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Part Ten I (of II)

"Well I'm definitely up for kicking a little demon ass, count me in."

"I'd understand, with all you've been through, if you opted to sit this one out."

"Giles, I'm not one for the sitting around with the boo and hoos. I got all my angst out, now I'm looking to move on."

Treading carefully, the retired-librarian replied, "Yes, Buffy told me about your encounter with Scott Anderson." He paused, waiting for the slayer to speak. When she did not, the watcher prompted, "Would you like to talk about it?"

"What's there to say, G? I lost it, now I've got it back. It was no big."

"It is an enormous 'big', Faith," Giles told her. Sitting across from the slayer and looking into her eyes, the watcher attempted to read her expression. "What you went through... It is perfectly understandable that you may have some pent up frustration."

"The only pent up frustration I have, is about to be cured," Faith told him getting up. When met with a concerned expression from the watcher, she smiled clarifying, "Relax, G-man, I have a date." She retrieved her jacket, telling him, "Keep me updated on the demon thing – I've got my cell - and tell B that I'm backin' her all the way, K?"

"Okay." Watching the slayer near bounce from the room, the Brit listened to her call,

"Hey, don't worry about me, I'm doing great!"

"This is so beautiful."

Looking out onto the darkened horizon and the golden skyline, Faith agreed, "I know. I love this spot. You can see the whole of Sunnydale from here."

Silent and looking to the face of the slayer, Delana smiled receiving a, "What?" from the older girl.

"It's just that, you're so cute."

"Cute?" Faith asked, though appreciating the compliment.

"Yeah," Delana told her. "I thought that you'd take me to a club or a movie or something. But you brought me here, to possibly the most beautiful spot in California."

Taking a seat on the lightly damp green beneath them. Faith motioned for Delana to join her.
"I didn't think you were the club type. You strike me as a girl who likes to be romanced."

Unable to mask her giddiness, Delana beamed and sat beside her date. "I wouldn't have minded the club though. I really wanted to see some of your moves."

"Some of my moves?" Faith asked.

"Yeah, as in I wanted to see how you'd work it on the dance floor."

"I don't need a dance-floor, baby," Faith told her, drawing the waitress toward her. Cupping her chin, the slayer placed their lips together, softly kissing the younger woman.

Making incoherent sounds, as their lips were parted, Delana felt her eyes remain shut for a few moments after the kiss. Shivering, she opened her eyes to the smiling brunette. "That was awesome. I've been hoping you'd do that the entire night."

"I've been thinking about it," Faith admitted. "But I wanted it to be right." Noticing the younger female's reaction to the chill, she asked, "Are you cold?"

"I'm okay," Delana replied.

"No you're not, you're shivering," Faith replied, drawing her in closer. "C'mere."

"Hi Joy," Scott greeted as the sulking youngster made her way into the kitchen of their home. He pulled up a chair at the counter, patting it. When the youngster grabbed a jar of hot-chocolate from the pantry and chose to sit in a different seat, the brunette tried, "Hey, Joy, you wanna help me make dinner? We can surprise your mom when she gets back."

"Not particularly," Joyce replied, pouring the content of the container into a mug.

Scrutinising and observing the ex-soldier's wasteful nature, the brunette took hold of the jar.

"Hey, hey, you wanna give yourself a heart attack?" Scott asked, taking the cocoa from the girl. "That's way too much."

"You can't get a heart attack from hot-chocolate," Joyce wryly replied. "And what's your problem anyway?"

"My problem is that if you are going to live here, you are going to do things in the proper way, young lady." He replaced the jar on the table continuing, "I heard you were giving Buffy trouble and I wanted to talk-"

"You want to talk?" the twelve year old interrupted. "Honestly, Scott, it really doesn't matter what you want. See, I'm going to live here pretty much no matter what I do. You on the other hand? Are expendable."

"You little-"

"I'd watch it. I'm sure you don't want me to tell my mom that you were getting all testy with me."

"You can tell her whatever you like, sweetie because-"

"What's going on?" Buffy asked, returning to see her husband with his hand raised in front of her daughter.

"Joy here is getting a little too cheeky for her own good," Scott explained. "I was just about to explain to her that that is not how we do things around here."

"I was not," the youngster replied, changing the tone of her voice to one of distress. "It's just because you don't want me here. Either of you."

"What? Joyce, no," Buffy tried.

"Aw, give me a break," Scott told the young girl, inching toward her. "Now you're trying the sympathy bit."

"Stay away from me," Joyce warned, keeping the hysteria in her voice. "If you hit me again, I'm going to-"

"You hit her??!" Buffy asked, turning toward the psychiatrist and moving to stand in-between him and her daughter.

"I didn't touch her, Buffy," Scott merely replied. "You know I didn't."

"Joyce, would you excuse Scott and I," Buffy instructed. "We have a few things we need to talk about."

"K, mom," the youngster replied, obeying.

When the door was opened for herself and her date, Delana introduced her room-mate.

"This is Guy."

"'Sup," Faith offered, by way of a greeting.

"Hello," the man replied leering at the brunette and giving a smile of approval to his friend.

"Down, Guy," Delana instructed. "She's with me."

Now almost drooling, the flat mate stepped aside and let the girls into his house. "Need any help?" he called after them.

Glancing back, Delana told him, "I got it!"

Leading the slayer into her bedroom, the waitress illuminated it. Looking sheepish she the turned to the older woman.

"It's been a while since I've done this," Faith confessed in a bid to put the blonde's nerves to rest. "You'd think it was like riding a bike."

"That's okay," the waitress replied, taking her hand. "I like to lead by example. You can relax."

Grinning, the slayer allowed herself to be guided onto the bed. Jumping on and lying back, she placed her hands behind her head. The slayer crossed her legs, taking the New Yorker's advice to relax.

Standing beside the bed and removing her top, Delana smiled. "Wow, you must really be rusty," she told her, separating the slayer's legs from each other. "Because this is pretty much the position I'm gonna need you to be in."

"No complaints here," Faith admitted, watching the girl strip for her.

"You might want to lose the pants," Delana observed, letting the last article of clothing she was wearing, drop to the floor. Her tanned body now naked in front of the slayer, she looked up at the brunette who took her hand and used it to draw her nearer.

The room now completely silent, Faith felt obliged to speak, but felt no words come to mind. Her desire to act scuppered by the ring of cell phone, she looked towards it. "You're jokin'," Faith replied, in disbelief. Wanting to ignore it, but remembering her obligations, she reached for her pants, pulling her mobile phone from them and picking it up. Instantly recognising the number, she felt startled as she answered, "Hello."

Delana listened as the slayer answered. "What's wrong?"

Unable to hear the person on the other line, the waitress felt disheartened as the slayer replied, "Of course, I'll be right there, J. Hang tight."

Ending the call, Faith looked to the blonde beside her. "I will be right back," she promised, giving her date a kiss. Retrieving her pants, she threw them on. Moving back to the bed and kissing her near-lover again, she told her, "Don't even think about moving, you got it?"

"Got it," Delana muttered, watching the slayer race off.

Part Ten II (of II)

"Of course I know you didn't hit her, but you were awfully close."

Rubbing his face, Scott admitted, "She was really out to wind me up."

"She's eleven, that's her job."

"Do you know how hard this is? I want so badly to be okay with this, but I don't know if I can be. I am trying so hard to get on with her, but she..."

"Is behaving exactly like anyone in her situation would."

"In what situation? She has a roof over her head and is back from God knows where she's been for four years. She's got a brand new step-father who… who's trying his best..."

"She doesn't know you Scott, not properly. But give her time."

"How much time?" the brunette asked, frustrated with the situation. "This is intolerable."

"I don't know how much time," the slayer earnestly replied. "With Faith still being in her life, it's not going to be easy."

Her husband's adopted silence, worrying her slightly, Buffy called, "Scott?"

"What does that woman have to do with all this? That Faith… Buffy, who is she or was she to Joyce? And the truth would be nice this time."

"I already told you-"

Shaking his head, Scott continued, "Y'know, I've been going through that night over and over in my head and that woman sought me out. So why would 'just an old friend' of yours be out to get me? And why will you still not let me call the police?"

Opening her front door, Buffy stood almost speechless in the face of her visitor. "Faith. Wh-what are you doing here?"

"I was in the area, thought I'd stop by," the taller of the two lied. "Some legal people said they'd send some stuff here for me." In a bid to remain casual, she also slipped in, "Where's J?"

"They're in the kitchen," Buffy remembered. "And she's upstairs."

"Is it cool if I come in?" Faith felt she had to ask. "It's just that I don't want Scottie boy to piss his pants when he sees me all up in his house."

"He's not here," was Buffy's only reply, as she allowed the younger slayer into her home.

"You changed the place," Faith observed, instantly noticing the differences between the images stored in her memory and the place before her.

"Not much. I just got rid of a few of the old things; they had a lot of... It was hard staying here keeping it the same way. Too many memories." The psychiatrist led the way into the kitchen and located the documents in question. "Here."

"Thanks. I'm sorry they had to send it here in the first place. Something about address verification."

"I'm not," Buffy admitted. Taking a seat, she clutched at her side. "I really wanted to see you. To tell you that I-"

"What's wrong with your cage?" Faith asked, in reference to her ex's side and instantly moving to be beside the blonde.

"It's nothing," Buffy replied. "A small scratch."

Lifting up the older slayer's white polo-neck by its hem, Faith revealed a seeping and poorly bandaged wound. "Pretty nasty 'small scratch' if you ask me," the brunette decided, moving to the cupboards and locating the first-aid kit, still in its original place. "What happened?"

"Apparently I'm not as quick and agile as I used to be," Buffy explained, allowing Faith to remove the make-shift bandage she'd put on earlier and in a hurry. "The demon got a few good hits in. Still, it wont be able to tell any tales now."

"I told Giles to tell you that I had your back. You shouldn't have gone by yourself," Faith berated, treating the cut but finding the older slayer's clothing in her way. "Take your top off," she instructed.

Wincing as she removed her polo-neck, Buffy cried out and clutched at her ribs, as the no longer adhesive strip covering her wound, peeled off.

Gritting her teeth and withstanding her own empathy pain, Faith took hold of some anti-septic, applying it on the now open, but healing gash.

Bracing herself, Buffy leant against her ex, as the younger woman cleaned her wound and re-dressed it.
"Thank you," she muttered, when the dark slayer was done.

"No problem. You should get some rest."

"Yeah," Buffy agreed, allowing the brunette to help her upstairs; the both of them walking in silence.

