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The Strangest Day

by Bobina



Challenge: Cave Slayers
Rating: PG-13
5 Things Minimum: All of 'em!
Summary: Faith wakes up from her coma and finds that not everything remains the same.
Dedications: To the lovely List Pest, ABC, and the crazies like Frass and Bobbi for convincing me to write this in the first place. And of course to Gina, for making up the challenge. And to my goldfish, Goldie, may he rest in peace.

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"You're telling me that *you* killed Adam?" Giles asks me, incredulously.

"Well yeah," I reply with a quirked eyebrow. Buffy sits next to me on Giles' couch, happily sipping the pink and orange mocktail Xander whipped up. He said something like `No more beer for Buffy' when he handed it to her.

I'm still not sure what the hell happened to her, but I kinda like her this way. She's like a little kid, or a puppy, or maybe both all in one adorably blonde package.

I did *not* just say adorable.

God dammit, I think she gave me a concussion with that fucking club. I rub my face when I realize that Giles isn't buying it. I look up at him with the most innocent face I can manage.

Willow looks about ready to kill me, but hey. I haven't said jack about what I caught her doin' in the dorms, so she really should just cool it.

The little umbrella Xander put in Buffy's glass floats in front of me suddenly. It smells like grenadine and pineapple juice and I just about barf right there. I take the umbrella anyway. Hell, anybody with half a brain would do the same thing after seeing what Little Miss Cave Slayer can do when she's pissed off!

I spare her a glance and she's just beaming at me, slurping on her fruity drink like it's goin' outta style. I smile back. She's kinda grown on me over the last 24 hours. Like a fungus.

Giles clears his throat impatiently, bringing me back to the here and now.

"Okay, so no, *I* didn't kill Adam. *We* killed Adam. Right, B?"

She grunts excitedly and starts bouncing around on the couch, spilling the damn drink all over my pants. I jump up and I'm about to get pissed off when I remember that these weren't mine in the first place. Giles starts tryin' to towel off my lap.

"Hey, watch it, Watcher-Man! Hands off the merchandise!" I yell, scaring B.

She hops over the back of the couch, still making a racket. I follow her while Giles tries to salvage the upholstery. Buffy cowers under Giles' breakfast table, but I coax her out with the stupid umbrella she just gave me. She grabs it and my hand with it, and I just sigh. This day couldn't get any weirder, and I might as well tell `em about it. S'not like they're gonna let me just up and leave anyway, and it's not like I want to, either. Dammit.

"Okay, so here's how it happened." I take a deep breath, feeling everybody's eyes on me. I roll my shoulders and amble back over to the couch. B follows me, bouncin' along like a monkey on crack, clutching that stupid umbrella for all she's worth.

"So I don't know what the hell happened to One Million Years B.C. over here," I start, jerking my thumb in Buffy's direction. The Super Friends all glare at me, but I ignore it. Way I figure it, I helped `em out big time today. "I didn't know if she was gonna be able to kill that Adam thing or not, so I start wailin' on him, right? All he does is stand there and start talking."

"Adam bad!" B interrupts, scowling and pouting at the same time.

Giles opens his mouth like he wants to interrupt, too, but I know if I let everybody get a word in I'm gonna be here all damn day.

"Yeah, B, that's why we killed him, remember?" I can't help but laugh when she grunts in agreement. "Anyway, so he starts talking, right? All about how he's been thinking about Slayers, how there are two of us, a bunch of shit I didn't pay attention to."

Giles glares at me again at that, but I just keep shruggin' it off. I might not be out for blood vengeance against these people, but that doesn't mean I have to be treated like I'm less than them.

Truth is, that Adam dude was talking a lot of sense. He was saying stuff like how two Slayers together should be infinitely powerful, yet we repel each others' strengths like magnets facing the wrong way. Buffy was gettin' it, too: even if she can't really communicate, the look on her face right before she took his head off told me she understood him just fine.

Willow clears her throat and I notice everybody looking at me again. I guess they do care what I have to say, at least until Buffy can twist my words around to their liking.

"Right, so Adam's talking and I get sick of it. I'm softening him up, trying to figure him out, and B jumps right in it, wailin' on him like there's no tomorrow." I spare her a glance and she's beaming at me, all proud of herself.

