by cheebs!

Angel opened the door with a great deal of hesitation. Unsure of what he'd find he reached for the light switch he knew lay just to the left of the doorjamb, flicking it on.

"Turn it off," the room's occupant growled commandingly while huddled in the middle of the queen-sized bed, her dark head buried face-first in a pillow.

"You can't --"

The TV remote whizzed by his head, silencing him and smashing the lamp. The owner of the hand that threw it whimpered, as if pained. Angel rushed to her side, his supernatural eyesight picking her out easily in the semi-darkness. "What's wrong?" he asked, sitting next to her legs.

"Head hurts," was the whispered reply.

Angel reached for her, but she flinched away from his touch.

"Angel...." The huddled mass turned onto her side to face the vampire. Dark eyes peered at him through greasy tangles. "Why are you here?"

"Robin called," he said simply.

There was silence for a minute as Faith digested the importance of Robin calling any vampire, much less the one responsible for his mother's killer existing in the first place.

"Why now?" she finally inquired.


"Why'd he call you now, when he's made it so fucking clear he doesn't give a shit about me?" The last few of her words broke as she choked back tears.

"I-I don't...." Angel found himself at a loss for words.

"Short version, I told him I was sick of being his Eliza Doolittle, and he said if I was happy being white trash then he wouldn't want to rob me of that pleasure."

"But Faithy, that's what you are: an uneducated, uncultured whore."

Faith watched in horror as the vampire's lips curled upwards in a sinister and all-too-familiar smirk that she'd hoped to never again see outside of her nightmares.

"I can't even rightly call you a whore," Angelus continued with a laugh. "More of a slut, really. You're so desperate to be loved you offer yourself up to anything on two legs that catches your eye, and get offended at the ones that don't want you. Speaking of which, how's Buffy?"

With a hoarse cry she threw herself backwards onto the other side of the bed, landing hard on the floor. She scrabbled beneath the mattress for a stake. Finding one, she closed her hand around it and leapt to her feet.

Angelus was gone.

Gripping her stake hard and breathing harder still, Faith scanned the room for anything out of place. All was as it had been when she'd lain down, save the lamp she'd broken and the remote she'd used to do it. Fear and anger combined and she sobbed once, crumpling onto the bed.

The door swung open, crashing loudly into the wall and denting the cheap drywall. Faith reached for the nearest pillow, snagged it by its corner and pulled it firmly over her head with both hands. She whined, hurt and desperate for peace but not getting any.

"Sorry, baby, I was coming down the hall and heard a crash," Robin apologized. There was the sound of a TV tray being opened and something -- presumably a tray of food, from the scents filling the room -- being set upon it. The bed settled as he sat next to her, just as Angelus had minutes earlier. Taking a deep breath, he continued. "What I said before...I'm sorry about that, too. Not liking opera certainly doesn't make you trash."

["Just everything else about you, Faithy,"] Angelus' voice persisted inside her head.

"Brought you some dinner, though I may as well call it breakfast, since you haven't eaten all day. At least have some coffee -- vanilla, extra sweet, just the way you like it -- the caffeine'll help," he urged, his voice soft with concern. "Then maybe a hot bath -- Willow put together an herbal mixture that she swears by."

Faith grunted something unintelligible from her refuge.

"I didn't catch that."

Faith lifted the side of the pillow nearest Robin and spoke again. "They're flashbacks, not fucking migraines." She pulled the pillow down again, essentially ending their conversation.

"Oh, no you don't." He tried to pry the pillow from her grip with some effort, finally relinquishing his grasp when it began to rip.

"Fine. I'll just leave it here, then -- but, Faith, don't think that you can keep shutting me out, because eventually you'll succeed," he finished, his voice hard. The bed shifted as he rose.

The door closed with a slam that rang of finality, leaving Faith to the peace she had so desperately desired.


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