Sleepy Tears Undone
written by The Pirate Queen

Rating: FRT
Spoilers: Through the end of both BtVS and AtS series
Summary: He wouldn't say he was in love. He had never felt completely in love with anyone and had long ago decided that it wasn't in his destiny to ever feel so.
Feedback Author: The Pirate Queen
Author's LJ: Better Version Of Me

He wouldn't say he was in love. He had never felt completely in love with anyone and had long ago decided that it wasn't in his destiny to ever feel so. Ethan had been an all-consuming obsession; he had loved what Ethan gave him and how the universe seemed to shake every time they touched. With Jenny he had felt something close to love but their timing was so off that he knew, Angelus or no Angelus, they would never have ended happily. Olivia had been a passing distraction, a glimpse at normalcy and a life away from his own. Faith was something all together different. Though at times they almost rivaled the furious passion that he and Ethan had shared there were calm moments too. Moments of complete sanity, moments where they managed to completely transcend all the messed up reasons they had ended up together. He would watch her sleep and she would almost be beautiful to him.

She had disappeared from all their lives after Sunnydale. Slipped away at the airport, with no good byes to anyone, even Robin Wood. There would be an occasional phone call to Buffy that would always end with a weak promise to be there if they every really and truly felt they had needed her. No one had ever bothered following her up on this but then the incident in Los Angeles happened and she sprang into action quicker then anyone else. Faith spent weeks in LA doing everything she could to find out what had happened to Angel and Wesley. When the Watchers Council finally decided that the demon situation in Los Angeles had reached critical level, Giles himself had flown out there with a large contingent of their strongest Slayers and Watchers. Buffy had also joined them but quietly said she preferred working privately on this and the look on her face left Giles no choice but to grant her wish.

It was he who ended up finding Faith first. He located her in an empty hotel lobby savagely beating a vampire, the dusty remnants of another swirling about her feet. Giles watched her fight, something he had not done since the first time she arrived in Sunnydale and observed that while she had not gained any grace or form she had gained focus. No longer merely lashing out and pouring out her rage in a torment of punches and kicks she reeked of determination and purpose. He made no sound and did not announce his presence in any way until after she had staked the vampire. He slowly walked towards her then and before he was even five feet from her she appeared to sense him and turned around. She showed no shock at seeing him there and if he had looked closely he would have seen her eyes showed relief.

"It's about time you rolled into town," she seemed to be searching the room behind him as she spoke, "Is B here?"

"She's in town but working independently."

Faith gave a short laugh, "It seems to be all the rage these days."

"How long have you been here?"

"At this hotel? I'm in and out a bit. This was Angel's home base before he moved uptown. In town? Since about five hours after the Wolfram and Hart building crashed to the ground and Angel disappeared off the face of the planet."

"How did you know to get here?"

"I got a call from Wes and he sounded like he was calling to say goodbye. Since he hasn't been himself lately I figured I should get here and talk him off a window ledge. Instead I get sucked into yet another Apocalypse."

"What have you found out so far?"

"It's so nice to see you again too, Rupert. How's the wife and kids? I'm great, thanks for asking."

"Faith. I am not here for idle chatter. What do you know?"

"What's it to you? I thought Angel got put right back on your Bad Boy list the second he signed up for this Wolfram and Hart gig."

"This has nothing to do with Angel or any list. Los Angeles is in dire trouble and it started the same night he vanished. Are you going to tell me what you know?"

She glared at him, her lips curled and her face a complete mask of dislike; " You want to know what I know? Here it goes, Angel and his gang get themselves involved in this lawyer thing, things go bad, big surprise, right? The few times I hear from him and Wes they sound even more depressed then usual. Then I get this suicidal call from Wes and I get my ass into town as fast as I can. I hear there's this big ass battle going on in the alleyway right behind the building that we're standing in but by the time I get here the whole thing seems to be over and while there's a ton of gross as hell demon bodies there's no Angel or anyone else I recognize as his friend. It took me a week to track down Wesley where he was in a hospital morgue. Since then I've been killing myself to figure out what happened and the only thing I've figured out is that my boys killed a whole bunch of really bad guys but even more big bads are pouring in like Los Angeles is once again the place to be for anyone with fangs. Oh and now I'm being held up by having to explain everything to a super smart British guy who's supposed to be totally into research and stuff and could have found this all out himself."

