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by Invalid Reality


Rating: NC-17
Summary: First in the Wide Open Spaces series. Post Chosen: Faith is brought to Scotland after Buffy has a unfortunate incident that has changed her life along with everyone else's...how is everyone, including Faith, going to deal with the fact that Buffy is now a vampire with a soul? Will they ever be able to change her back or will this prove to be just another obstacle preventing them from finally finding something together?
WARNINGS: Mentions of suicide, drug use/abuse 


Chapter One

She never thought she'd find herself, who she really was deep inside, within her. She never thought she'd find the happiness, the love she craved when she thought about her. She never thought she'd find the peace, the calm within her eyes. Hell, she never even thought she'd figure out just how she felt until she was out of her life.

Everything she never thought she'd had, she only had in her dreams. Even thousands of miles away from her, she could still feel it all. The beat of her heart, the smile upon her lips and the glistening look of a woman in love in her eyes. But that look of love wasn't for her. It never would be. She had ruined her chance long ago. She turned her back and ran away before she found the courage to profess her love. She ran away because she wasn't wanted. She was hated and pushed away.

The phone rang and she opened her eyes, taking a look at the clock on the dresser and waited until it changed to 3:51am before she even reached for the phone.


"You're needed," came the soft whisper.

"Something big going down?"

"Yes. Get on the first flight you can."

"You have any idea what time it is, Giles?"

"You and I both know you never sleep until the sun rises," he chuckled softly. "I know you told me not to call unless it was important and it is. We need you here for this, Faith."

"I get it. I'll be there."

She hung up the phone and felt the lump rise in her throat. She was going back there. She'd have to see her whether she was ready to or not.

The way they left things off reminded her of the time when Buffy had gutted her. It was a sore memory, one she'd rather forget, and even though the way they parted the last time there was no blood shed, it still hurt just as much. Buffy wanted nothing to do with her after the fall of Sunnydale and she ended up tagging along with Robin, heading up a squad in Cleveland.

Seven months after she'd set up shop in Cleveland, she and Robin had gone to take out a nest of vamps in an old warehouse. They weren't prepared for over a hundred of them and in the end she had been the only one to walk away barely alive. She'd torched the warehouse, finding no other way to finish the vamps that were left. It meant she had no time to recover Robin and the other slayers' bodies. Soon as word got to Scotland about what happened, Buffy told her she was on her own from there on out.

A few weeks after Robin's death she found out she was pregnant. She was scared. Alone. She knew it was Robin's. They'd been together on and off since that night in Sunnydale, though it wasn't serious. But pregnant. To say she was shell-shocked was an understatement. For nearly four and a half months, she tried to avoid vamps and demons, hoping to hell she could keep herself and the baby safe long enough. One night she'd been walking back from the corner store and four demons attacked her from out of nowhere. She'd never seen anything like them before and they were strong, too strong. It ended when the one of them gutted her with her own knife and they left her there, bleeding out a slow, wanted death.

An elderly couple had found her a few hours later. The details were foggy, but she remembered being rushed to the hospital and she'll never forget the doctors telling her she'd lost the baby. A part of her was relieved because she wasn't ready to be a mother, but a bigger part of her was gutted both physically and emotionally. Two days she stayed in the hospital. As soon as the doctors released her she went home, stopping at the store and buying a case of whiskey, then finding a guy who sold her cocaine on one of the seediest corners in the neighbourhood. It was the beginning of her downward spiral. She knew that it wasn't her fault that she lost the baby and yet she let the guilt drive her. All she ever tried to do was forget the pain.

After that, she took off running, never staying in one place for very long. Three years she ran. Three years she was alone, doing her own thing. She'd been riding on her Harley across Canada when Giles tracked her down. She didn't remember the last time she'd ever felt so happy to hear from him. Apologies on his part were made then, but they didn't matter to her. The only apology she needed was from Buffy.

It was an apology that'd never happen.

Her downward spiral ended then and there. She pulled herself out, locking herself in a small motel room a few hours outside of Toronto. She locked herself in that room for three weeks until the drugs were out of her system completely. As soon as she felt stable enough, she got on her Harley and headed back to Cleveland. She was going to do the job she'd gone there to do in the first place. She needed direction in her life. She needed a home. She needed some kind of permanent fixture to keep her grounded. That's where she found herself for the last month and a half, only talking to Giles one time once she'd found an apartment.