Following the blonde into their former bedroom, Faith was hit by pangs of nostalgia watching Buffy enter the bed the two of them had once shared, alone.

Uneasy, she asked, "Do you mind if I just go and say hi to J. I know it's late, but I'll be quick, I swear."

Giving a nod of approval, Buffy settled into the comfortable queen-sized furniture, resting her eyes and listening out.

"J," she could just about hear.

"Faith!" Joyce exclaimed, from her bed as the brunette walked into her bedroom. "I'm so glad you're here. Mom wouldn't let me come and see you. Are you okay? Did she hurt you?"

"Hurt me? Kiddo, you know no-one can take me," Faith told the younger girl. "What's going on, what's the big emergency?"

Lowering her voice, Joyce explained, "It's Scott. I told mom he hit me."

"Did he?"

The youngster shook her head.

"Man, J. Why d'you do that?"

"He was being a major jerk."

Looking at the youngster wearing a questioning expression, the brunette asked, "Was he?"

"Yes. No. I started it, but he really wasn't that hard to trip."

"J, you can't go around pushing buttons."

"I can, Faith. Look, once he's off the scene, you can totally get back in with mom. We can be a family again."

Taking a deep breath, Faith looked at the youngster, searching for the best way to phrase what she wanted to say. "J. Kiddo, I... We can still be a family without me and your mom being together like that."

"What?" Joyce had to ask. "What do you mean? You don't want to get back together with my mom anymore?"

"It's not that... Well... But kiddo, she's married now. I won't stand in the way of that."

"Because I will, right?" Joyce asked, hoping for the slayer's agreement.

"No, you wont," Faith told her. "'Cause you're gonna be good, for me."

"Why?" the blonde retorted, looking away. "You don't love me anymore."

Pulling the youngster toward her, Faith brought herself to the child's eye-level. "Hey, don't even try that. I taught you all that reverse psychology shit." She mellowed. "But just in case you're not fakin' - kiddo, I love you... So, so much."

"I love you more, Faith," Joyce confessed. "I missed you. Can I come and live with you again?"

"Why, what's wrong with here?"

"Mom. She's always on my case. Asking me stuff, fussin' over me."

"She's your mom. That's, like, her role in life 'til you're twenty one."

"I don't want it to be. I want to be with you. I miss the way I can talk to you."

"You can talk to your mom."

"No I can't. She doesn't know anything." The blonde further explained, "She wants me to go to school. With other kids."

Understanding, Faith sat up and allowed to youngster to sit next to her. "Kid, you're gonna have to spend some time with people your own age sometime."

"But I'll be smarter than them. And they'll all pick on me 'cause I won't know anyone."

"Are you kidding me? You're stronger than them, just beat 'em up." She smiled as the youngster appreciated the joke and laughed. "You'll be alright. If not, you still have your K-19 automatic, right?"

The youngster laughed again.

"Give your mom a chance, k?" the slayer pleaded. "She deserves it. She's worried out of her mind for you and I don't want her to be. You're a good kid, so show her that, yeah?"

Joyce nodded. "Can I still come and live with you?" she tried.

"I'd love you to, but I'd be a terrible parent. I'll probably get drunk every night and never feed you green stuff. You'll barf up pizza every day and probably pass out from the reek of it - 'cause I'd never clean."

"You don't want to live with me."

"Hey, do you not listen anymore? I just told you I would, but Buffy's your mom. I can't keep you away from her." She added, "And I wouldn't want to. You can still come over and hang whenever you want – I'm still over at Ken & Willow's place. And whenever you wanna see me, just call my cell and I'll come runnin', 'kay?"

The blonde nodded.

"D'you want me to stay 'til you fall asleep?" Faith asked, letting the girl lay back.

"Yes," Joyce replied. "But I can't sleep."

"Have you not had your cocoa?"

The younger female shook her head.

"I'll go get you one," Faith told her standing. "But close your eyes and count bad guys."

When the youngster obeyed, Faith left the room, heading downstairs. Navigating around the kitchen like the house was still her home, the brunette prepared a cup of instant hot chocolate and took it upstairs. Having to pass Buffy's room before getting to Joyce's, the brunette entered the older slayer's room first.

"Is she asleep?" Buffy asked.

"J can't sleep without some hot choc," Faith explained. "I said I'd bring it to her, but you should. And just sit with her and talk to her until she falls asleep - bedtime at the barrack wasn't exactly the most peaceful time; she could do with a little soothin' before she konks out."

Grateful, the golden slayer nodded, attempting to painlessly make her way from her bed.

"Wait," Faith called, as if she'd found an alternative. "Stay there."

Disappearing from the room for a moment, the brunette returned carrying Joyce in her arms. Walking over to the bed, she motioned for Joyce to move off. "Kiddo, you sit there," she told the child, placing her beside her mother. Waiting for the girl to make herself comfortable beside the older slayer, she handed her the hot drink and asked, "Hey, did you tell your mom about that time when we had to save some whales on the beach?"

Laughing as she recalled the memory, Joyce turned to look up at Buffy. "It was so funny, 'cause Faith was showing off how she could lift the whale with one hand. Naturally everyone gathered around and was waiting for her to do it. So she went up to this huge whale and-" the youngster sipped her drink.

Smiling in anticipation of the punch-line, Buffy filled the silence with a, "Then what happened?"

"I'm gonna take off," Faith told her ex in a whisper, when Joyce was unmistakably asleep. "Tell J I'd have stayed, but I had something I had to rush off to."

"Really?" Buffy enquired. "Somewhere nice?"

"Yeah, I have a date."

"Oh," was all Buffy could find herself able to say.

Moving to leave, but whipping around before she did, Faith asked the older slayer to, "Tell Scott I said 'Hi'."

Giving her a playful stern look, Buffy waved goodbye and watched the dark slayer leave. Walking downstairs, Faith looked up one last time, assuring herself that the older slayer was going to be manage though the night. Letting herself out of her former home, she walked on, taking her cell phone from her pocket. Hitting the speed dial key, she listened to the automated message, speaking after the 'beep'.

"Hi Delana, it's me. I'm sorry that I had to run out on you tonight - I was really looking forward to getting to know you some more. But, I guess the fates had to step in and mess that idea all up... Listen, I'm real beat now, so we're gonna have to do this some other time. I'm not really sure when I'm free, so I'll give you a call. Later for now, baby. Faith."

With that, the slayer switched off her phone, making her way down the darkened street.



Part Eleven I (of II)

Silently crying out, Delana allowed her head to fall forward, exhaling audibly as she felt another orgasm flow through her.

"Faith," she attempted to plead, her entire weight concentrated on her knees, which were crushed into the bed's mattress beneath her.

"What?" the slayer asked, steadying herself on her left hand, as she entered the blonde from behind. Increasingly turned on by her lover's pleas, Faith let her body rest on the waitress' back, her fingers lost inside the woman's body.

Unable to form words as the older woman, fingered her, Delana cried out that she could take no more.

Not satisfied, but kissing Delana's bare shoulder in response, Faith slowly removed her fingers from her lover's soaking entrance. She climbed from atop her, as an utterly exhausted Delana fell forward onto the bed. Laying beside the younger woman, Faith attempted to hold the blonde, pulling back when the woman grimaced.

"What's wrong?" Faith enquired.

Looking to her arm, Delana revealed a large bruise, causing Faith to both curse and ask:

"Did I do that?"

"It's ok," the waitress assured her lover. "It only hurts when you touch it. Or move it. Or when I breathe."

"I didn't know. I'm sorry."

"It's my fault," the blonde replied. "You asked me if I wanted it rough and I said yes." Drawing the brunette toward her in a way that would cause neither of them pain, she kissed and told her to, "Forget about it."

"There's some witch-hazel in the bathroom," Faith told her, moving to get up.

"I'll go," Delana decided, making her way out of her bed and walking to the room's ensuite bathroom.
Watching after the New York native, the brunette's gaze was distracted by the opening of her bedroom door.

"Knock, knock," Kennedy called, entering and holding bags. Instantly looking away, she pleaded, "Please be covered." Obliging and draping the bed's sheet over herself, Faith prompted the younger woman to continue. "So anyway, I got you some new clothes, seeing as I miss all of mine."

Instantly blushing, the slayer replied, "You didn't have to do that. I mean, you could have told me you missed your clothes."

"Nonsense," Kennedy returned. "I just used that as an excuse. Truth is Willow won't let me go on sprees for myself. I *needed* to buy you new things." She placed the numerous bags onto the floor, noticing the sounds of running water coming from the bathroom. Lowering her voice Kennedy blurted out, "Oh my God, I didn't know she was still here."

"It's cool," Faith replied, putting the brunette at ease.

"So? How was it?"


"You know. Willow and I couldn't get to sleep you guys were making so much noise."

"So then *it* was loud," Faith answered the question.

"Ha-ha," Kennedy retorted. "I bet it was so good, you just don't want to make me jealous."

"You got it in one, babe."

"What's her name?" Kennedy asked. "And don't tell me you don't know."


Pausing, Kennedy uttered, "Oh my God! Does she work at the espresso pump?"

"Yeah, why?"

"Oh my God," Kennedy repeated.

"Would you stop saying that and actually tell me why?" Faith asked.

"No, it's just that the clothes come with a fourteen day return policy."

"What?" Faith had to ask, acknowledging that Delana had re-entered the room, but wanting Kennedy to complete her explanation.

"Kennedy," Delana observed, interrupting. "What a surprise."

"Yeah," Kennedy replied, standing. "Faith just told me that you were the current woman in her life."

"That's great," the blonde replied. She looked to Faith telling her, "I have to go."

"Now? Where?" the slayer replied, her gaze darting from woman to woman, wanting them to explain themselves.

"I told Guy I'd meet him for breakfast," Delana answered, moving towards her lover's bed to give her a quick kiss.

"Guy would understand that you were with me," Faith replied, watching Kennedy slip out from her bedroom.

"I've blown him off twice already, Faith. He will not understand. Can I see you later?"

"Whatever," Faith replied, receiving the blonde's kiss as she hurried off. Following her to the door, she listened out, hoping to catch an exchange between her and Kennedy. When the hall remained silent for a few minutes, she concluded that both girls had left. Taking hold of the shopping bags strewn across her bedroom floor, the slayer excitedly searched through each in turn.

"Rob, why the fuck didn't you tell me?"

