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One Piece Fic

by Bobbi Manuel


Rating: NC-17
Summary: This is "Bikini Fic" told from Faith's POV.
Author's Note: So this is it. I want to thank everyone who read along. You guys are awesome. Extra special thank yous to everybody who gave me feedback. I can't tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to let me know what you think about my stories. It really makes posting so much fun, and why is there no "bowing" emoticon? Love and thanks to Kelly and Frass for being such good friends and fantastic writers, and to Sal for being an editor and friend extraordinaire, no matter what. Special thanks and love to the Mighty and Splendid Gina for being the best girlfriend ever. She makes my heart go all pitter patter even though I'm way deep in the closet and way too tough to pitter patter for anybody else. Finally to ABC – Anybody who can call her a fan or a friend knows exactly how phenomenal she is. I can call her both things and I feel like the luckiest person ever. Once she heard that I had the idea, she encouraged me to write this story and how could I say no? You don't tell ABC no. Not when it comes to Fuffy. Or anything else either.

The story is yours, ABC. Thank you for everything....The cookies are delicious.


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Chapter One

Okay I gotta admit, I'm having a blast. I'm throwing two kids all the hell over the place, and there's nothing but fun in it. They're so fucking cute, and having superhero strength and energy just makes it better for everybody.

Plus, playing with them lets me keep my eyes off the drop dead gorgeous blonde sitting in her white and green bathing suit next to the parents of the kids. It's tough not to stare at her with the sun pounding down and making her look all golden and wet and hot.

And why the hell's Kev leaning in so close to her for? He's got his own woman and she's right there next to him. Wonder how he'd like to get his face punched in so he can…Oh, false alarm. Guy just kinda lost his balance, so I don't gotta bust up his other leg for him.

No clue what he's sayin' to B, but she looks like she wants to stake him. He's so not getting it, he's smiling back at her and still talking like they're pals. I can't figure out why she's lookin' at him like that, and now Cyn's chiming in with that proud look on her face and B is…

Fuck, the little shits just dunked me. Fine, now let's see how easy they are to scare.

I just hang around the drain for awhile wondering how it is that more people don't get stuck in them. They can't be safe, but whatever. Ya get caught, I consider it natural selection. Gotta weed out the dumb asses some kinda way.

I can see'em up there, and when they get lined up just right, I head for'em. I do it perfect, snatching them by their suits and tossing them high into the air far apart so they got no chance of banging together on the way down.

They're screaming their heads off, but they both shut up in time to grab a coupla lungs full of air. They're cute and smart, and their asses are under the water. They both swim like fish, but I keep a close watch anyway…That fuckin' drain's a menace.

Man, I could do this all day long. I love kids, and these ones are nothing but a good time. Smart, funny, and neither of'em are crybabies. They like roughhousing and Gladys is tough as nails. Terrell's not far behind her, but he works the charm angle first whenever he can. I fall for it every time.

Uh-oh, Cindy decides it's time to play "Mom". Even though my own never did anything close to that, I've seen it enough with other kids to know the party's over.

"Okay kids, time to get out."

They both start hangin' onto me like leeches, and Gladys whispers for me to protect them. Right. I can save'em from monsters, but from their mom? Not likely. But then Terrell looks at me all sad, so I'm thinking of hauling ass with them. What can she really do to me?

"Excuse me, what did I just say?"

They're not backing down, these two got guts and so I'm gonna hang tough too. I look around for the best way to get us past the "Mom" monster, but then she goes scary on us:

"I gave you ten extra minutes, now get your behinds out of that pool."

Before I can blink, they're offa me and hurrying out of the water like scared kids instead of my backup. I gotta admit I'm relieved. Not sure how I could fly under the radar long with two kids attached to me, plus well, they're the neatest family ever and I wouldn't wanna mess that up.

Kev dries'em off like a pro, then sends them to their mom for some shit job they gotta do. Cyn lays it out like she's in charge of boot camp and it sucks because the troops got no leeway at all. Guess there's always gotta be a sarge ridin' the grunts every step of the way.

Meanwhile Kevin's trying to get up, but his crutches are to hell and gone and his chair's got no arms. B's so sweet. She's on her feet before he even asks, pulling him up and handing him his walking sticks with a smile. He does that thing all guys do when they're around any pretty woman, then panics like every good guy does when he realizes he almost crossed the line.

Cindy's on him like shit on a shingle, and he backpedals and smoothes it over so fast, I got nothin' but admiration for him. I mean, what else was he gonna do? B was right on top of him being all B…he did good by not tryin' to cop a feel.

Next thing you know, the parents are back in love, and that shit just never gets old, 'cept that it hurts too. Because as happy as I am for them, and I am, I wish there was a way I could get that for myself. Never gonna happen though, and most days I can live just fine with that. But today for some reason, it stings pretty bad, so I decide to stay in the pool. I feel like I got a barrier in here, a little place to get myself squared away.

I know Kevin and Cindy's background: high school sweethearts who went to the same college, knew the second they met. All that's my story too. I met my girl in high school, went to her college once, and I knew the second we met that I loved her. But the end result's nowhere near the same, and it's never gonna be. And I live with it 'cause I gotta.

I tuned everybody out while I felt sorry for myself and now that I've shook it off, I hear the kids trying to worm another day out of their dad. He can't resist'em, they're so in. Cindy looks like her brain fell out of her head just from a kiss, and she's not sayin' shit. See what I mean about how smart the kids are? They're playin' this like pros.

Kevin's trying to figure it out, Cindy's mind's in the bedroom, and then Kev blows it by saying "credit card" out loud. Cindy snaps back like one of those mean ass rubber bands that hurt, and that's that. No staying, they're going. The kids are sad, but they take it without whining. They gave it their best shot and it didn't pan out, so they just suck it up and live to fight another day.

I wish they could stay. B looks all upset too, her body kinda sagged when she heard they were goin' for sure. She got attached and they're crazy about her. She'd be a good mom 'cause she can be a real bitch, just like Cindy. Somebody's gotta tell kids no, but it's not gonna be me as long as they're not gonna kill themselves. B would know where to draw the line day in and day out, and that's just somethin' a mom's s'posed to do.

The kids come running over to say goodbye. It makes me sad, but we're gonna stay in touch. I gave them our e-mail addresses, our phone numbers, and a hundred bucks each. Every kid needs some secret mad money burnin' a hole in their pocket, and once they're outta here, their parents will let'em keep it. I told them not to say shit until they were on the plane and in the air, so they'll be rolling in dough as they're winging their way back home.

Speaking of, the parents head over to thank me for everything which is cool, but then they start getting specific. They start telling me what a hero I am and I try to stop'em, telling them the hero's over there with their kids. I explain I just tag along with her, but they ignore me and keep right on singing my praises.

Not sure how I could be more fucking embarrassed. I feel like telling them all of the horrible things I've done, then watching them grab their kids and run for their lives. But I don't. I just keep smiling, taking the compliments like I deserve'em and wishing I could drown myself in the pool.

After a million years, they get off the hero thing and talk about the kids. That works for me, and I don't mind them thanking me for being so good to them. I got no problems with that at all, and I tell'em their kids are fantastic, just like kids oughta be. I also let'em know that they're gonna make'em proud their whole life, and that swings both ways. They both kinda choke up, but I shove'em off on B before they start bawling.

B looks like she's thinking about something, but I can see it's gonna happen…4…3…2…1…and here come the waterworks. They even got Kevin cryin' like a pussy, which makes sense, I guess.

B is the fave of moms and dads everywhere, plus she did save their lives. I told'em before, I'll tell'em again: Buffy's the real deal. The best Slayer, the best person, the best everything. Just gotta look at her to get that.

Then they're gone, 'cept the kids come running back just like kids do to see if they can kill us with another round of goodbyes. It's tough to let'em go, but we're gonna stay in touch, which makes me feel a lot better. Then it's real, they're gone and not coming back…leaving me and B all alone.

I'm not exactly lookin' forward to who's gonna show up next. No way they're gonna be as great as what we had, plus we'll have to hide that we're Slayers. The Dawsons knew what we were, that's how they met us, so that was cool. Nobody blinked when I picked up Kevin and carried him to where there were cabs to take him to the hospital. No questions got asked when Buffy picked up the huge flowerpots and moved them away from where the kids were playing.

So unless Red and Cyclops pull off the world's biggest surprise, odds are we're gonna get some assholes next door. Nothing anybody can do about that, but I'd pay good money for Willow and Xander to show because it's way too obvious that it's just me and B now. I got myself ready for it before, but then I got used to havin' somebody running interference like at home. Now I gotta get myself back in the groove.

I can't stay in here forever, but holy fuck does she look good sitting there. Even her stupid suit that covers way too much skin is perfect. It's kind of a skimpy one piece, but I don't have a clue why she doesn't wanna show her stomach. I've seen it a billion times and it's flat and toned and tan. When we spar and she's got it on display, she always kicks my ass because I can only stare at the way her abs come and go with every flex.

Okay, this is nuts, and unless I'm planning to avoid her for the next fifty years, I gotta get out of this pool. I try to look all casual as I hop clear, but I almost slip and dunk myself when I see she's got her shades on.

Damn, I love that look, even though it hides her eyes. She looks like one of those hot as fuck, sexy movie stars. Not the new ones, but the old time ones who had real style.

I love classic flicks. Way better than the shit they put out now 'cause back then the women were real women. All ballsy and sexy and smart. Some of them could even be called ugly, but fuck that. You got a mouth on you and a brass pair like Bette Davis, well, you're rockin' it. I'd fuck her, and I admire her and those other broads back in the day. Bitches had it goin' on in spades and so does B.

She could fit right in except she's hotter and smarter and ballsier than any of'em. But I do miss seeing her eyes. They're always green, but sometimes they're mixed with brown, and up close they look sort of goldish. The color's never the same from minute to minute, depends on her mood. They shift: darken, lighten, go cold, flare hot, get happy, get pissed, and I love looking into them even when she's mad at me.

Anyway, she's a movie star, and I almost slip like a love struck fan. I gotta use my Slayer strength to hang on and keep moving up and out, 'stead of dunking myself like a total ass. I turn to look at the view which is nice, but nothing compared to the sight of Buffy relaxing in the sun just a few feet away. I gotta say something about it, it's pushing its way outta me like it needs to be free.

"Man, sure is something to see."

"It sure is."

She thinks I'm talking about the view which works for both of us, and I shake my head because I can't believe how fucking beautiful she is and that I get to be here with her. I try to act normal because that's my thing in this kinda sitch, plus I'm thirsty as hell and she's sitting right next to the drinks. I smile at her, then grab my Coke. It's empty, so I go for hers.

"What the hell?"

She does her innocent act which means she's guilty.


"What happened to the drinks?"

"Aren't they there?"

I pretend to be mad, but we both know I'm not.

"Christ B, not like you were even doing anything. Just been lazing around on your ass."

"True, but my lazing was done with all my might."

She's as cute as fuck, so I call her a pig and head inside for another round. I take an extra few seconds to get myself settled down.

This isn't new, this sitch 'tween me and B, and I usually handle it a lot better. Just seems I've been all worked up the last few weeks, and I need to calm my dumb ass down before I get myself in trouble. I breathe in and out deep, which always works for me because it's so fucking stupid.

Why do people say that shit? It's breathing, moron, what we all wanna keep doing just as long as we can. Not like I need special instructions, it's an instinct, and I'm never gonna be so stupid I need tips on how to do it.

I grab us each a can and head back out. I feel fine now, back to being just friends. I open hers for her and hand it over because I know she likes it, then I jump over her because I'm too lazy to walk around. I land perfect, right in the center of my chair so it barely tips. I take a sip and I can't stop. I polish it off, stifle the belch that wants to blow out, and then I wonder why I'm so stupid.

"Damn, shoulda brought two."

Maybe I can get B to hand hers over. I try to look so comfy that she'd have to be wicked heartless to make me move. I lean over and give her my best smile:

"Hey, any chance you could maybe…"

Score! She gives it up like she was expecting to have to, and my face hurts I'm grinning so big. I take a huge slug and then I pay her back by trying to wind her up.

"Jesus Christ, how can you drink this crap?!"

She answers all calm that she likes it, but I'm nowhere near done with her.

"Ya can't. Tastes like somebody pissed in a can."

"And just how many cans of piss have you drunk in your life?"

She's got me there, but this ain't about logic.  This is about irritating her, and if she doesn't start playin' along, I'm gonna have to pull her hair.

"Just this one…Fuck!"

I drain the can, then make a puking sound because I know she hates that.

"Good thing I got Slayer healing."

She goes all high and mighty on me:

"If you keep insulting my favorite drink, you're going to need it."

I look at her all smartass and turn it sexual, just like I've always done since we met. It's something we both expect me to do, something she's always let me get away with, and I gotta find the fun wherever it is.

"I can take your lazy ass any time I want."

She doesn't react and we relax and look out at the million dollar view. 'Cept I'm not seeing it at all, I'm just seeing me and B naked as I think of all the ways I'd love to take her. Maybe up against the railing so she can look at the ocean while I get down on my knees behind her and…

Okay, that's not where I need my mind going at all…but fuck, I'd love to slam her against the side of the pool, hold her arms down on the deck with her feet floating, and just sort of make her crazy while I taste every piece of her I can. Bet she tastes like…

I pull my brain offa that whole deal and think about something safe. The Dawsons pop into my head and I go with them 100%. They're gone, but still providing me with a Buffy…buffer.

I musta made a noise because she says:


"Nothing…Just gonna miss'em, is all."

"Me too."

And then I'm off and running about some of the shit we did. Me and B took the kids a few places since Kevin wasn't up to speed, and we had a great time with them. B would start off a little tense, I guess the pressure of being responsible for somebody else's kids weighed on her a little, but after a bit she'd loosen up. We spoiled'em rotten, but eventually B would rein us in a bit. Somebody had to and I trusted her to do it every time.

"B, how funny was it when TKO got his gum in Gladys' hair? Think she would have wasted him if you hadn't known how to get it out. Can't tell me that cotton candy thing wasn't the Gladinator's revenge. Fuck, it was neat having little kids around, yeah?"


"Sure are a great family. They really love each other."


I got no clue why she's not saying words here. She thought that shit was hysterical when it happened, and I know she loved being around a family for a while.

"And how cool is it that they won that contest? Nobody ever wins that shit, ya know?"

"Mmm hmm."

Now she's got me worried because usually whenever I talk like Yogi Berra, she calls me "Yankee Lover" which always gets me going.

"Hey, you okay?"

She says she's just tired, which makes sense 'cause she's been tossing and turning. I know she's all worried about us finishing the job because she takes it wicked serious. I take mine that way now too, but I also still know how to let it go sometimes.

B knows too, but sometimes she forgets. That's where I come in as her friend and co-worker. She trusts me and she listens to me most of the time, and when I point out that she's doing her "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" thing, I can get her to let up on herself. So this is my cue and I never miss one of those, not when B's involved.

I go over the facts – how Giles told us to relax and enjoy ourselves until they get a fix on the bad guys, how we're ready and willing to go to work whenever and wherever that is, but how we also need a break sometimes. We're not doing anything wrong by enjoying our down time.

She says she gets it, she's just restless, and I believe her. But then I start wondering…maybe she doesn't like sleeping with me. I mean, we got here and expected two double beds, but there's just the one. It's a queen or something, but still.

I don't think she thinks I got cooties, but maybe she wants to stretch out or somethin'. I don't really wanna bring it up because for me the sitch is heaven, but what kinda friend doesn't try to help out her buddy?

"Maybe you need your own bed. Want me to see if I can grab another room?"

Please say no…Please say no…Please say no…

"No! I mean, Giles would never go for that."

I rag on Giles for being a cheapskate while I say a silent prayer to who the fuck ever, that she's okay with us bunking up. Sleeping in the same bed with B is like the high point of my life, and no way do I want it ending before it's gotta. I keep thanking God while I explain to B like she doesn't know, that Red must have made these swanky reservations since our Watcher always sticks us in shitholes.

I go on for a while, then wrap up the G-Man smackdown 'cause it's just not as much fun when he's not here. I love harassing him, seeing how much I can get away with. He cuts me almost as much slack as he cuts B, which makes me feel special and loved. That works out good 'cause I love the guy right back.

He acts all boring and stuffy, but I know for damn sure he's got a lot going on under the surface. He's kinda turned into a father to me, and I've never had one of those before, leastways not one who wasn't a bad guy. There's nobody I respect more than Giles, except the woman I'm talking to.

I let out a huge breath and relax because this trip has been like paradise for me, and it's not over yet.

"Best place I've ever stayed in. It's fucking awesome."

"It is beautiful."

Then I give her one more chance because…I don't know, I guess I wanna pretend she wants to be here with me.

"So the bed sharing's not a problem then?"

"Not for me. Is it for you?"

I wanna slap her for bein' so stupid, instead my voice comes out like I think she's nuts.

"You gotta be kiddin' me. I've never slept so good."

I realize I answered too on the nose, so I cover right away by giving the ocean all the credit. B buys it and then she's off, using her famous "Buffy" speak which I can barely follow in the best of times, let alone when I'm practically pissing my pants with relief.

I don't want her knowing I wasn't listening, so I ask her if she wants to maybe patrol to blow off some steam. I can't stop talking, and I explain all the benefits of slaying to the Slayer while I fantasize about her saying she'd rather just stay in and masturbate on top of me.

