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Soundtrack to insomnia: a season 8 ficlet

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  • Soundtrack to insomnia: a season 8 ficlet

    Author's Note: This story is set a little while after "No Future for You".

    Faith stretched out on her bed. In the next room, the needle on the record player scritched into action – Damn! Thin walls, Rupert. We better be movin’ soon or I am never gonna get laid. Cause, the thought of you in the next room listening in… Just…no. Not if you paid me.

    The song began.

    Your own personal Jesus
    Someone to hear your prayers
    Someone who cares

    Personally, Faith preferred the Depeche Mode version. Johnny Cash was no fun. Though Folsom Prison Blues? She could relate.

    Faith plumped up the pillow under her head and wiggled her shoulders, trying to get comfortable. She quickly realised wasn’t going to sleep any time soon. Nothing to do with the noise - she could sleep through most things if she was beat enough. It was her buzzing mind that was going to keep her awake.

    Your own personal Jesus
    Someone to hear your prayers
    Someone who’s there

    The fight with Buffy was on freeze-frame-rewind-replay behind her eyes. Pushing her under the water. Something in me begging me to hold her there. Gone forever. Case closed. But then her skin under my hands, this human body I love and hate. I couldn’t do it. I wanted to tell her that – that I never meant to, that I didn’t want to. But then she was gone before I could explain.

    Moonlight and London streetlamps threw overlapping pools of light into the room. Faith pulled out a sleep mask (courtesy of British Airways from her most recent mission with Giles, now she could fly openly with her shiny new passport) and slipped it over her eyes.

    Feeling unknown
    And you’re all alone
    Flesh and bone

    The material felt tight and heavy against her eyelashes. Blocking out the light only made her inner visions more vivid, as if the mask was pushing against them, making them burrow deeper into her brain.

    By the telephone
    Lift up the receiver
    I’ll make you a believer

    Maybe it was just that she was suggestible in this tired state, listening to the gravelly voice, but she had a sudden urge to pick up the phone and give Buffy a call.

    Take second best
    Put me to the test

    Could it be that simple? Could they just talk some time and find a way to be…ok, not friends. But maybe prickly, slightly-hostile-yet-not-actually-coming-to-blows allies?

    Yeah, right. With me rooming with her Watcher, working with him behind her back, killing a slayer that she probably wanted to kill herself.

    Except, Buffy didn’t kill humans. Right?

    Things on your chest
    You need to confess

    She wondered how Angel was doing these days. No word from him since she headed to Sunny D. Maybe he was the one she should be calling, not Buffy.

    But maybe I need to get myself some friends I’ve never tried to kill?

    Any case, she didn’t have a number for Angel. And he probably had his own shit going down. She’d heard something was up in LA – hadn’t Giles said something?

    The world was full of rumours but she heard everything fourth or fifth hand. Giles had told her some stuff over the past few weeks, but he was often vague, like he didn’t trust her enough to share everything quite yet.

    Like he ever would? He’s not the Mayor. You’re not his girl this time. She’ll always be his girl. You’re his hard-times substitute. This is skid row in Watcherville.

    The record Giles was playing was the opposite of what her mother used to listen to, the times before she had to put the record player in hock. Mom was all sentimental ballads. Cheesy shit.

    She found her mind wandering to her sixth birthday party. The one where Mom had managed to fake sobriety right up until the cake cutting, but then she’d slipped and got her elbows in the icing, and then shouting, and the other children went home, led off by their parents, and suddenly it was all Faith’s fault.

    I will deliver
    You know I’m a forgiver

    What did Giles think of all this? Was he holding out for Buffy to cave, to call? Was everyone waiting for everyone else to say a sorry that was never going to come?

    Faith pulled off her sleep mask and stared upwards.

    Reach out and touch faith
    Reach out and touch faith

    Touching. Holding. Pushing. Gripping. Fingers around someone’s di’ck. Fingers around someone’s neck. It’s all the same. Jeez. Do I really think that?

    There it was again. The memory of Buffy’s choking face under the water. Corpses rising to the surface. Drowned sailors. Some story her Mom read her once. Moby Dick maybe? Something with water.

    All at sea. What does that mean? Lost? Because that’s me. I’m floating and I don’t know which way, don’t know where shore is… Giles really needs to get some records made since 1990. Some new wallpaper too.

    Her mind was floating more gently now. Maybe sleep was coming? Except, thoughts like that were the surefire route to staying awake all night.

    Faith started to count the cracks in the ceiling. The moon was behind a cloud but the neon lights still flickered. “The best jerk chicken in Brixton!”

    The jerk part made her smile.

    Your own personal Jesus
    Someone to hear your prayers
    Someone who cares

    Alone in the dark, with eyes wide open and mind still whirring like a wound-up train, Faith looked upwards.

    This isn’t over, is it, B? I can use guys and throw ‘em away and I don’t feel too bad. But you’re not like one of those guys. I’ll always feel bad about you. And I only ever screwed you metaphorically.

    Metaphorically? Hey, look at me, B. I’m learning from your Watcher.

    Screw you. He’s mine now.

    Oh yeah, I know, I know. He never will be.

    Nothing’s mine. My own personal Jeeves… he’s still yours. It’s all still yours.

    The light was coming. They’d gone to bed late after a patrol. Vampire bedtime almost. Now it was morning in South London, their latest bolthole. Another place some time soon. Giles didn’t like to stay in one place too long.

    It’s all temporary. Always moving on. Never getting anywhere.

    The song ended. Or maybe it had ended ages ago. Time was screwy at this time of night-morning-whatever it was. As she stared upward, Faith didn’t know what she was searching for. There wasn’t any God to pray to. Just the ceiling, and those images of Buffy swimming to the surface every time she seemed anywhere near close to sleep.
    Last edited by Wolfie Gilmore; 18-06-08, 05:52 PM.

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