My Left Eye

Author: Koos van Winden <koosfanfic[at]>

Rating: PG 13

Disclaimer: The character in this fic all belong to almighty genius Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy

Beta and sound board: Keith

Time frame: Touched in S7 BtVS

Summery: Xander brought Faith a visit after her encounter with the First instead of Wood. Angst.

Faith was still shaking when she heard a knock on the half opened door. Cocking her head at the noise, she looked over to see Xander standing on the doorstep.


Faith did her best to hide her fear from Xander. You let people see you frightened and they took advantage. Logically she knew Xander wasn't like that, but old habits died hard. "Hi."

"Had a confrontation with the First Evil?" the Scooby asked gently.

Faith couldn't help but smile. Her emotions must be an open book even to the newly half-blind. Faith could definitely sense that young man had not been himself since he had come home. He had already been strained before they went to that damn Vineyard. She had seen it in his speech in favour of Buffy's heart, no matter how sincere his words were. Doubt. She had mocked Buffy a bit with it. Buffy, Willow and Xander were trying so hard to be themselves, like they used to be, but simply didn't have the energy to do it anymore. Didn't believe in it anymore. She wondered if Giles had already given it up. Too much had happened. Living on the Hellmouth had its price for everyone. They had their faults, big ones, but unlike most people they actually cared. They cared enough to actually see what was going on around them. She remembered Angel's words about how they all tried, really tried to help. And that's what made them the heroes.

She herself hadn't cared enough to see it back then, but now she could. Xander's injures had hit them all hard, Buffy probably the most. It made her worry for her sister slayer. And she wondered what it had done to his already fragile ego. "Had one with it yourself?" she asked.

Xander walked further into the room as he shook his head. "Nah."

Faith raised an eyebrow. "Oh? Thought everyone had been graced by a visit."

"Not me." He paused a moment. "Uhm, well, not personally at least," he shrugged. "Guess the window fixer isn't important enough."

Faith snorted abruptly. "That's the biggest load of bull I've heard. It's only interested in you if it thinks it can tickle any of your weaknesses."

"You think I've no weaknesses?"

Faith tilted her head a bit. "Good point. You have any?"

"I don't know." He sighed. "Point is that the First doesn't think I'm not useful enough to even bother."

"Your self-esteem hasn't changed a bit, has it?" She stared at his surprised face for a moment. "That's your weakness, X. The First simply ignores you and it works."

"Easy for you to say," Xander retorted, slightly irritated, "You're not part of the furniture." Faith didn't respond and waited for Xander to continue. "A convenience."

Faith was unsure how to react. She was too afraid that she would trigger some of the darkest pages in her life. "Seven years, Faith. For seven years I have been in this gig. I don't have any powers or special skills. To use Cordy's words: I'm the Zeppo."

Faith gave him a questioning look. "Huh?"

He grinned. "She said it the day when you popped my cherry. She meant that I was totally useless." He paused for a moment. Faith felt more and more uncomfortable and looked away. "Guess I wasn't."


"That's not what I meant, Faith. I meant about the -" She frowned as he abruptly stopped with his words. He didn't refer to our happy, she thought, wondering where he was referring to instead. "Never mind," he simply finished.

Faith was silent. She saw doubt in his face, like he was searching for the right words. She wondered what he was thinking. What else had happened that night?

He finally continued. "I saw it when you just had arrived and stood in the room filled with people who despised you. You knew it would be like that, still you came."

"Yeah, well, Angel asked me too. And if he asks, I can't refuse."

He shrugged. "I guess that's the influence of people who helped you get your life back. Still, you came. It was your decision. And I did see how it made you uncomfortable." He was silent for a moment and Faith took his words into consideration. He was right: she had been nervous as hell and not to forget: scared. He shook his head. "Angel is a great guy, Faith. He was amazing. He was there for you when you needed it the most. When nobody else did. I almost feel ashamed that I wasn't there for you when you came out of your coma."