Then 'cause I'm me I go there, as close as I dare anyways, and move us back to where we're supposed to be:

"Or I guess you could just get yourself off in the shower, always works for me, what about you?"

"Mmm hmm."

I love it when she handles my sex jokes in stride and comes right back at me. I go to yank on her hair, but slug her in the arm at the last sec.

"Yeah, right! Fucking crack me up, B."



Chapter Two

I woke up slow from the best nap ever. I was feeling good, all warm, every part of me loose and laying just right, everything smelling like it should, and I felt safe. There was a warm breeze blowing on my neck and for some reason I was tingling like…Shit!

My body went ramrod stiff when I realized what was happening. That breeze was B's breath blowing on my neck, her leg was flung across mine, her hand was on my chest, and her head was using my shoulder for a pillow. It was one of the positions I always imagined us waking up in, usually after a hot night of fucking that had left us both happy.

I was going nuts. My body was screaming for me to do it and my mind was telling me to calm down because this was nothing, just one of those things that could happen when friends sleep together. All B had done was just make herself comfy, and it wasn't her fault that I wanted to make myself comfy with her in a whole other way.

They always say never say never or make fun of shit you don't understand. I finally got what that meant when I started breathing deep, in and out, slow and steady. Her hand was right below my tit and every time I sucked up, her hand rode along, then back down on the blow out. It felt like she was rubbing and…I gotta get up…Now.

I moved slow because I didn't wanna wake her up or embarrass her, and I sure as fuck didn't want her seeing how shook up I was. I started slow and steady, sliding my outside leg just off the bed and…Holy fuck! Her leg just landed right on my pussy. Like right on it, like any moving on my part would have my clit all revved and raring to go.

All these images came to mind, and I couldn't stop them. I tried deep breathing again, but it still made her hand rub and this time her leg did too. I tried doing it real shallow, but as the minutes dragged on, I couldn't seem to remember how to breathe any which way. The air was coming out in these weird little blasts, and I knew I should get outta the bed before I got off, but you tell me who's gonna move when Buffy Summers is feeling them up, even when it's an accident.

She started waking up, and I started thinking I was gonna get out of the sitch alive. Then she kind of stretched and snuggled in at the same time, and her hand went back and forth across my nipple while her knee shifted and had me riding it for a second. She was even closer, and when she yawned it turned into the sexiest sound ever. Her breath was now on my neck and chest, her hand was right on my tit, and her knee was still moving.

I was one second from coming when I shot off the bed. I didn't care if I broke her nose or flipped her up against the wall. It was like the reaction you have when you grab onto something hot. You can't just let go casually, you jerk back and look like a moron, and in this case, my legs almost buckled when I stood.

Poor B woke up way sudden, and the fact that her hair was all messed up and her face was all pink on the side that had been on me…it just made me that much more shook up. I fought real hard and I was proud my voice came out steady:

"Hey B, sleep good?"

I ran my hand casual like through my hair, but I could feel it shaking a little. At least she didn't notice because she was too busy answering me with the new "sexiest sound ever".

"Mmmm, it was heaven."

"Heaven" had around fifty…what do they call'em…syllables, 'cause that word went on forever while she did a full body stretch. Her tits moved up and seemed like they were just beggin' me to come lick them. I was ready to come, with or without them, and I stared before I made a run for the bathroom.

"Gonna grab a shower."

She stopped me in my tracks by offering to wash my back. Normal talk, 'specially when she's all happy and up, but no, no playing allowed right now. I can't handle it, but there's no way I can say that and I gotta say something.

I tell her it wouldn't be my back and she doesn't hesitate to tell me she'll wash whatever I need her to. I can't let that go, she'll know something's wrong, so I turn to her and grin. I'm the pro here, this is my territory and I gotta take it back.

"Got lotsa needs. Gonna satisfy'em all?"

She went red then and all systems were back to normal.

"Hey Blondie, don't play with the big girls if ya can't handle it."

She just says for me to save her some hot water, and I make my escape and laugh, so fucking relieved I got outta that without any major damage. I even sing a little to make everything seem usual, then I get myself off twice in like five seconds. That made everything better, but then I imagined her stepping into the shower with me and I had to go for it two more times. It was tough to be quiet, but I managed, and when I went back out into the bedroom, I felt a lot calmer. Yep, all systems definitely back to normal.

We did some smartass yappin' back and forth about how we killed Sunny D just so we could waste my dumpy old motel, and I love that we're such good friends now that every mention of back then doesn't make somebody mad. We don't start bawling either. It's just something horrible that happened, but it's so far in the past between us, it doesn't even matter anymore. Well, it still rides me sometimes, but I lose track of it when I'm with her. Guess that's something she's taught me.

"So we going out or patrolling?"

I'd rather patrol, but now that I'm not so worked up, dancing and drinking sounds good too. I bend over to grab some clothes out of my bag and she kinda hesitates before she answers that she wants to go out. Guess she thinks she's being irresponsible and feels a little guilty about choosing to party instead of patrol. It's stupid, but she's trying, so hey.

"Works for me. I'll get dressed and go find out where the hot spots are."

And also clear out before you come back out all wet in just a towel, 'cause better safe than sorry.

I tease her about taking forever to get ready, then tell her I'm starving and kind of beg her to hurry. She makes me laugh like a crazy person when she says:

"Fifteen minutes."

That's so nuts it's cute.

Fifteen minutes. Like she could even get her shirt on in fifteen minutes. Or her hair even sorta like she wants it. Or anything else of the million things she wastes her time doing. Fifteen minutes. Yeah, and next they'll be asking me to throw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium.

I tell her I'll give her thirty and to find me at the bar, but I know she'll take even longer. She heads for the bathroom, and I'm dressed and out the door in just a few minutes. The fresh air feels good, my head's clearing, and I'm starting to get back on track. I grab a stool and lean on the polished wood, waiting my turn.

The bartender heads over way too fast. She must have skipped me ahead, not that I'm complaining.

"What can I get you?"

"Sam Adams if you got it."

"We do. Want a glass?"


She unscrews the top, slides it over, then opens some nuts and pours'em into a clean bowl.

"Here, fresh from the can."

"Thanks, I'm starving."

I grab a handful right as she goes to shake, and we both laugh.

"My name's Dani."

"I'm Faith. You worked here long?"

"Long enough, I guess."

"Was wondering if…"

"One sec."

She leaves me to take an order from two guys at the end of the bar, which turns into a bunch of other people wanting their booze and wanting it now. More than a few minutes sail by before she's replacing my empty and leaning on her side of the bar with her damn fine assets on display.

It'd be rude not to look, so I do, and when my eyes get back up to hers, she's smiling all sexy. She's pretty hot and seems to think I'm not bad either, and I know I can get what I need outta her.

"So Faith, are you here alone?"

"Hell no, you're here now."

She laughs way too much at that, and her hand grabs onto my forearm and squeezes.

"Business or pleasure?"

"Little of both, but right now I'd say it's all pleasure."

She blushes and smacks my hand.

"I'll bet you say that to all the girls."

"Just the pretty ones."

She tells me the drinks are on her, then goes off again to do her job. When she makes it back, she cuts right to the chase.

"Okay, now what were you wondering?"

"I'm lookin' to do a little dancing and drinking, just out for some fun."

"Am I invited?"

"Wanna be?"

I'm actually sweating this one 'cause I know she does, but I don't want any part of her. Already got my girl and we don't need a third wheel rollin' with us.

"Yes, but I have to work tonight."

I keep the relief offa my face.

"Sorry to hear it. So you know any place?"

She points at my beer, but I shake my head.

"My brother's a bouncer at the best club around, but you can never get in because it's always so busy."

"Yeah? Sounds like just where I wanna go. Any ideas how I can get in tonight?"

"A couple, some more involved than others."

Before I can say anything, she goes to wait on some new customers. Some guy decides now's the time for him to take his shot, but he's nice about it, so I let him down easy. He still leaves lookin' like I snapped his spine, 'cause that's just how some guys are.

The bartender comes back, pats my hand, and I smile my best smile at her. She leans over and whispers into my ear:

"My brother said he could get you in, but you'll have to work off the favor with me."

I laughed 'cause it was pretty blunt and I knew she meant it, but I also knew she wasn't gonna push it.  

B picked right then to show up, acting like a goof and wrapping her arms around my shoulders. I think she mighta accidentally clipped what's her name, because she kinda stumbled back a step when B closed in.

"Hi, baby."

She's so funny sometimes, and she always makes me laugh. I take a swig of beer and rag on her for taking like an hour. She asks if I missed her and I gotta admit I did. Then I realize I oughta introduce them, which is awkward because I only know B's name. I figure it's best not to play games, so I admit right up front I don't remember.

"Danielle. My friends call me 'Dani'."

She's rubbing her cheekbone, so I guess B did nail her. I kinda zone out while they do the intros, then I tell B about Dani's brother and how he's gonna get us in. I expect B to be happy, instead her voice comes out all "High and Mighty Buffy Summers".

"Really? How nice."

I got no clue, did I miss something when I zoned out for six seconds? Before I can figure it out, Dani's gone all bitchy too.

"I think I can get you both in. I didn't know Faith had a girlfriend."

Oh Christ, that's all I need now. I feel B's arms flex a little and I jump right in to clear it up.

"What?! Oh shit no, me and B are just friends."

There, that oughta make'em both happy, but for some reason B's talking like she's a pissed off telegram.


What the hell did I miss for the three seconds I wasn't paying attention?

"Uh…guys? What's with the big stare down?"

Dani breaks first, asking if she should tell her brother we'll be there around 10:00. I tell her yeah and thank her, and she goes all sexy, saying it's her pleasure and could be mine too if I'd let it.

She is really hot and sexy and way, way available, but I'm like a eunuch now and so not interested. B finally lets go and sits on the stool next to me. That's good and bad, but I'm still wicked confused. I get when two pretty girls go at it on sight, that's like "hot chick" instinct, but B's never like that.

First – she's clueless that she's as beautiful as she is, second – she doesn't give a shit about that kinda stuff. She'll make friends with a pretty chick right off the bat, and I've never seen her act like she just did. I don't get it.

"Geez B, trying to fuck up our chances? What was that all about?"

"I didn't like her."

"Yeah, think I picked up on that."

B was still staring at her, and one false move was gonna get Dani an up close and personal look at the Slayer. Buffy finally turned back me and asked where "her"place was. I filled her in that it was right on the beach with live music from a kick ass band. I could tell she liked the sound of it, but she was low-keying it because fuck Dani, you know? Anyway, I told her I figured we'd eat, patrol and then hit the joint, and she was all for it.

I drained my beer, grabbed a handful of peanuts for the trip to the restaurant, and of course B lectured me about how filthy the bowls are in a bar. Seems hardly nobody washes their hands anymore, and I love that B's looking out for me. It makes me smile, and I toss forty bucks down as I stand up.

Dani said the drinks were on her, but that was when she thought we were gonna hook up, plus she probably needs the money. I tell B I got a fresh bowl, that I always eat fresh whenever I go. Uh…yeah. Anyway, my main point's that people like my face when I'm not being an asshole, and sometimes they even like it then.

I'm liking what's ahead as we hit the sidewalk. I can handle eating, slaying, drinking, and dancing. That stuff's all right in my sweet spot and after that scary ass nap, I can use a little comfort zone action.

B's still talking about Dani. Jesus, she musta looked like somebody B hated in high school or somethin'. She just keeps going until she finally gets to her point:

"Is she going to be there?"

"Nah, she's gotta work."

B didn't say anything, so I figured I'd confess.

"Kinda relieved, ya know?"

"You are?"

"Yeah, didn't want some chick hangin' around us all night."

"Me either."

"She's really hot though, think that's why she didn't like you."

"What do you mean?"

We were already outside the restaurant, and I love this place. Good price, good eats, and lots of it. B doesn't go in, she just stands there looking confused, and sometimes she's so stupid, I can't believe it. I open the door for her while I state the obvious:

"Well there she is, all pretty and shit, then here you come looking like you do. Shoves her right into second place, and girls like her don't go for that."

We head in and it's pretty easy to see that B really likes this place too. She just kinda lit up, and now she's got this silly smile on her face and looks way happy to be here. It's cute.

When the food comes we eat off each other's plates, thanks to my bright idea, which somehow makes it seem like we're getting more food than we are. I started wishing I was B's fork every time her mouth closed or her tongue licked, but that was way too close to Prince Pervert and his tampon dreams. What a weirdo that freak is.

Dinner was wrapping and our waiter, who remembered us, asks where the Dawsons are. I tell him they left, and he says we can have free dessert to cheer us up. At first I thought I didn't hear him right, but I did and I'm wicked excited. I love freebies, and free dessert? Fuck, I'm livin' the good life.

I made myself settle down quick because this was a big decision and I had to play it right. I was gonna need to order for both of us or otherwise B would get herself Jello in a fancy cup or peach pie or some other kinda stupid shit. Free dessert means you gotta get the best, somethin' full of sugar and taste and chocolate.

I didn't wanna be rushed, so I stalled for time:

"Gee, I don't know what to get."

The waiter, because he's the best waiter ever, picked right up on what I was getting at.

"I'll give you and your girlfriend a few minutes to look over the menu."

Holy fucking shit! Again? Just shoot me in the head.

The dipshit takes off like he's done a good thing and leaves me on my own. I tell myself not to panic, chances are she didn't even hear it because she's so busy trying to find the gaggiest dessert they got. All I gotta do is ignore it and play dumb.

"I wonder why he thinks we're girlfriends."

"Who knows? Hey look, they got six kinds of cheesecake."

I sit still hoping a group of demons busts in and kills me, but no, I can't catch a break.

"Do we give off some kind of vibe? I mean, Dani thought so too."

Jesus, B, run it into the ground, why don't ya?

"Probably the Slayer thing. B, wanna concentrate on the dessert?"

My mouth's like the Sahara, and I take a sip of water while B decides to ponder the mysteries of the world.

"I wonder what it would be like to be with a woman."

Suddenly I'm choking and drowning at the table, and I want my last words to be:

"The best you've ever had if it's with this woman."

But air gets back in and since I'm gonna live, no way can I say that. I gotta say somethin' though, so I wiggle my eyebrows and ask her if she wants to go a round.

"Hmm, wouldn't you like to know?"

It's just the same old she does when I do my same old, but the look on her face is brand spankin' new.  I look at her, trying to figure out what's different, but I got nothin'… not even the usual feeling that I put her in her place.

Now I'm rattled again, but we gotta eat, so I focus.

"You get the Snickers cheesecake, I'll snag the chocolate cake."

Dessert went good, and after we headed out to work off some food and tension. I was really looking forward to patrol, but we didn't even see a fucking mosquito. It was so boring, like listening to Giles explain how and why something happened someplace to somebody at some time.

Meanwhile B just kept waltzin' around like she was having fun. Normally on a dead patrol she sighs and twirls her stake, then ramps it up to louder sighing and faster twirling before she starts with some "Buffy" story or some "Buffy" bitching. Tonight though, she's strolling around like we're two lovebirds out for an after dinner walk because we're stupid and don't know any better.

Either I'm gonna have to call it or we're just gonna keep doin' it.

"Damn, word musta got out there's two Slayers in town."

"Mmm hmm."

What the hell kinda answer's that?

"Think we're just wasting our time here. Wanna go check out the club?"

She points out it's nowhere near check-in time, then asks me if I wanna go walk on the beach. I agree right away, which makes it clear just how fucking bored I am. We walk a ways, then climb and jump up some mountain of rocks and down the other side, and damn.

There's nobody else here and the beach is all lit up in silver because the moon looks like it's right on top of us. I copy B and take off my shoes as we walk right alongside where the water comes in. God damn, she's so beautiful. It's like she's in a moon spotlight and it can't stop following her. She's got her head tipped back a little, her hair's blowing behind her, and she's got a smile on her face.

I wanna kiss her, it's the kinda place that's made for kissing, but kissing Buffy's been off the table since…I guess since the beginning, but for sure since we became friends. It sucks all the time, but on a night like now it's a fucking tragedy.

We find this perfect place to sit: a clump of rocks not far from the water, so we take a seat and I pull out my smokes. I give her a fast look, and yeah, I know she's gonna bitch, but I'm rattled and need a cigarette. B's just gonna have to deal.

She does her nagging routine, tosses in a lung cancer threat, but I don't budge. I tell her "tough shit" in so many words, then light up…except the fucking breeze is fucking with me. I'm twisting and turning all over the place, and I almost set my hair on fire. B goes all smug and then brings God into it.

"Aha! See, God doesn't want you to smoke either."

Great, here I thought it was just the wind, turns out God's gotta shit on me too. Which isn't all that new  when I think about it, so fuck God, you know?

I finally get it lit, and I tell her God musta got distracted, just like always. I take a drag and can feel myself calming down again, but the main thing I can feel is Buffy staring a hole through me.

"Fucking-A Buffy, it's just a cigarette!"

"I know."

"Well ya don't gotta look like I smacked your kid."

"…I just wish you wouldn't smoke."

I wanna tell her that's too fucking bad because I like to smoke and I'm gonna, but instead I just tell her I know and go to take another drag…'cept I can't.

"Goddamn it, fine!"

I toss the cigarette into a mud puddle between the rocks.

"Satisfied now?"

"Yes, thank you."

