beer_good_foamy: (Willow-death)
[personal profile] beer_good_foamy
Title: That There Is Not Me
Author: Beer Good ([personal profile] beer_good_foamy)
Fandom: Buffy, s7, circa “Touched”
Word Count: ~1200
Rating: PG13
Pairing: Willow/Faith
Author’s Note: Written for [ profile] femslash_minis and [ profile] aaronlisa’s prompt “Faith/Willow, Redemption equals sex” with the contents: Set in Sunnydale, leather, and ice cream.
Summary: Two reforming murderers go shopping for supplies to selflessly save the world. Keeping the masquerade up works fine until Willow stumbles across an outfit from her past.

I thought I was someone else
Someone good
- Lou Reed

That There Is Not Me

There’s something about an abandoned shopping mall. Memories everywhere. Mochas that will never more be drunk, shirts that will never more be worn, benches that will never more be sat on, emergency exits where nobody will ever again blow up eldritch things with bazookas.

Willow was pretty sure Faith would make fun of her for paying, the mall had pretty much been looted already. But a supply run is a supply run and paying is what good people do. That much she was still sure of. So she scraped together the cash she had and put it down on the drug store counter before gathering up the bandages and painkillers she’d been able to find. She saved one aspirin for herself; Faith had chain-smoked in tense silence the entire drive here, relaxing from being a rolemodel for a few hours. Going shopping with Faith, there was something she hadn’t expected a week ago. But Giles had insisted on not sending out anyone without superpowers, even in broad daylight, so it was just the two of them alone in the mall. Hopefully, since the only superpowers she felt confident about using these days was screaming and running away.

She walked past empty shops; toys, Starbucks, men’s clothes, better men’s clothes, Starbucks (how long ago was it they only had one? Should they have investigated possible demonic origins there?), and...

...Oh. She stopped dead in front of one of the display windows.

Willow had spent most of her life in Sunnydale so she didn’t have a lot to compare with, but she was pretty sure most smaller cities didn’t have a 24-hour leathergoods store. Certainly not this cheap, at least - economies of scale, according to Anya; in a town full of vampires and general badassness, there seemed to be a lot of demand for leather pants. After that thing with Oz she hadn’t ever shopped here again and it had become one of those shops you walk past without thinking. And not noticing what’s in the shop window.

She wondered how long this particular outfit had been sitting somewhere in the back before it got rotated to the front again; maybe it was an apocalypse sale or something. Obviously, in this timeline, she’d never bought it (and somehow she doubted that there’d been a cash transaction in the other one, and felt a bit extra bad about that.) Which was all good. She was good. Supposedly. Hadn’t felt any temptation to dress in black and spill the blood of the innocents for weeks now.

So no big. Just wait here for Faith to get back from her round - she was probably off somewhere enjoying not having to be responsible, probably looting something... except nothing too bad because Faith was good now. Have to keep that in mind. People can change. Yeppers.

Willow looked at her watch, then looked back at the outfit in the shop window. And really, the thought that kept popping up in her head wasn’t temptation so much as just plain curiosity.

I wonder if it still fits.

* * *

Which is why when Faith got to the store, pushing two shopping carts full of tools for making weapons, clothes, food, tampons, and topped with three large coolers from Ben & Jerry’s (who’d been kind enough to leave the generator for the freezer running when they skipped town), she looked through the shop window and saw Willow standing in front of a full-length mirror, dressed in a tight leather catsuit with red frills around her cleavage. She watched in silence from outside as Willow stood there looking at her mirror image, hand on her hip, cocky smile slowly stalking her lips, looking... well, not much like the proper holier-than-Buffy girl who knew exactly what was right and wrong, especially how she was one of them and Faith the other. She wasn’t sure exactly what was going on with her lately, probably one of those things nobody trusted her enough to let her in on. Probably for good reason.

So not that the view sucked, but they had places to be. After a minute or two, Faith put on her usual dare-me-to-drive face and went inside. “Careful, Red. You’re gonna melt the ice cream. Is that what you’re wearing for the big battle? Cause, damn. But if not, we better get back.”

Of course, this is where Willow - the real Willow, the one not dressed head-to-toe in tight black leather - would have been uncomfortable and mortally embarrassed, blushed and babbled, and there’d be a thick glass wall between them again. She certainly wouldn’t pout and answer “Aww, that’s no fun.”

“I didn’t know we were supposed to be having fun.”

