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Chapter Seven

Humpty Dumpty

There's nothing good going on here, not at all. B keeps trying and I don't know why. I'm fading away, although I'm moving way faster than a fade and way faster than the sitch deserves. I feel…I feel crazy or something. Not like when I was crazy for real, I mean, I'm not about to kill or hurt anybody. But I feel just like I used to: alone, no hope, like I don't deserve anything good, and like Buffy's so far out of my reach, she'll never be mine.

Which I know is stupid. Can't say somebody's out of reach when they're right next to you in bed. Not when you can feel their warm, soft skin against yours, not when her arm is wrapped around your hips and her breath is blowing soft and steady against your shoulder blade. Nobody's out of reach when their leg's all mixed up with yours.

But then there's the whole emotional thing and that's where I'm alone or lost or crazy or every damn one of those things. B keeps insisting that we'll be okay, that we're gonna make it, but I know we're not. I should just leave now, yesterday, last week, but I don't know how I can live without her. And she's going to be hurt – just one more breakup in a string of them – and this time I won't be there to help her through it.

She doesn't seem to understand what's going on, why she can't change my mind or as she puts it: "get through to me". I guess I don't really get it either, I just know I can't seem to stop myself from sliding down. It hurts so bad and all I can do is drink and plan how to leave. Everything I say to her comes out angry and mean, and I hate myself for talking to her like that.

She just keeps letting shit roll off her when normally she'd punch me right into next week. She's acting like this is just a bump in the road when the truth is – my ass should have been kicked to the curb a long time ago. B keeps holding on tight and I guess maybe even though she's not really in love, she doesn't wanna lose a friend.

It got pretty bad a few nights ago. I'd been gone for two days, just drinking, drugging, whoring, and fighting my way through the hours, and when I finally showed up at home she was pissed. I blew past her and headed for the shower without a word, wondering how much longer until it was over for good. When I got out of the shower she was sitting on my bed, her back against the headboard with her arms holding a pillow tight against her chest.

Her head was down and I'm such a selfish bitch now, I was glad to see that her body language was more sad than mad. Not that I wanted her sad either, but that was the one that was better for me for the most part. When she's mad, B's dangerous in all kindsa ways, but since she wasn't standing with her hands on her hips or her arms crossed over her chest, I figured I was safe.

Yeah, I'm a dumb ass all the way around 'cause when I tossed my towel and started to get into bed, B's head shot up and I got a good look at her eyes. I almost shit myself because Buffy wasn't home, leastways not alone. The Slayer had tagged in and was looking at me like I was the vamp of the hour.

"Where were you?"

For a second I seriously couldn't talk. My mouth went so dry from that look, I had to fight to get enough spit back to swallow and move my tongue. I decided to bluff my way out of it because it wasn't going to do me any good if B saw I was actually scared of her.

"No place special."

"'No place special'?"

She said it all calm and with a smile that never touched her eyes. They looked like green ice, like at any second pieces were gonna bust off and stab me in every vital spot I had.

"Buffy, I don't feel like talking, so wanna move over and…"

She wasn't moving an inch and I started bracing for impact.

"Willow did a locator spell."

Oh shit.

I didn't say anything, just stood there looking at the floor and wishing I was someplace, anyplace else.

"Did you have a nice time?"


"I hope you did. I hope you had a great time and it was worth it."

And right there, just like that, was my out. She was done with me – disgusted, betrayed, I'd shown her what a louse I really was. It was perfect and she stood up slow, staring a hole in me as she did. I couldn't look anywhere near her, but I didn't need to. Her eyes were burning me and it hurt.

"I never thought you'd…Never, Faith."

I could feel her, the pain and betrayal living large between us.

"I didn't. I would never do that to you."

I am such an idiot. My opening was right there, she was walking away like I wanted her to, but I just couldn't let her think that about me. Whether it was for her or for me, I'm not sure, I just knew I couldn't let that lie be a part of our history.

She stopped walking when she heard my voice, but she didn't turn around:

"And I should believe you because?"

"Because I don't lie to you."

I saw her nodding, then she faced me:

"Say it, Faith. In actual words."