He knew where Buffy stood when it came to her. He was the one who told her during their last phone call that Buffy said she'd get Giles to call her in if she were ever needed. She just never expected that phone call any time soon. From the way she heard it, Buffy had everything under control in Scotland along with over a hundred slayers living there at the castle with her. Even Giles was living there after he'd gone off and done his own thing for awhile. They never needed her and to be called in, especially when it wasn't even four in the morning, worried her.

Something happened or was about to happen. With all the slayers now in the world, they'd be able to handle just about anything. What would they even need her for?

She got up from her bed and walked to the small bathroom. She winced as she flipped on the light and gave herself a minute for her eyes to adjust to the harsh fluorescent lighting. She barely even recognized herself anymore. The years that had passed, the drugs, the drinking, the depression and the self-destruction had taken its toll. Her skin was pale. She couldn't remember the last time she'd been outside during the day. Her eyes were almost lifeless as she stared at her reflection. It pained her to see how she'd slipped away into nothing. Her hair was wild and untamed yet it lacked the vibrancy it once had. Turning on the tap, she splashed the cold water over her face, her tears mixing in. She couldn't even stand to look at herself for more than a minute before the tears always started flowing.

Shaking it off, she packed a bag and took one last, long look at the place she'd called home for awhile. She never grew attached to wherever she was staying. She always ended up leaving sooner or later. She lived out of her bag and she lived on her bike. That was home to her. Not some random apartment, a motel room that had seen better days and in some cases, a tent pitched off to the side of the road where she never got any sleep for fear the things she fought every night would take their chance while she had her guard down.

She couldn't take her Harley with her. She knew she couldn't. Before she headed to the airport she rode to what she and Robin had used as a safe-house to store the weapons. The cops in Cleveland always ended up raiding the house they'd lived in and keeping the weapons elsewhere seemed like the only logical thing to do. The house was a few miles out of the city and looked the same as she'd left it. She pulled the bike around to the back of the house and turned it off. She dug in her jeans pocket and pulled out the key to the padlock that kept the door shut. Whenever she came there she was always surprised the place hadn't been broken into and it wasn't any different this time.

After pulling the bike into the house and parking it in what she figured had once been a living room, she covered it with one of the torn, dirty sheets and said a quiet goodbye to the only 'friend' she'd had in the last three years. She checked the house, making sure the few weapons were still securely hidden in the walls and under the worn floorboards before she walked back outside just in time to see the sun starting to rise over the horizon.

It was a long walk back to what she considered civilization. She didn't want a cab picking her up at the house. It had been an unspoken rule before between her, Robin and the handful of slayers that had been there with them not to ever be found at the house or allow anyone else to know they had been there. As soon as she reached what she knew was the 'safe' zone, she took her cell out of her jacket pocket and called a cab. She sat by the edge of the road on her bag, casually lit a cigarette, and waited.

She knew what she was doing. She was stalling as much as she could. She didn't want to face Buffy. She didn't want to see the way she'd always looked at her, like she wasn't worth the air she breathed. It hurt to know that at one time they did have a shot at being friends and she'd gone and ruined that the first chance she'd got. Giles told her once that everyone makes mistakes. Angel had as well. They both had helped her on the road to redemption and she was still on that same road, just not stuck at the dead end like before. This time she was stuck at a fork in the road, not sure which way to go, even though the signs were pointing clearly in the direction she knew she should be taking.

Her cell rang, jolting her from her thoughts, and she glanced at the display quickly before answering.

"Have you got a flight?" Giles asked before she even said a word.

"I'm on my way to the airport now."


"Good? Is that all you have to say? You aren't gonna tell me what the hell is going on or why you need me there?"

"I meant good as in fortunate," he chuckled softly. "Willow suggested teleporting you here instead. Save you the money for the ticket and the time."

"But not the jet lag and the motion sickness."

"There is only one problem."

Faith sighed as she took one last drag of her cigarette before flicking it halfway across the road. "What's the problem?"

"The old spell isn't working like it used to. Willow has found another, but unfortunately she needs something personal of yours to bring you here safely and in one piece."

She thought for a moment, trying to remember the last time she was ever in Scotland. She'd been once, with Robin, for the first Christmas party they had the year they all moved into the castle and before everything turned to shit. She only vaguely remembered much of the party aside from the fact she and Robin ducked out early and went to the guest suite with a bottle of wine. She remembered waking up in the bed, or partly in the bed, naked and half draped over an equally naked Robin.

