Between Season 3-4, a spinoff set in the Offers You Can't Refuse AU. (Please read that first.) A woman broken enough to believe she can't be saved. A man who knows he has nothing left to lose. Desperation, fear, and some hidden strengths throw these two together, stubbornly determined to show the world who they really are, who they can be- if they can just figure it out for themselves.
Author's Note: Chapters may be shorter and scarcer as I go on double duty in my professional life until mid-December. Please keep reading and reviewing, your encouragement means a lot to me and keeps me going. I still hope to update every few weeks. If you're a fan of mine, you should know the no piece ever goes unfinished, even if it's awhile between posts.
Dedicated to: Ginar369, Omslagspapper( Artistic Consultant), Cavemenftw, Jewel74, Illusera, The-Darkness-Befalls, Lou, Bookwarnedbookwarm, Austexfan, and Alkeni.
Nothing of Buffy belongs to me, except my sincere admiration. However, this story is all mine.
"C'mon out, you little undead bastards. I'm playing nice tonight..." Faith's wheedling whisper rang in empty allies and clean shadows. "Damn."
"What?" Wesley looked around them. There was nothing to complain about. Two uneventful sweeps and nothing but weather reports, civic concerns, financial updates, and cheerful news on the local radio. An all around success.
Unless you're Faith. "There's nothing to kill." She jammed her hands in her pockets and looked sullen and edgy. Inside the denim her hands flexed.
"Only because you killed them all already." Wesley pointed out reasonably.
"Or they're hiding. C'mon! I'll give you the first punch, on the house!" Faith shouted into the empty cemetery, where silent rows of white and gray stone made no answer.
"I don't think vampires can typically cover their tracks so well for three consecutive nights. Not all vampires in a single city, not for three nights in a row. They do need to feed. And this isn't a Hellmouth. Demons in metropolises tend to be wary of overcrowding, arousing too much suspicion. You honestly may have wiped out the current demon population. If you haven't killed them all, you've at least driven them out. Word surely would spread that slayer, or at least a skilled hunter was in the area. I imagine any threatening demon left standing would have fled the city."
"So what are you saying, Wes?" She scoffed. "This is it? I stand up in my superhero tightie-whities, all with the 'Thank you, citizens, our work here is done?' Roll credits?"
"It has been nearly a month, over twenty days of concentrated patrols. Your work here may be done. That doesn't mean we have to leave. I could tell Mr. Hanson we want to stay for November as well. He's already allowing us to stay until the first, he hasn't rented to the next tenant yet." He knew she wouldn't take the offer. It was the momentary pause he liked to watch. Each split second she delayed in shooting him down was another second he counted in their favor. She's learning not to run away. Simply to move on.
Don't I sound so terribly wise? Hard to believe I'm the one left the cardboard circle under the frozen pizza when I put it in the oven last night... He waited for her reply with a self-mocking smile.
Faith hesitated, longer than she liked to admit. Aside from the butt ugly house- it's not a bad place. The guys aren't too mouthy, the prices are cheap, it's warm through the winter. A tug inside, for something more permanent beckoned her, but she had long ago learned permanent things don't live up to the name. "Hell no. I am out of here. One more week in that house and I'd start going gray and knitting stuff. It's a granny shack. Next time I'm picking some place where the hot young things can hang, y'know?"
"I've no idea, and it's actually my turn to pick."
"I'm not arguing with you."
"Then I'm gonna win."
"Shall we have a nightcap?" Alcohol trumped futility.
"What the hell. Let's got to Clay's. I have free beer for life there."
"Do I want to know how you earned that privilege?"
"Not really." It wasn't anything dirty this time. It was for breaking the tips in a night record held by the bartenders. Okay, so how I got them was ... suggestive. Not dirty. I'm really slipping there.
Can you catch "nice" ? Is there a cure?
"Am I in a time warp? It's noon- and you're in the living room." Faith pointed out.
