Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Character/Pairing: Faith, Buffy, Giles
Challenge/Prompt: nekid_spike 30in30: Day 24: Feelings, No One But Her, Sorrow, What Lies Beneath
Warning(s): Cannon Character Death
Word Count: 1,046
Date Written: 28 May 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Whedon, not the author, and are used without permission.
Her punch slips a little. She's growing tired of this fight. It's not the one she wants, after all, but it's the only one she could easily find tonight without wasting time hunting down Vampires who have nothing to do with this particular killing or making herself a target to draw them out. On any other night, she might have done either or both just to relieve some of this cold-hot tension that's gnawing at the insides of her gut, but not tonight.
Tonight it's too important that she be here, too important that they keep digging through his piles and piles of research until they find what they need to shed light on his killer, too important that she honor his memory, and yet . . . Yet, he wouldn't want this. He never liked them fighting each other. She takes one last slug at Buffy, snapping her head back and making blood spurt from her mouth. "Damn," the blonde mutters, taking a moment to gingerly rub her now aching lips. "That was real."
"All of this is fucking real, B," Faith snaps before she can stop herself, before she can silence the pain chewing its way free of her tight restraints. Tears flush her eyes, but she forces back down and quickly looks away before her fellow Slayer, the only one still out of the Slayers who have been called who can match her, can catch sight of her heartache.
She thinks she moves in time, but she doesn't. Buffy still sees her unshed, naturally rising tears, or maybe it's the emotional strain in her voice of fighting herself for so many hours that gives her away, or maybe B just knows her better than Faith likes to think anybody knows her. But she knows. She comes forward quickly and doesn't hit her but embraces her instead.
Faith's body turns rigid. "B, what the fuck?" she hisses, but Buffy only pulls her tighter into the hug.
"It's okay, Faith," she whispers in her ear so low that no one else in the room, if there had been any one else with them, could overhear her. They've spent so many hours training in this room before, but it's never felt so big, or so empty, as it does tonight.
Faith's tears sting her dark eyes. She shoves against Buffy, but B keeps holding her with surprising strength. "It's okay," she says again, and then even more gently, she adds, "You know he wouldn't like this."
"I . . . " Faith's whole countenance drops as she lets go of the act; like a child releasing a balloon, her bravado floats away just as quickly. "I know," she answers in a choked whisper. She still won't let her tears fall but dashes angrily at them with the back of her hand instead. Buffy hugs her tightly again, moving with the super speed they both have before Faith can stop her. "I just . . . I don't know why . . . why . . . "
"Why it had to be him?" Buffy asks gently. Faith nods mutely. "My guess," the blonde admits, "is that he's the only one they knew they could take and it would hit us both. They wanted to hurt us both, and if I learned only one thing from the whole mess with Angelus, it's that loving others may be my strong suit but they also become my weakness. They can get me, hurt me, through any of my friends. You don't have as many as I do, but he was one."
Faith wipes away her tears. "Hell, yeah, he was," she admits. She had grown closer to Giles than she ever had to her own father. "They're gonna pay. I'm gonna rip them apart when we find them."
"We're going to rip them apart," Buffy amends gently. She wants Giles' killer, or killers, just as badly as Faith does, but she's not afraid to let her sorrow show. She's learned, over the years, that sadness can actually add to her strength, and it's going to add to her strength this time. She'll bring the whole damn world down if she has to to find her Watcher's killers and do to them every bit as much as they did to Giles. "We're going to find them, and we're going to make them pay. I promise."
Faith stares into Buffy's eyes. This time, she doesn't try to hide what's been laying beneath all her anger and their last fight that lasted well over a hour. B's always been able to see her true feelings, to see what lies beneath her tough as nails exterior. She should've known tonight wouldn't be any exception. She lets her tears be seen. She lets the agony of her soul over losing Giles be witnessed by one other, just B, just the one she's never been able to successfully lie to, no one but the girl who's hurting just as bad as she is. "I'm gonna kill them," she tells her.
B doesn't try to argue her out of it. She doesn't try to argue at all. She just nods glumly, as though she's accepting Faith's words for the fact that they are. Faith wonders if maybe B's relieved that she will do the killing, because she's pretty damn certain Buffy wants them just as dead as she does. "But they're going to suffer first," Buffy whispers.
Faith nods and actually cracks the first grin she's felt since they got the news. "Hell, yeah," she agrees enthusiastically.
"We're finally working together again."
"He'd like that."
She was wrong, Faith realizes, thinking back to the times she's spent with Giles. B isn't the only one who's always seen through her. He did too, and she used to frighten him when they were all younger because he knew the darkness she let free also existed in his golden protege. He'd expect no less of them after his death. He might hope for better, but he'd expect no less. He'd know they couldn't let his murder go unpunished. "Hell, yeah," she answers again, sadness tingeing her grin. "Now let's find these bastards." They'd find them, and they'd make them pay. Their Watcher, their friend, expected and deserved no less.