I'm not gonna tell them that the reason she went apeshit in the first place was because while I was watching her listen to Adam, he got in a lucky shot that knocked me to my knees. She started screamin' her head off: `Adam kill Riley! Adam hurt Faith! Adam bad! Faith good again! Faith good!' with tears streamin' down her face and everything.

"B got in a few good hits, and then I kicked him as hard as I could, right in the chest. It gave him, like, a seizure or something, and then Buffy comes in and rips his head off. That was pretty much it, dead demon. Then we came here."

Buffy jumps off the couch and runs out the front door. The three Scoobs all freak out and chase after her, but I just lean back in the couch cushions. My arms feel heavier than they should, and all I want to do is sleep, but I know it's not over yet.

Buffy comes back in a second later, holding Adam's head for all to see. They're all fawning over her like she's so special, and I can only laugh at how ridiculous she looks in that damn bikini, holdin' a demon's severed head like a trophy. She does look pretty frickin' fierce though. Only thing she needs is some war paint. Or body paint. Hmm…

Xander turns back to me, a question on his face. I just raise an eyebrow at him. One look at his pants is all I need to tell me that uninhibited Cave B is workin' for him, too.

When the excitement of the moment wears off they all file back in, ready to hear more. B takes up her perch on the couch, right up in my space, and plops Adam's head in my lap. I close my eyes and bite back the urge to up-chuck. When I open my eyes again, B's all smiles. I don't think I've ever seen her so happy before. She's absolutely stunning, and the bikini isn't hurting matters at all. The demon head in my lap is killin' it a little bit, but I've put up with worse.

"How did you know where to find Adam in the first place?" Xander finally asks his question, and I'm back in the driver's seat. I pick up the head and place it on the cushion next to mine. `Nother glare from Giles. `Nother shrug from me.

"I followed B."

It sounds pretty simple out loud, but it's anything but. She was heading into battle wearing nothing but a bikini, wielding her club, and I really didn't have a choice in the matter. She stomped her bare feet through a little creek, about shin-deep, so I followed up on the bank at first. Didn't wanna get my borrowed threads all wet, especially the shoes, but B wasn't having any of it. She got pissed and pulled on my arm till I was sloshing around in the cold ass water, too. It took me a few to realize that she was tryin' to cover our scent.

I tried talking to her. I figured if she was under some sort of spell, or had gotten brain damage or something since the last time we saw each other that she might be more receptive to an apology.

No way am I telling anybody else about that. I can get over what I did to Willow, and even Xander, and I can't really say I did all that much to Giles, other than ignore him. But Buffy deserves an apology.

She didn't want to hear it, though. Threw it right back at me with an angry grunt. She even pushed me in the water, right on my ass, when I wouldn't quit. That's when I first started to realize that all the lights were on, Buffy was home, she just couldn't do anything about it.

So I followed her, plain and simple. If I had done that from the beginning, I doubt I'd be sitting here now, with these dweebs gapin' at me.

"She led me out of the cave and down the creek. We hadn't been walking more than five minutes and there Adam was. Like he was waiting for us or something."

"Wait, wait, wait… did you say cave?" Willow's eyebrows disappear into her hairline and Giles leans forward in his chair.

"Yeah. I woke up in a cave this morning." I say with a smile after taking a deep breath.

"Was Buffy there with you?" Giles asks eagerly.

"Not at first," I reply. I settle in for the long haul and Buffy's right up in my space. She's peering at my face, scrunching up her nose, and then she sniffs me. Willow and Giles exchange worried looks and Xander just sits there, gaping. I roll my eyes. B starts pawing at my hair and sniffing behind my ears. Willow giggles and I level a glare at her.

"I think she likes you!" she snorts smugly. I just shift uncomfortably.

"This is truly fascinating," Giles agrees. "Faith, do you realize that Buffy is grooming you?"

"Yeah, great." Buffy's making some weird ass noises next to me, almost like she's purring, and then decides it's a great idea to lick my neck. My libido skyrockets. Fuck. I feel my face go beet red and my eyes dart from face to face. Everybody's pretty shocked, and all I can do is clear my throat and move away from the Dreadlocked Wonder.

"So, anyway, yeah, woke up in a cave this morning." I say, trying to get back on track. I'm wondering just how much to tell them but I think I'm realizing that this whole do-gooder thing lends itself to some self-censorship. I had a wicked bad headache, there was dirt and the corner of a blanket in my mouth, but they don't need to know that.