"Xander, you couldn't. I-"

His gentle, sad expression morphed quicker into one of anger, hurt and despise than any vampire was able to vamp out. Like the demon inside him had resurfaced. "You broke my heart!" he interrupted harshly. She blinked. He continued in a softer tone. "You locked it and threw the key away without even noticing it," he spat. "I just had my won my fragile confidence back. I had found my cool, that same night - and I really don't mean our quickie. I thought I knew my place. I thought I finally had found someone who understood me. I had built up enough confidence to reach out for her, even when I just had learned that I meant nothing more to her than a sex-toy. Even when I knew how scared, alone and therefore dangerous she was. Only for her to grab that confidence, use it for her own selfish needs and throw it away. Just like all those men had done to her. Payback time!" He paused a beat, his eye looking sternly at her. "Only this time you did it with murderous intent." Faith looked away, not able to look at him anymore as the image of a pair of deeply terrified puppy-dog eyes loomed up into her consciousness. Every murderer with a bit of a conscience who'd looked into a pair of eyes of an innocent who is about to be killed will notice it to darken. Literally. It was known to drive said murderer to suicide. And she knew it. She has had nightmares about it too. Even in broad daylight those pair of eyes would randomly appear and scare the shit out of her.

Xander continued, showing her no mercy, his voice almost whispering. The tone made Faith shiver. She knew what followed. Consequences. "I couldn't be there for Buffy or Anya when they needed me the most.

Yeah, I helped as much as I could. But, only when they came to me. I was unable to fully reach out to the people I care about on my own. I messed up with almost everything in my life and it took me 'till my Willow needed me the most to unlock it. "Tears were rolling over her cheeks, as Faith couldn't hear it anymore. But she had no choice. "Just in time. She was about to destroy the entire world. "He paused, allowing her to have a little break. "It opened my heart again, but I hadn't won my confidence back. I still needed another extraordinary key for that."

He stood up and checked out the window frame, allowing her to look at him without him looking back. Even when she had stopped crying she was unable to see his feral grin. She wiped away her tears as he started to speak again. His tone was gentle. "It took me seven years to realize my role in this group. Seven years, Faith, to realize that I'm not the Zeppo. Fixing the windows. Helping the girls with whatever is required. Helping Buffy when needed. Be supportive when it's necessary. Y'know, whatever to keep the group going. I'm the only one who she doesn't criticise. She knows that I'm doing my very best. And you know what happened? They suddenly respected me; hell they even depended on me. Buffy most of all." He points at his eye-patch. "Then Caleb came along and popped me out of the group." He turned around; grin disappeared, as he looked serious at her. "Who do you think took over my role?"

Faith looked unsure, her red-trimmed eyes moving nervously away from him. "Don't know the group that well."

"You do. I saw it when I came back. They were all there for you. Even Dawn and that means a lot. He walked to a chair and sat down, looking intently at her. "You did, Faith. I was gone and within a moment's pause you took over to keep the group patched together. You were my left-eye, so to speak. You looked after them, the girls, even when they were scared for you or simply hated you. Buffy included. "He paused a moment. "Because you cared."

He leaned forward and continued, his voice soft. "Buffy is a true hero. She's special. You're not her replacement. Or any one's for that matter. You're not Angel's special protégé or The Mayor's special daughter. You're not special." He stood up and smiled at her. "You're astonishing."

Not knowing what to think she switched her eyes to him and the wall in front of her in repetition. He crooked down and kissed her gently on her forehead. Tears welled up in her eyes and she called after him, as he was about to walk away. "Maybe we do have a connection."

He shrugged. "Maybe."

She smiled wryly. "I guess it's up to me to accept it."

He shook his head. "No, it isn't. You were the first to restore the connection. Just like the first time, it's up to me." He smiled.

Faith smirked. Pun intended, she thought. "I think I just did."

She smiled back and nodded. "Confidence much, huh?" she asked, winking.

Xander shrugged. "It was a mild conversation," he countered, winking back.

Faith laughed. "It was sweet, yeah. But still within seven minutes."

"Like I said, you're astonishing," he said, grinning and walked away.