Summary: Faith searches for Slayerettes and finds an unlikely candidate.
Rating: R, or Teen +, for language.
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer tv show and comic, Ginger Snaps
Warnings: Um, everyone in this swears a lot, and there's discussion of eating people.
Spoilers: Spoilers for BtVS Season Seven, and the comic book BtVS Season Eight. Spoilers for Ginger Snaps and Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed.
Title, Author and URL of original story: Sometimes It's Better by Carla, aka escritoireazul
Huge thanks to the many betas for this -- especially to wiredferret for the structural criticism and likeadeuce for pointing out that the beginning was slow. I actually have forgotten who else went through this while I was agonizing over it, but thank you all!
The sound of melting ice in a glass smeared with whiskey remains.
The sound of keys against a window, smeared with rain or tears.
The sound of chains in the basement, smeared with blood, sweat, sex.
"I know, Wes, it's just so hard. I won't give up on this."
Faith's left hand gripped the phone, right hand her keys and drink, fingers slick with condensation and fear of condemnation. It was hard, with woman-child Dawn and her meaningful harumphs and the wanna-bes all half-afraid of what intrigued them.
Down below, sometimes Spike made it better.
Just like Wesley.
Sometimes (I Can Make) It Better [Fangs And Fur Remix]
1. The sound of melting ice in a glass smeared with whiskey.
The sound of melting ice in a glass smeared with whiskey remains in Faith's ears long after she leaves the bar. Another night chasing leads in the wilds of suburban Vancouver. Surrey's all neat little fences and houses in cul-de-sacs, like the most conformist parts of the L.A. sprawl but minus the character. She turns the heat on high and pulls out her notebook. It's not that cold here. The dark, it gets to her, though. Makes her drink three whiskey-and-Cokes while talking to the informant, not just one.
"Speaking of," Faith mutters as she grabs a pencil from the glove box. She jots down everything the nurse's aide, Gisard, had told her about the clinic. Ex-nurse's aide, now. The man had blown too many surprise drug tests in the ten months after the . . . incident. Incident. Faith snorts. Funny way to describe what was, as far as she could tell, a fucking bloodbath. She blinks a little, focusing on the page. Next time, not so many drinks. Like Gisard, look where it got him. Drunk and unemployed and lost his neat suburban life. Living out of his fucking car. Faith shrugs.
The Georgia Straight, the local weekly paper, said that the rehab clinic had taken in a monster. That's what had gotten Giles's attention. Nurses and orderlies killed, patients torn apart. A good handful missing, two of which were the right age to be Slayerettes. "And since he and the Buffster are on the outs," Faith mutters to herself, "it's up to me to check out the sitch."
Faith puts the car into gear and drives to her motel, the sound of the whiskey and ice trembling in Gisard's hand still echoing in her ears. She puts it out of her mind. How the mundanes coped, or didn't, that wasn't her problem. Faith pulls up in front of the ice machine at the base of the stairs nearest her room. She locks the car. It has a few custom adjustments inside. Be a pain to have to fix up another. She stretches, rolling her shoulders and popping her back. It's a deceptive move. Faith checks all the approaches, visually inspects her surroundings. She saunters over to the stairs with her guard up, takes them one at a time. Old age -- time was, Faith would've vaulted up the steps, not checked her six, not given a damn about what was gunning for her. Time was, Faith didn't care about dying.
Not so much anymore.
Faith unlocks her door and quickly closes it behind her. She sets the mojo bag on the door handle, the one that made this room her "home" for vampire-invitation purposes. It's one of a handful of tricks in her grab bag. Magical backup supplied by Giles, by Willow here and there. Things Faith has picked up on the occasions she drops by the Slayerettes' operation in Europe. Not that she stays long.
In the motel shower Faith sighs and closes her eyes, hot water spilling over her head. After last time, she was staying away. Anywhere else but the Slayerettes. Anywhere but there with Dawn and her meaningful harumphs and the wanna-bes all half-afraid of what intrigued them. Anywhere but there, with Xander's mistrust and Buffy's anger and Willow's caution and condescension in equal measure.
