Setting to Rights
by CrAzY E
Teaser – Setting To Rights
Looking back now… I know why she did what she did. It’s written so plainly in front of my face I’m surprised I didn’t see it then. But I was young and stupid, ok, maybe not so stupid. But definitely blind. I had yet to be shown the way. Plus… on the downside, I guess I just didn’t want to see… even with the appearance of my alter-ego.
And I was jealous.
That’s the simple truth of it. Even then, deep down, I knew… knew I was attracted to her. Hid it well but it was there. 3 years… and then she strolls into town and steals her from right under my nose…I knew how they both felt. OK, so one didn’t even know I knew only because I’d heard her say it. But I didn’t want her taking what was mine. Well, that’s how I thought of it at least. Then. Not now, not ever again.
For a long while this was why I kept both their secrets.
Then I did just because I had been doing it so long I couldn’t do
it any other way. Things change. People change. I’ve changed. And
it’s time to put right what should have been so simple then…
Chapter 1 - Remembering
The Slayers were in the middle of one of their usual intense training sessions and I was up in the stacks lost in my own thoughts as I was returning books to their rightful places. All alphabetized as they should be and so forth and so on. All praise the power of the published word. Their usual banter was flowing back and forth, Faith and her double entendres and Buffy with her non-committal replies always ignoring the hidden meaning behind Faith’s words. Cause that’s exactly what she was doing you know, ignoring it. Cause she sure as hell didn’t miss the meaning behind them, as I was to find out much later on.
I lifted my head from the books in time to hear Faith say to Buffy “Admit it, you just can’t take me… I… oomph.” I guess Buffy decided to take her after all, no pun intended. I crept out of my place in the stacks towards the training that for some reason was causing the air to crackle in the library and attract even my attention. I could feel it almost sizzling around me. I poked my head around the corner trying to see what was happening. I couldn’t quite see and inched forward a little more and the Slayers came into view.
Buffy was straddled over Faith staring down at her intensely and Faith was returning the look with just as much intensity. They were aware of nothing else in the room or anyone else for that matter. And for me it was just about to get interesting.
“Why, Faith? Why are you doing this to me?” I heard Buffy ask quietly. I’d obviously missed something while my attention was on the books. “Are you trying to drive me insane?”
Faith squirmed a little under the blonde having broken the locked stare and was now trying to look everywhere else but at Buffy. Finally she made a decision and you could see it on her face. She looked back at Buffy, reading her face maybe before whispering almost that quietly I barely heard it “Cause I want you.”
I don’t think I’ve ever seen Buffy move so quickly. She was off the other Slayer and out the library doors before I could even think about blinking. Faith lay there for long moments staring off into space. And I, maybe not in my best judgment, stayed quiet and waited to see how the dark Slayer would react.
After a while she got up and started training with the dummy, pounding into it like there was no tomorrow. Venting her frustrations on it, muttering to herself and slowly getting louder.
“Why the fuck can’t she…” mumble, mumble, “And I just… oh… I just…” mumble, mumble. “Aah, fuck it,” She threw her hands up into the air. “Goddamn it, I love her… and I just want her to love me.”
OK… now I’m the one in shock. Faith… in love with Buffy. No way! I so just did not hear that.
And there it is ladies and gents. That’s where I made my first big mistake. I stayed hidden and didn’t say a word to anyone, least of all the blonde Slayer. I made a lot of mistakes over the years. But when it comes to the intrepid romance of the Slayers that was the first. I let Faith keep thinking she wasn’t wanted or needed. And I probably could have changed it then and there. Oh, the repercussions of silence…
Now she’d been caught. And she had a Slayer pissed at her. A Slayer that wanted to kill her. And what was she doing? Pissing said Slayer off even more by taunting her with insights. Insights the brunette wasn’t ready to hear. The fact that the brunette had blown any chance of even a friendship with Buffy.
She stood toe to toe with a very dangerous, and possibly completely insane, Slayer… and she was what? Pushing her, trying to get her to snap. Now as if that wasn’t among the dumbest of things to do.
“Face it Faith, you messed up. You lost everything. You had people on your side. People like Buffy. And you threw it all away…”
Faith had to admit the witch had balls. After three years as Buffy’s side-kick she had a fair idea EXACTLY what a Slayer was capable of. And yet here she was. Pushing Faith. Testing her to see how far she’d go. The red-head had to be nuts.
“You threw it all away for what, Faith? For what? Money? Love?” Willow laughed. “You think he cares about you? You’re a means to an end. That’s all.”
Faith’s hand clenched around the knife, raising it so the point was in Willow’s face, causing the redhead to lean back a little.
