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Part Two - Chapter Four

One minute she was laying in bed, trying to fall asleep and the next she was standing on a dirt path, looking at a familiar face. "You again." Faith stated tiredly.

Kendra didn't seem to take offense. She just bobbed her head in greeting.  

The two slayers stood in a small town square. Cramped houses with thatched roofs crowded the edges of the open space. People hurried about energetically and Faith wrinkled her nose as someone got too close. The man smelled strongly of wood and his tunic and boots were covered in dirt and grime. Even his skin looked filthy. In the center of the space, a tall wooden pole stood up from the ground with straw and sundry items piled high around it.  

"What are we looking at?" Faith stepped up beside the other woman. Kendra didn't respond, but after a moment, the people began shouting.  

"Here she comes!" 


"Burn the witch!" 

From the left, a woman was being led by a group of men. Her hands were bound and the foremost man held a rope secured around her neck. A viscous substance had been smeared all over her dress.  

"Oh," Faith realized what they were witnessing. "No. No, come on. Are you serious?" 

Kendra looked at her briefly. "They do not understand… what she is." 

"So they're burning her at the stake!" 

The Jamaican slayer nodded indifferently.  

Faith watched in muted horror as the girl was secured to the wooden pole and straw was pushed around her body. Three men each took lighted torches and ignited the material around her. 

The slayer maintained her composure as long as possible but as the flames began to lick her dress, a scream erupted from her throat. A few of the men and women surrounding them looked away, but most watched in fascination.  

"This is disgusting." Faith muttered, fighting nausea. She stepped quickly to the side to avoid the passage of a monk who seemed to be in a hurry.  

"She is not unavenged." The other girl responded, and as the dying slayer's last scream faded away, the first terrified wail erupted behind them. Faith turned, but the world around them was unmoving. Gigantic gates at the back of the square had been thrown open and several vampires had charged through, grabbing the people furthest from the stage.  

Gradually the people began to disappear and walls replaced them. The two slayers stood in the center of a dirt road. A blonde girl, obviously this time's slayer at a younger age, was fighting fiercely against a particularly ugly demon. She seemed on the verge of winning. Good for her. Faith thought, still bothered by the scene they'd just witnessed. Behind them, a faint popping noise sounded. Buffy appeared, looking aggravated and wearing what were obviously her pajamas. "Again?" She muttered, just as the current slayer let out a shortened cry.

Faith looked over in time to see the demon dropping the lifeless slayer to the ground, her neck bent at an odd angle. The brunette sighed, starting to turn toward Kendra once more, but something caught her eye. Just for a moment there had been a weird shift in the scene before her. What was that? Faith scrutinized the slumped over slayer, waiting for something to happen. When it happened again, she could only blink with horrified eyes. The girl's face changed. Her blue eyes became hazel, her tanned skin replaced with the softer glow of another slayer. They were Buffy's sightless eyes looking past her. Buffy's lips parted in a final breath.  

Faith frantically looked over at her sister slayer, but Buffy appeared not to have seen anything alarming. Instead, she was looking to Kendra. "What's happening?" 

The Jamaican girl's eyes remained fixed on Faith even as she answered, "He takes away the powerful ones."

"The powerful slayers?" Buffy clarified.  

Kendra nodded slightly. Her dark eyes bore into Faith's and for a moment it felt as though she could even hear Kendra's accented voice in her mind. Do you understand? 

"Why?" The blonde slayer demanded, stepping closer to the duo.  

Faith and Kendra remained locked in a stare down until the Bostonian gave a stilted nod. She did understand. Whatever was happening here… it was going to happen to Buffy too if they didn't stop it.  

"Who is he?" Buffy's irritated voice broke in again. But Kendra's form was already starting to fade before their eyes. Darkness began to shade the scene until Faith could barely make out Buffy's slim shape. "Faith?" The blonde whispered. 

"I'm here, B."  

A small hand moved toward her and Faith reached out. Their fingertips touched and then the darkness was total. She was awake.  