"Dunno if it'd still be there, but I kind of misplaced this ring while I was there."

"A ring?"

"Silver, plain band. Nothing wow about it, just your common, everyday thumb ring."

"Oh," Giles sighed out and he was quiet for a moment. "Buffy has been wearing one similar to that. She said she'd found it out in the corridor awhile back and when nobody claimed it, she kept it for herself."

Faith laughed, shaking her head as she stood up and began pacing along the side of the road. "Ask her if it has the letter 'B' engraved in it."

"What does the 'B' stand for?"

"Boston. Stupid thing, really. Robin thought it made sense seeing how I was from Boston and everything."

Giles laughed and the line crackled a little. She pulled her phone away from her ear. One bar. Barely.

"Giles? What's so fucking funny?"

"Oh, it's nothing," he said with a soft laugh as he tried to calm himself down. "I just recall her thinking that the 'B' stood for Buffy."

"Classic," Faith chuckled as she stopped pacing and reached for her pack of cigarettes in her pocket. "So, what are you waiting for? Get the ring, get Red to mojo me on over there and you can tell me why the fuck I'm needed over there. In fact, while I'm waiting, why don't you tell me exactly what is going on?"

"It's rather complicated at the moment," he said as his tone changed. He was upset. It was clear in the way he spoke and the way he sounded so broken up even though she knew he was trying to be strong for her sake and his own.

"What is?"

"The situation."

"Giles!" Faith nearly screamed, frustrated and angry. "Tell me what the hell is going on or I am not fucking dragging my ass over there."

He went quiet and that worried Faith even more than she already was. She waited patiently before jumping to any conclusion for him to tell her exactly what was going on.

"It's Buffy."

"What about her? Is she okay?"

"She's recovering," he said softly.

"Recovering from what?!"

"She tried to kill herself."

Faith's heart nearly stopped at that moment. She felt out of breath, dizzy and nauseous, and she sat back down on her bag and fought back the tears that came anyway. She looked down at the pack of cigarettes in her hand and crushed them as she closed her eyes and tried to calm herself down.

"She'll be fine, Faith. The only reason I called you was because she has been asking for you."

"For me? Why? Thought she wanted nothing to do with me?"

"I have absolutely no idea. It might be the sedatives the doctors put her under, but it might be something else. I believe she needs you here despite what has gone on between the two of you."


"Why what?"

"Why'd she do it?"

"We do not know. She won't talk to anyone."

"And you think she'll talk to me?"

"She will," Giles replied. He sounded so sure about it that it scared her. "Willow has gone down to see her and to see if she has the ring. I'll call you back as soon as I can."

Faith sighed as she heard him hang up on her. The soft click reverberated through her head as she held on to the phone and stared at the display. The minutes that passed felt like hours and it hurt to breathe, it hurt to think, it even hurt to cry. She couldn't imagine what would have pushed Buffy so far that she wanted to end her own life. She thought she'd had it bad and yet she'd never gone that far off the deep end and wanted to die. Her death would come when it was meant to be and not by her own hands. She wasn't afraid of death. She was a Slayer. Death was always waiting there, lurking in the shadows and waiting for the moment to strike.

She didn't know Buffy, not as well as her friends and family did. She had no idea what could have driven her to the point where she wanted to take her own life. Something had to have happened or she was just giving up, once and for all. She couldn't come to her own conclusions, not if she valued what she had left of her salvaged sanity. She jumped up from where she'd been sitting when her phone rang again a few minutes later.

"Are you ready?"

"Did you..."

"Faith, are you ready? If you have anything with you, make sure you are holding onto it. As soon as I hang up the phone Willow will bring you here."


"We will talk in a moment, Faith."

And he hung up just like that. She was getting really tired of him hanging up on her like that. She barely even had enough time after Giles hanging up on her to grab her bag. She just had her fingers firmly gripping the handles, and then she didn't have another second to think about it before she felt herself being pulled from where she stood at the side of the empty, deserted road.

She'd never been more relieved that she'd opted on skipping breakfast that morning. Her stomach was in knots and she looked around the room she landed in, trying to stop it all from spinning furiously out of control. The only others in the room were Willow and Giles and she groaned as she straightened herself out and forced a smile as she looked at them. They didn't smile back and she couldn't blame them. Her smile faltered and faded as she sighed out heavily and dropped her bag to the floor.

