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[personal profile] moscow_watcher
Title: Black Magic White Lies
Chapter 9 - "Orpheus Rewrite, Bedroom Version"
Timeline: BtVS, alternate season 5
Genre: drama, mystery, action
Characters, pairing: general, Xander/Faith
Rating: R (for intense situations).
Summary: Xander thinks he has a little secret. He doesn't know that his little secret is a part of a big fat conspiracy.
Disclaimer: They all belong to Joss. He said I could play with'em, so there.
Author's notes: Much thanks to my wonderful betas [personal profile] lusciousxander and [personal profile] deird1 who encourage me, help me with character voices, fix my bad grammar and style. All mistakes are mine. This is my first plotty multi-character fic, so concrit is very welcome.



The story starts here

His eyes are closed but he feels warm, comforting fingers playing with his curls and he knows it's her.

"I miss you," he says.

She kisses him, softly, chastely, on his cheek.

"You're so tender," he says. "Why are you so tender tonight?"

Her laugh drips with honey. "It's a dream, stupid. I'm not real." Her tongue trails down his chest. "I'm a figment of your imagination."

"Then why does it feel so real?"

"Because you have too vivid an imagination." She laughs again. "Besides, you like to impersonate me, don't you? Remember our little game that day when I escaped from the hospital? Remember how you were telling me that you were Faith the Vampire Slayer? You were practically drooling."

He opens his eyes. She's sitting on the bed in his apartment, naked and gorgeous. Dim light filters in through the curtains. She smiles at him, and the room immediately brightens. He reaches out and takes her hand.

"I wasn't drooling. Okay, maybe I was, a bit. But mostly I was admiring. You're so beautiful. I never told you how beautiful you are."

"You're telling me now."

"Uh-huh. In my dream. In reality, I've never told you how beautiful you are, how much I love you, how often I dream about..."

She slaps him playfully. "It's not love. It's an unhealthy obsession. You can't have your precious Buffy so you set your sights on me."

"I so did not!" He looks at her curiosly. "Come on, how can you argue with me if you're my imagination?"

She drops his hand and turns away. "Because you're even more screwed-up than me."

"Says who? My imagination?"

"Come on, Xannie-boy. You're a screw-up. You hate your father because he abuses and humiliates your mother. You hate your mother because she indulges him. You go after strong women in hope to break this pattern. You're so afraid to miss your big shiny chance that you miss a lot of good."

He shakes his head vigorously. "You're wrong!"

"You're me and I'm you, remember? I know everything about you." With a swift predatory movement she straddles him. "All these years you knew that Willow loved you. But she was meek and shy and you didn't need to conquer her. One word - and she'd be yours. Boring. So you didn't pay any attention to her until she began dating Oz. And, suddenly, you started torturing yourself with what-ifs. What if she's your soul mate? What if you missed your best chance?"

He realizes that arguing with his own subconscious is stupid. So he just stares at her, drinking her in.

"You were always telling youself that you were attracted to Cordelia because she was unattainable. You never admitted to yourself why you were drawn to her in the first place. You get turned on by fighting. You're the son of your parents, Xander. The more you try to escape them the more they possess you. You were trying to convince yourself that you loved Cordelia because she was a symbol of another life. She was rich, clever and sophisticated. She would never allow a man to abuse her. That's what you told yourself. You were never able to face the truth. You loved to fight with her the way your father loved to fight with your mother."

Her words sting but he doesn't argue. It's useless to argue with your own imagination. It's unexpectedly liberating to talk to himself-as-Faith. If only he could be that gorgeous...

"You'll always pine for Buffy because she'll never sleep with you. But if the hell froze over and she jumped into bed with you, you'd lose interest for her the very next morning. You were intrigued about Spike and enjoyed cock-teasing him with your moist assets, but if he'd really made a pass at you..."

"Let's not go there!"

"Uh-huh. So, bi-curious. Don't blush, hon."

"What about Anya, then?" he enquires.

She shrugs.

"When you lost me you felt like drowning. She happened to be the straw you were clutching at." She ducks her head. "Hey, I'm not boasting. Don't forget I'm you. It's your own mind talking."

His mind races. "But how do you fit the pattern, Faith? I love you because you're strong and sexy and beautiful, and it's perfectly normal for a guy to fall for you. How can you explain that?"