A long shower and a set of pajamas later, Faith sits on her bed with the file. Going over what Gisard told her. A girl had checked in to the clinic. Had been checked in, Faith notes, brought in by the cops and incarcerated in a mental ward. Didn't matter what they called. She sips at her whiskey and Coke just to give her hands something to do. Something about the way Gisard had told it, about how fucking desperate the girl had been . . . Faith shivers. Not my problem, she tells herself silently. Focus. Faith finishes her drink. The notes say the girl was a junkie. Addicted to something weird, a poison. Faith circles the name of the drug. Wolfsbane.
"Tryin' to keep the big bad away . . . " Something had attacked the clinic, maybe going after this girl, she'd said she had to leave. Told the staff that the thing was after her, wanted only her. A whole bunch of bad shit had subsequently gone down, and in the end, the girl was gone. Faith looks at the name. Brigitte. Brigitte Fitzgerald. According to the sketchy information, Brigitte might be eighteen years old. Close to it. Faith looks at the clock. Midnight-thirty. She blinks and checks the date on her cell phone. "Hah," Faith whispers in the quiet of the room. "Happy Birthday, me." Just turned twenty-one. "Old age, for real," Faith says. She makes another quick drink and finishes it off, the burn of the whiskey warming her when there's no one else to touch. She piles up the notes on the side table and turns out the lights. Time to sleep.
2. The sound of keys against a window, smeared with rain or tears.
The car pulling into the lot makes Faith take cover. She dodges behind a low concrete wall near the rear door to the ruined clinic. Faith peers cautiously around the filthy barricade. The car is old, some 1980s-looking sedan and not kept up. It pulls into the dark lot with its headlights off. " . . . the fuck?" Faith frowns.
The blue sedan parks a little crooked, right under the dim orange light by the door. Maybe the headlights are just broken? Maybe the driver just doesn't care, Faith thinks. It doesn't make sense to pull up at night with the lights off, then just park where everybody can see you. She watches with interest as the driver gets out. Just a damn kid. Pale, with white blond hair and pale skin. Faith can't see the girl's eyes. Maybe Dawn's age. This my slayer?
In her back pocket Faith carries the Tell. It's a stick, looks like a pencil, all painted and carved and magicked up. Willow made it for her about four months ago, during one of Faith's failed attempts to make nice and play cool. It has a fancy name, the Tell of Saint Somebody. A Slayer-detector, that's the part that matters. It just has to get close, about ten feet away from the target and it buzzes.
The girl walks past Faith, either not noticing or not caring. Hard to say which. Faith pulls the Tell from her pocket and follows. The clinic is a disaster. The weather's gotten in, rain and damp making the drywall a lot less dry. Squatters and vandals have been at it, too. There's graffiti, evidence of a fire or two. Human feces in a corner. Faith can't tell for sure whether the mess is normal human squalor or something worse, something vamp-nest-style.
Faith keeps to the cover, mostly. The girl ahead isn't really looking around. She stops at a bank of lockers. Humming to herself. Faith watches as her target opens one and removes a false back. There's a hole in the wall. The girl takes something out of her pockets and looks at it. She pets it for a moment and holds it up, giggling. Drops whatever it is into the hole in the wall, replaces the back, closes the door. Faith steps out from hiding as the girl turns around. The girl sees her and smiles. Her eyes are a pale, watery color and Faith hears herself think please don't be my Slayer. She steps closer, waiting for the Tell to confirm or deny. "Hey," Faith says.
"Hello!" The girl closes the distance. She's standing a few feet away. The Tell in Faith's hand is silent, unmoving. "You're new here," the girl says. "I'm Ghost. What's your name?"
"Faith. Pleased to meet you, Ghost. Not exactly the best digs in town," Faith says, gesturing at the derelict building. "You don't live here, do you?"
