The beach was silent, and while the sun had yet to begin it's assent into the sky, she could still smell it's slow burn, as it trailed towards the horizon. It brought with it the light, its rays an attempt to wash the land clean of the darkness that had swallowed it whole for a while, to purge the sea of ink from the roads and streets, to light the people with a sense of hope.
Faith stood there on the sand, looking out over the gently cresting waves as they came up and broke onto the sand, disappearing back into the ocean's depths with a hissing froth. Small trails of swallowed sand cascaded behind the few rocks and shells that littered the waters edge as it was dragged away with the water, and she could see a number of sand worms squirming just beneath the grainy surface.
She folded her arms over her chest, lifting her head up and breathing in a deep lungful of salty air, as a gust of wind blew in from the water. It blew her hair back over her shoulders freeing her neck from the slightly stifling feel of her brunette main always sitting against the delicate skin there. She'd tie it back, but she always lost those little elastic hair things, and those clips to keep stray strands from flicking in her view. It was too much bother, seem as though she could simply catch the tresses and fold them behind her ears, away from annoying her pale features, but still protecting the deep, flickering pulse at the base of her neck.
She hadn't been on the beach for weeks, her time being too filled with assignments for her new boss. Running this offering to this demon and taking care of that one so it would never speak. Of finally being found out by Buffy and the super friends and moving out of that fleabag motel on the edge of town. Too filled with the thoughts of her betrayal, one she knew would now never be forgiven lightly, and yet somewhere inside of her, there was still a small spark of hope.
Lifting her arms up, she pulled off her t-shirt and dropped it to the sand, kicking off her boots and socks as she reached for the zipper of her jeans. She'd walked here thousands of times since she'd come to Sunnydale. Something about the ocean just pulsating on the sand that called to her. Her steps were slow and easy, a natural calm falling over her as her feet landed in the blistering cold of the water. But she didn't stop until she was knee deep in it, feeling the cool water drifting and ebbing against her calves and small pieces of seaweed as they tickled past her legs.
A soft shiver ran up her body, a slight adjustment internally to the cold she was now feeling and she could feel the cold slowly seeping out of her body, or at least her being aware of it. She'd always been fascinated by her ability to chance her body's temperature at will, even as she felt the heat draining out of her until she was no longer bothered by the ice water that surrounded her.
Only then did she continue into the water, watching with fascinated eyes as it creep up her knees, encasing her thighs and dousing her bikini shorts, turning the pale blue into a deep navy. She flickered her eyes away, off towards the horizon and wondered, briefly, if she could reach it today. She hadn't last time, but the swim had done her good. As if the current just beneath her exercising body was slowly pulling away all the black thoughts that crowded her head, stole away the memories of the life she had came from, and the place she was born into.
It swiftly removed the hunger of her bloodlust, and the slightly crazy feeling at the back of her mind. It took away the pain and the rage, the hate and the disgust at herself. It left nothing but a feeling of freedom, a small amount of peace from her rolling thoughts and sick mental images. In the ocean, she was just Faith, just a girl, with nothing more important on her mind other than what the time was. And even that didmattmatter out here.
She dived head first into the water, opening her eyes as she went underneath a small wave and looking out into the murky green wash that started just twenty feet in front of her. A small fish darted past her face as she came to a stop and hovered there. If you were still long enough, the fish here would come right up to you, as if wondering what you are. Or maybe asking you your name, greeting you perhaps.
But today she couldn't just hover there, smiling gently as those little colorful fish came up to her face and her body. Today she felt a need inside of her so deep, a pull of longing to swim, as far and as fast as her limbs would take here. Far out and away from the shore of a world that really didn't want her, or people that hated her and of nothing really that important anyway.
Breaking the surface of the water, she took in a huge lungful of air, spitting some salty liquid out of her mouth and brushing the hair back off her face. And then she swam. Long, languid strokes of her arms, pulling her forward, the kicking of her legs pus her her further away from the beach behind her. She loved the feel of the water as it rushed through her yanking fingers, of the slight tickle of salt as it ran over the length of her body and off the ends of her toes.
The faster she swam, the further she got, and the further she got, the less she hurt. The pain that sat deep inside of her chest started to wash away with the tide, the shadows that constantly danced over her soul receded to a place so deep inside of her, she wouldn't even go there herself. It felt as if the entire weight of the world was slowly being rinsed out of her, as if she were in the world's biggest washing machine.