"I didn't fuck her or anybody else. I just needed a place to crash, is all. Nothing happened: no touching, no kissing, no sex of any kind. She went to work after like an hour and I just slept it off on her couch before I came home."

Buffy walked over to stand in front of me and slapped me right across the face. I rocked back a step and just stood looking at her while she said her piece:

"I am so tired of you trying to make me walk away."

Then she left me standing there with her handprint tattooed on my left cheek. I heard the front door close and I got into bed, mad at myself.

I should have let her think I cheated; I could have been out of her life, but no, somehow I couldn't do that. Because no matter how shit I am, I need her to know I'm not that low. There's gotta be something good or at least decent in me, even if it's somethin' small.

Despite what I said before, all I'm doing when I go out is fighting and drinking. I'm not whoring around and I'm not doing any drugs because I'm not going back there no matter how fucked up I am. The truth of it is I barely get into fights either. I don't wanna hurt anybody, except me, and I can do that best all by myself.

I know I have to go. If I don't I'm gonna take her down with me, and that can't happen. I won't let it, no matter what. I've already fucked up a perfect chance to end it with her, but I'm weak, is what it is, and it's just so hard to walk away when she wants me to stay.

I love her so much it makes me stupid, makes me believe sometimes that we can make it. I don't even know anymore how all this got started, why I can't just be satisfied with what we have. I've always had to settle for what I could get my whole life, why this is such a big issue for me makes no fucking sense no matter how much I think about it. And thinking is way harder than it oughta be.

It's like everything's in a fog and I don't know where I am or where I'm going. I don't even get the point of it anymore. I just know that I can't be with her, that she shouldn't be with me, and that this big brave move I made has backfired on us way worse than I ever imagined it could. I've fucked everything up and I don't know what else to do but leave…so I stay.

Willow tried talking to me a few days ago, but that went nowhere fast. I put up a front and was a real cunt to her. I kept ignoring her, being a mean smart ass and pushing all of her buttons until she ended up slamming me hard against a wall. Her eyes were black, but she still kept a grip on the red hair.

"Wanna let me move?"

"How can you do this, Faith? You're really just going to throw Buffy away? I thought you were way smarter than that."

"Guess you were wrong. Now let go of me."

"She loves you, why can't you let her show you?"

"Not your business. Now get your fucking magic offa me."

She took her sweet time lifting the spell, her face all kinds of upset. After a big stare down that she won, she turned away from me and huffed her ass out of sight down the hall with a parting shot:

"You're being such a stupid, selfish jerk."

 Xander tried talking too, but he doesn't have any magic power, and after a couple minutes I just brushed him off like he was nothing and went on my way. I ducked Giles and his scheduled "Watcher/Slayer chats", and Dawn was off on some kinda book buying mission. That left me free and clear to fuck everything up, nobody could stop me…except for the woman I'm busy crushing flat one day at a time.

She's always there, looking right at me, day in and day out, her beautiful eyes watching my every move and trying to make things okay again.  Except she's not looking at me now because she's out on patrol, which is where I should be. Giles took me off active duty, said to think of it like "sick leave" instead of the suspension it really was. The bottom line is I can't be trusted, so I'm out, which means "in" all fucking night long.

Doesn't stop me from slaying though. I just head out on my own and do what I gotta do. I usually pick-up an escort somewhere along the way, and yeah, most times it's B. Otherwise it's Glinda and her Flying Monkey pet that babysit me like I'm deficient. Which in some ways, I guess I am.

Buffy and I don't talk about it, but she knows I know she tags along and I know she knows I know. But like with everything else I'm not big on talking it over, so it all goes unsaid. Tonight she had to supervise this group of troublemakers that nobody else can handle but her and me, so she asked me not to go out.

"You'll stay in then?"

"Said so already."

"But you didn't promise."

That pissed me off because I really was planning to go out and she knew it, which is why she shoved us right to a promise. I don't ever break those, so I was boxed in tight and not happy about it.

"Yeah, fine. I promise to stay in."

She leaned down and kissed me.

"Thank you. I'll bring pizza from 'Frankie's', okay?"


I was totally pouting as she headed out, but I hollered after her:

"Be careful, B. Janey's got a habit of not listening when it counts most."


