Title: Amid the Winter's Snow
Author: PSUbrat
Rating: NC-17
Spoilers: Everything in the Buffyverse up to and including the final episode of AtS and then splitting off into an AU that I created in “Sense & Sensibility”
Disclaimer: These characters belong to Joss Whedon and any other large conglomerate that he sells them to (yeah, he’s the pimp in all of this); I’m just borrowing them for a while.
Pairing(s): Faith/Wesley
Summary: Wesley and Faith celebrate Christmas in their own way…
Notes: Dedication to Dettoit (aka Melissa) – Merry Christmas! I know that Spuffy is your favorite pairing, but this one just wrote itself. Hope you like it. *HUGS* Special thanks goes to Eurydice72, spikesbint and meko00 for their quick beta services; and to pfeifferpack and scarlett2u for their undying support by constantly trying to keep my muse happy.

Previously in “Sense & Sensibility”: Illyria bends time after the battle in Los Angeles and brings a comatose Wesley to Cleveland for Willow to heal. For almost eight weeks, Faith and the others keep a bedside vigil, making sure to talk to him despite his unconscious state. Eventually, running out of things to say, Faith begins reading the Jane Austen classic, Sense and Sensibility, to him to pass the time. While she reads chapter eight, Wesley dreams of Fred who tells him that he needs to forgive himself and move on. When he awakes, he is both surprised and touched that Faith has been by his side the entire time…


Amid the Winter’s Snow

Wesley walked through the double-hung front door of the large house that served as Slayer Central in Cleveland, accompanied by a gust of arctic air and a swirl of snow. Due to the severity of the elements, he looked like a tall, thin version of Frosty the Snowman. Had Faith not taken him shopping for the dark blue wool sweater and white turtleneck that he was currently wearing, he was convinced he would have frozen to death on his short trek from the car. Standing on the small, faux Oriental rug that sat just inside the doorway, he slowly removed his gloves and scarf, all the while taking special care to shake off the snow that had accumulated on the shoulders of his jacket, his shoes and in his hair. The last thing he needed was to come down with a cold this close to Christmas or to have someone slip in a puddle of water that he had tracked in.

The weather had taken a turn for the worse while he’d been out doing some last minute shopping and now not only were the roads impassable, but visibility was damn near non-existent. What had started out as lake effect snow had been falling for hours while the wind picked up and the temperatures dropped below freezing. He was chilled to the bone. Damp, dismal weather was something he was used to from growing up in England, but time spent in California had softened his resolve, making him susceptible to the cold climate of the heartland. If it hadn’t been for the holidays, he probably would have been chiding himself for his inability to acclimate to the area or for his lack of interest in doing so.

As he hung his coat on the peg rack in the foyer, he noticed that for the first time since he awoke from his coma five months ago, the house was silent. One came to realize that being in a home full of girls and young women, whether they were Slayers or not, it was never quiet. Ever. Very odd, he thought as he rummaged through his shopping bag and slipped something into his pocket. It was the one item he didn’t want any of the other girls to find if they happened upon his wares.

“Faith?” he called out, standing at the bottom of the stairs and tilting his head to listen for her response. When there was no answer, he walked down the hallway towards the kitchen. Of all places in the house, surely the kitchen would be hustling and bustling – especially with seventeen mouths to feed.

It was a good thing the house had been a small hotel in its previous life; otherwise the new Council would have had to purchase several homes in the area just to accommodate the ever-growing number of Slayers that arrived every month. Things were different – the Council was different – now that Rupert Giles was at the helm. Each Slayer was assigned a Watcher, one that was properly trained in the field before being given a charge, and each Slayer was trained by Buffy, Faith, or one of the Potentials that had fought in Sunnydale. Though there were still accidents, as there would be from time to time, the life expectancy for the girls was quickly rising. Of course, he attributed that to the fact that thousands of them were now active and not just one – or two as the case had been with Buffy and Faith.

He pushed on the swinging doors, entering the large kitchen that, according to the history of the place, had once been home to several well-known chefs – a fact that he fully disbelieved. What renowned chef in his right mind would choose to come to some little hotel in Cleveland, Ohio? Certainly none that had any taste. Then again, the Hellmouth did have a tendency to attract all types…who was to say that those chefs weren’t of the demon variety?

