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MiSS - Post-Dirty Girls - Now or Never

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Title: Now or Never
Author: Mera
Feedback: Do it... you know you want to!
Rating: For over 13 in regards to hidden meanings.
Characters: Xander, Faith.
Series: Part of the Missing Scene Series MiSSbut is in fact a stand-alone like all of them are.
Summary/TimeLine: Right after Dirty Girls. Faith owes Xander something that was long overdue.
Notes: Indication to events happened in season 3 BtVS.
Check out other MiSS on my LJ and pass on Bunnies.
Could be seen as a sequel to 's Strange

Thanks to Farah for the quick beta!





Sometimes you can pretend that you are going to live forever. That those you owe will outlive you, because it just makes sense. Sometimes you make yourself believe something because it's easy, even though you know from your first memory on this earth that life never gives you any allowances. But, sometimes, more times than you actually think you deserve, you do get another chance, a third or forth chance since you thoughtlessly squandered the ones before. And then, you just know, with the gut wrenching truth, that there might not be any more complimentary out of jail tickets courtesy of almighty powers that just want to see you predictably - true to yourself - throw them away.

"Well, up yours," was mumbled darkly as a steady hand pushed open a white door. "I'm sobering up before one of us goes down."

"Wills, you really need to make best buds with a pillow, I'm fine--- Faith."

Faith spread her hands in a gesture of 'look at me' complete with the upraised head. "No need to tell me that, boy wonder. I know I'm fine," she said emphatically with a grin.

Xander rubbed the side of his face self-consciously. He didn't touch the bandage. His one eye followed Faith as she moved around the white equipment filled room. Xander remembered when he opened his eyes--- eye which he had almost immediately recalled, complete with cold terrified sweat--- that the first thing he had noticed was the extreme whiteness of the emergency room.

He had pointed out later to Willow that he had figured out the reason to why those who awaken in the hospital -after escaping death's lacking hold- were ready in hand with overwhelming accounts of white light encounters. It was because they were all blinded by the utter whiteness of their mortal surroundings prior to their death.

Somehow, that made Willow's eyes tear up, making the green more prominent. Xander couldn't go through that again, so he selfishly convinced her that she looked like she needed to get some sleep. After the venomous protests, he guiltlessly claimed the tired role of the recently injured; it had worked out like he had planned.

Willow had reluctantly let go of his hand, making him realize with the sudden chill that hit its dampness that she never let go. She had given him one last look as she stood by the door, making him feel guilty for pushing at her. He wouldn't even ponder the unexpected feeling of dread, and yet, all too soon she was gone leaving the door slightly ajar.

"Nothing much to see here," Faith said, snapping Xander out of his thoughts and returning him to the present.

Xander leaned back against the cushion that Willow had made sure was 'just right' before she had left.

"Faith, making house calls? I'm not dying, am I?" he said humorously, in remark to her unexplained visit. He frowned when a thoughtful look appeared on her face.

Faith nodded her head towards him. "They hook you up with the good stuff?"

Xander grinned. "You know it." He waved the IV in his hand. "Nothing but the best from the idiot who was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

"Quit busting your own chops, plenty around to do that for you." Faith looked at him tightly. "You were helping that girl."

Xander snorted. "All the help that was. All the help that would do soon enough."

Faith waved that cynical statement off without any hesitation. "You did the right thing. That's what's important."

Xander snorted. "They sure did a bang up job in that jail you were locked up in. Didn't know brainwashing was part of the deal there."

Faith had her arms crossed, feat apart and stared down at him. "What you at Xan? That good stuff went to your head."

"Well, unless I was on it all week." He cocked his head. "Not that I'm not welcoming the improvement, oh-Slayer-finding-her-way-back-to-the-fold, but what's up with you lately?"

Faith shrugged, ignoring the faint desire to stare at the bandage as if she could make it all go away. She wanted to leave. This could wait. Xander seemed tired. She could read him like an open book now. He wasn't even making that much effort at being witty or self-assured. There could always be time later to...

"I wanted to say I was sorry."

Xander had to blink at that sudden declaration. His mouth alternated between opening and closing before finally making a decision.