"What?" the store-manager asked the entering slayer while waving goodbye to a customer. "Have a nice day!" He called after the man, adding, "You slimy son of a bitch," under his breath.

"You're one to talk," Faith observed. "Did you not think you could have told me B was married?"

"It wasn't my place," Rob replied in earnest. "Besides, I didn't want you to start shooting the messenger."

"You still coulda had my back, man," the brunette told him. "I swear, I thought I was gonna have a heart attack when I found out."

"Well you seem to have seen the funny side now."

"Yeah, y'know me. I'm good and I'm seeing someone else and that's going real well."

"I'm glad," Robert decided. Realising that the brunette must have come looking for him for a reason he asked, "So, what can I do for you?"

"Nothing, man. I was just passing. Stressed out from a hard day's job-hunting."


"Yeah. Turns out nobody'll hire you when you have no resumes and can't come up with a reason you've been M.I.A for the past three years. Not to mention my lack of experience."

"Why don't you come back here?" the store-worker suggested. "Lord knows we could do with an extra pair of hands around."

"Are you outta your mind?"

"It's ok, Faith. I'd treat you really well; give you days off and stuff."

"No, it's not that," the brunette clarified. "Though, I'm pretty sure I'd rather eat my own liver than work for you. I'm just trippin' about working for Buffy. Do you know how wrong that would be on so many levels?"

"Oh crap," the blonde replied, quickly picking up the nearest phone and dialling frantically. Listening for a reply, he uttered, "Hello, boss… Yeah, the delivery actually came through to the States this morning but it needs approval before they'll send it here… No, I don't have the new pass codes for the system… I can't override it… Oh… How would I do that?" Rob asked, turning on the store's computer and looking nervously at its screen. Drawing a blank, he attempted to type in a command. Swearing he had to clarify to the person on the line, "No, I was talking to the computer."

"Man, you just type in," Faith interrupted, not finishing her sentence but instead walking behind the counter and using the computer's keyboard. "This and then… Score," the brunette stated, beaming as the computer gave a pass code prompt.

"Never mind," Robert told his superior on the phone. "It's been done… Faith…" He looked to the brunette who was typing away and completing the order for him, reminding Buffy, "You're the boss."

He dropped the phone, looking to the brunette. "Thanks. Sorry, but she told me this morning that if the delivery didn't go through today, it'd be my ass on the line."

"No problem," Faith replied. "But now you owe me."

"Just name it," Rob replied.

"You know anyone who's hiring?" the slayer asked, adding, "And if you say you, I'll flip."

"Actually, I might. Let me make a call."

"So you're not looking for a chef?" Robert asked the caller on the shop's phone line. "How about a waitress?... Or a manager… A painter, perhaps?"

Faith's expression changed to one of sheer boredom having been listening to the blonde make pointless call after call.

"How about someone to stand outside the restaurant with a bell?"

"Dude, screw it," the slayer finally and audibly decided. "I'll be better off finding my own job."

"I'll get back to you," Robert promised the caller, ending the call. "What d'you do that for?" the store-manager asked. "He was thinking about it. And the rate was good." Glancing at the door, he returned his gaze to the brunette, telling her, "Oh, I have another friend who's in the music business. I'll give her a call."

"You know what, man? I don't really think I'm a budding singer or whatever."

"You could make CDs," Rob suggested, thankful when his boss walked through the door. He rushed to the aid of a customer.

"Hi," Buffy greeted when Faith acknowledged her entrance.

"Hey," Faith replied, walking to her. Silent for a moment, the slayer remembered, "Hey, how's your side?"

"Better," Buffy told her. "Listen, thanks for what you did for me and for taking Joyce on her first day."

"Don't mention it," the younger slayer told her ex.

At a loss for a different way to phrase that which she wanted to say, Buffy confessed, "I'm really glad I ran into you actually. I wanted to show you something. Do you have a few minutes?"

"A good something or a bad something?"

Smiling at the fact that the slayer was responsive, she assured her, "You'll love it, trust me."

"I'm in," Faith stated.

"Great," Buffy replied her. Turning to her store's manager, she told him, "Rob, feel free to close up early." Leading Faith from the store.

Part Eleven Part II (of II)

"You never told me how your date went," Buffy realised aloud, turning her car into a less crowded street.

"My date?" Faith echoed, realising, "Oh. Yeah. It was great."

"Where d'you go?"

"Look-out point," Faith answered.

"So it was a second date."

"A first," the brunette replied. "Though, why?"

"No reason," Buffy replied. "I just remember that look-out point was our second date."

Racking her memory, Faith recalled, "Look-out point was our third date."

"No." Buffy re-stated, "It was our second."

"Wow," Faith uttered. "Your memory must be shot, 'cause look-out was definitely our third date. Our second was the Pizza house and our first the movies."

"You counted that as a date?" Buffy asked in disbelief. "We went to a porn flick."

"I paid, you put out," Faith completed, grinning. "Hello, date."

Laughing, Buffy accepted, "Fine, it was a date. Even it wasn't really seeing as your main mission was to get me into bed."

"It was not," the dark slayer retorted. "I was so all about the going home that night and you were all, 'Faith we've got the place all to ourselves. Why don't you come in and screw me?'"

"I was not," Buffy argued, nearing their destination. "You were the one who was all, 'Buffy there's no-one in your house. Can I come in and have sex with you?'"

"Oh my God!" Faith uttered in disbelief. "You were begging me to come in. I only put out that night 'cause I felt sorry for you." Immediately feeling her last statement both inaccurate and inappropriate, the slayer tried to retract with an, "I'm sorry."

Not taking her eyes from the road, Buffy replied, "It's ok. You were joking."

"Yeah," Faith affirmed, emphatically. "That night meant loads to me."

When Buffy made no reply, Faith emphasised, "It did, I swear."

Slowing her car to a stop, the older slayer announced, "We're here." Stepping out from the vehicle, Buffy moved over to the young brunette's side of the car, letting her do the same.

"Where are we?" Faith asked, looking around at the identical buildings surrounding them. "Some sorta lot?"

"Yes," Buffy confirmed, reaching into her pocket. "I wanted to give you this," she told the younger slayer, handing her a key. "I didn't want to mention it before because I had actually lost it. But Joyce helped me find it this morning."

"You couldn't have given me this at the store?" Faith asked, looking at the blonde with a playful smile.

"And miss the look on your face?" Buffy asked, leading her to a lot whose number matched that on the key.

Opening the door, Faith walked into the room, cluttered with things that at first glance seemed to be junk. "You shouldn't have," she called dryly, walking up to a large object covered by a sheet. Whipping off the cover, she gasped as she looked upon the black vehicle it had concealed. "Oh... You *really* shouldn't have! My jeep?" she asked to which Buffy gave a nod.

"The key's under the wheel. Though, I'm not sure it'll work."

"You kept it all this time?" the slayer asked her senior.

"I just couldn't sell it," Buffy admitted to which the brunette had to smile. She looked around, the other belongings catching her eye.

"This is all my stuff," Faith noticed, finding herself staring wide-eyed at her former belongings. "My leather jacket," she noticed, dusting it off and putting it on. "This is fucking awesome," she stated, moving to embrace her former girlfriend. "Thank you."

Excited, she ran back to the jeep, finding its key where she had been told it was and using it to let herself in. Putting the key into the ignition, she turned it, attempting to start the car to no avail. Popping the bonnet from inside and stepping back out, the brunette moved to the front of the car and lifted its hood. Looking to all the wires and gadgets, she began to fiddle around with them.

"Do you know what you're doing?" Buffy asked, observing the slayer's careful method of pulling, sniffing and hitting the parts of the jeep.

"Not really," Faith replied. "But I think this is the engine." She prodded at the car part, removing her and finding it covered in black liquid with a, "Gross."

Buffy observed with a smirk. "You're covered in it."

"Yeah," Faith replied, noticing that the liquid had managed to get itself on her new shirt. She removed her jacket and then the top, searching around for alternative clothing.

"Here," Buffy chose, opening a box and handing her ex something else to wear. "This was actually a given to me from a Theresa after you'd left."

"Thank you, Theresa," Faith replied, taking and putting it on. "Even though I have no idea who she was."

"That's funny. She came to your funeral."

"Still not ringing a bell," the younger slayer deflected, refusing to comment on the identity of the woman in question.

Looking to her watch, Buffy realised, "I'm going to have to go now; I said I'd see Giles. Do you want me to drop you off somewhere?"

Trying to start her jeep for a final time, Faith gave up, accepting, "Thanks. I guess I'll just have to get someone to fix it tomorrow and that's probably going to cost me shit-loads."

Leading the way out and to her car, Buffy offered, "If you like, I wouldn't mind paying."

Locking up, Faith followed her ex, dismissing the idea with a, "Nah. No way, you've done way more than enough just keeping it." She added a, "Thank you. So much."

With a warm smile, Buffy replied her, "I'm just glad it has you back."

"Of course I haven't slept," the retired librarian admitted, solemnly pacing the front room of his home. "How could I?"

"Giles, it's okay," Buffy replied her former watcher, attempting to calm him while locating and taking up a double-headed axe.

"No, it's not. I will find another way, Buffy. I have to."

"Of course you will," the petite blonde returned correcting herself with a, "We will. Until then, I'm just going to keep having to fight these things. Do you know where the last one was sighted?"

"Near the marina," Giles informed her. "I'd call Amanda but I doubt she'll be up to fighting it after the last time. I could give Faith a call, two slayers are better than one, you know, Buffy."

"And three slayers are better than two, etcetera. Giles, what's your point?"

Startled, the Brit went to explain, "My point-"

"I'm kidding, Giles. And no. No calling Faith. I don't want her to know about this, especially as we don't really know much ourselves." When the watcher made no move to agree, Buffy assured him, "I've killed one of these things before, I can do it again."

"But the last time you ended up being thrown into concrete and nearly killed."

"Then I'll stay away from the concrete," the slayer joked. "Maybe this time I'll land in something softer, like wood. Or better yet, I might be thrown into the sea. I haven't been swimming in a long time."

Looking blankly, the watcher felt and understood that Buffy was in no mood to be serious. "I can't stop you," he voiced. "It's taken me twelve years to realise that. But I will forever care for you, Buffy. Please, promise me that you will be safe."

"I don't really see the point. It's pretty much a win-win," Buffy told him, to which a near dumbfounded Giles could only choke out,


"Nothing," Buffy replied, feeling her behaviour insensitive. "I'm just being moronic. Listen, I'm going to head out, find this thing and kill it. Please, keep working."

