Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project
Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project

The Purgatory Survival Handbook
By Buffonia
For Faithtastic

Faith's been having flashbacks. Which is nothing entirely new, except they're not bitter and electric in her brain like the fleeting ones from acid when she was sixteen. These run colder, deeper. They fuck with her soul and time and shit. They knock her out and make her dream. She knows it's the Orpheus doing it to her. Because there's always a warning throb in her neck first, right where Angelus chowed down. Then a bubbling sensation, like her jugular's full of champagne.

It started when she was fighting some metrosexual vamp in a New York alley like any other, and that second before the vamp dusted it had this look in its eye and suddenly Faith felt like she was skinny-dipping in Alaska. Before she knew it, Angelus was fingerfucking her against the brick and practically through it. She woke up beside a dumpster, hubcap for a pillow, and the echo of some chick's laughter like a headache in her skull.

Fred says it's normal. "Well, not normal in the normal sense, but not completely unexpected." She paused and sighed over the phone. Faith could tell by the tone in Fred's voice that she was cross-referencing and under-sharing. "I can get my medical team working on an antidote. Short of that, we could have you come in for some testing..."

"Don't got time to play Pinkie to your Brain," retorted Faith, peeling a coffee filter from her leather pants. "I'm stuck in the city 'til B gets back and then..."


Shit. "Hey, Wes. How goes?"

"Is Giles with you?"

"I think he's in Arkansas..."

"You shouldn't be alone until we figure out who or what is causing this."

"Look, no big. A few shakes, a fever and a little naptime. It's like a twenty-four hour bug and then nothing. I shouldn't have even called."

"You woke up in an alley, Faith."

"Only because I happened to pass out there!"

"And what if it's a nest next time?"


It's not a nest, but that's not to say Faith's any better off. A nest would have smelled like rats and death and clothes that hadn't been washed since 1982. The subway station has that extra kick of stale piss and sweat to boot.

She feels it starting behind her eyes as she's waiting for the F train and she can't will herself through the doors when they hiss open several feet in front of her. The whole car starts to sparkle before she goes down; all shiny and empty, except for two people duking it out inside.

"I know this..." But everything's blurry and pretty and doubled up.
She's down and out before it even leaves the platform.


Faith doesn't pick Wesley up from the airport out of principle. She's a busy girl, people to do, things to kill, and she doesn't need any overstuffed babysitter getting in the way of that. Let him come for the A-Team's own peace of mind, but she doesn't have to play along.

He's sitting on the bed, holding the ice bucket and a face cloth when she gets back to her hotel room. "I let myself in," he says.

"No kidding," mumbles Faith. It's easier to look pissed, because the pinch of exasperation makes the bruises less noticeable. Especially the fresh cut above her eye. "Did you have to get friendly with the bellboy?"

Wesley has a generous lump of ice wrapped in the cloth and applied to her forehead before she can even stir up the energy to push him away. The cool pressure feels good, so she pauses by the mirror and lets him hold it there.

"He got a bit chummy with me, actually," Wes replies, his voice soft but still clinging to sarcasm. "I didn't feel the need to reciprocate."

"Your loss." She's only bantering to stave off the silence. "Kid's a stallion."

"You should rest," he sighs. "When was the last time you really slept?"


The couch isn't exactly a couch. It's more of a fancy chair, really. All plush and comfortable, like something out of a painting. Faith doesn't know much about art, but she pictures some round goddess getting nice and naked on it.

"Not a goddess," says Cordelia. The dramatic entrance from behind a velvet curtain isn't exactly a surprise, but it's a little out of the ordinary what with the glitzy bikini and all. "But you're getting warmer."

"Check you out, C." And Faith does. Repeatedly. From Cordy's tiara to her matching heels, and every revealing sparkle in between, Faith isn't sure whether to laugh or come. "Looks like I had the wrong people managing my coma."

"Don't be jealous," sighs Cordelia, sprawling gracefully across her fancy-ass lounge chair like she's rehearsed it ten thousand times and this is performance night. "Actually, feel free." It's the smile, that full tooth and sweet-cheeked "eat my shit" grin, that lets Faith know that that is definitely Cordelia. Accepting no substitutes.

"This is the Snickers I had before bed, right? Wes warned me about mixing chocolate and Pepsi..." But this is thicker than any normal dream. This is special, and not in the wake-up-sticky sense. Though not too far off. There's that familiar heaviness Faith gets when she's walking around other people's heads, or they're taking a stroll in hers.

Cordelia laughs and it's like poison. Cold, dripping poison that eats you from your esophagus to your stomach. Makes Faith feel like she just swallowed Drain-ex.

"I'm dreaming," says Faith, still chilled, not sure who exactly she's trying to convince.

"Wanna bet?" Suddenly there are hands on Faith's hips and she turns reflexively, ready to strike. Lilah's laugh is even colder than Cordy's.

Faith steps back, shaken at the warmth of Lilah's palms, and how the feeling of them lingers too long on Faith's skin. "Maybe I feel lucky."

"Maybe you should," says Cordy, with that famous flirtation as she purrs the words. "But not just yet."

The room goes dizzy and Faith braces herself, thinking she's about to fall. Then she realizes she already did, and the shower's been running cold on her for about ten minutes.


"You mean a chaise?" Wes is wearing his very favorite concerned face, the one that mixes worry with a dash of deep thought.

"Sure," says Faith. "Pass the syrup?" She pretends like pancakes are her main concern and that she couldn't give a flying fucking monkey about Wes' Freud impersonation.

"And you say Cordelia..." He clears his throat a little before continuing, "Cordelia was wearing a sequined bathing suit?"

"I know, I know. Lay off the candy and late night cable before bed, right? Hand me that butter thingy by your hand. Thanks."