"You're the one who poked my eye to goop."

Faith's face snapped back and she shook her head vigorously. "No. Why would..."

"... Well, seems what's worth apologizing for right now is for preacher Hack-away to come right through that door bearing flowers and a balloon that has 'Sorry I popped my knuckle through your eye socket. It seemed you felt every second of it'. I hope it's blue. Pink is so girly. Or silver, that's manly, right?"

Faith felt a shiver run through her body. Never had she heard Xander sound so angry. She felt a thorough loss of the situation and held on to see if this ride would crash and burn or would pull to a screeching halt. Right now, it could go either way.

"... Hey, maybe Spike will walk in with a half eaten chocolate box to say he's sorry for saving my life but not my eye ..." Xander chuckled. "I would bet you anything that he's doing an Angel and sitting in a dark corner adding this to his brooding time out." The white gauzed head snapped back as laugher bubbled out so hard, Faith felt obliged to lean closer in case he pulled something.

After a sixty seconds of blissful silence, the only the constant sound was the animate hospital around them. Xander still had his head thrown back on the pillow staring unmoving at the ceiling.

Faith dared to reach out and placed her hand on his shoulder.

"Got it all out?"

Xander sighed deeply, closed his eye for one second before sitting up once more. Faith again surprising herself as she instinctively helped him sit and even rearranged the pillow for him.

Once that was done, she turned her face to see Xander gazing at her, amused. She smiled back. "I'll have to check back on you on that brainwashing thing."

Faith pulled back. She once again returned to her -self-dubbed- safe distance, and asked, "A hoot was what the doc ordered?"

Xander shook his head. "Nope. I just surprised myself that it *actually* bugged me that Spike would be feeling bad coz of this." He pointed to his bandaged face.

Faith tilted her head. "Sure you're head isn't the one done in?"

"Nah. Guess it finally hit me why last year ..." he trailed off.

"What happened last year?"

Xander shook his finger in a 'Nu-uh' way. "Last year isn't why you're here." He grinned.

Faith glared at him daring him to make a comment on that rhyme. Xander continued to surprise her by looking at her expectantly. She crossed her arms defiantly. "Yeah. Well, you heard it."

"You're sorry." Not a question.


"And me guessing by your tad horrified reaction to my chick-moment there, that you're not referring to the now."

Silence met that sentence.

"Why would you apologize to me? Are you going through a 10 step program and I'm step number three?"


"You need to make a joke about everything?"

Xander flicked an imaginary piece of cloth off his bed sheet. "Apparently, an insecure little boy is hiding behind the stupid ones."

"There are ones who aren't stupid?" She faked shock back at him.

Xander twisted his nose unimpressed. "Rehab needs to coach you on your apologizing technique." His eyes looked distant. "Even if it took you like ... what? Four years is it?"

"Guess hoping that you not figuring me out meaning that you got up, dusted your tush and moved on, is worth jack?" Faith pursed her lips. She ignored the quick thumping of her heart.

"I think even Jack is worthless right about now." Xander continued mumbling to himself, "Even Spike took less ..."

Faith heard. Yet, she didn't ask. She knew she didn't have any right to. It wasn't like she was part of the 'gang' anymore. She was almost sure she never was ever in.

However, she was a slayer. And she would be damned if she turned back when she went this far.

"Xander, I'm sorry about ..."

His raised hand stopped her. "I got it the first time ... or maybe even before." He smiled tiredly. Maybe he did need some sleep after all. Something was sure taking a toll on him. "It's fine."

Faith swallowed past the lump in her throat. Xander had said those two words for what seemed like an eternity to her. She should just count her blessings and leave. Maybe hit the Bronze for some booze and a lay. Well, all things considering, maybe she would forgo the second.

And still, the masochist part of her chose to speak up before her legs would get her out of this place. She never liked hospitals. She had spent too much time in one for anything other than dislike. This particular one to be exact.

Faith was a masochist through and through.

"So, we're five by five?"

Xander's head snapped up as if he was surprised she was still there. He twisted his lips for a couple of seconds, before he answered.

"More like four by five."

Faith seemed to ponder that for a moment before shrugging.

"I'll take that."


The End...