Chapter Two: Dry Lover Mine
“You like that?” He was watching her with an intensity that she found both irritating and arousing.
“Harder,” she ground out. “Come on, Angelus, don’t be a pussy. At least try to make it hurt.” He tightened the ropes before doing as she asked.
“Better?” She shuddered, a sigh of pleasure slipping past her lips. He smiled, moving to kiss her, but she turned slightly away so that his mouth slid down her throat instead.
“Not on the mouth.”
She thought maybe she had been normal at one time. She knew it hadn’t been for long, but she was sure that somewhere inside her mind was the memory of a happy girl doing regular, happy, girl type things. She hadn’t been able to pull that memory up yet, but she kept trying. She searched back through her life – before her mother got all fucked up, before the boyfriends started looking to her after her mother had passed out, before she got the calling – but there was a barrier there, and she could never seem to get past it to find the good stuff.
All she remembered of her life was pain and rage and betrayal until finally, for one brief shining moment, Angel had seen her, seen the real her, and known just what to do to save her from herself. And then she had been safe. She had been loved. And there was peace. She had clung to that moment during her time in prison, clung to it as she tried desperately to repay Angel for what he’d done for her, and she clung to it now, even as she knew she had become something vile, something Angel would have killed had he been around.
But he wasn’t around. And Angelus was. And sometimes, sometimes she could almost pretend that he was still the friend she had loved. In the quiet moments she would look at him, and she would feel that peace flood through her, and she was happy. Then he’d shatter the illusion by beating her or raping and torturing some innocent young thing right in front of her. And it was then that she would realize just how far beyond normal she had gone. Because she enjoyed it. Even as she fought back, even as she longed to rescue his victims, she knew that she would never give any of this up, not for anything. And so she joined him in his hunts. And she was happy. And every day she hated herself just a little bit more.
It amazed her, the things she was aware of now that she’d never noticed before. The rush of blood pulsing through veins, the steady rhythm of a heartbeat and the way it suddenly sped up when her victim realized she was something other than human, the slight intake of breath as she bit into their jugular, and the sweet sound of fading life. Every emotion flowing off the people around her had a distinct smell, fear, desire, excitement, sadness; it was all so beautiful. She loved to immerse herself in the sounds and smells, seeking out her prey through those senses alone. Angelus thought her choices were random and haphazard, but every single victim was carefully chosen.
“I’m just saying, you could stand to be a little more particular. Watch them, study them, pick the most exquisite kill. This isn’t the weekly trip to the market, princess; this is art.”
“It’s not art, you jackass. We’re monsters. We hunt; we feed. End of story.” Faith flicked her cigarette into the road. “I’m not random, you know. I have my reasons for every single kill I’ve made. Just ‘cause I’m not going all crazy, psycho freak about it like you do doesn’t make my choices any less valid.” She stuck her hands in her pockets, giving him a dirty look. “And stop calling me princess. It’s annoying.”
“What are we doing?” She stopped, turning to look at him.
“Well, I thought we were going for a walk.” She waited for him to respond, but he just stared at her with that dull, blank look on his face. “You know, that thing you do when you put one foot in front of the other and wind up in a different place than where you were.”
“No, this… We’ve been doing this kind of crap all week. Why are we just walking around having pointless conversations?”
“What? I thought it was kinda fun. Talking, having a discussion like people do.” She frowned. “We’re discussing our killing methods so, yeah, not exactly normal, but almost pleasant in an ‘I’m only here ‘cause I have no other choice’ kinda way. Still…” He growled in disgust.
“That’s what I mean. Talking like people. Walking around like some kind of… couple. We’re not people, Faith; we should be out killing instead of standing around talking about it.”
“We’ve been killing. This is just a little post-hunt entertainment. It’s nice.”
“I don’t do nice. This, this is just disgusting.” He strode off angrily, leaving her alone.
“Fine,” she muttered. “I didn’t want to talk to you anymore anyway.”
He’d been in a weird mood when he got home, spent a lot of time beating on her and not in the usual fun way. She’d fought back like she always did, but everything was all off. She was usually the one filled with hate and anger and self-disgust. Angelus usually spent the whole fight smiling or laughing or annoying her in some other irritating way. Something had gotten into him, though, and he hadn’t thought it was at all funny this time.
He’d laid into her with a fierce determination to make her pay. For what, well, that was a little fuzzy. She didn’t know what his fucking problem was, but it kind of threw her off her game. Three broken ribs, a split lip, and her left eye was swollen shut. She went into the bathroom to clean up afterwards, and when she came out he was gone. She fell into bed thinking maybe this time he wouldn’t come back at all. Hoping she was right. Praying that she was wrong.