"I just came back. The last manual has been sent, the newest batch of textbooks has been assigned and accepted, and I've had a skim through one of them. The rest are 'downloaded', I think the term is, and saved as files so I can start typing whenever I like."
But he's not typing. Weirding me out. "Yeah, Wes. Go you."
"I thought I'd pack the books."
"Oh. Yeah." It's time to get ready to go. Good. Going before the crap catches up to me, always good. "I'll get the kitchen stuff."
"I thought you could look into what city you'd like next. I'll pick the apartment- you pick the town?"
"I'll get you a muffin?"
"That's a lame ass bribe."
"How about this?" He opened his satchel and removed a huge bag of Starbursts.
"Holy crap!" Faith rushed forward, momentarily forgetting to act like the streetwise sexbomb in the presence of an abundance of her go to treat.
"Ah-ah-ah." He refused to part with it. "Do we have a deal?"
"Are you gonna take it back if we don't? Seriously?"
Obviously not. He looked pained, torn between honesty and leverage. "I wouldn't waste it... I know these are you favorites, so I-"
"It's a deal!" She crowed and seized the bag. "This is a three pound bag!"
"It's Halloween tomorrow. Trick or treaters. This is the size to feed the neighborhood- or give one slayer a sugar high that is truly terrifying to behold." He teased. She was too busy tearing open the bag to do more than glare. "I thought you'd like to look up some information on the various major cities in the area of your choice and then you could-"
"Look up? Like at the library? I don't do libraries." Learned that the hard way.
"There's a coffee shop that's put in computer stations and started to offer internet access with your purchase." He explained with a smile.
"Caffeine and sugar? Got a death wish, Wes?"
"My thrill seeking knows no bounds."
"Oh! That's beautiful! Oh, we must do that! Rather, I must do that, I think you'd be bored and when you're bored things tend to go wrong."
"Now who can't keep their voice down?" Faith leaned over from her computer to peer at Wesley's newspaper. "What are you freaking about?"
"Just checking the daily reports- we still seem to be holding our own. Nothing untoward in today's edition. I spotted this." He held out a full page ad, covered in photographs and dripping gothic block. "A Civil War era estate- one that somehow survived Sherman's March to the Sea, is on the outskirts of Atlanta and they host a 'Halloween Haunted House Tour'. As well as other events, but-"
"Back up. You were right on this being a 'you thing' not a 'we thing'." Faith held up a restraining hand.
"I've seen more of this country in four months than many people do in a life time- and I'm beginning to chafe that I'm missing out on some of the sights. Now that things have- settled." And it's safe for me to leave her alone, we're not in dire straits, we both work hard- we deserve a few hours off here and there. "Halloween is typically a time when demons don't bother humans. And it'll be our last evening in the city." He pointed out.
"So go. I won't tease you too much. Unless you have to dress up like some Civil War stud to get in." She chuckled and turned back to the screen. "So- three dismemberings in three months in this city in Florida. Do we think serial killer or demon worth pulping?"
So much for a night off. Wesley straightened his glasses and squinted at the screen. "Hmm. Let me see."
"Hey, Wes? Is this your shindig?" Faith asked, mouth full of take out Chinese, scarfing straight from the container. They ordered in, as they were leaving the day after tomorrow, and weren't buying new supplies to replace those they'd eaten.
Wesley, carrying his own food nicely arranged on a plate, left the table and joined her in the living room in front of the television.
A blonde, smiling reporter was standing outside a lavishly decorated mansion beside a couple in elegant nineteenth century dress, apparently in mid-sentence. "- is underway for tomorrow's festivities. Local historians- in period costume, will be giving a tour of the premises, while the ballroom is opened for dancing until dawn with members of the Atlanta Symphonic Rep during cocktail hour, followed by some of the areas hottest DJs. All proceeds benefit the Historical Society and the -"
"She was still speaking!" Wesley looked hurt as the television abruptly turned off.
"You were starting to drool. I'm pretty sure water damage on the appliances isn't covered by the security deposit."
