pookitoots (pookitoots) wrote,

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FIC: Ain't No Sunshine (Part 5/?)

What: BtVS fanfic
Posted in: Summer of Giles 2012
Pairing: Faith & Giles
Rating: G, FRC
Setting: Post "Chosen," no comics. Any similarity to the comics is coincidence as I haven't read them, though I have read some synopses of them online.
Disclaimer: I own nothing in the BtVS universe and no one pays me for my fan fiction either (sadly).
Summary: Sometime after Sunnydale imploded, Faith has left Cleveland and Robin and come to England to find Giles. Giles has been working to rebuild the Council, and Faith is hoping she can be of some help to him. 
Note: Recommend you read Part 123 and 4 first.  

Faith slammed her door, wiping the angry tears off her face, then went to the bed and punched the mattress a few times in frustration, growling as she did so. She pressed her hands to the sides of her face and paced back and forth several times before she had to throw herself face down on the bed to muffle the sobs she couldn’t hold back anymore. When she’d finally released her pent up emotions, she turned over and just lay on the bed, suddenly feeling very tired. Lazily, her mind wandered back over what had happened since the passport had shown up in the mail just days before.


In Cleveland, a few days ago...

Things between her and Robin had been...well, not great. Not even good. Faith hadn’t had a lot of practice being a team player, she didn’t feel she worked well with others, and she was starting to go off on her own more and more. When she was working with the new team Robin had started forming, she found herself snapping at people all the time. She was feeling...trapped in the routine they were getting into. Like she couldn’t breathe. And the one person she should have been able to take comfort in, to talk to, she found herself pushing him away more and more.

As far as Faith could tell, Robin thought he could fix her, heal her. But the truth was, it was all about his mom. He wanted to save a slayer cuz he couldn’t save his mom.

But Faith knew it wasn’t fair to put it all on him. They both needed something from each other that neither one seemed able to give. She needed freedom, and he needed stability. It just wasn’t feeling right between them, and Faith didn’t know how to fix it. Or if it even could be fixed. She just knew she felt...antsy. 

Then, one day, there’s this package, for her. From merry old England. And Faith felt sure, this is it, they’re going to ask me to turn myself in, and if I don’t... But instead, inside she found a document confirming her full pardon, a passport, and a short scribbled note from Giles: Glad to have you back ~ Rupert.

Faith was in shock. She was confused. She didn’t realize she was crying until she heard the faint thwack of tears hitting the paper she was holding. That snapped her out of it, and she put everything back in the envelope, taking a few deep breaths to calm herself. She was supposed to be meeting Robin and the team at a flop-house this afternoon to take down a vampire nest they’d been trying to pinpoint for months. So she pushed the thought of the package out her mind and jumped into action. It was later that night that Faith told Robin about what she’d gotten in the mail, passing it off as if it was no big deal, when in truth it had rocked her. 

The next day, she and Robin had an argument. She can’t even remember over what now. And then Faith went out to patrol to blow off steam. It was while she was on patrol she decided to go to England. She’d been thinking about taking off for a while now, but wan’t sure how to go about it. Or where to go. So she’d just stayed put. She’d actually felt some sense of duty to stay which was waaay new for her. But she was starting to chafe at the feeling.

She told herself she wasn’t abandoning Robin. The gang would have his back. The new slayers could hold their own. They’d proved that yesterday. What better time to go? They’d taken care of that nest, including the local kingpin vamp. Things’d be quiet for a bit. And she’d be in touch, of course. She just wanted some space. It’d probably be better for both of them. For all of them.

And Giles... maybe he could use her help? After all, she was one of the original chosen two. Or... no, there'd been another chick before her... Carrie? Katie? Kendra? Whatever.

At least she could thank G for doing whatever legal stuff he did to get her a passport to travel internationally. She knew she needed to clear her head...away from Robin. You know how it can feel sometimes like your head is full of these busy busy flies who just won’t quit? Giles was one of those people, when she was around him, the buzzing stopped. That was the only way she knew how to describe it. And she felt like she needed that.

It might be cool just to check in with B’s old man. After Sunnydale, Faith had joked to G about wanting to sleep for a week. But, of course, once reality set in, there’d been no time for rest. They’d all been so busy in fact, none of them had ever really decompressed after. Faith would’ve liked to just chill and have a beer with everyone...or anyone. You know, just, let it...sink in. But that opportunity never came. Everybody split off from each other pretty quick -- her and Robin to Cleveland, G back to England, the others to their various destinations. It all felt...unfinished.

When Faith got back home that night after patrol, Robin was already asleep. Rather than wake him, she scribbled a note. She wasn’t really sure what to say, so eventually she decided to keep it simple: Gone to England ~ Faith. She figured he’d know that that meant he could contact her through Giles and the Council if he needed her.