She leans so close that her hot lips almost touch his ear. "You really want to hear it? Okay. You don't love me because I'm strong and sexy and beautiful. You love me because I'm a screw-up and you want to save me. You think you're not worthy of real love, so you want to find somebody to save in the hope that she'll love you for saving her. Typical for a person with an inferiority complex. Admit it, Xander. Deep inside you know you're a loser."

He thinks about what she's saying. He feels strangely serene. Maybe because it's a dream. Maybe because she looks concerned about him.

"A minute ago you had a different theory. You told me that I wanted you as a Buffy substitute."

She grins. "We were warming up. Scratching the surface. And now we're digging deeper. Because you always dreamed about saving Buffy. You even managed to save her once or twice - but you never got her. She wasn't damaged enough to cling to a white knight on a skateboard... What? What are you smiling at?"

He can't believe there is so much shit in his head. But it's so liberating to have a walk down the convolutions of his brain - or swim down the stream of his subconsciousness.

"You know, Miss Imagination, you've helped me. Because I finally realized something important. Now I know why Faith - I mean, real Faith - is so hostile. She thinks I can only love her as long as she needs to be saved. She is so wrong."

"Hey, sitting right here. Why are you talking about me in the third person?"

He removes a stray wisp of hair that hides her face.

"Okay. Not she. You. You're wrong. Because you're saddled with me till the end of days. Unless you get tired of my witty jokes..."

She chuckles softly. "Unless Buffy kills me."

"What? What the hell are you talking... Or, maybe, I'm talking - thinking about. I can't think these awful things about Buffy, can I?"

She raises her brow unequivocally. He shudders. "No. No, you're... I'm wrong. Buffy would never..."

"Except she almost did it once."

"That was different!"

"Yes, it was. She was only saving her boyfriend - who she was perfectly able to save without bleeding me, as it turned out. This time she thinks it's about saving the world. She told you that our baby could bring about the apocalypse."

A minute ago she wasn't pregnant, now her hands are curved over her bump. But of course. Here, in a dream a woman can conveniently get an instant magic baby. As well as a shy, fragile look in this lacy pink nightgown.

"Do you really think she'd hesitate to gut me again? It's a perfect excuse to get rid of," she makes air-quotes, "Faith the Vampire Slayer." The apocalypse will excuse anything."

"It won't happen," he says flatly.

"Oh, really?"

He doesn't like her mocking tone. "It won't happen because she'd have to kill me first. And she'd never do that."

She starts laughing. She falls on the bed next to him, clutches at her belly and laughs so hard that tears stream down her face. "Now, that was priceless," she gasps. "Instead of telling Buffy that the baby is yours and there's nothing apocalyptic about him, you'd rather tell her that she'd better kill you..."

"That was the first thing that came to my mind," he says, pissed off. "Of course, we'll find another way..."

"Don't delude yourself, Xander. You don't have guts to tell her about us. She'll kill me and she'll tell you it had been done in the interests of humanity, and you'll agree. Or maybe she won't even tell you what she's done. You'll find out later that I'm dead. Or disappeared. And you'll pretend that nothing happened. Because you're too afraid to lose her friendship. Because you're nothing without your friends. You'd rather die than tell them..."

"Hey, that's not true! I told Willow!"

"Sure. Loyal, sweet Willow who will always be on your side no matter what. What about Buffy?"

He avoids her gaze. "The time isn't right. She's got a lot of problems of her own."

"Come on. You'd rather let her kill you than tell her you slept with me?"

"But... but..." An idea strikes him. "It's not safe to tell her. Willow says Buffy could be hiding something. She... she's hanging out with a vampire."

"Like she didn't do that before."

"No! This is a different vampire and this is a different hanging out, and... I don't know. Maybe you're right. I'm making up lame excuses because I'm terrified."

She smiles a genuine smile. "Hmmm... looks like you made the first step." She snuggles up to him and strokes his face. "You admitted your fears. That's a biggie."

He grins, drinking in the sight of her - peaceful, sweet, pliant. "I know what I'll do. Tomorrow I'll bring you home. My home - my rules. I won't leave you alone and I won't let anybody hurt you and our baby. We'll make it through. Together."

He aches to touch her belly. He reaches out a hand, but his fingers find void.
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