"He never charged us one. He really is a nice fellow. Salt of the earth type, I imagine."
"He's a sucker and one day he's gonna get scammed." Faith tossed the remote to him, and he caught it, one hand still balancing his plate, reflexes much improved since the night she'd tossed him her new fake ID. "You wanna watch the rest of the news, go for it."
"There was nothing of any importance. Just the city gearing up for a festival." He sighed. "Laissez le bon temps rouler."
Faith's eyebrows crested. "What now?"
"French for 'Let the good times roll.' It was on the ad in the paper. A term more commonly used in parts of the world where there was a strong French influence, I believe. Most notably in the French-Creole areas of the south, associated with Mardi Gras." He paused, skewered by her skeptical, laughing eyes. "I'm rambling?"
"You're rambling." She nodded. "You can go, you know. Tour. Touch historical goodies. I'll hand out candy to any parent stupid enough to let their kids trick or treat in this neighborhood."
"I imagine it's the one night it's safe for them to do so. More so now." He sat on the couch next to her, and picked at his food.
"You look like someone kicked your puppy."
"I do not!" Wesley protested, trying to quickly look less like he was about to sulk. It's not a bloody sight seeing tour. This is about saving her. Saving lives. What would you even wear to a dance?
Well... there is my suit.
I don't care, I'm not going. I said it was a 'me' thing, but in our free time, I- He trailed off, concluding silently, I prefer spending my night to relax with her. At least sometimes. "I think I'll turn in early." He said, trying to sound cheerful. "Have you got a shift tonight?"
"I have a standing offer at Clay's. I thought I'd go. Get us some gas money."
Silence. Television clicked on. Clicked off.
"You gonna go?"
"Perhaps." I do want to. It just... feels odd not to include her. It is a celebratory night for us in a way. Although- dear God. Faith in a home full of Antebellum antiques! "I imagine the bar will be busy tomorrow night as well."
"There's bobbing for for hard apple cider. I might ask Clay if I can be a bouncer tomorrow instead of making the drinks."
He chuckled. "Sounds like jolly good fun."
She blinked. He doesn't do fun. Not my kinda fun.
I don't do his. His idea of fun is sooo boring. Mine just makes him wince a lot. He oughta loosen up.
"Why don't you come down? They've got darts. You'd be a real shark at that."
"No... I should start annotating the translation I'm working on."
"Can you give me a little something extra with that glass, Sugar?"
"Another shot's still gonna cost you." Faith poured in a second measure and winked.
"I wasn't lookin' for that. More like your number." A handsome tanned man with tattooed arms and a slight touch of the South in his voice suggested.
"I don't give my number."
"Not even for your biggest tipper?" A fifty dollar bill slid under the napkin, an invitation to take the tip and write the number. Possibly only in quid pro quo arrangement.
"Dude, buncha numbers are not worth that much green." Faith slid it back, her eyes hardening. Cute but stupid.
Dammit. If I start liking smart guys I'm gonna jump off a bridge. Smart was associated with Wes. Great. Suddenly thinking about him. This is where I come to get away from him, and now I compare my customers to him? And I pass up a fifty? A lot of ripples here that we're not gonna get into when I'm serving drinks.
"My money not good enough for you?" He fluttered the bill as she moved past him.
"No, money's money. Just letting you know-" She smiled and moved onto another customer, "you aren't 'getting what you pay for'." A final saucy wink and she left yet another would be hook up aching, not making any impression.
"You're a real heartbreaker." Her next customer smiled drunkenly.
"More like 'heart impaler', but whatever works for ya." Faith took his order and made her way to the far end of the bar for the ingredients she needed.
"You're gonna be the trick and the treat tomorrow night, aren't you?" Clay chuckled and let her get past him.
"I might not stay too long. Is that cool?"
"Sure thing. You gotta hot date?"
"More like an incredibly boring one."
"Is he a nice guy?"
