it could have been him making confessions instead of extracting them. Who was he to judge the youthful actions of an angry and scared girl against his own? It would be like the chimney telling the teacup it was too dirty cause it hadn't been washed in a few days.

He sighed, taking another healthy swig and feeling his equilibrium go off kilter. He may be a very good drinker but she was a girl determined to keep her demons at bay. He couldn't compete with that and he knew it. He leaned back on the couch, next to her and closed his eyes. The sigh he emitted was the only sound that echoed through the air. She made a small sound and moved closer to him. He started, feeling the touch of her soft skin against his own warm body.

"Faith, are you asleep?" he asked in a whisper.

"No. I'm 5 by 5. World's spinning, I'm not thinking. Feeling no pain."

"You win, Faith. I can't drink anymore. I'm inedriated…imebriated…drunk enough."

She cracked open an eye, looking at his easy gaze and his glossed over eyes. He was nice and toasty, alright. She sat up staring at him for a few minutes and he looked back, brown eyes locking with his jade orbs. He blinked first.

"You've won. A promise is a promise. One thing, Faith, so long as it's in my power to grant."

"Just one truth, Giles. It's all I can think of. What is the one thing you want to do most right now?"

He blinked, sighed, and thought about the question but the words tumbled from his lips before he had a chance to stop them and run them through his very sketchy mind. "I'd very much like to make love to you, Faith." He admitted before turning away. He wasn't quite blushing but he was embarrassed. Why did he feel like such a god damned school boy? And his answer? Madness. What was in his head?

"Ah. I'm sorry. Faith, I'm drunk and that was out of line. Unforgivably rude of me."

He stumbled over the words and couldn't bear to look her in the eyes. He knew even less what to do when she slid into his lap and cupped his chin in her hands. But when she kissed him, the fire in his soul took over and his body made all the right moves, sliding against hers in a way that brought the heat to his skin. He brought her backside forward, setting her body flush against his hips. Heat radiated from them both in their scotch fueled haze. She kissed him with abandon, her tongue sliding against his with a hunger that demanded to be satisfied. He responded in kind, exploring her mouth and memorizing her taste.

Despite the obviously pressing need within them both they managed to take their time. Neither rushed; they moved as if they'd never made love in their lives. When he touched her, his hands sought to memorize the expanse of skin they touched. He moved them over her body, seeking every lithe curve and crevice while their mouths sought new depths to plunder. It was a naked, honest passion between them. Even if either wanted to hold back, the scotch suppressed those instincts. She made a small sound of surrender and he took that as permission, sliding his hands up to caress the clothed hills of her breasts.

He plied the mounds in his hands with much attention, touching and taunting them. He pulled off her shirt and revealed the bare chest beneath. He couldn't resist sweeping one of the peaks into his mouth, suckling on the nipple there and coaxing it taut between his teeth. The nub responded immediately to his attention and the result was another long, low moan from the woman on top of him. She leaned back and offered her entire torso for his pleasure and he accepted, running greedy hands down the whole pale expanse of her milky skin. As she rose he flicked his tongue out and used her body's motion to draw it up her skin, indulging in the taste of her silken flesh.

"Faith, not here." He managed to get out, groaning as she brought her body forward, shifting her hips against his. She nodded.

"Anywhere." She purred back. "So long as you don't let me down. Promise me, Giles, you'll never let me down."

"I swear it!" he responded feverishly. "Not so long as I live. I've never found someone so like me in all my days, Faith. You're perfect. That fire inside of you, burning, it drives me mad. I can't believe it took me until now to see it."

He swept her off of her feet and carried her away up the stairs. He was a bit wobbly on his feet. She was a little dazed in his arms. But for now what they were doing was perfectly clear in their eyes. She kissed him again as they arrived at his bed. He took the last of her clothing off, tossing it aside carelessly. She slipped to the floor and undressed him with purpose, exposing his body to her eyes and to her touch. Everything she found delighted her and soon her lips traveled over skin behind her roaming hands. She laid him down on the bed's cream comforter and climbed up beside him, letting herself explore this new playground before her.