Do they?

Fuck it.

"I was pretty messed up, you know, no broken bones or missing teeth or anything, but my head was killin' me." One look around the room tells me that I probably could've found some better phrasing. Whatever.

I point to the giant, bloody knot on my forehead. "Had this and a couple patches of hair missing, all courtesy of your golden girl, here. There was a fire going next to me, and I was all wrapped up in this wool blanket, so I figured that however I got there didn't matter all that much."

That was when I had realized it. That was the second that I knew I had to make things right. B had gotten me to safety, even after kicking the shit out of me the night before, and she even went so far as to make me comfortable. I could hear something shuffling around at the entrance of the cave, but I felt safer lying there alone than I've ever felt. Even as a vegetable, I never really felt at ease.

"Um… how did you get to the cave?" Xander interrupts my thoughts with an amazingly stupid question.

"I'm not there yet, Xand, hold your horses." I smirk at him and at first he smiles back, just like old times. He was always hanging on the edge of every word of every story I told. But just as fast, his smile fades away when he remembers that I'm not that girl anymore.

"So, like I was sayin', however I got to the cave wasn't my main concern, `cause I knew I was okay. My biggest problem right then was where in the hell that blanket came from,`cause B?" I gesture to the girl in question, currently sniffing her own armpit. "Not really her normal, germophobic self, right? So while I'm trying to decide whether or not to toss the blanket into the fire since it – while cozy and all – probably came off some homeless guy, Buffy walks into the cave in that damn yellow polka-dot bikini. Don't ask me why she chose that to wear," I warn Willow, who was lookin' shifty, "I was unconscious.

"Anyway, she comes amblin' over, grunting all the way. I didn't know what the hell to make of it, so I jumped to my feet. Found out quick that that was a bad idea, `cause not only did my head wound –" I point again for effect "– make me nauseous, I scared the crap outta B. Which was actually pretty funny."

They're not buyin' that for a second, so I amend, "if you're me. We both ended up on the ground: me so I wouldn't up-chuck or pass out, and I think Buffy only sat down `cause I did."

Buffy suddenly puts herself back into the conversation, mimicking me holding my head and flopping to the floor. She looks back at me, all proud of herself, then she jumps back up on the couch with a grunt, trying to put her hands in my mouth. I gently push her away and smile at the others.

Me and B? We got a little thing going on now. I can kinda figure out what she's trying to say with all of her pantomining or whatever it's called. The rest of `em have to wait for me to translate. Fuckers.

"That's right, B," I say, kinda like I'm talking to a three year old, "You tried to feed me, didn't you? But mashed-up Girl Scout cookies out of a soggy box really aren't as appetizing as they sound, are they?" I shake my head and she just frowns at me. I think she's remembering that she was upset at me for declining her food offering.

I apologized `cause I didn't want to make her mad, and she totally turned around and surprised me by cleaning up the gash on my head. The one she gave me. She also did the grooming thing with my hair then, too. There may have been some nuzzling, but I kept my hands to myself. More out of shock than anything else, though. Any other sitch, and I woulda had her upside down and half-way to happy land with that cudddling, caressing thing she was doin' to me.

"She started babbling about stuff, I didn't understand a lot of it," I tell the Scoobs, quickly getting myself back on track.

That's bullshit right there. She's not all that hard to understand right now. She was all about `Faith good, then Faith bad, then Faith sleeping.' I figure they already know that part, but the next part is probably pretty important to them. I cut to the chase before Giles can ask `what *exactly* was said, Faith?'

"She was all like `Parker bad, then Riley good, then Riley dead, and Adam bad!' That kinda stuff. I asked her if she got into some freaky group sex thing with all these guys, but she wasn't telling. Actually, I think she might've insulted me." I look over at B, about to ask her what a `gutterface' is, but she's back to sniffing her pits. Gross.

"Really? Cave-Buffy insulted you? Alright!" Willow exclaims. I do my best to stamp down any homicidal urges, and then bust up laughing when B growls at her. Awesome.

"Good Lord!" At first I think Giles is hopping on the Buffy-may-have-insulted-Faith train and those homicidal urges flare back up, but then he keeps talking. "Are you saying that Adam killed Riley?"

