Christ! Who did she think she was, talking to him like that – his mother?! No, come to think of it, not even his mom had spoken to him like that – mostly because she hadn't actually noticed when he was around, but the point still stood. The pounding on the door didn't stop and he dragged the pillow over his face in an attempt to block out the sound. No such luck. She yelled out again.
"Either you get yourself out of that room or you deal with me kicking the door down. Your choice."
Couldn't he get a moment's peace? Frustrated beyond reason he jumped to his feet and threw open the door. Glaring angrily at her he snapped, "Take the hint why don't you?" Hating himself for driving the killer blow home he continued, "I don't need your help, I don't want it. No one here does, but they're all just too polite to say anything about it. Why don't you just fuck off back to LA? I'm sure Deadboy'll welcome you with open arms."
It didn't have quite the effect he'd been hoping for; instead of turning tail and leaving him alone, she grinned and folded her arms in front of herself. "Wow, an actual sentence or two – here was me thinking you'd decided to turn into monosyllabic broody guy. Guess I was wrong about that."
"Wouldn't be the first time," he muttered darkly. She ignored the barb and continued.
"So, you decided when you're getting outta that room? I gotta tell you man it's getting kinda ripe in there – there's a reason they have maid service in these places y'know."
He scowled at her and tried to slam the door in her face. By reflex she stuck her foot in the gap, wincing a little as the wood bounced painfully against the leather of her boot. She followed him into the room, noting that her jibe hadn't been much of an exaggeration – it was a mess. The drapes were drawn, the bed was unmade and there were thrift shop clothes strewn all over the floor. Her keen eyesight didn't miss the collection of empty liquor bottles in the trash either.
As bad as the room was though, it was nothing compared to the state he was in. To say he looked dishevelled would only be the half of it, he obviously hadn't shaved in days or showered either. His hair was lank and greasy and the smell of sour sweat was something she'd never thought she'd have to face again once she'd left prison. She
tried to keep the distaste from her face but knew it was probably futile.
Swallowing her shock that he'd sunk to this, she watched as he sat on the edge of the bed with a defeated expression on his face, hopeless. As soon as he'd retreated back into the room, the open hostility had melted away and all that seemed to be left was a weariness that actually frightened her. It was almost as if he'd given up, which was
so unlike the Xander she knew that it threw her off balance.
He had to get out of this funk he was in and she figured the best way to start the process was to get him out of this room. She paced around a little, hating the way he was just staring at the floor as if she wasn't even there. Finally, she threw open the curtains, letting the pale sunlight flood into the room – maybe if he got a good look at the way he was living he might see something was wrong
She must have been a little more antsy than she realised - the drapes pulled away from the tracks and crumpled to the floor.
"Shit! Sorry…" she turned, full of apologies until she realised he hadn't even flinched at the petty destruction of his environment. "Right, that's it. You and me are outta here." She walked right up to him and stood with her hands on her hips until he finally looked up at her. "Get yourself cleaned up, I'll be back in an hour and then we are hitting the town."
He started to shake his head but she didn't let him speak, "It's not up for discussion, even if I have to drag you out of this place we're going. It's up to you what state you're in when we do." He slumped back down, defeated. "Bathroom's thataway," she jerked her finger over her shoulder towards the darkened alcove-like excuse for a washroom. "You've got an hour." Not waiting for an answer, she turned and walked out pulling the door firmly closed behind her.
Xander felt a wave of relief flood through him as he watched her go, finally she'd left him alone. He lay back on the crumpled sheets and raised his hand to shield his vision from the unaccustomed daylight streaming in through the window. Would it really be so bad to get out of here for a while? He knew she could be persistent when she wanted
to be and she would be true to her word and drag him out onto the street if he refused to go with her. Would it really be worth the hassle?
Sighing heavily, he stood and trudged wearily into the tiny bathroom, turning on the shower and reaching for an almost-fresh towel. Normal actions for a normal guy, he told himself. He'd shower, get dressed, go out, and come back here. She'd think she'd won and lay off him and then they could all go back to normal and leave him alone.
Outside, Faith leaned against the door trying to hold back the tears. No one had said this was going to be easy but she hadn't expected it to be this hard. Everything he'd said to her had been aimed to hurt and it had; she could cope with that though, she knew he was just lashing out and hell, she figured she deserved a whole lot more for what she'd done back in the day. Seeing him like this though, so desolate, that tore her apart.