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

What Comes Before Dead
By Liss
For Violet

She doesn't dream very often anymore, at least not that she knows about; she used to have nightmares, lots of them, about the things she realized later it would be her job to fight. At the time they scared her but she liked the way she would feel waking up in the morning, with her fingers and toes buzzing and want curling around the base of her spine.

It got stronger when she started getting her period and her tits swelled up and she would feel heavy, down near her thighs; it was her smell then, maybe, low and slightly coppery and not at all like the acrid bite of demon blood in her dreams, but still enough to bring the dreams two and three and four times a night.

And sometimes her lips were bitten and bloody when she woke up, and her fingers smelled of the sea and things unspoken.

When she was Called the dreams mostly stopped. Sheer physical exhaustion and slaying throwing her into bed at weird hours, each day collapsed into getting ready for the night and each night collapsed into fight-kill-live.

She didn't mind losing them. Because dreaming isn't taking, or having; it's just wanting, and somewhere along the way she discovered there was something else she liked doing, something else that would leave her feeling the ways those early dreams did, the way killing did.

Her old Watcher told her about Slayer dreams, although if what B told her was true they mostly involved riddles and future things nobody would want, boyfriends killed and sent to hell and shit like that. Although she's down with sending Certain People to hell, she'd rather spend her free time with hands on flesh and mouth on cunt, someone else's skin left bloody and bruised, someone else's lips left smelling of sweetsaltfaith when she comes, screaming.

Now there's a dream worth having. If she were sleeping, that is, which she's not. Not sleeping, not waking, just... not.

But even if her body's still as death in that bed, her mind isn't, and she's starting to find it all pretty confusing. Maybe it's because she's cold. She's always hated being cold, and then when she was Called she noticed that her hands and feet were always warm no matter what it was like outside. Like the energy that burned through her when she fought never went away enough for her to feel the cold.

So maybe she's cold, and that's what's starting to wake her up.

She wonders if B ever gets cold. Probably not, probably only gets what she wants, the bitch, with her blond hair and the stick up her ass. She got the Watcher and the friends and the mom and even the pretty vampire boyfriend, all those people just for her when Faith has had to fight and fight and still loses everybody. Even the ones she tried to take away from B, one by one, sleeping with the boy and kissing the boyfriend and holding her big knife up to the throat of the little witch, feeling her heart beat like a rabbit's under her hands. Got B's precious mother to say her name like they all did once, with something that mighta been love.

Although they went back to B in the end. Like she was some of lamp and they were all moths, mad to be near her even if it got them all killed.

Funny. She even felt that way herself once or twice, at the beginning, and then when B came to see her at that crappy hot sheets motel. And Faith flew straight into the flame, because B was like light. Touch her and her skin is golden, kiss her and she tastes like sunlight, put your hands there and there and there and she quivers and burns and wraps her hands in your hair and suddenly Faith was heat and want and fireworks and gone, just gone with the power of it all.

B gone, though, was literally gone. Got up, pulled her clothes back on, walked out the door for the last time and it was like all Faith's candles were blown out and smoking, shedding darkness instead of light.

Gone before Faith remembered that what B had said was, trust me. Now, Faith? She knew what want was, because want was before have; and she knew what hurt was, because hurt came before killed. Like she'd explained to B once, B who always had complicated definitions for simple things and didn't really understand what was perfectly clear to Faith in her black or white, day or night world: Vampire. Slayer. Dead vampire.

But this time, they're five by five. Trust means close your eyes, little girl, what you want is what you will have. Only it isn't. So maybe that makes trust come before betrayal. Or pain.

But pain is before dead, and B killed her but she is not dead, although she is cold.

And still. She is not used to still, anymore than she is to cold, or to her mind going around in circles without her body being able to react, and this nags at her, pulls her toward wakefulness. She wants all of this to be gone, the dark, the not-death, and the sense she has that once she does wake up it's going to be to more pain than she ever thought there was in the world.

Yeah, trust definitely comes before pain. But maybe not before dead, after all, because Faith is definitely not dead.

In fact, she's starting to wake up. And she knows exactly what she wants to do next.