Title: Free Pass
Author: Ragna (afteriwake)
Spoilers: None. Set roughly a year or so after "Chosen."
Characters: Faith & Xander
Disclaimer: None of the characters belong to me. They all belong to Joss or others, and I'm just playing with them.
Author's Notes: For gemjam, who was going to bid on me at help_chile but missed the deadline. We worked out another way for the donation to be made and I wrote fic. It’s over 1K, but once I started it just flowed.
Faith sat at the bar, sipping her beer. Not even a year ago she’d be drinking with some hot guy, living it up, taking him home and having hot sex. These days…well, these days there were more demons, more problems, and lately more alcohol. For now it was a beer, but before she left she could guarantee she’d probably have two shots of Jack in her system, too. Maybe three if the memories hit hard.
“Yeah, whatever,” she said, waving her hand to indicate that the seat was open without looking at the person sitting down.
“Guy’s got one eye, and if you keep moving your hand like that I’ll miss the seat because I’ll try and dodge it, and with the bad sight...”
Faith lowered her hand to the bar and turned. There, in his eyepatched glory, was Xander. “Well, well, look who rolled into town,” she said with a grin. “What do you want to drink?”
He looked at the beer in her other hand. “I’ll take one of those, thanks.”
“Hey, Mike. A beer for my friend here,” Faith said, pulling a five dollar bill out of her pocket. Then she looked at her beer. “And a shot of Jack for me. I’m almost done with this.”
“Thanks,” Xander said, sitting down.
“That was a lame joke about the one eye earlier,” she said before finishing off her beer.
“Yeah, well, you weren’t looking in my direction,” he said. The bartender showed up with the beer and the shot glass, and handed them both to the people they were intended for. He took a sip of his beer. “Wasn’t hard to find you, you know. Had to look for the bar with the most bikers.”
“You know me, I love picking fights with guys bigger than me,” she said with a grin before downing her shot. “You didn’t come here to bring bad news, did you?”
He shook his head. “I’m here to pick up someone and head back to San Diego. Buffy mentioned you were here in Vegas and I thought I’d look you up.”
She raised an eyebrow. “There’s a lot of bars in Vegas. You had to do some serious looking to find me.”
He grinned slightly. “Buffy talked to someone you know around here. He told me where to look.”
She rolled her eyes. “Nick.”
“He seems like he’s a good guy,” Xander said, seemingly in his defense.
“He is,” she said, turning back to the bar and toying with her shot glass. “Sometimes that’s part of the problem.”
“Hey, being a good guy myself, there’s got to be a bright side to it.”
She thought for a moment and then grinned. “He helps me get out of any potential legal trouble.”
“See? Bright side to the whole thing.” He took another sip of his beer. “So, how are you really doing?”
“Not bad, not bad. Not quite five by five, but it’s not like being in jail,” she replied. “Being free is better than being in jail.”
“Never been in jail, so…can’t really compare,” Xander said.
“It’s not fun.” She stopped playing with her shot glass. “How about you? How’re you doing?”
“Busy,” he said. “There’s a Hellmouth about to erupt in --”
She looked around and then put a finger on his lips. “Not a good place to talk about that,” she said quietly.
“Ah,” he said from under her finger. She pulled it away and he nodded. “Let’s stick to regular, normal people conversations.”
She smirked. “When have we been normal?”
“I was, before I met Buffy,” he said. “And it sucked. But…well, considering how Sunnydale was, if I’d stayed normal I’d probably be dead right now.”
“Good point,” she said. Then she turned to the bartender. “Hey, Mike, another shot?” He came over and took her money before refilling her shot glass. She raised her filled glass and Xander raised his beer. “To not being normal.”
He clicked his bottle against her shot glass. “I can drink to that.”
“So how long are you in town?”
“Leaving tomorrow night,” he said. “Person I’m picking up wanted another night in Vegas to say some good-byes, so I figured I’d look you up and spend some time reminiscing.”
She nodded. “Sounds like a good plan. Unfortunately, I’ve got to go patrol.” She downed her shot glass and stood up. “Good seeing you again, Xander.”
“Want some company?” he asked, turning to look at her but not getting up, not yet.
She thought about it a moment. “Sure, why not? We make it through the night I’ll buy you breakfast in the morning. I know this great diner.”
They patrolled until about 3 AM, not running into a single vampire until the very end. They had spent the entire time talking, filling each other in on what had been happening in their lives. If she thought about things in a certain way, it almost seemed like a…date.
Finally they decided to give it a rest and get something to eat. Faith pulled her car into a diner parking lot and got out, keeping her stake close. “You think a vampire will come this close to a well lit diner?” he asked.
“Let’s just say that the first time I came here my friend parked in a dark section of the parking lot and almost became vamp food,” she said, slipping the stake into her pocket as they got to the door. He opened it for her, the same way her friend did, and she felt herself grinning at that. No matter what, Xander could be a gentleman if he wanted to be. They sat down and placed their orders, both of which included a cup of coffee. She noted that they both took it black, and that surprised her. Maybe they had a bit more in common than she thought.