“And what would you know? You people were never friends. Never accepted me. He does.”
Faith watched the determination wash over the other’s face as she quashed the fear of what Faith could do to her. The Wicca opted for another tactic.
“You do know Buffy will kill you if you hurt me?”
Faith shrugged. Appearing unfazed.
“Yeah well… she does, she does. Someone’s gonna do it someday.” She advanced on Willow, knife point having dropped slightly and now aimed for her throat.
Willow backed herself into a corner, swallowing hard. Maybe she had gone too far. Stuff it! May as well go for broke.
She whispered just loud enough for Faith to hear as she watched the door open over Faith’s shoulder.
“You think she’d ever love someone like you, Faith? In your dreams! You’re nothing but worthless trash… Not good enough for the likes of you. Ever!”
Faith blinked once, then reacted. She dropped the knife and savagely wrapped her hands around Willow’s neck, wanting to wring the life out of the little bitch.
She heard someone clear their throat behind her and let go of Willow to face the new threat, only to find herself looking into the eyes of evil. Mayor Richard Wilkins III.
“Now, now, I hope I don’t have to separate you two.” He said, arching his eyebrow at Faith. She smiled at him.
“Nope. Just havin’ a little fun, Boss.” She walked over to join him by his side. She looked over at Willow, tilting her head towards the Mayor. “At least I got someone who cares about me. I don’t see anybody rushing in here to help you. Do you?”
Ok… maybe not the best way to defend oneself. But it was all I could think of at the time. And yes, that’s what I was trying to do. Not get myself almost strangled. I was hoping to throw her off. Give me five seconds to think of something, anything to get me out of the predicament I’d found myself in. Me and my damn curiosity. You’ll never hear me say it out loud. But thank god the mayor walked in right when he did or I may have been introduced to the after-life.
And ya know, I still didn’t tell Buffy. Why? Well, we know the answer to that. Jealousy. Who knows what might have happened had I said anything to her? But what makes me feel worse now… is I know I held the opportunity in my hands at that moment….and even before, to stop all the bad things with Faith. And I never did.
Chapter 2 – Building New Bridges
We were in the car on our way back from L.A. Some nasty stuff had gone down over there: Angelus rose his ugly head… again. The brunette Slayer beside me was still shaking off the effects of the Orpheus drug she’d injected to bring down Angelus after she’d broken out of jail to save Angel. Even with her Slayer healing it was taking its sweet time.
She was lucky she hadn’t died. And if possessed Cordy who, if you could believe it was an even bigger bitch than Cordy from high-school, had gotten her way both Faith and Angel would be dead. Leaving Angelus crowing in victory and the First with our second front already under its control..
My eyes slid sideways for a moment looking at the girl pre-occupying my thoughts before turning them back to the road. She had changed in prison, or prison had changed
her. One of the two. I’d known it, could see it the minute I saw her in Angel’s hotel. There was still some of the wild child left in her but it was more controlled. She’d matured, and her beauty with it.
With a small, almost inaudible sigh I decided it was time to break the silence and maybe get a few answers at the same time. It was now or never, before we hit the hostility I knew awaited her in Sunny-D.
“Faith?” I inquired almost tentatively. She opened her eyes to look at me and I could see she was still slightly out of it.
“Can we talk?” I asked quietly, the apprehension evident in my voice. She closed her eyes again for a minute and I thought she was gonna say no. But she opened them again and replied.
“Sure. Whatcha wanna talk about?” Though the pain was evident in her voice I could see she was determined to see this through. Another thing that made me realize how much this was just not the girl who had gone to jail.
“You…” I hesitated before rushing out, “And what happened while you were here before. Buffy too. And if well… if you don’t wanna, that’s okay too.”
She shook her head no as she pushed herself up in her seat. “It’s ok, Willow. You deserve an explanation... and if nothing else an apology.”
“I owe you an apology too…” Even as I started she was already shaking her head no. “I know why you did what you did… and I did nothing to try and help you… if anything at the end I even pushed you further.”
A small smile broke on her face at her remembrance of that day. “Yeah, you did. Gotta admit, Red, you got a pair on ya. But all is forgiven. So no apology needed, ok? But leaving that, what do you mean by you know why I did what I did?”
“That’s the part where Buffy comes into it, isn’t it?” I asked quietly, expecting a quick denial. Instead I got silence as she turned her head to look out the window.
After what seemed like an eternity she finally looked back to me and I could see her eyes glistening with un-shed tears that even now she was fighting to stop from falling.