Her hand slipped on a bottle, but she caught it with deft fingers and a twirl like the neck was a thick stake. Someone clapped and she smirked. "He's really nice."
"You don't strike me as the 'nice guy' type."
"I'm not. This is- strictly a favor for a friend." He's the friend. And maybe the date. Not as in date, as in- fuck, Faith, just shut up! Mix drinks, make money. Simple.
"Lucky friend. Lucky fella."
"Kinda think he's gonna disagree with you." Faith laughed to herself.
"Can you do me a favor tonight?"
Wesley nearly dropped the dishes he was boxing up, the last box to go. All that was left in the house was their bedding, toiletries, and clothes. "Of course."
"Take yourself to that stupid fancy ass house and get your tourist on."
"But- honestly, I don't really enjoy large parties."
"Then go for the tour part, ditch the party." She shrugged. They carried boxes out of the house, down the porch steps to the rapidly filling car.
"Why are you insisting?" He queried.
Because you don't have fun. Because you work your ass off. Because- dude. He never gets a break. Think about it. Work all day. Patrol half the night. Sleep. Eat. Repeat. At least I like my job. "Do you like translating?"
"Your job. Your day job. Which is also your any time you're not helping me job. The one you earn money for. Do you like it?"
"Yes! It's quite simple, if time-consuming." Falls neatly into place, provides well, if not abundantly. A touch of order in the storm that covers her, covers me for being near her.
"Man, y'know, that's just what I was saying the last time I got wasted and rocked out. 'This was easy but time consuming. Dude, let's do this every night!'." She mocked.
"I didn't say easy, I said simple. It's quite challenging at times, but I enjoy challenges." He grunted and shoved a box in the trunk.
He'd have to, look who he decided to work with. Faith rolled her eyes as they shifted boxes around. By now the car packing was becoming an art form. "I'm glad you like it. You were all whiney the other day about how you never get to see the sights."
"I didn't whine!"
"You started to."
"Everything spoken with a hint of longing is not whining!"
"Hey, if you're happy with your nose on a book or a screen every spare second, cool. I was- I don't know what I was. I gotta get ready. See ya." I suck at nice. And subtle. Maybe if I had pushed him down the stupid creaky stairs, sat on his chest and said, "You. Me. Go." It would have worked. But no point telling him I would go with him, if he's not even interested in going.
She came downstairs in a shirt she'd bought last week. Red and black slashes of something tight and lycra soft, cutting off an inch or two above hipster jeans and her black boots. Her hair spilled out in loose wet curls, and the sleeves were absent, replaced by two pieces of fabric that tangled with the black of her bra straps.
He turned from the living room windows. White shirt. Navy trousers. Polished shoes. No jacket. No tie. Collar undone and a few buttons under it as well. "I thought I might-" Wesley stopped speaking abruptly. His mind stopped working in sympathy. The eloquent man couldn't make sentences, only single words in a string to describe what he saw. Night. Flames. Fiery. Beautiful.
"Hey, Stud." She sauntered up to him. "That works on you. Without the three piece look."
"I wasn't done." He replied in an odd monotone, eyes riveted to her.
"You should be. Gonna get all those debutantes in their hoop skirts asking you to bust them out of their corsets." She smacked his hands away from the buttons, leaving the top three undone.
"You know you want to."
"Not really. But- you." He blinked and reclaimed speech. "You'll be the belle of Clay's soiree."
"No poetry. And no belle."
"A coincidence. The poetry, that is. But you do look lovely. New outfit?"
"Just the top." She sized him up. "So- you are going?"
"I thought I'd come to Clay's." Wesley said.
"You did say he was having a party."
"Wes- partying in bars means wearing things you don't mind someone puking on."
"Then- why are you wearing your new top?" He sounded genuinely puzzled.
"Big tips." She smoothed her hands over the skin tight fabric. "Slayer reflexes. I can avoid the puke."
"Well... perhaps I'd better change then."
