Faith was walking down the main stretch in town, determined to ignore the events earlier that night, when Buffy and the whole Scooby gang had artfully shut her down and cut her out, telling her they’d figure out a plan – because clearly she wasn’t smart enough to help out – and she should just come back when they needed her to fight this weeks’ Big Bag with Buffy and company. Faith huffed, shoving her balled fists into her jacket pockets and angrily kicking out at the sidewalk.
“Hey!” Faith vaguely recognised the voice but she just straightened her neck and shoulders and continued walking.
“Faith! Hey Faith! Wait a Sec!” Placing the voice as Xanders’, her gait faulted as she heard him rushing to catch up with her.
“Faith! Christ! Just wait!” Hearing his frustration, she finally stopped leaning on a nearby post, turning to face him with an unimpressed glare, crossing her arms over her chest. She was done with the Scoobies and their shit today, and was fully prepared to rip into Xander.
“What do you want? Gonna try make me feel like crap?” She spat, but she was put-off by the hurt puppy look on his face. Like she was in the wrong and had made him feel like a worthless idiot, like they had done to her not even an hour ago.
“Hey now, what’s up?” Xander said calmly holding his hands up.
Faith shook her head, anger surging through her. “You know exactly what’s up, you dick” practically shaking with indignation she pushed off the post and moved towards him, getting in his face, before backing off and moving away. “You and your self-righteous friends, completely shot me down, and treated me like a dumbass”
“What Faith? No, it wasn’t like that” Xander exclaimed, making an aborted movement toward her.
“Bullshit, it definitely was. They ignored everything I said, and told me to leave, because I was too thick to help” She was being mean and vindictive, she knew he hadn’t done anything to her, but she hadn’t done anything at all, even when they were clearly being out of order. She didn’t particularly care though, she was hurt and she was going to take it out on someone, unfortunately Xander was nearby and therefore a target for her anger.
“Faith, we don’t think you’re thick”
“Not you maybe, but the rest definitely do. Buffy was rolling her eyes at me, and I heard her and Red laughing at me”
“I…No…They wouldn’t…Not really…” Xander trailed off uncertainly as he rubbed at the back of his neck.
Faith sneered at him “Oh don’t act like you care”.
Glaring at the ground Faith missed Xanders affronted expression. “Of course I care! You’re my friend! I get that they were out of order, but you just have to let it go”
“Let it go! Is that your brilliant advice? Just sit back and take it as they treat me like crap!”
“Yeah, you know tensions run high, things get said, feelings get hurt. Life’s too short to let things get to you, you know”
“That Zen shit you just spouted, that’s crap”
Xander clearly had nothing to say to that and just gaped at her as she stood ramrod straight and started to pace, words spouting out as she exploded.
“Life is too short … and my life expectancy is exponentially shorter than yours. I’m the slayer, we’re not meant to last and…and it doesn’t even matter. Sure I’m meant to protect people, save them, die for them. But no one gives a shit, no one cares, I’m not even THE slayer, I don’t matter. If I die, next ones called – who gives a crap if the skank Faith dies, when perfect little Queen B is here. I’m just an insignificant little speck of nothing, an extra, the sub, the grunt.” She abruptly turned away from him, rubbing under her eyes, staving off the angry tears welling under the surface. Facing him again, she huffed, looking at his dumbfounded expression.
“My life is shit, it’s going to get worse and it’s going to be short. Fact. I’m not going to have an apple pie life, no 2.5 kids for me. Fuck I’m not going to get to go to college. So please piss off and leave me alone. I’ll help you guys but I’m not going to like you, I don’t want to like you – I don’t want to be a part of your little group. It hurts when people around you die. And guess what Xan? You’re going to die, you’re human dude and your lucks gotta run out at some point.”
“You can’t go through your life pushing people out, Faith. It doesn’t work like that. You have to go through the hurt, get stronger from it, and learn from it. But that’s not gonna happen if you cut yourself off”
“And I should let you in? What, so you’re going to be my shoulder to cry on? The person I lean on? Trade stories about how shit my life is?”
Xander lifts his shoulder in a shrug with a small smile gracing his face. “If that’s what you need”
“I don’t believe you; people aren’t just nice for no reason. What’s your reason? What do you want? Do you want to fuck me? Is that it?”
The smile slid off his face, as his eyebrows scrunched into a frown. “N-no, no reason. Thought you needed a friend, I could do with one too.”
“You’ve got friends, Red and B. Aren’t they enough for you?”
“No, they’re brilliant, best friends I could ask for but – it’s just different, they treat me like their little brother, someone to be protected like I’m weak. Even Willow, she’s learning her magic and that’s great. Go Will! And Buffy doesn’t need me anymore; she’s training with Giles and Wesley. They’re talking about college, and just leaving me behind already. Like I couldn’t go to college”
Faith smiled a little as she listened to his mini-rant and watched him pace. “They have got a bit of a superiority complex”
“I know! Right?” Xander sighed, letting go of the simmering anger boiling under the surface as he thought of how his friends dismissed him, with more ease and increasing frequency. He flopped down onto a bench a few feet away, gazing at the darkened shop-fronts across the street. “So Miss Faith…what’s your last name anyway? Screw it. Faith will you be my friend? For ever and ever?”
“You are such a dork” Faith snorted a laugh, staring at Xander, scrutinising him as she weighed the pros and cons. Shrugging her shoulder in feigned indifference, she said “yeah sure whatever”. Settling down onto the bench beside him, she smiled as he bumped their shoulders together.