Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters or the setting of the story. All things I borrowed from the Buffyverse are a creation of and belong to Joss Whedon. I have also borrowed several ideas and concepts from to J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books, I used some in this chapter, some will be in the rest of the story. (the mirror of Erised, the Room of Requirement)
Timeline: a few years after NFA ("Angel").
Summary: Prequel to "Needed". Another visit to the Rubicon cave.
The cave is trying to extract the largest amount of emotion from her. That's why Faith's visits are different from one another, but always intense.
She shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be going.
The thought kept floating up into FaithÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s consciousness. She wandered around through the woods, losing her path more than once.
She should not be going to see him now.
The slayage gig was not particularly demanding at the moment. Spike was becoming unbearably annoying in his dealings with the former Initiative boys that had settled in town, and Faith knew that she'd better give him space to work out his issues. Xander and Buffy had requested the pleasure of Alex's company for a couple weeks. She had never had such a clear schedule to visit the cave.
So why the foreboding? Because she could guess which Wesley she was going to meet in the cave. She had finally located the Wolfram and Hart files regarding Wesley. She had just finished reading them. The pain that man had gone through when he had lost the love of his life had almost driven him insane. Some discreet prodding had resulted in Spike's account of Wesley's last days. And then, as if those stories hadn't given her enough nightmares, she had found in Wesley's private diary the memories of the "Billy" case.
From all these, Faith could be certain that this season's Wesley was going to be insane, drunk and homicidal or suicidal or both.
Faith stepped through the entrance and she soon found herself in Wesley's apartment. She had seen it twice before. The first time, she had left a trail of blood all the way to the bathroom Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the bathroom that she had half demolished in rage and frustration. The second time she had been there, she was with Giles and they were collecting the remnants of Wes's life. She remembered stacking the journals and handing them to Giles. The same journals she had snuck in the New Watchers' Council offices to photocopy a few years afterwards, after Dawn's wedding. After Dawn's first wedding, she corrected.
Faith saw Wesley sunken into the depths of an armchair. She might have thought he was asleep if it hadn't been for the repetitive movement of his hand, bringing the glass of scotch to his lips. Her eyes were getting used to the obscurity. She could see several empty bottles left carelessly around the room.
"Hello, Wes," she greeted him in a cautious, neutral tone.
She did not allow her revulsion to show. She could ignore anything except drunken stupor. Especially when it was someone important to her.
"Faith," he acknowledged her presence.
He raised the bottle slightly, both as greeting and as offer. Faith's stomach lurched in disgust.
"How are you, Wes?" she asked, hating this feeling if uncertainty.
"Spiffing! And how are you doing, Faith? Have you gone back to the dark side yet?"
"Jesus, you're a jerk!" she exclaimed.
"I'd tell you that I'm drunk, but I'm sure you've already spotted this, considering that you're used to this kind of reception from your white trash, alcoholic mother."
She had expected him to say something hurtful, but he was going straight for the jugular. She reeled from the accuracy of his aim. White trash Faith had raised herself in the slums of Boston, overcoming the baggage of an alcoholic mother with a string of boyfriends whose hands often wandered from mother to daughter.
"What's the matter, Faithie? You buried those times under the memories of the scores of bikers you've been riding since you were sixteen?"
This one didn't hurt quite as much. Old Wes had always considered her a slut. She hadn't been with as many men as it was widely believed, but she had done all the guys she had ever liked. All except Angel.
She thought about Angel as much as she thought about Wesley. Her MIA savior. It was not a topic she had ever been able to discuss with Spike. Her vampire friend was not prone to dwell on his survival from the final battle. Faith knew that he had tried to find out how to locate the others, how to open portals, but he had been unsuccessful. Just like her.
Wesley stood up from the armchair and walked toward her a little unsteadily.
"Why are you alive, Faith? When so many good people have died."
Screw that! She didn't have to put up with this shit.
"What good people are those, Wes? Your beloved Fred?"
"Don't you dare say her name," he said, putting as much menace in his tone as his slurriness allowed.
"What's that? She was too much of a saint for me to even mention her? She was a cheap, manipulative cunt who fucked her way 'round the office, and you were last on her list."
He slapped her hard with the back of his hand. But Faith could take pain. She didn't even have to become a Slayer to get used to being hit. Still, she was more affected than she wished. Every time she met Wesley in here, he made her feel wanted, maybe even loved.
"Feelin' better?" she asked, angry with herself for the tears that stung her eyes, and determined not to let him see them.
She had always known that it was dangerous to let herself develop feelings for Wesley 2.0.
"You know something? You are the only woman I have ever hit," he said.
"Should I be flattered or something?"
"You're the only woman who has ever tortured me, too."
"Cancel each other up, do they?"
"No. Want a drink?"
He offered her the scotch again.
"Why are you doing this to me?" she asked.
"Because I can. Because you let me. Because you're weak."
"I'm not weak," she said.
"Yes, you are. When it came down to it, Buffy was able to send Angel into hell. You? You couldn't even dispose of a monster like Angelus."