Upon entering, he noticed that, like the rest of the house, the kitchen was quiet and dark. His first thought was that the winds from the storm had somehow blown him into an alternate dimension – stranger things were known to happen on the Hellmouth. Turning on the lights, he placed his hands on his hips and scrutinized the room, taking in every detail. The entire room was spotless, not a pot, nor dish, was out of place and the room sparkled from cleaning – right down to the floor having been recently swept and mopped. Amazing. If he weren’t seeing it for himself, he would never have believed it. If there was one thing that he had learned – and quickly – was that a house full of estrogen didn’t necessarily mean tidiness. In fact, single women could be just as lax about housework as the majority of single men. Ah, the joys of equality these days.

As he was turning off the light to head towards the library, the muted sound of Christmas music reached his ears. Perhaps everyone was in the common room enjoying the warmth of a fire while watching some holiday movie on the television. Then again, there would be raucous laughter because either Vi or Rona, or even Faith, would be cracking some comment or other about the film – whether it be the way the characters dressed or the awful accent the actors tried to pass off as their own. He had to smile to himself at the memory of watching a horror movie marathon with them on Halloween. The critiquing of the way vampires were killed in films to the way the girls themselves slayed them in real life was quite humorous. Tina, one of the younger girls who reminded him of Buffy at that age, had suggested that a real Slayer go to Hollywood to be a consultant so that the industry would “get their facts straight.” His response had been: that, given time and the amount of Slayers that now existed, eventually one would make her way out there to do just that. He hadn’t been serious about the comment, but the girls hadn’t taken it as a joke and had thrown pillows at him while Faith suggested that they hold him down to tickle him for his stuffy British ways.

Yes, choosing to remain here after Illyria had saved him had been the best decision he ever made. Faith had been a large part of that reason, of course, but so had wanting to help the new Slayers find their purpose in this world. When Giles had arrived for a visit, not too long after Wesley had come out of the coma, the older Watcher had approached him about being reinstated. At first Wes had declined the offer, citing his desire to be free of the shackles that the Council invariably placed upon its employees. There was also his of lack of ability to live up to his father’s expectations, or the expectations of the Council in general that made him hesitate even further. However, Faith then intervened and made him realize that he was exactly the type of man that the new and improved Council was looking for. By week’s end and Giles’ parting, Wesley’s Watcher status had been fully restored and he was placed in charge of the Slayers on the Cleveland Hellmouth – something that Robin Wood was not exactly pleased about. Nor, for whatever reason, was the man pleased about Wes sending Gunn to England to train to become a Watcher.

Robin Wood. Now there was a person that Wes hadn’t thought about in months. Not since the man had stormed out of the house after giving Faith an ultimatum that Wes could only assume had something to do with him. Apparently, Wood didn’t care for the fact that “his” woman was growing ever closer to the newly appointed Watcher. He neither cared for nor wanted to understand the fact that Faith had a past with Wesley, one that went deeper than the sexual relations that Wood and Faith shared. Wes had actually been surprised that Faith had put up with the man’s innuendos and jealousy as long as she had. She deserved so much better than someone who was constantly reminding her of how little she was worth to him. Call it the Florence Nightingale syndrome or what have you, but Wes had fallen deeply in love with the brunette in his short time there and it hurt him greatly to see her go through such belittling. In fact, he and Wood had almost come to blows on several occasions over his treatment of Faith. Had Wood not left that night, Wes was convinced he would have beaten the man to a bloody pulp.

He supposed he could have made things easier on Faith by not continually alluding to his feelings for her or by not insisting that he go with her on patrol whenever it was her turn to go out. Instead, he’d pushed harder and had refused to back down, not only because he silently kept telling himself that he had missed out on so much with Fred due to being such a coward – he’d be damned if he’d let things slide with Faith simply because a jackass stood between them – but because he also knew Faith felt the same way he did. It was something unspoken between them, a comfortable silence, a sideways glance, the lingering of touches when handing an item back and forth and the concern when one or the other became injured during a fight with a demon or vampire. There was no doubt in his mind that if Robin Wood hadn’t shared her bed, Faith and he would have been together much sooner, but they were together now and that’s truly what mattered most.

When Wood had left that night, there was a sense of relief on both Wes and Faith’s part. The man had barely been out the door when Wes had gone to her and made his intentions known. Moments later the two of them were falling into bed, groping and kissing with a passion that he had never before known. He never apologized for placing her in a position in which she had to choose between him and Wood, nor would he ever. The old Wesley would have done that, but then again, the old Wesley would never have said a word about how he felt in the first place. He supposed that having had his throat cut, his friends abandoning him, killing something he thought was his father, experiencing Fred’s death, working for Wolfram and Hart, and then being on the brink of death a second time had done something to him – made him harder, darker, more self sufficient and self assured. It wasn’t that he now had a devil-may-care attitude, but he wasn’t going to let his insecurities stand between him and what he wanted, ever again.