Since this morning, she'd been stalking around the motel room, feeling like she was about to burst from her skin. She needed to figure this out, figure out a way to stop what was happening before it happened to Buffy. Faith had gone over the dream in her mind again and again, looking for clues that might show her where to start. And it was damned frustrating. If they'd been on patrol and some demon was coming at the other slayer, she could step in and take it down without a problem, but this was different. This was going to require research. And help from the one place she really didn't want to get it from.  

A tentative knock at her door interrupted her unpleasant train of thought. Wesley Wyndham-Price stood on the other side, staring back at her. "Please," He said immediately. "I know you asked me not to come back…"  

Faith arched her eyebrow. She hadn't exactly asked, per se. 

"But I have to try again." He lifted a bag he'd been holding by his leg. "I brought sandwiches."

Faith stepped inside, gesturing for him to enter. "You got five minutes." 

"Thank you." He said primly, and stepped inside. Having learned from his previous trip to the motel, Wesley commandeered the unsteady dining chair close to the door and seated himself. Reaching in the bag, he extracted two packages as well as drinks and potato chips. He offered a sandwich to Faith, who took it with no small amount of suspicion, and began unwrapping the other. His insides felt tense and food was definitely the last thing on his mind, but he took a bite anyway, feigning a calmness that was out of his reach. This was his last opportunity to get through to the slayer. It had to work.  

"You got something to say?" Faith inquired, plowing through her own sandwich at great speed. "Or do you just like eating lunch with me?" 

"No," Wesley answered. "I mean, yes. Eating lunch with you is fine… But I do have something I wanted to say." The slayer's impatient look urged him to begin. He took a deep breath and the words began to flow from his tongue. "My father is a watcher, as was his father before him. He joined the council before I was born and his entire life has been dedicated to fighting the good fight. He's a senior council member, and he's seen twenty-three slayers called. He's the reason I joined the council." 

"This is what you wanted to talk to me about?" Faith interrupted unkindly. "I ain't interested in your life story." 

"Please," The watcher responded quietly. "It's important." 

She nodded grudgingly for him to continue. 

In spite of his best efforts, the young watcher was becoming anxious. "My father is…" He trailed off briefly before finishing his sentence, "Not a kind man. He was single minded in his dedication to the council. For the most part he preferred to pretend I didn't exist. But on the rare occasion when he took notice of me, our interactions were uniformly… unpleasant. He viewed me as an embarrassment. In fact, he told me several times he'd never wanted a child; he merely got tired of my mother's begging." He paused, looking down at his hands. "And those were his more touching sentiments." 

Swallowing thickly, Wesley met Faith's cool stare. "As a senior member of the council, my father is one of the deciding votes on which assignment a watcher will be given. So when I learned I had been given an assignment in Sunnydale with an active Slayer, I was surprised." Faith snorted in agreement with the sentiment, and the man flushed slightly. "I've been with the council two years full time, although of course I was being groomed for several years before. My tenure with them hasn't exactly been distinguished." The watcher looked away. "At first, I was thrilled to be given this assignment. But I've had some time to think over the past few weeks I've been here, and my father all but confirmed this when I last spoke to him..." 


He looked back at her. "There are only two reasons to give charge of the slayer to someone as green as I am: either you believe the slayer won't last, or you believe the watcher won't." There. It was basically out there. All of his humiliating, dirty laundry aired for her to see. Wesley hoped it was enough. God, how he wanted to show his father and all of his arrogant prick friends exactly what he could do.  

Faith seemed to consider his words. "Which do you think it is?" 

"I'm hoping it's neither." Wesley leaned forward slightly, beginning to feel hopeful. "I know you're angry. You feel betrayed by the council. I can't change that. But I'm asking you to work with me anyway. Let me be your watcher." 

"And why would I do that?"  

Wesley fought the urge to flinch as she studied him. "Because… I can give you resources. There is a reason your friend Buffy has lasted as long as she has." 

The slayer's eyes flashed. "Buffy's lasted because she's strong and nothing can take her down. She died and she's still here. The council had nothing to do with it." 

"Fair enough." He acknowledged. "But the fact that she has a watcher working with her doesn't hurt." 