After she'd swam for about 15 miles out, she pulled to a slow stop, beating her legs under the water to keep her head above it and once again pushed her hair out of her face, levelling her breathing out as she basically stood there in the water and looked out around her. The three sides she could see were bare and barren, empty of streets and roads and people, empty of everything but a vast space of.. nothing. Just water, and the sun as it started to peak above the horizon, it's rays hitting the gently moving water and shattering, sending prisms of rainbow filled light across its surface.
She hadn't noticed the passing of time while she swam and washed away the pain and rage that seemed ever present within her, hadn't realised that it was time for the sun to greet eartearth again, or that she was supposed to be in a meeting at the mayors office at 8 o'clock.
She sighed, deeply against the pressure of water that was surrounding her chest and pulled in some air as she ducked beneath the water's surface again. But this time there was no bed of sand just a foot or so beneath her, there was nothing but a huge cavern of blacknesordeordering on green, no tiny little fish to swim past her face and seem as if they actually wanted to say hello to her. There was nothing, a void and space below her of such utter darkness that it almost seemed to want to swallow her whole.
She wasn't scared though, because her own darkness had already closed in around her.
Breaking the surface again, she sighed and turned back towards the shore, but with every pull of her hands and kick of her legs, peace did not seem to greet her, or take away the black that wreathed itself around her soul in a network of spidering veins. But replace that which she'd only just seemed to get free of. With each mile that she passed, the anger once again started to build, the pain was becoming more that just a distant throb and more like a stinging stab in her side.
And she felt the weight, slowly pressing down on her shoulders, circling her chest and seemingly wanting to crush her alive. A heaviness to her body that had been circling her like sharks surround their prey for what seems like forever. Only, it hadn't been that long, and she could remember, quite clearly, a time when it wasn't there.
The first meal that her and Buffy shared after killing kakistos. In those few hours, there was nothing else surrounding them except a gentle camidery and the food they were sharing between them. They never spoke to each other, because at that point in time, no words would have mattered, or made any effect on either of them.
Her foot brushed the bed of sand that was now beneath her and she stood up in the water, running her hands back over her face and over her hair, pushing a few droplets of water from her eyes as she walked towards the beach. She'd probably drifted a mile or so from where her clothes were, but that was all right. She needed a little time to re- adjust to the pressure circling her chest once again, to the sharp sting of rage that stabbed in white-hot bursts behind her eyes.
Pulling herself completely out of the water, she afford herself a soft smile as the sun washed over her skin, and the tips of her hair tickled the base of her back as she turned and walked towards the pin point of color, that she recognised as her clothing. She'd let her hair grow so long, not bothering to straighten it out anymore and just leaving it to cascade in gentle waves over her shoulders and down her back. She was going to have to cut it sooner or later, but right now she figured she could afford herself this one small and simple pleasure, in a life that was full of anger and hurt.
Looking out towards the horizon she felt a soft yearning inside of her to be there, balancing on the edge of the world and feeling the sun as it attacked her pale skin, attempting to seep past her healing powers and afford her the soft brush of a tan across her skin. But it never helped; she was always this color, even the sun not being strong enough to penetrate her defences. It seemed that while she loved the life of a slayer almost to the point of too much sometimes, that the power she had been granted also took away from her a lot more than it gave.
She couldn't go out for a little bit of fun with a normal human, their bodies too fragile to not break under her powerful grip and steely gaze. And the more they fought to get away from the physical pain that came with being with her, the more the slayer inside of her roared out in pleasure at it's own power. She was renown for having a loose grip on her self control as it was, but during the heat of passion, it was often that she couldn't control herself at all, using the strength she was given as a tool to hear her slayer calling out inside her mind at it's own greatness.
And it somehow seemed to amplify the demons inside of her. There was no longer this huge well of humanity to smother it all, to hide it away in a bad attitude and a surly demeanour. To have the slayer, some of that humanity needed to be stripped away, to make room inside a very mortal body, for a very immortal presence. And with the lose of that part of her, it also seemed to take away her ability to walk in the light and not get burned by it's brilliance.
By the time she'd reached her clothes, she was already dry, the baking sun having tried to slip through her defences and to burn her, only served to warm her skin up once again, and turn her lips from blue back to the crimson tide they always were naturally. She yanked on her t-shirt, pulling free her main of untamed hair, before pulling her long legs into her jeans and dropping to her butt to sort out her footwear.