He hadn’t realized that he was so wrapped up in his thoughts of the past few months until he walked through the common room door and saw the decorations, lights twinkling in rhythm to the music that played on the stereo. To say that he was flabbergasted at the Christmas trimmings was an understatement. Someone had been very busy while he had been out, since none of this had been present before he took his leave earlier in the day. He stood quietly in awe, soaking in the scents and sounds that were now surrounding him. A fire blazed invitingly in the massive stone fireplace, which was centered along the main wall of the room, while its light flickered and danced across the floor, intermingling with the lights that were blinking on the tree. In front of the fire was a beautiful white shag remnant that he hadn’t seen before and next to it, a bottle of wine and two glasses.

From behind the tree, Faith appeared, dressed in a Santa hat and a slate blue, silk shirt that could have only been something she bought for him, as it hung down to her knees. She wore that smile that had come to be known as one meant only for him, one that was both mischievous and seductive at the same time. Immediately his body responded to the sight of her, making him shift to relieve the growing tightness of his jeans. How he had gotten to be so lucky by finding her, he didn’t know, but at this moment, he wasn’t willing to let questions such as that interrupt his current train of thought, one that was quickly hurtling down the tracks at breakneck speed.

“Faith,” he stated dryly, trying not to give away the fire that was quickly building in his groin.

“Wes,” she responded in kind as she seductively ran her hand over the back of the sofa while passing by it.

He could tell she was pleased with herself for pulling off such a surprise, but this was their little game and he wasn’t about to stop playing. Stoically, he looked around the room once again. “You’ve done quite a job in here. And in the kitchen,” he added when he looked back at her. His face still didn’t betray what thoughts were running through his head, despite the fact that all he wanted to do was to rip that shirt off her and ravage every bit of exposed flesh on her body.

“Everyone helped. I didn’t do it alone.”

“I see. What happened to not being into the Christmas spirit this year?”

She shrugged her shoulders and smiled again. “Oh, I don’t know, maybe because it’s the first time that all of us seem like a family. Or maybe it’s because we just felt like doing it.”

Her last comment brought a slight grin to his face. “Yes, well I suppose that would be good enough reason to deck the halls, now wouldn’t it?”

“What’s the matter,” she purred, moving closer to him but still out of his reach. “Are you going to be a Grinch this year?”

“The Grinch? I’m not quite sure what you’re talking about…”

“You know, the Grinch.” When there wasn’t even a flicker of recognition crossing his face, she sighed and rolled her eyes in mock exasperation. “Remember that mean little guy from that Dr. Seuss cartoon we watched last night? He had a dog that he attached antlers to and he tried to steal all the gifts from the Whos in Whoville…”

“Ah, yes. You’re referring to that dreadful yellow character from that animated show the group of you watched last night.”

“That’d be the one, big guy. I swear, Wes, you were a deprived child growing up in England.”

He snorted. “I’ll have you know that I was deprived of nothing, other than my father’s respect and love, so no, I’m not being a ‘Grinch.’ However, if you’d watched, or read, Dickens’ Christmas Carol like I had suggested, then perhaps you would know that I am in fact, Mr. Scrooge.”

She grinned and folded her arms across her chest. “Really? Is that a fact? ‘Cause I gotta say, I think of you more as the Jacob Marley type.”

He looked at her sideways through his lashes. She’d actually read the book after all. Impressive. “Do I? And what is it about me,” he asked, moving within inches of her, “that makes you think that?” He could feel the warmth radiating off her flesh and his restraint began to falter.

“Well, for one,” she started, seemingly knowing that his façade was crumbling so she helped it along by placing her hands on his chest and looking him in the eyes before continuing playfully. “You carry around a lot of baggage. Like you’re chained down, weighted by guilt instead of regret.”

Her hands seared his chest with their heat as he inhaled that scent that was so uniquely her: earthy with an underlying hint of spice. When had she become so observant? He grabbed her waist and pulled her to him, knowing full well that she could feel the length of his erection through their clothing.

“Well, my oh my, what do we have here,” she teased as she slid her hand down the front of his jeans and over the bulge that was so prominent at his groin. “Is that a stake in your pocket, or you just glad to see me?”

He pulled her even closer and crushed his mouth to hers in a hungry kiss. When they both came up for air, he noticed that her lips were swollen from the kiss, making him want her more. “Where are the others?” he asked, never breaking contact with her.

“Out,” she replied simply.

