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Buffy knelt, aghast, as she surveyed the array of colors around the body. Her one time lover. She wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry. At this point, despite the blood pooled around his head, Buffy was erring more on the side of mirth. Parker lay on the cafeteria floor with a purple spork protruding from a vein in his neck. His lips were bizarrely blue and kinda shiny.
Her astonishment and confusion were compounded, as she looked over at a pair of fine leather clad legs. Now standing a couple of feet away.
Her white tank top was as tight and blood spattered as Buffy remembered.
“What did you do?”
She sounded immediately accusatory. Already they were on familiar ground.
Faith's stance projected the usual irreverence and bravado. But the mischievous glint on her face, as always, was underpinned with fear. After a moment Buffy realized; that the shock wasn't just the bizarre and disturbing state of Parker's body or the mere fact of seeing Faith. The other Slayer hadn't merely woken from a coma, she'd woken from the coma Buffy had caused.
“You're alive! I'm not a killer.”
“No, it seems I'm just a little more successful at getting the job done.”
Buffy wondered at how Faith could make even an admission of murder sound dirty; “Let me guess you found out I'd had a `thing' with him,” Buffy nodded in the direction of Parker's body, “so you decided to do him and then kill him, just to stick it to me a little more.”
“Fuck you Buffy. You could at least pretend to wanna hear my side of things before going all judge jury and exe-fucking-cutioner on me.” Faith turned to walk away. But her emphasis on the last phrase, had the desired effect. Buffy tried to dismiss images from her head; of handcuffs, roofs and big-assed knives.
“Faith, wait!” She couldn't bring herself to apologize, but did ask; “Uh, so what happened?”
“I came here to find you. To, I guess, be all repenty. So I'm tryin' to find you and this semi-cute guy smiles at me, `cos you know, even after eight months in a coma the boys still want the bod. And what with the extended sleep it's been a while since I got some. I'm feeling fine by the way.”
Buffy looked suitably embarrassed.
“So I sit down with him and we're shootin' the breeze. I ask him, all casual like, if he knows this girl Buffy Summers and where I can find her. And he starts in on you and I can't shut the fucker up. He's goin' on about how cool you seemed at first, and then how you got all weird on him. To begin with I'm agreein' with him, `cos hey, I can relate.”
Buffy glared at her, looking as if she was about to argue. But thought better of it, allowing Faith to continue;
“Then he starts tellin' me how you did the deed, and basically he bailed. And look, ya know I relate to the whole `get some get gone' thing. `cept he starts calling you a tease, saying you were leading him on and started in on your clothes an' all. I hate that shit. So I might show a bitta cleavage and like the leather.” Faith ran her hands suggestively down her hips, over her thighs. “But that doesn't give anyone who feels like a grope open license. Sleazy bastards!”
“What did he say about my clothes?” Seeing the look on Faith's face, she added; “Ok, so not the point.”
“Well, he's just sittin' there eating bubblegum flavored jello pudding.”
“Oh! The blue mouth thing, right?”
“Right. I mean who the fuck eats `bubblegum' flavor jello for Christ's sake?”
“Hey! I like bubblegum pudding.”
Faith shook her head in mock despair; “Of course you do B.”
Under her breath Buffy added; “Actually I prefer the cotton candy flavor, if you must know.”
“Anyway, so he's talkin' all this filth about ya and it's so bad even I know it's all bull. So I grab the spork he's eating with.”
“Parker was eating blue bubblegum pudding with a purple spork?”
“You really know how to pick `em. So I say, If ya don't shut the fuck up talkin' trash about B, I'm gonna jam this inta your neck. He doesn't believe me and just keeps goin' on about how we're all the same. Leading on the poor defenseless men and then expecting rings on our fingers…if I want a pissing ring I'll rip one off. Then he only starts to fucking hit on me B.”
“Men are pigs Buffy.”
Buffy had been looking somewhat upset until this point. But suddenly she became incensed; “That bastard! I never…I mean I wouldn't have…I really thought he liked me.”
“They're all the same B. Anyway, I jabbed the spork or whatever, in his neck. I just meant to give him a scare.”
“So you put it in his vein?”
“Artery B. Artery. You know, the ones vamps use to kill folks? The carotid artery on your neck.”
Faith reached over and ran her index finger along Buffy's artery, to illustrate her point.
Buffy was confounded but unsure whether from Faith's touch or the fact that she knew the word carotid. She clearly had a better grasp of anatomy than Buffy had ever imagined. But that thought led her to mental closets she had no desire to peek in.
“Uh, right the carroty artery. How do you know that anyway?”
“It was the half a minute I was actually listenin' to Wes. But I just thought it'd create a lotta blood, give him a scare. But it gave him a real scare! He choked on his bubblegum pudding. It was bad, it came out his nose!”
“His nose?” Although she was feeling a little sickened by the whole story, let alone the increasingly pungent bloody bubblegummy semi-decaying smell. Buffy couldn't help feeling that she wanted to laugh. Just a little. What Faith was describing was kinda funny.
“But what about everyone else? They didn't see?”
“Nah, classes started or somethin' and we hid while they closed up the cafeteria.”
“Yeah, I sneaked in just now, to see if maybe there was some yogurt left.”
“Fat free natch? So Parker said he wanted to keep on talking. He even missed his class to speak crap about you and hit on me. He said he was `intrigued' by me. Please! Like I'd fall for that one!”