"Better idea." He'd given her something to work with, a lead in, an opening. So I only look like I'm being kinda nice. I can do that. "You go do your swanky thing, I'll go do happy hour. Meet you when the party starts in Gone With the Wind World?"
"Oh! Splendid." We just compromised. It wasn't even painful. "That would work out well. We deserve a few moments to relax." Wesley prattled, following Faith as she left the room. "Although, I don't know the itinerary for the evening. I'm not sure when the party begins."
"It starts when I get there." She smiled cockily.
The place was lit up. People in all manner of gowns and costumes paraded in, news crews filmed, children giggled, and music swelled.
Faith stood at the edge of the long looping driveway. I've crashed parties before. This isn't even crashing. This is open to the public with your 'donation' to whatever it was. The stack of fives, tens, and twenties stuffed into every pocket would be enough to get in and pay for anything she broke while she was there. Breaking something here was highly likely.
Big house. Biiiig house. Fancy house. Full of fancy things and fancy people. Anger, irrational or not, bubbled up, and she wet it down with one last swig of the hard cider she'd won, before hurling the bottle into the topiary shrubs.
Not for me. What am I doing here? Why am I anywhere?
Fuck this. I said I didn't want to go around killing humans, I didn't say I'd turn into slayer-rella. Not. My. Scene.
She turned and walked away.
Wesley loved the place. The antiques. The architecture. The old maps showing plantation boundaries and Confederate supply lines. He loved talking to someone who didn't interrupt him with a beer-scented belch when he began to wax lyrical about anything besides a weapon. He loved the intelligent conversation, not that Faith wasn't intelligent, she- simply didn't converse on some of the topics he found enjoyable.
Then the party began, and it got lonely. He got quiet. Withdrawn.
Look at this whirl of beauty and laughter. And thumping music. Why must it thump? He rubbed his temple and slipped further from the action.
He was always awkward, a wallflower. He had two settings. Pompous and broadcasting his knowledge. Shy, desperate, and inadequate. Moments of crisis allowed him to merge both into something he found more palatable, smart and eager, honest and willing.
Faith is the only one who gives me any middle ground. Not even middle ground- new ground.
Or at least, around her I remember who I wanted to be. Braver, more confident, more worthy of- of everything.
Worthy of real things. Not these things. All gilt edges and pretty birds in cages. He gave the mansion a single, stark look before he strolled out of the ballroom, leaving the place filled with bodies, though it suddenly seemed empty.
You can do this. He's waiting for you. You gonna let him down? Faith had left- and come back. Left again. Come back again. Stayed, but not entered, finding a way to be on the sidelines without being involved. She had plenty of practice.
Her eyes studied every piece of the place from a hundred yards away, working up her nerve, until-
"Are you leaving?" Faith's voice made him jump and skid in the white stone gravel.
"What in heavens name are you doing out here? Were you in the gardens? That area had a big 'Closed to the Public' sign." Wesley took hold of her arm with a gasp, furtively glancing around before they stepped behind a parked catering van.
"Lifts right up, too." Faith smirked. "Walked right under it."
"Why didn't you come in?"
"Why did you come out?"
Difficult things to explain. On both counts I suspect. "Hrm. Would you like some punch? There's some on the veranda."
"Is that the fancy ass punch bowl?"
"No," he smiled, "it's the fancy ass porch."
He sipped. She drained. He stood. She swayed. "Decent music for this kind of party." Faith's shoulders slid and waved, hair tossed from shoulder to shoulder, hands going high as the pulse of the music sped up.
"Mhm. A bit- throbbing, though." He took the cup from her hand and put it on the tray of a passing waiter.
"It's supposed to throb. It's body noise." Faith said loudly, over the rising clamor. He still stood there. Still. "Dude, don't you dance?"
"Not like this!" He yelled back.
"Want me to teach you?"
"Is that even possible?"
"Yeah!" He deals with impossibles- so can I. "C'mon! You like it when I dance with you."