Christ, I am so whipped and I'm not even getting any. But the main thing to me is she looks so happy that I tossed it, I can't even stay mad at either of us.

"Whatever…Wow, moon's really shining up the water."

"It's so pretty."

Yeah it was, like nothing I'd ever seen before.

"Funny it can be so different."

"Different from what?"

I didn't even know I said that out loud, but that happens a lot when I'm around B. I guess I feel safe when I'm with her, and I don't always keep on guard.

"Had water where I grew up, but that shit was dirty and cold all the time."

I'd seen the ocean a few times when I was a kid, and of course my crappy childhood comes creepin' just like that shit always does. I wasn't gonna let it ruin the moment though.

"Never thought I'd see something like this. No wonder so many people love it."

"Didn't you ever go to the beach in Sunnydale?"

"No…too busy going nuts, I guess. Wish I had now. No clue it could be like this."

I could see the water moving, all these clean little diamonds shifting and sparkling. It looked just like a Christmas tree should: all the white lights twinkling and shining, a bunch of presents underneath. The fact that B was sitting right next to me…sometimes the world can get pretty close to perfect.

"Maybe it's better this way. Getting to see it with you is nice, ya know?"

"Yes it is. It's really nice."

She answered so sweet. Even though it probably didn't mean shit to her, she could tell it was important to me, so she just went with it. It made me realize that because I always gotta hide that I'm in love with her, I never tell her how much I love her in so many other ways.

Well fuck that, I'm gonna at least make it clear that she's important to me.



Christ, I'm all choked up. It happens sometimes when all of this feeling builds up with no place to go. I keep struggling to get it out, finally sucking in a big breath.

"Really means a lot to me that we're friends, that we patched things up."

"It means just as much to me."

She meant that, I could tell she did, but there's no way it can because to me it literally means everything.

"Doubt that."

I shouldn't have said that, but at least I mumbled it too low for her to hear over the waves. Whatever, enough of this self-pity crap. It was time to go have some fun with B.

"So wanna go show'em how it's done?"

"Okay, but we're still way early."

"Two hot chicks like us? Everybody better stand back."

We headed to the club and man, was it ever jumpin'. The line went to forever and no way in hell were we gonna wait in it.

I pulled B up tight against me.

"Just play along for a sec, B. Wanna grab some attention."

I walked us up to the door, all focused on my job. I could handle a sitch like this in my sleep and…B's hand slid into the back of my pants.

I lost my job focus just like that. Buffy's fingers were in my pants, on my ass, hot on my skin, and I wanted to tell her that she was playing along way too hard. And I also wanted to tell her to go lower.

I didn't have time to say shit though because we were already up by the chain. I turned on the sexy, set my phasers to "stun", and tried to concentrate on what I was there for.

"Hey, baby."

I let my hand slide along his arm for a sec. He tried to hang tough and say we had to go to the end of the line, but I told him we hated to wait. I nuzzled B's neck longer than I meant to, actually kissing it and losing myself in the fire I felt burning from every inch of every one of her fingers. I finally clued back into what I was supposed to be doing.

"Is Steven around?"

"You know Stevie?"

"Of course, doesn't everybody?"

I dragged my nails all sexy down his forearm and I felt him starting to shake a little. Trust me pal, I know just how you feel.

"I'm not…I mean, I'm not supposed to bother the staff."

Like all busy joints, the outside staff isn't supposed to bother the inside crew. Otherwise, everybody'd be sayin' they knew so and so and all the workers would be running in and out all night. Good policy…for everybody else.

"Not even for me?"

I whispered that like it was just me and him, and he had to lean forward to hear me. Guy was all mine, and I felt for him more than I normally would 'cause I'd been counting B's fingers nonstop in my head since she first stuck her hand in. She's got five.

So my own personal sap just stared at me as he told his partner to go get Steve. I leaned in to tell B this guy was an idiot, and then I basically came in my pants because for some insane reason, Buffy decided to play along even harder by running her tongue up my neck all the way to my ear just to say:

"You are extremely sexy."

I try to pull away from her so I can grab a dictionary and look up the definition of "play along", but she wraps her other arm around me in a hug. B's now clearly "overplaying" and I'm wondering how it's gonna look when I Slayer shove her offa me. Before I can give it a try, this body builder guy comes out and asks if I'm Faith.

I introduce B and me and we're sailin' our way in, B still stuck tight to me. The crowd hates our guts and lets us know by booin' their heads off, so I blow'em a kiss and give'em a wise ass grin as we breeze through the door. Sorry suckers, if you ain't got the goods, you ain't gettin' in.

We talk some with Dani's brother, he tells us the first drinks are on the house and leaves to go wherever. B finally gets me off…gets off me, and that's got its good and bad points, to state the freakin' obvious. I feel way wired now, another fact that goes in the freakin' obvious category.

I tell B flat out as we head to the bar that she's getting something with alcohol. It's like the free dessert thing: you gotta get your money's worth when it's free shit, so of course she orders some crazy ass drink. It looks like a California cheerleader in a glass and she's all happy.

I laugh because she's such a girl, then I ask because I usually know drinks.

"What is it?"

"I don't know, but it came with this."

She holds the tiny umbrella over her head.

"Now I'm protected in case it rains."

I laugh again because she's so fucking cute, no wonder I love her.

I tell her about the cute part, which just makes her get an adorable look on her face, and we head outside and sit on a wall drinking our drinks. It was perfect – the stars, the breeze, and we were so close we could smell the ocean. The band was good and the floor was jammed with people getting their groove on.

Dancing sounded good, but I felt kinda funny about asking since I could still feel what it felt like to have her hand on my ass. I wasn't settled down enough, so the smart money said I should just sit awhile, maybe have a couple of drinks and let myself cool off. B's money was maybe retarded because she knocked back the rest of her drink in a big gulp, then held out her hand to me.

"Come on F, let's show'em."

And just like magic, every other thought went outta my head. I let her lead me out onto the dance floor, and she didn't even start slow. She was shakin' it and I am always for that, anytime, anywhere, no matter what.

I love dancing, 'specially with her. We just go together, it's all natural and it's the closest I can ever get to having sex with her. Just like they always do, a buncha people crowd around us trying to horn in, but fuck off 'cause right now she's my girl. Slayer strength is a big help in this kinda sitch.

So we're doing our thing, and yeah, okay, I'm way more wound up than usual. The last few weeks, being here, and then the whole up and down of today has got me ready to blow. But it's okay, I'll keep a safe distance between us and just let it out right here, all safe and sound and…

B moves closer. I look her in the eye and she never looks away as she moves even closer. I lost it then and my hands went to her hips and we started swaying together. I couldn't hear any music, couldn't see anybody else. There was just Buffy and she was right with me in a perfect rhythm.

My hands went around to grab her ass and I yanked her tighter until we were grinding against each other. It was heaven, she was following wherever I went, synchronized humping partners. Her head fell back, and she looked like I was fucking her and she was liking it. Then she moaned.

I let go of her and pulled away. She staggered and stumbled for a sec, then caught herself as she looked at me. Her face was all flushed and sweaty, her hair stuck to her neck in a few spots, and her eyes were all green and looked like sex. I was afraid to talk or move because I knew if I did, I was gonna grab her and fuck her right where she stood.

"Whew, that was hot. I could use a drink to cool off."

It took me a few seconds to get that she was talking to me.

"…Yeah, cooling off sounds good."

I was so shaky, I wasn't sure I could walk, but we headed to the bar, me trailing along behind her. B ordered two bottled waters and I had to walk off. There was a crowd pushing me into her and I just couldn't be that close to her yet. My control was trying to take off for good, and just the smell of her was making me lose it.

Outside was better. The wall was still there, the ocean and beach were still pretty to look at, and everything was all normal and calm. I needed the wide-open view and the fresh, clean air because I had never been so close to losing it with her. Never.

I stared at the water almost hypnotized, then realized the way the waves were moving reminded me of how her hips had been swaying against mine. I closed my eyes and tried to think of nothing, but I couldn't think of anything else. God, B is so perfect. Beautiful, sexy, funny, smart, oblivious, straight…


She poked me in the arm and handed me my water. I said thanks, determined to act normal, so of course I drank the whole bottle without stopping.

"Are you okay?"

Yeah, fine if I could just fuck your beautiful body six ways from Sunday.

"Yeah, I'm fine. Why wouldn't I be?"

"Well, you just kind of walked off back there."

No Buffy, I was running for my life back there and trying to keep us friends.

"Sorry about that. Heat was just getting to me."

"Want to head back to the hotel?"

Yes, a million fucking times yes!

"…Ya don't mind?"

"No. We can walk along the water and let the breeze cool us off."

"Yeah, that'd be good."

And so would ice cubes, an iceberg, hell, at this point I needed a "Teddy Ballgame" freeze. We decided we didn't wanna walk all the way around from the outside, so we hopped the wall when nobody was looking.

It was pretty far back to the hotel, but I needed the time. We walked a lot of minutes without talking, and then when I got a little under control, I started worrying she'd think I didn't have a good time. I figured I'd just say some short sentences, maybe get her talking so she wouldn't notice that I could barely make sense.

"Place wasn't bad."

"No, I liked it. It was so cool how they had it decorated."

"Plus the band was really good."

"I guess we showed them how it's done."

It was okay. I could do small talk and I love when B talks like she knows she's all that. Everything was good, we were just two pals walking home after a night of fun. We'd done that a million times and we'd probably do it a million more.

"Course we did. We're two hot bitches."

We walked for about forty-five minutes and that helped me pull myself together…until we got back and I saw we still only had the one bed. I got nervous again, but I had it hid good. All I had to do was act normal for a little while, then tomorrow'd be here before I knew it.


I could tell from her tone that she'd asked me something at least once already, but in my quest to be all normal, I'd completely spazzed out.


"Wanna go for a swim?"

"A swim?"

I say the word "swim" like I've never heard it before 'cause I guess that's the best I can do "normal" right now. She looks at me like I'm stupid and sorta smiles.

"Yes. You know, jumping in the pool where the water is. Moving around and cooling off."

"Yeah, guess that'd be okay."

Great, now I sound like I'm doing her some big favor.

She doesn't act like I'm being an asshole and she tosses me my suit before she goes to change in the bathroom. I've got my bikini on and I'm in the water in about five seconds. There's no way I wanna see her in her suit right now, and no fucking way I wanna see her all wet…

I groan out loud and start swimming. I'm gonna go all night if that's what it takes to get myself under control. I've got my head down like real swimmers do so I don't gotta see her, but I know the second she comes out and slides into the pool.

After just a few minutes, it feels like the water's heating up. I keep swimming, but with every stroke all I can think is:

The same water I'm in is hitting all over her.

It was crazy to think that way, but I couldn't stop.

That water was up against her arms, in her hands, rubbing over her nipples, swirling between her legs, lapping at her pussy…

I was out and running. I went into the bathroom, shut the door and had trouble turning the shower on because I was shaking so bad. I finally learned why they call it "self-abuse". I lost track of how many times I let myself have it, and I could have kept going, 'cept I didn't wanna make her suspicious.

When I came out I was wrapped in two towels and I never even looked at her, just headed right for my bag to get some clothes on. She walked by me and instead of smelling like chlorine, she smelled like Buffy, and I wanted to jerk her back against me and start abusing her.

I let her go though, and got dressed and into bed in record time. I turned off my light and faced away from her. I was gonna pretend I was asleep by the time she got out. I could sell it; I'm famous for sleeping quick and sleeping hard. She's way familiar with how fast I conk out, so if I do it good, she'll buy it.

It wasn't long before she got in and popped off her light. I never moved a muscle. I made my body relax, made my breathing all slow and steady, and I'm sound asleep, see ya tomorrow.

"Faith, are you awake?"

I almost blew it because she said it so soft, it almost made me shiver.


She cheated by touching my shoulder and I jumped. God, what the fuck's she manhandling me for?


"I was thinking tomorrow we could do some sightseeing."

"…Sure, that'd be good."

"Maybe even do a little shopping?"

That made me laugh for a couple of reasons. First 'cause I'm dying and B needs new clothes, and two because the word "little" never factors in when B's shopping.

I let her know I know the real deal here:

"Yeah, as long as you live up to that 'little' part of it."

I'm lookin' her right in the eye and she returns the favor by lyin' right to my face:

"Slayer's honor."

God, I'm so in love with her I'm gonna shop for hours tomorrow for "Buffy" stuff.

"Alright…Night, B."

"Goodnight, F."

I roll back over, sleep nowhere in sight.



Chapter Three

B didn't have any problem, she was out like a light. I gave it a shot, but finally decided to get up and go sit by the pool. It was still a real pretty night and I took over one of the lounge chairs and stared up at the stars. I blew out of big breath and shook my head a little wondering how in the hell I got here.

Back after we destroyed Sunny D, everything sucked. B was just, I don't know the right word exactly…maybe "crushed" comes closest. Her town was gone, and everybody she'd counted on for seven years was either dead or had betrayed her. And that's not overstating it because what went down that night when B got tossed, well, I never thought I'd see anything like that.

I decided to hang around before I headed back to jail to finish out my sentence. No way could I go 'til things got at least sorta back to normal, but fat chance of that. B didn't really talk to anybody, at least not about "Buffy" stuff. She kept it strictly business, and Willow and Xander didn't seem to remember how to draw her out anymore. It was like they were all strangers and had never known each other before.

Giles was a mess. The guy looked way older than he was, and I could tell he didn't much care for himself. He didn't understand what had happened, how it had all gone down the way it had, and for somebody like Giles that was torture, plain and simple.

He was always supposed to know shit, and when he didn't, he'd get some books going and figure it out. Not this time. This time he just sort of went through the motions and shuffled around like some old man.

Angel footed the bill while we rehabbed and Giles tried to figure out how to access the Council's secret accounts. When he finally cracked it, everything was good. We were practically rolling in the dough and we headed off to Cleveland: the Slayer, her Scoobies, her Watcher, and me.

Most of the Potentials who had other places to go went, saying they'd be back. At that point nobody knew if they would be, but it wasn't like there was anything else to offer them anyways. A few stayed because they had to, and as for Wood? Me and Mr. Surprise parted friendly enough while he was still healing up in a Cali hospital.

There was no big scene. He didn't really want a relationship and I sure as fuck didn't either, least not with him. We said our goodbyes and I didn't give him another thought, I doubt anybody did. Much as he maybe wanted to be, he never really was a part of things, so there was nothing missing when he was finally gone.

B stuck longer than I thought she was gonna, but she left pretty soon after the rebuilding got going. Even though things were still tough between'em, she took Dawn with her. No matter what, Dawn was her kid sister, and it was clear that B felt responsible for her. Plus, Dawn still felt like shit about her part in the house tossing, and she told Buffy flat out that she was going with her no matter where she went and no matter how crappy things were.

One day they were just gone, no big send off, they just weren't there one morning. Everybody left behind felt like a huge piece of them had been ripped out. Red looked raw, like her heart was broken, and much as I hate to, I gotta hand it to Kennedy for sticking with her like she did. Willow was nothing but a black cloud, and she sucked all the fun and life out of a room just by showing up.

I could tell she was gonna take off soon, so I went to her to ask if she'd help me out.

"Red, was wondering if you could maybe do me a favor?"

"I guess that depends on what it is."

"Was thinking maybe I could do more good out here than in the joint. But I can't be runnin' all the time, and I don't wanna draw attention to this place either."

I gave her the big speech and my word that I wasn't gonna fuck up this time, and she seemed to believe me. A couple of weeks later and I was free and clear, not even a blip on anybody's radar. The combo of witch stuff and computer smarts wiped me right out of the system and everybody's mind, and now the rest was on me to make something of myself.

Willow pulled out maybe a week after that, supposedly to hunt down Slayers and send'em back for training, but we all knew the deal. She hugged everybody before they left, even me. Red looked like hell and Kennedy looked scared shitless and way over her head, but they walked out holding hands and didn't look back.

Xander wasn't much better. He was way, way down and he was sinking. He'd lost all of the women he loved: Anya, Buffy, Dawn, and Willow, and he didn't have a clue how to live without them. He started drinking at night in his room, and I was worried that he was gonna turn into a drunk if something didn't change.

I got Giles to send him around the world on little assignments with Andrew. They were a good match and Xander took care of him, which I knew he would. Kinda pulled him out of himself, and he didn't have time to drink anymore because he had to stay sharp at all times for both their sakes.

Then to make it interesting, they had Andy's crush to deal with. Even though Xander didn't swing that way, it was still good for him to have somebody there who looked up to him and thought he was the shit. Plus they got along good, and Andy drew him out all the time to talk about whatever geek stuff geeks love to talk about.

Once they took off, that left just me and Giles, and who the fuck could have ever seen that one coming? Not me, definitely not Giles either, but we were all that was left of the team. One screwed up Watcher and one ex-con Slayer. Yeah, what a team.

He got up every single day, sat at his desk and pretended to do shit, but he was doing fuck all. I gave him some time, but he didn't seem able to turn it around and I guess he just didn't wanna. The whole sitch was wrong, and as much as I'd fucked everybody over before, well, I cared about all of them, and no way was I just gonna sit by with my thumb up my ass.

I was waiting in his office bright and early, and the second he showed up to start the day, I jumped in:

"Okay, G-Man, much as I got no use for the fucking Council, I gotta have some kinda guidance here. You're all I got left, so you think maybe you could stop the old man shit and start bein' a Watcher again?"

