Your Enemies Closer

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Chapter Two:

Setting---Angelus and Cordelia's mansion

It was quiet here for midnight. Everywhere else teamed with nightlife, but here, it was quiet. No gangs, no gunfire and no police sirens wailing. No, here it was quiet and she didn't like that sometimes.

The quiet left no room for forgetting and she would linger in the past and mourn a thing she'd never thought much about. She didn't want to, because she didn't care it was gone. But...she did, no matter how much she tried to fool herself. She did. There was a tiny sliver of memory inside of her that remembered what it had been like back then.

Back when she had a mission. Back when she still had a soul.

Her eyes closed, breath shuddering in her lungs and the crush of a cold body against her back keeping her in place on the wide, satin-sheeted bed. She let her mind drift.

How long ago had it been? She counted up the years since Connor had been stolen and everything had gone to hell, her along with it. Three years since that night with Angel. Two years since that night she'd lost it all. It still hurt to even try to conjure up images of her family sprawled in pain, but they came anyway, unbidden and sharply detailed. Blood, Fred screaming and a large, gaping hole in her heart that had been painful and absolute for one moment before something had taken her over and driven everything out.

One solitary tear leaked down her pale cheek and she let it spill onto the red satin, watching the material turn dark crimson where it fell. Everything inside her hurt, longed with certainty for those times, but she knew she couldn't have them. She'd fucked up and lost everything.

A restless movement at her back made her smile, despite the leaden feel of her heart in her chest. His lips were moist along her skin and his body was solid, a wall against the pain. As she always did, she let herself believe he could stop the hurt and make her feel something besides that pain. He loved her. It was enough sometimes to make it all fade.

"You awake?" Cordelia asked, shifting on the bed and feeling him nuzzle her neck with his nose. A shiver ran down her spine and circled back up her stomach, settling in the place where her heart had been.

Angelus smiled against her skin and she felt his hands snake their way up her smooth legs to her stomach. His cold fingers kneaded into the skin and flicked playfully back into the folds of her silk gown. "You're thinking too loudly. What's up?"

"Faith. She could be a problem." She lied, running from the thoughts of the past and focusing on the future. The one she hoped to end.

"Never. Killed Buffy didn't I?" He smirked and her shoulders stiffened automatically. "Sorry." He amended immediately, pressing his moist lips against her throat.

"It's okay. But Faith is different from...the other Slayer. She's unpredictable and wild." Cordelia said and turned in his arms, a long strand of brown hair falling across her cheek. He lifted a hand and swiped it away, his dark eyes serious.

"I know that. She's going to be a challenge."

"Since when has that ever stopped you?" Cordelia teased him, her leg tangling with his as she drew him closer.

"Never, I love challenges. That's why I still love you; you challenge me to stay sane and to not kill you every other minute." Angelus said, his fingers sweeping against the swell of her breasts. She smacked his questing fingers away and grinned at him.

"You're not just saying that?"

"Why would I do that?" He muttered and then crushed his mouth to hers, drawing her up into his arms and pulling her gown off with his free hand. As he pressed his lips against her skin, thoughts of what could have been flitted out of her mind. Now was the only thing she needed. Now until she ended it all.

Now...until she made all the pain stop. And then, a quiet so deep even she could forget.

*****

Setting---Connor Investigations, the Hyperion Hotel

"Damn it!" Wesley growled for the hundredth time that night, slamming the file in his hands back down onto the desk. His mind wasn't anywhere in the vicinity of where it should have been and he knew it. And considering he'd just read the same paragraph twenty times and had yet to figure out he was reading the cell phone manual, his mind was definitely elsewhere.

He knew where and it pissed him off, made his guts lurch and his heart to...well he didn't want to think about that. What he wanted was to make those damned rain-soaked brown eyes to go away and leave him in peace for five minutes.

Heaving a huge sigh, he leaned forward, resting his head on the edge of the desk and feeling the cool surface of the wood against his skin. Outside the office, he could hear Gunn and Anne leaving, heading back to their quaint little apartment a few blocks away. Lorne, he knew, would head back upstairs and wearily curl up on his bed, resting before he had to get up and go back to the losing battle he fought every night.

Wesley hadn't missed the conversation about her health, in fact, he'd had his ear pressed to the door, listening to every word they'd said. He felt sick to his stomach at the news because he knew her time was running out. Lorne knew it too and it was breaking his heart. The visions were going to kill her and it was all his fault.

"Fuck." Wes cursed under his breath, feeling the weight of the world settling heavily on his shoulders once more. This was all getting too much. First Angel and then Cordelia...and now...well they were all going to hell. And this thing with Faith? It was too much.

