after.midnight // v.naked TITLE: Instinct
AUTHOR: Tamara
DISTRIBUTION: Mail me, we'll talk.
SUMMARY: Faith thinks about her feelings for Angel.
DISCLAIMER: Faith and Angel belong to Joss. May he realize how much fun they could have and make my closet fantasies come true.


I love him.

I hate him.

I hold the stake above his chest, waiting for permission to strike.

My head says do it, slam the stake home. It tempts me with visions of the wood sliding effortlessly into his heart, of him crumbling into dust. Visions of my salvation disappearing into nothing, granting me freedom, leaving me alone.

But my heart is in charge, and as much as I hate him, I think I love him more.

It's that knowledge that gives me just enough courage to lower the stake, pressing the sharp point of it against his flesh. He stirs beneath me, his eyes blink open, and, when he sees me, he smiles.

"Faith," he whispers, his voice deep and husky from sleep.

Just hours ago, as his lips trailed feather light kisses over my body, he said my name the exact same way, and my name was a reverent whisper on his lips as he slid into me. If I listened close enough, I could still hear the echo of his voice shouting my name as he came. It didn't take nearly as much effort to hear the echo my voice shouting his.

Looking into his eyes, I can see the exact moment when he notices the stake pressed against his chest, the very same chest I'd licked expensive champagne off of not two hours before, celebrating our latest triumph over evil. Instead of the anger and betrayal I always expect, his eyes soften with understanding, and though I still have trouble believing it, love. He simply lies there, watching me with those sad, knowing eyes, placing his life in my hands, waiting for me to make the decision.

It's not the first time I've woken him up this way. The first time, there'd been confusion, then sad resignation in his eyes, as he waited for me to take his life away. The second time there was symapthy, pity that it all had to come down to this. It was the third time that brought understanding and the caring. But never once did he fight it, never once had he demanded why, after all that had gone on between us, everything that we had shared, that occasionally, I had to fight with myself not to kill him.

Always so understanding, so accepting of my faults. Always so noble and self-sacrificing. So absolutely fucking perfect. Always, even when he's not.

It's funny. The reasons why I hate him are the very same reasons why I love him. I hate the way he can look into my eyes and see every emotion I try so hard to hide. I hate the way he knows the way I feel without me having to say a word, the way he stops whatever he's doing and takes me in his arms and tells me he loves me. I hate it that he means more to me than anything in this world, including myself.

I hate the way he knows my body inside and out, how he knows just where to touch to make me want him. I hate the way I want him all the time, whether he's touching me or not. I hate that I would give up everything just to hear his voice and see him smile, to find love for me in his eyes everyday for the rest of my life. I hate how I can always feel him, his presence humming dimly through my veins, constantly reminding me of what he is and who I am. Reminding me of how right it is to feel him there, in the deepest part of me, despite all that stands between us.

I've tried everything I can think of to make him walk away, convinced that, of all the things I do deserve, a life with him is not one of them. I've tried ignoring him, denying the way I feel. I've tried walking away, spending months in a cheap hotel on the other side of town pretending that I didn't need him in my life. Trying to kill him didn't work, and I even went so far as to spill the beans about our relationship to Buffy. But he forgives me everything, and at the end of the day, when I get into bed, he's there to hold me in his arms.

I push the stake in deeper, just enough so that I can feel his muscles tense under the pressure. It's the only indication I have that he's not as calm as he'd like me to believe, that he's as unsure about my decision as I am. It makes me wonder why he got involved with me, what he sees in me that is so special that he's willing to risk his life to love me.

I'm not really sure when I started to fall for him, the exact moment lost in the hundreds of memories I have of him. I just remember waking up one morning to find him beside me, staring at me with that look in his eyes that never fails to make me feel like the most important woman in the world. He was smiling at me, his fingers brushing the hair from my eyes. When he was done, he leaned forward and gently brushed his lips against mine. That one little touch shook me down to my core. It was unlike anything I'd ever felt before and I knew that I wanted to feel that way forever.

I was determined to feel nothing, especially for a vampire, beings I'd been trained since the first moment I learned of my destiny to hate. Determined to feel nothing for this vampire in particular, who I'd never seen as anything other than my enemy. But the more time I spent with him, the harder I fell and suddenly resisting it was just too much work. Besides, it wasn't what I wanted anyway. I just wanted to be wanted and needed. I wanted to be loved.

And in his way, he does.

"All I want to do is help you, Faith."

"I'll always be there, Faith, no matter what."

"Stay with me, Faith."

"I want you, Faith."

"I need you, Faith."

"I love you, Faith."

But, sometimes, even that can't stop what life, instinct, and years of hatred has ingrained in me. And that's why, even after six months, every once in a while we wake up this way.


The sound of my name brings me back to reality and I focus my gaze on his chest, where the stake has pierced his perfect pale skin, and where one tiny drop of blood has formed. As it starts a slow journey down his torso, all I can think about is what I'll do if I lose him, the only one who's ever believed in me, the only one who ever stuck around long enough to see inside. The only person I've ever allowed myself to love.

He pulls me, unresisting, into his arms, holding me tightly.

"Shh, it's ok," he whispers into my ear. "It's ok. I'm right here."

His words are meant to reassure, but the urge to finish what I started is still there, taunting me, demanding from me something I'm not sure I can give, even though part of me wants it so badly. Words of comfort mean nothing now, its voice dimmed by the screaming inside my veins.

Desperate to still the voices inside, my lips search blindly for his, and his kisses, hot and hungry, dull the longing for death. I concentrate on the feel of him, smooth and hard and soft and cold, as he lifts me up and plunges inside me, the delicious feel of my walls contracting around him. His hands grip my waist, his fingers digging painfully into the smooth skin as he thrusts up as far as he can go, as deep as my body will allow. His gaze holds mine, and I find myself falling into their depths, feeling the cool rush of comfort and love wash over me as he moves inside me, sending me tumbling over the edge into a peaceful white oblivion. Only Angel has ever made me climax in color.

Exhausted, both mentally and physically, I collapse against his chest, still intimately joined to him. His arms come up around me, holding me tight, comforting me always.

"I love you," I whisper, needing to finally say the words.

I can feel his lips tilt up in a small smile as his arms tighten around me. "I love you."

But neither of us can forget the sharp-tipped length of wood buried in the pillow beside his head. Neither of us can forget just how fragile the tie that binds us is.

How long it will be until instinct becomes stronger than love?

I wonder which one of us will win when it does.