“I hurt her, Willow… badly. Beyond that, even. And nothing I can say or do in this lifetime will make up for that. But you were in the library that day, weren’t you? After I told her that I wanted her. I realized after that day at City Hall that you had to be. It was the only place I ever uttered those words, except in my dreams.”
I nodded in response to her query. “That was my first big mistake, staying hidden that day. I should have said something…” I trailed off.
“Wouldn’t have helped. That river don’t just run in Egypt, ya know.” She grinned a little. I grinned back at her as we settled in for a good talk. “You had your own issues with the
blonde-that-shall-not-be-named for the sake of sanity. You were crushing big time. Were you aware of it?”
“I am now. Back then I didn’t. Thought I was just jealous that you were taking away my best friend. After Tara…” I trailed off unable to go on at just that little word, the echoing misery I still felt at times at the loss of my soul sweeping through me unexpectedly. I pushed it down as I felt Faith’s hand on my shoulder.
“I’m sorry about Tara. She was really nice and I’m sorry I was mean to her when we first met.”
“It’s ok. I’m sorry about that. It still hurts, ya know?” She nodded in understanding. “I realized after Tara and I got together…” I continued, my voice still shaking slightly. “I’ve done a lot of soul-searching since Tara died and I’ve come to a lot of conclusions I really don’t like, especially about myself. We all made a lot of mistakes back then, Faith. We all know this… whether we would all admit to it or not.”
I could see she was thinking about what I was saying. “I was messed up big time, Red, so you guys weren’t the only ones who made mistakes. I let my feelings get the best of me…”
“Your feelings for Buffy?”
“Yeah. By the time I realized what I was feeling, Angel was back. Which threw a huge spanner in the works. And who was I to know what that was anyway? I’d never been shown love to give it. And besides…after what I did I highly doubt I could ever be anything more to her than a friend…if I ever get lucky in this life-time.” She sighed heavily and I swear I could almost feel her weariness physically wash over me. “She could never love me.” She whispered quietly.
I decided this wasn’t a conversation we could continue with my concentration on the road, so I indicated and pulled over onto the side of the highway. I brought the car to a halt and switched off the engine as I turned to look at the second of the ‘Chosen Two’ as they used to refer to themselves.
“What would you say…” I began, asking quietly. “If I told you she already does?”
What Faith did in short order was snort, roll her eyes and piss herself laughing in response to my question. To put it bluntly.
When her laughing fit had died down somewhat I said to her, “It’s true. She told me so herself.”
“You have GOT to be kidding me, Red? There is no way in Hell B’d love me after what I’ve done to her.” She crossed her arms, pressing herself back into the chair. Her very posture saying ‘And there ain’t no way ya gonna convince me otherwise’.
“I wanna tell you something, Faith. I know about the Slayer connection. So I know you felt it when she died.” She nodded her head in confirmation of my statement. “Did you also feel it when we brought her back?”
“Yeah. Woke me up. Freaked me good and proper it did.”
“What I want to tell you about happened after we brought Buffy back. She was dead inside. Didn’t understand the point in living. She felt done. Wanted nothing more than to go back to being dead.” I paused, allowing her time to think about it. I knew she would understand. She had been at that point when she sought Angel out in hopes he would kill her.
“I’ve been at that particular point too. After Tara. Did ya know I was gonna destroy the world?” I quirked an eyebrow at her.
“You? No way!” She grinned at me. Thank god the defensiveness was gone now.
I nodded. “Yep. And Xander stopped me.”
“Xan-man would always come through for you and B.”
“I know. But oh god, Faith. It just hurt so much. Anyway… off track here. ‘Bout six months after we brought Buffy back we had a demon turn up that made everyone sing and dance their hidden feelings out. That was when we found out we’d taken Buffy from heaven and not a hell dimension like we thought. After that, she made some rather not so sound decisions regarding her own life. She was doing anything just to feel. Or in the case of one of those feelings she was actually able to still feel, bury it as far as possible. After I went all bad Wicca and tried to end the world cuz I’d lost Tara and couldn’t deal Giles took me to England to learn to control the magicks. When I came back though, there were issues. A lot to do with me and the fact that I’d murdered someone…” I trailed off here waiting for Faith’s response, knowing I did have a point to get to but like always I babble to get there.
Faith looked at me, a little surprise showing in her eyes but nothing more. I knew she was just leaving that subject till another time.
“After things calmed down when I came back, Buffy and I talked while she lent me her Slayer strength to heal myself from an encounter with a demon…” As I spoke I could see the scene in my head. Me in Buffy’s old room on the bed, meditating. Buffy coming in to talk.
Flashback # 3
“How you doing?”
I smiled a little at the owner of the voice as she stuck her head around the door.
