Usually by the time he's poured the third glass, whatever Wesley's drinking would have stopped burning its way down his throat. It used to take most of the bottle, but he's had quite some time to build a resistance to it.

But this town – aptly named, Tequila – had some of the strongest tequila he'd ever tasted. Even coming from the hole in the wall bar he'd been hanging around in for the past three days, it was some of the best liquor he'd found during his travels. So, more drunk than he usually would be this early in the evening, his mind began to wander and he allowed himself to…maybe not reminisce, as that would apply a sense of fondness, but he did let himself reflect on how he ended up alone in a small town in the south of Mexico, with only a bottle of its namesake for company.

Wesley supposed he began to drift from the others after he killed his father. Er, no, scratch that…killed a robot that merely looked, spoke, and acted like his father. Emptied an entire clip into him, actually. Which, admittedly, is something that could irreversibly change a man, robot or not. There was the sense of not really fitting in, either, like they only trusted him on a probationary period and he was bound to slip up soon. Angel in particular, he'd noticed.

But, of course, none of that mattered after that thing hollowed her out and killed her without an inch of remorse. He'd been devastated, demolished, beaten down and destroyed. But he did as he was taught from childhood, and internalized all those feelings, because he was Wesley Wyndam-Price, Head of the Mystical Research and Development Department at Wolfram and Hart. And people needed him. He helped save lives, and Angel needed him.

He'd begun drinking then.

It only took about a week for him to realize that he was slowly dying from the inside out, having to see that living, blue effigy of her walking around the offices day in and day out. And when he'd discovered what he thought was the nefarious plot of Wolfram and Hart, but had actually been the misguided intentions of his boss, and released all of the memories stolen from them? He knew he couldn't stay any longer.

The distrust from Angel, the underlying sense of hostility between himself and Gunn…even his feelings for Fred. All took on a new light and clarity when their memories were restored.

So the day after he'd smashed that cube, he slipped his letter of resignation onto Angel's desk, gathered a few of his prized weapons and books, stole a motorcycle from the well-stocked garage, and left. He hadn't known where he was going, or what he would do, even. But he knew that if he ever wanted to have any sense of wholeness again, that he could not stay with those people in that place.

For a long time, he just drove. No destination in mind, simply traveling East – away from California – and stopping in small towns on back roads to rest and eat before he kept going. The only constant in his life, then, was his drinking. He wasn't idiotic or grief-stricken enough to drink while he drove, but as soon as he stopped for the day, he'd start and he wouldn't stop until he was asleep. He didn't think on it much, except for its being a form of coping that he wasn't ashamed of.

Eventually he got tired of driving around with no purpose whatsoever, and in a small town in Ohio he'd rediscovered his profession of rogue demon hunting. Though, he'd like to believe he was entirely more competent this time around. There were an unusually high numbers of deaths in the area that he pinpointed to a vampire nest in an abandoned motel nearby. The mayor paid him – not too handsomely, as it was a small town after all, but well enough – for his trouble and he walked away with a regained sense of purpose.

He started following up on rumors that held substantial enough evidence to be considered a demonic threat, and offering his services to whomever was being affected at the time. He didn't charge much, only ever gave his first name, and in this way he made enough to finance his traveling, his liquor, and his food.

Because he followed the demons, instead of simply waiting for the next threat to strike, he ended up in many strange places that he would never have dreamt of going before. In a way, it was nice – seeing the world and all of that. But it also served as a brutally cold reminder as to how very alone he was when he would end up staying the night in a dingy motel or under the roof of some grateful family. He was always the outsider, coming in for a few days to fix the problem, and leaving just as quickly. Most days he preferred living like this, thinking that he had cut his ties with other people as a whole for a reason and he was better off alone. But some days…well, he was only human, and he did get lonely.

After finishing up a job in Guadalajara involving a few enterprising vampires that had set up an infant smuggling ring, he'd decided to take the long way back to the states, traveling through little villages and by roads up towards Texas, where he'd heard of a Howler demon causing a ruckus. The locals thought it was the 'Chupacabra', which he remembered chuckling at.

He hadn't gotten far – in fact, it was only the day after he'd finished in Guadalajara – when he'd blown a tire and had to pull off into the closest town to wait for the repairs. Santiago de Tequila. He'd thought it an interesting turn of events to wind up in a town named after – and famous for – the thing he drank so much of. And that was why he was currently nursing his third glass of tequila in a smoky, dirty bar that held the grimy essence of a place that didn't necessarily deal with the most honest and upright of customers.