"Oh, of course not," Ghost says. She smiles and Faith figures out who Ghost looks like. She looks like The First. "I live in Burnaby with my family. Except for my poor, poor sister." Ghost doesn't take her eyes off Faith, and the smile never fades. Faith realizes she's taken a step back. The girl ain't right, she hears, an echo in her head of Oz. The memory of his laconic voice makes her feel a little better and she holds her ground. "My poor sister died here," Ghost continues. "Died in the fire. There was a fire, you know. They made up a story about an attack so that no one would investigate. It was very hush-hush."
"Why's that?" Faith lifts her chin, cocks her hip, old bravado worn like a coat. "Wouldn't have anything to do with the girl that went missing, would it? The one that said the monster was after her?"
"I don't know who you're talking about," Ghost says. She giggles. "After all, I was never here. Just my sister. She was crazy." The girl walks towards Faith, brushing past her. Faith holds her ground and turns as Ghost moves by. "Well, it was nice to meet you, Faith. Good luck with your search!"
Faith stays where she is for a moment then sprints after the girl and catches sight of the license plate as the car pulls out. Maybe she can find the records, maybe ask Giles or Xander for help. Faith walks back to the mysterious locker. That wasn't her Slayer. Something about Ghost is wrong. Faith knocks the false backing loose and looks into the hole hidden at the back of the locker. She shines the beam of her flashlight into the gap.
Bones. Faith picks up a couple. "Damn if those aren't human."
Faith heads outside, where it's raining. Always raining in Vancouver. It's a three block walk over to East Hastings where she ducks into the parking lot to get her car. Faith takes her phone out of her pocket and dials from memory. She leaves a message with the earnest kid who takes the call and turns off her phone. Xander, somebody from that crew, they'll leave her a message. Less trouble than trying to actually talk to them.
Faith drives the short distance to her motel. She can't quite shake the feeling that Ghost knows where she is, is maybe watching her somehow. Parking in the dimly lit lot, Faith stops at the ice machine and makes it give her a bucketful. She climbs the worn steps slowly. Faith sets the wards on the room and pulls the curtain on the window back. The sound of keys against a window smeared with rain is just like every other motel room, ever. She leaves the curtain and goes to the mini-fridge, pulls out the bottle of Jim Beam and the two-liter of Coke bought at the liquor store. Faith pours herself a drink over the crushed ice and swallows it down. She lays on the mattress without undressing. Faith falls asleep quickly, and if she dreams of Ghost she doesn't remember it upon waking.
3. The sound of chains in the basement, smeared with blood, sweat, sex.
"Not my fucking forte," Faith mutters. She crouches behind the corner of the garage as Ghost gets into her car and pulls away from the house. Gunn was better at this. Hell, Xander was better at this. She doesn't know how long Ghost will be gone. Maybe the girl's going to the store, maybe she's going downtown. Whatever. This is a chance. Faith steps out from concealment and approaches.
The house is in terrible shape. Burned at some point, never repaired. The door isn't locked. Faith walks in. The inside is as ruined as the outside. Huge holes in the walls and stairs. Marks of damage that look like maybe claw marks. Faith holds her hand up to a set of marks. "You're a big bastard," she whispers. Maybe twice Faith's height, a little less than that. Probably three to four times her weight. Something thumps in the basement just as Faith pulls her hand away from the wall. Something big, and Faith backs away from the spot. The thumping follows under her feet for a short distance and stops. Faith can hear perfectly well through the floor, there's a rattling of chains, a low rumbling growl, a snuffling against the floorboards. The growl turns weirdly musical, it builds into a crooning noise, almost, gets louder and louder. It's a howl.