"You get into a real sitch, knock her ass out. Safer that way."

She smiled at me, a real one without all the worry that's always riding along now.

"I'll keep it in mind, F."

Then she was gone, out into the night where we both belonged, but instead I was left on the couch flipping past a buncha shit I didn't wanna see. There were at least sixty-five channels showing some version of "Law and Order", and if the end of the world ever happens, it's gonna be just roaches and this show still partying on.

With nothing else to do, I sat around and drank. And then I drank some more. That was it, the extent of what went down until B and the pizza came home a few hours later. She got three: one each and one to split, and she told me to dig in while she took a shower. I waited though, ripping a little loose cheese off mine before heading into the kitchen to grab myself a beer and B a coupla Diet Cokes.

It didn't take long before she was next to me on the couch, her legs tucked under her to the side as she ate her pie. We inhaled our own in quiet, then dug into the shared one. I popped open her second can and she smiled when I handed it to her.

It was nice, peaceful, and I was getting pissed and didn't exactly know why. My question came out a lot angrier than I meant it to, and I already sounded like an asshole with just one word:


"'So' what, Faith?"

"How'd it go tonight?"

"It went good. I yelled at Janey twice, but I didn't have to hit her."

"Any other problems?"

I couldn't shake the shitty tone and she didn't answer right away, instead taking a bite of her pizza and swallowing.

"You could come along next time and see for yourself."

"Gee, maybe you didn't get the memo – I'm not allowed out anymore."

She gestured at the bottle sitting on the table:

"You would be if you'd stop with this."

I wasn't going to say anything, but she kept looking at me and I knew I kinda had to.

"Don't worry about it."

I barely got the words out before I knew it was the exact wrong thing to say.

"So what then, Faith – I shouldn't worry about anything?"


"Wow, that's such a relief! Here I've been nothing but worried for weeks, but now since you're telling me…"

I grabbed my beer as I stood up to walk out of the room, but Buffy was faster. She snagged it first, then stood to face me.

"…everything's okay, well boy, don't I just feel so much better."

I kept walking, but Buffy came right with me following me into the bedroom.

"I'm not up for this tonight, B, so just…"

"And you never are, are you, Faith?"


She slammed the bottle down on the dresser so hard the beer foamed up and over.

"No, you listen – this might have started off as me keeping a wall between us, but it's something else now. You're having a breakdown or..."

"I'm not having a breakdown, stop bein' so dramatic."

"So what would you call it? You're practically a drunk, you're depressed, angry, unhappy, you won't listen to anybody…You're just like you used to be."

"Fuck you! I am not!"

That pissed me off because that was exactly what I was scared shitless was happening, and I'd rather kill myself than be that monster again. And she was right: what had started out as a legit problem was now like some weird puzzle with a buncha pieces missing. I'd started off having the high ground, but now I was just a fuck-up ruining everything I touched.

Sure we'd both screwed up, but Buffy was trying hard to fix it, to make it right. I wasn't doing anything to help, I was just sinking down into the shit and waiting for her to tell me to leave.

"Faith...I didn't mean that, not like that anyway."


"I'm just saying we have to work this out together, and it doesn't help if you're drunk all the time."

"Helps me just fine."

That was a perfect example of what an asshole I'd become. I knew what she was saying and I also knew she was right, but I couldn't just say that to her. Instead I had to be a bitch about it, make it as hard for her as possible while I pushed her away.

She just stood there looking at me, and I felt about five inches tall.

"So you're not even going to try anymore?"

My heart sped up because there was maybe something final in her voice.

"You leave for days at a time, you refuse to talk to me when you're here, you drink yourself to sleep…"

I just stood there looking at her and I saw the tears coming.

"I'm sorry, Faith, I never meant to make you hate me."

"I don't hate you, B."

"I…I don't know what else to do, how to make you understand that I love you. I was just scared before and I didn't even realize what I was doing. I'm trying everything I know to make it up to you, but I don't think it's even about that anymore."

She started crying for real then and I could barely understand her:

"I don't want you to leave me."

Like always, I went to her. She tried to push me away, but I held on until I felt her arms go around me.

"Shh…B, don't cry."