She wasn’t sure when it started, couldn’t really remember the first kill. She only did it on nights when Angelus wasn’t with her, and she wasn’t sure why she hid it from him. He’d done it before, too; it wasn’t as if demons killing demons was forbidden or anything. Her reasons for doing it were different than other vamps’, but the end result was the same so what did it matter?
She watched them as they followed a couple of young lovers through the park. Stupid kids. Completely oblivious to the danger they were in. She watched as the boy stroked his girlfriends neck, followed the sweep of his fingers as they grazed the girl’s pulse. Faith’s gaze became riveted to the spot, imagining the sweet flow of blood across her tongue. She could almost hear her cries; smell the boyfriend’s fear as he tried to help. She shook her head, pushing away the distracting images. Should have eaten before she started this. Better grab a quick bite after.
He was waiting for her when she got home. Caught her off guard, slamming her up against the wall, his face inches away from hers as his face twisted in rage.
“Where were you?”
“Humans?” She shot him a look of annoyance.
“Of course. Isn’t that what we do, our reason for being or some bullshit?” He pushed away from her, his arms crossed as he paced the room.
“Some of us. And then there are some of us who go out, get into a fight at the local demon bar, and take out half the vamps in the place.”
“First of all, they started it, alright? And it’s not like you’re exactly keeping the peace when you go down there.” She stripped off her jacket, tossing it on the bed. “And it wasn’t half; it was all.” He was in front of her so fast she barely had time to register it before he backhanded her.
“It wasn’t all of them. At least one got away.” She cradled her jaw in her hand and glared at him.
“How the fuck do you know if one got away?”
“I know because he followed you all over town tonight and watched as you tracked down and destroyed five nests. Couldn’t stop there, though, could you, Faithy? Had to go and rescue some innocents while you were at it.” He stared at her for a moment, clenching and unclenching his jaw. “Dammit, Faith. What the hell are you doing? If you’re gonna start acting like Spike could you at least be discreet?”
“I’m not saving people; I’m just-”
“Just what, Faith? I thought you got all this Slayer crap out of your system.”
“This isn’t Slayer crap, you idiot. If I want to kill some goddamn vamps, I will; I don’t have to answer to you. Or anyone else.” He grabbed her arm, and she jerked away from him. “God, who the fuck do you think you are? You don’t own me.” She stripped off her clothes as she headed for the bathroom. “I’m gonna go take a shower; I got dust all over me.” She glanced over her shoulder. “You coming or what?”
She watched him as he slept; it was a ritual she’d begun months ago, and she was fairly certain he had no idea that she did it. Seeing him this way, peaceful, serene, almost… innocent; it was hard for her to remember that he wasn’t Angel.
She’d loved Angel, and while she knew he had cared for her he had never wanted her the way Angelus did. Her relationship with Angelus was an all-consuming delirium that she wasn’t sure she could ever live without, but sometimes she still missed the gentle smile and the haunted eyes that belonged only to Angel.
She didn’t understand why she felt this desire for him. For Angelus. She hated him, hated that he’d taken Angel away from her, hated that he’d turned her into a monster, but something about him called to the dark part of her. She looked at him, and something feral unfurled deep inside of her, something that urged her to take what she wanted. Enjoy the death and violence, enjoy his body in hers. Take it. Use it. Revel in it.
She’d been listening to that voice a lot lately. Angelus thought she was normal now, no more weird moments of conscience, no more Slayer living inside her head. She let him believe it because she thought eventually it wouldn’t be a lie, but the voices wouldn’t die, and the dreams never left her. This constant war in her head was driving her crazy. Overpowering images of blood and death and carnage filled her mind, making her hungry, making her wet. Then behind it all, something telling her it was wrong, telling her she shouldn’t want these things. Conflicting natures fighting for dominance. Sooner or later she was gonna lose the fight, and it was only a matter of time before he figured out that she wasn’t who he thought she was. She watched as Angelus reached out for her in his sleep. Her grip tightened on the stake she held, and a smile crossed her face. Soon.
~What are you doing? You’re stronger than this. Fight it.~
~Can you feel it? The hunger surging inside you, the rush of their blood as they fight for their lives?~
~They need your help, Faith.~
~They need the peace you can bring them. It’s all for the best. Death is just the beginning.~
~You’re not a killer.~
~Death is your gift.~
“Bad dreams?” If anyone else had asked she would have thought they were concerned, but with Angelus she knew it was anything but. Compassion wasn’t exactly his strong suit.
