In Sunnydale Faith wanted, took. She looked more than she wanted; who didn't look at Cordelia that year, who didn't see her frozen eyes, who wouldn't have thawed her if they could? Cordelia wasn't the one Faith wanted, anyhow, even if she did have lips, painted bright red, that you wanted to fill with your tongue, even if she did ignite heady wargames when Xander dumped her, even if she did toss her cleavage around like it was Daddy's credit card, hers to spend on whom she pleased and God help you if you dared forget it. Want, take, have.
In Sunnydale, Faith took and had, not because she needed to, not because Cordelia wanted to, but because they were both in the library when they shouldn't've been, each with her own reason to search for Wesley. Faith knew why Cordelia wanted him, the arching back and long fingers she wanted to borrow for the evening, but Cordelia's dress slid up her thigh like she'd lost control of it, a seduction designed for Wesley and enacted on Faith, who turned the night around when she sank into Cordelia's cunt, forgetting for a moment whose secrets she'd come here to steal.
What happened in Sunnydale had a magic to it, a way of receding into blurry memory as soon as it was over. Two moments only -- the deputy in the alley, and Buffy on the balcony -- she remembered. Everything else was window-dressing, gray-green, even Xander and Cordy and everyone else who should've been red-hot memories. Cordelia's bright red fuck-me dress paled as soon as Faith had it around her waist, and her lipstick turned to charcoal after Faith swallowed her tongue. Sunnydale had the magic of being the only forgettable place that ever burned a hole in Faith's heart.
In the grit gray of prison memories, every fuck Faith ever had was dulled till there was nothing left in her but aching empty cunt and heart. She grew tired, wild, would have stolen just because she could, without need or desire. She'd never been a thief except for the Mayor's sake, but prison made her want to kill just to see the red. She dreamt about it, sometimes Slayer dreams, sometimes not, sometimes Buffy killing her, sometimes the other way around, sometimes Cordelia, splayed over the circulation desk, a knife in her chest while Faith licked her wound clean.
Faith thought Cordelia dressed up to visit her; you couldn't tell, with Cordelia. Who wouldn't she dress up for, who wouldn't she put herself on display for? Daddy's credit cards may have been maxed but Cordelia still had more sex to give, as long as she had flair and hair and skirts too short, she could whip Faith into wanting, and when Faith wanted whipping (just to see the red), she couldn't stop, but stared and wished for the night to end differently, that Wesley hadn't caught them, that she'd stolen Cordelia away when they had the chance to run.
Wesley never gave any sign that he remembered, was all English-proper when he visited (always with Angel), but neither did Cordelia, for that matter, with her sex all tucked up inside her, giving pleasure but never climaxing herself, her own joy still a secret. And neither did Faith, who would rather rot in jail for three years than talk about feelings or admit that she had them. Cordelia's visits were cherished in secret, stolen snatches of the real world and its colors, tokens almost bright enough to make her think she could almost remember the taste of Cordelia's mouth. Almost.
Faith thought that freedom would mean bursting to the surface, finally kicking her leg free of Buffy's grip, finally breathing freely, finally able to see in color. She didn't expect the darkness, and she didn't expect the ache. She didn't miss the dreams or the solitude or even the certainty, but she missed the feeling that things in the outside would be better. The world outside had changed; the Wesley who snarled with embarrassment when he saw Faith disappear under Cordelia's skirt was newly smart and bitter. The world was dark now, but Faith was still drowning in fresh blood.
Easy to remember, but that's past now, and the past is gray and dismal, the present glorious with the sweet scent of Cordelia with her dark dyed hair and a jasmine flower tucked behind her ear. Cordelia's smile, painted red, and Cordelia's skirts, long and clingy, haven't changed at all; they still entice. It's Faith who's changed, who can be her own namesake now, believing. Cordelia dips her fingers into Faith's hair, digging deeper, penetrating her scalp and fishing through her thoughts. Faith shudders and smiles and wonders whether there's anyone she ever hated as much as she loves Cordelia.