"Look," She sighed, leaning back and crossing her arms. "The council doesn't need me. You got Buffy. Let her take your orders. And I don't need the council. Told you already; I'm done." 

Wesley sat back as well. His optimism was beginning to fade. The slayer wasn't going to go for it. His father would sweep in tomorrow or the next day. Wesley would go back to England in disgrace and be given some dusty position in the council where he'd never see another living slayer. And Faith would… be disposed of. Desperate now, he threw caution to the wind. What he was going to say next might make the slayer angry. But angry was better than dead. "There is another reason you should accept my assistance." 

The girl smirked. "Oh, yeah? What's that?" 

"None of them really think you'll last." He said frankly. "You're right. The council doesn't need you. They've got two slayers now, and if you go out and get killed, they'll have another." Wesley smiled grimly. "They don't care what happens to you... But I'm offering you the opportunity to make them care. They think you're impetuous and that it's only a matter of time until you get yourself killed. Just as they think I'm not up to the task of being your watcher. I think they underestimate you. They underestimate us both." Looking her in the eye, he finished with an exhale. "Am I right?" 

Faith clenched her jaw and polished off the last bite of her sandwich. She couldn't think of many things worse than going back to working for the council. She didn't owe them a fucking thing, not after what they'd tried to do to her. But, like it or not, Kendra had popped into her dreams and forced her hand. She needed the council if she wanted to know what was going on and how to stop it before it got to Buffy. She looked back at Wesley's expectant face. Maybe she could deal with him. For Buffy. "I ain't working with Giles." 

"That's fine." Wesley agreed quickly. A surge of triumph swept through him. His undershirt was clinging to his chest from the nervous sweating that had begun as soon as he'd parked outside. But the slayer had said yes! 

"Then I guess you're hired." She held up a hand to stave off his response. "For now." 

"Excellent!" Wesley clapped his hands, regaining some of his usual British enthusiasm. "Shall we meet tonight to discuss your patrol?" 

"Easy, English." The brunette muttered. "Don't get all carried away." 

"If I am to be your watcher, you'll have to work with me. That means checking in after patrol and regular training sessions." 

Faith merely cocked a disbelieving eyebrow as Wesley continued on. 

"Your formal weapons training has been a little lacking. We'll need to spend time on the quarterstaff, sword fighting, knives, of course--" 

"Knives?" Faith interjected excitedly. 

"Yes," Said Wesley, pleased that the slayer was taking an interest.  

"Huh." Faith smiled internally. Knives? Maybe it wouldn't be so bad after all. Gaining control of her galloping imagination, Faith returned her focus  to the task at hand. "Uh, yeah, knives. Count me in. But first, I need you to help me with something." 

"Absolutely." Wesley said. 



New Years Eve had dawned crisp and cool over Sunnydale. Strolling over to Willow's at quarter after nine in the evening, Buffy passed houses alive with festiveness and excitement. It seemed everywhere she looked, people were filled with hope and excitement over the New Year. Personally, she wasn't feeling quite as happy as everyone else seemed to be. Giles still didn't have any explanations for the slayer dreams she'd been experiencing and she was really freaking mad about the previous night's argument with Faith. Pulling her coat tighter around herself, Buffy picked up her pace. It seemed like it was always like this with the other slayer. One minute they were getting along perfectly well and the next they were at each other's throats. Only now it was bothering her even more because she'd seen what the two of them together could be like.  

She reached Willow's house just as a red car was pulling up to the curb. Buffy paid it no mind, turning to make her way up the walk. "Hey." A low voice called from behind her. 

It was Faith, climbing out of the car that Buffy now recognized as Cordelia's.  "Hi." Buffy greeted a little coldly.  

Faith hurried up the walk until she reached Buffy's side. She glanced behind her at Cordelia, who was touching up her makeup in the car's rearview mirror. "How's it going?" 

"I'm fine." Buffy said without much emotion. "How are you?" 

"Five by five." The brunette replied automatically. Stuffing her hands in her pockets, "Is it cool for me to be here?" 

