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

Sleeping Beauty
By Amy
For AngelChase

Faith has never enjoyed Christmas.

Christmas is the time when people who are richer than you, smarter than you, prettier than you, better than you, decide that they're going to have the best, most beautiful electric bills. Christmas is the time where other kids get the nicest toys ever and you get a ratty teddy bear from Goodwill and a carton of cigarettes that your mom takes from you anyway.

Christmas is the time where everyone else rejoices at how they could have been you.

Christmas is hell.

Christmas in prison is worse.

It isn't so bad, really. If she steps back and evaluates, it's not really that unlike Christmas at home. Maybe it's even nicer; some people from a local church donate things for gifts, and a lot of the women are visited by their families. It's a nice change of scenery, in a way.

But it makes the loneliness of the holidays worse, kind of. It accentuates the way that even serial killers have people who love them... and she's alone.

Ultimately, Faith is always alone.

Angel visits sometimes. Occasionally. When he feels like it. It's nice to see him, when he does. She doesn't expect it, and that way it's always a surprise. That way it doesn't feel so bad when he forgets.

Wesley doesn't visit. Neither does Cordelia. But Faith never really expected them to. Loyalty to a point, to a line. Faith didn't just cross it. She desecrated it.

She accepts the lack of visitors as her due. If she were Wes, she wouldn't visit herself either.

Lying around in her cell while everyone around her sees people who love them is just another part of her penance.

Which is why, when the guard opens her cell, she doesn't even move until she hears the voice.

"Faith?" And then, when she doesn't move, "Oh my god, Faith. What happened to you?"

What does she think happened? Faith is frozen, unable to move. She'd dreamed of this, at night, in the day. Every time she showered she thought of it, as her hand grazed the place where her scar should be.

The scar has long since faded, but the memory of the fight on the roof will never disappear. Slayer healing won't account for the scabs on her memory.

"What did you do to her?"

Faith is vaguely aware of what's happening out of the corner of her eye, but she can't bring herself to move to see it. It feels like a nightmare spinning out of control. She'd expected anger, dispassion, in her wildest dreams maybe even sympathy. But pity?

Pity is worse than hate. Pity hurts.

It takes a minute for Faith to realize that at this point, she's standing directly above her, staring down at her, trying to look into her eyes.

Good luck with that, B. There's nothing in there worth seeing.

"How did they do this to you?" she whispers.

What's the answer she wants? What is the right answer? Faith wants to give the right answer, wants to very badly. She wants Buffy to be happy with her, to be proud. Even though she hurt her.

Buffy could hurt her too. It's okay. Just don't be angry.


She can feel the hand over her cheek. It's gentler than she expected. Softer. It doesn't feel like the hand that shoved an ornamental knife into her stomach and let her die.

Answer. She should answer. But her tongue feels like chalk.

"Go away," Buffy is saying. "Leave us alone." And then, coldly, "Now." Leaving no opportunity for argument. Faith can hear the clatter of shoes as the guard walks away.

She blinks and her eyes refocus. Buffy looks... older. That's the only thing that she can form into coherent thought. She looks like she's been through a war. Like she's been through hell.

Because of me, Faith can't help but think. She looks like this because of me.

Stop it, Faith. This isn't about you.

"You can drop the act, Faith," Buffy says quietly. "The guard is gone."

But Faith doesn't move.

That's when Buffy gets scared. She can feel it, radiating off of Buffy. "Faith, what's wrong? What did they do to you?"

Why doesn't Buffy understand that she's changed? That's what she wanted, isn't it?

Her voice sounds gravelly when she speaks, as though she hasn't used her vocal cords in months. But at least she can speak. "They didn't do anything."

"What happened to you, then?" Buffy asks. The way she says it, you'd think there were a one-word answer. Some quick way to explain it that makes everything okay. Buffy isn't really asking what happened to Faith. She's asking if it's contagious, if it could happen to her too.

"Life?" Faith's lips quirk upwards slightly, but she's not really smiling.

"I'm sorry I haven't visited," Buffy says.

I'm sorry you went crazy and I wasn't here to save you, her eyes say.

"It's fine," Faith replies.

You couldn't have saved me if you wanted to.

"I didn't know what I'd say, what I'd-"

"I didn't expect you to visit me after-"

"I know that I didn't listen, I saw the worst in you-"

"I hurt you, I hurt everyone you love-"

"I'm sorry."

"I'm sorry."

For the first time their eyes really meet. Faith can see tears in Buffy's eyes. "I'm sorry," the blonde says again.

"You didn't do anything wrong."

"Neither did you," Buffy says.

Faith raises an eyebrow, just slightly. Buffy grins sheepishly.

"Okay. So you did a lot of wrong things. Like you killed some people, and you sided with the Mayor, and you assaulted Xander-"

"This making-people-feel-better thing's kind of new for you, isn't it, B?"


"Hey, I'm just glad you came here. Seriously." Faith smiles, almost shyly. She realizes she doesn't know what to say. What to ask, or what to do. If she should ask about things, or if she'll get answers she can't handle- like oh, she's dead or oh, she married Giles. Little things that would give her nightmares for years. If she should act all nonchalant, or if she should impress Buffy with how much she feels now.

If Buffy would believe her if she tried.

So instead she babbles, on the same point she should have already dropped. "I know I'm the last person you'd ever want to see, and I don't blame you, and if I were you I'd-"

"Why did you change?" Buffy asks abruptly.

Faith freezes, then, slowly, "What?"

"You were catatonic. You were beyond catatonic. I started wondering if you were Sleeping Beautied or something."

Now or never, and Faith, her throat thick, decides it might as well be now. "I guess you could kiss me and know for sure."

The silence is interminable. It fills every crevice of the cell. Everything is still, everything is static. The room is a single frame of film. Atoms have frozen in their place.

And then she kisses her.

A kiss from Buffy is nothing Faith has expected after her time in prison, and everything she should have known from her year in Sunnydale, and everything in between. She's gentle and passionate and strong and loving and there's hate mixed in there somewhere, because this kiss has nothing and everything, and Faith melts into it. She's not supposed to be this easy to win, but it's been a year, and this isn't just any girl, it's Buffy.

It's Buffy.

"Faith, I have to-"

"Yeah. I know." Faith smiles slightly. "Go back home to your life. Say hi to Dawnie and the Scoobies, okay?"

"I'm sorry," Buffy says again.

"Five by five," Faith assures her, lying back down on her cot.

"Five by five," Buffy repeats, as though she's trying to convince herself. "Oh, and Faith?"

Faith lifts her head, just enough to see Buffy's face as she stands at the door to the cell. "Yeah?"

"Merry Christmas."

Faith smiles at her. "You too."

Then her head sinks down. Merry? Not quite. But it'll do.

It'll do just fine.