Previous parts can be found here
Ducking beneath the male vamp's wild swing, Faith quickly glanced to where Xander was still pounding on his opponent. He seemed so caught up in the blood lust that she actually felt scared for him. It was a feeling she knew only too well and it had played a big part in her downfall. Yeah, so he had issues to work out, and he was obviously more than capable of handling himself – the horrific state he'd reduced a vampire nearly double his size to proved that – but she figured now might be a good time to introduce him to the merits of a punching bag.
A yell from her was enough to drag his attention back to the here and now and she nodded approvingly as he finally dispatched the vamp to its dusty afterdeath. Now she could concentrate on her own fight, if she'd been alone she'd have had the job done by now but she'd been keeping half an eye on Xander, making sure he didn't zone out on her. She'd let the two tag-teamers think they had the upper hand. Time to rectify that misconception.
A quick jab from the left with a follow through from her stake hand and the male was dust. She'd misjudged the distance however and saw the vamp's rapid decomposition take her weapon with it. There was a howl of outrage from behind and suddenly the trashy blonde was on her back. Faith let the added weight push her to the ground and kept rolling, grabbing the first vamp's dropped blade as she went.
The vampiress whirled uncertainly, Faith's movement had been too fast to follow and had thrown her clear. She had no idea where the Slayer was. Faith grinned triumphantly as she sprang to her feet behind the vamp, bringing the blade round in a sweeping arc – instant decapitation.
Through the dissipating cloud, she saw Xander staring at her with a look of shocked recognition on his face. As the last of the vamp's remains drifted to the ground, Faith raised her hand to brush aside an errant strand of hair and almost instantly hit the ground painfully.
Winded, she blinked in shock – had there been another vamp? – her brain finally processed what had just happened. She'd been hard-tackled by…
"Xander?!" Her voice cracked a little, "What the fuck?!"
"You killed her." He snarled with murder in his eye and she found herself swallowing back a twinge of fear.
Finally she found her voice again, "The vamp? Well, yeah – that'skinda the deal with this whole calling gig. Vampire. Slayer. Thought you'd have figured that one out by now, big guy." She tried to keep her tone light, he still had her pinned to the ground and whilst she could count on her superior strength to break free, she didn't want to hurt him in the process.
"Huh?" The startled remark was out before she could stop it. He'd just gone off on a tangent she hadn't even glimpsed in the distance.
"You. Killed. Anya." Each word was snapped - she could hear the capitalisation fall into place and suddenly it clicked in her head. That last vamp had been about Anya's height, blonde – albeit a trashy colour that was more Spike than anything else – did he really think it had been her?
"That wasn't Anya. It was a vamp." She wasn't getting through to him; his expression didn't even flicker. "Anya's dead. She died in Sunnydale. Remember?" Keeping her voice as gentle as she was was proving to be a real struggle; every instinct in her – both Slayer and her innate `Faith-ness' – was screaming at her to throw him off and get the upper hand.
He shook his head, not once breaking eye contact. "You killed her."
Biting back her automatic reaction wasn't easy but somehow she managed it. "It wasn't her." She repeated it a little harsher this time, but dammit she was doing her best here and getting body-slammed into the pavement wasn't her idea of a thank you.
Something flickered across his face – uncertainty? – and he relaxed his grip on her shoulders. Slowly, trying not to spook him into reacting, she worked her way up until she was sitting on the sidewalk facing him. He turned his face away and she spotted a smear of blood across his jaw. Before she thought about it she reached out to wipe it away.
He whipped his head round at her movement and she froze. He didn't do anything more to stop her so she tried again. Her fingers brushed across his jaw and she saw to her relief that he wasn't injured, the blood must have gotten on him when he was pounding on the vampire.
He shivered as she touched him and closed his eye. Then, without warning, he moved again – this time reaching out and roughly pulling her to him. Before she knew what was happening his lips were on hers, his tongue forcing its way into her mouth and his hands were back on her shoulders, trying once again to force her to the ground.
Shocked beyond measure she was immobile for a moment. Warmth began to spread through her body and she was on the verge of giving herself over to the moment, after all, wasn't this who she was? What she wanted?
The instant that thought flickered across her mind she recognised it for the lie it was. Yes, she wanted him, there was no denying that, but this wasn't him. This was some twisted parody of the man she was falling for and she'd never forgive herself if she went through with it, if she let herself believe he wanted her as something more than a warm body in which he could lose himself.
She pulled away from his grip and struggled to her feet. Standing over him she held out a hand to help him to his feet, trying to ignore the hatred etched on his face.
"Fucking tease." He spat at her.
"C'mon, time to get you home man." Her voice was a little shakier than she'd have liked.
He sprang to his feet, "Home? No such place. Haven't you heard? A previously unknown fault-line opened up and swallowed it." His voice was back to sub-zero as he spouted the official government line explaining the destruction of Sunnydale.
"Of course you've got a home. It's never been about bricks and mortar, home is where…"
"The heart is?" He snorted, "Yeah, well as you just reminded me, that's back in good ole' `previously unknown fault-line' territory. She's dead, remember?"
She rolled her eyes, "Oh, come on! Yeah, she's dead. You loved her, but that's past tense." Faith couldn't keep the snark from her voice, she really had tried to like Anya for his sake but there had been something fundamentally off-putting about the ex-demon. "You guys weren't together any more. You were nothing more than fuck buddies, face it."
"You have no fucking clue what you're talking about, do you? You've got no right to talk about her like that. To judge her."
She heard herself speak; she tried to stop the words coming but couldn't. "Why the fuck not? She couldn't wait to judge everyone else, like she was so damn superior? Face it man, she spent most of her time with the kid and if he hadn't been, well, *Andrew*, she wouldn't have given you a second look. Hell, batteries were in pretty short supply – you were just her handy sex toy."
The fury seemed to have rendered him speechless, she'd have given anything to have him say something, anything. Instead, it was she who filled the gaping silence.
"And by all accounts that's what you were to her all along."
As soon as the words were out she knew she'd blown it. There was no way she was going to get through to him now. True enough, he didn't even look at her, just turned and walked away.
"Xander!" She called out after him, "Xander! I'm… I'm sorry. C'mon, I…" she choked on the words. She wanted to tell him she didn't mean it but couldn't. The truth was she *did* mean it and nothing was going to change that.
"Screw it." She muttered under her breath and turned back to the hotel, alone.