He didn't exactly appreciate me, but I didn't exactly give a shit either. I stayed in his face every day, doing what he told me to do as long as it was Slayer related. The second he let his personal stuff horn in, I told him to fucking suck it up and do his job. After a while he was better for sure, but still nowhere near right.

It was a day by day thing, and I got him to start making the changes the place needed. If this was gonna be "Slayer Central", it had to have certain shit, and I made him figure it all out. Once we had the plans, we hired some people to get it done. The place shaped up pretty quick, 'specially after I called Angel to send some more guys to speed up the works.

Life went on. I patrolled, the bad guys tried to kill people and take over the world, and Rupert Giles was the lamest Watcher ever. He couldn't have been more disinterested 'less he was dead. The guy would barely crack a book, and it all finally blew up one night after I got my ass kicked but good.

I came stumbling though the lobby doors, right through'em for real, and Giles came running at the sound of the crash.

"Good Lord! Faith!"

He muscled me onto the couch in the lobby, and I was smearing blood all over his clothes and the soft cushions.

"What happened?"

"Know those vamps…you said were run of the mill?"

He grabbed the first aid kit from under the counter and got to work on me.

"I'm afraid I don't quite understand."

"Best I can figure…OW!...is I'm a Slayer…tryin' to do her job without a Watcher."

He stopped in his tracks and looked at me.

"I beg your pardon?"

"And ya oughta. Almost got me killed tonight…'cause you're mopin' all over the place about B. Well great, but I'm still here…doin' my best while you don't do dick."

"Faith, I…"

"Just fuckin' patch me up."

He looked pretty ashamed of himself, but he stitched me up, popped my shoulder back into place, and taped my ribs. He actually had to carry me upstairs 'cause we hadn't fixed the elevator yet, and no way could I walk it.

He tidied up my bed while I took a shower, and I came out to clean sheets and some chow. I grabbed an ice cold bottle of Sam Adams and eased down onto the bed.


"Faith, I…I'm sorry. I've…"

"I get it, okay? You're depressed and feelin' way guilty when it comes to B, but life's goin' on here, ya know? It's just me and you, and if Willow ever really does look for a Slayer, what are we gonna do with'em when they get here? This place is a dump, you're a wreck, and well, I'm me."

He didn't say shit, just stood there like a little kid getting scolded by his mom.

"Not tryin' to be an asshole, Giles, I understand the sitch is killing you, but you gotta shove that shit aside and be 'Giles' now. You're my Watcher and the whole Council, the guy who's gotta do it if we're gonna stand a chance. Fuckin' wake up, will ya?"

He was at his desk when I got up the next day.

"Good morning, Faith. I trust you're feeling better?"

"Yeah, Slayer healing rocks."

"Yes, well I've a plate warming for you in the oven. Perhaps you could eat in here? I've some thoughts as to how we can make this place run much more efficiently. I've no idea how many Slayers we'll be responsible for in the end, but I feel it prudent to plan for as many as possible."

So we were in business. Giles and me got the place up and running, got our system in place, and when we were ready, he got hold of Willow. Before long we had girls showing up in a steady stream, and we handled them all.

Giles got'em set-up and I did the training, teaching them what it meant to be a Slayer and showing them how to do their job while they stayed alive. I told'em all about Buffy, how she was the greatest Slayer ever, and I drilled her #1 rule into every single one of them:

"Don't die."

Finally we needed help, so I went and brought Xander home.

It was obvious he was better, just like the old Xander, only different. He was still sad, but I could tell he was gonna live with it and go on. Andy was in Italy with Buffy and Dawn, and I never did get what that was all about.

Whenever Xander mentioned him, it was clear they were still friends. Whatever the problem was, it wasn't between the two of them, and all Xand would say was:

"I sent him to the Buffster. She'll be able to help him."

Getting Willow back was tougher, partly because Kennedy came with her. When I showed up at their hotel, she acted like I couldn't come in, saying she'd let Willow know I stopped by. I shoved her dumb ass back into the room and shut the door behind me.

"Wanna knock it off? Think I got jetlag."

Turns out she did wanna knock it off…my head from my shoulders, so I had to paste her mid-charge. She landed between the wall and the bed, and I walked over to the bathroom where Willow was taking a shower.

"Hiya, Red. Got any hard to reach places that need…"

She did a funny little scream, then I found myself gettin' zapped back into the bedroom. She came running out with a towel in front of her, her eyes all black.

"Whoa, just me!"

She stood down right away, wrapping the towel around herself and tying it in place.

"Goddess, you scared me! What are you doing here?"

I gave her some friendly chitchat for a few, then got right to it. She seemed to be listening, which was nothing but a good sign, but then she started looking around.

"Where's Kennedy?"

There was a groan and a hand raised up over the bed. Willow shot me a look as she ran over to her.

"Baby, are you okay?"

"…Huh? There…Hi, Will."

"How hard did you hit her?"

"Not sure. Just know 'Baby' started it and I finished it."

Willow was still mad, but after she got Kennedy settled on the bed with a cold rag on her forehead, she heard me all the way out.

"Is Buffy back?"

"No, but she's been workin' with Giles again. Calls in every coupla weeks for an assignment."

"Did she say that she's thinking of coming back?"



"Got Xander back though, and if we get you, all we need's B."

Willow nodded and it was clear she was gonna go for it.

"If we agree to come back, when do we have to do it by?"

"Not gonna give ya orders, but the sooner, the better. Giles could really use your help."


So that was it. Slayers kept showing up, including most of the Potentials who'd left, and Willow and Xander kept bringing them in when we needed more. I trained each and every one while Giles made sure the place ran smooth. It didn't take long before we had our routine going, everything hittin' all cylinders just like it was supposed to be...almost. 

One night after a newbie patrol, I headed in to report to Giles. For once he wasn't behind his desk, instead he was sitting on the couch, a drink in his hand.

"Hey. Just wanted to let you know they all did real good, but gonna have to knock Janey's attitude outta her if she doesn't get a handle on it soon."

"Yes, well, she's quite the handful."

I sat down next to him and rested my head back on the couch. We sat silent for a while, then Giles spoke up:

"I just don't understand it."

I knew what he was talking about, it was always on his mind, so it wasn't a surprise either.

"I remember doing and saying almost everything wrong. I really was no help at all, if fact I'd say I was rather a hindrance."


He took a tiny sip and still never looked my way.

"I cannot begin to fathom why I…why all of us behaved as we did."

There was another long pause and he slugged back his drink, finally letting me see his eyes. I've never seen anybody before or since look any sadder, and that's saying somethin' 'cause I've seen some sad shit.

"I hurt her terribly, and I've no bloody clue why."

"Ever gonna find out?"


"You ever gonna try to figure out why?"

"I don't think there's really any…"

I sat up straight and looked at him.

"Giles, you guys were actin' nuts. I came into the sitch kinda late, so I figured you knew somethin' I didn't. Turned out there wasn't anything else to know."

"Yes, well I suppose we panicked."

I laughed at that.

"Since when? And even when you guys panic, you've always got each other's backs. Nobody panicked, 'cept Wood and the Potentials. The problem is – you guys acted like you were other people."  

He kept staring at me and then it was like a light bulb went off.

"Bloody right, we did! We were nothing like…Thank you, Faith!"

He was already over at the bookshelf behind his desk, pulling down all kinds of books.

"There's an answer here, and I mean to find it."

And he did. It took him awhile, but he did it, and it made a lot of sense to me. Of course me accepting the explanation and B accepting it were two different things, but everybody else was onboard and that was a good start.

Some more time passed and finally enough was enough. I decided to go get B, and everybody was onboard with that too…they just weren't sure if she'd come back. One long ass flight and one crazy ass taxi ride, and I found myself standing outside Buffy's door. I blew out a big breath, put on my game face, and knocked.

She answered with an axe in her hand.

"Hiya B, what's shakin'?"

I walked in like I owned the place and flopped down on the couch with my boots on the sparkling clean coffee table. Nobody said a thing, so I kept it rolling.

"Nice digs. Got anything to eat?"

B finally shut the door and lifted her jaw offa the floor.


"Been awhile, but figure I'm all unforgettable and shit."

Andy suddenly decided to freak out for no reason I could see.

"Is the world ending?!"

There was no way to figure out what the fuck his problem was and I didn't exactly have the time to care, so I told him everything was fine. Dawn was staring at me like I was a crazy, unfeeling bitch, and I decided to get her going because…well, because she's there.

"Hey Squirt, got any leftovers?"

She's so much like B and her mom, and she looked at me like I wasn't worth the air she had to use.

"Get your own fucking food, bitch." 

She followed that up with some orders not to murder everybody, then capped it all off by telling me to head directly to Hell, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars. The kid's always been feisty and has never taken any of my shit, and I still get a huge kick out of her. Nothin' better than a chick with some balls…just not the real kind though.

She slammed the door to her bedroom hard enough to rattle some shit hanging on the wall, and Andy practically pissed his pants, shakin' like a live wire.

"Fuck, now what is it?"

"Nothing…I…I just don't like surprises."

"Great. Why don't ya haul your girly ass back to bed? Gotta talk to B."

Guy never budged. He was scared shitless, but he looked at B, waiting, and man did I love that he loved her so much he was even willing to take me on. Not that it was a surprise. Buffy's always inspired that kinda loyalty, there's just something about her and she way deserves it.

It was all great, but what wasn't so great was the lack of any kinda emotion coming from her. There was nothing: no anger, happiness, irritation, pride, affection, nothing. It was just "Buffy on Ice", and fuck that. No way was that gonna fly.

"Wow B, another lapdog. How do ya do it?"

That pissed her off, but she covered by smiling at Andrew and letting him off the hook. He asked her again before he took off, and ya gotta admire a pussy like him for goin' the extra mile. She watched him, then turned to face me.

It looked like she was staring at road kill, but I ramped up the annoying anyway, getting just as cocky as I could…which was so cocky even I wanted to punch me right in the face. She knew I knew how pissed she was, but she was gonna refuse to let me see it. Well, good luck with that because I was determined to get a reaction from her.

I started digging around in her fridge and it wasn't long before she shoved me aside and told me to sit my ass down. She banged a bottle of beer and a roast beef sandwich in front of me.

"Now talk, why are you here?"

"Came to bring ya home."

"Excuse me?"

I could see the food, but it was in some kinda containment field right outta "Star Trek".

"…Fucking cellophane, hate this shit! You heard me."

"Are you out of your mind?"

Hard as it was to believe, I wasn't. For the first time ever between us, it wasn't me.

"C'mon B, this whole deal's ridiculous. You don't belong here, you belong back home."

"Really? And just where might this 'home' be?"

"For now? Cleveland, but wouldn't bet that's where it's always gonna be."

I barely looked at her, keeping all of my attention on my sandwich because I could feel her pain and I didn't want her knowing that. She'd use it against me, then my chances of getting her outta Italy would sink somewhere close to non-existent.


I decided to keep mixing it up: light and heavy workin' together just like they always used to.

"Man, who the fuck wrapped this? It's like trying to bust into Fort Knox…Your home's with Giles and Willow and Xander and Dawn. Location don't mean shit."

She stole my sandwich, got it free, then handed it back as she went all high and mighty on me:

"In case you've forgotten, we lost that a long time ago. So thanks for stopping by, don't let the door hit you on the way out."

It was gonna take a lot more than that to shake me offa her, and the shot she took at it was so pathetic, it made me laugh. Who the hell'd she think she was dealing with?

"That shit ain't gonna fly. You're talking to me now, Blondie."

"Not by choice."

Although B was mad, it wasn't near enough. She was still way too calm even though she kept showing these little flashes, and both of us needed a lot more from her.

"Guess you still got that burr up your ass. Ever stop clenching your cheeks, it just might come out."

She claimed she didn't know what that meant, so I spelled it out for her.

"Means that what went down is over. Means I'm sick of watching Giles miss you every fucking minute of every fucking day. Means I'm tired of Willow asking me over and over if I've heard anything from you. Means it's gotten way old when Xander compares everything that goes down to something you did in Sunny D."

I stared her down 'cause fuck if I was gonna back off or whitewash it for her. She tried to keep playing dumb and tell me she didn't miss them, but I nipped that in the bud.

"Don't say that 'cause then I gotta call you a fucking liar. And don't try telling me all the stupid bullshit you been telling yourself. Already got plenty of my own runnin' loose in here."

That shut her up 'cause it was true, but the real truth of it was that I'd carry anything of B's that she needed me to. But that wasn't what this was about, so I decided to just keep layin' it out.

"You're still mad because they turned on you, and I don't blame ya.'Cause that's just what they did B, they turned on you like a buncha ungrateful, backstabbing, two-faced pussies. It got tough, and not one of them had your back."

I saw the hurt all over her face, but then she covered it up. Neither of us spoke until B finally got some wind back in her sails:

"Okay then, that really makes everything so much better. Thanks."

"Ever ask yourself why?"

"Faith, could you just leave now? All I want is to go back to bed and forget you were ever here."

She kept swingin' in and out, but I wasn't giving up until I made her react with some honest emotion.

"Geez B, think maybe you could pry that stick outta your ass? Gotta be getting pretty crowded in there."

"If I do, I might just beat you with it."

"Free to try, but I'm not your little whipping boy. I just might fight back."

And boy, was she ever hot.

"That makes two unflattering references to Spike. Trust me when I tell you there won't be a third."

I was really hoping I wasn't gonna get my ass kicked, but that's always the risk you take when ya poke and prod at B's sore spots. And since it definitely didn't get any sorer for Buffy than Spike, I was braced to take whatever she dished out.

"I supposed to be pissin' my pants now? Hey, got any mustard?"

She threw a mustard jar fastball right at my face, and man, that thing had some mustard on it. I snagged it before it killed me.

"Thanks…Just gonna spread it with my finger, no way am I asking you for a knife."

That made her laugh like I knew it would, and she forked over a knife and sat down at the table. I could see she was finally ready to listen, and her words made that clear:

"All right, what are you trying to tell me?"

I told her Giles had it all figured, but it wasn't my place to tell her the story.

"But it's your place to be here?"

"Probably not, but you know how I am."

I didn't bother mentioning that the down and dirty of it was there was no other place I could be. B was on a strict "need to know" basis when it came to shit like that, so I just dug into my sandwich and kept it to myself.

We didn't talk while I ate, and damn, it was the best food ever.

"Faith, as much as I want to…I just can't go back and act like nothing happened."

That was my opening and I didn't waste any time sliding right in.

"Course ya can't, don't hear anybody asking ya to. But what ya can do is go back and try and fix things. You don't belong here, and I know sure as shit you don't wanna be here either. That's why we're booked on a flight that leaves in…damn, just about eight hours."


"Yep, even got the yippy little rat boy a ticket."

She started hemming and hawing, so I butted in.

"Gang's all back, just waitin' on the Slayer to show."

"There are hundreds of Slayers now and…"

"Buffy, there's only one and we all know it. Wanna see her? Look in any mirror. Ya got an extra blanket and pillow? Could really use some sleep 'fore I hop back on a plane."

I had her, she was coming home.

She went and got some stuff for me, then we made up the couch. When we finished, she went to hit the light and leave, but I stopped her.



"Was just trying to get the blood flowing before. Spike was a good man, a fucking hero. He wasn't anybody's lapdog, guy just knew class when he saw it. You were right about him, all the way."

The emotions just welled up and I could see she wasn't gonna be able to talk. Didn't bother me, I just wanted to make sure she knew I knew exactly what and who Spike was.

It was good to see her wall crack. She'd had it so rough, but hiding how she felt wasn't gonna help her. She wasn't supposed to be hurting and alone with Dawnie in fucking Italy. No way it should be like that for a hero, and it wasn't gonna be. Not for Buffy. I heard her head in to talk to Dawn and I hunkered down to grab a few precious hours before we caught our flight.

It started out great. We took off on time, me and B sittin' together with Dawn and Andy a coupla rows behind us. I was thinking about all the things I could do on the way home when Andy started puking, and in-between heaves, he started screaming: "We're going down!"

B had to go sit with him which eliminated more than half the things I'd been planning to do on the trip. Instead Dawn and me sat next to each other for the whole nine hours, pretty much in silence 'cept for the part where she thanked me for coming to get them. Otherwise it was like sitting next to a block of ice that never thawed no matter what I said.

We got back to Cleveland and B and her Scooby Gang hammered everything out. It was rough in spots, but it didn't really take'em that long. They loved each other, belonged together, and it was pretty clear that Giles' theory that the Hellmouth had made everybody act like assholes was dead on. From the cops who beat the snot outta me to the Scoobies who beat the snot outta B, the First had used that big hole in the ground to fuck with everybody.

I stayed out of it as much as I could, but sometimes B'd talk to me about stuff. I liked it, liked that she confided in me, and she really loosened up. We did a lot of stuff together: training the new kids, patrolling, sparring, hanging, and it didn't seem weird at all that we became good friends. All that stuff in our past just stayed there while me and B moved on, and it felt great…for both of us.

Our friendship meant everything to me, and the fact that I loved her was something I worked on hard until I had a handle on it. I learned to push it aside as much as I could and I focused on what it was that we had. She was a great girl – funny, smart, loyal, and she cared about me way more than I could have ever imagined.

The whole gang took me in, even Squirt let bygones be bygones, and I finally found the place where I fit. I had a family and a best friend, and I promised myself that I was never gonna do anything to blow any of it, no matter what.