The blonde nodded. "Guess you could fit it into your schedule after all." 

Faith stiffened, but an enthusiastic voice interrupted them before she could reply. "Buffy!" Willow greeted, swinging open the front door. "You're here." She paused, eyes widening. "And you brought Faith. And Cordelia?" 

"Uh," Faith interjected. "I invited her." 

"Okay," The redhead held the door open wider. "Sure. It's not New Years Eve without some demonic activity, I guess." 

"Will," Buffy chided her gently. 

Sighing, Willow forced a smile as Cordy arrived at Faith's elbow. "Hi, Cordelia." 

"Willow," The tall girl looked the redhead up and down and then glanced at Faith slyly. "You didn't tell me this was a costume party." 

The young witch frowned and looked down at the green dress that had looked so festive earlier. "Come in." She muttered. 

Buffy squeezed her friend's arm sympathetically as the four girls stepped into the foyer. "Sorry about this." She murmured. "I didn't know Faith was going to bring her." 

Willow led the way into the living room, whispering to her friend. "I didn't know Faith was coming." Her eyes widened in concern. "Are you okay?" 

"Yeah," Buffy assured her. "It'll be fine. Xander's not here yet?" 

"Nope. He should be here soon." 

"Good," The slayer said cheerfully. "If we have to suffer, so does he." 



The evening was progressing as well as could be expected, Buffy thought. Xander and Cordelia had spent most of the night sniping at one another. Oz seemed at ease and his arm around Willow was keeping the jittery redhead grounded. The main problem, of course, was Faith. Not that her behavior was problematic. It was actually quite the opposite. The brunette slayer was acting relaxed, laughing at Cordy and Xander's arguments and happily snacking away on the food Willow had put out for them. 

Buffy was a little irritated about it. Faith could at least have the decency to be as uncomfortable as the blonde felt. After all, it was only the night before when they'd found themselves once again on the verge of simultaneous attempted murder. Now the two slayers sat on opposing sides of Willow's couch and Faith propped her feet up on the coffee table, looking almost at home. Buffy felt herself flushing angrily and Willow noticed, catching her eye across the table.  

'Okay?' The witch mouthed.  

Buffy forced herself to nod back, smoothing her hands down over the soft black cotton of her dress. Relax, she ordered herself. Faith obviously wants to forget it ever happened. She could do that. Buffy Summers was the master of pretending to be okay. She'd spent months maintaining a friendship with Angel with nothing more than sheer will holding her shattered heart together. This two week fling with Faith didn't hold a candle to that. Taking a deep breath, she lifted her loose hair away from her neck, holding it up behind her head. She slowly exhaled and let it fall around her shoulders again. She was feeling better already. 

Faith reclined back into the couch, covertly watching the other slayer from the corner of her eye. Buffy had been fidgeting all evening long. While Faith watched, Buffy's deceptively small hands smoothed over her lap, running over the short hem of her dress and down her stocking covered thighs to cup her knees. A moment later she was lifting her hair, pulling it up to expose her creamy throat. Swallowing hard, Faith dropped her feet from the coffee table. Buffy glanced over in surprise and Faith allowed their eyes to meet, holding the stare until the blonde looked away in feigned disinterest. "Uh," Faith cleared her throat and looked around the room. "We brought some stuff if you guys wanna take this party up a notch?" 

"More like five notches." Cordelia added helpfully. 

"What'd you bring?" Xander asked. 

The cheerleader turned to rummage in the large purse she'd carried in, producing a bottle of tequila.  

"Oh, that kind of 'stuff.'" Willow said dully.

It was Buffy who agreed first, much to Faith's surprise. "Yeah," She said, sitting forward. "Let's do it." 

Once each of them had been poured a healthy serving of tequila in a glass, Cordelia motioned for them to form a loose circle around the coffee table. "Let's play "Never Have I Ever."" She suggested. 

"How do you play?" Xander dared ask as everyone settled onto the floor near the table. 

She shot her former boyfriend a withering look, but began to explain anyway. "You say something you've never done and then whoever has done it has to drink." 