"Of course," Giles agreed. "I won't stop."

Smiling tenderly, Buffy picked up the axe, leaving the grey haired man staring after her.


Part Twelve I (of II)

Hearing sounds of an unexpected presence in her home, Buffy cradled the baby in her arms. Handing Rory over to Joyce, she instructed her daughter,"Look after your cousin. I'll be right back."

Leaving the youngster's room, Buffy shut the door behind her, listening out for the sounds she found now to be coming from her bedroom. Entering, she found her ability to inhale dramatically return, as she gazed at her husband.

"Just here to pick up a few things," Scott announced bustling around their bedroom, picking up any shirts he encountered in his way. Opening draws and wardrobes, he removed his things.

"I've missed you," Buffy called over the noise he was making.

Stopping, the brunette took a deep breath and picked up his suitcase. Dropping it on his bed, he loaded the clothes he had acquired into it.

"Scott, can't we talk about this?" Buffy tried again.

Looking with the sincerest expression he could muster, Scott agreed with an, "Okay."

Not expecting this response, Buffy stuttered, "Well.. Okay... I actually kind of hoped you would have something to say."

"Honestly, honey, I'm pretty much out of words. The fact that you didn't think to tell me that you are a lesbian before we got married, is pretty much a words-taker."

"Scott, I'm not a lesbian."

"Okay then, well that you used to be one."

Lost for words, Buffy could not reply.

Sighing, the older psychiatrist decided, "This is harder than I thought it'd be. I'll come back when you're not here."

Moving to leave, Scott stopped pleaded,"Scott, don't go. Look, what I did or was in my past, doesn't have to affect our relationship now."

"But it is. Buffy, are you aware that you are obsessed with your ex? You may think you're over her, but you are *really* not."

"Faith means a lot to me, yes. I mean we were good friends before we started dating but-"

Visibly disgusted, Scott told the slayer to, "Please stop. I don't really want to know. All I wanted you to tell me is that you don't still have feelings for her."


"Yeah. Honey, I want to come back to you and for us to put all this crap behind us. But I can't... I wont do that if you can't swear to me that this whole Faith thing is over."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean that I don't want her to be a part of our lives any more." As if gaining more confidence in his request, Scott walked over to stand in front of the blonde. "Honey, if you tell me that I never have to worry about seeing her around here, I'll come back right now and I promise, we wont ever talk about it again."

Looking around at the new-look of the Bronze, Faith chuckled at the sight of a red carpet rolled out for patrons. Strolling up to the bouncer at the door, the slayer gave him a once-over.

"It's a private party tonight," he announced, not intimidated by the brunette before him. "You on the list?"

"How much will it take for me to be on it?"

"Fifty," the bouncer spat.


"No, cents," the bouncer replied, grinning inwardly at his own sarcasm.

Pulling out a crisp dollar bill, Faith told the bouncer to, "Keep the change." Walking past him.

"Come back here!" The man called after the slayer. Looking to follow her, but not wanting to ignore his duties as more patrons arrived, he glanced from the woman back to the new arrivals. At a loss for what else to do, the bouncer angrily challenged the approaching guests.

"Hey!" Faith called over the club's music, strolling up to the bar. "Is Theresa here tonight?"

"Yeah, she's on in ten," the woman informed, serving a customer his drink. She returned her attention to the brunette.

"Cool," Faith uttered, seeming to glance around absent-mindedly. "I'll have a Martini. Dirty," she ordered.

Waiting for the bartender's distraction to become a certainty, Faith slipped into the door aside the bar and backstage. Constantly checking behind her for followers, she navigated her way to a room she'd known well in her past. Knocking on the door to it, she waited for it to be opened, smirking at the woman then stood in front of her.

"How've you been, T?" the slayer asked, letting herself inside and scrutinising both the blue decor of spacious room and the clutter on the makeup counter.

Looking confused, Theresa was forced to inquire, "I'm sorry, should I know who you are?"

"Apparently I owe you this shirt," Faith explained, picking up a discarded, large dildo with a smirk. Setting it down, she continued to explore.

Looking as if to remember but unable to, Theresa laughed, "Well, you're welcome," she decided.

"Oh, I'm not one to *say* thank you," Faith informed the woman, turning to face her. "But I can show you that I'm grateful."

Smiling, the exotic dancer admitted, "I wouldn't say no to that. But I'm on stage in a few minutes."

"Really?" Faith asked, wandering around the room, picking up and dropping articles. "You got your act ready?"

"Pretty much."

Taking seat, Faith prompted Theresa to, "Show me what you got."

Beaming, the slayer relaxed as Theresa agreed, moving to the corner of the room and switching on some music. Approving the song choice and nodding her head to the beat of the Hip Hop track, she watched as the artificial blonde performed for her.

Slowly and seductively removing each article of clothing she was wearing, Theresa danced to the music. Locking eyes with the slayer as she performed, the stripper taken by surprise as Faith leapt up, driving the woman back onto her dressing room counter.

Taking her by the hand, Faith pressed her lips onto the older woman's, driving her tongue inside.

Enjoying the forceful nature of her client, Theresa leant back, grabbing at the slayer's shirt.

Quick to relieve herself of her clothes, Faith obliged, allowing the top to fall onto the floor. She resumed kissing the taller female, allowing the stripper to wrap her long legs around her waist.

Breaking their oral contact, Theresa was just able pant, "What's your name?"

"Does it matter," Faith replied her, moving to resume their kiss as she tore the strap of the older woman's thong.

Gasping, Theresa asked, "So what am I supposed to scream?"

Positioning herself between the woman's legs, Faith answered, "God."

Floor sweeping her adversary, Buffy jumped to her feet when the demon hit the floor.

Picking up her axe, she was blindsided, when the demon sprung back into action, knocking her backwards. Beholding the human-sized, male demon, she braced herself for his attack.

Swinging the weapon, Buffy's eyes widened when she was disarmed. In a bid to prevent her own weapon being used to kill her, the slayer turned and ran, leading the demon to open space. Spotting a crate, the blonde picked it, throwing the wooden box at the beast.

In a full on assault after its injury, she administered a snap kick to the demon's chin, caught off-guard when the demon caught her leg by its ankle, twisting it.

Screaming in pain, Buffy fell to her knees. Just able to grab hold of her fallen weapon, she quickly positioned it between the demon's legs and in a swift lever action sliced the beast in two.

Falling to the ground, she clutched at her leg, wincing. Suddenly feeling the earth beneath her tremor, the slayer looked around for a place to take cover. Surrounded mostly by grounded boats and water, she spotted a control room inside which she wished to take refuge. Attempting to stand, she found she couldn't and instead relented to her body's overwhelming desire to faint from the pain.

"That is the second quake this week," Faith observed, muttering, "What the hell is going on?" Letting herself and her guest into her home, the slayer moved though the four-bedroomed house, yelling out for her housemates. Trying again, she hollered, "Is anybody here?"

"Faith in here," came the reply.

Following the voice to the reception room and with Theresa behind her, Faith illuminated the room, startled to behold a multitude of people, who in unison called out,


Her horror apparent, Faith looked around at the room filled with guests. She read the banner hanging from the ceiling, reading aloud, 'Welcome Home'.

"It's your 'We're glad your back' party," Kennedy chimed, approaching her.

"You guys shouldn't have," Faith could just about say as a seemingly disconcerted waitress advanced toward her.

Looking toward the source of the now blaring music, Faith returned her gaze to the younger woman. "Delana, Theresa. Theresa, Delana," she decided to say. Taking the latter by the hand she told her, "Let's go get a drink."

"Where've you been all evening?" Delana worriedly enquired after the brunette's whereabouts. "I was supposed to bring you here in time for the surprise but I couldn't get hold of you."

"I was at a club," Faith told her, taking a drink and handing it to the blonde.

"Is that where you met her?"

"Who?" Faith asked, though knowing exactly whom the New Yorker was referencing.


"No. Theresa and I go way back." Sighing and giving the waitress a quick peck, the brunette told her. "She's just an old friend, babe."

Unconvinced, Delana replied, "A really pretty, old friend that you were bringing back to your house at night."

"Exactly," Faith replied, as if to mock the girl's jealously. "Babe, get a drink down you and let's go dance."

"I have to go to work now," Delana told her. "I just stopped by to say 'welcome home'."

Rolling her eyes, the slayer made no attempt to stop the blonde walking away. Wanting to make a getaway, Faith cursed as she was stopped by an abrupt question from Kennedy.

"Nothing," Faith replied, coming to her own defence. "She just went crazy 'cause I brought someone home with me."

"Really?" Kennedy asked, sympathy absent from her question.

"Yeah," Faith returned. "Have you seen her by the way?"


"The blonde I came in with," the slayer corrected.

"Yeah, she left with Steve from the Magic Box. He looked really happy."

Shaking her head, Faith decided, "What a slut."

Clearing her throat to alert her girlfriend and the slayer, Willow signalled for them to join her in the corner of the room.

"Giles," Kennedy greeted as the brunettes joined the worried-looking twosome. Noticing his outfit with sarcasm in her voice, she complemented Giles on a, "Nice hat."

Removing the article from his head, Giles remained serious as he explained, "Something is terribly wrong; I can't get hold of Buffy."

"Why are we panicking?" Kennedy felt she had to ask.

"The earthquake. And the fact that the last time I spoke to her she was on her way home to pick up weapons." He looked to Faith explaining, "Buffy went after the demon, Nazhra."

Unable to understand her ex's recent and increasingly reckless behaviour, Faith asked, "Is she tripping? She almost got killed last time."

"I told her that but-"

Interrupting what she felt was to encroach on her time, Faith simply asked, "Where is she?"

"At the marina."

"I'm there," the slayer replied, going to rush off and with the retired librarian following close behind her.

"You're the guest of honour," Willow reminded the brunette. "I'll go with Giles."

"I don't even know half these people," Faith replied, looking around the room to and noticing that none of them even took heed. Lowering her voice, she added, "And no offence but if she's in trouble a slayer would be a much better option."

"But I'm a powerful Wicca," Willow argued.

"And apparently about five years old?" the slayer returned in reference to the pout the redhead was adopting.

"Faith is right," Giles added. "A slayer may be a better choice to fight this thing. We will call as soon as we know something."

"Okay," Willow conceded. "Good luck."

Turning from the ex-watcher and charging out Faith ordered, "Giles, let's motor."

