The first crash from the bathroom didn’t startle him.  He’d been expecting it, or something like it anyway, since they first returned.  All wound up, no slay to calm her, tension from too many hopes and fears still running through that tiny, sensual frame.

Actually, he was surprised she’d lasted as long as she had.

Another crash, this one louder and more dangerous than before.  The inane urge to protect her suffused him, muscles tensing, eyes trained on the locked door in front of him.  She was still just a girl, despite all that had happened.  Forced to grow up too fast, too hard, and now she refused to give herself the comforts they all needed when stress and tension took their expected tolls.

When the banging finally stopped and only the sound of hissing water came through, Wesley found the key in the hallway closet and unlocked the door.  The bathroom was a predictable mess, but he didn’t care.  Not when the girl standing under the water was as cracked and crumbled as the wall she’d destroyed.

He didn’t hate Faith, despite knowing he should.  The pain she’d given him was just one more piece in the jigsaw of himself—just as he knew that his own betrayal was a keystone in hers.  His wounds had healed; his friends—when he had them—had put him back together, as close to the original as possible.

Faith had had no one to put her back together.

The towel was in his hands when she pushed back the curtain, dark eyes looking from it, to his face, and back down again.  Unconcerned by her nudity, she stepped out and into his arms.

He managed a pretense at drying her for almost thirty seconds.  She stood there, still and silent, dark eyes wide as she allowed her body to be touched first with soft terry cloth and then his own uncovered hands.  Over her arms, past her shoulders, down the slopes and curves of her breasts.  Her stomach fluttered when he reached it, although her expression never changed.  Gliding over the width of her hips to stroke the skin of her buttocks, he took up the towel again to finish drying her legs.

Her skin was smooth all over and still smelled faintly of industrial-strength soap, harsh with lye.

“Look comfy down there,” she said after a moment.  From his knees, she looked like a queen—cool, confident, waiting for the adulation she knew was hers.  He knew, of course, that it was partly confusion and partly a new ability to simply wait for an opening—any opening—to understand the new rules.  There was a calmness to her that he envied, although he was proficient at feigning it himself.  He’d learned that skill just recently.

Hers was no act, just a simple desire to help.  To be what she needed to be.

“How badly are you hurt?”  His voice sounded more feminine than hers.  “Do you need help with—”

“Nah, I’m good.”  The interruption held a breath of her old nervous energy, quick to shut down unwanted help and attention.  Her injuries were a private thing, as were his; not to be shared lightly.  Politeness, however, demanded the reciprocal question from her.  “You okay?”

He realized his thumb was lightly running over the bone of her hip.  Her eyes were flickering now, from his hand to his face, a hint of uncertainty and tension making her body tense.  Because of him.  Because of what he had asked her to do, for those who wanted nothing more than to see her leave.

She stayed motionless as he leaned forward, eyes clearly telegraphing his intentions long before his lips reached the skin of her belly.  The kiss was gentle, his tongue slipping out to lick and suck at skin that tasted like peaches.

Faith’s eyes were nearly black, now, and fathomless.

His kisses left white indentations that rapidly turned red, the occasional imprint of his teeth remaining a whole two or three seconds after he moved on.  Faith never made a sound, even when her hands came up to rest against the door, supporting her weight.  Wesley smiled against peach-fuzzed skin, tongue flickering out with unerring skill to lash against an already hard and waiting clit.

The scent of her surrounded him, sweet and musky and undeniably female, moisture rubbing against his chin and then his lips as he sank into her.  He felt her remove his glasses, heard them clink against the sink.  Then, somehow, she shifted her weight so that one leg lifted and dangled over his shoulder.

She was the perfect height.

She tasted sweet to him, greener than Lilah’s jaded pleasures, muscles quivering around him with an innocence that surprised him.  Faith was such a sexual creature, full of the bombast and bravado of those who have had loving and never found it to be much more than a pleasant distraction.  Here, now, her breath was hitching, body trembling above him, the hand in his hair shaking from emotion as much as pleasure.

He wondered if anyone had ever gone down on her before.

When she came it was with a cry of shock and pleasure, hoarse and high pitched, spiraling through the rubble of his bathroom.  She sobbed once, muscles clenched hard enough to grind the knuckles of his first two fingers together, while he sucked and nibbled on her throbbing clit.  Breathing harsh and irregular, he could hear the vague words she didn’t say, understood them through the hand that expected to release itself since she was done.

Not hardly.

He brought her off three more times, expertly finding her most sensitive of spots to prolong and enhance each orgasm.  She was gasping by the time his aching jaw protested, her body quivering with profound release.  He was certain, now, that she had never truly had a partner that was focused on her pleasure.  One knowledgeable and caring enough to give her what she needed.

Climbing to his feet with a mental sigh for his knees, Wesley helped steady her and pushed her towards the sink.  “The blue toothbrush is new.  I’ll be outside.”

He wondered, as he shut the door, if this was another piece.