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by Bobbi

Challenge: Faith Finds Out- 2nd Place Winner

Rating: NC-17
Song(s): "Blood on the Ground" by Incubus, "Straight On" by Heart, "Feelin' Love" by Paula Cole, "We Belong" by Pat Benatar
3 Thing Minimum: Uh, I know I've got them in here somewhere.
Dedication: For Gina


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"I don't want to talk to you anymore
I'm afraid of what I might say
I bite my tongue every time you come around
'Cause blood in my mouth beats blood on the ground"


Faith sat quietly, supposedly engrossed in “Metal Gear Solid” on her PSP, but in reality she’d lost any interest she’d had in the game. Snake was still crouched hidden in the shadows behind some boxes where he’d been for the last few minutes, and as the guards drew closer and closer to him, Faith was thinking only of where she was headed and about the woman who would be waiting there for her when she arrived.

It wouldn’t go well, she knew that, not even with Giles running interference for her. It didn’t take a lot to make that prediction, it never went well when they were together. It hadn’t been that long ago they’d almost killed each other, and nothing had changed since then. They hadn’t been in contact, they hadn’t talked it over, it had all just sat there festering like it always did. Every goddamn time.



“Excuse me, Faith?”

She pulled her thoughts back to the man sitting across from her, the only other passenger on the Council’s private jet.

“Yeah, G-man?”

“I believe some sort of calamity has befallen your man there.”

She glanced down and heard the commotion, complete with alarms and gunshots.

“Yeah, fucker’s dead again.”

She shut off the system and stuffed it into her bag, leaning back and closing her eyes, the very picture of relaxation.

Giles wasn’t fooled, not in the slightest. He’d come to know her fairly well since they’d been working together, and he knew that she had feelings for Buffy that certainly needed resolving. He also knew the same could be said for his Slayer.

And Buffy was his Slayer despite the enormous rift that had torn open between them. He hated the look of hurt and distrust that was always present in her eyes whenever she had any dealings with him, but he understood it. Still, he had believed that Spike’s elimination had been a necessary evil, and he’d been determined to keep Buffy from having to do something that went very much against her nature.

The closest she had ever come to crossing that line on his watch had been when she had stabbed the young woman sitting nervously across from him, but even then Buffy had been unable to make herself take that final step. She had been unable to deliver the fatal blow, yet still she blamed herself as if she had. But Giles knew better…and so did Faith.

Because even though the fight had ended with a knife being slammed into Faith’s body, that wasn’t what caused the most damage, not even close. The doctors confirmed that the stab wound had missed everything vital, and while they’d marveled at that bit of luck, Rupert Giles had not. He knew it had nothing to do with luck and everything to do with who Buffy was, and he wasn’t the slightest bit surprised when Faith’s Slayer healing took care of that injury in a matter of days.

No, it was Faith herself who had done the most damage, and she’d done it deliberately and with as much malice, hurt, and anger as she could muster. Not that it really mattered who was at fault. Buffy had shouldered the blame all too willingly, and nothing had ever been the same again, not for any of them. The world became an even more dangerous place, the stakes grew ever higher, and his Slayer began struggling from that moment on.

He’d watched her suffer and he’d done everything that was in his power to do, yet none of it made a difference in the end. Still he’d struggled on, stumbling around like a man in the dark, making mistake after mistake as he crashed into nearly everything in his attempt to offer aid. Despite his efforts or maybe because of them, a rift began opening that all too quickly became impossible for them to bridge, and no matter what he...

“G-man, you okay?”

He smiled trying to reassure her, but he knew she wasn’t fooled. She leaned forward in her seat, her hand on his knee, her normally masked expression etched with concern and understanding. He knew she knew he was nervous to return as well, and somehow that made everything just a little bit better.

“Hey, she’s tiny, Giles. Bet together we can take her.”

He smiled again, this time genuinely:

“I’m not quite sure of that, but I do know I’ve no wish to find out.”

She sat back with a grin that revealed her respect and admiration for the Slayer who had come before her:

“Me neither. B’s one tough bitch.”

“I’d very much have to agree with that assessment.”

“Course ya would. So, what’s the ETA?”

“I’d say perhaps twenty minutes before we touch down. Xander said he’d meet us, so that should put us at the castle in approximately two hours, perhaps less if all conditions are optimal.”

Her eyes were closed again, but her body language showed she was nowhere near peaceful.

