Title: I Only Know How To Keep Myself (Some Kind of Boy story 5)
author: Tara Ann
summary: John and Faith avoid an argument sort of.
X2/Buffy/Angel/Tru Calling crossover one doesn't need to know Faith
to read the story.
Rating/warning & pairing: R for brief language. Pyro/Faith
*Characters do not belong to me.
** I've liked Pyro from the first moment I saw him in X2. He's
complex with confidence and vulnerability. I only hope I give St.
John Allerdyce the respect and understanding he deserves. He is the
boy with the soft edges and the palest pout.
Faith unlocked the door to her apartment and sighed. John
was stretched out on the sofa reading a book; The 120 Days of Sodom
by the Marquis de Sade. He looked casual conformable in loose
fitting pants and a white tee shirt. She placed the cardboard office
box down and closed the door.
"This book is really disgusting," he said.
"Then why are you reading it?" she said, looking at the blue lit
candle on the kitchen sink and blowing it out. Lately it seemed John
didn't feel safe unless there was some sort of fire burning in close
"I found it in Magneto's library. He has all these really old books."
"And you picked that one," she said.
He shrugged. "Curiosity."
"I read The Tale of Two Cities in high school before I
ditched the scenario," Faith said. "It was pretty good. Then later
I tried the whole college gig, but I ditched that, too. The whole
concept of school just isn't a hoot."
"The Phantom of the Opera is really different from the way
they sing it. Erik is really wicked."
"My fave is All the Pretty Horses," Faith said, unwrapping
her thin red scarf from her neck. "Look, we already had this
conversation so let's not play the `D' game."
"The `D' game?"
"Denial. Three nights in a row, you not leaving my apartment
because you don't want to go home, whichever one you choose to be
affiliated with. This isn't your hideout."
John closed the book and sat up. "It's called `escape,'
not `hiding.' We had this conversation? Yesterday?"
"Yep, last night. You got upset when I called your bluff, we
sort of started yelling ping pong, you threw the flame from the
candle past my head into the mirror behind me, I punched you in the
face, then we had sex, and after we had our midnight snack at the
Isis Indian Restaurant. Guess what's different today?"
"We're not gonna have sex?"
"You bet your fur," Faith said, blowing him a blueberry peach
"And I saved more than one life today," she said, bending
down over the box, and picking up a tiny marmalade kitten with soft
yellow eyes. She nuzzled its head. "Blazie died yesterday. Someone
locked her in one of the morgue blocks, but today she got lucky and
now she's safe as houses."
"That's just wrong," John said. "Blazie?"
"Yep," Faith said. "She's ours, but you're gonna take her
home with you."
Faith sat on the couch and held the kitten up to him. It was
the purest thing he'd ever seen.
"Why?" he said, petting the kitten's head. "Is it a girl or
"She'll keep you company on the long winter's night and
summer's end. I don't know if she's a girl or boy. I couldn't find
any balls and no pussy on the cat."
The kitten made a tiny squeak.
"She is a furball fireball," Faith said, dropping the kitten
into his lap. "Demons play kitten poker."
John watched the kitten climb over his thigh and crawl under
"What can you buy with a kitten?"
"Nothing," Faith said. "They eat them."
John grimaced in disbelief. "Not this one." He stroked the
kitten's paw. He reached for Faith's long brunette waves and touched
them lightly. "I guess I'm sorry, but it doesn't count, does it? I
mean, you relived the day so I kind of got a second chance, too."
Faith smiled gently, her skin glowing like a serene
goddess. "It doesn't count. Just don't try to burn my hair."
"Dawn called and wants to know if you're going on the `scooby
camping get-away' this weekend."
"No way," Faith said, standing up. "The woods are fucking
creepy. They're the perfect place for unsuspected dismemberment."
He decided not to question her. Camping wasn't his idea of
fun, either, especially when others looked to him to get the fire
started . . . Maybe he didn't like being part of any group or maybe
he just needed time to figure himself out and what he wanted without
other people trying to guide him into what they thought was best for
him. Maybe he didn't want to conceal his power just so "other"
people would feel comfortable. Why should he hide such an important
part of himself? Maybe he just wanted to be "normal," even though he
hated that he thought such a thing. Maybe Faith could be his family,
but it all seemed distant to him.
Blazie bit his finger, her little gums pink and new.
"Some guy named Wesley called and said to meet him at The
Hyperion, but he didn't say what time. He just hung up."
Faith was startled, feeling like her insides were detaching
themselves from her body.
"Wes?" she said.
"Isn't he dead?"
"Guess not." She was surprised, but not for long. "The
thrills keep coming."
This time Faith was more than startled; she was caught off-
"No one," she said. Then she smiled, rekindled memories
locked behind her eyes.
"The same `no one' you had that dream about? The dream that
woke you up like you were suffocating or something? The `no one' who
"It's healed," she said sharply. "It's not the first time he
bit me. Angel is dead and Angelus is locked up for good days and
good nights. Did he say something to you?"
"Something," John said. "I think he said he was Angelus.
Angel, Angelus, what does it matter?"
"It matters to me," said Faith, her brown horizontal tear
dropped eyes strong.
John smiled. "Want me to set him on fire?"
She didn't smile. "That would be the switch." Whether or
not the vampire deserved it was still clouded in her mind. Faith
turned from him. "I'm gonna take a blueberry bubble bath."
"You're not okay," said John, his arm resting on the arm of
the couch. The kitten jumped to the floor.
His smooth face sometimes seemed to gentle to be dangerous,
his lips soft with the palest pout, his dark brown eyes beautiful,
ambiguous, and glazed with a dark sexiness layered with subtle
defense. It was the enduring glaze in his eyes that Faith didn't
know how to penetrate, he didn't let her, but she understood it.
John's eyes gleamed dark, their glaze dull, revealing nothing; the
blankness they often exuded was his perfected pretense, and it
frustrated Faith that she couldn't break underneath into it, into the
tenderness that was deeply hidden and barely existing.
"Did the mirror break?"
"Huh?" Faith said, then she realized what he was asking her. "Uh,
no. It didn't."
He glanced at the purple sun-framed mirror by the door and
said, "Then I didn't throw it hard enough to hurt you. Do you want
me to leave?"
Faith looked at him for several moments. "No."
Maybe if she slept close to him tonight, inhaling the faint scent of
coconut that sometimes lingered on his skin she could sleep without
dreaming. Slayer dreams were never sweet.
"What kind of dreams do you have?" she said.
He had picked up his metal shark-mouthed lighter and was
flicking it on and off. John shook his head and said, "I don't."
Her lips pouted lushly back at him; the gloss never seemed to
fade, not even when she was bruised.
Faith said, "Pretty boy lashes should be sprinkled in tea to
keep it warm."