Part Tweleve II (of II)

"She was the kind of person who could walk into a room and light it up," Dawn confessed to the morose church congregation. "With her infectious smile and her good natured spirit. I loved her dearly and will miss her so much." Holding back her tears as she spoke, the brunette uttered, "Rest in peace."

Stepping down from the stage, the young woman made her way to the pew of the crowded church. Replaced at the podium by a priest, the man prompted the congregation to stand and join him in prayer as he laid his hands on the closed casket.

Stood in front of the fresh grave, listening to the silence that marked the absence of its visitors, Buffy stared ahead. In disbelief at the past week's events, she attempted to numb the pain by paying no attention to her surroundings. Closing her eyes, she found that notion that was interrupted when she was told,
"Hi, I'm looking for Buffy Summers."

Turning, Buffy faced the woman who was stood behind her holding flowers in one hand and an article of clothing in the other.

"Hi. My name is Theresa Foord. I am the woman-"

"The witness?" Buffy asked.

"Yes," Theresa clarified. "I just wanted to return this. I thought it would mean more to someone here than it does to me." Thinking over her words, she corrected herself while handing over the garment. "Not that it doesn't mean much to me, just that it would mean more to someone who knew Faith longer. I was told that you were the person to see."

Staring speechless at the shirt, Buffy felt her eyes begin to water. With a sudden rage, she administered a blow across the woman's face. Finding herself quickly restrained by her younger sister, Buffy screamed out,
"You whore!"

Clutching her face, the hurt blonde asked, "What the hell is wrong with you, lady?"

"What did you say to her?" Dawn asked, through clenched teeth as Buffy shrugged from her grasp and walked away in a bid to calm down.

Watching after the smaller, yet stronger woman, Theresa answered, "Nothing. I just introduced myself. She asked me if I was the witness and when I said yes, she snapped."

"Theresa Foord," Dawn recognised. "Do you blame her? You know you are the lowest of the low. How could you take the stand in front of all of those people and say the things you did?"

"I swore to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but. If the fact that Faith and I were sleeping together bothers you, then I apologise that I came."

"Apology accepted," Dawn uttered, ordering, "Now go."

Handing over the bunch of flowers in her hand, Theresa obliged, leaving the brunette to stare after her.

Lost in memories of the past, Buffy found herself jolted back to reality as she heard her name called.

"Faith?" she called back.

Charging inside the cramped space and instantly looking toward the voice, Faith immediately ran to be by her fallen ex's side. "Buffy, what the-?" she started. Removing her jacket, she covered the blonde with it. "What's going on?"

"I got into a fight," Buffy offered as an explanation. "I think my foot is broken."

Looking toward the limb in question and attempting to tend to it, the taller woman found herself at a loss for what to do. "We gotta get you to a hospital," she offered with an outstretched hand.

When the older slayer refused, Faith crouched to be at her eye-level.

"B, what's going on? Why are you going on all these missions alone?"

When the petite slayer remained silent, Faith noticed the tears in her eyes. Confused, the brunette moved to hold her former lover. Feeling useless, she felt that all she could do was hold the slayer and wait for her crying to subside.

"Yeah. No, we're still at the marina... She doesn't want one....It's okay, I'll take her home... Yeah, hold on." Faith offered the phone to Buffy who shook her head. Sighing, the dark beauty put the receiver back to her ear. "She's not really feeling up to it, G-man. She'll call you in the morning... Okay. Later."

Switching off her cell phone, Faith resumed her position at the older slayer's feet, placing the injured foot atop her lap and examining it with soft touches.

"Thank you," Buffy muttered.

"How long've you been here?"

"I don't know."

"You gonna tell me what's up?" Faith asked. When Buffy did not go to answer the question, the brunette clarified, "That wasn't a question, that was an order, B."

"Does it matter?"

"Er, yeah, considering my new job seems to be saving your ass and patching you up. Why the death wish?"

The older slayer made no move to answer and merely shifted in her position, attempting to remove her leg from her ex's lap. Placing Buffy's leg gently down, Faith sat beside her former girlfriend in silence. When the blonde, lifted the jacket she was using as a cover and indicated she share, the younger slayer felt she had to accept. Placing her arm around the smaller woman's frame, she drew her in close.

Resting her head on the blonde's, Faith inaudibly sighed.

"B, I gotta be honest with you, this is driving me crazy," the slayer admitted.

"What is?"

"Not knowing what's going on in your head. Wanting to help you, but feeling like I can't." She paused, continuing to say, "You know you can tell me anything."

"I want to," the older slayer confessed. "But I can't. I'm not your problem anymore."

Laughing at the statement, Faith corrected her with a, "You will always be my problem."

Making no move to reply the statement, the blonde seemed to stiffen against the body of her former lover.

"What?" the dark slayer wondered, to which Buffy replied:

"Why?" She sat up, answering the brunette's impending question with a, "Why can't you let me go?"

"Hold up," the brunette uttered, sitting up. "What?"

"You're making everything so hard for me and it's unbearable Faith."

Confused more at the older woman's behaviour than at her question, Faith asked her, "Again, huh?"

"I've sat here, for the past God knows how long, just looking back over my life and thinking about all the things I've been through and the one thing I don't get is you. After all the things I've done to you, all the things I've made you do-"

"Buffy, where the hell is all this coming from?"

"Faith, if I were to die tomorrow, would you miss me? Would you cry?"

"Okay, now we're randomly psychotic."

"Answer the question."

"Of course I would."

"But why? You'd finally be free."

"Of what?" Faith felt she had to know. "Of love?"

Stopping silent, Buffy looked into the younger woman's eyes and asked her, "You still love me?"

"How could I stop?" Faith answered in earnest. "You're still the girl I fell in love with aren't you? Okay, the more messed up and attached version, but you're still you." She laughed. "You know it's funny. I've tried so hard to stop loving you these past few weeks, but the more I try, the more I can't stop."

Looking away from the younger slayer's face, all Buffy could offer in explanation was, "Faith, the woman you love is not me. And what you're holding onto is an idea."

"What idea?"

"The idea that you and I can be together."

"We were once."

"Were we?"

"We weren't?"

"Faith, think back. Can you ever remember a time when we sat and talked to each other? Or when we went out to do something together that we both enjoyed; just the two of us? Or a night that didn't end with us fighting? All of our time together was spent either fighting or making up."

"That's utter bullshit," Faith replied, remembering. "It was great in the beginning. Everything was great until you went and fucked it up with Riley."

"Riley was a cry for help. Things between us were way beyond the danger area before I slept with him."

"That wasn't my fault. I wasn't there. I was too busy being a slave for the council, remember?"

"I do, but you have to also remember that I was young then. I didn't know what I was doing. All I knew was that I missed you so much and needed Riley to help me feel something... Anything."

"You're talking about being young? Buffy I was barely seventeen when they shipped me off to a country that I didn't know anyone in. Surrounded by people who didn't want to know and all that kept me going was you. I don't and I can't understand why you couldn't have felt the same way about me."

"Which is why everything turned out the way it did. Faith, you can never forgive me for what happened, can you? As far as you're concerned, I slept with Riley that night because I wanted to. God! Do you know how drunk I was that night? How upset I was that you weren't there with me; to hold me, to... love me. He did-"

Interrupting, Faith asked her ex to stop with an, "I get it. It's all my fault that I was overseas being tortured everyday, because I couldn't be with you to love you. Do you know how self-centred you sound?"

"Uh-huh, because you're not making this all about you? It could have easily been me that the council took away to experiment on, but it was the luck of the draw that it was you."

"'Cept the difference is, B; if they'd have taken you, you wouldn't have come back to find me knocked up."

"How many times can I say that I'm sorry?"

"'Til you feel it," Faith answered standing. She paced away from the blonde, unable to face her.

"I do. Baby, I am so unbelievably sorry that what happened did." She caught herself, turning away from the brunette. "Faith. I... Never mind."

"No, what?" Faith prompted.

"It's nothing."

"My God, for once can you not just say what's on your mind without holding back?"

"I was just going to say that... I wish things were different."


"So many ways. I just wish everything was simple again. That I could go back ten years and start all over. I've wished that ever since the night you left."

Staring through the cabin window, Faith retorted, "Well, you can't. You can't take back all the pain and all the damage."

"I know."

Silently reflecting, Faith voiced her thoughts to the blonde slayer telling her, "I am curious, though. If things had have worked out and I'd have come back with J all safe and sound, what would have happened between us?"

In earnest, Buffy answered, "I don't know. I was thinking about that and remembering how I felt that day..."


"I don't think I'd ever wanted to be with anyone more."

Turning to face the blonde, Faith remained speechless as she continued,

"And now… Now, I feel like I finally understand what you were talking about that night that you told me that your heart beat for me, because Faith before you came back into my life, I'd been dead for three years."

Moving to kneel beside Buffy, the brunette attempted to read her expression, asking her, "What are you saying?"

Choosing a non-verbal answer, Buffy took hold of her sultry ex-lover by her shirt, coaxing her forward and allowing their lips to meet. As her lips met the soft, full lips ones of the other slayer's she used her mouth to gently caress the taller woman's.

Whimpering into the kiss, Faith pulled back, looking into Buffy's eyes.

"We can't do this," the brunette told the psychiatrist, in an attempt to move away from her. "You're-" she tried, silenced by Buffy's move to pull her closer.

Drawing the younger slayer toward her, the slayer rose onto her knees ignoring the pain of moving her injured foot. Looking down on the brunette, she leant in capturing the younger woman's lips and tasting her.



Part Thirteen

Their lips breaking contact, Faith completed her unfinished sentence with, "Married." She smirked as she added, "And that's gotta be the world's liveliest wake."


"I said 'pretty lively wake', Buffy," the younger slayer repeated sitting back, putting her hands behind her head and casually resting on them. She snickered. "How can you possibly say that you've been dead without me? You went and got this new life, a new hubby, a new car. Hell, you're a completely different person now."

"I had to be."

Shaking her head, the younger slayer disagreed. "No. You really didn't. You're confusing and you're cold and I'm not feeling you at all." Standing, Faith told her ex, "Call me crazy- and no pun intended here- but I like my girls straight and I can't take your head games. One minute I see you all over a guy and the minute he ditches you, you're all about the Gay Pride."

Noting a glimpse of surprise on the Buffy's features, Faith realised, "Oh, you didn't know that I'd heard about you and lover-boy, did you? You're unbelievable." Holding out her hand, she offered it to older slayer. "Listen, if you wanna get outta here, then let's go, 'cause there is someone else I really need to be with."