My life was gonna be like some cheesy Movie of the Week. I was gonna do that fucked up, sad as shit, "pining from afar in secret" thing. I was gonna stand by her side, be there for her in every way I could be, and never let her know that I was in love with her. All I could ask from Buffy was friendship and that I had, in spades. It was enough; it was gonna to have to be.

I watched her whenever I could get away with it, dreamed about her all the time, and then I concentrated on being her friend. We became buddies, pals who counted on each other all the time. We finally became what we shoulda been from the start: two people who were there for each other, no matter what.

We got nothing but closer as time went on. We laughed, cried, confessed, and there wasn't anything I didn't know about Buffy. She thought she could say the same about me and it was true…except for how I felt about her. But since she didn't suspect a thing, she didn't know there was something huge she didn't know, and that was what was best for both of us.

In the beginning we fought a lot. Just me and her and our never ending pissing contest, but as it went on and we got more relaxed with each other, we started being ourselves. That worked like a fucking charm.

Me and B just fit. Everything just goes together, and as soon as we let it, the fighting tapered off pretty fast. We still argue once in awhile, and I still love pushing her buttons sometimes just to make her mad, but usually we're like two peas in a rug.

We only had one really bad fight and that was because of me not being able to be honest with her. We were up late one night, just shootin' the shit after patrol and B asked me about the letter I got from Angel. She'd still been in Italy when he died, so as far as how I reacted to the news, she was just going on what Willow had told her.  

It was all cool at first. We talked about what I did after I read it, how I tossed a chair through a window and then hopped on my bike and took off. I told B how I just rode all over the place, stopping to drink, fight, and fuck…sometimes all at the same time.

I told her how bad it got, how I almost lost myself again. It was just like before – my head was so full of anger and pain, well I couldn't really see anything except a big black hole right in front of me. It was the same one I'd already dug myself out of, and I was so close to falling into it again. I stood there right on the edge for a while, but then somehow I got caught myself enough to walk away.

I just couldn't get why Angel didn't call me, why he wouldn't let me pay him back like he deserved me to. Course the letter told me why, spelled it right out without pussyfootin' around, but it took me a long time to accept it.

"I know you'd be here in an instant if I asked you. That's why it will be over and done with before you hear anything. Because this isn't your fight, Faith, and it isn't your destiny. You can't repay me by dying, you have to keep going…for both of us now. I believe in you, I've always believed in you, and I always will. I've still got your back no matter where I go, so grieve and then move on. No excuses, we still have work to do."

It went fine. Buffy held my hand while I talked, her face all sad and understanding. I gave her the gist of it, hit all the high points, and only left out one small part. I was feeling good, like I was in the clear, but then I saw the look on B's face as I wrapped it up and I started sweating.

"So what aren't you telling me?"


"Faith, I know you and I know you're leaving something out."

"No I'm not."

But I was and we both knew it. She pointed out that she'd read her letter to me from beginning to end.

"Well sorry, I tossed mine and didn't bother memorizing it for you."

She kept asking what I was keeping from her, I kept denying that I was, and before long we were both pissed. We started yelling, shit got said that shouldn't have, and we didn't talk for five days. It felt like forever, and it was Buffy who ended it.

I was in bed for the night when I heard the soft knock.

"C'mon in, B."

She shut the door behind her and climbed onto the bed with me.

"Faith, I'm sorry. I know you loved him too, and whatever he said…Well, you have every right to keep it private if you want to."

"B, I…It's just…"

She was staring up at the ceiling, but rolled over to face me.

"You don't have to explain. I get it Faith, and I was being stupid. I shouldn't have pushed you like that. I know better, and I didn't mean to make you feel like you had to share something you want to keep to yourself."

"Hey, it's cool. And I'm sorry I said the shit I said. I didn't mean it, B, none of it."

"Me neither."


I stuck out my hand for a shake, but she leaned over me and kissed me on the cheek, all complete with this weird and awkward body hug. She hung out for another couple hours while we got caught up on what we'd been doing without each other, then headed off to her own bed to get some sleep.

I stayed awake all night, remembering everything about how she'd looked, smelled, and felt as she'd hovered over me. I'd kept the covers pulled up high because I was completely naked underneath, and I realized that that moment was the closest I'd ever come to making it with B.

The room was dark, the moonlight just enough to see by, and B had kissed me while I was buck naked in bed. It was definitely a night to remember and not one I was likely to ever forget. Plus, she'd apologized to me and I loved that, even though it made me feel like a heel.

Because Buffy was right: I should have told her what Angel had written to me. Normally I would have, but I knew it wasn't something either of us wanted her to know, and all it would have done was fuck us up beyond repair. That wasn't something I could ever let happen, no matter how much I hated how it made us both feel.

"Faith, one last thing ~ life never turns out the way you think it will. Let her see you, let her get to know who you really are and find out where that takes you. Don't assume what she thinks and feels, I think you're wrong anyway, and if you give her the chance, she's going to prove that to you one day. Somewhere down the line, she's going to be right there and you're going to have to be ready. Trust me on this, and know that you have my love and respect forever. Angel"

I'd never said a word to him about how I felt about B. I didn't wanna throw it in his face, but I guess the guy recognized the signs.

So other than that, I was an open book with her…at least as much as I could be. Given my background, letting somebody in and letting myself out didn't come easy. B understood that and she pushed me when I needed her to, then backed off when I couldn't go any further. Eventually more and more came out as I started trusting her when she said she wasn't going anywhere.

"Sorry, Faith, but you're stuck with me now. Friends for life."

I gotta say – any time she said somethin' like that, I'd get the goofiest grin on my face and walk around in a daze for a few days. I'd always have to cover because it wasn't something she didn't notice.

"What is wrong with you? You've been stupid and cute all week."

"Nothin', B. Five by five."

"Right. If I didn't know better…Oh my God, did you meet someone?"

She'd always get so excited and happy for me when she went there, and it always took the wind right outta my sails. It didn't bother her at all that I might have fallen for somebody else, she was hoping that I did. Granted it was sweet that she wanted that for me, but it hurt to realize my hooking up with somebody else didn't mean shit to her.

The funniest thing was that she was always right on the money: I had met someone. And that someone had me acting all stupid and love struck while she also ripped my guts out and brought me back down to Earth on a regular basis. She couldn't see me as anything but her friend, and I knew from experience that I couldn't dwell on it because like they say: been there, done that prison time.

Angel dying hurt us both, but I knew how much she loved him and how much he loved her. You can't lose somebody that important and not have it blow a big hole in your heart, but you still gotta try to go on. It definitely makes it a lot easier when you know somebody else feels the same way you do, and me and B got each other through it.

She lost Spike too, a huge double whammy that could have broken her, but she's Buffy and neither of us would have ever let that happen. It was sad and it was shitty, but there wasn't anything we could do about it. We had to focus on the bottom line which was they went out doing what they believed they needed to do. Nobody gets a better ending than that, plus they went out swinging, together, and for two people with their history, well it gave me a lotta hope.

The rest of it between me and B has been mostly smooth sailing, but we did hit a weird rough patch a couple months back. We didn't fight or anything like that, but all of a sudden B was nowhere and I still don't have a clue what that was all about. It was like she was avoiding me, and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I'd done wrong. I barely saw her at all and wherever I showed up, I either just missed her or she took off like I was handin' out herpes for free.

It was nuts, and I was just getting ready to force the issue when she showed up in the training room looking to spar with me. She seemed normal, 'cept I could tell she was carrying some tension. I figured that was why she wanted to work out and I didn't much give a shit. I'd been missing her bad and was looking forward to getting my hands on her in whatever way I could.

We went at it for fifteen or twenty and I couldn't have been happier. I'd been starving and now my favorite food was right in front of me, just waiting for me to eat it up. I know how that sounds, but I wasn't all sexed up, well, no more than I'm always all sexed up when it comes to B. I'd been missing her like crazy and it felt like heaven just being with her. Looking at her, smelling her, smacking her, kicking her, and listening to the little grunts and groans I was making shoot out of her.

I was winning, not that we were keeping score or anything. Not officially anyway, but unofficial like, me and B keep score no matter what we're doing. Most kills of the night, how many plastic bottles tossed into the recycled bin, most fries downed at "Joe's, hell, we'll even count who's got the most blueberries in their muffin…and I mean "real" muffins.

So even though there's no point system in sparring, I was kinda kickin' B's ass and totally loving it. Served her right for pulling a Houdini on me, and I was enjoying the feeling of my shots landing a little more often than they usually did. I tried to be ready because I knew she was gonna do somethin' drastic to try to turn things around, and then she made her move. Man, was she ever playin' dirty.

Buffy might not know I'm in love with her, but she knows I get all hot and bothered when we spar. She chalks it up to me just being me, never suspecting that nothing revs my motor faster or harder than her. Hell, she could just stand still in the corner in a circus clown get-up and I'd be ready to go in about three seconds. But make her all sweaty, her muscles and brain workin' together, her hands on me, her stomach showin', her tits and ass…Yeah, it's a wonder I can ever make it through without throwing her down on the mats and showing her just how it could be.

Anyway, her trick was to go all sexy on me. She was looking me up and down, her eyes sliding down my neck to my tits and staying there. If I didn't know B always gives everything 100%, I would have thought she was actually turned on. She wasn't though, she was just trying to rattle me and I refused to let her. But damn, acting or not she had the goods, least she did when it came to me.

It was a struggle, but I held on, and when she finally looked up, I was ready for her.

"Aw B, you can look all ya want. Not gonna distract me, but nice try."

She didn't stop doing it, so I hit her on the cheek, then decided to beat her at her own game. Nobody can play it better than me, 'specially when it's her I'm playin' with. I've had years of practice, and I know just where all of her buttons are and how to push'em.

I licked my lips just as slow and sexual as I could, and yep…B looked like an embarrassed deer in the headlights. She blushed, her eyes got all big, and I wanted to laugh because she was still so easy to freak out. I didn't waste any time 'cause Little Miss Uptight had left herself wide-open, and I caught her hard right on the chin.

She hit the mats and I was on her before she could even blink. I straddled her, grabbed hold of her wrists, and yanked them up over her head. I was the boss, sittin' high and pretty in the driver's seat and wishing like hell I'd thought it through before I'd hopped on.

Our mouths were just inches apart and the way we were breathing was making us rub up and down against each other, nothing but good, except bad. I could feel her breath covering my lips and it felt so good, like the moment was full of promise and all mine. I wouldn't have moved for a million bucks. Hell, I wouldn't have moved for a million bucks, an apocalypse, a new bike with all the bells and whistles, and a Series win for the Sox.

She struggled to pull loose like the sore loser she was, but no way was that gonna happen. Leastways not any time soon.

"No way B, not 'til you admit it."

"Ad…admit it?!"

Her voice came out loud, she was all panicked she was gonna lose this round.

"Yep. Say I'm the best Slayer."

Nothin' better than rubbin' her nose in it, and I laughed while I watched the wheels turning as she looked for a way out.

"Hey, knock off the escape plans. You're mine baby, to do with as I please. You don't do what I want, just might have to teach you just what that really means."

That came out a little closer to home than I meant it to, but I got away with it 'cause B was way too focused on pulling her ass outta the fire.

Then just like that it got weird. The tension wasn't just on my side now, at least it didn't seem like it was. I swore I could feel it sparking both ways, and what the fuck was she doing? She looked like she was gonna…

Dawn came barreling into the room, pissed and yelling and generally "Dawning" it up. I got off B as fast as I could, wondering what the hell stupid thing I woulda done if we hadn't been interrupted. I yanked her up on her feet too hard 'cause she overbalanced and stumbled. I went to steady her, but she wanted away from Squirt and hauled ass. It took Dawn a few to notice that Buffy was gone and that she was just bitching to me and an empty room.

Once the Summers chicks were out of sight, I beat the hell outta the bag until it puked its guts up all over the floor. I felt way better and back in control, even though I knew Giles was gonna be mad when he found out. I'd already busted up three over the past two months, and last time he'd lectured me for like fifty hours about somethin' that was somehow about some way a fucked up bag meant somethin' to somebody for some reason.

No way did I need more of that, so I started looking around. God was on my side because Kennedy had left her "My Spoiled Brat" t-shirt on the bench in the corner. I hung it over the bag, then made sure nobody saw me leaving. G-Man had the room to lecture some fresh scrubbed recruits in about half an hour, so Kennedy was gonna get hers…even if it was mine.

I headed for my room to grab a shower and realized that I'd been doing that "projecting" shit the prison shrink was so big on. B wasn't tense about anything except busting loose from me and taking back her top dog spot. All the sex stuff was what I'd brought to the mix, Buffy was an innocent when it came to that kinda thing between us. It was just me who couldn't keep her hands or thoughts to herself.

I didn't really have to worry about it because I didn't see much of B over the next few days, and when I did she was distracted. I tried to find out what was bothering her, but she kept saying "Nothing", 'til I finally took the hint and left it alone. In the old days it would have hurt my feelings that she wouldn't tell me, but that shit didn't happen to us anymore.

Buffy shared all sorts of stuff and I knew she trusted me. I also knew sometimes she needed to think things over before she let me in, and sometimes it was Willow she wanted to be her sounding board. Red was her best friend from way back, and sometimes B needed that old school connection. It wasn't anything against me; she told me plenty of shit that Willow missed out on. It just depended on whose wheelhouse B thought the sitch was crusin' in.

So at first I thought it was no real big, but as the days rolled on, B got more and more upset until she started worrying me. I didn't wanna pressure her, but it was gettin' kinda intense. I asked Dawn and Red if they had a clue and neither of them did.

Now I was fine with B not always talking to me, but no way was I okay with her not talking to anybody. My plan was to give her another day or two before I got in her face about it, but then she jacked it up about a hundred notches. Suddenly a "couple days" turned into "right the fuck now", and I found myself runnin' down the hall to save a Slayer's life.


Chapter Four 

I was hanging in the lobby trying to decide on a nap or a movie, or most likely both at the same time, when Dawn came barrel assing halfway down the stairs, screaming my name.

"Faith, hurry!  It's Buffy!"

She turned and ran back up and I ran after her. I had no idea what was going on, but she wasn't doing her usual "Dawn" bullshit, something was wrong with B. Maybe she was hurt, maybe she…


I practically flew down the hallway and grabbed onto B's arm, the one that was holding a purple Kennedy by the neck about two feet off the ground. Nothing, not even a slight budge, so I used both hands and pulled for all I was worth. She finally let go, and Kennedy hit the floor with a loud wheezing noise that made it clear Buffy hadn't been playing around. I slammed her hard back into a door, my voice coming out loud because I was totally freaked.

"What the fuck is going on?!" 

B's voice was all peaceful and calm, the way it gets right before she kills something, and talk about some scary ass eyes.

"I was just explaining to Kennedy that I didn't care much for her suggestion."

"Jesus B, you coulda killed her!"

"Yeah, being a Slayer is dangerous."

What in the hell? She was talking crazier than even I used to, so I roughed her up. I got a grip on her elbow and yanked it up high, half shoving, half dragging her to my room.



I didn't let up 'til we got there, and when we did, I threw her in and slammed the door behind us. I was scared and it came out all mad.

"Buffy, what the fuck is going on?"

"Didn't you just ask me that?"

"Yeah, and I'm gonna keep asking 'til I get an answer that makes some fucking sense!"

She decided the "smartass" routine wasn't gonna work, so she tried to be reasonable.

"I wanted to talk to Will, and as usual Kennedy was being an obnoxious bitch."

"You just said it, 'as usual'. So the hell what? She's always a bitch, always pushing at us."

"Well I guess I finally got fed up."

She was acting like what she said made any kind of sense, and I felt like I was in "The Twilight Zone".

"So you thought you'd just choke her to death in the hall?!"

"You're right…I should have taken her into a room."

Okay, scratch that previous "Twilight Zone" crazy because it was more like "The Outer Limits" crazy.

"B, this isn't funny. You snapped, went right off the deep end. You've been acting nuts for the last few days, wanna tell me what's wrong?"

She went over to the window, looking like she wanted to make a jump for it.

"…Nothing's wrong."

Then I got pissed.

"Don't lie to me. Wanna sling shit at somebody else, go ahead. With me, you're gonna have to do a lot better."

"Look, it's no big deal. I was upset, I didn't like her attitude, and then she said something that pissed me off."

"B, Kennedy pisses you off just by existing. What'd she say that made you so…"

"Nothing! I mean, it was more her attitude."

She came back and sat all casual on the bed like everything was completely normal. Right, I wasn't buying it for a second. I thought about pushing her, but it didn't seem like that was the way to go. She was already upset and they say you can catch more flies without a buncha shit goin' down.

"Alright…I know you're not telling me something, but I'm not gonna keep digging. Guess you need to talk it over with Red. If I go get her, ya think you could hold off on killing her girl?"

"As long as she doesn't come near me."

Fuck, whatever the Stupid Slayer had said, B wasn't letting it go any time soon.

"Not much chance of that. Okay, stay put and I'll grab Willow. Don't move, promise?"

"I promise, no moving."

B's word was always good, so I took off to track down Willow. She was in the kitchen munching down on some kinda cake, so I pulled her off the barstool and explained as I dragged her upstairs. She kept stumbling because I was double-timing it, but she didn't make me let go.

"Is Kennedy okay?"

