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by AmyB


Rating: R for Adult Situations
Summary: An alternative ending to the body swap in the BtVS season 4 episode Who Are You.  Perhaps the return of her body isn't all that Buffy wants from Faith, but it's the most she can afford. 
Author's Notes: Special thanks to Selene for the gorgeous artwork for this story. Special thanks to LillianMorgan for her invaluable assistance with this story, and to Beanbeans for her support and encouragement during its writing.
Oral's Notes: No email address available for Author. Please leave a review here (scroll to Review at bottom of web page).



It shouldn't have been her first instinct, Buffy knew; not when she found herself lying under the doppelganger wearing her body, fending off blows from hands that belonged to her, that wore her jewelry.  Shouldn’t have even rated a spot on the very long list of instincts that body theft and attack awakened, and yet the response was automatic, irresistible, as much out of her control as her own features.  She caught one hand in the middle of its downward trajectory, mid-strike towards this face she wore, and managed to grasp the other amidst her counterpart’s struggle to escape.  An upwards thrust of her hips, a tightening of her muscles, a flip, and then she was on top, in control again; master of her own body, if in a very different way. 

She let go of the fine-boned wrists, only to find Faith’s hands—her hands, for now—drawn inexorably down, though not to strike; mesmerized, transfixed, she traced features that should've seemed familiar, as they were hers, but which somehow seemed so markedly different when worn by this relative stranger.  There was something behind the green of the eyes looking up at her, some potent combination of fear and feral hunger, need and revulsion, that spoke to her more deeply than she would’ve believed possible; she hadn’t known that passions that deep and dark could resonate inside or radiate from her body. 

Buffy had long since learned how to regulate anything extraordinary, uncontrollable; had smothered and sublimated her passions into the joy of the fight, the battles for which she was born.  She tried to hold the darkness, the curiosity, the fervor at bay; she’d thought she’d succeeded, that she’d beaten back her reckless urges and filled the space between with responsibility and honor and bravery, with the noble aspirations Giles had declared ‘befitting her calling.’  In someone else’s body, still performing that same dance of perpetual restraint, to look and find such forbidden extremity of feeling, of outright emotional rapacity, behind her own eyes was an electric kind of thrill.

It was a peculiar sort of onanistic impulse that drew her forward, made her press these new, fuller lips against the now-whimpering mouth of the girl beneath her, but it was something else entirely that made her deepen the contact, that drew out her tongue and fisted her hand in the blonde hair that surrounded it. 

Take her wild side out for a walk, now that she was wearing someone else’s skin. 

The kiss had nothing to do with attraction and everything to do with need, with recognition and that hunger that bordered on starvation.  Both of them dying for want of something the other had in spades.  Hips grinding up, grinding down, tongues battling then melding as bodies shaped together, and then the real world invaded the edges of Buffy’s mind: the church, the vanquished vampires, the stalwart boyfriend waiting outside with her Watcher, her friends.  Her destiny, and the duty it necessitated, and the remembrance of her inability to surrender herself because she wasn't her own to give. 

She pulled back, gasping, wide brown eyes staring into green, and saw the resignation and cold-burning self-loathing within, recognized the fury and resentment and envy.  No longer reassuring, now terrifying; a glimpse into a future, an abandonment, a hardened and embittered self she didn’t want to find there.  Never again wanted to see.  A reach into her pocket, then an angry slap of hands, and that look was back in its proper place, reflected through the brown eyes looking down at her, a new edge of hatred and frustrated longing slowly wending its way in as well. 

“Could’ve had fun while you were in my skin.”  The words were whiskey-smooth, seductive, rough in all the right ways; dangerous in the way being inside that skin had been dangerous—Buffy knew that now.

“I don’t like your kind of fun,” she lied in response.  Funny how she could almost feel the defenses snap back up, feel the restraints twining their way about her emotions, holding her back.  Transforming her back into the Buffy-who-is, no longer permitting the Buffy who had been just moments before.  Free within narrow limits, strong within her bonds.

“You’ve never had my kind of fun.”   The words were a sneer accompanying the flick of lean muscle that tugged her to her feet, pulled her in.  Stole her lips, stole her breath.  Then long, coffee-colored hair lashed her face, and she was left standing in the center of an altar to someone else’s sanctity, no longer sure of her own. 

Dark, burning eyes bored into her from the doorway, held her gaze for a long moment before disappearing out of sight.  She knew then, could see, that Faith hated her now, more than before—hated that Buffy could seemingly look upon herself with any sort of tenderness, that she didn't hate the face in the mirror. 

Faith didn't understand; she couldn’t.  It had been the essence of the dark-haired Slayer, that ineffable something that she had set to smoldering behind green eyes, that had drawn Buffy in, held her there, made her see something worth reaching out to in features long since grown uninteresting.  So much there, so much promise of fathoms terrifyingly deep; it had been the fear that Buffy held far within, kept hidden that had demanded that she pull them back from the brink.  That wouldn’t let her taunt the chained dragon that was the other slayer, or wake the one still sleeping inside Buffy.  For dancing her to that edge, she hated Faith; for pulling back, she hated herself. 

Meeting her own eyes in the mirror would never be the same.



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