She took her time with it, finding a virgin's delight in the subtle differences in him. Each groan bitten back, each muscle twitching beneath her lips, each thudding beat of his heart. She tormented him with her lips and tongue, giving to him in full what he'd been dishing out to her downstairs. He was going mad with sensation, sure he couldn't take it all even with the alcohol to dull his senses. He was rock hard and expectant. He knew without doubt that he'd never wanted anyone more in his entire life. What he'd been searching for, someone to match the passion inside of him, someone who understood the darkness, it was her. It had always been her.

"Fuck, Faith!" he groaned out, feeling her lips descend dangerously close to his throbbing member. His accent was thicker with drink and she found she liked it. She also found she liked his new, limited vocabulary. "FUCK!" he yelped out again as her tongue snaked out and encircled the tip of his cock, sweeping the warm wet muscle around his opening. The entire length twitched and throbbed more, ridged veins running down the shaft. She grinned in approval, wrapping her hand around the base and drawing it up within reach of her eager mouth.

She moved down over him, sucking happily on the head. She listened to his groaning and it fueled her onward, wanting him so much more. He moaned her name like a prayer, begging for the release that threatened to overtake him at any moment and at the next felt far away. It was agony. Blinding, crippling, wonderful agony. He lost use of his senses and kept moaning through gritted teeth, begging for things beyond his reach. His hands twined into her hair but he knew full well who was in control. She made sure he knew, moving down to engulf his entire length with her mouth before pulling all the way off. He whimpered with the separation.


He blinked. Sometimes he forgot he had a first name, the Scoobies used his last so much. Others used it in mocking. She wasn't and he found he very much liked the sound of that name on her lips. Especially dripping with the same desire it had just then. He took her up into his arms and kissed her deeply, tasting himself on her tongue and not caring much about it. He was more than ready to become one with her.

"May I?" he asked, sincerely, his voice husky with lust. He at least still retained some form of manners. He positioned himself next to her and was ready to part her legs if only she'd give her consent. A hand strayed to the meeting of her thighs and nestled in between, feeling the dewy slit dripping with her honey. Expertly his fingers found her most sensitive nub and he manipulated it, getting the reward of her gasping moans and shaking thighs. He liked the reaction and continued. Every move she made, every sound she uttered, he memorized.

"Yes! Yes! For fuck's sake, yes, Rupert!" she panted out, in response to his question. In his fun, he mistook her meaning and kept going, watching her slowly dissolve into a writhing mass of need. He felt the bud swell with her arousal beneath his hand and he dipped two fingers in casually. They slid in easily and he moved them inside her, wriggling. That sent her into deeper shocks of pleasure and she cried out, frustrated. Her body was on overdrive and all she wanted was that feeling of completion. She was practically ready to beg for it.

"Please, Rupert! This is torture." She moaned, helpless, and finally he was startled out of his revelry.

"What? Oh, yes, of course."

He moved her onto her back and parted her moist thighs. His head was at the opening of her canal and he felt her heat before he moved forward. He closed his eyes and edged his hips forward, sinking all the way into her with one slow thrust. She was scorching hot and perfectly tight, like a toy made just for him. He tried to express his pleasure but it came out as an inarticulate sound. For long moments he couldn't move. He was too overwhelmed by the exquisite way she felt wrapped around his aching cock. She whimpered, flexing over him instinctively and he groaned as a response. He was so very close to the edge.

"Ah!" he cried out. "I'm going to come if you keep that up!" he warned, not used to be so sensitive to anyone.

"Not yet!" she begged as a response, moving her hips against him. He took the hint and began moving himself. They rose and fell together, meeting in opposition as he was pushed deeper and deeper into her. The feeling radiating from their union was indescribable, as real to him as her body beneath and as vital as breath. He couldn't stop his body from driving into her ceaselessly, seeking some unknown place within that no one else ever knew. She obliged his desire, rolling him onto his back, keeping him inside of her. Her hips moved again the moment she was settled on top of him.

"Oh God!" he growled out, gripping her hips and guiding her movements over his thick, solid member. He filled her to the brim and she loved it, savoring every diamond inch inside her. "Don't stop fucking me, Faith." He commanded in that same growl and she felt a shiver of pleasure go up her spine. She gave. Everything he wanted and more she gave to him, moving with a sense of efficiency that would put any machine to shame. She needed him, his release. She moved up and down, rocking onto him to meet the flesh of his hips, taking all of his sizeable erection in. No matter how deep he was he wanted more of her.