"Was she by any chance wearing a tiara or crown of some sort?"

Faith should have chewed that bite before swallowing it. It scratches so hard, she thinks she might have accidentally eaten her fork. "Shit, Wes, were you there? Because that's taking the whole watcher thing a little too far. Boundaries, dude."

"I don't think that was some fevered daydream, you had. Nor was it merely a fantastical hallucination. There's something much deeper at work here..."

Faith finally cracks a smile. "You're loving this, aren't you?" She decides to tell him about Lilah later. Or maybe not at all.


"You're still here." It's too hot to be imaginary, and Faith can't find a single window to crack open. Nothing but velvet curtains holding in the dark heat.

"Oh, we've been here forever," Lilah sighs, checking her nails as if they were real or could possibly get dirty.

"So where's your queen at?" Faith plays it calm and cool. The place feels even more suffocating with just Lilah sitting primly and bored on that chaise thingy.

"Princess," corrects Cordelia. Light bursts in behind her as she holds the curtain to one side. No breeze, but the dry heat rushes in, and Faith can see miles of sand before the velvet swings back into place.

"The princess of what, exactly?"

"Are you mocking me, Faith?"

"Well, I just figure you gotta have something to rule over or else you're nothing but the same old hooker playing dress up that you were in high school."

Lilah moves inhumanly fast, because in just a blink she's on her feet and right there, smacking the wicked grin right off Faith while maintaining her own. "Cute. Now get on your knees."

Faith rubs her jaw and enjoys the sting of it a little too much. "Damn, Lilah, did your stepdaddy teach you how to hit like that?"

"I said, get on your knees." Lilah blocks Faith's swing far too easily, catching her fist and twisting it, until Faith's got no choice but to land kneecaps first.

"Thatta girl." Cordelia's sneering down at her, thoroughly pleased.

Thanks to Lilah's steel grip bearing down on Faith's shoulders, Faith stays put and gives up the struggle. "What do you want?"

"At the moment?" Cordelia leans down and in, and for someone who's been flat on her back and fed from a tube for the past year, the bitch smells nice. Her lips are moist as she places a hard kiss on Faith's cheek, dragging her tongue over the soft skin and leaving a wet trail across Faith's face all the way to her mouth. She bites down with a force that's sure to cut Faith's lips.

It's no act of obedience for Faith to play along, her tongue eagerly scraping against Cordelia's teeth. The kiss is broken when Lilah tugs sharply on a fistful of Faith's hair.

"Could do with a little less backseat driving from the minion," spits Faith.


"Shut up, Lilah," says Cordy. She's at full height again, her navel level with Faith's nose. "Listen to me, Faith. I need you to be a good girl for me. I know you won't let me down."

Faith keeps her eyes on Cordelia's bare belly, moreso for the view than out of any kind of respect, and Cordelia probably knows this too. It's unstretched and smooth, true to her cheerleader physique. Cordelia as she should have been: still pure and jaded and a bitch to the bone. "Just tell me what you want." Presses her lips to that perfect abdomen and leaves a crimson lip print there. "Just say it."

"That's my girl," coos Cordelia, her head rolling back and mouth opening to let out a satisfied giggle.

Lilah's grip is loosening by the minute, almost becoming affectionate. Fingernails through Faith's hair and sending a tickle down Faith's spine. That perfect manicure brushes down her arms, hands hooking under, pulling Faith up to her feet.

Cordelia gets real close, lips against Faith's ear. The secrecy makes Faith anticipate a filthy request. "Death is your gift," murmurs Cordy. Her breath is hotter than the room, like she's breathing fire straight into Faith's brain. It's almost too much.

Faith pulls back quickly and looks at Cordelia. Then at Lilah. Determination in both their eyes. "This a joke?"

"Would be a shitty punchline." Cordelia reaches out to stroke Faith's cheek, and she looks so damn proud, so damn sure,. "Trust me. Death is your gift."

"Okay, so death is my gift and, what, you want an early Christmas?" Faith's backing away and wants to run hard, but this whole fucking world is probably just velvet and sand. "You think I can just skip off to Angel and tell him that Cordelia came to me in a dream and, funny thing, girl's got a jones for some suicide? He won't buy that. No one will. Not enough to pull that plug."

"If it were just a plug, we'd hardly need to go through all this," says Lilah. She's losing patience fast, and Faith can tell it's almost time for more hair-pulling and arm-twisting. Bitch can bring it. "Besides, you'll have Wesley on your side."

"He'll never be game for this."

"Have a little faith, Faith. You'd be surprised how some people can come around with a little persuasion." The arch in Lilah's brow gives so much away. Poor Wes.

"They'll need proof first. There's no way..."

Cordelia puts a hand up, and maybe she's been at this whole ruling thing longer than anyone thought, because it's very effective at shutting people up. "They're my friends. Of course they'll want proof. And they'll get it. Tests, data, and enough print-outs to spin Fred's pretty little head into a Texan tizzy. Just listen to me now." Her voice softens, not desperate enough to be pleading, but with a magnetic force that rings in Faith's head.

You just have to listen.


Wesley shifts slightly in his seat and adjusts his belt to make it more accomodating for the large text in his lap. It's not what Faith would call airplane reading. But then, her trashy fashion magazine remains unopened with her first-class meal on the tray in front of her. She watches the clouds and tries to appreciate the silence. The same silence that they've maintained since the busride through Brooklyn to the airport and until now.

The plane hits a patch of turbulance and Faith's fingers curl tight over of the end of her armrest. Funny, because she's not afraid to fly. Instinct, though, she's got a lot of that. The one thing that pushed her through all the guilt and shame bullshit and her own suicidal fantasies that always stayed just that. Why Faith could always take everyone's life but her own.

It's all about survival.