Buffy began to pout, just a tiny bit. She semi-whined; “I liked that he was intrigued by me.”
“You are so naïve when it comes to men, B.”
She was in full pout mode now; “I have a serious boyfriend these days, thank you very much. He's a soldier. And I'll have you know, not that it's any of your business, that things are very adult between us. Yes we're all about the maturity and worldliness.”
“My girl's all grown up.”
“Yup. In college now.”
“I see that. So what about Angel?”
“You know, dead guy you used to boink? Oh God! I didn't actually kill him with that whole poison arrow fiasco did I?”
Buffy looked at her quizzically for a moment, almost as though she'd forgotten what Faith was referring to. Blinking a couple of times, she proceeded as if she'd known all along exactly to what Faith was alluding; “He's in LA and- as you seem to be- very much alive. Except with him it's more in a dead kind of way.”
“Right.” Faith's forehead crinkled. She wondered how Buffy could joke about this. It had once been serious enough to motivate attempting (unsuccessfully!), to murder Faith. Unless B had meant to miss, as she had with that arrow?
“So, the coma, how was it?”
“You know. You were there.”
“Uh, you remember that?”
“Don't you? It's not like much else was goin' on for me. That's the thing with comas; way too much sleepin' I'm more of an action girl.”
Buffy raised her eyebrows at Faith and said; “Yeah, I remember.”
“My you have grown up. Flirting and arching your `brows now B? Do I get to have anything that's just my own?” She was only half joking.
“Faith! I was so not flirting! There's a dead body on the ground, it would be inappropriate. I could not have been further from flirting.”
Faith smirked and raised her own eyebrows. Somehow she made the gesture seem infinitely more filthy than the other Slayer's imitation.
Buffy wanted to redirect the conversation; “So what now?”
Faith was enjoying this. “You tell me.”
Buffy flushed; “No. No! That's so not what I meant.”
“Whatever you say B, whatever you say.”
“I meant the BODY Faith. What are we gonna do with the body?”
“I'll dump it in the river.”
“Nothing ever changes does it Faith? It doesn't matter how badly you mess up, as long as you hide the evidence.”
“Screw you B. I was tryin' to make things better this time; wanted to do something nice for ya.”
“So you murdered one of my classmates?” Buffy was incredulous.
But Faith continued; “No, I took revenge on some guy who screwed you over and then talked trash about you to girls he'd just met. I rid the world of another bastard.”
“So not your call! I've already got a bunny-phobic ex-vengeance demon in the mix. One set of; `avenging the pain of wronged women' withdrawal crankiness, is more than I can contend with. I really don't need another. And it isn't your job.”
“Why not? Turns out my calling's already taken. So I figure you can be Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I'll be Faith: Slayer of Sleazy Scum-bags. Has a nice ring to it don't ya think?”
Buffy just rolled her eyes, shaking her head; “You can't dump the body. How'd we get it across campus without anyone seeing? We'd best just leave him. We should get going before someone sees us here.”
“Yeah ok, wait one sec. You got a marker pen in your little school satchel there?”
Buffy rooted around in her bag, then handed her a green marker. Faith proceeded to rip the blood and pudding soiled shirt. The buttons flew off in various directions, as it tore easily from Parker's body.
“What are you doing Faith? Going in for some necrophilia now?”
“Necrophilia, you know, sex with the dead.”
“Nah B, that's your schtick.”
Faith wrote; Treat `em well, stay outta hell across Parker's unmoving yet well toned chest. She then dropped the pen beside the body.
“You're a poet Faith. A real poet.”
“A Scumbag Slayer's gotta leave her calling card B.”
Buffy looked slightly despairing and pushed Faith in the direction of the door. Although, a second later, she turned back and wiped the green marker, and purple spork jutting out of Parker's throat. She wanted to be sure to remove Faith's fingerprints.
“So, where to now B? We should get outta sight.”
“Come on. We can hide out in my dorm room.”
“My first day outta the coma, hangin' out on campus. And already cute girls are inviting me up to their dorm rooms. My luck is changing.”
“You think I'm cute?”
Faith quirked her eyebrow and Buffy blushed, again; “Uh, I mean, it's just so we're all inconspicuous and hidey.”
“Whatever you say B, whatever you say.”
“You drive me crazy.” Buffy looked as though she was going to stamp her foot in utter frustration.
But of course Faith pushed her just a little further; “I know. Always have, always will.”
“Just get up to my room Faith!” Buffy regretted her words the moment she heard how they sounded.
“That's what I'm tellin' ya B.”
Buffy shook her head, knowing this wasn't a conversation she was going to win any time soon; “Just go!” To emphasize her point she smacked Faith's leather clad ass.
The next morning in the cafeteria, a memorial shrine for Parker had appeared; votive candles, flowers and loving messages from fellow students. But writing could also be seen, scrawled or neatly printed, within the chalk lines indicating where his body had been (as if blood stains didn't signify clearly enough). Comments from some of Parker's other `conquests'-
He screwed me over.
He wasn't there when I woke up, but he's never gonna wake up now. This was followed by a scribbled smiley face.
Charm or smarm? You decide.
“You see B, I did the world a favor. The Scumbag Slayer strikes back.”
Buffy rolled her eyes, as she surreptitiously groped Faith's ass; “I should introduce you to Riley later.”