Xander pops into the conversation, saying something like Riley's been MIA as long as Buffy's been all Cave Slayer. I don't know who this Riley guy is, or why he's so important, so I steer the story back my way.

"That's just what B said. I guess she's telling the truth these days. I asked her why Adam was so bad compared to the others, and she showed me a cave drawing she had done. Looked like a pretty epic battle, and it definitely looked like stick-figure Adam stabbed stick-figure Riley, right through the heart."

"Yeah, you'd know something about that, wouldn't you?"

I clench my teeth and let that go. Xander's gotta get his macho points in somewhere, and today he's takin' digs at me to overcompensate for his Little Buddy. And I do mean little. And hell, I don't need his approval, or Willow's, or Giles'. Buffy was the one with the bright green eyes and big, hopeful smile, telling me `Faith help. Faith help Buffy kill Adam.'

I didn't want to go along with her at first, mainly `cause I thought that Adam was a real human. Her cave drawings left a little something to the imagination. She kinda scared me, beating a fist to her chest and declaring `Buffy strong!' Then she knocked me on my ass with a fist to my chest and a `Faith stronger!' to go along with it. That pretty much sealed the deal right there, and we were out of that cave and into the creek in no time.

"Now, wait a minute, can we back up?" Willow holds up a hand, looking confused and amused all at once. I raise an eyebrow in response. "You said Buffy caused the gash on your head and patches of missing hair?"

"Yeah," I chuckle. "I was in and out of it, but I'm pretty damn sure Buffy dragged me to the cave by my hair." Xander chokes on his own spit and starts flailing his arms around. Giles bangs him on the back and gives Buffy a worried look.

"Wow, she really did go all caveman on us, didn't she?" Willow says, also looking worried.

"Yup," I concur with a nod, "B conked me over the head with a big ass branch and dragged me back to her cave to have her wicked way with me." Ha ha. I wish. I sneer at Willow anyway, just to get a rise out of her. "She even stripped for me and everything."

I wiggle my eyebrows and Willow lunges for me, fury blazing in her eyes. Buffy cuts her off half-way, bellowing "NO! Faith not enemy!"

Those three little words are the best fuckin' words I've heard all day. Maybe my whole life: `Faith not enemy.' Damn. I lean forward just enough to place a hand on Buffy's bare back, and she backs up into my lap, never taking her eyes off Willow.

As good as it feels to have a half-naked B sitting on me… again, different sitch and I'd be all for it. I move her off to one side as Willow sits back down in shock. Xander's mouth is hanging open and he's barely able to form his question.

"Sh-she stripped for you?" he asks in awe. Giles' disapproving glare barely stops me from saying the first thing that pops into my mind. I go for the much-less-fun straight and narrow response.

"Yeah, you saw what she was wearin' last night at the bar, right?"

Xander nods, but Willow and Giles just look lost. My eyes roll all on their own, I swear. I may as well fill them in on what they missed.

"Last night around sunset I wander into this pub at the campus. I was looking for B, didn't think she'd be in a bar, but there were these four guys out front makin' a ruckus. They were all grunting, beating their chests like frickin' gorillas and I went over to investigate. As I got closer, I realized there was a fifth guy cowerin' on the ground like a sissy. He was pretty good-lookin', dark hair, big green eyes, but like I said: sissy."

"Parker!" Willow interjects.


"That sounds like it could've been Parker." she clarifies, looking pleased with herself.

"Parker bad!" Buffy shouts, jumping to her feet on the couch next to me. I'm still confused about that part, but whatever. There's still way more for the Super Friends to know about. Buffy crouches down on her haunches and I go on with the show.

"Right. So… Parker is on the ground, but the other guys weren't really hurting him, more like sniffin' him and ripping their shirts off and swinging from a tree. I kept going and wound up inside the bar, and that's where I found Buffy. She was up on a bar stool, acting kinda like the four guys outside, but instead of beating up innocent bystanders she was arguing with Xander. Her hair was all dreaded out and she was wearin' some of the most mismatched clothes I've ever seen.

"At first I thought `Hey, maybe she's just really gettin' into the college lifestyle' if ya know what I mean. `Specially since Xander kept tellin' her that he'd cut her off. But then I noticed the clothes weren't really stoner-chick style, more like homeless-chick, been rolling around in the dirt style. And Xander kept saying `beer bad' to B, like she was a three year old."