“Great, be glad to get out of this rust bucket. Never was big on flyin’, ya know?

“I must say, I’ve gotten quite used to it. Perhaps your nerves are the result of a fundamental lack of understanding as to the actual physics of flying. I’d be happy to…”

One eye opened:

“I swear I’ll jump if I gotta.”

He laughed:

“Yes, I do believe you would.”

“Damn straight, I would. Plus it’d get me outta a whole lotta shit.”

“Ah, but then that would be the coward’s way out.”

She stretched and grabbed the folder on the seat next to her:

“Yeah, guess that’s not mine anymore. This the info I gotta know?”

“Yes, but I thought you were saving that for the car ride?”

“Might as well get it outta the way, then if Cyclops doesn’t hate my guts, maybe he can catch me up on all the good stuff.”

Giles began organizing papers in his briefcase:

“I’m almost certain Xander will be his usual affable self; I don’t think you need worry about that.”

“Trust me, Giles, I gotta worry about it all. Xand’s a good guy, but when ya hurt B, well, got yourself a whole new ballgame.”

“Yes, he’s been a good friend to her over the years.”

She pulled out some papers and scanned them with a practiced eye.

“Probably what I like best about him. So what’s all this extra shit?”

“What? Oh yes, that’s how it was faxed to us. I’m afraid there wasn’t time to…”

“No big, just kinda threw me. Usually these reports are just skin and bones.”

Giles glanced up as he struggled with the contents of his briefcase:

“Yes, well you’ve made it quite clear you’re not at all interested in anything that doesn’t pertain directly to…”

She tossed everything over to him except for two neatly typed pages:

“All I need’s the facts on whichever fuck-up I’m tryin’ to haul into line. Everybody’s got a story, but ain’t gonna be on a page. Can figure what I need, and one way or another they cough up the rest.”

He finally had everything in order and placed the newest folder on top:

“You’ll get no quarrel from me when it comes to your methods. You’re doing an exemplarily job, surpassing the already high expectations I had before we embarked upon this endeavor.”

“Thanks, G-Man, means a lot…So this says the fuckers can trans…transmo...?”

“’Transmogrification’ is the ability to transform one’s shape into something else.”

Faith rolled her eyes:

“So shape shifters. Can’t you just say that ‘stead of goin’ all fancy?”

“I’ll remind you that I did not write that.”

“Yeah, but you wanted to. Point is, I thought that was just Hollywood crap?”

He smiled affectionately and held up the file she’d just tossed over to him:

“And if you’d read the entire report, you would have learned that just as Dracula did, these vampires have somehow managed to acquire the necessary skills to...”

“Why read it? Just gotta ask you.”

She finished in a few minutes and handed him the rest of the report:

“Jesus, so was everybody asleep at the switch? They just let some fancy pants vamps waltz off with the Scythe?”

“It’s all a bit vague, but…”

“Was B even there?”

“Yes, but I gather she was already in bed.”

“Well damn, ‘less the world was shakin’ for her, I don’t get it. And how’d they get in?”

Before he could answer, the pilot interrupted:

“Mr. Giles, Ms. Lehane, we’ll be landing soon. Would you both buckle up for your safety? Thank you.”

They moved to comply, Faith swearing as her seatbelt balked when she yanked on it a bit too hard.

”Fucking piece of shit! How come these bust up all the time?”

“Perhaps because you pull on them with Slayer strength when all that is required…”

“’Scuse me, Jeeves, this a Slayer plane or not? Can’t help you’re a big pussy with no muscles. Oughta upgrade this hunk a junk.”

“Faith, for the last time, I am not equipping this plane with a Jacuzzi nor will it be sporting an Xbox and a large screen television any time soon.”

She looked at him, struggling to keep the grin off her face:

“Then ya better start buying these babies by the truckload. Your call, Watcher.”

“Must you be so childish about this?”

“No, just wanna be.”

“I see.”

They didn’t speak as the plane touched down, not until the pilot opened the cockpit door and headed over to them:

“It’s now safe to exit through the cabin door.”

Faith was already up and stretching, her breasts sticking out even further than they usually did:

“Gee, thanks for the explanation. Was plannin’ to squeeze my ass out through the john.”

“Uh…Yes, of course. My apologies, Ms. Lehane.”

“Christ, Timmy, wanna calm down a little? Was just being a smart ass, yeah?”

He looked confused and quickly turned to Giles:

“Will that be all, Mr. Giles?”