"I didn't want to kill Angel. You said it yourself, the champion was needed."
"You were the Slayer. He was just another vampire. You should have seen yourself as champion."
"I'll never feel weak because I wouldn't kill Angel," she said.
"And are you sure that's the reason you did not stake Angelus? Are you sure that's why you came up with that plan? Dig a little deeper, Faithie! You wanted Angelus to drink from you. You wanted him to turn you. To extinguish that bothersome little spark inside. That annoying little soul that makes you feel pain and remorse."
Faith shook her head. It wasn't true. It couldn't be true. She looked around the room, trying to find a crack in the illusion. She felt like clawing her way out of that cave with her fingernails.
"What's the matter, Faithie? You're getting that caged animal feeling?"
"Don't call me that," she demanded.
"It reminds you of him, doesn't it? The one guy who could've been a match for you. Except he didn't want you."
It did remind her of Angelus. It reminded her of the truly evil creature that he was. It reminded her of how weak and ineffectual he had made her feel. It reminded her that she had been able to see Angel in that monster.
Wesley poured himself another drink. Faith grabbed his wrist when he raised the glass to his mouth.
"Don't," she said.
Faith took the glass from his hand and the bottle from the table. She let them fall in the waste paper basket.
Wesley shrugged and went to a cupboard. When he opened it, Faith saw the rows of scotch bottles.
"Stop drinking, please," she said, and pushed the doors closed.
"Take my mind off it then," he said, and put an arm around her waist, pulling her closer.
The stench of alcohol on his breath made Faith want to throw up. She couldn't. She couldn't let him touch her when he was in this state. She pulled out of his embrace. She had to find another way to get out, or wait for him to sober up.
Faith thought back at her wild youth. It seemed like ages ago. Had it been only four years? Even then, she had had sex with guys who were drunk when she had been drinking herself. She didn't drink anymore. Except on rare occasions, in company of friends - a circle of people that pretty much resumed to Spike. She was a mom now. She didn't drink alone. She didn't drink to get in the mood.
She shuddered. What kind of irresponsible mother was she? To walk into this trap once every few months, without as much as knowing its origin, or what made it work, or why it allowed her in and out. Why didn't she have the strength to stay away?
Wesley reached around her, opened the cupboard again and took out a bottle.
"No!" she shouted at him, snatching the bottle. "Fuck no!" she said and threw the bottle to the floor.
Faith took them out and threw them one by one into the wall. They smashed with a satisfactory sound of breaking glass and sloshing liquid. Wesley tried to stop her, tried to save at least one. She pushed him away forcefully. He fell backwards on the coffee table, which splintered on impact.
"You'd better finish me off this time," he said from the floor.
"Shut up," she said without looking at him.
He lay there while she finished destroying the rest of his stash. When there were no bottles left, Faith turned around. He seemed broken beyond repair. He was also uncannily handsome in his fallen angel incarnation. She knew he wasn't the real Wes, but she still wished she could carry part of his pain.
"Bitch," he said, looking at the shards of glass that floated in scotch.
She had never before hated him so much. She had despised him back in Sunnydale, she had admired him when they hunted together in L.A., she had loved him when he seemed to adore her in this very cave. Now he was just another slave of alcohol. How dared he let her down!
She felt that need to hurt him again. Tie him to a chair, and mess him up for real. She'd been strung too tight to resist. She grabbed his jacket and pulled him off the floor effortlessly. He was at eye level for a moment, but his blue gaze was blurred by alcohol, which only served to escalate her hatred. She pushed him hard against the wall. He was beginning to slump to the floor when the first punch landed.
Faith kept hitting him until his face was so swollen that she could no longer distinguish his features. She remembered one of Spike's stories about his relationship with B. Buffy usually took out on him her anger and confusion. One night, she had beaten him to a pulp. Faith remembered wondering how anyone could hit the person they loved.
Wesley took it all passively. He was probably numbed by alcohol anyway. Faith's hits were getting weaker. She could hardly see from the welling tears. Instead of delivering another punch, her right hand cupped his face. Her left was fisted in his shirt, pressing him into the wall. She was the only thing that kept him standing. She propped his body with hers. Against all reason, lust was inundating her system.
Faith's right hand sneaked between their pressed bodies. She began massaging the front of his trousers, feeling him get harder under her touch. He hadn't screamed while she was hitting him, but he was moaning now.
She maneuvered them both to the floor, half sliding, half falling. She undid his trousers hurriedly. His cock sprang up as soon as it was freed. He was a lot harder than he should've been after a couple of touches through the fabric. It looked like the line between pleasure and pain was kind of blurred for good old Wesley. Worked for her.
Faith impaled herself on him without any warning. It shocked and mortified her how wet she was. She put out of her mind the guilt and shame. She rode the fallen Wesley without pause and without mercy. His fingers were digging painfully into her hips as he came, grunting and bucking under her. She clenched her inner muscles, willing herself to come at the same time as him.
Why was she always coming back?
To be continued...