TITLE: Nearly Everybody's Daughter
RATING: R, for language
DISCLAIMER: Not mine, which is a shame because usually we're nicer to them than Joss was.
LENGTH: 850 words
SUMMARY: How Faith met Giles...
Faith liked the way the whole town hummed. Like a feral animal crouching in a dark corner, muscles coiled and tense as it watched with golden eyes for prey to cross its path. She walked down the street, and her skin fucking vibrated with the force of it, leaving her wet and wired and white-hot for action. Some nights, she didn’t get back to her shitty hotel room until dawn cracked over the horizon. Some nights, she wondered why in hell she hadn’t ditched Boston for Sunnydale sooner.
Those nights were usually followed by days locked in nightmares about Trick ripping out her Watcher’s throat and then Kakistos smearing her blood across Faith’s lips. Her slaying always sucked afterward. It didn’t take long for her to bail then and head for the only spot in town worth hanging out at.
He came in on her eleventh day in Sunnydale.
She was on the Bronze’s dance floor, grinding against the vamp she’d set as her easy mark for the night, when she saw his lean figure merge with the shadows along the edge of the room, a tumbler of whiskey in his hand as he headed for a corner table. Her first instinct was that it was another vampire. The Bronze was packed with students and this guy had passed young three blocks back. Only problem with that theory was that vamps usually wanted to attract attention, and this guy wore an air of fuck off like a tattoo across his skin.
Then he leaned back in his chair, his light jacket falling open. The stake tucked into the worn waistband of his jeans was unmistakable. A single name echoed inside her head, the voice of her dead Watcher cutting through the pounding music to make Faith falter.
The song quit, and she drifted away from her partner without a glance back. The closer she got to the table in the corner, the surer she got she was right. He was the sole reason she’d hazarded hitching across the country. He was the one Jane had told her to find if ever Faith needed help and Jane wasn’t there to give it. He was her best hope to get Kakistos off her back, once and for all.
He looked up as she approached, but when she straddled the chair opposite, he didn’t say a word. He just sat there. And waited.
She sucked at waiting.
“You look like somebody I wanna know,” Faith said.
He didn’t even blink. “I’m sorry.” British accent. She’d pegged him right, though she would’ve bet he was less stiff and more lip than his curt enunciation suggested. “I don’t fraternize with students outside of school hours.”
“Don’t hang out where they do then.” Reaching behind her, Faith pulled her stake out from beneath her black tank top and tossed it onto the table between them. “I’ve shown you mine. Now let’s see yours. Something tells me you’re sporting some heavy wood there.”
His piercing eyes narrowed behind his glasses, only glancing at the weapon before returning to scrutinize her more carefully. “Who are you?”
She grinned. She had him. And they both knew it.
“The name’s Faith. And the way I hear tell, you’re hell on wheels, Ripper.”
The name made him stiffen. He picked up his whiskey and downed it in a single gulp, running his tongue over his lower lip to catch a stray drop before speaking. “Nobody’s called me that in a very long time,” he murmured. “And the way I heard it, the current Slayer was alive and kicking on the east coast, not on the west.”
“Not on a Hellmouth.”
“Then I guess it’s a good thing I got here when I did.” Faith rose and picked up the stake, twirling it between her fingers as she leaned a jaunty hip against the table. “Feel like living up to your reputation, Ripper?”
It took a long minute for him to respond. Faith decided this making her wait shit was going to be the first item on their Watcher/Slayer agenda to get fixed.
“I’ll have to contact the Council, you realize.” His hand shot out and snatched the stake away from her in mid-air. “I’m aware that you’ve lost your Watcher, but it’s customary for the Council to choose a Slayer’s Watcher for her, not the other way around.”
Her smile never faded. “I think you’re going to find out, I’m not like other Slayers. From the way Jane talked, I figure that makes you and me two of a kind.”
She thought she saw his mouth twitch in amusement, but he was already walking away from her before she could confirm it. “Let’s hope Jane trained as well as she told stories then,” he said. Faith followed a step behind, coming up short when he stopped abruptly at the door. “And don’t call me Ripper. Mr. Giles will suffice.”
She held her hands up in surrender. “Hey, whatever you say. You’re the boss.” She waited until he’d walked out the door before adding, “Giles.”
When he didn’t even hesitate, Faith grinned. Oh yeah, she was going to fucking love Sunnydale.