“Yes, Timothy. Ms. Lehane and I will no longer need your services. We’ll contact you when we’re ready to depart, but as I said before, I would imagine it will be at least a week or two before you hear from us. Enjoy your family reunion.”

“Thank you, Mister Giles. I haven’t seen my aunt in nearly four years and the entire family’s going to be arriving there tomorrow.”

Giles patted him on the shoulder as he reached for his belongings:

“Have a splendid time, you well deserve the holiday.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“Hey, Timmy?”

He was already heading back to the cockpit, but spun around to face her:

“Yes, Ms. Lehane?”

She blew him a kiss and gave him a sexy smile:

“Give my best to the fam!”

He turned bright red, and struggled not to stammer:

“Um…yes…I shall…even though…I mean, I’m quite sure…I don’t believe any of them actually know you.”

“What? You mean you never mentioned the hot chick you’re gonna marry?”

“’Marry’?! Ms. Lehane…I…”

Giles had gathered everything, and he quickly stepped in before it got any worse:

“She’s joking, Timothy. Please give my regards to your lovely parents. Faith, if you will.”

She followed Giles off the plane, blowing another kiss and licking her lips sensually as she passed by the young pilot. He blushed again and Faith laughed, ignoring the last three steps to leap to the tarmac.

“Faith, really. Must you torment him every time you see him?”

“Already told ya: don’t gotta, just wanna.”

Giles smiled as he began hoisting their already unloaded luggage:

“Well, one day the poor boy is going to explode.”

She grabbed the heaviest bag with a grin:

“Figure he’ll be exploding in just a few. Don’t call it a ‘cockpit’ for nothin’.”

He rolled his eyes in disgust, but when her back was turned he allowed himself an amused smile. She really was amazingly funny, and he very much enjoyed her lively, often bawdy sense of humor.

She tended way too often to lapse into a brooding silence, and although she never let it affect her performance on the job, he hated to see her suffering as she so obviously did. She was a complex individual, one he had become quite fond of in their time together, and he couldn’t have been prouder of her progress.

He hated bringing her back into contact with Buffy after their last confrontation. The two Slayers had not spoken to each other since that awful meeting some time ago, Giles himself had only spoken briefly to Buffy twice, and he knew that Faith was not at all looking forward to seeing her again. Unfortunately they all had no other recourse.

As was so often the case, individual conflicts had to be set aside no matter how difficult that might be to manage. They desperately needed anyone they could get onboard, the situation was way too serious to allow personal issues to stand in the way. Besides, Faith wasn’t just “anyone”.

She was a seasoned fighter, brave, smart, and incredibly skilled in combat. She was the best they had when it came to long range weapons, and she was the second best Slayer in the world when it came to everything else. There was no way to leave her out of the upcoming battle: she was needed.

Buffy herself had called and requested her, so Giles knew matters must be extremely dire. He’d been asked to vouch for Faith’s sanity and when he had done so, Buffy had merely told him they needed to get to the castle as soon as possible. There was nothing else offered and he didn’t kid himself, he knew her feelings about both of them had not changed.

“There he is.”

Faith pointed out the blue car happily, but then her footsteps slowed until she was actually walking behind Giles. He hoped that Xander would be happy to see them, especially Faith. He knew how much she liked him, and he also knew that it would do nothing but help immeasurably if she still had a friend somewhere in the mix.

He extended his hand, uncertain of his own welcome:

“Hello, Xander. You’re looking well.”

Xander ignored Giles’ outstretched hand and pulled him into a tight hug:

“Hi, Giles, it’s great to have you home!”

Giles couldn’t help but smile back, and he hadn’t missed the heavy emphasis on the word “home”.

“It’s wonderful to be back.”

Faith had no choice now so she stepped out from behind Giles, her face defiant as she tried to keep her fear from showing.


He looked behind himself in confusion:

“’Xander’? ‘Xander’? Who is this mysterious fellow you refer to?”

Her eyes met his as he boomed out:

“That, beautiful lady, is not my name for I am…”

She stood grinning at him as he gestured, then gestured again:

“Faith, that’s your cue.”

“Oh yeah, sorry. “

“Let’s try it again: ‘Nay, that be not my name, for I am …’”

Faith flung her arms out wide and bowed as she announced him to the nearly empty tarmac:

“Cyclops the Terrible. Let mere mortals tremble!”

“That’s much better, Slay Gal!”

