Summary: Post-Chosen, established relationship. Fighting an a apocalypse leads Faith to see Dawn in a new light.
Word count: 742
Notes: Written for the Depeche Mode round at femslash_minis, for carlyinrome, who wanted the pairing, Let me see you / Stripped down to the bone" from Painkiller, extreme heat, a smeary black powder, and seeing something no one else can see. Title is also from Painkiller.
The witches were all naked, which would have reminded Faith of that really bad porno from Kennedy’s bachelorette party, except it was 120 degrees indoors, and hotter outside. Everyone was sweating in a dying-of-heatstroke way, not in a sexy way.
Willow swiped some drops of sweat off her eyes, and held out a bowl of black powder. “Dawnie, you need to smudge the ash underneath Faith’s eyes, and Faith, you need to do Dawn’s.”
Maybe it was Faith’s imagination, but the air felt hotter with every minute. She glanced out the window. Trees were wilting, and heat shimmered off the asphalt.
Dawn closed her eyes. Faith stuck her hand in the bowl of ash, and dabbed it on Dawn with trembling hands.
Dawn saw right through her. “You ok?”
“Five by five,” Faith lied. No point in admitting that she was freaked because B was on maternity leave, and Faith was Head Slayer on this apocalypse. Oh, and as an extra bonus, this was the first time the witches had tried opening a portal with Dawn’s Key energy. So even if she saved the world, she could lose her girlfriend.
Dawn didn’t say anything. She just carefully smeared the ash under Faith’s eyes.
Then the witches held hands and chanted something in some weird language where every word sounded like a threat. Dawn would know what it was, and probably could critique their grammar, but to Faith it was just noise.
Dawn’s skin turned light green.
The chant turned to something that sounded like two cats fighting, and the green got brighter and flared out from Dawn’s body. And it didn’t make any sense, but it looked like Dawn got bigger and smaller, and older and younger, at the same time. And that from moment to moment, she was either her human self or a tiny ball of green flame.
“Whoa,” Dawn whispered, and raised her hand in the air. The room disappeared.
Her heart pounding, Faith braced herself for the worst this dimension could dole out. She'd had a few Slayer dreams about opening portals, and they always ended badly.
She took a breath, which was harder than it should be because of some weird tightness in her chest. The air smelled like cinnamon. They were in an orchard with pink trees with some weird fluorescent blue fruits. A couple of werewolves and centaurs were picking fruit. They sniffed the air, glanced at Faith, and returned to their task, completely ignoring Dawn, who shone brighter than the sun and was kind of hard to miss.
The tightness in Faith’s chest eased up a little. If no one else could see Dawn, then the only thing to worry about was finding a baby manticore, whatever the hell that was, and returning it to its mother in the right dimensio
Dawn tilted her head slightly, with that look of concentration she got when deciphering an ancient text, and said, “It’s downhill, near the river.” A glowing green line appeared on the ground.
Faith followed the green line to one of the ugliest looking things she’d ever seen, rolling in the mud. There were some bodies that just weren’t meant to have human faces, and a lion with bat wings was probably at the top of the list.
She grabbed it around the waist, and the manticore let out a disturbingly human-sounding wail and tried to bite her. All four of its paws slashed out at her. She held on as tight as she could, ignoring the pain from the scratches. It was kind of like wrestling the gator that one time, except the manticore had more teeth.
Dawn zapped the slippery little creature with some green energy, and it relaxed into Faith’s grip.
“Now you’re just showin’ off,” Faith said. “Demon Xanax?”
Dawn smirked. “This is the first time being the Key has been fun.” She touched Faith with a beam of energy, and it was like Dawn was licking her in all of her favorite places at once. And though she’d known for years that Dawn was more than human, it felt like she was seeing Dawn--all of her--for the first time.
Faith held on tight to the baby manticore as the riverbank dissolved around them and they returned home. The air was hot around them, but it wouldn’t be for long. They were gonna save the world again, and man, was she lucky that Dawn was by her side.