A woman coming up and sliding onto a stool down the bar from him jerked him out of his rather melancholy reverie, and he glanced over. The dark, smoky haze over the bar prevented him from really making out any of her features, but he could see she was clutching at her neck as she leaned forward to talk to the bartender.

"You got a rag back there, Esteban?" he heard her ask; watching her free hand accept the shot poured for her and tossing it back easily.

The barkeep – Esteban, presumably – handed her a thick cloth that she pressed to her neck. "You've been fighting the beasties tonight, Miss?"

"And they've been fighting back." The woman laughed, and Wesley got the sense that this was some sort of routine for the two. And he wondered idly, what the man meant by 'beasties'. He hadn't heard any rumors of demons in this town.

Being a quiet outsider for so long, he'd grown very good at observing others around and making inferences and deductions based on such. The Watcher in him, he supposed. He also had the nagging sensation that he recognized the woman, but not wanting to be noticed for staring, he had turned back to his drink and could only hear them.

"Ay, Miss Faith, I wish you would be less reckless. What would this town do if anything happened to you?"

He heard her – Faith – reply in some cocky fashion, but in shock and surprise he'd absolutely stopped listening. Faith? What on Earth was she doing in Mexico? With one more quick glance over at her, he was certain that it was her. The confident posture, the tell-tale tumbling dark locks…the figure; all rang of Faith. He felt a mingling sense of terror, anxiety, and relief at seeing her again. He also felt that his entire existence, which had been founded on dropping off the grid and never seeing anyone from his old life again, was in incredible jeopardy.

Which was why he hastily downed the rest of his glass, placed enough bills on the counter to pay for the bottle, and snatched it up by the neck as he turned in his seat to leave. Unfortunately, in his hurry, he hadn't factored in how drunk he actually was, and he nearly tripped on the bar stool after a few steps. Luckily he didn't actually fall on his face, so he maintained some dignity there, but he scuffled around and cursed enough to draw the attention of Faith and the bar keep.

"Hey, wait!" He heard from behind him, as he pretended not to hear and headed for the back entrance. "No, really, wait up, dude!" He kept walking, down the long hallway that branched off into bathrooms and the kitchen before finally leading outside, seeming to stretch forever before him.

"I said wait up, hombre," came the sarcastically exasperated voice behind him, as she pulled on his shoulder, turning him around. "You left your wall-" The worn, brown leather held up between Faith's two fingers was lowered as she paused, other hand still on his shoulder, clearly blindsided, to inspect the man in front of her.

"Holy shit. Wes? Man, is that you?" She looked him over, once, twice, and a third very appreciative time. If he had looked rough when she'd seen him last, he looked twice as worse now. A permanent five o'clock shadow, bags under his eyes that had a haunted look about them. But more than the superficial details, he looked – he felt – different. More confident, maybe? But more broken too. Either way, she was baffled.

Wesley took hold of her wrist, twisting her weight against her to pin her face first against the cheap wood paneling of the hallway wall, his wallet falling forgotten to the floor along with his bottle of tequila. "What the hell, Wes?" she sputtered angrily, too confused and her arms at too awkward of an angle to fight back right away.

Admittedly, he had only detained her out of his developed instinct to attack most things that touched him. But now that he was pressed flush against her back, bending her arm and holding her other against the wall…he couldn't help but notice how much Faith had stayed very much the same since he'd last seen her. Though he did appreciatively note that she'd apparently ditched the leather, taking in her dusty white wife beater and soft – if tight – denim jeans, over which she'd pulled a pair of cowboy boots.

"Good Lord, Faith, you're not living here, are you?" he asked with an undisguised sense of distaste, piecing together her comfortable repertoire with 'Esteban', and lack of weariness that comes with travel to the only possible conclusion.

She felt her breath catch in her throat, his voice all smooth and soft but a little crisp around the edges with his accent right in her ear, and she could practically hear his sneer. Way back, like Sunnydale back, she'd thought his voice was just annoying, lacking any command or hook to make to her listen. But when he'd busted her out of the joint, that was just one of the major changes she'd catalogued in him. Now his voice had a power over her, could make her stand up straighter and pay attention, or – as was the case now – could make that down-low tingle fire up something major and make her accidentally on purpose arch her ass back into him in a way that had her well aware she wasn't the only one whose mind was tripping down that direction.