He swept her up into an almost painfully tight hug and twirled her around:

“Thank God you’re back and looking just as sexy and scary as ever. Mmm…you still smell good too.”

“Wanna put me down ‘fore I hurl?”


When she was back safely on the ground, he grabbed her bags as a gentleman should and staggered over to the trunk. He refused her attempt to take the heavy one off his hands.

“I’ve got it, little lady. So, did you guys have a good trip?”

Giles smiled as he watched Xander nearly killing himself trying to handle Faith’s bags:

“Yes, it was quite pleasant.”

“Yeah, had ‘Metal Gear’ goin’ on the PSP, so ya know.”

He placed most of the bags in the trunk, saving the heavy one for last as he talked excitedly:

“Oh man, is that a great game…”

He nearly flipped over backwards as he wrapped the heavy bag in a bear hug and tried to quickly toss it into the trunk. Faith reached out and steadied him, then took the bag from him and sat it behind the other bags.

“…or what? Only Andrew will play with me and he freaks if he gets spotted, so you have to put up with that.”

He started the engine as Faith took the backseat and Giles slid into the passenger seat.

“So Cyclops, when’d ya come out?”

Xander was concentrating on backing up, his mind only half following along:

“’Come out’?”

“Yeah, as a gay guy.”

The car swerved, then came to an abrupt stop as he looked at her.

“I…What?! Why are you…”

“Said Andrew plays with you and freaks if you guys get spotted, so I just thought…”

“Hardee, har, har.”

He pulled out of the small jetport and Faith leaned back in her seat, her dimples deep grooves on either side of her mouth.

“Damn, gotta laugh like a tough guy pirate now? What do they call that, Giles?”

“I believe it’s called ‘overcompensation’.”

“Yeah, that’s it. Don’t gotta do that, Xand, we’re all friends here. Ya wanna bang Andy, who are we to judge?”

Xander glanced at her in the rearview mirror:

“Fine, have your fun, Faith. But somewhere down the line when you least expect it, your ass is mine.”

“Damn, me and Andy? You’re one horny bastard, for sure.”

Giles could not muffle his laughter, not that he tried all that hard to. Xander’s grin lit up his whole face, making his eye twinkle as he looked at her again, then smacked Giles on the arm:

“Man, I’ve missed you guys. Welcome home.”

The reunion went better than any of them had a right to expect. Faith stayed quiet and Buffy didn’t speak to her, not directly anyway. It had been decided weeks ago that in order to have the best chance of getting the Slayer Scythe back safely, they were going to have to play a waiting game while Willow figured out exactly where the vampires were and what specific magicks they were using.

It hadn’t been easy breaking through all of the spells hiding their location, but Willow also had the Coven on the job and there were no spells on Earth that could hold out against that kind of firepower forever, or as it was shaping up, even one month.

“So, the plan is to be ready to go when the time comes. Will, what time frame are we looking at?”

“I’d say two or three days at the most. My spell on the Scythe should last at least another week after that, so that gives us plenty of time before they can even think of using it.”

Buffy nodded, throwing Willow a quick glance, and Faith wondered what had been going on with them. Even though things seemed fine, it was like they were being careful around each other, which was weirder than weird.

“Okay then, we’ve all got our assignments. I want everyone well-rested and staying put is the best way to ensure that. Remember, no one leaves the castle for any reason, is that perfectly clear?”

There was a chorus of “yeses’ and Buffy smiled:

“We will get back what was stolen from us and we’ll kick plenty of vamp butt doing it. Those of you on the nightshift stay alert and stay safe. Everybody else, see you in the morning.”

They scrambled out, leaving only the Scoobies and some pretty Asian Slayer that Faith didn’t recognize. Not that that was strange, she didn’t really know many of the Slayers.

“Will, the protective barrier is still in place?”

“Yep, I check it every few hours and I’ve been rotating certain…Let’s just say that it won’t be coming down until I take it down.”

Buffy smiled, and Willow tentatively returned it.

“It’s good to have the ‘Willow Rosenberg Seal of Approval’. Xander, what about…”

“All squared away, Buffster. Still patrolling ‘round the clock, four Slayers in five groups as well as a full staff in the monitoring room. They know to report whatever they see, even if it’s just a moth.”

“Then I’d say that’s it for tonight. Giles?”

He looked almost startled:

“Yes, Buffy?”

“Did you have anything you wanted to add?”

“N…No, it seems as if you’ve everything well in hand.”