Freaky Ghost has a monster in the basement. Faith listens to the howl, it's like a train whistle under her feet. "Freaky Ghost has a big monster in the basement." Faith's standing, thinking, when she feels a burning in her pocket. She reaches in and pulls out the Slayer Detector. It's vibrating like crazy, it's hot, the thing is glowing and nearly burning her hand. It's insane. "You're kidding me." Faith drops the stick on the floor. It stands on end, vibrating, pointing through the floor, at the sound of chains in the basement. "You're goddamn kidding me. No way." The stick is jerking back and forth, following the motion of the monster. "You're telling me that monster is my fucking missing Slayer?"
The twig vibrates faster, faster, glowing hot. It shatters. Faith stares at the spot on the floor. "I'll take that as a yes."
Faith considers her options. She walks further in, the howling dying away under her boots, replaced by a whuffling, snuffling sound. There, in the hallway, there's a huge hole in the floor. A cooler next to it, open. Blood on the side of the cooler, on the lid. Handprints like someone just wiped their fingers on the cheap plastic. Faith edges to the gaping hole and peers in.
The thing lunges up, clawed hands falling just short of the floor. It can't reach, and the howl it lets loose is nothing but fury. Faith assesses the chains she can see. Running lengths along the floor keep the monster low. Keep it from reaching the ceiling rafters. The chains are smeared with blood, other things that Faith doesn't feel a need to ponder. The creature quiets and watches Faith.
Faith crouches on her heels, gazing at the wild yellow eyes. "I know a werewolf when I see one, that's for sure. You met my friend Oz? Nice guy. Gets hairy sometimes, himself." She pulls out her cell phone, dials. "He said meditation helps, you tried that yet?" she asks, listening to the ringing. The connection picks up.
"Faith." Giles's voice is smooth, terse. The usual attitude he has with Faith.
"Got a sitch, here, Bossman," she says without pleasantries. "Slayer-girl's a werewolf, and not the Nair'd sort. All hairy and looking for dinner. Suggestions?"
"The Slayer you are investigating is a werewolf? And is currently in non-human form, do I understand you correctly?"
"Yep. Chained up in some freaky chick's basement, but that part I have a handle on. Just tell me how to de-fur the target and we'll be cool."
"It's not the full moon . . . "
"If you say so."
" . . . So we have a case of the full possessive form of lycanthropy as opposed to the genetically transmitted version . . . "
" -- mm-hmm, very interesting -- " Faith glances over her shoulder, checking behind her in case Ghost was back already. All clear.
" . . . Which would indicated an infusion of monkshood to temporarily alleviate the condition until a complete remediation can be achieved."
"Whoa, there, Silver. One more time?"
"Inject her with a monkshood solution. I'll read you the recipe."
"Gotcha." Faith holds the phone against her shoulder and jots down the steps. "Easy-peasey," she says. "Thanks, Big G. I'll call if there's more complications."
"Thank you, Faith," Giles says. "I'll be in contact with a more permanent solution. This won't hold her."
"Five by five," Faith replies. She hangs up, looks down at the wolf. "I'll be back," she says quietly. The monster -- no, the Slayer. The girl. -- paces back and forth, looking up.
"Brigitte." Faith nods, once. "I'll be back. Promise."
4. Faith's left hand gripped the phone, right hand her keys and drink, fingers slick with condensation and fear of condemnation.
Faith adjusts her grip around the skinny girl's waist and holds tighter onto the wrist slung around her neck. She gets Brigitte out of her car and up, helping her across the parking lot to the motel. "C'mon, Brigitte, that's the way to do it -- " The girl stumbles, moans in pain. Her wrists, ankles, her throat are all raw and bruised. Faith wasn't sure she could have broken the chains, but once Brigitte was human the cuffs slid off. Once she was human she was naked, and Faith had found some old, musty-smelling clothes to wrap her in. Probably belonged to Ghost. They work past the ancient ice machine and take the wooden stairs slowly up to Faith's room. She's not sure how aware Brigitte is of what's happening. The monkshood works, but, god -- "It hurt like a bitch, sure, but now we gotta get to this nice motel room, capice?"