“Better. Still need some work done. Just not sure I have the strength.” I rolled my eyes a little.
“I have plenty to spare if you need some.” She smiled at me, letting me know I was being welcomed home.
“Any help is welcome.” I smiled in return as she climbed onto the bed and sat herself facing me. We clasped hands and I focused on her strength and energy allowing it to wrap around and in me, infusing me, if only temporarily, with Slayer healing. As my mind drifted I felt Buffy there alongside me. Her voice echoed softly in my head.
“Can we talk?”
“Here?” I asked, questioning more my own ability to use the magicks for anything other than meditation and healing. I felt her mental nod.
“Private here. No-one can walk in or over-hear unless you allow them.”
“Ok.” I wait for her to begin. I have no idea what it’s about. All I know right now is if she wants more apologies I’m not sure I have them to give. Words can lose their meaning after a while.
“About last year…”
The pain swept over me again as memories washed through me of the last week I’d spent in Sunnydale before I’d gone to England. Mentally, I felt Buffy’s arms wrap around me.
“It’s ok, Will. You’re not ready to go there. I’m not asking you to. I need to talk… not about that… about what I went through… just get it out, ya know? Understanding ears and all… and I really can’t discuss it with Xander.” Buffy slipped into babble mode herself as her nervousness rose. “And you’re the one that’s all with the girly-lovin’.” I felt Buffy blush internally. “And… and… oh god… I just can’t keep it in anymore.”
I grinned a little to myself as I caught the blush before my brain caught up to what Buffy had said. Worries about the possibilities of Buffy’s meaning of ‘girly-lovin’ and a little bit of humor at the situation flashed through me before I had to ask.
“Ah… girly-lovin’. Buffy… please don’t tell me you’re in love with me… cuz I don’t think I could cope with that right now…”
I felt the belly deep laugh start before she heard it and in that second her fears were laid to rest.
“Nooooooo.” Buffy managed to choke out between the laughter. “I mean you’re cute and all… but not my type, Wills.”
“So what is ‘your’ type, Buff?” I asked, a grin gracing my face. Her blush rose again, deeper this time.
“Can we just say at the moment it’s not stick.”
An unbidden memory rose at her words. Tara and I, after the ‘Faith Incident’. And Tara telling me what Faith had said to her. Faith’s words, Tara’s voice. “So… Willow not driving stick anymore?”
And I knew. And in that same instant, Buffy knew I knew. And then I watched her crumble in front of me, her nervousness giving way to grief and pain.
I left it there as I turned to Faith. I wasn’t going to break Buffy’s confidence any more than I already had. Buffy had said things to me that day that only she could tell Faith. If she ever learnt to forgive herself…and Faith.
“She’s still dealing, Faith. With everything that happened between you guys. She blames herself for a lot of it…and blames you too. I’m not supposed to be telling you this. But I want to fix things that I did. If I can even get you guys to talk and maybe resolve even some of the past then I go a little further forward… you know… redemption and all.”
She nodded at me, understanding why but still thinkin I was nuts. Could see it in her eyes. I grinned internally to myself. ‘Yep… I’m up for a challenge with these two.’
I left it at that, knowing Faith needed time to think so I started the car and pulled back onto the road. I glanced over at her saying one final thing on the matter.
“It’s not going to be easy, this going back… for anyone…but happiness and the future is always worth a chance or two…and is something for everybody… no matter what they’ve done and regretted.”
“God…you and Angel… so bloody alike…” I heard her mumble faintly and I could see her faint smile out of the corner of my eyes before I turned them for Sunnydale and home…for us both.
Chapter 3 - Laying New Paths
Faith lifted her head from her half doze to find a prone, bleeding body of a girl in front of the vehicle. She opened the door, climbing out as she heard Willow saying,
“Are you OK? Can you hear me?” The red-head rolled the girl over. “Can you talk?” She looked back at Faith. “This girl's bleeding badly. We have to get her to the hospital.”
The brunette came forward to the front of the car, looking about and using her senses to scan the area as she did so. Finding none in the immediate locale her eyes moved back to Willow and the hurt girl.
“Yep, guess I’m back in Sunnydale.”
The younger slayer and Willow momentarily discussed the best way of moving her before doing so quickly. They got her in the backseat, Willow settling in with her as Faith took the wheel.
They headed for Sunnydale General and Faith parked in the emergency drop-off. She ran inside for assistance and the staff soon had her in E.R. assessing her damage. Both women watched as the doctors worked on the unknown girl. They didn’t know who she was but they were certain they knew WHAT she was. Willow had been able to determine on the way into town that she maybe was another potential going on her injuries, and Willow was glad in a way that the bringers obviously hadn’t been able to finish the job. Even though it would take the potential some time to heal at least she was alive.