Which how stupid was that to say? I did nothing all day and night except treat her like shit, then when she finally breaks, I don't want her to be upset. Yeah, I'd fallen way off the high ground for sure and I needed to go away before it got worse. There was no way she deserved what I was handing out, and the truth of it was I didn't have a clue what the hell I was doing or why.

Her lips on my throat brought me back to the moment.

"Faith, please…"


I tried to peel her off because how was sex what we needed? I needed to tell her goodbye and actually leave, maybe go get my head on straight and maybe for once understand what my deal was. But she wasn't letting go, and her tongue hit the spot behind my ear that she knew drove me nuts.

"B…this isn't…"

She pushed me back onto the bed all gentle, her hands sliding under my shirt to bring the girls front and center.

"I love you."


Her touch was so soft and there was nothing in the world that could have made me walk away from her right then. Her lips met mine and I gave in because she's Buffy. She'll always be it for me – her smell, her taste, her touch, the way her body moves with mine, the way she says my name. I can't resist her, I never could and I never will. She's everything to me…So perfect, so beautiful, and so everything I will ever need and want.

We made love for a long time, she cried on and off, and I guess I did my share too. I worshiped her, trying to let her feel what I felt for her, and I did my best to get in a lifetime of loving. She finally fell asleep and I held her close, listening to her breath blowing in and out, my face in her hair and inhaling her scent as I tried to memorize it. My hand grazed along her skin hoping to burn the softness into my fingertips, hoping to burn every kiss, touch, and word into my mind forever.

It was a couple of hours before sunrise when I slid out from under her. I dressed quick, grabbed my jacket and the shirt she'd been wearing, and went to my own room. I packed a bag and wrote her a letter telling her I was gone and why, shut off the lights on my way out, and slipped the note under her door as I passed by.

I stopped at the top of the stairs and looked back. Somehow before I knew it, I actually had my hand on the doorknob with my forehead leaning against the door. I must have stood there for five minutes before I could make myself move. I kissed the door, stood up straight, and headed downstairs.

Nobody was in the lobby and I opened the side door, re-locking it behind me as I went. I tied my bag down and walked my bike out of the parking lot a ways away before I kicked it to life. I looked back one more time, wondering how far I was gonna go.

"Goodbye, B."

And then I took off.


Say you were split, you were split in fragments
And none of the pieces would talk to you

Wouldn't you want to be who you had been
Well baby I want that too

So better take the keys and drive forever
Staying won't put these futures back together

All the perfect drugs and superheroes
Wouldn't be enough to bring me up to zero

Baby you're great, you've been more than patient
Saying it's not a catastrophe

But I'm not the girl you once put your faith in
Just someone who looks like me

So better take the keys and drive forever
Staying won't put these futures back together

All the perfect drugs and superheroes
Wouldn't be enough to bring me up to zero

So get out while you can
Get out while you can

Baby I'm pouring quicksand
And sinking is all I had planned

So better just go

Oh better take the keys and drive forever
Staying won't put these futures back together

All the perfect drugs and superheroes
Wouldn't be enough to bring me up to zero

All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put baby together again

All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put baby together again

-Humpty Dumpty - Aimee Mann



Come on Get Higher

I wish I'd snap out of this. It's been almost a week now and I'm still just slogging through every long hour of every long day. Nothing's fun, nothing makes me happy except for those few precious seconds when I'm unlocking my door so I can go inside and shut myself away for the night. It always makes me feel better, but then the pain hits me even harder because it's just not enough of her to satisfy me. How could it be?

I feel awful. All I want to do is sit in the window seat and eat ice cream as I stare out into the night. I can't remember the last time I felt this bad. Maybe when Mom died, but that's not really the same because it's a different kind of ache. Death is its own misery, so all-consuming it doesn't compare to anything else. There's no real way to describe how it feels to lose someone you love and lose them for good. One second they're there, the next they're just gone and yet you stupidly keep right on living.

Great, so it's not enough that I'm going through the most painful separation ever, I have to bring losing my mom into it. Maybe I can also find some way to obsess about sending Angel to Hell and watching Spike die believing I didn't love him at all…and no, it doesn't escape my notice that it's the exact same problem happening now, only different.