“My dreams are none of your fucking business,” she bit out as she rolled out of bed.
“Feisty,” he said, grabbing her hand and pulling her back down underneath him. “I like it.” He moved to kiss her, and she sent him sprawling with a shove.
“I’m not in the mood, Angelus.” She climbed back up, but he knocked her to the ground before she got to the door. He gave her a mocking smile as he pinned her hands above her head.
“Doesn’t really matter.” He knew what she liked, just how to touch her, just how to hurt her in all the right places. She almost gave in, but she was really sick of letting him run the show. The look of surprise on his face when she threw him across the room was priceless. The hint of nervousness as she approached him – even better. She grabbed him by the throat, lifting him off his feet as she slammed him against the wall.
“I think it’s time we got something straight. You may be my sire, you may wear the face of someone that I used to care about, but that doesn’t get you jack shit from me.” She tossed him back on the bed, moving quickly to straddle him. “In case it’s escaped your notice, I’m stronger than you.” She leaned her arm across his throat and pressed down, hard. “You only hurt me because I let you hurt me. We only fuck when I want to fuck.” She climbed off of him, dragging on her clothes. “I don’t know what you made me for, but I’m not here to be your toy so you need to get over that idea real quick.”
“Why are you here?” She faltered slightly at the door.
“I…don’t know.” He was behind her before she could move, his hand holding the door shut, his chest pressed tight against her back as he whispered in her ear in that infuriatingly smug voice,
“You need me, Faith.” His lips moved on her throat, teeth biting gently. “That’s why you’re here.” She stood rigid in his embrace, anger rushing through her. She turned to face him, her hands moving over his chest, and he smiled. Bastard probably thinks he won.
“Angelus?” she murmured, sliding her body against his.
“Yeah, baby?” She titled his chin so he was looking her in the eye.
“I don’t need anyone.” His face tightened, and she pulled the door open to go. “I never have, and I never will.”
She shouldn’t be here. Faith backed up until she was sure the girl couldn’t see her. She shouldn’t be here; she should be miles away with her friends. If Angelus knew she was here… No. No. No. Had to warn her. Make her leave before something bad happened – long, slow, sweet torture, this one always hated her, time to get a little payback – NO. Faith shook her head. Couldn’t let the darkness swallow this one. Had to warn –
“Faith?” Her head shot up in surprise. Should have been paying attention. “I almost didn’t see you.”
“Don’t worry,” she whispered, glancing around furtively. “I know all about the jail break. Talked to Wes right after, said you were helping out with some big scary that was brewing up this way. How’d that work out for ya, anyway?”
“Good. Great. Still in one piece so… How’s things with you? Shouldn’t you be down helping kick demon ass in SunnyD?” Willow waved her hand dismissively.
“That? Just got done averting a big ol’ world destroying apocalypse. You know, giant evil, come to kill us all. Same old, same old. We usually have a little down time before things kick back into gear.”
“Get out of town. Now.” Willow frowned.
“Look, Faith, I know we’re not exactly friends, but- ” Faith grabbed her.
“I’m serious. You gotta go. There’s stuff going on… I know you have no reason to trust me what with the whole kidnapping and holding you at knife point thing- ”
“Oh, that?” Willow rolled her eyes. “So over it.”
“But you gotta trust me right now when I tell you to leave.” Willow stared at her for a long time, and Faith started to get worried that she might just ignore her warnings.
“Okay. Okay, I’ll go, but you gotta call me later and let me know what the heck is going on.”
“I will just… go.” Willow studied her for a long, endless moment before turning and walking away.
When Faith got back to the apartment she sat staring at the wall, unsure of her decision. It was good that she had saved Willow, right? It would have been wrong to let Angelus kill her, not to mention the trouble it would have brought down on their heads. Buffy would have found out; then they’d have had to deal with a pissed off Slayer, and they really didn’t need that. It was a good thing. Wasn’t it? – eyes filled with fear, pleading for mercy, red hair sticking to the blood on her face – Faith shook her head. – Buffy, finally put down, finally taught a lesson, her smug, self-righteous face dead and blank – Faith smiled slightly. That would’ve been fun. – finally give that bitch what she deserves, show her who the real Slayer is – No, wait. What was she thinking? It was good that she had saved Willow. It was a good thing. It was good. It was good. It was good. It was…