“So, I was thinking I might get a room and sleep for a few hours before I pick her up,” he said.
“I have a couch,” she said. “You want to use that, save some money, that’s cool with me.”
“Thanks,” he said with a nod and a grin. “I’ll do that.”
He looked at his coffee. “So…you and Nick…anything going on there?”
She snorted slightly. “Oh, he’d like it, I know. And there’s days I would too, but I don’t want to drag him into my life any more than he’s already been dragged in. Most days I want him at arm’s length, you know?”
“Safer that way?”
She nodded. “Yeah.” Then she tilted her head slightly and looked at him. “What about you? You keeping girls at arm’s length?”
“I’m surrounded by women,” he said with a smirk. “I couldn’t keep them at arm’s length if I wanted to.”
“How many you dealing with now?” she asked, taking a sip of her coffee.
“Three. All in the age range of eighteen to twenty-one. And they are…interesting.”
“Ever thought about sleeping with one of them?” she asked.
He shook his head. “Did you know they all look up to me like a big brother?”
She laughed. “Oh, God. Are they hot?”
“Yeah, pretty much,” he said.
“Oh, that’s even worse! To be surrounded by hot women who only look at you like you’re their brother. Oh, you got a raw deal, Xander.”
“Tell me about it.” He shrugged. “Not really attracted to them, though.”
“Yeah?” she said, leaning back in her seat and draping an arm over the back of the booth. “And who are you attracted to?”
He shrugged. “Lots of women. Most of whom I probably don’t stand a chance with.”
She blinked slightly and lowered her arm off the back of the seat. “All these years, after all the crap I put everyone through, and you’re still attracted to me?”
“What can I say? You were my first.”
She looked at him for a moment, and was saved from having to respond by the waitress bringing their food. They ate in near silence, making small talk more and more as the amount of food they had left to eat got smaller and smaller. When it was all done, he looked outside and then at his watch. “So, guess I should go look for that hotel room.”
“Nuh-uh,” she said, shaking her head. “I offered you a couch, you’re getting my couch.”
“I thought…” he said.
“What, you thought the fact that you admitted you’re still attracted to me would scare me off?” She leaned in forward and lowered her voice. “I’m a Slayer. I don’t scare easy.”
When she went back to her old position she saw he was grinning. “Guess I’m taking your couch for the day, then.”
“You’re gonna sleep all day?” she asked, raising an eyebrow.
“I didn’t sleep yesterday and I’ve been up all night. I’ll probably crash the minute I get my shoes off and my back hits the cushions.”
“Whatever you say,” she said, reaching in her pocket for some money. He shook his head and pulled out a twenty and a five, setting it on the table. “I can pay.”
“You got me a beer, I get...this really early breakfast,” he said with a grin.
She smirked at him and got up. The minute they were outside her hand went to her stake as they made the trek to her car. Once they were in it didn’t take long for them to get buckled up and on the road. She found herself feeling kind of proud of where she lived, she realized as they got out of the car and headed up to her third floor apartment. She opened the door and let him in first. “Couch is right there,” she said, waving her hand to her left.
“Couch sweet couch,” Xander said, heading over towards it.
“Or, you can take the bed,” she said as she shut the door. “As long as you don’t mind sharing it.”
He looked over at her. “You sure about that?”
She nodded and came over to him. “Think of it as…a free pass. You don’t have to do anything, but if you want to, I’m willing.”
He licked his lip slightly, and then looked at her. “You’re not messing with me, right?”
“If you’re worried about if this’ll cause problems for me it won’t. Like I said, I’ve got nothing going on with Nick. And besides,” she said with a slight shrug. “I’ve been kind of lonely lately.”
He thought for a moment. “If I don’t do anything, will you get pissed?”
She looked at him and laughed. “No, I won’t get pissed. Something I realized when I was with Robin is that every once in a while, it’s nice to have someone just keep you close. But like I said, you want to try something I’m willing.”
“Will this offer still stand when I wake up, whenever that is?”
“The offer stands as long as you’re in Vegas. Your Slayer doesn’t want to go tonight, you can come back here and the offer’s still open. Once you leave Vegas, though, offer’s closed.”
“Sleep first,” he said. “And the bed sounds nice.”
“Thought you might pick that,” she said. “Take your shoes off and get comfortable. I’ve got to check my messages and then I’ll go in and join you.” He nodded and headed into her bedroom while she went to her phone and checked her messages. Nothing big, just some people wanting some of her time. She could deal with it in the afternoon, whenever she woke up.
She went into her bedroom and found Xander on his side, sound asleep. She grinned to herself and stripped out of what she considered her work clothes and into what she normally slept in and laid down next to him, spooning herself against him. He reached over and locked an arm around her waist, keeping her close.
This was…nice, she thought to herself as she started to drift off to sleep. Unusual, but nice. Maybe she’d keep the offer open to whenever he came to Vegas. But for now, she’d sleep and wait for him to wake up, see what he wanted to do next. The choice was all his.
- Free Pass