For some reason I don't show the people I love how I feel about them, so they have to go set themselves on fire or drink themselves into a stupor every day until they run away from me. I'm not happy with myself in general for being that kind of person and I'm devastated that my faults have shoved the love of my life away from me.

It's funny to me now that I was so sure way back then that Angel was my soul mate. What we had was love, true love, perfect, all consuming, eternal true love, and it was everything. There I was, just a young girl, and I'd found my life already. How many people ever do that at any point, let alone when they're only sixteen years old? Lucky me, I was all locked in happily ever after forever, and oh my God, could I have been any more naïve?

Of course the real joke is that even though I was naïve, I was also right – I just had the wrong soul mate. The fact that I thought it was the other dark, brooding, gorgeous person, well, that's the kind of mistake anybody could make. And make it I did, as well as a million others, a theme I'm unfortunately continuing to this day.

Will and Xander keep trying to cheer me up, but what's the point? If she doesn't come back…Okay, she'll come back, I know that much for sure. She's way too responsible when it comes to being a Slayer not to, but when it comes to me, I guess it could maybe be over. At least she could think it is.

I screwed up, I freely admit that, but then I fixed it…or was trying my best to fix it. But Faith? She did nothing except make it just as hard as possible, then when that didn't work for her, she left. And I don't exactly get it, at least not totally.

I mean, I understand that I hurt her, that I hit some sore spot when it comes to her thinking people can't love her. But I do love her and once I got that there was a problem, I did everything I could to show her. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be for me to open up, I guess that's what true love will do for you, but at some point the issue between us changed and it was no longer about my shortcomings. Instead we're dealing with some problem Faith has.

Okay, so what we need to do is adapt and deal with the new problem; at least that was my plan. But Faith would rather make the sweetest love to me ever made, then sneak off to anywhere else. I'm not saying I'm surprised she did that, I sensed it was coming which is partly why I kept crying during the sex, but it still makes me mad that she didn't face me before she left.

She slunk off like a coward because she knows as well as I do if she had to get past me to leave, it never would have happened. And I don't mean that physically, although I'm still fully willing to hang onto her leg to stop her. What I mean is that if she had to deal with me, had to see me, hear me, feel me, she wouldn't have been able to go.

This is all so stupid I want to smash her in the face. We couldn't be more good together if somebody designed us…which maybe they did. All I know for sure is that when I'm with her I feel exactly like myself, and that's not something anyone else has ever been able to make me feel. Everything clicks into place when I'm with her and I know I'm right where I belong. As stupid as it sounds at this point, I know it's like that for her too. She loves me, wants to be with me, and everything in her settles when we're together…or it does when she lets it, which hasn't been a lot of the time lately.

I don't where she is or what she's doing, and I don't I know if …when she's coming back. And what am I supposed to do in the meantime?  Go after her? Give her space? Just sit here and beg for any scraps of attention she might throw my way? I do still have some self-esteem left, and I don't think I can be the little lady who just sits passively waiting for her to come home. That's not me, although I suppose when it comes to Faith, it maybe, kind of sadly is.

The phone rings, but I let it go to voice mail. I'm sure it's Willow or Dawn inviting me to have a sleepover or maybe Xander asking if I feel like having a movie night. But I don't want to watch movies or sleep. I just want to think about her, worry about her, figure out how to help her. And why it's so hard to help her in a way that actually helps her, I have no idea.

I know Faith, I should be able to find the magic words or the magic something that will make a difference for her. I want to make her understand that it's okay that we can't predict the road ahead. It doesn't matter where we go, where we end up, because we'll be together when we get there. We just have to let go and trust each other, we have to have faith in us, and no, I'm totally not up to making puns right now.

I wish I could hate her or only feel mad at her, but I don't. I mean, yeah, I'm mad at her for sure, but the biggest part of me just wants her back. Even the big jerk version of her I've had to deal with lately is better than no Faith at all, although the together one is past perfection. When she's loving and warm and funny and cocky and all mine…Let the drooling commence.

I love when she looks at me like she'll never look her fill, like she's going to take me right where I stand even if we're in the middle of a crowd. I love when she's feeling safe and lets me see the real her, her smile all shy and happy as I pull her close. She's so wonderful, and the truth is that I want her even when she's acting like an ass.