"Or you can make it up, and if it's something you've done you just have to drink." Faith added. 

"Wait," Buffy interrupted. "So I can say something I did do? Then why it is called "Never Have I Ever?""

Faith rolled her eyes. "What are you, the name police? Who cares?"

"I'm just asking." Buffy frowned defensively.

"Everyone good on the rules now?" Cordelia asked and when they nodded she smiled. "Great. I'll give you an example." She flicked her eyes in Xander's direction, "Never have I ever cheated on someone." When everyone stared back at her, she shrugged, unconcerned. "Now you and Willow drink. And anyone else who's done that." 

Crimson faced, Xander and Willow both sipped from their cups. Willow grimaced as the alcohol hit her throat and Xander coughed loudly.  

Rolling her eyes, Cordelia looked to Faith on her left. "You go." 

The slayer nodded. "I've never gotten a pedicure." 

"Lame." Cordelia informed her gustily, but took a deep sip of her drink, as did both Buffy and Willow. 

Xander was up next. "I've never kissed a guy."  

The girls each sipped and Buffy smiled innocently back at her friend. "I've never had a fear of clowns." 

Smiling as Xander was forced to sip from his cup, Willow spoke up. "I've never failed a test." 

Everyone else sipped from their cups as Oz considered what he would add next. "I never 'accidentally' ate the band's special brownies."

"Hey!" Willow protested. "That was an accident!" 

It was Cordelia's turn again. "You guys suck at this." She informed them before pronouncing, "I've never wanted to make out with a slayer." 

"Oh, come on!" Xander exclaimed, forced to drink again. Buffy merely smiled at him, sipping from her cup.  

Faith took a long gulp from hers. "I've never actually made out with a slayer." She added, watching Buffy. Both slayers drank, but Buffy didn't rise to the bait by looking at the brunette.  

"I've never made people cry because I'm evil." Xander said pointedly and the cheerleader willingly took a drink.  

"I've never given a hand job in a closet." Willow muttered half under her breath, accidentally skipping Buffy's turn. 

Cordelia raised an eyebrow in a "touché" gesture before glaring furiously over at Xander. The boy ducked his head and looked at Oz pleadingly.  

"Uh, I've never been able to float a pencil." The werewolf offered, smiling at his girlfriend. 

Willow beamed, cuddling into his side. "I do float a mean pencil." 

"I've never had wet dreams about my best friend." Cordelia announced to everyone's dismay. She fixed an innocent expression on her face and looked at Xander. "Both of them." 

Xander dutifully drank as Faith made no attempt to contain her amusement at this new turn of events. "I've never had sex in public." She looked around at the un-drinking Scooby gang. "Just me?" She tossed back the rest of her drink. "Okay then." 

As they progressed through several more turns, Faith surreptitiously watched the other slayer. Buffy was growing more relaxed with each drink she took. Seated on the floor, her tight dress rode up to expose her slim thighs; her hair had become slightly rumpled and her cheeks were flushed pink. The brunette couldn't stop herself from imagining knocking Xander out of the way and kissing those gorgeous pouting lips.  

"Faith," Cordy's sharp voice interrupted her thoughts. "It's your turn." 

"Oh." The brunette said, caught off guard. "Okay, ummm…" Still gazing at Buffy, she tried to think of something to say. The blonde seemed oblivious to the game and was laughing uproariously at something Willow had said. As Faith watched, she turned to whisper something to Xander, laying her hand on his arm. A vague unpleasant feeling pooled in her stomach. "I've never dated a vampire." She found herself blurting.

Buffy looked up, shocked. Her face became grim as she took a sip from her cup. "I've never slept with someone whose last name I didn't know." She shot back, skipping Xander's turn. 

Faith swigged from her drink and glared at Buffy. "I've never had a stick up my ass preventing me from having fun." 

"Guys," Willow interrupted nervously. "Come on, let's play something else. It's almost time to watch the ball drop anyway." 

Ignoring her friend, Buffy narrowed her eyes back at the other slayer. "I've never defined 'fun' as grinding up on a bunch of strangers in a bar." 