"You've been most helpful Faith. I won't bother you anymore."

He turned and gratefully began to walk away. Faith had always been a problem he was happy to leave to other people and he had no wish to spend anymore time with her then necessary.

"You guys don't have anything do you?"

He turned around and saw her standing there with a confused expression about her face, "I beg your pardon?"

"You're the answer man. And you have no idea what happened here do you? Do you even care?"

"I care Faith. I care about the same things I've always cared about and that's protecting the people in this world from things they have no idea they need protecting from. That's why I'm here and I don't know anything right now but I'm not leaving until we both have some answers."

"I guess that's good enough. Well, keep in touch."

"Where are you staying?"

She glanced down at the floor, "Here actually. It's the last place I saw Angel alive and I keep thinking if I just stay here long enough he'll show up. It's stupid."

Giles gave her a good, hard look, "Angel and Wesley meant something to you didn't they?"

She seemed to blink back tears, "Don't play Dr. Phil with me Giles. They were my friends and they saved me and now I'm trying to return the favor and that's as mushy as I'm going to get."

She walked away from him and ran up the lobby stairs. He stood in the empty lobby for several long minutes before walking back to his own hotel.

* * * * *

He had never meant to follow her but as his own investigation was turning up a constant string of dead ends he had no choice but to track down the one person who seemed to be finding some answers. He spent two days just following her, observing how she hunted for people, the sort of creatures she was hunting and what she did with them once she found him. He would have suggested a little bit more verbal interrogation and a little less physical altercation but he had to admit she was getting the job done. In the two days he tracked her around town, seemingly unnoticed, she met up with quite a few former Wolfram and Hart employees, contacts and assorted demons and vampires. Watching her with them he could almost forget that whirlwind of rage and red lipstick she had once seemed to him. It was late in the afternoon on the second day and she was just finishing off a rather strong demon who had once been an informant of Angel's during his detective agency days when she let him know he hadn't been as secretive in his spying as he had hoped.

The demon had just thrown her across the room when she turned to the dark corner he had been hiding in, "Hey stalker, wanna help me out here?"

The demon immediately advanced on Giles and he had no choice but to throw himself into the fight. In minutes both of them were giving the demon everything they had and it was Giles who dealt the monster the final blow. As he and Faith stood there catching their breath and composing themselves she glanced at him with very obvious admiration.

"Not bad, old man. Now why you been following me?"

There was a light about her and a dazzling expression in her eyes. She loved to fight and he wished he could say he didn't understand that feeling but he did. Buffy would never understand and that's why he loved her, why he had to constantly fight the urge to keep her far away from every horror. Faith was different; she would wither away without something to lash out at. It was what made her so dangerous and while he knew she had improved he also knew that inferno inside her would never die and he really didn't mind. The world needed people like her and right now he needed someone like her desperately.

"Thank you, I think. Because I told you I'm here to find answers but you seem to finding more then anyone else."

"Well you've certainly given the whole Watcher thing a pretty obvious, new meaning. You haven't found out anything?"

"Just more people telling me things you already have. I think we should work together on this Faith."

"Or I should work and you should, I don't know, watch."

He tried not to laugh but it came out anyway, "If you feel better putting it that way."

"Well then it looks like I'm back on the team."

* * * * *

If Faith slipped back into her part of the team with surprising ease she slipped into Giles' bed with a bit more difficulty and hesitation on both of their parts. For reasons unbeknownst to anyone Faith latched onto Giles and would only work and report to him. They fell into an easy routine of daily intelligence collecting and vampire slaying. Giles would offer what advice he felt comfortable with giving and to his pleasure Faith seemed to listen to him. Over time he grew to understand more and more why her investment in this mission was so personal. The Wesley and Angel she talked of little resembled the men he had known but he believed they were to her exactly as she described them to be.