Faith could see Buffy struggling to hold in some less than polite comment:

“…Yeah, I guess I do.”

He smiled and she looked away before she was forced to return it, but at least she hadn’t ignored or attacked him.

“Excuse me, Buffy?”

Buffy’s shoulders tensed as she turned to look at the other Slayer, and Faith wondered if Buffy had a problem with everybody these days.

“I’m sorry, Satsu. Did you…”

“I was…I just wanted to go over the list with you.”

“The list, sure. Is everyone else finished?”

Everyone nodded and got to their feet, Faith right along with them, until Buffy spoke up:

“Faith, would you mind waiting for a few minutes?”

“For what?”

The tone instantly set Buffy’s hackles on edge.

“How about because I asked you to?”

“Nah, doesn’t quite work for me.”

Giles turned to face her:

“Faith, remember what we talked about?”

“Oh yeah, gotta suck up to Her Highness. Gotcha.”

The look he gave her was understanding and disapproving all at once, she’d seen it plenty of times since they’d started working together. With a small sigh, she gave in:

“Okay, fine. Yeah, B, I’ll hang.”

“Thank you. Satsu?”

Faith wondered if she was imagining things, but she was sure she was reading a look of disappointment on Satsu’s face. Faith guessed maybe she’d wanted Buffy’s undivided attention, and was upset that she was now only going to be able to give the info and go.

Faith envied her when all was said and done. She would have offered to trade places with her if she’d thought that had even a shot at working, but she knew better. Instead she walked over to the window and stared off into the night, not even remotely paying attention to the conversation taking place behind her. It didn’t concern her, so no way was she going to waste her time listening in.

After a few minutes had passed, Faith turned to Buffy:

“Look Blondie, I got other things to do than stand here while you and your latest groupie give each other a happy.”

Satsu blushed, but Buffy just glanced up at Faith:

“We’re finished. It all seems fine, Satsu, but I’m just not sure about Alicia. I’m willing to go with her if you say…”

“She’s more than ready, Buffy. I’m positive of that.”

“Then she’s good to go. See you tomorrow.”

Satsu’s smile was almost blinding and Faith knew right then that the poor little Slayer girl had the hots for Buffy. She filed the info away, it would definitely come in handy if she needed to back Buffy off somewhere down the line.

Satsu left, closing the door behind her, and Buffy continued staring down at some papers in front of her.

“Okay B, I’m all done with the pissing contest. Not here for a job interview, so either talk or I’m outta here.”

Buffy shuffled some of the papers and then looked up:

“I’m not trying to make you wait, Faith. I just wanted to make sure…”

“Got nothin’ to do with me, do it on your own fuckin’ time.”

Buffy’s eyes, none too friendly before, now appeared to be made of ice:

“Same old ‘Faith’, huh?”

“Sure. Same old ‘Buffy’ too.”

They tried to stare each other down for minute, then Buffy’s shoulders slumped as she let out a sigh:

“Do we really have to do this now?”

“When did ya wanna do it, B? I’ll make sure to clear my calendar.”

Buffy got to her feet so quickly her chair slid back, nearly tipping over:

“Can you give me a break? We need to talk, sensibly, like actual grownups.”

Faith relented and planted herself in the seat next to Buffy’s:

“Okay. Shoot.”

Buffy dragged her chair back to the table and sat down:

“About what happened…”

“Ya mean when you jumped to conclusions again and tried to kill me?”

“That went both ways as I recall, Faith.”

Faith snorted disgustedly:

“Yeah, sorry I didn’t just let ya beat the shit outta me. My bad.”

“Well, trying to drown me wasn’t exactly…”

Now it was Faith’s turn to stand:

“I wasn’t tryin’ to drown you, I was tryin’ to save your dumb ass! Ya blew my cover so I had to get another one going as fast as I could.”

“By trying to kill me?”

“No, by making it look good while I got you outta there. That Roden guy was all charged up and getting ready to slam some serious magic your way. What the fuck did you want me to do, just stand there and watch you get incinerated?”

Buffy hesitated:

“…I didn’t see him, so it just seemed like you were helping her.”

“I had to think fast, B. Figured I could pull off being the crazy, evil Slayer, had no fucking clue you were gonna buy it.”

Buffy rolled her eyes:

“Well what did you expect? As far as I could tell, you were in bed with the enemy. What was I supposed to do?”