"So talk, Giles. Tell me everything you've neglected to tell me so far."

"We should take this to my office," he said as he motioned for her to follow him out of the room. Willow barely cast another look at her as she left her bag where it was and followed him out of the room and into the next. "Sit."

"How's she doing?" Faith asked as she took a seat on the leather chair in front of the desk. "Is she alright?"

"No, she is not alright. She's been given a high dose of sedatives to keep her comfortable until her healing takes over."

"How bad is it?"

"It's horrible," he said softly, his voice cracking with emotion as he sat down in his chair across from her. "Satsu and a few others found her. She looked as if she'd been..."

Faith had never seen him like this. She'd never seen the man cry before and she felt her own tears welling up in her eyes as she watched him wipe away his tears. However bad it was, it had torn him up inside. She hadn't even seen Buffy and it was tearing her to pieces. She spotted the ring, her ring, on the desk and grabbed it, slipping in onto her thumb. It was unnaturally warm and she presumed that was from the spell.

"She knowingly walked into the trap," he started as he reached for his cup of tea and took a sip before continuing. "We don't know why she did this. We know she's been upset and not feeling quite herself for some time now. We found a nest of vampires in the area months ago, extremely hostile ones, and she went out there to face them alone."

"Vampires? Like that's unusual in our line of work," Faith responded sarcastically.

"These vampires are unlike your normal, run of the mill vampires. We weren't going to interfere as we all knew, and even Buffy knew, that we wouldn't have a chance in eliminating them until some of them disbanded. There's just too many of them."

"What makes you so sure that classifies as suicide?"

"She knew she couldn't take them on herself. Before she left last night, she said goodbye. None of us thought much of it until after she'd walked out the door with nothing but the clothes on her back. Buffy never leaves without weapons and that's how we knew something was going on. I sent Satsu out with a team to retrieve her, but we were too late."

"Giles," Faith sighed as she leaned forward in the chair. "I'm trying to understand things right now and I'm going on no sleep here so forgive me for being a little dense. You're telling me that Buffy tried to end her life by trying to take out a nest of vampires without any weapons?"

"That is what we know."

"I still don't understand why she'd do that."

"None of us do, Faith."

"This makes no fucking sense!" Faith laughed as she leaned back in the chair and rubbed her throbbing temples. "Look, I haven't been around in years, and I don't know what Buffy has been going through, so you're gonna have to bring me up to speed here the best you can, alright?"

"I could try."

"Before you do, she wasn't bit, was she?"

"Not that we were able to tell."

"So, no chance of her turning into a vampire, right?"

"Good heavens I hope not. If there was, she'd have turned by now."

"Isn't there any fancy shit you can do to find out for sure?"

"Willow has been working on a spell," he replied calmly. "You want to be brought up to speed? I can do my best to try and explain what has happened over the past several years."

"Don't need any heavy details or nothing, just the cliff notes version. Short attention span here."

Giles chuckled softly as Faith made herself comfortable in the chair. "I should start at the beginning, or at least what was the beginning for myself. As soon as I arrived here, things were heavy. Buffy had a lot on her plate, training the girls, leading them, befriending them as best she could. She was always off alone, isolating herself whenever she could. We were worried about her but she convinced us that everything was fine. She was happy being alone. Then around that time, that's when things with Satsu happened."

"Who the hell is Satsu anyway? A Slayer, right?"

"Yes," he nodded. "It seems she and Buffy had a bit of a...romantic involvement together and it did not end well for either of them. Buffy became more and more withdrawn once things had ended and she sent Satsu off to Tokyo to take over the squad there. When she came back, Buffy had already moved on. She started seeing this man, Victor I believe his name was..."

"Hold the fuck up," Faith said abruptly as it all started to sink in. "Buffy was with a chick?"


"How the fuck didn't I know about this?"

"Do you want me to answer that or would you like for me to continue to tell you what you've missed?"

"Go on then," she sighed as she slouched in the chair and brought her feet up on the desk.

"Victor was, in fact, a vampire with a soul. And yes, before you say anything, he was very much like Angel," Giles said, stopping her before she could even open her mouth. "It was a heated affair between the two of them. It lasted nearly a year before things got bad. He was working for the enemy, the enemy being every vampire that roams the earth right now. He was planning to lead Buffy into a trap, planning to kill her after she put up a fight."