"No clue, but if she was dead, pretty sure Squirt or Xand woulda let us know by now."

We went into their room and Willow tossed everybody but the little fucking troublemaker, then shut the door. The guys had no clue what she'd said to B, so we just stood there waiting for Willow.

She wasn't in there long, but I could tell by her expression when she came back out that Kennedy had fucked up pretty big time and deserved what she got. Willow might be in love, but she knew her girl could be a real asshole sometimes. She never just blindly took her side, not when me or B were involved.

"She alright?"

"She'll be okay. She's just mostly sore and can't really talk."

"So what'd she say that got B so…"

Willow turned to Dawn and Xander:

"Can you guys stay with her until I come back?"

They both said they could and went back in.

"Red, what'd she say to…"

"It was just stupid stuff, Faith, but I think I'd better go talk to Buffy now."

"Yeah, but…"

She was already walking down the hall to my room, so I let it go and tagged along. B looked totally relieved to see Willow and I was glad I hadn't pushed her before. I sucked it up for the woman I love and gave up my plans for a lazy, peaceful afternoon.

"Gonna just head out to the mall with Squirt and Andy. You guys hang as long as ya wanna. And B, no more of that shit, yeah?"

She nodded at me and I grabbed my wallet off the dresser and left. I closed the door behind me and went back to Willow's room to tell Dawn I was tagging along with them. The Little Fucking Shit Slayer never even looked my way.

She was probably worried I was gonna take up where Buffy had left off, which sounded great to me since I was pissed off that she'd upset B so much. I stared at her for a minute, then told Dawn I was ready to go when she was. Xander gave us a smile and a wave, even though we stuck him with Kennedy duty. Guy's worth his weight sometimes.

We used a company car and I drove us there. I found a great spot up close, and Dawn and Andrew slowly eased off the death grips they had on their doors.


Dawnie just shook her head, but Andy cleared his throat like he was gonna say something. He lost the nerve when our eyes met, which was good because yeah, okay, maybe I drove a little fast, but I always do that when I'm pissed. They really had nothin' to kick about.

We got here safe and sound, no casualties, no major injuries. Basically just a little road rage, some yelling, and how's it my fault if the other drivers don't have Slayer reflexes and gotta honk like babies?

We walked around the mall and Andy bought us all an ice cream cone. We sat by the fountain and ate in silence as I tried to lighten up and stop ruining their day. Andy wandered off to the videogame store and Dawn just kept staring at me. I tried to ignore her, but fat chance that was gonna put her off.

"It's okay to be worried, you know."

"I'm not worried."

She rolled her eyes at me.


She shut up for a while, but it didn't last long.

"I wonder what that was all about."

I looked at her.

"Just Kennedy shootin' her mouth off a little too much or a little too far or…who the fuck knows, Dawn."



Dawn handed me her phone.

"At least call Willow. You'll feel better and then maybe we can have some fun without you stomping around like a…stomping around person."

I called Willow and she told me that things were okay, that B got a load off and was feeling better. She wouldn't tell me what it was all about, just that things were okay and my room was mine again. It was cool. Best friends gotta keep secrets, and I wasn't about to bust Red's hump for doing her job. I just wanted B to be okay and get whatever had been bothering her squared away.

When I hung up, I felt way better, although I also felt like dunking Dawnie's head in the fountain to wipe the wise guy, "I told you so" smirk off her face. Instead I concentrated on remembering where I'd parked 'cause when I'm pissed, I don't always remember the details.

Dawn wanted to look for clothes, but I don't do that, not for anybody. When I need shit, I stay focused and get in and get out. I look good in everything, so it's just a matter of what I want or need to replace after a rough patrol. Whole thing takes like ten, fifteen minutes, and no way do I wanna sit bored outta my mind while somebody else tries on every piece of crap in the store and asks me how they look. I got way better things to do, like watch paint dry.

Andy was game for the clothes thing, so I told'em to go ahead and I'd take in a movie. They walked with me to the theater, but there wasn't anything I felt like watching. And how bad's it gotta be when you can't even find something to justify some popcorn and candy? I mean, they can pretty much show anything and it works, but nope, every flick going was a total dud.

I decided to head back home and Dawn said they could take a cab. I coughed up the dough 'cause it was me horning in that was leaving them without a car. Andy tried to wave me off, but Squirt looked at him like he was nuts. She snatched the money out of my hand while she slugged him in the shoulder.

"Andrew, never turn down money. Let me handle this."

I laughed; they were like an old married couple and were totally rocking the lesbian bed death.

I was glad to get outta there and back to my room. It smelled like B, and why I didn't smell Willow too, I had no clue. What I did know was that B's scent was all over the place, and I breathed in deep as I got into bed for my long overdue nap.

There's nothing like a couple of hours dreaming about the woman you love and wanna fuck until neither of you can stand up. I felt good, all rested and ready to jump into whatever was going on. I took a shower and headed downstairs to see what was shakin'.

It turned out not much was happening. Everybody was all about the hanging out and enjoying some down time, so I ended up eating supper, then watching TV with the gang. I was crammed next to B on the couch…which wasn't exactly what I needed.

I don't remember what we watched, hell, I didn't have a clue when I was watching it because B sat practically on top of me. I wasn't so crazy that I thought she did it 'cause she wanted to, 'though I gotta admit I let myself pretend for a few. But that little fantasy got me so horny, I had to talk sense to myself before I picked her up and ran with her back to my bedroom. I almost laughed imagining everybody's reaction to a stunt like that. Hell, just picturing B's face was enough to crack my ass up.

Buffy was only sitting close to me because the room was packed. Dawn, her and me were on the couch when Xander horned in.

"Move it or lose it, Buffster!"

She laughed and moved it, right up against me. She didn't say anything, everybody settled in, and we started the DVD.

So after I got rid of my pipe dream that B was on me 'cause she wanted me, I just accepted that friends can sit really close without it going anywhere. It was a crowded sitch was all, and two buddies could totally sit close with no prob…until I felt it.

B was way into the movie and at one point there was a big explosion or something, and it made her jerk. She edged a little closer and…was that her freakin' nipple against my arm? I tried to be cool about it, but I moved just a little bit and yep, it was hard and tight and attached to Buffy's breast. Fuck.

The next big blast on the screen had her arm, which was behind me along the back of the couch, sort of falling down onto my shoulders. Her nipple attacked me again when she hid her face in my neck, her lips kinda pressing against my throat and…

I stood up, knocking her hard into Xander.

"Sorry, B. Gotta crash now."

She looked at me like I was nuts.

"Okay…Goodnight, Faith."

There was a round of "nights", but I was already out of there. I went to bed and I still couldn't smell anything but her, couldn't think of anything but her either. I was way turned on, but I fought it because I couldn't afford to be this worked up about B. It was dangerous, like playing with fire, and I didn't like doing that anymore.

I finally had to rub one out. I wasn't proud of it, but what else could I do? I was in my bed, I'd had her on top of me for hours, her nipple had drilled a hole in my arm, and my room and body smelled like her. And sure, I could have taken a shower, but no way could I do that. I'm not a hero, and I'm not ever gonna be able to turn down anything when it comes to B, at least not when I don't have to.

When I woke up the next day, at least I was finally alone. Her scent was gone, and I told myself while I showered that the day and night before had just been all screwed up. Lotsa things had been way outta the norm, but when I looked back at it, I'd gotten myself all wound up over nothing. Today was a new day and a fresh start, it was all good.

Except it wasn't. It seemed like everywhere I went, there was B. I never got a break, and I didn't get it. It was usual for us to hang, but for some reason I was all worked up about it now. She kept touching me, just casual shit, but I went from little tingles to major goose bumps and tryin' not to moan, way too quick. After a few days, I started to dread it. I was almost creaming my pants just from her touch, so if I thought she might be comin' in for a feel, I'd veer away or make up some lame reason to move back.

I tried my best to stay away from her. For example, one morning I was sitting at the table in the kitchen enjoying a bowl of cereal. I'd piled all the red Fruit Loops onto a plate for her before I poured the milk on mine, then shoved it across the table so she wouldn't sit next to me.

So what'd she do? She came in and squeezed my shoulders, which made my hand jump and dribble milk down my shirtfront, then reached right over me to get to her plate. I felt her tits drag up my back to rest on my neck and shoulder, and instead of just grabbing the whole thing, she snagged one freaking Loop. It must have been a great one because she moaned her pleasure out into my ear.

I lunged for the plate like it was a life preserver.

"Here, B..."

I pulled it to me a little too hard and left a trail of Fruit Loops on the table. I slid the almost empty plate over in front of the chair next to me.

"…since you're too lazy to walk around."

I thanked God about ninety million times that she got off me and sat down, and I ate as fast as I could and got out of there.

I started thinking maybe the kitchen was a deathtrap. I was in there one day after the lunch crowd had left, and I opened a cupboard to grab a glass. When I turned around, I jerked my head back and slammed it against the cabinet door because B was way too close. And smiling.

"Hey, can you get me one too?"

I gave her mine, then spun back to the cupboard to grab another one for myself. When I turned, again with the head slam and the Buffy way too close.

"Could you get me a plate too?"

I did, as well as a bowl and some silverware. 

It seemed way safer on patrol for me, at least there I expected to be all hot and bothered. One night we had a really down and dirty fight, the kind we hadn't had in a while. I was glad it was just me and B with no newbies tagging along, because I'm pretty sure we coulda lost a couple. As it was, me and B had to ramp up our game which was nothing but fun in a twisted kinda way.

We both lived up to our billing and we kicked those fuckers asses back to Hell without too much damage. I staked my last vamp so hard, the stake exploded in my hand when it hit against a crypt wall. I looked at B to see if she needed any help and…holy shit.

There she was, The Slayer. All grace, strength, brains, and skill. I leaned back to watch as she totally dismantled this guy who was like three times bigger than her. Her body was moving with no wasted moves, her eyes flashing all green and alive, promising nothing but death.

I knew it was coming, the vamp knew it too, but he was dust before he could get a handle on it. One sec it seemed like he had her, the next it all changed so fast it was nothing but a blur. He blew off in the breeze, leaving just me and her behind.

I wanted her, I wanted her so bad. My mind just kept screaming at me to take her, and I couldn't do anything except stand there and think of slamming her against a wall or pulling her down on the ground, our mouths on each other, our clothes ripped off, her skin hot as it slid against mine…

"Starvin' B, you?"

We went to the all night pizza joint right around the corner from home and each handled a large one with the works. I had a pitcher of beer, she had a pitcher of Diet Coke, and we downed a jumbo order of wings after. B only had a couple of those because she can never stand not to get a taste…even when she's full.

The next few days were tough on me. B seemed to have lost all understanding of the term: "personal space", which is something I learned about in prison. 'Less you wanted to be in a knife fight on a regular basis, you had to respect a person's "personal space". Or you could just break a few wrists, hand out some split lips and busted noses, then everybody else respected your personal space so much they gave you about fifty feet of it everywhere you went.

Personal space is a good thing, a necessary thing, but for some reason Buffy didn't wanna bother with it anymore. While that should've been its own good thing in a way, I was way too horny to see the positives. I kept trying to figure it out and after a while, I did. It was just that "projecting" thing again.

 Sure, maybe B was a little more touchy feely than usual, but it wasn't like we never touched or that we had some kinda rule that prevented her from rubbing her tits against me. Normally I'd like it, but because it seemed like it was all the time now, I was getting a little frustrated. Giving yourself a happy is fine, but it's not the same as having Buffy do it, at least not the way I imagine it.

Anyway, I finally clued in that she was just making up for lost time. After her disappearing acts, all she was trying to do was reassure me that we were still close. Why that translated to her being so close I didn't exactly get, but it was sweet how she was going out of her way to make me feel better. She knows I've got issues and she was just trying to set my mind at ease.

It wasn't her fault that she was clueless about how I was taking what she was doing. She was just innocently trying to be friends and I was acting like we were gonna fuck at any second. And I so wanted to. Just grab her and shove my tongue in her mouth, squeeze her ass and pull her up tight against me, slam her against the closest wall and let my fingers glide in where they belong.

I wanted to fuck her soft and slow, make her come a million times and then do it again. I wanted to see her sitting on top of me, wanted to wrap us up together in a tangle we'd never get out of, move with her until we came so hard we couldn't see or think or feel anything but each other. I wanted every inch of her and she was busy doing some goofy "best friends bonding" thing. Just fucking fantastic.

No way was I gonna say something about it and maybe hurt her feelings. My plan was to just tough it out until she felt she'd made it up to me and stopped the torture, but when the hell was that gonna be? It sure didn't seem like the end was in sight and I was getting more and more worked up the longer it went.

I wasn't exactly the nicest person in the world to hang around. I was mad, horny, and depressed, and if nothing else could convince me that B liked me, her hanging around definitely did the trick. Nobody else could stand me, I was so fucking on edge, but B was like my shadow. I wanted to go with that fantasy again that she had the hots for me, but letting my imagination go nuts, especially when it involved Buffy, was a fast track to disaster.

So I adjusted, and my new plan was to stay away from her as much as I could without making it obvious that's what I was doing. I was just gonna try to give myself a little time to stop the sex flare up, just get my brain back into the whole "friends" mode where it was supposed to be. I looked at it like I was an alcoholic who'd fallen off the wagon and just needed to get right back on the horse...Or something like that.

What I needed was to breathe in some non-Buffy flavored air for a while and get myself back on track, starting...There was a knock on the door before I could finish the sentence, and yeah, it was her. Everybody was going out to our usual place and Buffy had dropped by to get me. I tried to beg off, but when I started saying "Not tonight", B looked all confused and sad, and I caved.

Besides, me saying "no" would look sort of suspicious since I always went out with them. In fact, it was basically the only time I did go out anymore, and if I stayed away from B, I could dance, drink, and blow off a little steam. Not awful sounding at all, and definitely not as bad as me saying "no" and B deciding to hang with me in my room all night to find out what was wrong. I told her I'd be down in five.

When I got there, everybody was already in the van and waiting. I climbed in and had to sit next to Buffy in the back row because Xander and Dawn were in the front, and Willow and Kennedy were making out in the middle section. It was a huge seat, but B slid over close to me because she was making some cracks about Kennedy and had to whisper'em right into my ear.

Two minutes of that and I was way on edge. She saw I wasn't laughing, so she kept bumping her shoulder into mine, which was just pissing me off even more. She smelled so good and she looked even better, all pretty and bright and happy, and so not mine.

It's not easy being around B anyway without it hurting a little, but when she's being all "Buffy", well, it's almost impossible. Projecting or not, the last few days had been sheer hell and I was in a bad mood. I just wanted to get to the bar, grab a seat and drink myself silly.

I needed something to get my mind off of her, and having her slide her arm into the crook of mine as we walked in wasn't exactly helping. I peeled her offa me as fast as I could and said I'd get the first round. I went up to the bar and waited for Tony to spot me. It didn't take long and he hustled right over.

"Hey, Faith. How's it going?"

"Good, Tony. How's Cath?"

"She's great, but ready for the baby to get here."

"Can't say I blame her. Tell her I said hi, yeah?"

"I sure will. The usual?"

"Yeah, 'cept I'm drinkin' Jack. Start me with a bottle."

He nodded, but I could see he was surprised. I always just drink beer, but beer wasn't gonna be anywhere near enough and neither was a couple drinks.

I got back to the table and the only seat was next to Buffy. I sat down and poured myself a double. I knocked it back in one go, then poured another, downed it, then splashed the third one into my glass. I could feel everybody looking at me, but I didn't give a shit. They could do whatever the fuck they wanted to do and so could I.

They were all talking to each other, but I didn't join in like usual. I just poured another and Buffy piped up.

"Wow, this is so sudden. When did you and Jack get so hot and heavy?"

I barely glanced at her.

"What, you my fucking Watcher now?"

The table went silent, then everything got a billion times worse.

This fuckwad, Justin, came over. He was this stalker asshole who always hit on B, and he tried everything. He'd buy everybody a round, send flowers to her right at the table, sit down without an invite and shoot the shit, get some lame song dedicated to her, compliment every fucking inch of her, and she always shot him down. Still the fucker wouldn't take "no" for an answer, and I was just waiting for the day when he dropped a roofie in her drink.

He stood next to me and started his usual spiel, telling B what a great guy he was while his sleaze oozed out all over the place. He kept going and I had to wonder why he didn't just whip out his dick and lay it on the table. As boy crazy as she was, maybe it'd work.

B was calm, but I could tell by her voice that she was more irritated than usual. She sounded kinda distracted too, like she had something else on her mind. She told him she wasn't interested, just like she always did, and just like the rapist in training he was, he couldn't take "no" for an answer.

"All I need is a chance. You don't even know me."

"And I don't want to. I'm sure there are plenty of other girls here who would be thrilled to…"

Then the crazy bastard leaned across me and grabbed her arm right in front of me, like I wasn't sitting there, like he could just disrespect us both.

"Come on, just one dance. I guarantee you'll like it."

"Let go of my…"

Fuck this shit.

I stood up and yanked him off her, spinning him as I bent his arm up behind his back. I just managed to stop myself from snapping it like a twig, and he went up on his toes to ease the pressure a little.

"She said to get lost, and she said it really fucking nice. But I ain't her, so I'm gonna say it a little different: Either haul it or I'm gonna break some bones, starting with your arm."

