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Written for the fourth round on femslash_minis: Faith. I was assigned to alixtii, who requested Faith & Amanda, public nudity, straight razors, and modernist poetry, but no smut.

Title: The Beauty of Innuendoes
Author: voleuse
Fandom: BtVS
Ship: Faith & Amanda
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Traced in the shadow / An indecipherable cause.
Notes: Post-Chosen



Amanda ends up in Portland, because she has an aunt in Portland. Rona comes along, and Faith.

On the drive up, they collect new Slayers like beads. (She wonders whether the S should be capitalized anymore, but then decides that's something she doesn't need to worry about.) She holds her head high, because she was there at the end. The beginning, that is.

She tells her aunt she's sharing a house with a few friends from high school.

It's not exactly a lie.

*


Their backyard is, sadly, nonexistent. In order to train properly, Faith drags them to the local gym twice a week, soon after the sun rises.

Amanda wonders about the cost of renting out the workout room, but Faith kind of ignores her when she asks about it.

She figures the new Council must have worked something out, money-wise, and wishes they had thought to provide her with a clothing stipend, as well.

Slaying four nights a week is hell on a wardrobe. Even hers, which isn't anywhere near as flammable as Josie from Portland's.

*


Aside from sparring, Faith lets them set their own workout routines.

Amanda tends to start out with weights, end up in the not-quite-Olympic-sized pool. One hour and ten minutes, tops.

One day, she heads to the showers to sluice the chlorine from her skin, and Faith is the only other occupant.

The thing about public showers, Amanda's learned, is respecting space. A girl can glance, maybe even compliment vaguely, but there's no uninvited staring, ever.

(There was that one time they caught Samantha and Josie sharing the showerhead, as well as a few other things, but that's beside the point.)

Faith has her back turned to her showerhead, and she's trailing soap and suds across her legs.

Amanda is caught, for a second, with the image of Faith shaving her legs, a clean blade tracing over her skin.

She shivers, looks away as she strips out of her bathing suit.

When she turns back, Faith is watching her.

She smiles.

*


Most of the girls have part-time jobs, to supplement the bare-bones budget the Council allows for its Slayers. Amanda works the morning rush at Starbucks, adds her money to the DSL-and-HBO house pool.

In the afternoons, she takes a couple of classes at the city college. Nothing too intensive, but rigorous enough to keep her ready for the day when she can, finally, take a break and go to college.

She doesn't think, very much, about when that break will come. She just trusts that it will. (If she survives the next couple of years. Or months.)

One evening, sick of Carnivale reruns and Rona's arguments with two of the newer recruits, she grabs her poetry textbook and heads out to the front porch.

The poetry professor is the whimsical sort, and their assignment is dramatic recitation.

Amanda doesn't think she's a very dramatic person, but figures she might as well practice, anyway.

She props the textbook open on the porch railing and closes her eyes.

Bites her lip, then stumbles over a few lines. Then a few more.

She shakes her head, tries again. She'll get it eventually.

After some time, she thinks she's passable. As good as it'll get in one night, at any rate.

She opens her eyes, and Faith is sitting on the steps beside her.

"God!" she says. "I didn't know you were there."

Faith is looking out into the street. "That was nice. The poem."

"Thanks." Amanda shuts her textbook, sits tentatively next to her. "I'm not very good."

Faith shrugs. "Sounded fine to me."

A car rattles by. They watch it pass.

Amanda thumbs the corner of her book, wonders if she's supposed to say something.

Faith clears her throat. Leans her head against the railing.

"You ever miss it?" she asks. "Sunnydale, I mean."

Amanda thinks about it. "No."

Faith laughs.

"I mean," Amanda clarifies, "I miss some people, sometimes. And my cat, and my stuff."

There's a breeze, and a plastic bag skitters across the sidewalk.

"High school sucked," she concludes.

Faith says, "I've heard that."

The sun is setting, and the sky is pale and pink. Nothing like the brilliant smog-filtered sunsets back home.

"You want to go catch a movie or something?" Faith asks.

Amanda blinks. "What do you want to see?"

"Whatever." Faith stands up. "Doesn't matter."

It doesn't, Amanda knows. "Okay."

And when Faith smiles at her, she smiles back, because she knows exactly how she feels.

###

A/N: Title and summary adapted from wallace Stevens' Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird:

I
Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.

II
I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.

III
The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.

IV
A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.

V
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

VI
Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.

VII
O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?

VIII
I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

IX
When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.

X
At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.

XI
He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.

XII
The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.

XIII
It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.


Originally linked here and here.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
globalfruitbat
Sep. 27th, 2005 06:33 am (UTC)
I found this quite wonderful. Thank you.
voleuse
Oct. 10th, 2005 04:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you liked it!
m_phoenix
Sep. 27th, 2005 10:48 am (UTC)
That was absolutely lovely. You managed to give us so much story in so few words, and make it all feel so natural and flowing. Liked the very subtle way you started developing the relationship. Your Amanda and Faith are completely in character. Overall this has a strangely whistful yet hopeful feel to it. I'm glad you included the poem at the end too Excellent.
voleuse
Oct. 10th, 2005 04:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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