It was as she was fiddling with the laces on one of her boots that she felt it; a soft tingle that wafted over the hairs on the base of her neck, making them stand on end to the presence of someone further up on the beach, standing on the roads edge. A presence that her slayer called out to, yearned for even, but something that would always be denied to it.
Because if she turned around now, and looked at the person she could feel watching her, one of two things would happen; she would loose all control and run at her, ripping her to pieces and laughing as her blood scattered the sand and stained itself forever into the beach itself. Or she would crumble. For the first time in a long, long time, she would fall to her knees and weep, clawing at her chest to try and relieve herself of some of this wrenched pain that was ever present in her, to beg for help, for forgiveness, for anything. A sign that she was cared about, that she didn't have to go to someone who wanted to be a demon, to get the feeling of love she wanted.
So instead, she pulled on her other sock, straightening the seam that ran over the toe of it, before tipping the sand out of her boot and pulling that on as well. As she messed with the laces and pulled them tight, she could feel a slow trail of goose bumps washing over her back, following the trail of sight that was being traced across her skin. She felt her muscles tense up to the point of snapping, with the effort to not turn around and see what her destiny would bring her: rage or pain.
After long moments, her taking far too long to finish with her laces, the tingle of the other slayer started to fade, freeing her of the muscles cramps she had started to feel in her shoulders and neck as she held herself steady. The hairs on the back of her neck relaxed and fell flat once again on her neck. She dropped the act, letting go of a breath she didn't even know she was holding in and dropped her head to her chest.
Buffy's presence was almost like an earthquake to Faith; rocking her to the very core with just a whisper of it's arrival, causing a rapid fire response of fight or flight to crash its way through her veins, filling her with adrenaline as she attempted to breathe the sudden panic out of her system.
But she had left, for some reason letting the brunette alone on the beach and not bothering to confront her. She just watched her, maybe she thought she was someone else because her hair was so long, and even though her t-shirt was fairly tight, it was no where near the realms of second skin clinging, to which the blonde had been used to seeing Faith in. but she knew it was a stupid thought, because without even having to look at the blonde, her slayer had called out to her, knowing who was stood just at the top of the beach, and Faith knew it was the same for the other girl.
She sighed; lifting her head as she stood and reached into her pocket for the watch the mayor had recently given her. It was ten to eight, and she was going to be walking into that meeting far too late for her new bosses liking. And while a part of her quivered in fear at the thought, the rest of her didn't bother; too busy focusing on the other slayer to have the good sense to be scared.
The beach started to fill with people as she was making her way up the sand banks towards the road, little kids jumping around their parent's ankles as they cried out to go play in the water or build a sand castle. To get their dad's to play frisbee with them. She could hear a dog barking off in the distance and watched as a couple of runners jogged through the tips of the waters reach, splashing themselves in the cool water as they chatted.
And for a second in time, the dark slayer froze, her eyes taking in the scenes of domesticity that were unfolding before her and suddenly found herself wondering what it felt like. To be loved, and cared for from birth as if it were always meant to be that way. The blackened part of her soul started to rise, wanting to choke all these people with their happiness and their not knowing, wanting to bath in their blood and giggle while they sliced these people apart.
She shook herself, turning away from the beach and the strong pull of the ocean, towards the black town car that was waiting for her. The tall black man who drove it quickly folded his newspaper away and shoved it through the open drivers window, giving her a small smile as she slowly made her way towards him.
She could feel a few sets of eyes on her as she walked towards the open back door of the very smart Mercedes, as they took in the sleek and crisp lines of the drivers suit and of her, a teenager, sliding easily into the black depths of the rear seat.
As the engine of the car started, the phone to her right started to bleat, breaking the soft hum of silence that surrounded her and with it, shattering the gentle calm she'd some how managed to get a hold of during her time on the beach.
She yanked the phone from its cradle and brought it to her ear. "Yeah boss, I'm on my way."
She reached into a compartment in front of her and pulled out a knife that looked like a flame, sliced into two and frozen in silver for all time. She twisted it this way and that, not bothering about people seeing her because of the blacked out windows, and listening to the mayor as he spoke to her.
"Yeah. Yeah boss, I can do that." The silver glint of the knife highlighted her sickening, blood lust grin as it washed across her face.