Taking the offered hand, Buffy felt she could do nothing but get up and limp by her ex's side.

Walking boldly into the dimly lit diner, Faith held a flower she'd plucked from the roadside on the way there.

"Yo!" She called, standing in front of the diner's patrons and in front of one of their waitresses; she smiled as she got the attention she wanted. "How's it going?" she asked.

"Good," Delana replied loudly, intending to be heard over the café's ruckus. She blushed as her tone seemed inappropriate when the premises quietened. Beaming in spite of her extreme blushing, she asked the brunette before her, "You?"

"I'm cool," Faith returned. "I just wanted to come by and tell you- in front of all o' these peeps here- that I'm sorry. I was a real jack-ass, babe and I needed you to know that."

Nodding, Delana quickly made her way from behind the counter and stood face to face with the brunette. Taking the flower, she admired it. "It's beautiful… In fact, they have flowers growing just like it on the side of the road about ten minutes behind the café."

"I said I was sorry, not loaded," Faith explained. "'Sides, there are no stores open now anyhow."

"It's the thought that counts," the blonde replied with a giggle. Noticing the intrigued audience, Delana whispered, "Maybe we should talk out back."

Agreeing, Faith followed the younger woman's lead, winking to nearby patrons as the waitress' back turned.

"Thanks for coming, Will."

Entering the home of her closest friend from the darkness outside, Willow assured her, "Anytime."

About to continue her declaration of gratitude, Buffy stopped as Kennedy entered after the redhead.

"Hello Buffy," the ex-elite greeted.


"We were out when you called," Willow felt she had to explain, as she stepped past the slayer.

Smiling, Buffy made no reply as on a crutch, she ushered Kennedy to tag along.

"How's the old ankle?" Willow asked as she took a seat.

"Better," Buffy replied also seating herself.

Following Buffy into the kitchen, Kennedy sat beside her girlfriend and watched the slayer prepare a meal she had claimed was for her daughter.

"Joyce isn't back yet and it all seemed a little quiet," Buffy explained.

"Where is she?" Willow enquired.

"She insisted on staying with Tyler Thompson. With everything that's been going on, I didn't have the heart to say no."

Nodding quietly, the redhead glanced around and caught the eye of her girlfriend. The two of them busy looking at each other, they missed the quickly wiped tear that slipped down the slayer's face.

Tearing her eyes from Kennedy with a grin plastered on her face, the Wicca asked her friend, "Does she get back tomorrow?" in a bid to make idle chit-chat.

"I hope so," Buffy offered in reply. Blindsiding the redhead, she asked her, "Will what's wrong with me?"

Her eyes widening in response to being caught off-guard by the question, Willow stuttered, "Wh- Nothing Buffy." She looked to Kennedy for assistance. Finding none in the brunette's equally shocked demeanour, she wondered, "Er… Where did that come from?"


"Said that there was something wrong with you?" Kennedy interjected.

"No," the slayer answered. She continued, "Faith and I had a fight… Except it wasn't a fight… She…"

When Buffy ceased talking, the couple glanced at each other again. Turning to her high-school friend, Willow told her, "We're going to need a little elaboration here, Buff."

Sat in the dank back room of the café, Faith perched on a supply box, propped up against the room's wall. With Delana stood in front of and talking at her, she found herself bored with the blonde's chatter and wish to label their 'relationship'. The slayer sighed. Abruptly standing and putting her finger to the waitress' lips to shush her, Faith took hold of the blonde, kissing her urgently. With pent up desperation she admitted, "I don't know 'bout you, but I'm super horny."

Parting her lips to speak, Delana found this pretty much all the invitation Faith needed for the brunette to slip her tongue into her mouth.

Feeling the need to quite literally fuck and against a hard surface, Faith drove the two of them towards the nearest bare wall she within her gaze. Reaching beneath the blonde's skirt, she ceased kissing her only to whisper,"To be honest, D, this whole time I've just been thinkin' 'bout your tight pussy and the ways I can get into it."

Rubbing the waitress, she momentarily stopped to wonder aloud, "Wow. S'all that wetness for me?"

"You're not the only one who's been thinking about a good fuck," Delana returned. She kissed the slayer before telling her, "I've *really* missed you."

Grinning as she licked her lips, Faith slowly stroked along the smaller woman's slit over the fabric of her underwear. The brunette looked into her lover's eyes, not entering her and instead just teasing with the tip of her finger.

Getting horny just watching the woman pant, Faith smirked and separated the New Yorker's shirt down its middle, before proceeding to make quick work of undoing her fancy brassiere.

Taking hold of and pinning Delana's hands above her head, she dipped her own head below the blonde's neckline. Faith looked up; a sly grin plastered on her face as she slowly licked up the waitress' left breast. Placing the flat her tongue on the nipple, she merely salivated on it initially before taking it full in her mouth; suckling.

"Oh... God.. Faith," the waitress offered in commendation at how turned on she was in a matter of seconds. "You're... Wow..."

A job at hand the sultry brunette paid no heed to the comment as she hiked up her lover's skirt. Needing only one hand, she used her right to pull down the lady's panties.

"I think her exact words were, 'One minute you're with a guy and the minute he ditches you, you're all about the Gay Pride'," Buffy explained.


Shaking her head, the slayer voiced, "She really doesn't think much of me."

"No," the wicca interjected. "I don't think she meant it. She's probably super sorry," Willow offered.

"You think so?" Buffy asked.

She looked to Kennedy, who sat silently as if holding her opinion. Feeling the task of cheering Buffy up to her alone, Willow replied, "Definitely. I bet you right now she's sitting in her room… alone… and-and crying into... a big tub of Cookie Dough Fudge ice cream."

Perking a little, Buffy stood and walked over to her freezer. Taking out some ice cream and going to gather some spoons, she handed the tool to the wicca and her girlfriend, before peeling the top of the tub.

"Faith's not the sit-around-alone type," the blonde slayer recalled aloud, miserably taking a large scoop of the ice cream and gulping it.

Resting semi-horizontally against the dank wall of the Cafe's back room, Faith held the blonde in her arms, close to her chest.

The effect of her hormone overload wearing off quickly and leaving her empty, Delana quietly enquired, "Faith, what does this mean for us?"


"Where are we going in our relationship? Do we even have a relationship to you?"

"'Course," Faith replied, as if the reply were standard. She continued, "D, I like you and I think there could be s'thing between us here." With a smirk she added, "Besides, this *really* strong physical attraction."

Picking the flower Faith had given her from beside them and holding it beside her, Delana cracked a smile. "No more crap?"

"Scout's honour."

"That's a start," the waitress agreed. "But I have conditions, Faith."


"No more secrets. You tell me *everything*"

Nodding, the brunette listened.

"No more late night trips when we're in bed together."

Narrowing her eyes, but fighting the urge to argue, the brunette wondered aloud, "Anything else?"

"And no more other girls."

"Oooh, Deal breaker!" Faith exclaimed. "You sure?"

Her expression changing, the waitress gave a questioning look.

"I'm kidding," Faith replied. "No more other girls."

"We're going steady," Delana beamed, lying back down against the slayer.

"And apparently also in fifth grade?" When the Long Island hottie looked up sternly at her, Faith retracted the statement, "I'm kidding," she offered.

Sighing, Delana beckoned, "Just kiss me before I change my mind and dump you."

Obliging, Faith leaned down to do so.

"And that was it," Buffy completed. "No more Buffy and Faith."

Speechless, Willow gawked at her friend.

"What?" Buffy quietly uttered.

As if at breaking point, Kennedy pointed out, "Er, am I missing something? Buffy, there's been no 'Buffy and Faith' for a long time now. Even before she left you guys weren't together."

"But it really only just hit home today. I mean, I threw myself at-" she stopped herself turning away from her fiends.

"Oh," was all the wicca gave in return.

"Yeah," Buffy returned. "I feel so stupid."

Wishing to continue her rant, Kennedy wondered, "Because she rejected you? Or because of the way you treated her?" Looking and finding the look she expected from both the Slayer and her partner.

"Kennedy-" Willow began, wishing to berate the young brunette.

"I'm sorry, Will, but someone has to lay it down for her since she obviously can't see it herself." She turned to the slayer continuing, "Buffy, the way you treated Faith... I wouldn't treat *my* girlfriend like that and do you know why? Because I actually love her."

"Kennedy that's enough," Willow finally let out.

Standing Buffy asked the brunette, "Don't you think I know that? That I get it?" When met with silence from her peers, the slayer turned her back. "I have to talk to her," Buffy voiced, walking out into her hallway.

"Faith's phone," Delana answered, quieting the Nine-Inch Nails tune blaring from her lover's cell.

"Uh... Is Faith there?"

"Yes," Delana answered cheerfully, locking eyes with the slayer. "But she's not taking any calls. Can I take a message?"

Buffy contemplated the question, deciding, "Uh... No."

"Alrighty," The waitress replied, to the dial tone.

"And that was?" Faith asked, having been denied her phone when she had wished to answer it.

"A woman," Delana replied, feigning a questioning look. "Is there something you'd like to say?"

Rubbing the blonde's arm, Faith reminded her girl, "Baby, I've only been back off the market for about a half hour. You gotta give the ladies time to adjust."

Laughing, Delana answered, "But adjust they shall."

"'Course," Faith agreed, kissing her.

"She's not taking any calls," Buffy explained to the wicca, returning to the kitchen and seating herself.

As if coached, Kennedy turned to the slayer, "Buffy, I'm sorry," she offered.

"It's okay," the slayer felt obliged to reply.

Melancholy they sat in silence. Their mood suddenly interrupted, only the witch perked as the phone rang. Looking to Buffy with raised eyebrows, all three of them were startled as the backdoor swung open and Joyce barged through.

"It's for me!" she called, as she bound into the hallway and grabbed the cordless. Racing upstairs, she locked herself in her room, before ending the incessant ringing.
"You're on the mic," Joyce answered, smiling and bouncing onto her bed in a horizontal fashion.

"Hello, this is Lorraine from Sunnydale High. May I speak to Joyce Summers?"

"Cut the bullshit, Brig," the eleven-year-old berated.

"Language!" she was scolded. Proceeding to laugh the caller asked, "How're you doing, darling?"

"I'm great. But how are you all? You don't write, you don't call..."

"We get by and I'm talking to you now."

"I bet everything's different now. Oh- tell me agent Benn didn't grow his hair long."

"Finn," the general called the youth to order. She demanded information from the young girl, telling her, "I heard *you* almost didn't make it out - what happened?"