After half an hour or so of watching the doctors work Faith felt she needed to get out of here. She never had liked hospitals and seeing the potential lying helplessly in the bed was reminding her again why she definately didn’t like Sunnydale Gen. She turned to look at Willow for a second before looking back at the girl.
“You sure she's one of us? She don't look like much now. Not a potential slayer, I mean.”
“Don't know. Seems to fit, though. We'll know more when she regains consciousness.”
Faith scoffed. ‘Ha! If…’ she thought. “If she regains consciousness. Girl's been gutted like a catfish.” And that was something the brunette knew a little about.
Willow’s eyes clouded for a moment as she too, remembered that they’d once done the same to Faith. Ok, maybe not all of them exactly. But they were part of the cause. It was all Willow could focus on for a second or two. ‘Now’s not the time’. “Yeah.”
Faith looked at Willow, a serious look on her face. “Something's killing girls all over the world, trying to end the slayer line. Thing like that, figure I might get a heads up.”
Willow’s hands dropped and she shook her head. “Faith…” Damn, how was she gonna explain this. That Buffy had thought it safer. Safer if Faith didn’t know and why.
Faith threw up her hands stopping the words. “Guess it doesn't really matter as long as you got the true slayer intact.”
“You were in prison. We figured you were safe there.”
Faith had to refrain herself from snorting in disgust. “Yeah, that's prison. Safe as a kitten.”
Willow saw the look on Faith’s face and wondered if something had happened in prison. She had to ask. “Sorry, I... don't know much about the big house. Was it…” She watched Faith look away. ‘A-ha’ she thought, ‘It did’. “I mean, did something happen in there?”
Faith looked back to Willow. “Someone came at me with a nasty looking knife. Didn't really know why… 'til now.”
“Oh, Faith, we didn't…”
“Forget it. It's cool. I get by.” She pointed to the patient being operated on on the otherside of the window. “What're we gonna do about her?” The brunette’s need to get out of here had intensified in the last few minutes.
“Uh, I guess we should find Buffy, tell her what's going on. I-I tried calling home. Dawn says she's out patrolling.”
Faith turned, saying, “Let's go look for her.” She started walking away, expecting Willow to follow.
“Wait, somebody should wait here in case she wakes up.”
Faith stopped, feeling the need to get out of here intensify more. “Fine, sit tight. I'll be back.” She kept heading towards the door.
Willow spoke up, even though she didn’t want to. She could sense Faith’s need to escape. “W-w-wait. Uh, maybe you meeting Buffy alone isn't the best idea.”
When Faith stopped this time she turned around. “You told her the sitch, right? She knows I'm coming. Probably been up all night hanging streamers.” Faith had a grin to match the sarcasm in her voice.
“Yeah, but it's not like you're study buddies, exactly. Maybe it'd be better if I... eased her into the whole thing.” Willow really didn’t like the idea of Faith meeting Buffy without moral support at least. She knew the blonde wasn’t quite ready to forgive and move on yet. And there was Spike. But that was a different issue entirely.
“I can't stay here, Willow. Spent way too much time in hospitals. We don't click. Don't worry.” She smiled at the wiccan, hoping to calm her a little. “I'm sure we'll all get along just fine.” And with that, Faith turned and left leaving Willow to wonder for the next hour or so exactly what was happening somewhere other than the hospital.
The redhead had kinda understood why Faith wanted away from the hospital. That’s why she hadn’t protested, much. ‘Cuz having Faith wandering around on her own looking was such a great idea too. Yeah right.’
Faith’s thoughts were much the same as she left the entrance of the E.R behind her, but she just couldn’t handle the hospital a second longer. The way she saw it, B knew she was coming. And although she wasn’t about to turn up on the door-step on her own she figured looking for Buffy in the cemetaries was a good place to start, considering the time of night.
She followed her gut instinct and found the nearest one.
Even as she entered she could hear the sounds of a struggle. As she started
running she felt her back for her stake. ‘Shit, oh well just gonna
have to substitute. Damn kids! Why do they always gotta pick places like
this for make-out time?’
‘And this is where I step in’. She grabbed by Spike and tossed himinto a head-stone, grinning internally as she heard it crack. Faith turned to face him, ignoring the blonde girl on the ground beside her.
Spike started to get to his feet pretty quickly. He needed to set this straight before he found himself on the bad end of a pointy stick.
Faith started circling him. “Whatcha wanna do to her, vamp? Huh? Somthin' like this?” She punched him.
