It had been a typical smoky bar in Boston, late at night. Doyle made his way through the various patrons in their varied states of inebriation, trying not to breath in too much of the atmosphere. He wasn’t that used to Boston, but bars were bars around the world, no matter where he got sent.
There she was, huddled at the back in one of the booths, hunched over a bottle and projecting the attitude of ‘ignore me, I’m not worth it’.
He rolled his eyes on first seeing her. This was the potential mighty power for good that the powers wanted him to sort out? She looked just like a scared little girl right now – mind you, if there was one thing he prided himself on knowing, it was women. Maybe he was the best choice right now.
He sat himself down beside her, and produced a cross, memento of his short lived time as a choirboy. Satisfied that he wasn’t a vampire, she relaxed around him a touch. That was all he needed. Within a hour, he’d gotten the whole sorry story out of her – her upbringing, the calling, the moment when her life changed for ever, and she realized that she was now the strong one. Then the fear and sorrow as her beloved Watcher had been ripped apart, and Faith fled for her life, ending up here.
But behind it all, Doyle could sense the strength waiting to get out. The sheer desire to take what she needed. To survive.
So he built her confidence up, took her dancing that night, bought her that pair of leather trousers she admired so much in the windows. And as the night ended and dawn started spreading itself across LA, he put her on a bus heading to Sunnydale. It had been one of the hardest things he’d ever done. Something in her bruised soul called to him, made him want to help her.
But she was needed there on the Hellmouth, and this was what the powers wanted him to do.
But it hurt him so much to watch something behind those eyes break, as she realized that he wasn’t coming, that once more in her life she was on her own. Her face visibly changed before him, becoming harder. And Doyle could almost see her decision not to let anyone ever get that close again.
With almost a snarl of frustration, Faith had grabbed the ticket from him, and sullenly climbed on board the bus. He watched it go, certain in some way that he’d failed her.
And eighteen months later, looking down at her, Doyle could hardly reconcile the motionless figure before him with the girl he’d so briefly known.
The bright sunlight flooded the room from the narrow window, and Doyle let himself smile slightly at the thought of Angel hiding himself away until nightfall. Almost reasonable payback for his demanding Doyle to drive him all the way to the Hellmouth on Thanksgiving. He’d been hoping to be back in time to tempt Cordelia to some Thanksgiving meal somewhere in LA. That, or mooch some free food off Harry.
Either way, Angel’s desperate rush to get to the side of his ex had screwed up his plans. And he certainly hadn’t been expecting a wave of visions on his way out of Sunnydale. Sneaking into the hospital from his visions had been one thing, finding her just as easy. But this? This wasn’t the sleek and dangerous predator he’d seen in the visions. Another wave hit him there and then, as he stood at her bedside, gently stroking her hair.
Visions of her dancing the night away in a LA nightclub, moving and shaking her body in such powerful, confident ways.
And he could tell that these were events yet to come, yes.
With a nod and a wink, Doyle rose up. “Be seeing you soon, little darling,” he smiled as he exited with a final glance back, “Be sure to look me up in LA, okay? I owe you more than a few jars together, after all. You’d probably get on well with the people I work with – they’re from round here, too..”
And as the footsteps receded away down the corridor, the long unused brainwave monitor beside Faith beeped once.
And the ever helpful houses7177 also pointed out this little HP gem : Can't Be Held Responsible.