"How original."

"Of course as you probably have figured out, Buffy didn't take kindly to learning that she was being used and led to believe that this vampire loved her as Angel once had. She went out in the middle of the night one night and confronted him."

"She dust the asshole?"

"She did indeed."

"So, Buffy did a chick, fell in love with yet another vampire and dusted his sorry ass, and this all led to her wanting to kill herself?"

"There's more to it than there appears to be and unfortunately, because she has been so withdrawn, nobody knows what she was thinking when she left last night. I have reason to believe that the last half of her life has been excruciatingly hard on her. I know she has told you to stay out of her life, but she's asked for you. From what I could understand from the pieces she was saying, she wants to make things right."
"Damn," Faith sighed as she closed her eyes. "This is fucking crazy. You know, when you called me I thought you needed help with a big bad. I had no fucking idea this had anything to do with Buffy."

"I'm glad you came, Faith."


"Because we all believe you are the only one who can be here for her. I know you care for her deeply, more than she even knows you do. I know you've been through a lot in the last several years and I truly believe that if anyone can understand what Buffy has been putting herself through, it's you."

"I'm no fucking shrink, G."

"She doesn't need a shrink. She needs a friend. She needs someone that understands what she feels and for good or ill there is no one better suited than you."

"I think you've forgotten one major detail, Giles. I'm not her friend either."

"Maybe it is finally time for you to put the past behind you and start over," he replied as he reached under his desk and pulled out a small bottle of whiskey. "Do you honestly believe she'd be asking for you if she didn't want to move on past your differences?"

"Takes her trying to kill herself to get to that point," she muttered under her breath as Giles passed her the bottle. "How'd you know I needed a drink?"

"It's a lot to take in right now and I figured it might help you calm down a little."

"I'm calm!" Faith said, her voice rising as she unscrewed the cap and brought the bottle to her lips. "You are right, though. This is a fucking lot to take in right now. I don't even know what the hell to think. Buffy is strong. She wouldn't let heartbreak and general life bullshit bring her down. There's more to it. A hell of a lot more."

"Giles?" Willow said softly as she opened the door. "She's awake again and asking for Faith."

"How does she look?"

"No better," Willow replied as she finally looked over at Faith. "I'll bring you down to the infirmary."

"Jesus," Faith said under her breath as she took a swig of the whiskey and placed the bottle on Giles' desk. "Guess I should go. It's why you brought me here, right?"

"We only brought you here because Buffy asked for you," Willow replied coldly as she watched Faith walk past her and out into the corridor. "I don't like this idea any more than you do, Faith."

"Of course not. You all hopped on the 'we hate Faith and want her out of our lives' train long ago."

Willow said nothing more to her as she led Faith through endless corridors of the castle. Faith was growing nervous. She didn't know how bad Buffy looked. She wasn't sure she wanted to see just how bad it was with her own eyes. The closer they got, the more she could feel the slight hum deep inside of her grow stronger, louder. She felt surrounded by Buffy and she wasn't even next to her. She swallowed the lump in her throat as she followed Willow through the doors and into the infirmary. The only occupied bed was near the window and all the lights but the one next to that bed were off.

"Go on," Willow said softly as she gently gave Faith the push she needed to take the last couple of steps.
It was worse than she thought it'd be. Buffy was torn up, covered in bandages. She was pale and her eyes were closed, her breathing shallow but even. This wasn't how she expected to see Buffy again, weak and on the brink of death. She glanced back at Willow who stood by the doorway and turned back to look down at Buffy. She fought off her tears as she pulled the chair close to the side of the bed. It hurt her deep inside to see Buffy in this state and she could feel the inner pain that Buffy was struggling with. It reminded her too much of her own inner pain, one she was still struggling with to this day.

What would she say to her? There was so much that needed to be said and she knew now was not the time to dig up their past. They'd have plenty of time to do that once Buffy had healed and was back to her normal self. Her heart was breaking yet again as she sat there staring down at Buffy. She heard Willow leave the two of them alone and she felt the tears in her eyes about to fall. She couldn't cry now. She had to be strong. For herself and for Buffy, even if she had never been strong enough for both herself and Buffy before.

"Hey, B. Bet you thought I wouldn't come, huh?" Faith said softly as she finally found her voice. "How you feeling?"