When Willow starts laughing at that, Xander tries to save face, sayin'"She was acting like a lunatic! I didn't know what to do! And hey, speaking of lunatics –" He glares at me "– that was when Buffy starting beating *you* up, so the night wasn't a total loss." He smiles and I just wanna smack it off his face.

Buffy's hand waving in front of my eyes distracts me. She brushes her fingertips over the bloody lump on my forehead and I catch the apology in her eyes. I take her hand in mine and pull it away from my head.

"Yeah, B wasn't too happy to see me," I say with a sad smile. Then I perk up a little. "Well, actually, Xander saw me first and was distracted enough that B got the pitcher of beer out of his hand and gulped it down in like two seconds flat. It'd make any frat boy proud, I'm sure."

"Beer foamy!" B shouts. "Want beer."

Hey, if she keeps acting all peaceable like this I'll give her all the beer in the country. She's quickly distracted by a bee that flew in through the window, and hops over the back of the couch to follow it. We all watch her go for a second, and then it's all eyes on me again. I take a breath and keep on going. Better to get it all out in the open, right?

"B saw me after she finished the… uh… b-e-e-r," I glance over at her to see if beer-obsessed Cave Slayers can spell, but it seems she's too busy trying to climb up the stair rail. "She pushed me outside and started wailin' on me. I held my own, you know, gotta defend myself, but B pretty much ended it by whackin' me over the head with a tree branch."

"I can't say that's undeserved." Yeah, fuck you too, Will.

"Now, getting back to the topic at hand, why were you looking for Buffy in the first place? How did you even know to look for her at UC Sunnydale?"

I can hear the questions Giles isn't asking in that, like what were my motives? Was I planning on hurting her, or them? Am I still a rogue, a killer, a mistake?

I don't have all the answers, I don't know if I can do this, but I do know that I can still have a little fun.

I shrug and let a little smirk out. "After catchin' up with Willow in the dorms, I figured B would want to see me and know that I was awake and alive and well."

Willow's eyes go huge and her mouth opens a little. Xander and Giles look from her to me and back again, and I just relax back on the couch.

"Truth is, I was lookin' for Blondie, didn't even know Willow lived there till she opened the door. I'm kinda glad I found her instead, though. Made for an interesting afternoon, that's for sure."

Willow's face is turning as red as her hair and I can't help but laugh. B laughs with me, and everyone turns to find her perched on the kitchen counter, still after that damn bee. It's probably gonna sting her ass, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Maybe she'll let me kiss it and make it better. Heh. Which reminds me…

"Man, I always thought Xand-man was the horn dog in this little group, but I guess it really is the quiet ones you gotta watch out for. I knock on the door, all ready for a knock-down, drag-out with Buffy, and Willow answers the door, flushed, sweaty, you know what I'm sayin'."

Coulda heard a pin drop, the room was so quiet. I think even the bee is listening at this point.

"I'm wondering what's got Will so excited, so I walk into the room, and right there on the TV is some of the raunchiest girl-on-girl porn I've ever seen. And I'm bettin' I don't have to tell you I've seen a lot." Giles and Xander are squirming uncomfortably but trying not to show it. I give Willow my most evil grin before I give `em the best part. "Best part? She's got a huge vibrator still buzzin' away on the bed, all pink and girly and –"

"Mine!" Buffy yells suddenly, startling poor Xander who falls out of his chair.

At first I'm thinking B finally caught that bee, but as she bounds up to Willow with an angry scowl, I realize she's talking about the fuckin' vibrator! Oh man, this day couldn't get better!

"OKAY!" Willow shouts. She turns my way, her face white as a sheet and her finger pointed firmly at me. "Guys, no, see, this – this is what Faith does. She's *Faith*! Doer of… bad things."

I'm tryin' so hard not to crack up `cause Willow is spitting mad. B's dancing around her shouting "Mine! Mine!" over and over and Xander's just sitting on the floor where he fell, groaning and holding his head in his hands. I don't even wanna look at Giles right now. My eyes widen and I practically spit all over the room when my laughter finally bursts out. I've never seen Willow this mad, but it's just so fuckin' ridiculous.

"And I don't know what you're laughing at, missy!" Willow shakes her finger at me. "If you recall, I did threaten to turn you into a frog if you ever told anyone about that."