“On Christmas Eve and in this weather? I would think they’d have more sense than to be wandering about in the snow.”

“Chill, Wes. Gunn took them to the movies. If the weather’s too bad, I’m sure they’ll stay at a hotel or something. In the meantime, we’ve got this whole big place to ourselves.”

“I see. And the wine?” he inquired with a nod of his head. “Were you planning on getting me intoxicated and then taking advantage of me?”

“Can’t take advantage of someone that’s willing, now can you?”

“No,” he responded, running his hands up her bare thighs and having them come to rest on the small of her back. “I suppose that you can’t.” He could feel her tremble at his touch even though her expression never changed. It was a game they played – the not responding to the others attempts at seduction – and it only served to fuel their desires to the point that their lovemaking was beyond any passion he had ever experienced, not even with Lilah or Fred. Tonight, though, it wasn’t going to be him that begged for mercy.

As if she sensed his thoughts, she untucked his turtleneck from his jeans and ran her hands underneath, along the skin of his chest, tweaking a hardened nipple along the way. He didn’t so much as flinch. “So, are you just going to stand there staring at me, or are you going to fuck me? ‘Cause I’d like to know if that rug I just spent a small fortune on is going to go to waste or not.”

The left side of his mouth lifted in a smirk and before she could say anything else, he swept her up into his arms and kissed her again. He never broke the kiss as he carried her over to the rug and gently laid her down, straddling her so that he had the advantage. Of course, all she had to do was use her Slayer strength and he would be the one on his back in mere seconds, but he knew she wouldn’t. Those were the rules. The person who surrendered first had to yield to the winner without complaint.

Looking down, he reveled in her beauty, the way her dark hair laid against her creamy skin. She looked like an angel that was sent down from above just for him – or knowing Faith as he did, she was a siren whose song he couldn’t resist, leading him down the path to his destruction. Salvation or damnation, he didn’t care. All he knew was how much he loved her and how much he wanted to be pounding into her right at this moment.

Slowly, he slid his hands up her body, on top of the silky material. He felt her body quiver and saw her eyes close. “Faith…” he whispered as his fingers kneaded her breasts. “Look at me.”

Her eyes fluttered open at his request and locked on his as he leaned down and brushed his lips over hers in a chaste kiss. He heard her whimper at the loss of contact when he pulled them away. In response, he kissed a trail down her jaw line to her ear where he softly suckled on her earlobe. He felt her pelvis rise as she began to grind into him.

“Oh god, Wes. Don’t stop. Please…”

Smiling to himself, he continued with his ministrations, slowly tracing the curve of her neck with his tongue until he reached her pulse point. It was there that he felt the scars of Angelus’ mark. It always made him angry and a bit possessive whenever he touched upon it, knowing that the vampire had taken something from her that Wes could never give back. So instead of avoiding the area altogether, he placed his mouth over it and sucked on it, eliciting a groan from Faith. He could feel her wrapping her legs around his torso, driving his erection into her cleft. As nice as the friction was, he wasn’t ready to go there quite yet. Instead, he pulled back; grabbing either side of the shirt she was wearing and tearing it open. Buttons popped off and bounced in every direction, making little clicking sounds as they hit the linoleum flooring.

Faith gasped and her eyes flew open. “Do you have any idea how much this shirt cost me, asshole?”

“So I’ll buy you another one,” he replied, never breaking stride as he took off his sweater and turtleneck, throwing it to the side in a heap. His mouth descended to taste the skin of her abdomen.

“I’m gonna hold you to that…” She tried to finish her sentence, but Wes had moved further down.

He heard her moan softly as her legs unwrapped themselves from his body and spread out before him, inviting him to go lower. The silky, smooth skin of her inner thighs quivered as he laid his hands to rest there, nudging her legs further apart so that he had complete access to her pussy. The way her body kept twitching and the way her hands twisted and groped at the rug, he knew that it wouldn’t take much prodding on his part for her to fly over the edge into ecstasy. So he teased her instead, his tongue outlining her folds.

When her breathing became shallow and quick, he ran his thumb over her clit and slid two fingers inside her cunt, gliding in time with the rhythm she had started. As her climax rocketed through her body, he held her pelvis down with his free hand, letting her use the pressure he created as the friction she so desperately sought.

After he felt her go limp, he crawled up the length of her body and kissed her passionately, his tongue probing until she regained enough energy to allow him in. He cupped a breast, his fingers encouraging the nipple to become harder and easier to tweak. While he was losing himself in the kiss, he sensed her hands at his waist, undoing his jeans and freeing his rigid cock while her feet pushed his jeans the rest of the way off his legs. He felt her wrap her hand around his erection and slowly begin to pump. His eyes closed and he growled low in his chest when her hand tightened just a fraction.

