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Frozen Stiff

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Giles followed the path Faith had made in the snow, carefully setting his foot in the exact same place where she had just stepped. The snow reached him to the knees, and though he had longer legs than she had, he had to take long strides to keep up with her. On the next step his foot slipped, and sunk several feet into the deep snow. Giles swore under his breath as the powdery snow made its way under his trouser leg and into his shoe.

Faith swung around, easily continuing to make her way through the steep snow backwards.

"What's the matter, G? Don't you have snow in England?"

Giles shook his leg, trying to rid the snow. "Yes, we do, but the snow in England usually has the general decency to melt away the next day instead of trying to take over the world."

Faith laughed, and turned again to face the direction where she was heading.

"I think it's pretty," she said. "Like the whole world getting a new start."

Giles looked up, pausing in his attempts to empty his shoe. Faith had stopped walking, and was standing in the snow, staring ahead of her. Even though her back was towards him, he could tell from her posture that her casual words had struck a nerve for her as well.

He straightened up and walked to her, laying his hand on her shoulder.


Faith brushed off his hand and walked away, deliberately not looking at him. When she reached a nearby tree, she grabbed a branch and broke off a large icicle hanging, giving Giles a mischievous grin as she began to lick it like a lollipop. Giles rolled his eyes.

"Faith, you don't hav-" he started, but was interrupted when the demon they'd been hunting suddenly appeared from behind the trees. "Behind you!"

He'd barely shouted out the warning when Faith swung around, and placed a roundhouse kick on its chest. The demon staggered backwards, and before it had time to regain its balance, Faith brought her hand up and jammed the icicle into the demon's neck. Bright purple ichor sprayed from the wound, splashing over the white snow in a wide arc as the demon roared in pain.

When the beast finally collapsed into a heap and stopped struggling, Faith turned to Giles and grinned.

"See? Pretty."