When have we ever danced together? He wanted to ask, but then he remembered. Her first patrol. Our first patrol. Her seduction of her prey- and possibly of him. Dancing together- not so much, but dancing with her- yes, he supposed so. She entranced him. He felt like every move she made moved him too, in a tense juxtaposition with the way she also riveted him motionless except for a rapidly beating heart. "One dance." He allowed himself.
She claimed a spot by the wall. He immediately started to point, "Oh, Faith. If you'll look up, you'll notice the-"
"No architecture lessons." She shouted over the hum of music and crush of laughing people. I'm not here for that- I'm here for the guy. The nice guy. Holy crap, it's a miracle. Or voodoo.
"Halloween is supposed to be magical, right?" Faith grabbed his sleeve and pulled him to a half-arm's length. She began to stomp and sway as she spoke, and he- didn't.
Thank God for conversation. "Magical? I suppose. A pagan experience at any rate."
"Pagan?" The hand moved from cuff to elbow, making him at least start a slow rocking in place as he lectured.
"Ah- well- to honor the end of the harvest and usher in the darkest times- a relation to death that demons have encouraged. This is their night to rest in preparation. I imagine they also have come to realize adults and children are "Fattened up" after this evening."
The swaying stopped. Faith frowned. "Seriously? But we're leaving tomorrow..."
"You've rid the town of most demons. The late Mrs. Hanson would be proud of you. I'm proud of you."
Warmth. Fluttering. Squash it down, bounce it back. She tossed her hair and tried a careless smirk. "Ditto, Wes."
She's proud of me. Dancing suddenly seemed not only easy but entirely appropriate.
He wasn't very good. Stiff, like the robot, but without the intent. She laughed helplessly and dragged him back further into the recesses of the ballroom.
"Is my celebratory style not the ticket?" He laughed at himself, gently, for once not with bitterness, not with pain.
"Celebrating this good old pagan witchcraft?"
"No." He stared into her eyes.
Damn. If stuff I say - I mean, look who I am!
Nothing. Always nothing, at least to people like him. Well, nothing but trouble, nothing good. And that's cool with me. Still. This sap cares what "nothing" says?
"People really treated you like crap, huh?" Faith asked softly. "I know what that's like."
"What? Oh. No. N-not all of them. Only a few." The important ones. My father. My slayers. Their esteemed Watcher. The Head of Council, who I desperately wanted to emulate. A list of others... "Most were polite enough. They respected the work I did. Or tried to do. Who my father was." Not nice to me. Nice to my attributes. He smiled suddenly, the creeping sadness vanishing. When Faith does something nice I know wholeheartedly it's because she bloody well wants to, and she doesn't give a damn about any of those trappings. Just... me.
The corners and vaulted sides of the packed room glowed orange with candle filled Jack-o-lanterns. For a second, in the golden shadows, Faith swore his smile rivaled the width of the cut out grins on the decorations around them. "What was in that punch?" She laughed, pointing at his face.
Wesley self consciously ran a hand over his jaw, clean shaven tonight, but harder every day as long hours took their toll. "Not the punch. You-"
"Are gonna be wicked busy tomorrow, right?" Faith cut him off. He was about to praise her. No, not that. Say she made him smile. Just by talking to him, giving him two words. A new kind of power for her and it made her stomach tense. Shields raised to deflect, as they usually were. "All that driving. Hanson is coming first thing in the morning, didn't you say that earlier?"
"He said around eight to collect the keys." He played along, learning her conversational dance more easily than he was learning her physical one.
"You sure you like that place I told you about? Near Tallahassee?"
"I don't know that I 'like' any place where multiple dismemberings occur, but I certainly think it's a place you should visit. People need your help."
"Shit for the people. I just wanna go where it's warm. We could go West. Or back up to North Carolina. I once worked in this really awesome dive bar there- that I can't go back to." She considered. "So Florida it is."