Spike got to his feet, rubbing to spot Faith had collected. “Nice punch you got there. Lemme guess. Leather pants, nice right cross, doe eyes, holier-than-thou glower...you must be Faith.”
Faith shrugged, grinning ferally at him. “Oh, goodie. I'm famous.” Her body was relishing this, the feel of the upcoming fight and her consequent victory. It had been so long since she could let rip and just enjoy the fight. In L.A it was all about saving Angel… not that she didn’t want to do that when she was needed. But she really needed to let loose.
“Told you were coming. Bit of a misunderstanding here. I'm…”
Faith nooded at him. “Spkie. Yeah, We’ve met before.”
Spike looked at her blankly. “We have? I don't think we…” He was cut short by Faith’s foot buried in his chest, putting him gracelessly on the ground. “Bloody hell! What're you doing? I'm on your side.” He got quickly to his feet again.
“Yeah? Maybe you haven't heard. I've reformed.” She punched him again.
“So have I!” Spike decided it was time to fight back and lashed out at the brunette. “I reformed way before you did.”
Faith punched him again, landing squarely on his jaw.
Spike hit out, each punch emphasizing his first words. “Stop… Hitting… Me! We're on the same side.”
“Please. You think I’m stupid?” Faith asked sarcastically.
“Well… yeah.” Spike grinned at her.
Faith grabbed him by his shirt collar and delivered a nice cross to his cheek. “You were hitting that girl.”
The next thing Faith knew she was on her ass looking up at Buffy.
“Sorry, Faith. I didn't realize that was you.” The blonde slayer said innocently.
“’S’alright, B. Luckily, you still punch like you used to.” Faith said as she got up rubbing her jaw. She noticed her comment earnt her a glare.
Buffy turned to Spike running her eyes over him checking him for injuries. “You ok?
“Yeah” He replied. “Terrific.”
Faith watched the interchange completely shocked. What the hell was happening? Since when did Buffy care if a vamp was alright. She just knew she’d read more into Buffy’s look over of Spike than just an injury check.
“Are you protecting vampires? Are you the bad slayer now? Am I the good slayer now?” The dark slayer looked back and forth between Buffy and Spike.
Buffy gave her another dirty look before saying, “He's with me. He has a soul.”
“Oh, he's like Angel?”
“No.” Spike spat.
“Sort of.” Buffy answered.
“I am nothing like Angel.” The blonde vamp almost growled out. He hated his sire with a vengeance and being compared to him made it worse.
“He fights on my side…” Buffy shrugged as she looked at Faith. “Which is more than I can say for some of us.”
‘Point taken.’ Faith thought. ‘Oh Red is so far out of the ballpark on this one it’s not funny.’ “Yeah, well if he's so good, what's he doing chasing down defenseless…” Faith’s question was cut off as the supposed victim crash tackled her from the side.
Buffy pointed at the vamp Faith was now fighting with. “That’s one of the bad guys.”
‘Damn slayer bond messing with all my signals. Shoulda fuckin’ known.’
“You should make 'em wear signs.” She knocked the vamp backwards long enough to look about for a stake. Not seeing one she grabbed for one from Buffy’s pocket, discreetly copping a feel of her thigh as she went, making it look like a fumble for the stake. “May I?” She took it without waiting for an answer though was quick enough to catch Buffy rolling her eyes at her. Faith proceeded to dust the vamp, a final grunt coming from her as she drove the stake home. God it had felt goooood! She stood for a moment breathing heavily.
“Angel's dull as a table lamp. And we have very different coloring.” Spike said, not noticing the fact that both slayers were now eyeing the other off and desperately trying not to get caught. And Buffy, in fact, had secretly been watching Faith fight and found as much pleasure in it as she always had.
‘Damn, she looked really good fighting that vamp. And god I’ve missed those tingles from her… noooooo… Back up Buffy. Not going there. Done with. Behind you. Remember?’
‘Shit, goddamn. She’s still as beautiful as ever. I’m such a loser. And I’m sooooo gonna have a problem soon.’ The after-effects of the fight were already kicking in and Faith knew it was gonna be a fight or dance night. Faith got her breath back quickly and walked up beside Buffy as they went to leave the cemetary. “OK, catching up. Anything else I gotta know?”
Buffy looked at her coolly. “Nice to have you back.” Before she walked over to Spike’s side, leaving Faith trailing as they headed for the next cemetary, as they had only been patrolling an hour or so before Faith found them.
Faith followed Buffy and Spike in silence, watching them almost enviously, as they walked side by side in front of her. Their hands brushed together every so often and although Faith couldn’t hear exactly what was said, she could hear the murmuring coming from them. Obviously, whatever it was they were discussing they didn’t want her to know about yet.