As much as she tried to prevent it, Faith could hear the hurt in her voice as she answered:

“You were supposed to trust me.”

Buffy eyes shifted to the tabletop and Faith sat back down heavily in her chair. Neither of them spoke for several moments, but then Buffy cleared her throat:

“I’m sorry, Faith. Old habits, you know?”

“Yeah. Guess it just doesn’t matter what I do, does it, B? You can’t ever let it go, won’t ever let me off the hook. Can spend the rest of my life fighting the good fight and to you, I’m always gonna be the murderous slut I used to be.”

Buffy looked at her then, her hand twitching as if she wanted to reach out, but then she changed her mind and pulled both of her hands back into her lap.

“That isn’t what I think of you, Faith.”

“Yeah okay, whatever.”

“It’s not. I remember the final battle in Sunnydale, how you came back to help.”

Faith’s eyes held Buffy’s in an intense gaze:

“Do ya? ‘Cause gotta say, B, doesn’t seem like you do, not ever.”

Buffy sighed again, rubbing the palm of her hand over her face:

“I do, Faith. It’s just…It’s just that it’s so easy to think the worst about you.”

Faith stood, clearly angry:

“Got the same problem myself. That it, ‘cause I’m beat?”

Buffy said nothing and Faith headed for the door. She never got it open all the way before Buffy slammed it shut.

“Wait, please!”

“What’s left, B? Think ya hit all the usual spots.”

“It isn’t you, Faith, it’s me, okay? I’m just…Look, I’m glad you’re here. We…I need you for this fight. These guys are tough and…”

“Just point me in the right direction and I’ll do my part.”

Faith’s head was bent down and Buffy lowered her own, trying to catch Faith’s eye:



“I’m sorry for doubting you last time. You’re right, I should have known better. It’s just that I’m…well, I’m an idiot.”

Faith didn’t smile, but her dimples deepened:

“No argument here. Okay, I’m sorry too, alright? Maybe we oughta try and give each other a break once in a while.”

“I’d like that, a lot.”

“Same here. We square now?”

Buffy smiled:

“Yeah, we’re square. Can you find your room from here?”

“I’ll figure it out. Night, B.”

“Goodnight, Faith.”

Faith walked out into the hall, feeling better than she had in a long time.

Maybe they could be friends again, for once. Maybe all of the tension and misunderstanding from before was just something that happened for whatever reason and now that’d they talked about it, maybe it wouldn’t keep happening all the time. That sort of made some sense and Faith was going to go with it.

When she reached her room, one glimpse of the inviting bed let her know she was nowhere near getting some sleep. She knew she couldn’t patrol; first she’d have to slip past the ten thousand guards and then when Buffy got the news, she’d beat the hell out of her while Giles helped. Faith could be stupid, but she wasn’t dumb, and she didn’t want to do anything to ruin the tenuous new peace accord she had going with Buffy.

All that left for her was working out, so she quickly changed clothes and headed off in what she thought was the general direction of the nearest training room. She was glad it was late and that this section of the castle was on guard duty. It meant she’d have the place all to herself.

She made a few wrong turns, but then she found it, and much to her displeasure she also found Satsu pummeling the hell out of the bag. Faith watched her for a couple of minutes from the doorway and had to admit she was impressed. The young Slayer’s form and speed were top notch, and she packed a lot of power in every punch. She also kept her concentration, completely ignoring Faith as she continued on with her workout.

With a final powerful swing, she turned to Faith:

“Jet lag?”

“Somethin’ like that. You?”

“Too many thoughts. I’m Satsu, by the way.”

She extended her hand and Faith shook it:

“So I heard. I’m Faith, but then guessin’ you already know that.”

“You have kinda been the talk around here for the last few days.”

Faith stretched out a little:

“Yeah, usually am.”

Satsu began toying nervously with the magically enhanced chain that held the bag firmly to the ceiling. She started to speak twice, then changed her mind and remained silent. Faith didn’t look at her, but she could feel her eyes boring a hole through her.

“Somethin’ eatin’ at ya?”

“…No, not really. I…uh…I suppose Buffy explained things to you?”

“Yeah, laid it out best she could.”

Faith decided she wasn’t going to wrap her hands; she just needed to get some emotion out, just like always whenever she was around Buffy. She started to ask Satsu if she was done with the bag, but when she saw the intense expression on the other girl’s face, she hesitated.

She was more than a little confused, and just as she started to ask her what the deal was, Satsu began talking again:

“Well, I guess she figured it’d be better if you heard it from her.”