Taking a long pull of her drink, Faith stared back. "You never minded when you were the one I was grinding on." 

Putting her drink down none to gently, Buffy climbed to her feet. "I'm going to get some air." She said, grabbing her coat from the coat rack on her way out. 

Willow stood as well, preparing to go after her friend, but Faith was quicker, hurrying out the door after the other slayer. Willow was torn between going out after Buffy and letting the slayers sort this out themselves. Oz took her hand, tugging her gently back into her seat. "Let them talk." He advised. Then he tilted his head toward Xander. "And don't leave me in here with these two." 



Buffy's small form was leaning against the column supporting the Rosenberg's porch. Her arms were wrapped around her middle, pulling her coat tightly closed. "Something I said?" Faith asked sardonically as she stepped onto the porch. 

The blonde gave no indication that she'd heard the other slayer, facing forward stonily. 

Faith joined her at the porch railing, resting her forearms on the rail so she was leaning into the cool night air. Several minutes passed in silence until the brunette started to feel jittery. It felt like shit knowing the other girl was pissed off at her. And each time she tried to fix it, she seemed to just make it worse. To make matters worse, she had to find some way of telling Buffy what she'd seen in their shared dream. She had no idea how to accomplish that when it seemed like every word she said was twisted around by Buffy. Next to her, the other slayer pulled her jacket closer and shivered. Recognizing an opportunity when she saw one, Faith tentatively placed an arm around Buffy's shoulders. "You cold, B?" 

Buffy nodded indifferently, but didn't make any attempt to shake the brunette's arm off, which Faith interpreted as a good sign. Eventually, the brunette worked up the courage to begin talking. "Got a little out of hand in there." She managed. 

"I guess." 

"Didn't mean nothing by it." 

Buffy snorted noncommittally. Almost against her will, she found herself relaxing against Faith's side. But she straightened up at the brunette's next statement. 

"B," Faith began, then switched to her whole name. "Buffy. I gotta tell you something. And I'm really not sure how to say it…" 

Buffy turned, not quite pulling out of Faith's arms, but enough so she could look at her face. "What?" She asked softly. Maybe Faith was about to say this whole thing had been a mistake and she really wanted Buffy after all. Ugh. She felt ridiculous as soon as the thought occurred to her.  

"I saw something in the dream last night." She began. "When the slayer was… umm, when the demon killed her, I saw your face." 

The blonde stared back uncomprehendingly. "What do you mean? You saw my face where?" 

"On her. The slayer." Faith's hands tightened around the blonde's waist unconsciously. "I think it means that the thing, whatever it is, is gonna come after you." 

Buffy frowned, stepping back out of the other slayer's hold. "Are you sure?" 

The brunette nodded slowly. "Yeah." 

"Oh." Buffy took another step away, then slowly sat down on the porch steps. 

"Hey," Faith felt awkward, seating herself beside Buffy. "It's gonna be okay." 

Sighing, Buffy forced herself to nod. She was quiet, looking out over Willow's yard. 

"Really." The brunette hastened to reassure her companion. "We'll figure out how to stop this thing." She slipped her arm carefully around Buffy's back, pulling her closer. "I'll hold it down and you can beat the hell out of it." 

In spite of herself, the blonde smiled a little. "That sounds good." 

"See? We got this under control. Giles and Wesley will do the research thing, figure out what we're dealing with, and then we'll show up and slay." 


Faith shrugged. "Figured an extra pair of eyes hitting the books can't hurt." 

"So you're gonna work for the council again?" 

"Looks that way." 

Buffy looked over, her eyes shining a bit in the dark. "Are you doing this because of me?" 

"Nah," Faith was sort of lying, and they both knew it. "He offered me knives, so…" 

"Right." The blonde laughed. Faith had really thrown her into a tailspin with this latest news. But she'd been prophesied to die before and beaten that. She could do it again. She squared her shoulders. It was New Years Eve, time to party. Not time to worry about impending death in the form of some sort of invisible demon living outside of time. It could wait until tomorrow. "You wanna go back in?" She asked Faith. "Make sure Cordelia hasn't been murdered?" 