“‘Course you weren’t. Because you want to be good. And good means being boring.” Willow swaggered (since when did Willow swagger?) over towards her, snuck an arm around her waist and purred into her neck. “Come on, admit it. You’ve kept yourself locked up for three years. Don’t you want to be at least a little bit bad?”

As badness went, Faith guessed being a couple of minutes late wasn’t the worst. And it had been a long incarceration. “Just didn’t expect this from you, is all. You’re serious?”

“Well, yeah.” Willow’s mask slipped briefly. “Besides, this thing is really tight and one way or another, it’s probably gonna take Slayer strength to get it off.”

* * *

“That was... nice,” Willow said afterwards as they lay naked on the floor eating melting Rocky Road with their fingers. It had been; not great, not like with... But nice. Kinda efficient.

“Yeah.” Faith was quiet for a while. “Not that it’s any of my business or anything, just... I thought you and little Miss Trust Fund were doing the wriggly?”

Willow looked awkward. “I... I like Kennedy. Really. But we're not, we haven’t... I-I mean it’s not that I don’t...” She stuffed a fingertipful of ice cream in her mouth to buy a few seconds of thinking. “I haven’t done this in a long time, and I wasn’t sure I could, y’know?”

Faith raised an eyebrow. “For what it’s worth, I vote you can. Twice.”

Willow smiled weakly. “It’s just... Kennedy talks big, but she has no idea what I am. What I can do. I thought maybe you - ”

“You needed a test pilot, see if you could handle the G force. I get it.” Faith ignored all the questions and scooped up some more ice cream with studied indifference. “I’m not complaining; world’s gonna end, might as well get it while you can. Better me than someone you might hurt.”

“Exactly! Impending death situation, that’s...” Willow quickly dialed down the enthusiasm, then reached out and tenderly stroked Faith’s hair. “...probably unfair to someone. I’m just saying, maybe this makes me an awful person, but... you’re the one person I figured I could trust here, ‘kay?”

At which point Faith choked on her ice cream and Willow had to stop talking and thump her on the back a couple of times. It’s what good people do.

Eventually, they got back in character; somber earth tones for Willow, hard-working denim for Faith. And the Sunnydale mall bid its last customers farewell.

Date: 2012-01-15 04:32 pm (UTC)
snowpuppies: (Default)
From: [personal profile] snowpuppies

Love love love.

Date: 2012-01-15 07:44 pm (UTC)
deird1: Fred looking pretty and thoughful (Default)
From: [personal profile] deird1

Date: 2012-01-16 02:10 pm (UTC)
goodbyebird: Angel: Faith. (BtVS Faith)
From: [personal profile] goodbyebird
Somebody else already snagged 'awesome' and 'love', so Imma go with very cool!

Date: 2012-01-21 03:20 am (UTC)
ladyjane: Smilie heart melting into puddle of mush. (*melts*)
From: [personal profile] ladyjane
What they said, with a side of, "Damn, you write good femme!"

Date: 2012-01-23 11:47 pm (UTC)
lutamira: ([btvs] [willow] seximo)
From: [personal profile] lutamira
This was AWESOME! And I love little stories like this that can slip right into canon. This is clearly something that really did happen. :)

Date: 2013-01-08 08:49 pm (UTC)
red_satin_doll: (Default)
From: [personal profile] red_satin_doll
Did I not already shower this with words of praise? Well, here: WORDS OF PRAISE! :)

Kidding aside, this is one of my favorite Willow/Faith fics, full stop - the one I come back to most often.

Date: 2013-01-22 09:04 pm (UTC)
red_satin_doll: (Default)
From: [personal profile] red_satin_doll
No I have not, although I've seen her comments oftentimes in convo threads, and she has lots of intelligent and sensible things to say. Thanks for the rec - I've bookmarked the page!

Date: 2013-01-21 06:43 pm (UTC)
rebcake: Joyce with Axe: Not in the brochure (btvs joyce axe)
From: [personal profile] rebcake
not much like the proper holier-than-Buffy girl who knew exactly what was right and wrong, especially how she was one of them and Faith the other. She wasn’t sure exactly what was going on with her lately, probably one of those things nobody trusted her enough to let her in on

Yeah, it's easy to have the wrong impression of people, especially when you think there's nothing much going on wit them. I am pleased that Faith was able to have her expectations altered. Twice. Heh.

Lovely interlude!

Here from the Willowy Goodness Awards

Date: 2013-02-22 09:39 am (UTC)
mierke: (Heart (Faith))
From: [personal profile] mierke
Ooh, loved this!

Date: 2012-01-15 01:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Very, very good. And very believable. (My highest praise, usually. *g*) cookies!