It raised still fresh memories of when her and Buffy had been like that together, before everything had come crumbling down about her. She had to bite back the tears as she was reminded again, this time even more harshly, of what she had lost because it was again right in front of her.
What stumped Faith completely though was that it was SPIKE! Another damn souled vamp. Nothing against the A-guy of course. She could tell there was definately something between them but could sense it wasn’t sexual. ‘At least not now.’ She thought to herself. ‘Nothin’ sayin it hadn’t happened.’ Now Faith knew she was nuts thinking crap like that. No way would B sleep with a Billy wannabe loser. Even Buffy herself had said he was just a loser vamp when he’d turned up and kidnapped Red and Xander that time.
Faith wandered around after them for the rest of patrol. She had no dramas getting in the fight but the persisting silence that had hung in the air since they had fought at the first cemetary had not come anywhere even close to breaking. It had the whole feel of me and them to Faith and she wasn’t gonna break it any time soon. Wasn’t worth after the welcome she’d received. Talk about cold. And if wasn’t for the fact she knew deep within herself that when it all went down she was gonna be needed she woulda hightailed it back to LA already. And she’d only been in town a few hours. She knew too, the situation probably wasn’t going to improve between her and Buffy anytime soon either.
They were heading back to Buffy’s and Faith was sick of it. The utter silence in which they fought and patrolled all night was driving her insane. So she let herself drift into a slight trance to get away from it, opening her senses to the surrounds and leaving her body kinda on auto-pilot. It was a trick Angel had taught her on one of his many visits. He had known there was a war coming. Didn’t know the slayers were the cause of said war but still… he knew. And to Faith that had to count for something. Recuperation while still pushing forward. Soldiers on the march had used it for centuries.
She let her mind drift and felt a tug from somewhere. She allowed her self to be pulled forward by the tugging, her mind just floating and allowing itself to be led.
Suddenly she was spiralling and she could feel everything Buffy was feeling. Just KNEW it was Buffy’s. That woman was an emotional mess. And she was unconciously dragging Faith along for the ride. One unguarded moment.
Buffy stopped in front and turned. Surprising Spike with her sudden move, and thinking there was an attack was ready to fight in seconds.
She startled Faith out of her light trance with solid, “Faith, DON’T! Or I will beat you down.”
Faith looked at her blonde counterpart, shocked herself at where she’d been. None of it had really registered, except the overwhelming feeling of helplessness. “I’m sor…” Faith trailed off at the deathly glare Buffy was giving her. ‘Well, goddamit, five minutes here and fucked already.’ Her already sour mood worsened, but she tried not to let it show.
Spike looked back and forth between the two women. His thoughts pretty much mirrored the other two. ‘What the fuck?’
Buffy turned about and kept walking, leaving both Spike and Faith looking after her in confusement. Faith looked about her as Spike followed Buffy and her bad mood got worse. Her trepidation rose tenfold. Buffy’s house was no more than 30 yards in front of her, and on the other side of the front door were people she tried to kill.
She approached the front walk slowly and calmly, trying
to get her rampaging mind to just shut the fuck up for once. The brunette
stood at the end of the walk staring up at the front door as memories
rose and fell in her mind like a raging tide, one scene quickly following
Faith followed Buffy up the stars and walked into the house. She looked around amazed it still looked the same.
“Whoa. Memory Lane. Same old house.” She turned her head, trying to take it all in. She spotted Giles and Dawn in the dining room. Anf neither looked happy to see her.
“Yeah, well, every piece of furniture's been destroyed and replaced since you left, so, actually, new house.”
They turned into the dining room to find Dawn blocking their way, arms folded.
“Buffy?” The kid was still staring down Faith, not happy to see the brunette slayer at all.
“We have a new house guest.”
Faith tried for humour. “Hey, got a spare bed for a wanted fugitive?” ‘Hmmm, tough audience.’ She thought sarcastically.
Giles stood from his place at the table, removing his glasses and nodding to the brunette slayer. “Hello, Faith.”
“Well, I guess "wanted" wasn't really accurate.” Faith could feel the tension running through the room. It didn’t surprise her. She had known coming back wouldn’t be easy.
Dawn gave Faith another dirty look before turning to Buffy. “Does she have to stay here? Because there's some nice hotels that welcome tried-to-kill-your-sister types.”
Faith grinned. Yep, the kid was B’s sister alright. “Check it out. Brat's all woman-sized.”
Buffy avoided further conversation by bringing up the girl at the hospital. “Look, I need to get to the hospital. Some girl was attacked on her way into town. We think she might be a…”
“We know. Willow's been calling.” Dawn interrupted, cutting Buffy short.