So it's official: I'm Buffy, the Doormat, and it isn't something I'm particularly proud of or wildly happy about. But it is how I feel and I don't see any point in lying about it, at least not to myself. But I can't keep acting like this, I have to get some pride back and I think I know just how to do it.

It takes me a few minutes to spring into action, which when you think about it, that long build-up to the actual movement part of things kind of negates the whole "springing" deal. Still, I'm on the move, so no holding back on the applause.

I check the message hoping with everything in me that it's her, but no, it's just Will telling me we're having dinner tomorrow night even if she has to force me.

"Buffy, come on. You have to eat and you have to try to do something fun. Hey, I'll even let you beat up Kennedy if you want to."

I hear Kennedy instantly protesting in the background and Willow just as quickly reassuring her:

"She knows I'm just joking, honey. Of course I wouldn't let her."

Then she was back to me:

"So tomorrow…You need her, she's yours, Buff…say at…seven? But come over sooner and just hang out for awhile. I'll even let you use the salad tosser and the cheese grater. Crazy fun, right? Okay, see you then, and please don't make me use magic to track you down and bring you here. Bye!"

Great, so it's dinner at Will's tomorrow night, no more getting out of it. The idea of real food sounds nothing but gross to me, but not as gross as dealing with Kennedy for several hours. I guess that's not exactly fair. She can be all right sometimes and Will is going to let me beat her up as needed. That's kind of appealing…and with an offer like that, Faith would be over there already just waiting for seven o'clock to finally arrive.

I go into the kitchen and grab a couple of paper towels and a bottle of Windex, then open my front door. I just stand there looking at it, suddenly unsure about how brilliant my brilliant idea really is. Thankfully no one's around to witness just how crazy I've become as I stand in place forever, doing nothing but swinging back and forth between anger that she left me and sadness that she's in so much pain and I can't help her. I'm missing her so much, and my only happiness since she left has been when I've gone in or out of my room. Is it really smart to take that away?

I count to three…okay, twenty-seven, then squirt the Windex and with two firm swipes it's gone. Her lipstick is now smeared all over the paper towel and it doesn't look anything like the outline of her mouth. My door is sparkling in its cleanness, not even a tiny trace of her left behind, and for one panicked second I try to put it back even though I know I did the right thing. I manage to control myself, but I still can't resist kissing my fingertips and pressing them against the spot where she was last…and great, here come the tears again.

Then it's back inside, all locked up, lights off, and the rest of the night to cry and think. I stay on the driver's side of the bed, holding her pillow because it still has her scent all over it. I think about calling her for the zillionth time, but what would I say? She doesn't want to hear it, or maybe she just can't, I don't know which one it is anymore. She's dealing with something I helped to bring on, but it's gone past that now into something she has to deal with herself.

At least I guess that's how she sees it. But that's stupid and she's wrong. Running away from me isn't going to help, letting me in is what we need. But Faith doesn't seem too onboard with that strategy. She thinks she can cut me loose, but I know that she's just kidding herself. She loves me and that's not ever going to change…no matter where she is and what she's doing.

Or who she's doing. And how ridiculous that I just went there because I don't really believe she'd ever cheat on me…unless she thinks we're broken up for good. The old Faith always went for casual sex, but then Faith isn't like that anymore…except she sort of is right now. But I know she wouldn't sleep with someone else, not this fast…unless she was so drunk and they…

I'm out of bed, dragging my blanket with me as I get comfy on the window seat, my seat of choice during this stupid and not going to last breakup. I'm missing her so much the way the branches are blowing makes me think of how she walks. It's all slinky, but purposeful, sexy, but not put on. Although even when she's kidding around and being over the top sexy, it's still a drool inducer. She always laughs at how hot she can make me, but if she could just see herself…

I feel like half of me is gone, mostly the better half too. Nothing is right without her here. I'd always thought my rooms were too small, but now they seem gigantic without her sharing them with me. Her clothes aren't thrown all over the chair in the bedroom, her wet towels aren't in the hamper, her side of the dresser is way too bare, and nobody's singing at the top of their lungs in the shower or yelling out that we should order a pizza.

