Laws of Dysfunction
Summary: during his summer road trip, Xander runs into a few new friends.
Disclaimer: Oh, mighty Corporate Gods and their servants, the Lawyers, I pray to thee to spare me your unwarranted vengeance as I knowingly and willfully utilize your oh-so-brilliant characters and other unmentioned features in this purely sentimental piece of literature and…oh, screw it, just don't sue my ass.
2 Months Later…
"Now, that was a good show," Xander said as he and Bart put all their equipment away.
"You know, this stuff is really heavy," Bart said, "If only there were someone we know who could help, possibly someone with inhuman strength!"
"Hey, if it weren't for me, you two would still be living out the back of your van," Faith said, leaning against the wall with a smirk on her face.
"We're still living out the back of our van," Xander reminded her.
"True," Faith replied, "But, now, you're living out the back of your van with me."
Bart and Xander stopped for a moment.
"Point," Bart said.
"Hurry up, we still gotta go hunting before dawn," Faith said, climbing into the front as she did so.
Shortly after hooking up with them, Faith had become the singer for their heretofore-unnamed band. Her voice was husky and smooth, not unlike Janis Joplin's, but Faith preferred to sing from bands like Guns 'N Roses and AC/DC, which happened to be the majority of the songs the three of them knew. Xander played the lead guitar, routinely getting praise for his developing skill. Bart was their drummer, and he was very good. Together, they provided great sound for Club Natalia, a small brick building on the bad side of Vegas.
"Hey, Faith, can I talk to you for a second," Xander called as he and Bart closed up the van.
"Sure, X," Faith walked over to the back while Bart went to the front to start up the van, "What's up?"
"Listen, um," Xander seemed uncomfortable as he started, "I've been thinking about going back to Sunnydale."
Faith tensed up immediately upon hearing that. Over the past few months, Xander and Faith had become better friends than either had thought possible. He had been considering making a return visit for a while, but he knew that it would be best if he asked talked to her about it beforehand.
"…You planning on settling down," Faith asked.
"No, no," he affirmed her quickly, "I just wanna visit the gang, check and see how they're doing."
"Couldn't you just give them a phone call," Faith asked, growing more upset.
"Faith, calm down," Xander said, taking her hand, "I'm not going to leave you."
"Yes, you will," Faith said, starting to tear up, "You'll leave and never come back, just like everyone else."
"No, never," Xander said, forcing her to look at him, "Faith…trust me. I won't take off like your father, I won't abandon you like your mother, and I swear to you, I will do everything in my power to come back to you."
Faith stared at him for a moment, searching him for any hint of a lie. Apparently, she found what she wanted to find, as she leaned into him, sobbing quietly into his shirt. He hesitated for a moment, before he wrapped his arms around her. She was too emotional to notice just how stiff he was.
"She alright," Bart asked as he drove along.
"She's asleep," Xander said, leaning back in his seat.
"You talked to her about heading back," it wasn't a question.
"Yeah," Xander replied, "She didn't take it well."
"You're her rock, man," Bart said, with an odd note in his voice.
"…You sound jealous," Xander said.
"What, no way, dude," Bart denied.
"I'm gonna borrow your catchphrase for a moment here," Xander said before slapping the back of his head, "Ay, Caramba, dumbass! You like her, and you know it."
"…So what if I do," Bart said, "She's in love with you."
Xander really didn't know what to say to that. He knew that she cared about him, and he her, but…he knew he didn't love her. He didn't know if Faith loved him, at least as more than a friend.
"…Maybe," Xander decided to go for full honesty, "But, I don't."
"What," Bart demanded, "How could you not? She's smart, sexy, a badass; what more do you want?"
"I want to get to know her as a friend," Xander said, "And, yeah, she's hot, but…I dunno, man."
"That's a helluva reason," Bart said sarcastically, "Seriously, man, what's stopping you?"
"…You know the last time I directly saw her," he started, "Was when I came to her hotel room to try and talk to her…she threw me on the bed and tried to choke me to death. After that, I avoided her like the plague before she turned on us. Do you remember one time when we first found her that I hugged her, just one?"
Bart thought for a few moments, before shaking his head in the negative.
"And I never once let her hug me, not till recently," Xander said, "Every time she wraps her arms around me, I…I remember her over me, her hands wrapped around my neck, squeezing the life out of me. Is that good enough reason?"
Bart said nothing as he brought the van to a stop outside the graveyard.
"We're here," Xander said, climbing out, "Wake her up, will you?"
Bart nodded wordlessly as Xander went to the back to pull out the weapons, unbuckling himself and crawling into the back. He approached the sleeping Faith tentatively, shaking her lightly as he reached her.
"Huh," Faith said sleepily.
"We're here," Bart said, eyeing her carefully, "Are you ok?"
"Yeah," Faith said, staring up at him, "What's wrong?"
"…Nothing," Bart said after a moment, "Nothing at all."