She watched Robin sleeping for a few minutes, unable to name the emotions running through her. Then she grabbed the package with her passport, her jacket, a couple of stakes (she figured she’d better leave her metal weapons cuz they’d probably confiscate them at the airport), and her wallet and headed back out into the night. She ended up getting an early morning flight out of Cleveland with one stop-over, and arrived in London in the evening.

During the flight, Faith had nothing but time to think. She wasn’t sure if this trip of hers meant that her and Robin were over, or if it was just a break? Eventually, she shook her head trying to force the thoughts away. Time will tell, she thought, no point thinkin’ it all to death. The rest of the flight she watched some of the crappy in-flight movies or tried to sleep to keep her mind off of Robin.

When they arrived at Heathrow airport, Faith suddenly felt totally overwhelmed, and very unsure of herself. She hadn’t given G a heads-up. What if he wasn’t even home? He could be off visiting Buffy and Dawn, or... who knows? Well, too late now, she thought, angry at her own impulsiveness. She had 2 phone numbers on a slip of paper in her wallet. She tried the first one which turned out to be Giles’ direct line. No answer. But his voicemail message didn’t say he was out of town or anything, probably just out of the office by this time of night. She dialed the second number. A woman answered. Faith wondered: girlfriend? secretary? 

“Can I speak to Gi- to Rupert Giles?” Faith said, then added, “Please.”

“I’m sorry but Mr.Giles is gone for the day, may I take a message?” the woman asked pleasantly. Secretary then, Faith thought. Of course, lots of men seemed to bang their secretaries, so she couldn’t totally rule out the girlfriend possibility. And why was she there so late if Giles wasn't?

“I really need to talk to him...” Faith started, then paused, unsure how to proceed.

“Who may I say has called?” the woman said, with a slightly cooler tone.

Faith thought about lying to her...but dragging this out wouldn’t really accomplish anything.  

“Faith,” she stated.

The woman gasped softly. “Faith? Is something wrong? Is this council business?” the woman spoke with some urgency now.

“No,” Faith replied, “Not exactly council business. It’s just...well...I’m in England, and I wanted to see Giles.”

Another small gasp. “You’re in England!” the woman exclaimed. Then a small hesitation, “Whereabouts are you?”

Faith immediately tensed. Her instincts screamed at her not to answer. Her previous experience with the council told her she couldn’t trust them. But, she reminded herself, that council was long gone. This is Giles’ Watcher's Council, and I need to trust them if I’m going to find him, she thought. 

Faith took a breath. “I’m at Heathrow airport. I’m going to take a cab to where ever Giles is, so, an address would be awesome.” That seemed safe enough to share. ‘A good slayer is a cautious slayer’... didn’t Wesley say that to her once? Ugh, she grimaced at the thought that she was being influenced by Wesley the stuffy-Watcher-know-it-all she’d met back in the day. 

After a slightly briefer hesitation, the secretary gave Faith the name of some pub in the ‘west end’ where Giles said he could be reached in case of emergency.

“Thanks,” said Faith, committing the pub name to memory. She was about to hang up, when the secretary piped in, “I’ll send a car right around, and have the driver hold up a sign so you’ll know which one.”

When Faith, confused, didn’t respond right away, the secretary said, “Faith? Are you still there?”

Finally Faith found her tongue again and said, “You’re sending a car for me? I was just going to take a cab.” 

“Mr.Giles’ orders are that you have full access to Council transportation should you ever come to England.”

G is just full of surprises, thought Faith. “Okay,” she said, “Thanks,” and hung up, not really sure what ‘full access’ meant, but happy to have a lift. A while later, the driver dropped her off outside some little non-descript hole-in-the-wall place, and she headed into the pub.

Faith walked in and said cheerfully to the room, “Hey! Buy a tourist a drink? Any takers?” She shrugged at the lack of response. Faith figured it was worth a try, she could go for a brew. The room was nearly empty, and the few Brits within earshot conveniently ignored her. All right, she thought. She went up to the bar. “Will you take an american fiver?” she asked the bartender.

He blinked at her, emotionless, and said, “It’s good for one, but that’s it.” 

“One’s perfect,” she grinned. “Thanks”. Beer in hand, a smile on her face, Faith was suddenly feeling...five by five. She took a sip of her first foreign drink in a foreign land, then turned away from the bar to survey the room and find Giles. This is where the Council chick said he’d be. 

She caught sight of some dude with a guitar a bit further back in the bar, and thought, oh great, just in time for some golden oldies. Then Faith did a double-take and walked closer as Giles started to play a beautiful heartbreaking song of lonliness...