She responded beautifully to his actions. He guided her, using her body to seek his own height. He felt the changes in her, signaling her climax was near. All at once she came hard with his name dragged from her lips. Her entire body stiffened, her inner muscles milking him reflexively. He cursed, feeling his own body respond. He didn't want this to end so he took a breath. Then he felt several little orgasms rush through her and he groaned again. "Good Lord, Faith!" he panted out, burying himself deep in her and staying there to ride out the tide of her pleasure.

She took a long time coming down. Her hips flush with his she couldn't stop her muscles from clenching and unclenching around the solid length within her. Her breath came in small whimpers, legs trembling with release and her juices dripping down his stony phallus. She was overcome. Her eyes were closed, head thrown back in exaltation. He looked up at her and knew he wouldn't find a more beautiful sight. When she settled again he started moving slowly again, experimentally, and found her excruciatingly tight.

"Up, my darling." He purred, raising her off of him. She gave him a look and obeyed and it was only then that he realized his use of the pet name. Trying not to draw attention to it, he positioned her on her hands and knees and put himself behind her. With another thrust he buried himself into her from behind, feeling the wonderful way her core bared down on his invading phallus.

"I won't last long either way, but let's see if I can bring you off at least once more before my time, shall we?" he asked with a cheeky grin. And with that he began deep rhythmic thrusts into her sleek center, feeling each single inch and each solitary muscle as she moved with him.

He loved the feel of her body beneath his hands. She was warm and smooth and her nerves responded easily. He loved feeling her muscles coil and relax, moving like a perfect instrument beneath his touch. He was playing concertos, she was so attuned to his needs and desires. His own body rose to her pitch, responding beneath to form the harmony of their symphony. He kept thrusting, building the melody to crucial highs, waiting for that one perfect moment. Even though he was trying for it, he wasn't ready when it came. The crescendo. Her second orgasm took him by surprise as it ripped through her body bringing with it a new flood of the proof of his conquest.

He couldn't hold back any longer. He grabbed her hips and pulled her back onto him, impaling her on his quivering length. His member begged for release and when it came he didn't have time to choke out a warning. He buried himself all the way into her as jet after jet of his seed filled her canal. He didn't even have the presence of mind to be embarrassed or ashamed. He held onto her, his body exploding in pleasurable arcs so intense he literally thought he might die from them. His body wavered and he fell back to sit on his ankles. She pitched to the side, panting. They were both glistening with sweat and happily disheveled in the aftermath of their lovemaking.

Giles, at least, never ceased to be amazed by the young woman in front of him. She was still shaking every so often with aftershocks of bliss with low purring noises in her throat. He moved to lay next to her, facing her. She was beautiful and alive, as glorious in this state of disarray as she was composed or even as she hunted and killed. He adored her down to the last detail.

"No regrets, Faith, I hope?" he asked softly. She shook her head. He felt bold enough to continue. "I love you. I'm sorry I never saw you for who you were before but now that I've seen you, all of you, I can't stop my heart from loving you."

"You don't have to say things like that cause we've had sex, Giles. You were drunk. We fucked. It happens."

He was taken aback. "Do you honestly believe that's what this was?"

"No." she admitted slowly. He nodded his approval of that.

"I knew I loved you tonight, it's true. And I know I failed you before but I mean to make it better now. We really are similar creatures, Faith, hiding who we are from the world. I find some measure of comfort in being a Watcher as you find some satisfaction in the kill but there's more we don't let other see. It's a hunger for all those destructive things inside of us. I understand, believe me. And if you let me, I'd like to show you just how alike we are."

She yawned. "In time." She promised. "I think I could fall in love with you, too, Rupert. It's enough for now, that I like you. I might even love you. Just don't push."

"I won't." he promised back. With his heart he meant it. Just the thought of loving again made him nervous but he was determined not to let happiness slip away if he had it in his grasp and the woman in his grasp was worth loving. He sighed, letting his eyes close. All in all he was glad Buffy couldn't make the trip tonight.