Faith opens the door and helps Brigitte to the bed. She set the wards on the door and turns back. The other woman, the other Slayer is ripping at her clothes. Ineffectually, like she's forgotten how to use her hands. She's got a look of determination on her face. Faith steps closer, her hands out to stop the pointless, frantic motion. "Hey, there, slow down -- "
Brigitte glares up from under filthy, blood-crusted hair. She bares her teeth and growls. The sound is cut off instantly as Brigitte's eyes widen in horror. "Oh, fuck me," she mutters. Her voice is low and rough.
"Your voice always sound like that, or are you gettin' all animal on me?"
Brigitte coughs. "Not an animal. Promise." She looks down. "This shirt smells like Ghost's place. I need them off me."
It's not a polite request. Faith nods and kneels down in front of Brigitte anyway. "No biting, is all I gotta ask for," she says. She brushes Brigitte's hands out of the way and begins undoing the buttons.
"No biting." Brigitte swallows hard. "I might hurl on you, but no biting."
Faith glances up, brushing her own dark hair back behind her ears. "Can I catch it from you if you spew? Because that, like, ups the urgency of my dodge, y'know?"
"Being a werewolf. Unless it's just a family heirloom or something, in which case, my bad."
"Oh." Brigitte shakes her head. "Not an heirloom, but I think I have to bite you. Not with these teeth, with my other teeth. You know."
"And how likely is that? That your other teeth are going to make an appearance?" Faith pulls the shirt off of the other woman. "Damn, girl. Whatever you were eating, it wasn't enough."
Brigitte wraps her arms around her ribs. "I don't remember," she says. "I don't remember what I was eating. I don't want to remember." She looks down and begins scrabbling at the sweatpants she wears.
"Stop that," Faith tells her. "You didn't answer the first question -- how likely is it that you're going to turn hairy and bite my ass?" She pulls the pants off. Brigitte is shivering.
"I don't know," Brigitte says. "What'd you do to make me human? Because I have no clue." She looks up. Her teeth are chattering. "There a shower in this joint?" she asks, and Faith can see, finally, that Brigitte is crying. It's almost silent, just a hitching in the girl's breath and the wet tear-tracks down both cheeks.
"Sure thing." Faith doesn't remark on the crying. Faith puts her arm around Brigitte's shoulders, helps her up. "Right this way."
She leaves the werewolf-slayer-girl in the bathroom alone. Faith hears the water turn on and takes out her phone. I need to call. Check in. She puts the phone away. Over to the fridge, gets out the Jack and the Coke and pours a drink. Now, the phone. Faith's left hand grips the phone, right hand her drink, fingers slick with the condensation off the glass in the humid Vancouver climate. She can hear it ringing.
"Faith!" The voice on the other end isn't Giles. "It's Kennedy. How's it hanging, butch?"
Faith rolls her eyes. "You wish, K.D. Lang. Why're you there?"
"Cause'a you." Faith can hear someone talking in the background. Kennedy goes on. "Giles wanted to run a thing by Will. Hear you caught a Slayer of your own?"
"Willow's there?" Faith's palm is wet now. "Put her on."
The pause is long enough Faith thinks of hanging up and calling back. "Hey, Faith." The voice that finally picks up sounds like it could really be Willow.
"Hey Red. How's tricks?"
5. Sometimes it's better.
Faith's off the phone when the shower turns off. But Brigitte doesn't come out right away. Faith sets the glass and the phone aside and steps to the door. "Brigitte. Hey. I'm coming in."
The door opens easily. Brigitte is staring at the mirror. She's staring so hard that Faith checks it just in case there's something there. Just a skinny brunette with bruises under her eyes. Brigitte meets Faith's eyes in the mirror without turning around. "I ate people."
"Huh." Brigitte's not wearing anything. Faith picks a cheap white towel up off the floor and holds it out. "That sucks."