Then I let go of him and he smashed into the table next to us, knocking everything over. The dumb fucker made a huge mess and I guess the people sitting there decided to sit someplace else. I'm not exactly sure what they did because I didn't give a shit. I sat back down and started swirling my drink while I watched it sway around the glass, just short of slopping out.

Justin started yelling, but I didn't hear a word he said. What I did hear was the sound of his voice which was worse than the sound of a dull axe hitting bone. I'd had enough, and I looked him in the eye and unsheathed my knife. I sat it right in front of me and flat-out told him how it was gonna go.

"Three seconds and I'm gonna carve you up."

He hauled ass without another word. The manager came over and asked if everything was okay, then a couple of workers cleaned up the mess and that was that. B wanted to know what the hell was wrong with me, but all I said to her was:

"Not in the mood tonight, Your Highness."

I was surprised she left it there, but she did, which was just as well because if she'd have kept pushing it, I'm not sure what I'd have said.

What I was thinking was that even a dick like him had a better chance with her just 'cause he had one, and how fucking unfair was that? I was also wondering how I was supposed to just let him paw her right in front of me. Guy got off easy as far as I was concerned, and if she didn't like it, well tough shit and join the fucking club.

The next few days I was a little pissed and down, but I shook it off. I was sort of sorry about what had happened to B's stalker, but not really, and she didn't seem to give two shits about it. She never brought it up again and that worked good for me, I just wanted to move on.

So one night me and my shadow were hanging in the little living room offa Giles' office, doing Buffy's new: "Original Slayer Bonding Fun", and watching some cheesy as fuck movie with Valerie Bertinelli and Linda Hamilton. Don't ask me how John Connor's mom got so lame, she just did. Normally we'd be ragging on it and laughing our asses off, but I couldn't even remember the last time I'd laughed and B seemed way into it.

At first it wasn't so bad, we were both on the couch, but at different ends. After awhile she stretched out, her feet smashed against my thigh. She kept squirming and sighing until I finally got sick of it. I grabbed her legs and slung'em onto my lap so she could stretch out…all four feet of her.

She gave me this huge smile that seemed way sexy to me, then settled in. It wasn't all that long I don't think, before she swung her legs off me, and when she sat up she was a lot closer than she had been. I wasn't happy about it, but there was still plenty of space…until she plopped a pillow down and laid her head on it.

I almost got up, but what could I say to explain? I'd had B's head on me a buncha times, okay, at least a few, and while it'd made me happy every time, now it had my pussy alive and ready. My clit was doin' a salsa or a tango or maybe just throbbing with every beat of my heart, and I wanted to yank the pillow out and turn her head so that her mouth would be right there.

But I didn't. I just sat still trying to calm down, and then her hand came up to rest on my thigh. It was just lucky nobody else was there because one look at me would have told them the whole story. Everything I felt for her, lust and love-wise, was right there in plain sight and there was nothing I could do about it.

I didn't know what to do with my hand. I was just sure what I didn't wanna do with it, which was touch her. Well, I did wanna, I just knew I couldn't, so my hand sorta hovered above her. I finally decided to rest it along the back of the couch.

After maybe fifteen minutes, which felt like a year, B sat up and leaned over me to grab my bottle of lukewarm beer. She took a swig, then stayed where she was…which was right up against me. She was almost facing me, maybe three quarters, with her head turned sideways to look at the TV. She was kinda crouched on her knees, smashed against me with her tits poking and brushing all over the place. Her hair was on my cheek, tickling my neck when she moved, and I wanted to bring my arm down to get it between us, but I knew if I tried that I'd wrap it around her instead.

B took another big swallow and I stared at the way her throat moved all strong and delicate and…She put the bottle back on the table, then kinda snuggled in, all without looking at me. Her head rested sideways on my chest as she kept watching TV, and her hand was across my body and resting on my hip.

"Mmm…you're so comfy, F."

I opened my mouth to speak, but nothing came out. I couldn't seem to see the show, I guess my eyes had glazed over. She did this weird little stretch that pushed her up against me even more, and I started counting in my head.

I made it to 1186 before Buffy finally got up. She looked mad almost, I guess maybe the movie was ending stupid or something. She gave me a look like it was my fault because I was an idiot, then said a snotty: "Goodnight" and huffed out of the room and up the stairs.

My whole body sagged with relief. Holding on for that long was the toughest thing I've ever done, and every single number had been touch and go. What a fucking nightmare everything had turned into. I was wishing she'd stop trying to apologize or fix what wasn't broken because I could handle what we had before, but this…well, this was fifty kinds of fucked up.

She was all over me like some monkey kid on the Jungle Gym, and what the hell was I supposed to do? Besides the fact that I wanted her so bad I could barely stand it, I hadn't had sex in forever. That wasn't something I'd exactly decided on, it just kinda happened and I went with it.

The last time I'd fucked somebody, it had been a tiny blonde girl who'd looked enough like Buffy for me to pretend, and when it was over I felt like a slimeball, like I'd cheated on B. I've never cheated before in my life, mainly because I've never been in a real relationship, but I know I would never cheat on Buffy. Not for anything.

So after that girl, I just stopped looking. I wasn't really sure how it was supposed to work. I mean, I'm way too young to go without sex for the rest of my life, but when will it ever feel like I'm not cheating on Buffy? Never I guess, because I'm always gonna love her and want her, and I'm always gonna compare everybody else to her anyways. Of course they're always gonna come up wicked short, and talk about the most fucked up sitch ever.

Doing it yourself all the time isn't always good enough, and I wondered how come she could have sex if I couldn't? It's not my fault I'm in love and want just her. Why does she get to have all the boyfriends and stalkers she wants, and I'm not supposed to have anybody ever again? That made no fucking sense at all, no wonder every bit of contact with her was making me all hot and bothered.

I was sex deprived, is what I was, and no way could that be healthy. I wasn't gonna be a monk for anybody, not even Buffy Summers, 'specially not with a bod like this. I was built for two things: slaying and screwing, and it was just counterproductive not to do what comes natural to me. And man, were the fancy prison terms ever comin' in handy.

I was hot, ready, willing, and able, and I was gonna rock somebody's world. What the hell was I doing just sitting around all lubed and revved up when I should be heading out for a test drive. All I was doing was making myself even more miserable than I had to be. Well no more of that crap.

It was time to get some and get gone.



Chapter Five 

So I was sitting all footloose and fancy free at our usual place. My first thought had been to go somewhere new, but then I decided that was stupid. The reason we even had a usual place was because it was the best and it had it all. The drinks weren't watered down, it was clean, and the music was good.

In my special circumstance it also factored in on the heavy side that I had a tab and there were hot boys and girls everywhere I looked. The only thing that had ever held me back from taking advantage of them wasn't around, and the whole point was to ignore her anyway. I bellied up to the bar all happy and ready to party.

 Tony came over to me in less than a minute.

"Hey, Faith."

His eyes drifted to the area we always sat in.

"On a solo mission tonight, so hit me."

He pulled the lever and began pouring me a beer.

"Where is everybody?"

"Fuck if I know. Not like I gotta haul'em around everywhere I go."

"No, of course not."

He shook a fresh can of nuts at me and when I nodded, he popped them open and poured them into a new bowl. I grabbed a handful and took a swig of my beer.

"You know, I don't think I've ever seen you in here alone before."

"Yeah, it's called 'bein' in a rut'. Tonight I'm bustin' out, that some kinda crime?"

He held up his hands in surrender and tried to look innocent.

"No crime, no crime at all. Let me know when you need another."

He moseyed his killjoy ass down the bar, and I spun around on my stool, looking for the one I wanted. I spotted her right off sitting with two of her friends. Tall, black hair, and a body full of curves I'd like to cruise around way too fast. It didn't take her long to feel my stare and when she looked up, I tipped my bottle at her and smiled.

She turned back quick to her friends and they huddled together, then sneaked a fast group peek. It never occurred to me that she might not swing my way. Generally if I wanted somebody, I got'em, even if it was just a one-time experiment on their side. Since all I was after was a hot, forgettable fuck, they could experiment with me all they wanted to. In fact, go right ahead and go wild with the experimenting. Experiment out the ass.

The group did another look and I started thinking I was gonna have to get up. Not the end of the world, but I like it better when they come to me. I can almost always make that happen, but tonight I was in a hurry and didn't wanna play games. She was only about fifteen steps away so it wasn't exactly the worst thing I'd ever have to…

She was on her way, supposedly to get everybody a drink. She came over to the bar and stood right next to me, shaking the three empty bottles for Tony's benefit and her nice big tits for mine. I finished off my beer and looked her up and down. She took that as her invite.

"So, my name's Chrissie. What's yours?"

Okay, that voice was kinda whiny, and what a sissy name.


"Wanna join us?"

"Not really, but that what it's gonna take?"

She blushed and started to pay.

"Nah, put it on mine, Tony."

He looked like I'd just told him I was Hitler, but he nodded and walked off without a word.

"Wow, thanks. Come join us."

One of the girls at the table did that stupid little girly wave that made me want to break her fingers, and Chrissie giggled and did it back. And no fucking way.

"Know what? I'm gonna pass."

"No, come on, Faith. Just one drink and then…you know."

Yeah, I did know.

"Sorry. Enjoy the drinks."

They didn't stay long after that and I was already on the hunt again.

Maybe five minutes went by before this smokin' hot brunette came up to the bar. She ordered about ninety drinks, then slid onto the stool next to mine to wait. She started fanning herself with a menu, I guess she was so hot she set herself on fire. She looked at me.



"I'm here with friends."

Yeah, and I was looking at both of them, all tight and firm and just managing to stay inside her shirt.

"So I see."

She laughed then, and when I made it up to her eyes, I noticed they were the color of dirty mud. No, I couldn't do her, not with eyes like that. Even if she promised to keep'em closed, I'd know they were there. I just don't like shit colored eyes, so sue me.

When she grabbed her tray of drinks, she looked surprised she was walking off all alone.


"Yeah, have fun with whoever you're here with."

"They're just friends. Hey, why don't I drop these off at the table, then come back and get to know you better?"

"That's sounds great, 'cept the part where you come back here. Have a good night."

Tony kept the beer coming and I was working pretty steady on making that happen for me too.

Next up was this drop dead handsome stud. The guy was amazing and I started thinking this was the way to go for sure. I took a look and unless he had a sock stuffed down there, boy was wicked glad to see me.

Yep, I had the winner. He looked like he was in good shape and could go awhile, and he bought me a Sam Adams. Turned out he loved the Sox and Boston in general, and I knew he was lying, but I liked the effort he was making. This was gonna be good…until somebody spun me around on my stool and slapped me in the face.

Seems Stacy didn't like that her man was all over me, plus the dude was from New York, so come on. She dragged him off, bitching and screaming about what a slut I was and how she couldn't trust him at all. They'd be having hot make-up sex in a few, but it was still nothing for the Whore of Beantown.

Next up was another hot chick. Tony put a beer in front of me and said it was from the blonde at the table against the wall. I looked over at her and the dude she was with. They both gestured at me to come over, so I figured what the hell, I could walk. I took my beer with me and watched them watch me every step of the way.

I sat next to her and got right to it.

"Name's Faith."

She introduced them as Clarice and Hannibal, or somethin' like that, and she did all the talking. I figured a threesome might be fun, I couldn't remember the last time I'd had one, and they were both good looking…'cept Hannibal was eyein' me like I was a plate of fava beans, and she kept staring at my neck.

"Alright guys, party's over."

I got up, gave Tony the high sign, and about five minutes later the bouncer showed'em the back door. I was in the alley waiting, and I staked'em and headed back in.

Tony was looking nervous because vamps never came to our place anymore.

"Musta been out-of-towners. Anyway, they're dust now. Switch it over to Jack when I get back, yeah?"

I hit the dance floor and I tore it up. People started swarming around me and I danced with all of them. Some stud kinda took the lead, but then I saw a flash of blonde over by the door. By the time I realized it was nobody, I'd had my fill of his clammy, dead fish of a hand pawing at me.

"Hey, Steve?"

"Yeah, baby?"

"Better put your hand between your own legs. That's all the action you're gonna get from me."

I went solo again until I caught the eye of this girl across the floor. Light brown hair, sexy as hell, and she shimmied her way over to me.

"Hi, I'm Debbie."

Up close, all I could think was she looked like she'd done Dallas and probably didn't shower after.

"Adios, Deb."

I headed back to the bar and downed my drink, a double, and banged the glass hard to get Tony's attention. He left half a bottle with me, his head shaking as he went to wait on some other people.

I didn't know what was up his ass, but not only did I not give a shit, I was busy. I gave some pretty chick the eye, she came over, we talked, and just as we were getting ready to go, I noticed her thumbnail had some chipped polish on it. Huge turn off, so no.

It got kinda hazy after that. I remember Tony leaving a full bottle and people coming by like they were auditioning for the big part, but the problem was all of them were seriously messed up. At least the ones who weren't a blur were.

There was the blonde with the weird colored eyes who ended up screaming at me:

"I have beautiful blue eyes, you fucking freak!"

"Yeah? Well I say they're creepy looking!"

There was the guy who was missing a front tooth.

"Bith! You knopped ow my toof."

"Touch me like that again, and they'll all be on the floor."

They just kept coming.

The girl with the piece of hair that wouldn't lay flat, the other girl who had eyebrows a little too thin, the linebacker who couldn't stop telling me how pretty I was, and the guy who looked like a drunk Mel Gibson. Yeah, Sugar Tits, my ass.

The last person I could remember at all clear was the redhead who kept saying my name.

"You're funny, Faith. You want to go back to mine, Faith? You're really hot, Faith. I can make you feel good, Faith."

I knew my name, but hers? Lost in the shuffle and I told her to go look for it.

They musta got desperate then because they started sending in the twins, at least that's what I thought. Tony told me later there were no twins, I was just seeing double. That info was kind of a relief because the twin blondes who had asthma…or maybe they were just trying to talk sexy…were really only one person. Which is plenty because they laughed like a dying donkey.

I don't remember much about getting home, but Tony says he stuffed me in a cab after I apparently hit on him, then told him he was gonna be a great mother to his husband. I also screamed at him not to any have twins unless he named them "Buffy" and "Buffy", and according to him that was important because I said it like five billion times.

Somehow I got to my room, but I don't have a clue how. All that came back to me the next morning was that there were still twins, only now they were twin jackhammers going to town inside my skull. I saw one of my boots was laying on my dresser after obviously busting the mirror, but I was too busy stumbling to the bathroom to care about the seven years bad luck.

I puked 100% of my guts up, along with practically every internal organ I had. Maybe even some of the external ones too. I flushed, then stood up to gulp down some water and brush my teeth. A quick glance in the mirror showed me I looked like shit, way past shit to somethin' way worse. I couldn't remember the last time I'd got so drunk, my best guess was probably never.

I got in the shower because I needed it, but even set on "Gentle Rainfall", the water was so loud it almost made me puke again. It did feel good except whenever the water touched me, so I got out and went back to bed. I rolled over to face the wall and man, I could smell her so strong, the whole bed.

The weirdest thing was it made my stomach settle and my headache eased off by at least half. It was pretty clear to me that I was a one woman pussy now. Whatever, the facts were facts and trying to deny shit wasn't gonna change anything. All I was gonna do was kill myself or feel like I was dying as I was doin' the trying. I figured I'd just skip that drama this time around and act like a grown up instead.

I put "her" pillow over my eyes, trying to remember anything about when I got home. I sort of remembered yelling and being pissed about her hanging all over me, but maybe not, that could have just been me remembering how I felt all night when I was sober. I mean, I also remember thinking about John Lennon too, so I was pretty sure my mind was playing all kinds of tricks on me.

The main thing I had were these vague images of her in my bed, of me laying on her, tasting her, feeling her, begging her not to go. I just wanted her to be with me for a minute, to not leave me all alone like she always did.

"Don't go, okay? Just stay with me…So perfect…"

I could see her eyes, finally the right color:

"Green…brown…both at once…They got a word for that…"

The last thing I saw was me playing with her hair, holding it so gentle and letting it glide all silky through my fingers:

"…Perfect little bitch…Just one more minute…please…"

All I could think was if I did blab all of that out loud, thank Christ nobody heard it. Besides totally blowing my cover, I begged her to stay with me, and thinking about the look on her face if I'd said that to her…I felt like puking again.

"Yeah, B, it's me. Your very own pathetic, head over heels dyke. Don't mind me while I stalk you every chance I get."

That'd make her so hot for me.

I kept the pillow right where it was, pulled the covers up and let myself fall back asleep. I was hoping after a chunk of decent rest, the worst hangover in history would be history. As I drifted off, I breathed in deep and heard myself mumble:

"Just stay with me…"

When I woke up hours later, my hangover was mostly gone and I was determined to get my life back to normal. No more getting all worked up over nothing. Buffy was just being "Buffy" and I could handle that. Sure she had me all stirred up, but it was just temporary. I knew her and I knew what she was doing, so I was just gonna focus on getting back to the routine and let her settle herself down. There was no sense going nuts over it or trying to make shit what it wasn't.

I threw myself into my thing: training Slayers. It's something I love doing and I'm good at it. I get kids to listen and learn, and even though it isn't always easy, I always get it done. Nobody does it better, and that's not me bragging at all.

I can read people and I know how to reach'em, even when it doesn't seem like they wanna be reached. I don't ever give up and if I gotta break a kid's neck to make them okay, that's what I do. I'm not here to let girls fall through the cracks, I'm here to show them another way. Nobody's getting lost while I'm on the job, not for long anyways.