Joyce sighed. "Chasers were a little too convincing is all. We had to take a detour. We got there with only twenty minutes to spare. Good thing, the slayer's not the sharpest tool in the box; they told her check-out'd be twenty minutes and she bought it!"

Agreeing with the soldier's observation, the Brigadier enquired, "So how long are you going to continue this charade?"

"As long as it takes, General," Joyce answered, quickly adding. "If that's okay with you."

"We're fine with whatever decision you wish to take, Finn. But remember we have you on assignment next month."

"Yes, ma'am." Jovially, Joyce requested, "If this isn't a social call, can I get permission to end the conversation."

"Granted," the woman returned, a little taken aback by the soldier's newly acquired forwardness. "Take care of yourself, Finn. Next contact from us will be in exactly 96 hours."

"Affirmed." Cordially, Joyce gave a firm, "Ten four."

Giggling, the blonde dropped as her superior replied with a, "Ten four."



Part Fourteen

"Kennedy and I met each other at camp when I was eighteen," Delana explained, lying across her girlfriend's stomach; the two of them on the bed they had just shared together. "I came out at camp when I was eighteen... You see where I'm going with this?"

"Hell yeah," Faith screeched. "You and Ken got naughty at camp." She shook her head in disbelief. "Wow. Score one for the boarding school brat; she has great taste." Putting her arm around the blonde and resting it on her bare midsection, she inquired, "So, why'd she let you slip through her fingers?" She smirked, jumping in before Delana had a chance to answer the question. "Hold up, did you guys fuck?"

"No," Delana answered, laughing. "And I had a boyfriend. I wanted to sort that out before anything happened with Kennedy. I told her I would go home, talk to Alan and then call her... But then didn't."

"Harsh." The brunette tightened her hold on the waitress. "Though I guess it works out better for me. Who knows what coulda happened if you two had've hooked up."

"I wondered that. I kind of hoped that we would when we met up again. But she was seeing Willow."

"When d'ya meet up again?"

"When I came to Sunnydale."


The waitress looked up at the ceiling as she recalled, "I couldn't stand living at home any more. All the classic clichés applied; my parents were desperately unhappy together. They hardly spent time with each other or me." The pretty blonde remembered, "I think I used to see my mom twice a week for cash and my dad even less; the both of them were working so hard. I just wanted get away. Head West and make it big as an actress or a model."

Faith smiled at the comment, imagining the stunner strutting in stilettos on a runway. She listened as Delana continued, "But make it on my own. Without my parents' money… or support; just me. Guy told me that he'd heard of a place that was a stone throw from L.A., where the houses were real nice and rent was real low and Sunnydale here we came."

"You *wanted* to come to Sunnydale??"

"Didn't you?"

"Nah," Faith remembered. "I came here jus' to find someone."

Sitting up to look into her lover's eyes, Delana asked, "Who?"

Unable to find a way to explain without revealing a little too much information, Faith assured her girlfriend, "To be continued, babe." She removed her arm from around the younger woman. "Speaking of Guy, I said I'd meet him in ten to give my car the once-over."

"I'll come with you and we can talk in the car?"

Getting up, Faith merely offered "Yeah" by way of response.

"Try now," Faith commanded, twisting a bolt.

Turning the key in the ignition, the mechanic listened to the sound coming from the engine. "Wow," he exclaimed. "Isn't that just the sweetest sound?"

Beaming, Faith slammed down the bonnet of her jeep. "It's the sound of my mobility, baby." She dipped her hands into her pockets fishing for money. "How much do I owe you?"

"Call it sixty."

"Fifty and I'll buy you your first two drinks tonight," Faith offered.

"Deal," Guy agreed, taking the money he was handed.

"Is it safe to come in yet?" Delana asked from a distance.

Beckoning her girlfriend inside, the slayer asked, "Wanna go for a spin?"

"You got it to work?" the waitress wondered aloud. "Wow, I thought it'd take you at least another week."

"You know me I got-"

"Yes, you have 'mad skillz'," Delana recalled.

"Right," Faith agreed.

"And a tonne of oil all over your top and… what's with the cap?"

Explaining, Guy told his house-mate, "Faith didn't feel mechanic-y so she smeared oil all over herself and *my* cap. I woulda been pissed off if… you know… she wasn't smearing oil all over herself. There's something about a girl all covered in car oil." He licked his lips. "It's sexy."

Raising an eyebrow, the waitress looked from her girlfriend to Guy and back again.

Laughing, Faith told her lover, "He's kidding about me; the jeep's just real dirty." She turned to Guy adding, "And I don't even wanna know if that last part is true for you."

"*Anyway*," Delana continued, stressing the word. "I can't go for a spin; I have to work and then later and I'd like to cook for us tonight. How's my place at eight?"

Taken aback, Faith grinned. "Eight is cool," she decided.

"Then I will see you then." Glancing at her housemate, Delana pleaded for Faith to, "Watch yourself around him, will you?"

"What's that supposed to mean?" Guy asked looking up from changing the car's tyre.

Choosing not to answer, the waitress merely laughed as she took leave.

Having circled Sunnydale in her newly washed, waxed and buffed Jeep, Faith pulled down a road adjacent to Rovello Drive. Turning into her old street, she gazed amazed at how the streets of Sunnydale were apparently unable to age.

Looking to her watch and finding it seven thirty, Faith decided that she had enough time to quickly drop by the Summers' household before her dinner plans. Parking her car in their driveway, she exited the vehicle, strode up to the house and knocked on the front door. Receiving no response, the slayer decided to respond to the commotion coming from the back of the house.

Having left her home to run to the cafe nearby for salt, Delana cursed as she saw the time. Expecting her girlfriend in twenty minutes, she picked up the pace to her home; stopping suddenly when she saw what she felt was a dangerous situation in progress. She glared at two men and a lady talking across the road finding herself unnerved by the scene. Noticing that one of the men remained a few paces behind the woman as the other walked slightly ahead, she thought that she could see the lady asking to be relieved of their inappropriate advances.

Feeling increasingly uncomfortable with the situation, the waitress looked closer to see that one of them with his hand permanently in his pocket. Watching him pull out the item that she was unable to see clearly and hearing the woman call out, Delana felt it her personal obligation to offer some assistance. Hoping that her presence would be enough to help the woman in need, she approached brazenly with her cell phone in hand.

"Are these guys bothering you?" She called from what she deemed a safe distance. "Because I could call someone." She aimed the last part at the taller men.

"Yes. Thank you," the woman replied, breathlessly running to the blonde's side. Seeing the men jeer, but back away she felt her confidence increase.

"Come on," Delana beckoned, back-stepping. "My house isn't too far." Relieved as the twosome walked away from her, Delana turned from the men the moment she felt them a reasonable distance away. A little shaken, both the waitress and the near-victim picked up the pace.

"Mom!" Joyce called, in the middle of a heated basketball game with Faith. "Come play."

Chuckling, Buffy declined, offering, "Some other time, honey."

As if to help her ex, Faith sunk a basket as she qualified, "Yeah, J - you know you're mom's all old now." She tossed the ball towards the child. "She can't move as fast as she used to."

Narrowing her eyes, Buffy called to her daughter, "Sweetie, pass mommy the ball."

"You've gone and done it now," Joyce told the brunette, who roared with laughter as Buffy received the basketball.

Arriving to the growing gathering from her short trip to the bathroom, Kennedy asked, "More players?"

"Cool," Joyce whooped. "Kennedy's back. Faith, you wanna take on mom and Kennedy?"

"Oooh that should be interesting," Kennedy decided aloud. "Come on Buffy, what do you say?"

Looking to the cocky smile on Faith's face, the slayer decided, "I'm in."

"Let's do it," Faith replied. Turning her cap to face backwards, she squared up to face her former girlfriend attempting to anticipate the move she was to take.

Bouncing the basketball, Buffy took a few paces forward finding Faith match each step she took with one of her own. Faking left, but going right, Buffy charged to Faith's left finding her efforts in vain.

Knocking the ball from the older slayer's hands, Faith chuckled as she stormed up to the net and dunked the ball in.
"I believe, that's already two to zero," she stated, then looking for confirmation from her teammate.

"I believe it is," Joyce replied, cheerful while retrieving the ball and tossing it to Kennedy. "Faith, stay on mom!" the youngster ordered marking Kennedy.

Doing as she was instructed Faith bent and faced her opponent. Staring into her ex's hazel eyes and having Buffy do the same to her, a small smile appearing on both of their lips.

"This is it," Delana announced reaching her house. Looking at the frail young woman, she ushered her inside.

"Thank you so much for your kindness," the young woman assured the pleasant stranger. "But… I mean, those men are gone and my home isn't too far."

"I don't want to risk it," Delana told her. "Come inside, we'll get you cleaned up and I can call you a cab." She added, "On me."

"Thank you," was all the woman felt was appropriate to say. She followed the attractive blonde into her home.

"Grab a seat," Delana instructed, pointing towards the living room. Proceeding to her kitchen, she looked for the first aid kit, returning to tend to the young female.

"Here," Delana offered, handing the woman a wet cloth and looking to her trousers; blood-stained at the knee caps.

"Thank you," the woman repeated, taking the cloth and pressing it to her temple.

Scanning the smaller woman's body, Delana found that she was seemingly bleeding from other parts of her body; her lip, her arm and her thigh. Wondering how she was still able to stand, the blonde was taken aback as the woman jumped on top of her. Kneeling on the waitress' back and pressing her hands beneath her own, the girl straddled the blonde from behind. Her face morphing and now brandishing her sharp fangs, the vampire could taste the fear of the woman squirming beneath her.

"Over here," Buffy called, her arms open.

Receiving the tossed ball, she looked to the high net and then to the brunette charging toward her. Jumping and taking aim, she lobbed the ball with hope to score as she felt herself tackled to the ground. Thankful that the arm Faith had around her had broken her fall, the blonde slayer found herself unharmed by the take-down.

Retaining her position on top of her former lover, Faith wondered aloud, "You okay?"

Resting on the arm beneath her, Buffy explained, "Your... arm broke my fall."

"That's good," the brunette replied, the two of them oblivious to Joyce's cries and Kennedy's whoops in the background.

"Twenty three to twenty! Twenty three to twenty!" Kennedy chanted. Approaching her teammate, the Latin-American congratulated, "Nice shot, Buffy."