Brigitte whirls, her finger pointing like a knife. "I fucking ate people!" she says. "I'm as bad as Ginger!"
"And Ginger is . . . "
"My sister." Brigitte slumps to the grimy floor like a puppet with her strings cut, leaning back against the cabinet. "She's my sister. Dead now, though that doesn't get her to shut up." She holds up her hand, examining the palm. "Out by sixteen or dead in the scene, but together forever. United against life as we know it."
Faith crouches in the doorway. "Did you kill her?"
Brigitte's head falls back against the cheap cabinet under the sink. "Yeah."
Faith nods. "I killed somebody. Not my sister. Though I tried to kill the next best thing." She smiles. "She put me in a coma."
"You got better."
"You can, too."
"Get better?" Brigitte laughs. "Fat fucking chance."
"I don't mean stop being a werewolf," Faith says. "Though I got a couple friends that say they can help. I mean, you can get better."
The girl on the floor looks at Faith and her eyes are large and dark. "You make about as much sense as Sarte," she mutters. "Unless you got a cure for hairy palms, or you can make my sister alive, I'm not seeing the better."
"Better would be a clean set of clothes," Faith says. "I have those. Better would be dinner. I ordered pizza. Better would be standing up on two feet without leaning on things, which I haven't actually seen you do yet."
Faith doesn't offer to help. Brigitte puts her hands on the floor. She gets up to a crouch and grabs the counter. She pulls herself up and turns around. Lets go of the wall and balances. "Ta-dah. Happy?"
"Ecstatic." Faith stands and offers a hand as Brigitte wobbles.
"Almost like a person," Brigitte replies. She leans on Faith's arm.
"That's going around, I hear."
"Does it come with clothes?"
Faith helps Brigitte to the bed. "Yep. The finest sweatpants and t-shirts Target provides."
"People are overrated." Brigitte says as she picks up the shirt and puts it on.
"So's being a monster," Faith replies. She untangles the sleeves and helps Brigitte with the sweatpants. "Here."
Brigitte looks at the comb Faith hands her and takes it. She begins struggling with the tangles. "You don't look like a monster."
"Not so much." Faith takes the comb back and starts working it through the ends of the other woman's hair.
Brigitte doesn't protest. "Did you ever look like one?"
"Depends who you ask. Did I ever get fangs or something? No. Went to jail, though. Did time."
They sit like that a while. Faith's almost done with Brigitte's hair when the werewolf speaks. "Why'd you find me?"
"It's my job these days."
Brigitte turns around. "Slayer?"
"Slayer." Faith finishes with the comb just as there's a knock on the door. Faith's up instantly. She rolls to the door and crouches, listening.
Brigitte frowns. "Didn't you say you ordered piz-"
"Shh!" Faith holds her hand up for quiet. She stands slowly and peers through the peephole. "Who is it?"
"Pizza Hut," comes the bored reply.
Faith slides the bolt and cracks the door. "All right. But you're not invited in."
The woman blinks. "Okay, that's seventeen-ninety-six."
Faith pays and brings in the food. She sets the wards again. Brigitte takes the first piece of pizza eagerly. "So, who slays what?" she asks. "And what's with the occult bullshit? You look like a reject from The Craft, waving little bags of herbs around."
"The occult bullshit is going to save your life," Faith replies. "While you were in the shower I made a call. A contact of mine is going to meet us in two days at the airport. She'll take a look at you and come up with a plan for fang and fur control." She takes a piece of pizza for herself. "And, a Slayer -- yeah. Well, I'm one."
"That still doesn't tell me what it means."
"Means I Slay things."
Brigitte opens one of the cans of Coke that came with the pizza and takes a long swallow. "I thought you said you killed one person, singular."
"Slaying's not the same as killing," Faith answers.
"Okay, sure, whatever."
"Killing's what you do to people. Slaying is for the monsters."
"And who picks what's a monster?"
Faith snorts. "I don't think it's that hard. Do you?"