"In a minute." The brunette said nervously. "I wanna tell you something else."  


She shifted a little so she was looking at the blonde. Mostly it was a stalling tactic while she tried to line up the right words to fix things with Buffy. "Uh," She began nervously, "What I said on Christmas Eve, about us not being a thing?" 

"It's okay." Buffy interrupted immediately. "I shouldn't have assumed that we were uh, a couple. You've told me about your 'get some, get gone' policy enough times." She really didn't want to talk about this right now. She actually felt sort of comfortable and Faith was being really sweet and whatever she was about to say was undoubtedly going to spoil it. Better to just nip it in the bud.  

"Uh, right…" Faith agreed, nervously. "But I'm trying to say that maybe you're the exception to that policy."

Buffy looked up in surprise. "What's that mean?"

The brunette rolled her eyes in frustration but voice was gentle when she murmured back. "It means maybe it don't have to be that way with us."

"You're giving me a lot of maybes."

"Alright," Faith muttered. She could feel herself getting more anxious as she looked back into the blonde's eyes. "I'm saying if that's what you want, that's what we are."

"A couple?"


Buffy was pretty much blown away. She wanted to break out in a grin but still felt a little hesitant. "Is that what you want?"

Faith's eyes were wide, obviously a little scared. "Yeah." She responded. Since the first time I saw you.

The other slayer's hazel eyes gazed searchingly up at hers, their faces close together. "Are you sure? Because when I said that, you were all shouty and insulty, so I kind of got the idea that maybe you don't want that."

"Look, B," Faith fumbled for something to do with her hands. Settled for running one over Buffy's hair to cup the side of her neck. "That wasn't about… this. I want you." She looked down. "Been wanting you for a while."

"Well, I know you wanna, uh…" Buffy flushed red, and decided to choose a less explicit term, "kiss me, but that's not the same thing."

"I don't just wanna kiss you." The brunette smirked before pulling a serious face on. "I'm sure about it, okay?"

"Okay." Buffy agreed, a huge smile lighting up her face. "Girlfriend." She finished with a slight laugh. 

The brunette found herself smiling back. Girlfriend. It didn't sound so bad. Not when she had Buffy wrapped in her arms, grinning that cheesy little grin of hers. From inside the house, they heard the combined shouting of their friends beginning to count down. "Ten! Nine!"  

"Guys! You're missing the ball!" Xander shouted.  

"Come on." Buffy was happy, climbing to her feet and tugging Faith up after her. 

"Eight! Seven! Six!" 

Faith stood, but her free hand gripped the blonde's wrist and she tugged her backward so Buffy tumbled into her arms.  

"Five! Four!" 

"We're gonna miss the ball drop!" The shorter girl whined. 

"Don't care." Faith mumbled, snaking her hand into Buffy's tousled hair and pulling their mouths together.  

"Three! Two!" Up and down the street, people were emerging onto their porches and front lawns, clutching sparklers and pots and pans. 

"One! Happy New Year!" Buffy's cold hands were pressed against Faith's back and the brunette shivered happily. Faith squeezed the other slayer in her arms, hard enough to hurt an average human, but Buffy just moaned softly into their joined lips. Behind them, the front door was thrown open and the Scoobies spilled out, cheering drunkenly. Willow threw her arms around the two slayers, forcing them to break apart.  

"Happy New Year, Will!" The blonde slayer cried enthusiastically but her eyes were still on Faith. The two girls remained looking at one another as Oz and Xander began to light sparklers for each of them. Buffy accepted hers, giving Faith a parting smile, and she ran with Willow down the steps to the lawn where the two let their firecrackers burn down. Buffy was radiant, smiling from ear to ear with flushed pink cheeks. Faith watched her, smiling softly, until she caught Cordelia staring at her with a knowing look. Dropping the smile, she coughed and cuffed Xander too hard on the shoulder. "It's 1999 and we're alive!" She proclaimed, unconcerned when the boy almost fell over. "Now who's got the tequila?"



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