"So-" Faith grunted as she wrenched herself out of his grip, shaking those really-not situation-appropriate thoughts off and pushing him back. "- what if I am?"

She rubbed at her arm, throwing him an indignant glare. After the Battle at Sunnydale, when everyone was making big plans for England and Slayer Schools, she decided that she'd had enough pressure and responsibility for one lifetime and had said her farewells to the Scoobies. She'd traveled for a while – courtesy of Willow mojo-ing up some credible ID for her – but eventually she landed here. She liked the town, the people, the tequila…and there were always a few vampires or petty demons to keep her busy. Not that she was gonna go telling crazy-ass over here all of that.

"'Kay, whatever this 'Clint Eastwood' thing you got going on is…drop it for a sec, and tell me why you're throwing me against walls and living it up on the wrong side of the tracks?"

Wesley merely looked at her, unflinchingly, thinking that his "low profile" was effectively blown entirely out of the water. "Passing through. My bike needed repairs," he answered simply, not missing her brow raise at "bike." Yes, there were many changes in him that Faith was not aware of, but he was not overly inclined to sharing. Though with the charged and heated moment that had passed between them just seconds ago, he was almost entirely sure there wouldn't be much chance for talking.

"You wanna drink? I just live upstairs." She hooked a thumb to a door behind and just to the left of Wesley that led to stairs that led to the little apartment above the bar. She'd been living there dirt cheap 'cus Esteban loved her and thought she was a superhero.

He looked down at the shattered tequila bottle and back up at Faith, considering. From the mischievous and predatory-like glint in her eyes, he could infer easily enough what exactly she meant by "drink." He had no qualms with one-night stands with women he'd come across during his travels, but this was not just some woman. This was Faith. They had a history – and not an altogether pleasant one – that would make anything that happened between them a little weightier. But on the other hand…he was lonely, and he'd be lying if he hadn't thought about this before. He hadn't truly talked to anyone in far longer than he could remember, and he was out of alcohol. Plus, he was just drunk enough that he could blame his actions on impaired decisions later on, should it come to that. Figuring he had little to lose and more to gain, he shrugged, nodded, and followed her up the darkened staircase.

When Faith opened the door and sauntered towards the kitchen, leaving him in the entryway, he was rather surprised to note that it wasn't the dingy, cramped, hellhole that he'd been expecting. It was open, sparsely furnished in a very Faith way, and the entire wall that faced the street was comprised of windows. Though it was dim now, only a lamp or two providing a soft glow over the studio apartment, he imagined the place would seem very bright and cheery during the daytime. Somehow it didn't really match up with his idea of where she would have ended up, but as he watched her pour a few drinks, he could see how at home she was here.

She seemed happy, and there was that cold pang of loneliness because even Faith had managed to carve out a relatively desirable life for herself and he was still just crisscrossing the world, killing demons and drinking himself to death. All by himself.

Wesley decided then that that was enough tripping down into his own self-loathing, and he would take full advantage of the evening to feel a little less alone. At least for one night.

"So, okay, you're passing through right? But you just dropped off the face of the Earth, man! Nobody knew what happened to you. So, spill – what have you been up to, Lone Ranger?" Faith came towards him, a shot glass extended as she raised truly curious eyebrows mixed with a little knowing smirk. She had always had that thing for bad boys and right now Wes was looking the least upstanding or good that she'd ever seen him.

Even when she'd seen him last, he was still holding onto his button-up shirts and expensive, beat up leather, but now it seemed like he hardly cared at all. She took in his plain black t-shirt, clinging nicely to his muscles, with an unabashed, appreciative glance over as he slung his jacket over the back of one her wicker chairs. If she'd known Wes was packing heat she might have tried this a long time ago – maybe even back when they were trying to catch Angelus. You know, to relieve some tension and all that.

But oh well, live in the moment and all that, right?

Which, clearly, Wesley meant to do, as she watched with a note of surprise as he took the shot glasses in her hands and very precisely placed them on her kitchen counter, ignoring her questions with a steadfastness she'd only expect from someone like him. And before she could ask so much as a 'whatcha doing, slugger?' he was up in her space, cornering her against the edge of the wooden counter with enough force that it was digging uncomfortably against her lower back. All she could do was stare at him, open mouthed and a little breathless, waiting to see what he would do next. She kinda liked this crazy, new, unpredictable Wes…she would bet whatever money she had under her mattress right then that he was probably a dynamo in the sack.