Brigitte picks up another piece of pizza. "Then I'm not dead, why? Remember -- fur and fangs."
"Point, there, Fitz -- sometimes it's hard."
"Don't call me that."
Faith raises an eyebrow.
"Fitz. Don't call me that."
"Five by five."
"So, I'm not a moron. Explain."
"I don't know why you're a werewolf -- "
" -- I do -- "
" -- but about six months ago something happened, a big magic. A whole bunch of girls who might have, someday, been Slayers, they all got nailed with the magical whammy-stick at once." Faith grabs a can of Coke. Her eye catches for a minute on the whiskey but it doesn't linger. "So now, where there used to be only one Slayer all on her own, fighting the good fight, now there's hundreds around the world. And I'm helping find them all, get them in touch with the main group. Before they become targets for the Bad, the vamps and the demons and the werewolves."
Brigitte's watching Faith. "Bullshit."
Faith shrugs. "Superstrength, combat crap, easy healing. A weird sense for vampires."
"You have superpowers."
"You drip anymore scepticism, there, you're gonna need a towel."
Faith stands up. She puts her hand on the bathroom door handle and crushes it.
"Huh. Okay. So you're a Slayer and you hunt monsters. Except, you don't slay me, because I'm a Slayer, too, and I'm going to get a magic cure for also accidentally being a werewolf." Brigitte finishes the pizza and scoots back on the bed, leaning against the headboard. "And when I'm all copacetic, I'm supposed to join your little cult and kill -- no, excuse me, Slay monsters." She tilts her head and pulls her lips back like it's supposed to be a smile. "When do I get to kill Ghost? Or did you take care of that for me?"
"You don't." Faith gets up and clears the pizza box. Turns her back on Brigitte. Gets another Coke. "We don't do that. Human crime is for humans."
"And you think you can charge her with holding a werewolf prisoner?" Brigitte pulls her knees up to her chest, hugs them to her chest. "Like to see you explain that in Surrey Provincial Court. Think that kinda exceeds human law."
"Still. She's human. We don't kill humans." There's a silence behind Faith that makes her turn around. Brigitte's got her head cocked to one side. She's sniffing. Faith sets her can of Coke down. "Killing humans is murder." She smiles at a joke only she knows. "And that would be wrong."
Brigitte's nostrils flare. "But you did it. I can tell," she says. Her eyes are very dark. "I can smell it on you, when you says things. I can smell how you feel." She bares her teeth again, something closer to a smile than to other things. "Ghost never smelled like feelings. I'm pretty sure she's not human."
"Being a psychotic fuck doesn't make you not human." Faith steps closer and sits on the edge of the bed.
"Sociopathic with dissociative disorder."
"Whatever. Still human." Faith moves her hand slowly out. She puts it on Brigitte's arm. Not doing anything, just touching. Something like what a friend might do. A sister. "We're not, anymore. Human. But not monsters either. Unless we decide to be."
Brigitte sniffs Faith's hand. It's not a human move at all. Faith feels the hair on her neck stand up but she doesn't pull away. Sometimes that's what does it -- a friendly hand. That's what makes the difference between a Slayer and everything else. "You did it," Brigitte says. "Killed a human."
"It was a mistake."
Brigitte sniffs more. "Did you regret it?"
"Not right away."
The girl looks at Faith then, and something flickers in the depths of her eyes. "But you do now."
Faith nods slowly. "I do."
Brigitte meets Faith's gaze, and she's crying again. "You remind me of Ginger. She used to comb my hair when we were little." She sniffles once and wipes her nose on her arm. "She would've come for me, too."
"Yeah," Faith says. She scoots up the bed and pats Brigitte. The motion is awkward. Foreign. Brigitte leans against her. Faith lets out a held breath and puts her arm around the girl's scrawny shoulders. "I'm sure she would have." There's not anything to say. Sometimes it gets better. Sometimes an arm around the shoulder is all you have.