Faith Healing part 3

Faith watched with amused curiosity as Rayne put a kettle atop the two-burner stove and retrieved a couple cups from a cupboard. It was another subtle reminder of a certain pair of Watchers she wanted to forget. She quickly forced the thought from her mind. 'Fresh start,' she thought. 'Fuck yesterday.'

The bus was nice. Not as choice as the Dead End's back in Philly. Now there was a tour bus, loaded with all the amenities a metal band required. This one was modest in comparison and at least ten years old with obvious signs of abuse. The living quarters where sectioned off from the cockpit by a latched door, latch dangling broken and useless next to a large foot-shaped dent. The dual purpose dining/living room area came first, a narrow space with narrow table and cushiony bench seat lining either side. The cushions had seen better days, worn and raggedy edged. There was one true chair, the one Faith had claimed for herself, that didn't offer much room for anyone but an emaciated and sleep deprived rock star. There was a kitchen, stove, miniature dual purpose microwave/convection oven. The newest appliances, barely used by the look of them. Beyond the kitchen was a folding privacy blind separating the sleeping area from the rest of the bus. She was a bit disappointed Rayne wasn't giving her the full tour.

"Tea, huh?" Faith smirked. "Haven't had that in a long while."

"Truth be told, neither have I. But seeing as how we're talking business, I think it best to keep a clear head. And while this pedestrian tea scarcely passes as such, it has enough caffeine to keep me alert." He poured the steaming hot water within the cups and offered her one.

She accepted the cup and snorted as she inspected the contents. "Lipton? I knew a guy once who woulda sent a crossbow bolt through your ass for serving this stuff."

"My apologies but it's all they seem to have around here. I might have some coffee, if you'd prefer?"


"But of course." He smirked and offered an apologetic shrug. "Nomadic living, what can I say?"

"Well, for starters, hows about 'you got the job'?"

Ethan took a seat across from her, visibly sore as he slowly sank in. His nose bleed hadn't let up. A trickle managed to reach his lips before he dabbed at it with his cloth. "And what position was it you're after, exactly?" His eyes twinkled mischievously.

"Depends. I've got talents. Name your game."

"What makes you think I'm in the market for help?"

"The Three Stooges, I pegged them as feds at first but they ain't, are they?"


"Bounty Hunters?"

"Of sorts."

"They want you dead."

"They wouldn't be the first."

"Well, I can keep you breathing for the right price. Panting, even." She added with a purr.

"No doubt. What might that price be?"

"Give me a figure and I'll tell you if it's enough."

Ethan smiled knowingly. "You have quite a lot to learn about negotiations, my dear. I'd say we're thru."

"But I haven't finished my crappy tea."

"I don't need a fugitive on payroll. I have enough troubles as is."

"I'm no fugitive." She reconsidered. "Well... not anymore."

"I believe you can find your way out." He gestured halfheartedly towards the door and pushed himself to his feet, gritting his teeth in discomfort.

"I'm not running from the law. I'm free and clear."

"You're running from something. I have a keen sense about these things." He moved slowly toward the privacy divider.

"Not running, just don't want to be found, is all. There's a difference."

"I don't need another glorified roadie."

"Hows about a Slayer?"

Rayne stopped, his back still to Faith but he stiffened enough that she knew he knew what she was talking about.

"I can prove it," Faith said, searching the bus for something to smash or bend or crush.

"Please leave." An instant later, a spoon shot passed his head and pierced the wall with a 'thwang'. He glanced narrowly at it quivering beside him and turned just enough to catch the proud smile on her face.

"I do parties, too." She snickered.

"Nice trick."

It was one thing having the balls enough to say it straight to her face but this guy was underhandedly trying to make a fool of her and Faith couldn't have that. She stormed after him and he turned just in time for her hand to grip his neck and heft him nearly a foot off the ground. Instinctively, he clamped onto her wrist, working futilely to free himself.

"Hows this?" She smirked and cocked back her fist. "Or will a round of bare-fisted piñata fun be enough proof for ya?"

Rayne's expression changed from panic to shock as he suddenly stopped fighting. "Then she's dead," he choked softly. "Christ."

"Who's dead?" It took Faith a moment to make out the different-Chosen-One-equals-previous-Sla yer-death equation. She lowered Rayne to the ground and released him. "Oh, you mean B?"

"You... you know Buffy?" His eyes narrowed in confusion then suddenly went wide, panicked. "Bloody hell, he sent you, didn't he?" Rayne pushed his way passed her and hurried clumsily out the door. Faith was startled momentarily by his unexpected exit but followed after him.

"What do you mean?" She called out, pursuing him as he stormed down the darkened sidewalk.

"It's not enough, is it? Never enough for him. Won't be satisfied till I'm good and buried."

"Who him? What the fuck you talking about?"

He turned back and wagged his finger at her, demanding, "I paid, you know! Spent years of my life rotting away in a bloody useless existence. I earned this! What right has he to pass judgment..."

"No one sent me here. I'm just here." Faith tried to interrupt his rant but he continued on, gesturing frantically.

"Now his precious up and dies on him and he unfairly targets me as the ultimate evil to justify his frustrated war efforts." He turned and continued storming down the sidewalk

"You mean G-man? Giles? Will you hold up a fucking minute?"

She bent down, picked up a quarter sized stone and chucked it at him, striking him dead center on the back of his head. He stumbled forward with the impact.

"Ow!" He whipped back around to face his attacker, bracing his head in pain. "That was uncalled for."

Faith approached him. "You were hysterical."

"I was venting."

"You were fleeing."

"That too."

"But I'm not chasing you."

"Seem to be."

"Well I'm not!"



"So what's it to be now? If you're anything like your predecessor, you'll pound first, question later."

"For fucks sake, I only nicked you."

"I'm sure my fractured skull will be pleased to hear it."

"You're a healer, go heal yourself."

"Clever girl."

"Shut it, sorcerer."

"You have an odd way of applying for a job."

There was a long silence between them before Faith noticed the ruby red droplets falling from the whiskers of Ethan's chin.

"Um, you're bleeding again," she gestured casually.

"Am I? Bugger it," he winced and promptly collapsed forward. Faith reached out, catching him. He was out cold.

Faith grinned. "I'll take that as a yes to the job."