Flying On Melted Wings
by Whistler's Girl
Rating: R

Disclaimer: I disclaim to own the creations of Joss. Or anything else for that matter.
Spoilers: Some references.
Author's Notes: Sequel to `Love You Enough (To Leave You)', `Gone But Not Forgotten', `The Right Place To Stay', `If Only You Knew', `For The Moment' and `You'll Understand'. I suggest reading them or this might not make too much sense. I might be going back and forth with this series…but it's a relationship that's worth exploring.

	"The tears live in an onion that should 
	water this sorrow."

		– Antony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare 

I never did like it when Fred told me life was like a LeAnn Rimes song. Maybe coz it's scarily true sometimes. Shit, it's just scary – period.

I can't blame anyone else for my mistakes, I know that. It's all a part of healing the wounds and piecing the puzzle, as Angel says oh so all the fucking time. I don't think I can hack this goody-two shoes thing anymore; the more good I do, the more I get screwed over. Cold Turkey doesn't exist in my fucked up world unless it's on a plate after thanksgiving.

Fred sets a cup of steaming coffee down in front of me, snapping me out of a daze. I look up at her and see her beaming at me, her eyes shining brighter than the stars. I smile softly back at her and pick up the cup.


I take a sip and close my eyes, loving the taste of this drink. Placing the cup down I grin at my co-worker, telling her how she makes coffee just like B used to. Ooh, bad memories…and Fred knows it. She pulls up a seat in front of my desk and leans forward, balancing her elbows on the wood and her chin on her hands.

"You wanna talk?" She asks. "Coz I can listen. Well, I mean, obviously I can *listen* but I mean, I can listen to you. Talk to me." I open my mouth to speak when she interrupts again. "But only if you want to, no pressure. Coz pressure, y'know, I was never really a big fan of it myself. Like pasta. I hate pasta."

I practically lunge forward and clap a hand over her mouth before she continues yammering on. It's endearingly cute and reminds me of you know who on occasions. Shit, this back tracking ain't healthy.

"Take a breath. Okay? Breathing is good – it generally means staying alive." I slowly move my hand away and she's still smiling away like some little kid on Lamb-chop's playhouse or something. Damn she scares the shit out of me. "I'm fine." I assure her.

Once upon a time I was damn sure that I was the worlds best actress when I was proved wrong. Ever since I've been convinced I'm the worlds worst liar – and Fred knows it coz she's got that concerned look in her eyes. I shake my head.

"It's nothing."

"You're lying."

"I know."

I pick up my coffee again. I'm doing pretty well so far, I think. It's been three weeks. My brooding has been minimal. Fred's helped out with the cut-down-on-thinking-of-B-all-the-fucking-time program. But my redemption enthusiasm has totally gone down hill – straight to the pits of Atlantis.

B might as well have thrown me off the edge of the building when she shoved my outta the door – oh wait no, she's already done that. Damn, keep forgetting about that.

Fred picks up a photo frame from my desk and looks at it, smiling warmly. It's a picture of me and B sitting on the steps back at the hotel. That day is so clear in memory it coulda been yesterday or even this morning.

Cordy, Gunn and myself all chipped in to buy Angel one of these totally up-to-date camera's as a get-a-hobby present, and lets just say, going by the first few photo's, he shoulda stuck to sketching instead of photography. But he got better – and this picture of me and B, it's the best one he took. In my eyes it's the best he's ever taken or gonna take. But I'm being biased coz it's got the most beautiful blonde in the world in the picture.

"You were very cute together."

Ugh. She used the cute word again. I really oughta remind her to renew her vocabulary when it concerns me and the Buffster. Not that there *is* a me and the Buffster to worry about anymore. She made herself very clear and I don't plan to destroy myself even more over it.

Well…I never planned to see her that night in the first place, so who's to say I'm not gonna tear myself up involuntarily also. Okay, so I've rebuilt my walls – big fucking deal. I don't care if Angel can't sleep at night coz he's worried about me, or if Phantom Dennis has gone over the top with protecting Cordy coz she's scared of getting an elbow in the face again. They can blame B. It's all her fault – I tried to say sorry, I tried to explain but she blew me off… right after a night of incredible, mind-blowing sex mind you, but she still called the shots. And what a shot it was.

"It's like she was trying to get back at me, y'know? Sorta like revenge."

I didn't actually intend to say that out loud. Shit Faith, you really gotta sort out this spontaneity problem coz it's gonna end up getting you hit by a train one of these days.

"You, sweetheart, have had your heart broken in return for a broken heart."

Thanks Fred, for that extremely positive and uplifting sentence of reassurance. The girl has a stake like point, though. Speaking of stakes.

"Has Angel sorted out that nest problem?"

"Don't change the subject, coz it's a sign of weakness. Not that I'm saying you're weak. Or that you're insensitive. Oh!" Fred slaps her forehead and I laugh.

"Chill, girlfriend." I reach forward and remove her hand from her head, placing it on the table. Our eyes our locked and it takes a long moment for me to become conscious that I'm holding her hand … and she's holding mine. Whoa, no, let go!

I stand up in shock and my chair falls back behind me as the coffee cup tips forward and spills all over my paperwork … or Cordy's draft paperwork that I'm supposed to be reading through instead of holding my colleague and roommates hand. Ugh! No! Bad! Wrong!


"Fred, I can't…this isn't…"

A knock comes from upstairs. Oh thank god for awkward moment breaking helpless people! I dash out from behind the desk, almost tripping over the chair and I head for the steps that lead to the upper floor, bumping into Fred. Neither of us move.

This isn't good. What is this called? Rebound? No that's when you actually fuck the person isn't it? No. Can't do that with Fred, to Fred. Get it together, Faith! Holy shit, what's going on. B's got a lot to answer for … especially when it's *my* fault. Where's a wall when you want to smack your head against one.

"It's okay."

I feel Fred's hand's stroke my face and I lean into the touch and then into her arms.

"Please don't cry…I can't deal with crying. Not when it's somebody else. So don't. Please?"

Crying? What? Crying? I touch my face and whadaya know – I'm crying. Somebody shoot me before I totally break down and lose any dignity I have. Oh god how much do I want to runaway to Texas and never return right now? A sob shakes through me and before I know it my legs have buckled beneath me and I'm on the floor, bringing Fred down with me. I want this to stop so bad.

I flew too high and B is the sun that melted my fucking wings. I can't deal with this drowning part; I'm not Angel, I don't have forever to make up for things, and I don't think I can do this life shit without B here.

"Knock, knock."

A voice sing songs from upstairs, kinda muffled. It's probably Angel coming to check up on his healing project. Fuck him.

Fred's hands are comforting as they run up and down my back, stroking my hair. Her voice soothing as she tries to hush me in between her confused and panicky babbling. Look what B's reduced me to and not for the first time! I did this to me, she did this to me…I did this to *her*.

Footsteps coming down the stairs. I try to push myself away from Fred but it's a feeble attempt and I know I don't really wanna let go of her. She rocks me the way B used to and its shredding me up even more. I need this pain, I deserve it.


I startle away from Fred, who doesn't let go of my shoulders, and turn my head towards the stairs so fast my neck woulda snapped if I wasn't a Slayer chick.

And as far as sucky coincidences go, this one won't be forgotten when the record book is finally written.


Her blonde hair swept back, her arms crossed against her chest, her green eyes sparkling…darting between myself and Fred. *Me* and *Fred*. Her tongue darts out and wets her lips whilst she blinks, her jaw tense.

"What's going on here?"

...continued in Not Always A Winner...