Faith slung back her hair, doing a three-sixty to make sure there weren’t any more demons left in the trash-ridden alley. The only thing moving was Connor, finishing off some big horned thing. Faith couldn’t remember Wes mentioning a big horned thing but one less demon in the world couldn’t be bad, could it?
Connor remained bent over in an unnatural position for a few seconds longer and Faith was about to shout at him when he reached his hand out to something she couldn’t see – then jerked it back just as rapidly. “Ow!” he yelped.
“What now?” Faith asked, moving around her lover and the body he straddled.
Nursing his hand against his chest, Connor tossed his head, his face screwed up in a scowl. “There’s a little demon back there,” he said.
“Little?” Faith cocked an eyebrow at that one. The only little demon she knew anything about was that mini-fear demon that B and her Scoobs ran into that one Halloween. Willow had told the story over Buttershots during the last Girl’s Night. Hey, it was almost as much fun as the time they’d talked about the worst break-up lines. B’s cookie dough speech won, hands down. “I don’t think demons come in ‘little’.”
A miniature growl rumbled out from the garbage around their feet and Faith rolled her eyes. “Connor,” she said, squatting down, “it’s a kitten.”
“A kitten.” She shoved the hair back over her shoulders and wriggled her fingers. “Here puss, puss. Aww, you’re scared, aren’t you? Did the big, bad son of vampires scare you?”
“Hey!” Connor whined and Faith grinned at him over her shoulder before turning her attention back to the little blob of fur backing further into some packing crates that their fight had turned into a spectacular pile of rubble. “Baby, don’t go,” Faith said to it, her fingers reaching into the crevasse.
“Careful,” Connor said, as the pile groaned. “I fell on that junk earlier. It may not be too sturdy.”
“Damn it,” Faith muttered, “I can’t quite reach him.”
“Let me try,” Connor said, squatting next to her.
“Your arms aren’t any longer than mine,” Faith said but moved out of his way. Let the man try; then when he failed, she’d have a chance to say ‘I told you so’. “Hey, this reminds me of the time your dad rescued a puppy.”
“A what?” Connor’s voice was muffled. He was practically laying down on the street in his attempt to catch the kitten.
“A puppy. You know, a little dog? God, Junior, we need to take you to a petting zoo or something. You have no clue what animals are what, do you?”
He didn’t answer, his tongue clamped between his teeth as he reached deeper into the mound of trash. Faith could hear the kitten spitting and hissing and then a long yowl. Connor smiled, one of those freaky, jack o’ lantern smiles of his and dragged the kitten out of the trash by its tail. “Got it!” he said, triumphantly.
Almost as soon as it appeared, the kitten flipped itself on its back and wrapped all four sets of claws around Connor’s hand, not to mention biting down at the same time. Connor yelled in surprise, letting go of the kitten. It scrambled back into the trash before he could grab it. “Damn it, are you sure it isn’t a demon?” he asked.
“It’s a cat,” Faith said, managing to grab his swinging hand to take a look at it. “These aren’t too bad – look, you’re already healing.” She shoved his hand back at him. “Stop being a big baby.”
“It hurts,” Connor whined.
“This from someone who heals in five seconds.” Faith bent down again, peering into the crevasse. She couldn’t even see the kitten in there. “Damn. I hate leaving him here alone.”
“I think it can protect itself,” Connor muttered.
“He’s just a baby,” Faith said but ended it with a sigh.
Connor touched her arm lightly. “We still need to tell Wes about the horned demon,” he said. He turned his attention to his kill, smiling proudly. Reaching down, he grabbed the horns and twisted.
Faith winced at the horrible sound, somewhere between cracking and schlooping. The smell was unbelievable, rising even above the typical alley funk and she waved a hand in front of her face rapidly. “Phew! That stinks!”
Connor turned around quickly, watching something like fog, sprinkled with diamonds, drifting around him for a second. It spread out, past the demon, carpeting the alley then disappearing almost as quickly as it had appeared. “Huh,” he said, hefting one of the horns. “That was weird.”
“Tell me about it.” Faith made a face at the gore-slicked horns. “I’m not helping you carry those.”
He shrugged, starting for the mouth of the alley. “They aren’t heavy.”
“Yeah but they stink.” Faith picked her way over the demon bodies. She got off on the fighting but she really hated the goo that came with slaying things other than vamps. And the smells! She knew she’d be in the shower for a wee—
“Faith?” Connor wheeled around, the horns falling from his hands, already in attack mode.
“Calm down, Junior,” she said, looking down at her foot and the kitten attached to it. “Someone wants to play.”
Willow was right, that sneer was all Angel. “Well, you wanted it to come out,” Connor said, picking up his trophies.
“Aww, who’s the cute puss?” Faith asked as the kitten rubbed itself all over her Doc Martens. It rolled its head back, opening its mouth and squeaked in answer. “Don’t you even know how to meow?” She squatted down, offering the kitten her hand. It butted up against her fingers, its purr practically bigger than it was. “What a flirt,” she said admiringly, scooping the tiny thing up in one hand. The kitten meeped back and stetched its head up, bonking itself under her chin.
Connor sighed impatiently.
“What?” Faith asked, rising up, the kitten cuddled in her arms. “Isn’t it cute?”
Okay, so Junior could sound like Angel, too. Faith just smiled. “Hey, we saved a life,” she told him as she skipped out of the alleyway. “Trust me, that ratty hotel could use a cat.” She snuggled the kitten up to her cheek. “Couldn’t it, baby?” The kitten chirped in reply. “Aww.” She plucked it off her chest and held it up in the relative brightness of the street. Its coat seemed to sparkle for a second, as if diamonds were woven in the strands of fur. Faith shook her head and hugged it again. “We’ll have to think of a good name for you. Yes, we will.” Beside her, Connor sighed heavily.
And the kitten turned its diamond-brilliant eyes to its horns and began plotting its revenge.