Wesley looked momentarily confused, lips pursing, then collapsing as he tried to pick a thread of conversation to follow. Faith hid her smile under a sultry thrash of her neck and the depths of her thick mane, hands caressing her torso. Still able to bluff the guy, distract him.
"Wherever you think best." He nodded graciously.
The smile, hidden or not, erased. A look of seriousness stole across her face, the good hunter, always trying to learn her surroundings. She'd thought for sure she knew him, and now- I don't know. I guess I know the new him. The dude who just rolls with it- but it must bust his orderly little mind in all sorts of ways.
The thought of a Wes out of control was suddenly very enticing.
Wesley watched her step closer. Closer. Until he could feel her. He gave her a crooked grin. "Faith. This isn't a slow dance. This is Monster Mash."
"It is? Cool. We mashed a lot of monsters." She grinned widely, blood red lips shimmering.
"You have a bewitching smile." Wesley heard himself saying, and suddenly the said smile was softer, smaller, but even sweeter. Artless. Real. His own mirrored hers.
He's cute when he smiles, but when he looks serious- not the stuck up jerk kind of serious- damn, baby... where'd that nerd in a tie go?
He wondered something similar. That siren hides - something. I don't know what. Something natural. She thinks she has to put on a front to entice, when the truth is, all of her, contrived or true, would lure a man onto the rocks...
She pulled his arms, and they spun, no one leading, both half falling across a sea of black and orange crepe and through dark French doors to a deserted little parapet.
Her face changing yet again, muted sensuality, something beautiful and scarred daring to look at me...All kind of masks around us, and ours are slowly fading into what our real faces are. Who we are. Who we want to be.
She felt it. The fatal slip. Self-preservation reared with a tight gasp, a step back. "C'mon, Wes. it's getting late. Lotta driving tomorrow."
"One more dance." His lips twitched slightly, and he caught hold of her wrist.
He said only one, now he wants more? What the hell happened?
His fingers slid along the pulse point at her wrist and she had her answer.
Sparks. Sparks happened.
Neither of them remembered what the song was.
She remembered foreheads collided, and they moved with arms tangled, in rhythm, yet out of step together.
She remembered she kissed him at the end of it, long and deep. A kiss goodnight. A kiss goodbye.
We wear the masks every day but Halloween. Vamps and vamp killers- it's everyone's night off in this bad ol' club...
He kissed her lingeringly, longingly. Oh yes. He longed for this. A woman who wanted him, and whom he wanted.
She hasn't arrived yet. Nor have I.
Faith felt this slipping into a dangerously dark and comforting well. Down into the place where things shuddered deep inside, where liquid heat was made, and something inside begged her to make it hurt until she forgot if pain was good or bad. Let herself do anything, with anyone, as long as she didn't have to think.
He inhaled and pulled back.
"Wes..." I want that feeling.
Shit. I don't want him to be the one to give it to me. 'Cause he can't hurt me. Won't hurt me. I won't hurt him either...
When was the last time she kissed a man and wanted to hold him close- not for the sex, but for the man? To hear her own voice say something sweet and soft- so unfamiliar her brain stalled and guiltily admitted she didn't know any of those words or when to say them.
She kept her distance with an effort.
"Happy Halloween. To the belle of the ball." He whispered.
"To the best costumes." She said a little louder.
Blue eyes met brown, both black in the night, both knowing all too well what she meant.
"We do have a long day tomorrow." He said regretfully. Regretful in so many ways, some noble, some negligent, but both would evaporate if she would smile at him again. "May I take you home?" He offered his elbow.
The Wes version of take me home. Come home because you want to, you need to, and most of all- you like what you have when you get there. You like who you're with. You like who you are with him. She smiled widely, arm slipping through his and locking around it tightly. "You better. You have the keys, Dude."
Daylight came and the inhabitants of the city pulled off their fantasy faces and packed away their masks for another year.
Inside a car speeding south, two people slipped their masks, cracking and fading, back in place, and wondered if they'd ever be fully free of them.