Ooh, she's all puffed up now. Like she could ever turn me into a frog.

"Frog fear be damned! I'll – I'll turn you into a frog and then I'll smash Frog You with a hammer!" Her eyes are gleaming with something I've never seen before, and I gotta admit, I'm a little scared. Maybe she *could* turn me into a frog.

"Willow, that's enough. I should think you'd know better than to stoop to her level in all of this." Stoop to my level, G-man? Yeah. Whatever. "Now, Faith."

I turn a glare his way, but he doesn't even flinch. Big badass Watcher-man, tryin' me on for size. I knew coming here was a mistake. Shoulda just dropped B off at the door and got the hell outta town.

"Faith." Giles repeats sternly. I blink and realize I haven't heard a word he just said. "As I've asked you before, why were looking for Buffy? How did you know to look at the university?"

"Went to her house first, nobody was home." I shrug, avoiding his eyes.

I'm kinda done with the care and share session. Can't really remember why I thought it was a good idea. Giles asks again why I wanted to see B in the first place. I'm thinking that maybe I'm not as good as Buffy thinks I am, `cause all I wanna do right now is rip out her Watcher's throat so it stops making that annoying talky sound.

Buffy comes over to me then, climbing up on the couch and peering at my face with those huge green eyes. I try not to look, but I can't help it when she brushes her fingers along my jaw. I could drown in those eyes. They're so wide and honest, and I remember exactly why I wanted to see her.

"I just wanted to talk."

I'm not sure if I said that out loud until Xander snorts. Guess he's back from Fantasy Land. I roll my eyes away from Buffy's and frown at my lap.

"Nobody was home, but I snuck in anyway." Through her fuckin' bedroom window. Again, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Xander follows up his snort with some ass-faced comment about breaking and entering.

"Yeah, I broke into an empty house with a stocked fridge, alright?" I snap. "You try existing on an IV for eight months and see how long you hold out! `Fore I got to the eatin' I found some of B's papers on a desk. Admission forms, that kinda thing. Had her new address in the dorms on `em, so I went to look for her there. That's when I ran into the dykeadelic redhead." I sneer at Willow, just begging her to say something.

Everybody seems to deflate a little bit when B whimpers. Guess she doesn't want another argument.

"Is that the truth, Faith?" Giles asks, doing his best to keep his voice even. "You just wanted to talk to Buffy? You didn't intend any harm?" I just shake my head. What was I thinkin', coming here? I let out a sigh and set him straight.

"Nah, Giles, that's not the whole truth." The tension level in the room starts to climb. Hope they get a kick out of this part, I'm kinda layin' myself up for a fall.

"I didn't actually think about food till *after* I rifled through B's mail. The doorbell rang, and there were these Girl Scouts standin' there in full uniform, hawking cookies. I waited till they moved on to another house, made sure I had B's new address, and chased `em down the street."

Willow looks horrified. I just smile, putting some sick and twisted into it for good measure.

"I stole four boxes off of `em easy, and ran between a couple houses further down the road. Ate all four boxes of some kinda chocolate, caramel, coconut things before I felt sick." They're all staring at me like I just grew four more heads, but I really don't care. Girl's gotta eat, and I didn't hurt anybody. Okay, yeah, that one little one started to cry, but I didn't touch her!

Before the uproar from the peanut gallery starts up again, Giles tries to get back to the point. I'm pretty sure it ran away a long time ago, but he keeps pushin'. "You awoke from your… incapacitation… and all you wanted was to speak to Buffy?"

Buffy's hands find their way to my face again. She turns my head towards her, cupping my face in her palms. I think I really am drowning in her eyes, and suddenly it's like she's the only one in the room. I spent so much of last year trying to keep this exact feeling at bay, but letting it happen now? I'm finally at peace.

"I wanted to kill you when I first woke up," I tell her. My bottom lip trembles and her thumb caresses it. "All I could think about was how you ruined my life. I was in a sorry excuse for a hospital room, all alone, and you were the only thing on my mind. I left the hospital to look for you, found some girl in one of the halls and beat her up for her clothes." My eyes dip down in shame. I know I shouldn't have done that and –

Oh. My. God.