Alarm bells, incredulous alarm bells began ringing, and Faith decided she must be going nuts again.

“What would be better if I heard it from her?”

Satsu turned red, then white, her eyes reflecting her fear as she realized her mistake.

“Uh…you know, the plan.”

Faith stepped closer, grabbing onto Satsu’s arm and turning her until they were facing each other:

“Look, not in the mood for games, just wanna hit somethin’. You or the bag, either works for me.”

She jerked free from Faith’s grasp:

“There’s nothing else to tell. Buffy said she wanted to keep you in the loop so that there wouldn’t be any confusion when we go after the…”

Faith’s eyes darkened:

”Look, Shitsu, knock off the bull. What ‘woulda been better’ if I’d heard it from her?”

Satsu edged away, unwrapping the tape from her hands as she walked over to her gear.

“I already told you. I don’t know what your problem is, but I do know I’m getting sick of your attitude.”

Faith laughed, but she was clearly not amused:

“You’ve never seen my attitude, but you’re workin’ your way closer every second.”

Satsu tossed the tape she’d peeled off her hands into the trash can across the room:

“Then I guess we’re at an impasse. I’ll leave you alone to work out your issues. Goodnight.”

Her progress was stopped again, but this time the hand gripping her arm felt like a vise.

“Listen close, kid. I know you don’t know me, that’s all that’s keepin’ this friendly right now. I asked you a question, more than once, and to be honest? I’m all done playin’ around.”

Satsu tried to pull loose and did, but it was a great deal harder to manage the second time around.

“Okay Faith, now it’s your turn to listen. I’m not a ‘kid’, I’m a Slayer, the best one there is after Buffy. You wanna make this physical? That’s up to you. I told you I don’t know anything, and I’ve got nothing else to say.”

“Gonna tell me if it takes spilling your blood all over this fucking room.”

Satsu was the best Slayer Buffy had, she had no doubt whatsoever about her own abilities, but there was something about Faith’s eyes that had her fighting to keep her nerves under control.

“Sorry, I can’t say I’m all that intimidated. Maybe you should go find someone else to bully.”

Faith looked her up and down:

“You fucked her, didn’t you?”

Said with a quiet fury Satsu had never heard before from anyone, and the intensity of it made her answer honestly:

“…We made love, yes.”

The bag exploded, its guts spilling out and onto the floor as Faith struck it dead center with a powerful left hook. All too quickly, her attention was back on the Slayer in front of her.

“So, you and the magic fairy princess did the deed.”

“That’s not exactly how I’d put it. Faith, I’m just not comfortable with…”

“So how’d it happen exactly? Get her drunk or was she just so sad and lonely you had to eat her out?”

Satsu had been moving for the door, but that comment stopped her in her tracks:

“Hold on, I get you’re upset, but I don’t appreciate…”

“Oh, c’mon, Dykesu, let’s hear the juicy details. Did she go down on you? Make you scream her name? How many times did you get her to come?”

Satsu found herself walking back to stand face to face with Faith:

“I’d advise you to shut your mouth. You don’t know anything about…”

Faith grinned, her eyes sparkling darkly as she somehow moved even closer:

“Always was curious Slutsu, how many fingers does it take to fill that sacred cunt? I’m guessing three, maybe four. Or did you have to fist her after all the vamp dick she’s…”

Satsu’s punch knocked Faith backwards over the balance beam.

“Don’t talk about Buffy like that again.”

Faith flipped to her feet, an unpleasant smirk on her face.

“Hey c’mon, I get it. You fell, lots of people do. B likes to fuck’em, play with’em, then move on to the next poor sap she can find to be her lapdog. Don’t take it personal when she makes ya feel like a dirty slut.”

Satsu began moving toward her again, but managed to stop herself before she’d gone too far:

“I heard you used to be insane…Either you’ve had a relapse or you don’t know her at all. Buffy is…”

“Oh please, kid, I know Buffy. Maybe not like you do though. I mean, I never got a chance to feel that sweet juicy tongue shoved so far up my pussy I was seein’…”

Satsu swung again, but this time Faith was waiting. She used Satsu’s momentum against her, tossing her hard into the vaulting horse. There was no time to untangle herself before Faith picked her up and threw her across the room where she smashed with bone breaking force into the wall.