Another deep sigh and he lifted his head up, his eyes widening as he stared into the very pair of brown orbs he'd been trying to forget. She was seated, sprawled in the chair opposite him, her legs crossed her and hands folded primly in her lap. He hadn't even heard her come in and he marveled at her stealth.

"Faith...?" He began after a long, heavy silence that seemed to stretch for ages. A silence she didn't even begin to disrupt. She looked him up and down, her sharp gaze lingering on the white streaks in his hair and the general state of disarray his clothing was in. One eyebrow arched and then she smiled.

"Hey Wes." Faith let the smile take over her face, but it wasn't friendly. It was sharp, full of razors and hidden pitfalls that he didn't want to traverse.

"What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be out killing vampires for Justine?" He forced himself to say the name and watched as she grimaced visibly. "She doesn't like her recruits to contact me."

"Fuck her. I'm no one's fucking recruit." She answered, the smile still there, but a scowl was trying to edge its way in slowly.

"Good to know your vocabulary has improved." Wes said dryly, crossing his arms over his chest and wincing when the stitches pulled. She caught the faint flicker of pain in his eyes and shifted in her seat uncomfortably.

"Fuck off."

"Why the hell are you here?" Wesley interrupted, leaning forward and peering at her with dark eyes.

"I came here to kill you." She answered bluntly, lifting a sword out from beside her chair. Wesley started, reaching for the gun he kept strapped to his ankle a second before she threw the sword across the room. It imbedded itself in the wall to the hilt, quivering like a tuning fork in the plaster for a long, silent moment. When she spoke again, he turned his attention back to her with wide eyes. "But I'm not going to."

"I see...and why is that?"

"Because, you look like killing you would be doing you a favor. And I'd never do you any favors." She smirked and leaned back in the chair, that sardonic eyebrow rising and hovering just above her right eye.

"Good to know." He commented, his hand lifting from the cuff of his jeans and spreading flat against the surface of the desk. "So, you're working for the Hunters. They do good in this city."

"And they hate you. Big surprise, eh?"

"Not really, no.
Justine and I have an...interesting past." Wesley said, his hand lifting to his throat before he could stop it.

"She slit your throat, stole Angel's kid and left you for dead. Right?" Faith leaned forward, her fingers dipping into the candy dish on the edge of his desk and popping Skittles into her mouth nonchalantly.

"That's pretty much it, I suppose."

"She's a fucking bitch."

"Yes, I've come to that conclusion myself. On many occasions." Wesley half-smiled and let his gaze walk over her face. Five years hadn't softened her at all. She looked as hard, yet as breakable as glass still. There was a sad glint in her eyes that had previously been hidden, but now had free reign with her expressions. That sharp smile was still in place, but it seemed false, like he was looking at her mask. And he probably was, he reckoned.

"So...? You run Angelus's business now?" He didn't miss the two extra letters at the end of the name, or the fact that she had turned those sad, hard eyes up to his, questions and answers running between them.

"Yes I do. My colleagues and
I."

"And Angelus?"

"On the list of things to do."
He sighed wearily and rubbed the bridge of his nose with his thumb. She smirked again and nodded her head.

"Mine too. I believe some demon chick is also on that list. What's her name again....?"

Wesley's blood ran cold and he stared at her stonily. "Her name is Cordelia."

"Oh yeah. That's the name! Sounds vaguely familiar....hmm...."

"Cut the shit Faith." Wesley said sharply, standing up and glaring down at her. Hurt blossomed up over his heart in spasmic waves and he felt the stitches shift with him. Faith glared up at him for a second and then popped another Skittle in her mouth.

"I'm going to kill them." She smiled, nodding her head and chewing thoughtfully.

"I have no doubt about that. Is that what you came here to tell me?"

"Yes.
And to tell you and your PI's to stay out of the way." She countered, still seated.

"Sometimes we have to get in the way. It's....necessary." His gaze traveled from her pale face to the ceiling, imagining what was upstairs, sleeping blissfully without dreaming.

"And sometimes people get hurt. How's the gut wound, by the way?" Faith asked, her eyes trailing down his body to the soft lump at his side where the bandages bunched.

"Painful."

"Just so you know, I didn't mean to. I thought you were...well not you, that's for damned sure." She shrugged and he guessed that was her form of apology.

"Apology accepted. Now get the hell out of my hotel." His eyes were as hard as her smile and she flinched at the unbridled anger in his voice.

"I...

"Now." His voice was a growl and she flinched again. A deep sigh and she stood, her body moving cat-like across the office. She looked back over her shoulder and stared him up and down, the brown, pain-filled eyes searching his for a moment before the mask slid down into place.