"I'd rather not talk about what's become of my life, Faith." He said, voice low and leaving no room for arguments. One of his hands skimmed up her body slowly – torturously slowly, she thought, he was clearly taking his time – until he slid it up her neck, one of his long, bony fingers gently easing her chin upwards, shutting her mouth. "And do close your mouth, it's unbecoming."

Faith was pretty sure she'd already soaked through her underwear.

Wesley thought that he liked her quiet and obedient, like she never was for him in Sunnydale, and like she only grudgingly was so when they'd worked together to take down Angelus. And she'd only listened to him then, because of Angel. Not because of him, solely his commands for his own purposes. And he found that it was satisfying in a way he hadn't expected.

"Turn around," He said quietly, and it could have been a dare, for the way his mouth turned up just slightly at the corners. Faith merely raised an eyebrow and gave him a saucy look before doing as he asked, splaying her hands on the wooden counter top on either side of her.

She really wasn't sure why she was letting this go so far – usually she took the control, and she kept it with no questions asked – but if anybody did ask, she'd tell them she was enjoying herself and wanted to see what good 'ol Wes had up his sleeves. So, why not let him have his little illusion of bossing her around? She knew she could knock him on his ass in two seconds flat, if anything she didn't like went down.

And that didn't seem like it was gonna be a problem, because she was really enjoying the way his hands gripped tightly at her hips and pushed her harder against the edge of the wood, before sliding down to unclasp the buttons on her jeans in a smooth, fluid movement.

She nearly moaned just at the feel of his long fingers inching their way down past the waistband of her underwear. It had been a really long time since she'd gotten any, 'cus she didn't speak more than a few phrases of Spanish and she didn't really like the idea of taking a guy home she couldn't even understand – though those Spanish accents really did it for her, she had to admit. A couple of attractive tourists now and then, a few reporters, but that had really been it for her sex life these days. And God was she feeling the effects of that now.

His fingers teased at her folds, skimming lightly down and around everywhere but where she was actually throbbing for him to touch. She tried to buck her hips down onto his hand, but that only made him still for an agonizingly long few seconds and she didn't try it again.

"Fuck, Wes, what do you want me to do? Beg – oh – for it?" She breathed; her voice hitching as he finally slid a finger inside her and drew painfully tight circles around her clit.

Wesley paused, a smirk on his face she couldn't see as he pretended to consider. "Yes." He said simply, stilling until she complied. Not that he actually expected her to, but it would be interesting to see what she would do.

"Screw that, man." She glared at him angrily over her shoulder, attempting to create some friction for herself by rolling her hips around, but he only tightened his grip on her waist – and she was sure there would be a bruise blossoming there.

"Alright. Then bend over the counter." He said smoothly, breezing past her indignant response and offering up his alternative suggestion.

"But, I don't-"

"Bend over, Faith."

Wesley withdrew his hand – much to her dismay, he surmised, as he caught trace of the needy whimper she'd tried to suppress – and slid both of his hands to her back, running them up towards her neck while he steadily increased pressure until she gave in, bowing under his hands and bending so her upper body rested on the cool wood.

Truthfully, he was surprised she had let him keep this up for as long as he had. He knew good and well she could take charge of the situation with both hands tied behind her back if she wanted to. Which led him to believe that she wanted this, and he wondered if there wasn't a part of her that had wanted it for a long time.

Dispensing with any niceties, he decided to forego the rest of what he had planned to be rather long and drawn out foreplay in favor of the main event, as it were. Faith was all but begging for it, and he'd be lying if he said his jeans hadn't become entirely uncomfortably tight.

She heard the sound of a zipper from behind her, and shivered when she felt him tug down her jeans and panties just enough to get the job done. Really, she hadn't thought Wes would be capable of any kind of sex that wasn't in a candlelit bedroom with soft sheets and full nudity and shit. The fact that they were about to fuck with her bent over her kitchen counter was so erotic and unexpected to her that she found herself silently patting him on the back in her head while waiting with bated breath as the throbbing between her legs was becoming almost painful.

Wesley had only adjusted his own clothing enough to free his cock, and without much more prelude than sliding a hand up underneath the front of her shirt to tug her against him, he maneuvered himself into her dripping and waiting cunt, a harsh groan escaping him at the sensation.