She was dazed, but made herself rise to her feet as Faith stalked over to her:

“Better stay down, Skanksu, ‘fore I make sure you can’t get up.”

Satsu struck out with her foot, catching Faith hard in the ribs. She let out a pain filled breath and sank to her knees in apparent agony, and Satsu moved closer:

“I don’t want to do this, but if you keep...”

Satsu was lifted off the ground by the most powerful blow she’d ever felt. She never even saw it, but it sent her flying right past everything. She crashed into the door leading to the hallway, hitting it hard enough to almost tear it completely off its hinges.

It barely even slowed her down, and she only stopped moving when she crossed the hall and slammed into the wall on the far side. She was completely out of it, even though she was conscious. She sat there confused as to how she’d gotten where she was, and she had no awareness of the danger she was in…at least not until she looked up to see Faith coming her way with a terrifying smile on her face.

That cleared things up rather quickly. As she was yanked roughly to her feet, she dug deep and swung out with everything she had. The punch to Faith’s cheek knocked her off and back for a second, but it didn’t really slow her down. She merely grunted with the pain and kept moving forward.

Satsu’s next few blows hit hard, especially the one that hit right where the painful kick had landed moments before. Several other shots connected solidly, but Faith didn’t seem to notice or care. She just kept coming.

She grabbed Satsu and drove a punch into her solar plexus. The air shot out of her, and Faith quickly followed with blow after blow. Satsu started to fall, but Faith kept her standing, her hands grasping the neck of her shirt, pulling their faces as close as possible while still allowing them to focus.

The now black eyes burning into hers were among the scariest sights Satsu had ever seen. It felt like she was looking into the eyes of death, and although she refused to show it, she was afraid in a way she’d never been before.

But Satsu wasn’t a coward, she had never been one and she never would be, and she made herself hold that gaze for all she was worth. She could barely even stand on her own and she felt like she was going to pass out, but she would not cower before anyone.

Faith stood there staring, wanting with everything in her to release the rage she could feel coursing through every part of her being. It was a familiar feeling, a feeling she hadn’t felt in a long, long time, but it was one she recognized instantly.

She wanted to hurt everything in her path. She wanted to destroy everything she could get her hands on, starting with this woman she held in her hands...this fellow Slayer…this brave young girl whose only crime was that she had somehow managed to get where Faith would have gladly given her own life to go.

Satsu saw it the second it happened. The hands remained just as hard and unyielding, but somehow the eyes grew lighter. Everything seemed just the same, but it wasn’t…it was all different somehow.

All she could see now was an ocean of pain in the warm, rich brown eyes, and she found herself having to look away. It was too intimate, too personal to witness, especially this close up.


The word said so softly and with such sorrow and shame.

The hands shook now as they held onto her, almost as if they were holding on tight so that Faith herself wouldn’t collapse to the floor. Her eyes closed and when they opened again, they were focused on Satsu.

Faith cleared her throat to speak, to try and offer an apology that would matter, but before she could, she was gone. She was hoisted into the air and flung backwards, crashing hard into the training room door, tearing it completely from its hinges.

She slid along on top of it and when it finally came to a stop, Faith sat up. She remained down until two strong hands pulled her to her feet, spun her around, and punched her back out into the hallway. She landed painfully at Satsu’s feet.

Buffy’s voice was furious as Faith stood up:

“What in the hell are you doing?”

“Sparring with your personal little Shitsu. Why?”

“’Why’?! Are you out of your mind?”

Faith seemed so hard and removed, Satsu couldn’t believe what she was looking at.

There was nothing on display that even remotely resembled what she’d just seen in Faith’s eyes. There was no pain, no sorrow, no remorse, no fear. All that was on display for Buffy to see was a cutting and dismissive arrogance, a cocky shield that had every real emotion hidden so far out of sight, Satsu began to question her own sanity.

“Could be a relapse.”

Buffy spun around, her eyes examining Satsu for any serious damage:

“Are you all right?”

“…Yeah, I’m okay.”

Buffy could see that she was barely hanging on, so she gently wrapped her arm around her to prevent Satsu from collapsing to the floor. When she was sure she had her safely secured, Buffy turned her attention back to Faith:

“I have no idea what you think you’re doing, but this isn’t how it works around here. You can’t just go around beating up Slayers and…”

Faith laughed contemptuously:

“My mistake. Woulda fucked her, but kinda tired of your sloppy seconds.”

The silence filled the hallway as Faith turned and walked away, taking the last word with her.


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