Buffy's real good at it too, in fact I'd say we're almost equals, just in different ways. I'm more down in the trenches with'em, and I know all the ways to fuck up and slide away. They trust me, they relate to me because they know I know exactly where they're coming from. I make it real clear I know all the places they could be going to, the good and the bad, and I tell'em the truth about who I was and who I am now.

B's like royalty or a rock star. She comes into a room and all eyes go to her. They're in awe, even the shitheads, and they oughta be. When The Slayer shows up, everything stops and they all listen to every word she says. Hell, even I listen to her when she's explaining shit, she's Buffy Summers. Enough said.

So three days into me getting back in the swing of things, I was feeling pretty proud of myself. B had slacked off on me and I was getting that missing perspective back. I didn't take everything she did as a come on or think about sex every time she looked my way. She was just being affectionate, making it clear to me that we were solid buds, and it was clear. Crystal, and I way appreciated the effort.

I'd just wrapped up a training session with a group of rookies, when I got word that Giles needed to see me. I grabbed a quick shower, changed my clothes, and headed to my Watcher's office.

The best defense was a good offense, and I was already talking as I hit the room:

"Look, if this is about that bag Kennedy trashed, talk about beating a dead…"

"Hello, Faith. No, it's not about that. I've another matter to discuss with you."

"Cool. Hiya, B. Fuck up another one of Squirt's shirts?"

She smiled big at me and I sat down next to her.

"Hey. Yep, tea this time."

"Wow, you're a dead woman. Better stuff it way down in the hamper."

Giles shuffled some papers around and cleared his throat.

"Impending fratricide aside…"

He paused because he cracked himself up.

"…how did the new girls fare, Faith?"

"They're okay…most of'em. Got about four who are gonna be tough, but I figure watchin' me and B go at it oughta scare at least two of'em straight. Got my work cut out with the other two."

"Hmmm…yes. Well, I'm afraid you will need to hold off on that. We've a bit of a situation on our hands."

He laid it out for me, and I was already shaking my head no.

"G-Man, c'mon, I got like fifty other things I gotta do! I can't afford to miss any time with the new grunts, plus the half-assers in the last bunch need to be tested. Then I gotta get the 'Weapons' classes going before the 'A' group can go out. There's just no way I can…"

"Faith, while I understand your concerns, I truly believe this assignment requires both Buffy and yourself if we're to make a success of it. I would not ask if I didn't believe it to be absolutely imperative."

He was totally serious and since B wasn't saying a word, I knew this wasn't just some run of the mill problem.

"Yeah, okay, when do we pull out?"

The answer to that question was the very next day. It was a little sketchy where we were headed and into what, but Giles said him and Red would sort it out and put together a folder for us to look over on the plane. I didn't much care, I just needed to know the weather so I could pack right. Otherwise, all I had to do was sit on the plane next to Buffy and be ready to kick some bad guy ass when we landed.

Willow spelled a couple of weapons for us because airlines didn't much care for stakes and knives, but Slayers weren't big on walking around without any tools of the trade either. Scoring the bigger stuff wasn't a problem. The Council had connections all over the place, and after breezing through Customs, we'd head on our way to a nice, juicy arsenal that was just waiting on us to show.

All of those details were already worked out way in advance, so that just left it for me and B to stop some asshole from taking over the world. Considering it was us who was gonna be doing the stopping, well, chances were way better than good for our side. Not only were we the best Slayers, we worked together better than anybody ever, which only made us more deadly. If I was the bad guy, I'd be hauling ass.

I knew we were heading to some beach place, but like the dipshit she can be sometimes, Buffy couldn't remember the name. Not that I really cared, I had the info I needed. Sun, surf, saving the world, I was ready and willing.

It was time to get packed, so I hauled down my usual bag and started tossing some shit in. Like always, it wasn't long before it was filling up way too fast. I was just getting ready to jump on it to flatten it some, when B came by.

She wanted to know if I was on the ball about what time we were leaving and after I spit out all the right info, I grabbed my favorite jeans from my dresser. When I turned back around, B had dumped my bag out onto the bed and was calmly folding everything all nice and flat, then placing it carefully inside.

It made my heart speed up a little, but it wasn't the first time she'd helped me pack. In fact it was kinda our thing, a routine, and I loved watching her do it. It made me feel good that she cared if I could fit all my crap in and not have everything be all wrinkled when we got where we were going. She just did it automatic without saying a word and how she could look so hot doing it, well, I got no clue, but she did.

We didn't talk much about the upcoming job, partly because we didn't have a lot of info, but mostly because this was our time. We worked side by side, kind of centering ourselves and focusing on what was coming up. It was "bonding time", and it somehow put us on the same wavelength, Slayers all the way.

I couldn't wait to get the mission over with because I already had big plans for after we saved the world. I was gonna try to get Giles to give us two or three days off just to hang, something that had never happened before. B always wanted the time off too, but then she'd feel all guilty like she was fucking around and of course once Giles sensed that, the party was already over before it could start.

My plan was a new one: I was gonna try to make B feel guilty about me never catching a break, then I'd approach Giles with Buffy all solid on my side. If I could just keep working her for the call, I figured we'd stand a good chance of winning. Guilt's kick ass when you know how to play it, and I was determined to outsmart Giles for a change.

First thing we did when we got there was secure our weapons, then head out for a look-see. The info Red and G-Man gave us was pretty skimpy, but updates figured to be coming in fast and furious. Me and B decided to get a jump on our own, but the place was nothing but dead. We gave up after a few hours, then right when we got back near our place, we hit some trouble.

There was a guy laying on the ground fighting to get up, while a lady was swinging a wire metal trashcan at a buncha vamps. There were two little kids behind her, but it wasn't gonna hold like that for long. She didn't know it, but the vamps were just toying with her.

B walked up closer and in typical "Buffy" style asked:

"Hey guys, can we play too?"

The man yelled at us to run and call the police, but of course in this case, we were the cops. The alley was pretty big and I eased in next to the lady. Not like the vamps cared, they figured it was turning into an "all you can eat" buffet. Me and B were figuring it was more a "box the fuckers in and protect the people" stack up. I had Mom and the kids, B had Dad, and everybody else in between wasn't gonna be leaving the alley.

"Might wanna step back by your kids now."

She didn't say a word, she just did it. Musta been somethin' about me that either scared her or made her believe I could handle the sitch. B was still talking all casual.

"You really aren't supposed to be here. How about we fix that?"

The vamp closest to her grabbed her by the shoulder and we all heard the cracking sound and his scream as she snapped his arm, then shoved him towards the others. He exploded into dust right as he reached them, and I doubt he even saw the stake.

There wasn't a sound from the family, it was like they saw vamps dusted every day. The only one who reacted was the female vamp. She yelled out:


Her mistake was to turn her back on me. Two quick steps and I staked her from behind, then I was standing in front of Mom again before the dust quit swirling.

"Kinda sweet, yeah, B? Now she gets to be with Rog." 

The fight was on for real then, and it was all pretty much a madhouse. It was a closer space than we liked, but you had to fight where the fight was, cramped or not. The biggest problem was that we had to keep an eye on the fam, and B had the tougher job there. The guy couldn't move much and he was always in danger or in her way. Wasn't like she had time to move him either.

My guys were smart and mobile. Mom moved the kids as far back as she could behind some cans and crates, and she stood by them with a busted up piece of wood in her hand. Guess she was a fast learner, and she wasn't gonna go down without doing her best to protect her family, just like a mom was supposed to do. She seemed to be following the fight even though it had to look like a fucked up mess of wild ass punching and kicking.

People were yelling, dust and blood was flying, all of us were bouncing off shit and jumping around. At one point B had to turn her back to save her guy, and I threw my stake at the vamp who tried to take advantage of her not looking at him. She never even glanced back as the bastard blew apart, just staked her vamp and grabbed Dad by the collar with one hand.

She dragged him fast and rough up against the wall, and even though he hollered all the way, he didn't fight her. He just held onto his leg when she let go. She was smiling when she faced forward, and looking at the scary expression she was wearing, one of the vamps finally figured it out:


"Yeah, dumb ass. Way to clue in way too late."

Mom tossed me her homemade stake, and me and Buffy finished up. Wasn't too much longer before we were down to the last one, and B punched him and he sailed through the air to land at my feet. He didn't even get the chance to settle before I dusted him.

"Guess that was the 'Neighborhood Watch', B."

"I guess."

"Pretty lame, ya ask me. More like a dipshit gang, than a lookout squad."

She was bending down to the man.

"Hi, I'm Buffy, she's Faith. Can you walk?"

"Kevin Dawson, and this is my wife Cin…"

She was already on him, sort of crying as she hugged and kissed him. When she gave him some air, he finished up.

"…my wife Cindy and our two kids. And no walking for me, I think my leg's broken."

Cindy started crying for real, not that I could blame her. They'd all almost been dead and it was a lot to take in. The kids let loose too and their parents hugged them close 'til they got'em calmed down.

The little girl was the first to get it together and she tugged on my shirt. I crouched down to look her in the eye.

"Hey kid, you okay?"

"Yeah, Daddy said he's going to be fine. Are you guys superheroes?"

"Kinda. But you can just call me 'Faith' 'stead of 'Wonder Woman'."

She laughed and the boy came strutting over.

"You're not Wonder Woman anyways. She's an Amazon and you're not near big enough."

"Big enough to get kick her…I get the job done, okay, and I don't need any freakin' wristbands either."

"Yeah, you were pretty cool!"

"I'm Gladys and this is my little brother, Terrell."

She had her hand out, so I shook it, then his.

"Good to meet you guys. B?"

"It's not a bad break, but we don't want to chance him making it worse."

"Okay, I'll do it. You go score us a cab."

She nodded and was off as I headed over to Kevin.

"Hey, I know this might not be cool in a guy/girl way, but I'm gonna carry you to a cab. Don't get all worked up about it 'cause I hate that shit and don't have any patience."

He smiled, although I could tell his leg was killing him.

"After what I just saw, I got no trouble letting you do whatever you want to with me."

I was gonna make an off color joke, but the guy's wife and kids were right there, so I just picked him up as gentle as I could. We walked slow so I wouldn't jar him, and the rest of the family tagged along like they were our shadows.

"So Faith, were those vampires?"

"Yeah, Faith, were they?"

The kids were walking backwards in front of me and I looked at their mom before I answered. I didn't know if I should tell them the truth or what, but she sort of shrugged like the cat was already outta the bag. I took that as my go ahead:

"Yep, they were vampires."

"Wow! I thought those were only make believe!"

"I was one for Halloween last year!"

"Me and B are called Slayers, and it's our job to fight'em."

Gladys could barely contain herself:

"Is it a secret, because I can keep secrets really good!"

Terrell wasn't gonna be outdone:

"So can I, if it's a big deal and not some stupid thing about your dumb doll."

She shoved him, but she also kept a solid grip on his hand and it made me smile. She was looking out for him and he was letting her. That told me right there that they were tight.

"It is a secret, so I'm gonna put you kids in charge of keeping your parents quiet. Think you can keep handle that?"

The kids nodded all serious, and the parents laughed, even though Kevin's ended in a mini-groan.

"We're almost there. Sorry I'm hurting you."

"Girl, you saved our lives. Wanna use me to juggle with, I ain't gonna complain."

"Cool, maybe next time."

As we got near the street, I eased him down.

"You're gonna have to hoof it from here. I can't carry you in front of everybody."

He nodded and I got under one arm, Cindy got under the other, and he hobbled to the cab with me holding him up on the sly. After we got him in, it was obvious they couldn't all fit in one car. I said I'd ride with him, and B, Cindy and the kids got in another.

I figured we'd just drop them off, but then Cindy asked if we could stay for a bit so she could go in with Kevin. What were we gonna do: say no? We hung around with the kids playing Tic Tac Toe and Hangman, then B got us paired off for Charades. Me and Terrell totally kicked their asses, and we were high fiving when Cindy and Kevin came rolling down the hall.

Well, Kevin was rolling, Cindy was walking alongside holding his hand. The kids ran to them for some hugs and to stare at their dad's cast up close. They asked him about a million times if it hurt, but one look at him and it was clear he was feeling no pain. We started to say our goodbyes, then realized the same cab sitch was gonna happen again. I was tired and wanted to crash, but no way could we just ditch'em.  

We split up again and I did a double take when Kevin gave the driver the name of our hotel. We arrived in about twenty minutes and all piled out. The place seemed pretty deserted and Kevin looked like he was gonna drop, so I picked him up again and told them to lead the way. It wasn't long before we discovered we were next door neighbors, and after we got over that crazy coincidence, Cindy said it made her feel safer and gave us each a hug.

I carried Kevin into the bathroom and let Cindy take it from there. We said goodnight and B told them not to hesitate to call us if they needed something. Cindy hugged us again and got a little teary, then the kids hugged us too. We went outside and heard the door lock, followed pretty close by the sound of something heavy being pushed in front of it.

"Can't blame her. I'd be hightailing it home right about now."

Buffy laughed as we walked around the pool to our room.

"Me too."

I opened one of the French doors for B, then followed her in.

"Whole family's taking it pretty good though."

"Yeah, they've been amazing. I told Cindy we'd explain everything over lunch tomorrow."

"Gonna let you do the talking, B, and I'll do the eating."

It went cool right from the start.

Of course the Dawsons were nothing but grateful to us, and they took the vampire part of it really good. While the kids played in the pool, Kev told us that he grew up in the projects and used to see all kinds of shit there, stuff nobody could explain.

"My parents made us come in before dark, which good parents do anyway. But you could see all kinds of crazy shit from your window at night. Guess I know some of what I was looking at now."

We hung around together pretty much every day and evening, which worked really good for me. They was a huge ass distraction, and it wasn't just me and Buffy alone all the time. It really helped me settle down because after the big fight, we had nothing. Giles and Red said the bad guy took off or went underground, either way they were gonna have to figure out where that was.

Then the unbelievable happened.

"I'd suggest you girls enjoy the down time. We'll let you know when we have something conclusive, but I fear it's going to be a few days."

Even though I couldn't take the credit for it, we got our time off. Me and B were on vacation, and with the next door neighbors throwing down a bitchin' distraction, I was in hog heaven for the most part. There was still the problem of sharing a bed, but the benefits way outweighed, and it's not like I'd ever complain about sharing a bed with B anyway. Just like I'd never complain about seeing her in her suit, even if she looked so hot in it, I could barely control myself.

Life was good, but time flies way too quick and the Dawsons had to motor. The good news was they got to fly first class, so at least Kev was gonna have some extra room. Once the doc signed off, they were free to go and they went, and that was that.

It didn't take more than a few hours without them running interference before Buffy started getting to me again. The whole sitch was crazy, I couldn't figure why I was reacting like I was. The best I could come up with – I needed some action…not that kind. Just a little fight for our lives would be nice, but whenever we patrolled we got nothing, not even a peep from the bad guys.

I blow out a long breath and look up at the stars like they got some kinda answer for me. There's no answer, at least not one I wanna hear. I'm never gonna leave Buffy, I'm right where I belong in a whole buncha ways, and I know that.

Sure sometimes it hurts to have what I want most thrown in my face, always sittin' right where I can reach out and touch it, but so what? She makes me happy even when she makes me sad, and I know for damn sure she makes me a better person. She would've right from the start too if I'd have let her, but I was nowhere near that back then. Not even close.

Every time I think about when we met, it makes me smile. She was beautiful, but she just seemed so sad and even though I didn't know her, I hated that. It seemed wrong somehow, so I pumped Willow and Xander until I got the whole story. I knew what she needed was somebody to shock her back awake, but why I assumed that should be me…guess when you analyze it, it says it all. 

We were out on a patrol and it was a wicked bitchy one. I guess B saw me as pissing all over her territory, which I kinda was. When I saw it was bugging her, I kept doing it, wondering how long before I could make her blow.

Anyway, we got into it because she had us patrolling the same place again, and when I pointed that out to her, she went all high and mighty and tried to lecture me. I let her know her bottle needed uncorking, and even though she was pissed, I could feel she was gonna let it go. No way did I want that, so I poked her just as hard as I could.

"What is it, the 'Angel' thing?" 

Whoa, talk about ramping things right the fuck up. She got in my face, and I loved it. Besides her looking wicked hot, it was the first time I'd seen some passion from her and that was when I knew I was a goner. She was so beautiful, so scary, so strong and so vulnerable, and she was so different from anybody else I'd ever seen.

I could barely look away from her lips and if those vamps hadn't jumped us, I'd have made a play for her…maybe. I wouldn't have wanted to because she was obviously hurting and she probably would have beaten the shit outta me anyways, but damn.

I always crack up when I think about how I asked her if I'd just heard a threat, and she answered all pissed off and kinda squeaky like:

"Would you like to?" 

Everything in me had wanted to respond to her:

Yeah I'd like to. Fact is, I'm dying to.

A star shoots across the sky and I make a wish.

Yeah, right, like that's ever gonna come true. Besides, I haven't wished on a star since I was a kid, and those never came true either. Maybe that's 'cause the stars are already dead, and the falling ones are just space junk burning up in the atmosphere.  

Whatever. I flip off all the stars – the fallers and the stuck up ones – for being the useless pieces of shit they really are, and head back in to B for the night.



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