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*

"Hey Xand. Long time no lay."

Well, isn't that the perfect greeting? From a would-be-killer not-exactly-ex who's just blown in from Alcatraz to stop an Apocalypse. Or two, apparently, hearing Willow's description of the LA situation.

(And it has, in fact, been a long time. One year, one month and eleven days. And about two and a half hours. Not that he can remember the last time he and Anya made love. Not that he's counting. Not that Faith needs to know that.)

She looks... Deadly. A little older, in a well-matured way; fined down and toughened up. Cut about a little, what with all the world saving, but Slayer healing will take care of that in a day or so.

Not his that juvenile hellion Faith any more. This girl has control. This woman knows what she wants in life; and knows she won't always get it. Doesn't mean she won't try.

*

That evening, while outer-Xander manages Potential-feeding-time and fixes a drippy pipe, inner-Xander remembers how it was the first time. It was... It was a lot of things. Confusing, terrifying, over far too fast. And life-changing. Never forget that night; when Xander got laid and saved the... okay, not the world, but the school building. Um, for another coupla months, anyway.

Enough with the second thoughts. That night was important in all kinds of Xander-specific ways. Found his dick, found his spine, found his self-belief. Took him a while to get there with the last, but the memories of that night were the foundation.

Long time no lay. No lay, but lots of memories. Coming back now. Faith at eighteen. Knowing and inviting his eager self to go further and further, beyond the boundaries he knew. All lithe seduction, moving over him weightlessly but totally solid and real. Memories of that night were the foundation for more than self-belief. He'd jerked off to them for years.

And now she's back. Not noticeably homicidal. And watching him.

Xander feels her eyes on him all evening. And that night he goes back to old fantasy habits. Sleep is a long, pleasurable time coming.

*

The night after they Talk the Talk, and Buffy leaves, Xander is sitting in the Summers living room. He's trying not to care that he sees much less of it nowadays; at least, on the left hand side. Trying to forget what happened earlier in the evening. He feels adult, emancipated. And like the worst friend in the world.

When Faith comes charging down the stairs, it's a happy if worrying distraction. Wild Faith-look now; not her recent sleek and rebooted self. Not fleeing, that much is clear. Faith doesn't flee. She's determined, a person-seeking missile. Seeking- who? Not so clear. But she relaxes at the sight of Xander. Makes a decent effort at pretending the panicked wildebeest rampage of thirty seconds before never happened.

"Hey Xand." Her voice is throatier than ever. Might be panic. Might be something else.

"Hey." Because Xander isn't going to make any first moves.

"Anyone else adult around?"

"Hey!" protest various strewn Potentials, from the many recesses of the room where they are failing to rest. They are ignored.

"Uh, don't think so. Giles went out, to 'get some air' with Anya after burying the Bringer. Willow's... with Kennedy." Everyone's screwing but him, in other words.

Faith gives a half grin. "Good for them. Come upstairs?"

Whut?

That's either the bluntest and most public proposition Xander's had since Anya's famous Christmas promise about the butt plug, or else something serious is brewing if Faith's desperate enough to seek Xander-backup. And what are the chances it's the fun option?

*

Nope. It's the First. Trying to get at Faith. She's spooked enough to want any company she can get. Not so spooked she'd share with the Potentials.

"Huh. You are moving up in the world. Firstie doesn't bother with small fry." Like Xander, say.

But there's no bitter there. Not like he wants to be a focus for ultimate evil. And he's managed to break Faith's consternation. If she wasn't stern leader of the Slayer tribe now, he'd say she has the giggles. "Firstie?"

"Well, we're spending a lot of time with him-her-it lately. Time for a nickname, am I right?" Besides, the whole solemn business of The First sounds a lot more beatable this way.

Faith's giggles don't last long. "It told me not to trust Buffy. Which is crap, I know. But..."

Xander wants nothing more than to forget Buffy. Just for a while. "We can check it out in the morning. If you want. But don't sweat it. Buffy's Buffy. You know?" Honestly, he's not sure any of them know any more; just sliding out from under the problem. Talking about the morning reminds Faith of the big mission though. Not such a good idea – one crisis of uncertainty to another.

She's pacing the bedroom, fidgety and insecure. "Oh man. I can't wait to get going. First time leader and all. Don't wanna mess it up. No way am I sleeping tonight."

"Just lay down and relax." Because the last thing the jumpy Potentials need is a twitchy wired leader with no experience after the last disaster. And Xander's no sleep counsellor, so it's the best he can offer. Not advice to set the world to rights. But he never pretended to be a wise man.

Not wise at all, turns out. He's given her an opening for a whole new option. Fight, flight or fuck – classic stress responses. Faith doesn't flee; and she can't fight just yet.

So he shouldn't be surprised when she strips off her shirt in a single shimmying movement. He shouldn't still be there as she gets to work on her jeans. But he stays all the same. She hasn't acknowledged him at all in the process. He knows that she knows he's there. She could turn him away with a word. But, when they come, her words aren't rejection; they're the inviting Faith of old. "Lay down and relax? Sounds like a plan."

He can't take his eye off her.

She's all in black. All the way down. Plain black bra. Plain black panties. Nothing frilly. Nothing special. The body under them more than makes up for it. That, and the stockings. Faith the Vampire Slayer slays in stockings.

Xander feels like he should have known that. Is glad he didn't. Because fighting the forces of evil would be much tougher with a hard-on of steel. Right now, he couldn't fight Gachnar the tiny fear demon. He feels eighteen again; wishes he had both eyes because this deserves stereoscopic vision.

Faith crawls onto Buffy's bed. Perfect butt moving invitingly. Looks over her shoulder at Xander, with a sultry pout. He hardly recognises her for a second; wonders if she's really seeing him. Till she breaks the temptress pose with a true Faith grin.

"C'mon Xand. Long time no lay, right? Same here, in spades."

Memories come back. The good ones, which he's treasured. He laughs back at her as he joins her on the bed, not quite submerged in lust but ready to go. "Yeah? Well, don't worry. I can steer you around the curves."

*

Xander isn't sure who ended up steering.

There was a while when he was on top, which was new, with Faith. Stripped off her plain underwear but left those thigh-highs, for the look and the fun. And he did look, and smile with the sheer pleasure of her. And then turned her over, stuffed a pillow under her for the angle, and took her fast and furious like they both needed after the too-long time.

There was a while when things turned about and he was face down in the quilt while she licked into his ass and then wriggled one strong finger deep in and slick, so that he came just from the pressure and the squeeze and the rough-soft bedcovers dragging at his cock.

Then there was a long, long while when she sat across his face, his hands on that perfect ass, holding her so he could eat her, deep and slow. You might say she was steering then; thighs tight against his ears till he could feel the stockings on his skin and hair, grinding down on him so he had to make space for air. But then, she was also wet and gasping with need, coming over and over and begging him for more, for respite, for release.

So who the hell cares who was steering?

---