The first time they kissed was right after a grueling bout with a gang of vampires. Just before slaying the last of them Faith received a slash across her left cheek for her trouble. When Giles cupped her face to try and stop the bleeding he was rewarded with a savage kiss from Faith that he took much longer then he should have to stop. His entire body began to respond to her lips and tongue and he was kissing her back. When he finally pushed her away she spun out of his arms before he could offer any calm words of apology.

"Don't even try to tell me you didn't enjoy that, Rupert."

"Faith, don't delude yourself into being attracted to me, it's not that at all."

"This is the worst possible moment for a Watcher lecture, especially on the daddy issues that everyone always accuses me of. You just look really fucking hot when you fight, okay?"

Giles stammered for several seconds before attempting a comeback of any kind, " Faith, this would never be a good idea. One night of this would not be a good idea."

He wanted her though, wanted her more then he would ever admit to anyone, no matter how much alcohol was in him. She was pretty in a low class sort of way that didn't generally arose him but it fit her. It was more then that though, she filled the air around her with such a forceful energy that it usually took him awhile to recover his senses after they departed. It wasn't infatuation or attraction or the beginnings of deep emotion, it was want and need and the knowledge there would be no rules or limitations on anything they did. He wanted to think he was above such desires but with her there in front of him it was easy to feel twenty years old and indestructible again. The thought of meeting her when he was twenty made him shudder with both fear and pleasure.

"I'm not looking for a good idea, I'm looking for a good fuck that will help forget all this for awhile."

That he could damage her even more then she was already broken also struck him. Things between them could be very easy or they could explode and hurt more people then just the two of them. He would probably lose Buffy forever and he couldn't envision that.

"Faith, twenty years ago I would have had you naked on this floor by now but not anymore. I'm sorry."

"Your loss, old man."

She walked right out of his life again and Giles returned to his empty hotel room, trying not to think of what he would be doing at this very moment if he had let her in.

* * * * *

After leaving Faith the night she kissed him Giles did not expect to see her soon or possibly ever again. He readjusted to working by himself, met up with Buffy a few times and reacquainted himself with California, a place he had never thought would feel like home to him but that he had sorely missed each time he returned to England. He gave himself small moments to relish how the sun felt warmer and the days longer and when Faith showed up a mere five days later he was sick at how happy he was to see her. She let herself into his hotel room and sat on his bed as if there was no other place she belonged but there. Staring at the floor she talked slowly and deliberately and he saw how much this composure took out of her.

"I like working with you, I feel like this is what having a Watcher should have felt like. And you've needed me, there haven't been many people who've needed me and two of those people are dead or missing. I don't know, I guess I just really like you or something. And it's not a daddy issue thing, I'm so sick of that one."

Giles didn't say a word until long after it was over. He found himself sitting down on the bed beside her and feeling her need, her desire to let go and give into something that might be a mistake. Kissing her no longer seemed like some point of no return and pressing her down into the mattress felt like some great release not like showing weakness in the face of dangerous temptation. She felt so small but strong in his arms and there was no hesitation, she was fully there and he felt himself let go. Faith was a needy lover and he did not have the stamina that he had once had so nothing they did that night lasted long but as she fell asleep in his arms he knew that he wouldn't turn her away from his door again.

Faith never truly left his side for the rest of the time they were in LA but they were discreet and while Giles suspected Buffy had figured them out after meeting the two of them for lunch they were able to keep what was going on between the two of them to themselves. They carried on as before the only difference being that they would not leave each other at the end of the evening. Faith took him to The Hyperion and they made good use of several of the rooms. Their lovemaking sessions remained short and without theatrics but there was always that moment when Giles felt completely consumed by everything Faith was.

He was not in love with her but he needed the way she made him feel as much as she needed him for that reason. When they finally left Los Angeles, deciding that whatever the next move would be it would not happen with them sitting there waiting for it, he waited for her to disappear at the airport. He prepared himself for it and told himself it would be okay. It may even have been okay but when he returned to his London flat she was still with him. He never let himself think in any sort of permanent terms but every day they seemed to move further away from feeling like normal and closer to a real sort of normal. It wasn't love but it was more then he expected to receive and just what he had been looking for in all the others, someone to need.