“Fuck me, Wes,” she pleaded, panting and pumping her hand faster along his length. “Now…”

“You’re awfully insistent this evening, but I do believe I’m in control here,” he responded, fighting the urge to let her take charge.

“Shut up and just fuck me already, asshole!”

He laughed at her frustrated demands, but soon he was burying himself in her, pounding her into the rug. Her back arched and her hands clawed at his shoulder blades, driving him on.

“God, Faith, what you do to me…” he gasped as she squeezed her vaginal walls around his dick, taking him in deeper. It never ceased to amaze him how frenzied and wonderful it was to make love to her. She allowed him to be free because he knew he didn’t have to treat her with kid gloves – no matter what they did, she wouldn’t break.

With his last thrust he felt her body begin to quake with her second orgasm, so he picked up speed, the sack around his balls contracting, signaling that his release was near. He vaguely heard Faith call out his name as he slammed into her one last time. Spent, he collapsed on top of her, both of them slick with sweat and breathing heavily.

She tried to express how she felt between gulps of air, “That was…that was…”

“Amazing,” he replied, finishing the sentence for her as he leaned his forehead against hers.

“Fucking right it was.”

“A bit sure of yourself, aren’t you?” he asked, kissing her before she could respond. When she broke off the kiss, he saw that her expression had turned serious. “What is it, Faith?”

“I just wanted to give you a great Christmas gift. Something that you’d always remember.”

It was always after their intense lovemaking that her vulnerability revealed itself. “Faith,” he began, brushing a damp, matted strand of hair off her cheek, “without sounding too clichéd, you’re all I need to make this a spectacular Christmas. You and the girls have given me purpose and reason where I once thought there was none left. You, Faith, are my world and I would have thought it a great Christmas if you had given me nothing. I love you more than words could possibly express.”

He could see the tears shining in her eyes and pulled her close to him in response, soothing her with butterfly kisses and assurances that it was all the truth. Turning her over to face the fire, he spooned against her, propping himself up on an elbow so that he could look down at her. Slowly he kissed the hollow of her neck while running his hand up and down her side. “I got you something,” he whispered after a few moments.

She turned over to look him in the eyes. “I thought we said we weren’t doing gifts.”

“No, you said you weren’t doing gifts. I never said such a thing. You just assumed,” he countered with a grin as he reached for his jeans.

“You suck.”

“So do you, my dear. And very well might I add.”

She slapped him playfully, watching with great interest as he pulled a small, velvet pouch out of his pocket.

At first he hadn’t known what to get her since she wasn’t a jewelry or clothing type girl, but then he had seen this little item in a small shop window in the town center and knew he had to get it for her. He took notice of how small and fragile she looked as she waited for him to give her the gift, almost as if she was afraid he was going to take back everything he had said or done over the last six months and smash her heart into oblivion. Nothing could be further from the truth. If they were different people, not a vampire Slayer or a Watcher, just normal, everyday human beings, he would be proposing to her right now. But they weren’t. They were who they were, and unlike Buffy, Faith embraced her destiny and reveled in it. He knew that and responded accordingly.

“Merry Christmas,” he said as he placed the pouch in her hand, kissing her quickly on the lips.

“Can I open it now?”

He smiled. “Yes, you may open it now.”

Without further prompting, she opened the velvet bag and turned it upside down so that the item fell into her hand. He heard her gasp as she looked at the platinum, diamond cross drop necklace that sparkled in the firelight.

“Oh my god, Wes, it’s…it’s gorgeous,” she stated quietly, swallowing hard and trying to hold back the tears that threatened to spring forward at any second. “No one’s ever given me anything so beautiful before. Hell, the last time I even celebrated Christmas had been back in Sunnydale with B and her mom, and that was a lifetime ago.”

“Well,” he started, taking the cross necklace from her upturned palm and holding each end between his fingers, “this will be the first of many more to come.” He waited patiently for her to move her long, brown tresses out of the way so that he could clasp the necklace around her neck. “There,” he said admiringly. “It looks as if it was meant to be worn only by you.”

She lowered her hair and looked down at the cross, touching it softly with her fingertips. When she looked back at him, her eyes were shining. “Thank you,” she said simply.

“You’re most welcome. Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas, Wes,” she replied, leaning over and kissing him hard.

He wrapped his arms around her and held her close, as the snow continued falling outside.

The End