God, this is like torture. Even though everything's been of the bad lately, at least we were still having sex. Amazing, mind blowing sex, and how that's possible is something somebody a lot smarter than me is going to have to figure out. It didn't matter what else was going on between us, whenever we had sex, and we had it a lot, all of our problems just drifted away. Plus the afterglow kept right on glowing for hours afterward every single time.

Faith is the best lover I've ever had, bar none. She can make me come just by whispering into my ear, which she thinks is the funniest thing ever, and it's something she's totally dying to brag about to somebody.

"C'mon, B! It's like I got superpowers and ya want me to keep'em a secret."

"You do have superpowers…other superpowers…and you keep those a secret just fine."

"Yeah, okay, so I'll just tell Willow and Xander and we'll see how that goes."

"No, it's too embarrassing."

"It's not embarrassing, it's hot."

"Yes, it is hot and the answer is still 'no'."

"C'mon, B!"

I wish she was here so I could kiss her. Well, first I'd like to punch her, then I'd kiss her because kissing Faith? Not an experience to be missed…by me. Everyone else can miss it for the rest of their lives…and I wonder what she's doing right now, how she feels. Is she thinking about me, wondering what I'm doing? Is she remembering the things about me that she likes or maybe thinking about how good we are together?

There's no way to tell, but at least thanks to Willow's locator spells, I know roughly where she is. She's just wandering around, which makes me feel more horrible than if she stayed put someplace. She was in Louisiana a few days ago, then Florida, and I started freaking out that she was going to sneak into Cuba. I know – it usually works the other way, but this is Faith, so anything goes.

Instead she veered up the east coast and I'm pretty sure she's heading to Boston, even though technically there's nothing there for her. By that I mean there's no one she wants to see, although maybe she's craving old familiar ground. Sure, it's "unhappy, filled with awful memories" old familiar ground, but I can understand her having that desire.

If that is what she's really doing, I'm happy that Sunnydale is still a big hole in the ground. She can only go there in her mind and mostly that's bad enough as it is. A literal trip up and down those streets would be the last thing she needs.

I visit often in my memory and it's so easy to bring it all back in living color. The cemeteries, Mom reading in her room, Tara making pancakes, Spike leaning against a tree as he smokes a cigarette. I can see Anya smiling at the sight of Xander,  The Magic Box, the original Sunnydale High, the tree outside my bedroom window, Angel's mansion, Giles' house, the Expresso Pump…So many places, so many memories, most of them good ones now.

Some of them are exceptionally good like – a heart drawn on a window, the sexiest dancing in the history of The Bronze, waking up in my bed, a too brief talk about hot chicks with superpowers, a warm, strong hand taking the Scythe from mine, and a sexy voice reminding me that I was free if I wanted to be:

"Yeah, you're not the one and only Chosen anymore. Just gotta live like a person. How's that feel?"

All of those things, as well as every horrible moment in between, brought us to where we are now. And although right this second it's not exactly a dream come true, it won't always be like this. That means I can't begrudge any of it, it's all bundled up together for better or worse, just our history and nothing else. And how I wish I could make her get that.

Because for Faith it's so much more, and I know at the moment her mind is focused only on the horrible things. She's nowhere near the good stuff, nowhere near who she is now. It's all about her shortcomings, the things she's done that she'd give almost anything to take back, that's what's keeping her company as she works her way to Boston. Terrific; it's a train wreck making its way state by state with Conductor F. Lehane at the wheel or switch or whatever the hell trains have.

Or maybe not. Maybe it'll be just what she needs. Maybe she'll be able to put things into perspective and stop this downward spiral she's started on. I'm not exactly sure why I think that's even a remote possibility, but I do and I'm going with it. Because if I don't, I'll go insane, and nobody needs that.

The night sure looks dark and it's weird that it doesn't make me feel anything except alone. Normally the nighttime kind of feels like home, at least to the Slayer part of me. Now it just looks empty, lonely and quiet, even though I know it's none of those things. But there's no thrill, no desire to be out there when I know she won't be with me.

I wonder again if I should call her…Okay, what I really want to do is go to her. I'm not sure if it would make any difference at all beyond being some big grand gesture, but then just sitting here doesn't seem to be making any difference either. I don't see how it could really hurt anything…except that she'd feel more closed in and pressured than she already does.

