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The walls are like tissue here, soaking up sound so that it bleeds through to the other side, but Faith doesn’t complain. Giles has fucking fantastic taste in music, and if it makes him feel better to listen to some classic vinyl in the middle of the night, hey, she’s not going to be the one to stop him.

Everybody needs an escape. Because no matter how thin the walls are, they still lock you in.

Beyond Townshend’s chaotic guitar is the soft thrum of rain, London’s near nightly reminder that she isn’t home any more. Of course, Giles calls this home, which means its hers for now, too, but it’s been so long since she even knew what that word meant, Faith still forgets. Until he looks at her, or maybe he smiles. Then she remembers. He can’t hide the sorrow any better than she can.

She sits up in bed, tilting her head as she listens. He’s singing along, his voice soft and clear, and she can almost hear the words. Almost. Not quite. For as not soundproof the flat is, those elude her, wrapped up in the devastating rhythms that make the walls pulse. He doesn’t know she can hear him, because he’d stop if he did. It’s better this way. This way lets it out, lets it all out, for both of them, for each, and Faith wouldn’t change it for the world.

She had the world once. It really wasn’t worth it.

It pulls her to her feet, pulls her to the door, pulls her to his until it’s time to push the other open. His back is against one of the bed’s posters, and his eyes are closed as the music fills his head, but even though she didn’t make a whisper, Giles looks up and pins her in the doorway anyway. With eyes both hollow and bright.

“Did I wake you?”

“No.”

“You’re still not sleeping.”

It’s not a question.

“Come here.”

And she goes. He holds his hand out to her, but she wants to tell him that’s not necessary. She wants to tell him lots of things, but as she sinks down onto his lap and coils her arms around his shoulders, Faith has no words. She wonders sometimes if she ever did.

Giles did, once upon a time. But now, he is as silent as she is, his voice fading away as his mouth merges with hers. Now, he finds his words in lyrics, in instructions, in murmurs in the dead of night. And Faith holds onto them, clings desperately in order to take their strength. She needs it. She doesn’t want to disappear like Buffy did.

Every Watcher needs a Slayer.

Every Slayer needs a Watcher.

And sometimes, walls aren’t the prisons you think they are.

Sometimes, walls are the only refuge you have.