Kennedy's utterance attracting the attention of both slayers, the two of them proceeded to stand.
"Thank you," Buffy replied to the complement. Avoiding a glaring Faith's gaze, she proceeded to walk towards her home, stating to the others, "I'm starving. Who wants hot dogs?"

"Food!" Joyce called in appreciation, following her mom behind. Running back to take hold of a lagging Faith, the blonde clarified, "Earth to Faith; mom said Hot Dogs."

"I'll be right in kiddo," Faith decided, ushering the blonde ahead. "I need a minute by myself."

"Alright," Joyce told her, teasing, "Don't complain if there's none left when you get in."

Nodding, Faith merely stood and watched after her as the adolescent entered her home.

Struggling with all the power she could muster, Delana rolled her body over so that she lay face up. Catching a glimpse of the thing spanning her body, the waitress paled as she screamed. Receiving a slap for her troubles, Delana continued to scream, while struggling to dislodge her attacker. Hearing the door burst open, she looked up to see the two men from which she had 'saved' the young woman.

"Kill her already," one of them coaxed.

"Yeah, share," the other pleaded.

Taking her moment, Delana forced the woman atop her off her and onto the floor. Running from the door, she suddenly found herself face to face with her assailant who was able to move much faster than her legs would allow. Finding herself pounded to the floor, Delana cried out as she heard the loud crack of one of her bones giving way. Tears streaming down her eyes, she screamed as the vampire raised her, baring its teeth.



Part Fifteen I (of II)

"Fai... wah too yoo soo long?" Joyce asked, the remnants of her food still visible through her half-open mouth.

"Honey, don't talk with your mouth full," Buffy berated lightly. She looked to Faith who remained stood by the back door. "I saved you some hot dogs from the monster that is Joyce-"

"Heeey!" the eleven year old interrupted. "There were more and you held out on me?"

Stopping the fairer slayer who was about to answer, Faith chimed in with, "It's cool, let J have the rest; I gotta go." She bent to place a kiss on the forehead of the hungry blonde.

"Aw, no, Faith! You just got here," the youngster pleaded, taking the remaining food from her mother. "Stay some more."

"Kiddo I can't." Faith laughed. "I only wanted to stay a few minutes and I've stayed like an hour."

"Please? I haven't seen you forever," Joyce begged. "Are you saying you'd rather be somewhere else?" Glancing at her mother, she requested, "Ketchup?"

"No, kid. You know that. But I kinda said I would be meet someone-"

"Call and cancel?"

"Joyce," Buffy felt she should interrupt. "If Faith has to be somewhere, then she has to be somewhere."

"Yeah," Faith agreed. Looking to the sad face the youngster proceeded to pull, the brunette rolled her eyes. "Can I use the phone?" She asked, causing the blonde child to whoop. Pointing and shaking her head, Faith added, "You know you should put your powers to better use."

Nodding, the cadet added more onions to her food.

Bracing herself, Faith raised the receiver in the hallway of the Summers' home and dialed her girlfriend's number. Sighing of relief when the phone rung out and the machine picked up, she looked down at the phone. Twiddling the cord with her index finger, she began, "Baby it's me... Er.. I was jus' callin' to say... baby, something came up but I will super make it up to you, for sure. I'm talkin' dinner, candles, flowers, chocolate; the whole works-" she caught sight of Buffy, who stood smiling in the kitchen doorway. "So yeah, I'll see you later? Jus' call me when you get this."

"Oh, 'please-don't-put-me-in-the-doghouse' speech," Buffy recalled with a smile, when her ex hung up the phone. "What d'ya do?"

"Missed dinner."


"And she cooked."

"Ohhh," Buffy repeated, the second time for longer. She shook her head.

"I know," Faith agreed.

"That is sooo much more than a flowers and chocolate thing."

"I know," Faith repeated.

"Mom's making Popcorn!!" Joyce yelled, charging from the kitchen. She took Faith's hand. "Can you smell that delicious, deliciousness? That means it's movie time!"

Being dragged along by the five foot bundle of energy, Faith sat down on the couch and made herself comfortable, while Joyce searched through the movie channels.

"Yes!! The new Power Rangers movie." Joyce announced racing back and taking position next to the brunette slayer, who had a look of sheer horror on her face. She changed her expression when the youngster turned to her, smiling as widely as she could.

"Awesome." She stated, blankly. Though became ecstatic when Buffy emerged from the kitchen bearing both popcorn and beer.

"I thought you might need these," Buffy explained, handing the six-pack over to her ex. "And here's your popcorn, missy."

"Thank you." The brunette stated gratefully, as Joyce buzzed between the slayers, turning up the volume of the television and engrossing herself in the film.

Rolling her eyes, Buffy smiled towards the other adult.

"So, how's things with you?" Faith asked, extracting a bottle from the half-dozen.

"Great... Not looking forward to the Holidays though."

"Lots of crazies about?" the brunette joked.

"Hey!" Buffy whined. "I can't exactly call them that… But yep, they're out in full force. Factor in the store and it's going to be a nightmare… but the good kind where we make lots of money."

Nodding, Faith offered the other slayer a beer.

"Oh, no. Thanks." The blonde shook her head and reached for some popcorn, to the audible disapproval of her daughter.

"Don't be such a brat, J." Faith replied, popping the cap of the drink she'd previously offered.

Joyce looked up to her mother, mirroring the older Summers' trademark pout. "I'm sorry, mommy."

Laughing it off, Buffy accepted the apology, but decided to leave the snack lest it be the cause of more drama. "It's the stardom; it`s gone to her head." Buffy offered by way of explanation. "Our little girl's going to be `Sleepy' in the school play."

Joyce's groan confirmed that she'd been listening and caused Faith to give her a soft nudge to the ribs. "Kid, that's awesome. Sleepy's the best of all the Dwarves."

"Really?" the blonde asked drawing her eyes from the film, peeking up at Faith.


"But I've only got two lines."

"Yeah? Then you've gotta make those two lines count, kiddo. When's the big day?"

"Friday. Will you come watch?"

"I'll be front row, center." The brunette promised, idly stroking her the youngster's blonde tresses.

"You think maybe we should carpool?" Buffy asked, her heart racing as she waited for the answer.

"Sure," Faith agreed. "I can head over here straight from work."

"Great." The blonde exhaled silently, as Faith reached for her second liquor-fix of the night. "Man, I love an ice cold Bud." The younger slayer, professed with a groan, downing her drink. "Sure you don't want one?" She asked, offering her half drunk bottle.

"With an endorsement like that…" Buffy relented, taking the offered beverage. She took a sip, before her face revealed her displeasure. "Ugh, how can you drink this stuff."

Grinning, the younger adult responded. "Years of practice, babe." She popped the cap of another.

Smiling, her attention turned to the sudden footsteps rushing downstars. "Guys, Faith!" Kennedy called, she looked to the couch, her alarm evident to everyone that wasn't watching the Power Rangers' latest escapade. Her gaze fixated on Joyce and then flicked back to Faith.

Catching the message, Buffy turned to her daughter. "Honey, would you mind grabbing me a diet coke from the fridge?"

"K," Joyce uttered, standing. "Hey, Kennedy," she greeted, rushing passed.

"With ice and lemon, sweetie." Buffy called after her daughter.

When the youngster was out of earshot, Faith asked, "What's up?"

"I just got off the phone with Willow. It's Delana; she's at Sunnydale General. Guy says he's been trying to get hold of you-"

Feeling herself sobering, Faith admitted, "I switched my cell off." In a daze, she pulled it from her pocket trying to reactivate it. "Is she-? Did he say what happened?"

"She was attacked. He said she lost a lot of blood. When they found her-"

"Where?" was the only reply, the brunette could think of, her head still a little hazy from the alcohol she'd ingested. Not waiting for a response, Faith continued. "I've gotta-" She cleared her throat. "I need to see her." She stood, and retrieved her jacket.

"I can take you," Buffy offered, locating her car keys. She turned to Kennedy asking, "Would you mind looking after Joyce `til we get back?"

"Sure." The youngest of the three slayers replied.

"Honey, Faith and I are going out for a little while," Buffy told her daughter, who emerged from the kitchen carrying the coke she'd been sent for. "We'll be back soon."

"Ok," Joyce replied, watching as her mothers left in a hurry.

Reaching their destination at the waiting room of the Trauma Intensive Care Unit, Faith was greeted by an exasperated Guy, who embraced her.

"I've been calling you all night."

"I'm sorry." Faith replied, hugging the taller man. "How is she?"

"Not good. They found her with puncture wounds in her neck." The slayers glanced at one another, as the man continued. "Doctors say she almost bled out," Guy replied. He tensed in the brunette's arms, before pulling back. "But what the fuck? I thought you were supposed to be with her tonight."

"I'm sorry. I was with J. I lost track of time." She followed the man's gaze, as he looked to the woman beside her. "This is Buffy," Faith explained. "Joyce's mom. She gave me a ride."

Seemingly a little calmer, Guy held out his hand and shook the stranger. He looked back to Faith. "I spoke to Dee's folks; they're catching a Red Eye out here tonight."

"Shit." Faith uttered. "She's gonna pull through this though, right?"

Guy couldn't answer the question. "I'm waiting to see her doctor. Been waitin' two hours now." He raised his voice at the last part and looked to the clerk at the desk, in disgust.

Incensed, Faith charged to the front desk. "Look, can we get some fuckin' information here?!" she bellowed, slamming her fist in front of the woman.

Her eyes as wide as the rest of the audience present, Buffy walked to stand beside the brunette, placing her arm on the back of her shoulder. "You need to hold it together." She looked to the unit clerk. "I'm sure the hospital is doing all they can for Delana."

"W-what's her last name?" the clerk stuttered.

"Reynolds," Faith uttered, calming from her ex's touch.

Relieved as that the angry lady seemed to be mellowing, the lady searched her computer. "An emergency transfusion has been arranged for Ms. Reynolds. Dr. Williamson is attending to her."

"See?" Buffy mouthed a `thanks' and turned back to Faith, who exhaled, before leaving her side taking a seat. The brunette slayer immediately bolted up to both Buffy & Guy's surprise.

"I can't stay here. I've gotta…" She pulled Buffy aside. "I've gotta go patrol. I wanna find the vamps that did this. I have to find the vamps that did this."

"Don't you think you should stay? I mean, your girlfriend needs you."

The younger slayer turned back to Guy, "Call me as soon as you hear anything." She uttered, leaving.

Following in tow, Buffy called out to her. "I'm coming with you." She announced to nobody in particular.

"Fine. You can drive."



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