Clearly she wants her space, that's why she left. Although she didn't exactly say that, maybe she implied it. I go get her letter to read again for the thousandth time, but it still doesn't really give me any concrete answers:


I know it's shitty for me to take off when you're sleeping. I'm sorry, for that and everything else too. I should've never started this, pretty obvious I can't deal. It's not you, Buffy, and I know how lame that sounds. But I dumped this crap on you because I could feel it coming and I got scared. The truth of it is I'm the fuckup here, and even though I wish I could stay, I gotta go. I'm sorry, B…We just can't be together, much as I wish we could.


What's the time period before the dumpee can legally chase after the dumper? Surely one week has to be plenty of time. But maybe it's not, maybe two weeks is right. I can say for sure that's my: "Giving Faith Her Space" time limit. I guess I should ask around or maybe have Willow research it on the computer. Not that it matters in one way, these are special circumstances and I don't really care what anybody else thinks.

I blow out a deep breath and drop my head down on my knees. Even though I keep trying to make this all lighthearted, it's the furthest thing from that. The woman I love is falling apart and has left me, there's nothing funny or lighthearted at all in any of that. Stuff doesn't get any more serious than this and I'm scared, depressed, and worried.

It's really quiet right now, and it's making me tear up again. Which is crazy because when Faith's here and it's quiet, I feel so happy and loved. I don't get how it works, but us lying together in bed not talking is almost my favorite thing ever. It always makes me feel like nothing can hurt me, like my life has finally become what it's supposed to be, and it makes me feel like I'm just a person…the luckiest one in the world.

Maybe dinner at Willow's will be a good thing after all. We can invite Xander too and maybe between the three of us we can figure out what I should do. At this point, I might even be willing to take advice from Kennedy. And okay probably not, but the possibility's possible, which shows just how truly desperate I am.

There's a knock on my door and my heart leaps even though I know it's not her. I don't want company, not tonight, but how can I get out of it? Whoever it is knows I'm home and I can't exactly blame them for worrying about me. I need to show whoever it is that I'm okay, maybe ten minutes will be long enough, and then I can get them to leave.

I try to smile as I open the door, but it actually hurts my face muscles because they're so out of practice. The best I can manage is a weird grimace-y look, which I'm sure doesn't look all that reassuring to…to no one. The hallway's empty, but there's a plastic bag on the floor with a note on top:


As I recall, ice cream is required at times such as this. Please call upon me if you need me, no matter the hour.


A half gallon of Rocky Road, and I can feel my eyes tearing up for the millionth time. 

I scoop out a pretty good sized portion, put the rest in the freezer, and head back to my window seat. I drape the blanket over my lap and begin eating as I stare out into the night. I hope she's okay.


I miss the sound of your voice
And I miss the rush of your skin

And I miss the still of the silence
As you breathe out and I breathe in

If I could walk on water
If I could tell you what's next

I'd make you believe
Make you forget

So come on get higher, loosen my lips
Faith and desire in the swing of your hips

Just pull me down hard
And drown me in love

So come on get higher, loosen my lips
Faith and desire in the swing of your hips

Just pull me down hard
And drown me in love

I miss the sound of your voice
The loudest thing in my head

And I ache to remember
All the violent, sweet, perfect words that you said

If I could walk on water
If I could tell you what's next

I'd make you believe
I'd make you forget

So come on get higher, loosen my lips
Faith and desire in the swing of your hips

Just pull me down hard
And drown me in love

So come on get higher, loosen my lips
Faith and desire in the swing of your hips

Just pull me down hard
And drown me in love

I miss the pull of your heart
I can taste the sparks on your tongue

And I see angels and devils and God
When you come on

Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on
Come on get higher, loosen my lips

Faith and desire in the swing of your hips
Just pull me down hard

And drown me in love

So come on get higher, loosen my lips
Faith and desire in the swing of your hips

Pull me down hard
And drown me, drown me in love

It's all wrong, it's all wrong
It's so right

So come on get higher
Come on get higher

`Cause everything works, love
Everything works in your arms

-Come on Get Higher - Matt Nathanson



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