“Aint’ no sunshine when she’s gone...”


Back in Giles’ flat, in the present...

Giles sighed, sensing he should leave Faith alone for a bit, and hoping he hadn’t completely blown it with her...again. He wanted to build on the relationship they’d begun during the final days of Sunnydale. He wanted to be a friend to Faith, if he could.

He cleaned up from dinner, recorking the still half-full bottle of wine. Then he poured himself a glass of whiskey, and picked up his guitar and began to tune it softly, absently, his mind turning over recent and not-so-recent events. 

He still didn’t remember leaving his flat and heading to the pub the night before when Faith arrived, or anything after that until the next morning. But he could be honest with himself about what he’d been feeling. Faith’s intuition about Giles’ drinking himself to death had been pretty much dead on. Though he hadn’t ever consciously thought of killing himself, he was in a dark and self-destructive place, and he honestly wouldn’t have minded if he’d, as Cordelia had once so elequently put it, ‘woken up in a coma’. Or if he'd never woken up again at all.

As things became more settled at work, Giles found he had more and more time to think. To remember. He’d allowed his thoughts to turn maudlin for weeks, and he was punishing himself for failing every woman who’d come into his life. His mother, Deirdre, Jenny, Kendra, Faith, Olivia, Joyce, Tara, Anya...and Buffy. He recounted the times he’d failed Buffy over and over, almost hypnotizing himself in the process.

Though he didn’t remember performing it, as he’d sung Ain’t No Sunshine his mind had drifted over all these women, and especially to Buffy, whom he hadn’t heard from directly in months. In his blackout state, it’s hard to know where he would have ended up that night if Faith hadn’t arrived when she did. London is full of bridges.

When he woke up to find Faith there, Giles had felt a burst of hope -- is this a second chance? -- that he quickly quashed, not wanting to read more into the situation than it warranted. But, that morning had been a turning point for him, and he knew it. Perhaps he wasn’t quite jumping for joy, but, he was choosing life and friendship rather than resigning himself to lonliness and death. That may sound like semantics, but for Giles it was a monumental mental shift from where he’d been.

His depression had worked on him like an enchantment, and he’d been a willing enough accomplice in his own descent into darkness. He’d turned to alcohol as if it truly were aqua vitae. Logic told him he couldn’t heal depression with a depressant, but he seemed unable or unwilling to stop adding fuel to the fire that was consuming him.

Moving forward, he knew the biggest hurdle would be facing the emotions he’d been avoiding. He needed to name them, and let himself feel them, if he was ever going to heal. To go through the pain. 

For Giles, music had always helped him to express himself in a way that he never seemed able to in conversation. Chalk it up to his English reserve and upbringing, but he felt he’d missed too many chances to tell people what they meant to him. 

The worst wasn’t that these people, friends and lovers, had died -- though he missed them terribly, and felt responsible -- it was that he’d allowed his relationship with many of them go badly while they were alive. Faith, Buffy, and Olivia were still alive, and it pained him that things were so strained. That their relationships hung on a sour note rather than a sweet one. He was sure it was his fault that things were this way, but he didn’t know how to change it.

Giles continued to strum and play as his mind continued to drift over the past. Then he started to play a song rather than just strum. 

And so it is

Just like you said it would be

Life goes easy on me

Most of the time

And so it is

The shorter story

No love, no glory

No hero in her sky

I can't take my eyes off of you

I can't take my eyes off you

I can't take my eyes off of you

I can't take my eyes off you

I can't take my eyes off you

I can't take my eyes...

He poured everything into the song as he played and sang. 

And so it is

Just like you said it should be

We'll both forget the breeze

Most of the time

And so it is

The colder water

The blower's daughter

The pupil in denial

He opened up and let all the pain and lonliness he’d been carrying flow through him and out his fingertips. 

I can't take my eyes off of you

I can't take my eyes off you

I can't take my eyes off of you

I can't take my eyes off you

I can't take my eyes off you

I can't take my eyes...

As his breath carried the lyrics out of him and into the air, all the guilt and longing he’d been feeling went with it.

Did I say that I loathe you?

Did I say that I want to

leave it all behind?

He said goodbye to memories that had been drowning him.

I can't take my mind off of you

I can't take my mind off you

I can't take my mind off of you

I can't take my mind off you

I can't take my mind off you

I can't take my mind...

My mind...my mind...

'Til I find somebody new

Faith stood next to the wall, across the room from him, tears slowly running down her face.

**Click to hear Damian Rice singing "The Blower's Daughter", (the song Giles' sings above).**

Part 6

Tags: giles & faith, giles/faith, summer of giles
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