I used that girl's cherry Chapstick that I found in one of the pants' pockets. Oh, that is so unbelievably foul! My lips were all chapped and dry from the coma, and it was just habit. She kept her Chapstick in the same pocket I always kept mine and I didn't even think about it till now.

Buffy's finger under my chin, tilting my face back up to hers pulls me away from my momentary gross out. She grunts softly, and the pleading look in her eyes makes me realize that she's waiting for me to continue. I swallow and clear my throat.

"I, uh… I went to the high school, but – but it was gone, just like the girl said it was." I force a smile. "You blew up your school, huh? Nice one." She doesn't look proud and I don't really feel impressed.

My voice drops a little when I hear Giles clear his throat. I don't want him here. I just want B.

"I wandered around for a little while that night, ended up in my old apartment. I was pretty much exhausted, and there was enough light from the full moon to help me get around all the boxes and junk on the floor. The place was a mess, but the mattress and box spring were still there." I fell asleep as soon as I laid down, and I dreamt all night of sunshine and green eyes and shy smiles. Like the one B's giving me now as I reach up to hold her hand against my cheek. "I woke up and all I wanted to do was apologize to you. I never wanted it to go down the way it did. I never meant to hurt you."

Buffy leans forward so her forehead rests against mine and I close my eyes. She's so close I could kiss her, but there's no way in hell I'm gonna do something *that* stupid. My eyes fly open a second after they close. She licked me! She licked my nose. She's beamin' at me again, and I just crack up. I reach up and kinda pat her head, not quite sure if I should lick her back.

Wow. Didn't even mean that in a sexual way, but that porno Willow was watching is still the first thing that pops into my mind. B apparently likes that I'm laughing, so she licks my nose again. I lean back away from her, giggling like a dipshit and trying to avoid a full-on tongue attack and realize that we're not alone in the room. I glance around at the uncomfortable trio staring at us and quiet down.

"I um… I guess she accepts your apology?" Xander offers. Something about the way he says that worries me.

"Giles?" I wait till he's looking at me. "Is she gonna be okay?"

"It'll wear off in a day or so," he nods. "Hopefully by tonight."

I hold his gaze as long as I can, but I can see how uncomfortable it makes him and I give it up. I've said my piece, did what I came here to do, and now it's their turn. Judge, jury and executioner. And Cave Buffy, who's still got a hand on my face. She drops it when she realizes I'm not paying her the attention she wants. Her lip starts to stick out, but I do my damnedest to ignore it.

"I'd like to know what your intentions are, Faith, now that you appear to be back in good health." Giles says smoothly. That look of fear hasn't left his eyes since I followed B through the door. I look around at Willow and Xander, and they're both warily starin' back at me. Buffy's still pouting at me, but it even seems like she's waiting for my answer.

I give them the most truth I can muster. "Well, I figure I've got a couple of options: I could turn myself into the cops, or to the Watcher's Council, or to you." I try and look up to gauge Giles' reaction, but I can seem to lift my eyes past my hands in my lap.

"I have no intentions of alerting the Watcher's Council to your whereabouts." You better believe I caught his eye then. He slides his eyes to Willow, whose head snapped up as soon as the words left his mouth. "Their methods of… rehabilitation, if you can call it that, are barbaric at best."

"Jail it is, then!" Xander exclaims, a little too happily for Buffy's liking. She looks up at him sharply, and then over to me. Everybody seems to be holding their breath. Maybe it's just me. She places her hand on my shoulder, making me jump.

"Faith stay," she says solemnly. My heart leaps into my throat, and I'm just sitting here hoping that whenever this whole caveman thing wears off that she doesn't regret it, or forget everything.

The Scoobs all start talking at once, but Giles' voice is the loudest.

From what little of it I hear, it sounds like he's siding with B. I hear him say something about the Watcher's Council probably looking for me once they realize I'm awake, and I may have to go into hiding until they're convinced I'm gone for good, but I tune him out pretty quick. My eyes fall on Buffy, who's blinking up at me with a soft smile on her face.

"Buffy tired," she says. I blink and nod along with her.

"Faith tired too." Wait a minute. "I mean, me too."

Buffy settles in next to me, resting her head on my shoulder. I can feel Willow and Xander's eyes burning holes in my skull, but I ignore it. I close my eyes and lean back into the couch, letting myself enjoy the cave snuggles I'm getting.

Damn. What a crazy day.





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