Date: 2012-01-15 09:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks a lot!

Date: 2012-01-15 03:02 pm (UTC)
ext_41277: (Willow Gay)
From: [identity profile]
I am an absolute sucker for this pairing and you nailed it. Brava.

Date: 2012-01-15 09:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yay! Glad it worked, thanks!

Date: 2012-01-15 04:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Very nice! The trashed mall is so atmospheric, and the character that Willow puts on with the clothes is fantastic.

Date: 2012-01-15 09:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks a lot! It occurred to me that I'd never written Vamp!Willow/Faith, so with this prompt, this seemed like a natural idea.

Date: 2012-01-15 08:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I could see this encounter happening. Willow's logic is perfectly her.

Date: 2012-01-15 09:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks! S7 and post-series Willow is an interesting character to write - lots of internal conflicts. I should probably do it more.

Date: 2012-01-15 10:19 pm (UTC)
aadler: (MutantEnemy)
From: [personal profile] aadler
Hmm. Small, workable, does what it does and moves on. Gets to the point without being gratuitously explicit, and — always a plus — doesn’t change a canonical character’s orientation to make an artificial pairing. (Canon-Faith was purely straight in her sex-life as shown on-screen, but she was REALLY big on suggestive comments, and seemed to aim at least as many, if not more, at women as at men.)

Aggressive daring, of a degree that would have been glaringly OOC even for early Season 5 Willow, doesn’t seem at all implausible for post-DarkWillow facing yet another apocalypse. The back-and-forth shifts in her demeanor show that she’s exploring/expressing a potential aspect of her personality, rather than having entirely changed personality. The pairing of awkward honesty and genuine concern, in the post-coital explanation phase, was very much like Willow as we know her, and truly endearing. Likewise, you struck solid notes with Faith, in the contrast of her straightforward toughness with her carefully guarded vulnerability.

And the two of them, resuming their former personas and returning to the task at hand (with neither exposition nor denial that this might be a memory they’d want to hold on to) … well, that was just right.

Date: 2012-01-15 11:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! (Though I have no issues with hardly any canon or non-canon pairings as long as the story works.) There's a lot to explore with both Willow and Faith in s7, that I wish canon had spent a little more time on. Both Willow and Faith are deliberately reigning themselves in, afraid of their own proven potential to hurt others, and I think there was a lot to explore in how their view of each other (and themselves) might change as a result.
Edited Date: 2012-01-15 11:15 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-01-20 03:48 am (UTC)
ext_14447: (BtVS: Vamp!Willow)
From: [identity profile]
I absolutely adored all of this.

Great work.

Date: 2012-01-20 09:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Glad you liked it, thanks! :)

Date: 2012-01-20 04:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's no secret that I'm gaga for this pairing, especially during Season Seven. They just work, and I think they'd be fantastic together.

So this was pure deliciousness with the added bonus of Vamp Willow's outfit (I actually bid on the real costume when they were auctioning off a bunch of props in the early 2000's. I couldn't afford the over 5K it finally went for.)

An excellent and believable read. Thank you!

Date: 2012-01-20 09:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks a lot!

When I got the prompt I realised I had to dress Willow up like Vamp!Willow. S7 Willow might not be quite as uncomfortable in it - which, of course, should make her even more uncomfortable. Glad it worked! (And sorry about the auction.)

Date: 2012-02-12 12:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ooh, very neat. Very in character. Like!

Date: 2012-02-13 03:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks a lot!

Date: 2012-08-21 10:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I read this one a couple of weeks ago and forgot to comment - it's one of my favorite fics thus far. I had NEVER thought about Faith/Willow but you write it beautifully - I love the touch of the ice cream, and really the whole notion of these two reformed women meeting "halfway in the middle" so to speak.

And I love that you don't write the sex scene and leave it to my imagination Much hotter that way.

Date: 2012-08-23 10:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Faith/Willow is a pairing that snuck up on me - I used to think it wouldn't work at all, then I realised that a lot of things that wouldn't make them work did make them work.

Date: 2014-11-04 01:50 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] kikimay
I love the idea of Willow trying again the leather suit. And I really think that Faith/Willow is something that can work. They both have a interesting dark side (The leathergoods thing is GENIUS) and the redemption path to walk on. They could walk together. Plus hot.

Date: 2014-11-04 10:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! Yeah, Willow/Faith is really the pairing that keeps on giving. Especially post-series.

The idea of Sunnydale having a 24-hour leathergoods store makes a ridiculous amount of sense to me. :)
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