"Oh, God," He heard Faith's heady mumble, felt her arch back into him, saw the way her knuckles whitened as she gripped at the edges of the counter; and he felt an incredible insurgence of pride, for making Faith of all people bow to his will, and make noises and reactions like that for him.

And he thought that he wanted more than just an ego boost…he wanted to make someone bleed, bruise and hurt the way that he was scarred and broken on the inside. And who better, really, than Faith? He didn't have to hold back with her, she could take it and come out whole the next day. She'd probably enjoy it, even, he reasoned.

Without warning, Faith felt Wesley pull back slightly, and she glanced over her shoulder for some clue of what he was doing, and was rewarded with a painfully tight grip on her hips as he slammed his full length into her. She cried out wordlessly as her whole body jarred against the counter, the pain blurring against the incredible pleasure of Wesley fully inside her in a way that had her vision turning fuzzy and making her gasp for breath.

"God, again, do it again," She commanded breathlessly, her grip tightening on the edges of the counter in order to brace herself a little more for the next time.

But Wesley didn't need much instruction, as he was already slamming into her again, relishing her frantic moans, and the remarkably tight grip her muscles held him in in the position he'd placed her. He established a brutal pace that Faith didn't even flinch at, her whole body pushing back into his for every thrust he drove forward.

Her moans and cries mixed with his harsh grunts and bitten off exhalations to fill her apartment, the openness of it causing the sound to bounce around and echo. It all sounded incredibly erotic to him and he was almost afraid if he didn't start reciting Latin declensions in his head that the whole thing would be over far too soon. But he wasn't going to let her off that easy.

By the way her incoherent cries were becoming louder and louder, and the ominous creaking of the wooden counter top in her grip, he was fairly certain she was about as close as he was. So he let one of his hands drift from its bruising grip on her waist down to her clit, where he rolled the swollen bud between two fingers as he continued his unflinching thrusts against her and the counter.

Faith nearly bit through her lip to keep from screaming, and then he was fingering her clit just a little bit harder and she couldn't help but scream as her vision blackened around the edges from the intensity of the orgasm he was drawing and drawing…and drawing out. She heard a distant crack, which she'd later find to be a large piece of wood from her counter that had splintered off in her crushing grip, but she was too far gone at the moment to really register it.

All it took for Wesley to join her at the brink of oblivion was how incredibly, painfully, deliciously, erotically tight her vaginal muscles held and spasmed around him as she came. He'd never felt anything like it in his life, and it was enough that he found himself crying out as incoherently as Faith as he released what felt like too much pressure than he could possibly have been carrying.

He fell forward, resting on top of her, breathing heavy and shallow as he closed his eyes, attempting to recover. Faith laughed breathlessly as she felt his breathing tickle the back of her neck, and she pushed herself up on her elbows, feeling slightly dizzy.

"Jesus…Christ…Wes." She congratulated him in between gasps of air, her expectations completely exceeded – for which, she had never been happier. And even though she was all for the afterglow or whatever, he was getting kinda heavy, her boobs were smashed up against the counter, and the edge was digging into her pelvis and she was entirely uncomfortable. Plus she wasn't sure if she was ever gonna be able to walk again, but hey, she'd deal with that in the morning.

Thankfully, he seemed as uncomfortable as her, and was getting up just as she thought that, tucking his spent dick back into his pants all nice and tidy. She stood up straight – oh, Jesus her back was gonna kill in the morning – and pulled her own pants back up, grinning at him like the most contented cat that ever ate the canary.

She'd been about to step forward all coy, and suggest a round two – on a fucking mattress this time, thanks – but he was reaching an arm past her, much to her confusion, to pick up the bottle of tequila she had placed on the kitchen table.

"Thank you for the drink, Faith." Was all he said, in an amazingly cool and calm voice for the intense fucking that had just gone down, before giving her one last lust ridden look she couldn't entirely interpret and heading back out of her apartment, grabbing his jacket, and calmly going down the stairs.

A little – okay, a lot – shaky, she snagged the shots that had been poured but never drunk, and sank into her big wicker chair, thinking, as the door swung shut behind him, that they hadn't ever actually kissed.

And instead of wondering why it bothered her so much, she downed the two shots of tequila one after the other, relishing the burn.