"You know, you shouldn't piss me off." She stated, her eyes flicking back and forth.

"I'm aware of that and I don't actually give a shit. Leave." He countered, his mouth set in a grim line. She regarded him with an impassive glare for a moment.

Then, before he could move, she launched herself at him, shoving him roughly back against the wall. His back hit the hard surface and his breath spiraled out of his lungs at the impact. Her hands were strong and pressed painfully against his chest, pinning him there in a state of shock. She leaned in, standing on tiptoe to stand nose-to-nose with him, and spoke in a whisper.

"You really shouldn't piss me off. Get in my way again and you'll find that out the hard way."

For his part, he just glared back down at her, daring her to do what she promised. He ignored the pull of his stitches and the trickle of blood spreading from the wound. "I have a feeling I'm going to end up finding out, because I tend to get Justine's way."

She released him and took a step back. "Screw Justine. I don't care about her. I'm talking about you and me, Watcher."

"I'm not your Watcher. I doubt I was ever that in your eyes."

"You're right. You were a joke. And you still are."

"Get the fuck out. Now."

She glared at him for another long, tense moment and then shrugged, turning on her heel and walking away. He watched as she walked by the sword buried in the wall, wrenching it out with one smooth, even stroke. As she reached the door again, he called out to her.

"Faith?"

"Hmm?"
She turned, that razorblade smile back on her pale face once more.

"Do me a favor and don't ever come here again." Wesley said, sitting back behind the desk and clutching his hand to his bleeding stomach. Her eyes flickered from his face to the wound again and the mask slipped.

Then, a genuine smile stretched across her crimson lips and she turned on her heel and walked out the door.

Wesley watched her go and found himself smiling, despite the pain. He had a feeling she'd be back and he didn't know why that thought excited him. And scared him.

*****

When Faith walked out, she did so with shaking legs. That had been intense and it totally hadn't went the way she'd planned. Her intentions of killing him had, at the very best, been half-hearted and rooted in her anger. She didn't need the complications Wesley presented.

Here he was, the object of her last great sin and she'd hurt him again. She wanted to be good, despite the feeling in her heart that she'd never be -quite- a white hat, and he was throwing it in her face what she'd been. So she'd reacted, like she had always done, with anger, showing him that mask she'd cultivated in prison and slipping into the role she'd been designated by him and everyone else from Sunnyhell.

And, still smarting from the news about Angel, she'd threatened him.

"Fuck." She cursed under her breath, running a hand through her long dark hair and sliding the sword into its loop on her belt.

No, this wasn't what she'd planned.

"Have a nice chat?"

Faith spun on her heel, the sword wrenched out of its loop and pointed directly at the owner of the voice. Justine jumped back against the chain link fence, her eyes wide, but her mouth set in a grim scowl. The sword point touched her breast and stayed there, unwavering as Faith glared at her.

"You followed me?" Faith asked with slitted eyes and gritted teeth. Justine met her glare and smiled nastily.

"Didn't have to. I knew where you were going." She countered, pushing the sword away from her chest with one extended thumb. Faith lowered the sword and placed the point on the ground.
"Why didn't you stop me?"

"Stop you? Even I'm not that thick. You can see Asshole Pryce all you want, personally I don't fucking care. He's not my concern these days."

"Angelus?" Faith asked, her eyebrow arching as she started to walk away from the fence and down the street. Justine followed her, keeping a respectful distance at her side.

"And his demon bitch. He didn't talk you out of it, did he?" Justine jerked her head back in the direction of the hotel and Faith half-smiled.

"Naww...gave me his blessing. So when are we going to get his ass? I'm itching for a good slay." Faith said, turning the subject from Wesley once again.

"Tomorrow night. You up for it?"

"Always."
Faith answered, turning onto a side street and speeding up her steps. Justine followed quickly, her shorter legs pumping to keep up.

"Good. I knew recruiting you was the best thing I ever did." Justine said in a soft voice. Faith snorted and turned on her.

"Besides Holtz you mean?" Justine stared at her for a moment and then her eyes went hard. She stopped dead in her tracks and Faith stopped too, wondering if she'd said the wrong thing and not much caring if she had.

"It wasn't like that." Justine growled, her green eyes flashing.

"I'm sure it wasn't or else you wouldn't be acting like you hadn't gotten laid in ten years. Let's go." Faith shrugged her shoulders and kept walking, leaving the redhead standing there, glaring after her.

Yep. Probably the wrong thing to say, but fuck, what did she care?

Chapter 3

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