‘Whoa,’ thought Faith. ‘Guess this isn’t just all about me after all.’ As she heard the ‘not pleased’ tone in Dawn’s voice.
“She’s still there.” Giles spoke up. “She's gonna call if the girl wakes up.”
Faith watched a little shocked as Buffy glared at her watcher.
“Fine.” The blonde said and left the room, leaving Faith still standing in the entrance hall.
Giles looked over at Faith momentarily. “Well, Faith, we better, um, see if we can find some place to squeeze you in for the night.”
Faith thought he looked absolutely thrilled at the possibility as he and Dawn walked after Buffy. She turned around, meaning to head for the back door feeling the desperate need for a ciggie to find Spike leaning against the banister. He was staring at her curiously and Faith wondered for a moment what he was thinking before he spoke up.
“Not all that tension was about you. Giles was a part of a plan to kill me...for Buffy's own good.”
Faith raised her eyebow at him. “Well, that makes me feel better about me, worse about Giles…” She looked him over as she waved her hand in the air. “Kinda shaky about you.” And she walked past him, hoping he wouldn’t follow. She walked through the kitchen past Buffy and Dawn at the counter and outside.
She sat on the step, lighting a ciggie and trying to wrap her head around the events of the past 12 hours since she’d left L.A. After a few moments, she gave up. It was even harder to wrap her head around the present-day Sunnydale crew than it was the L.A crew. And these people were so different from the Scoobies she remembered.
She lay back on the porch and just stared at the fading night sky, trying to forget instead.
Meanwhile, inside the discussions had again moved back to the dining-room. This time including Xander and Anya.
“She’s not sleeping in my room.” Dawn stated. “And we shouldn’t trust her with the potentials. What if she still wants to kill good things?”
“I can build her a nice cosy kennel.” Xander suggested with a sardonic smile.
“According to Angel, she’s changed.” spoke up Giles, even though he knew Buffy wouldn’t welcome any opinion of his at the moment. “But I think Dawn’s sort of right. We shouldn’t trust her full yet.”
“See?” Dawn said and the look on her face said she felt vindicated at least.
After listening to their protests of Faith actually staying in the house for five minuts, Buffy finally spoke up. “She’ll sleep with me… I mean… in my room.” Buffy fought to sop the blush rising on her cheek as she tried to maintain her cool demeanor though it had been getting harder since Faith had showed up at the cemetary.
The Scoobies protests ranged from Xander’s “I can still build that kennel.” To Dawn’s arguments that she could try killing them all again. Even Xander’s phonecall to Willow got no back-up which surprised all but Buffy.
The decision had shocked them all especially as they all thought they knew how deep Buffy’s hate fro the other slayer went. Also, the sanctity of Buffy’s room had yet to be broken by invading potentials or anyone. The house was over-crowded but the decision had been made by the core scoobies that as ‘The Slayer’ and Commander General, Buffy needed her rest for the war ahead, unbroken as much as possible. Though she did have to share the adjoining ensuite.
So it had been Buffy’s decision and with Willow’s surprising support, it stood. Despite mass protest and the jealous gazes of a certain, well hidden, blonde vamp.
In his mind, this put a whole new spin on how things stood. He had already known there was ‘something’ between the two slayers and it wasn’t just a whole load of bad history. But for the blonde slayer to share her room was another thing altogether.
Faith had been in complete shock at the decision of where to sleep her as everyone else had been but she made no comment as it approached dawn and she bid every-one good night excusing herself with the fact it had been an extremely long day for her and she wanted to take a nap. She had a quick shower and returned to Buffy’s room to find the blonde waiting for her.
“Hey.” Buffy replied, almost tentatively it seemed to Faith.
Faith looked about the room and seeing no sign of a sleeping bag on the floor or anything she looked at the blonde. “Uh… where am I sleeping?”
Buffy pointed to the bed, trying even harder now to maintain her coolness towards the other slayer. “There… we’re both slayers who need to fight. Comfort thing. But I only stopped in to tell you I have to go to work a bit later. So you don’t have to worry about sharing… at least for now.” The blonde tried not to blush as thoughts filtered through her head about sharing a bed with the brunette in front of her. Who looked delectable in a shortie pair of gray training shorts and a white tank. It had her stuttering her next comment of Faith to enjoy her sleep and then fleeing the room.
Faith looked after her, only mildly surprised after the events of the evening. She yawned and crawled into bed, thinking a few hours sleep was just what a body needed. She was asleep as soon as her head it the pillow. But the escape of sleep was only short-lived and she was awake again a few hours later.