by s.a.

She was sitting so still, he didn't notice her when he first came in.

After he'd grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge, he turned back and almost jumped at the sight of her dark eyes staring back at him. He berated himself for being caught off guard--he thought he'd have grown out of it by now.

"This doesn't feel right, Wes," Faith said, folding her hands over her knees. "I can't figure out what exactly's up here, but I'm jittery, man. Like something's around the corner, you know? I just. Don't like this."

He moved to stand next to her and waited a moment before speaking, trying to figure out what to say that would reassure her. "I think," he said carefully, "we are about as prepared as we could be. You've gone over the reports dozens of times, Willow and Dawn have both confirmed it through their various channels, and we've got a bag full of weapons in the back closet."

"Yeah, but that doesn't change how, like, wrong this all feels." She sighed and stood up, shoving her hands in her pockets. "I know B's got it covered on the home front, and Angel's got Vi in LA protecting his back--all the bases are covered, I know this. But it's like--I should be somewhere else, you know?" She gave a loud huff and threw herself into one of the armchairs, slinging a leg across one of the armrests.

Wesley twisted open the cap of his water and took a long sip before moving across the room to sit in front of Faith, waiting until she chose to gave him her attention. She stared pointedly at the wall, and he wanted to make a remark about how he always took her seriously, even the time when she'd dreamt about getting a Frosty at McDonalds and insisted it was a portent, despite him pointing out that you couldn't even buy Frostys at McDonalds. She had been right, he mused. They'd had to crash a McDonalds in Reno where a warlock had charmed a subsection in the city to thinking that Frostys were now available on the dollar menu. It hadn't been pretty.

As his thoughts rambled farther from the original point of discussion, Faith rolled her eyes and scratched at the healing wound on her arm. If she could just think for a moment, figure out what was bugging on her so hard, she could stop dicking around and get something done. She had that jazzed up energy that came whenever she had those fucking dreams, or when something sketchy was going on. It was her Slayer sense telling her she was gonna get her groove on.

The frustrating thing about all the Slayers running around the world was that the whole Powers thing wonked out, like there was a big train wreck and parts of the whole caboose were thrown around everywhere. Faith stopped for a second, rethought what had just gone through her mind, and winced. Ten years around B, and you start thinking like her, Faith thought. Fuck. Well, it meant that the whole Slayer dream thing was a lot more localized now, only calling everyone when there was something seriously big.

Faith stood up and kicked Wesley in the shin, knocking him out of his thoughts. "I'm going out. Come with."

He nodded, grabbing his bag and slinging it over his shoulders. "I wanna call B, too," she added. "And later, if I don't find what I'm looking for, I'm gonna have to work off some of this energy," she said with a small smile and a pat on his shoulder.

He sighed and followed her out the door, adjusting the strap of his bag. With Faith, it meant either fucking or fighting, so he'd simply have to be prepared for both.

They prowled around the city for awhile, checking out a few leads and poking down some of the nastier side streets. No major attacks, though there was some extra dust floating in the wind, and no sign of whatever baddie was getting a rise out of Faith. She explained to Wesley as they were leaving an abandoned warehouse where they'd rousted a small nest of vamps that this stuff took the edge off, but the underlying feeling was still there. And no, she couldn't explain it, and just give her the damn bag already if he was going to be shifting it from shoulder to shoulder the whole night.

They stopped at a twenty-four hour diner around three in the morning, despite Wesley's repeated pleas to just wait until the hotel opened up the dining room in the morning. Faith simply rolled her eyes and pushed in through the door, ignoring Wesley's nose wrinkling at the overpowering smell of grease. (Certain things were never unlearned.) They sat down and ordered waffles, eggs, sausage, OJ and milk (Faith) and coffee with toast and whatever fruit they had on hand (Wesley) from a dour looking woman named Penny.

Faith was still jittery, and she began to bounce her left foot up and down, slowly thrumming her whole body until the table shook quietly. Wesley reached out a steady hand to cover her knee, and she looked at him weakly before squeezing his fingers with her own and propping her foot up in the booth.

Their food was delivered and they ate in relative silence, noting the passing cars and the shadowplay on the wall. Mid-bite, Faith shuddered to a halt and dropped her fork onto her plate. "Get down," she hissed at Wesley. He obliged, diving under the table--but not before grabbing a piece of nicely buttered toast.

A large green demon that looked vaguely like the Hulk crashed through the window, screaming "Slayer!" Faith looked absolutely delighted as she called out, "Over here, my man, been waiting for you all night." She jumped at it, it lumbered at her, Penny ran for the kitchen, and Wesley ate his toast.

Twenty minutes and a lot of broken plywood furniture later, fake-Hulk was dead in a pool of it's sticky blood and Wesley was noting the event in his Palm Pilot, sending it to Central for updating to the database. Faith had green streaks through her hair, muttering, "I didn't know it would freaking squirt at me, dammit," and he hid a smile as he finished the last of his coffee and left cash for the bill and a nice tip.

She grabbed his arm as they left the dinner, pulling him close and whispering, "Well, that takes care of the fighting. Let me get a shower, and we'll take care of the other half of the agenda."


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