"Like hell," she replied softly as she opened her eyes slowly and looked at her. "It looks bad, doesn't it?"

"Yeah," Faith said softly as she fought to keep the tears from falling. She couldn't let Buffy see what this was doing to her, how it was ripping her up and chewing her to shreds. "Could be worse, right?"

"Thanks," Buffy said quietly, straining to speak even though it was clear she was in pain.

"No problem, B. Just want to say that despite all the shit that's gone down between us, I am still here for you." She lowered her head and quickly wiped away her tears. "Now isn't the time to talk, huh?"

 "How about you start with an apology?" Buffy asked coldly, her voice still just barely above a whisper. The icy anger could be heard in each word she said. "I think you owe me that much."

"An apology? For Robin and the girls' deaths? For trying to kill you? For what, Buffy? What the hell do you want me to apologize for?"


She sighed out heavily, no longer afraid of Buffy seeing the tears. She couldn't stop them now. Her emotions were on overload and she couldn't help but think that if Buffy wasn't hurt as badly as she was, they wouldn't even be having this conversation. No, she knew Buffy would be kicking her ass back to Cleveland as hard and fast as she could if given the chance.

"I'm sorry, okay? I'm sorry I've caused you so much fucking pain."

"You haven't..."

"But I have. I see it right now and I feel it every fucking day! I don't know what's been going on with you, Buffy, but whatever it is, it wasn't worth you going out there and trying to kill yourself over it."

"You don't even know," she said as her own tears began to fall. "You wouldn't even understand."

"Try me. You have no idea what the hell I have gone through since Robin died. You have no fucking idea what kind of personal hell I've gone through. I'd surprise you with the kind of fucking things I'd understand."

Buffy turned her head and closed her eyes then, not saying another word as the tears continued to fall.
Faith sat there, her own tears falling endlessly as she tried to calm herself down. She couldn't deal with this. Nothing could prepare her to deal with this with Buffy. She loved her more than anything, and yet she couldn't tell her. At least not now, not with the anger and the hate lying there on the surface.

She sat there, wanting to leave, but her heart wouldn't let her. Not yet. She reached out for Buffy's hand, the only part of her aside from her face that wasn't bandaged, and gently intertwined their fingers. She didn't even know why she did it. She needed to just feel, to let the simplest of gestures do all the speaking she couldn't do right then. She slipped off the ring and slid it onto Buffy's thumb, smiling at her as Buffy turned to look at her. Buffy squeezed her hand gently and smiled a little. Her own way of saying thank you.

It was all Faith needed to know that her heart definitely belonged to Buffy now whether Buffy wanted it or not.



Chapter Two

Faith had fallen asleep holding onto Buffy's hand and she woke when she heard the sounds of people talking outside the door. Her neck was stiff, her arm asleep and she gently let go of Buffy's hand and stretched out. The voices drifted and she groaned as she looked down at Buffy. She was asleep still and looked slightly less in pain than she had hours ago. She stood up and leaned over, kissing her lightly on the forehead before she pushed the chair back and walked away. She knew it wasn't over. It had barely begun, and as soon as Buffy was better again they'd have it out, one way or another. Until that happened, she was going to hold on to the only nice memory she had of Buffy in recent years: The small moment they had shared before they both drifted off to sleep.

A long time ago she'd been told that the little moments mattered more. That she had to embrace them if she ever wanted to get through the bad, bigger moments that drove through life, complicating it, twisting it and throwing her around like she was nothing but a ragdoll. She took one last look at Buffy before she walked out the door and tried to find her way back to Giles' office.

"Fuck," she muttered under her breath as she took a turn and ended up in a dead end. "Hate this fucking place. You need a goddamn map to get around here."

She turned around and backtracked. Stopping at the infirmary doors, she tried to remember which way she'd come before. She headed left and found herself at a set of stairs. Shrugging, she climbed them and found herself becoming more and more lost within the never-ending maze of corridors and locked doors. Rather than get frustrated, she opened a door and found herself out on a small balcony. She breathed in the fresh, damp night air and leaned against the stone railing, trying to collect her thoughts and push them out. The only thing left on her mind when she managed to do that was that she needed a cigarette.

She pulled the crushed pack from her jacket pocket, sighing with relief when she found one that wasn't completely broken. She lit it and inhaled deeply, closing her eyes as she let the much needed nicotine rush through her body. Everything felt crazy, felt too surreal, and she could still feel the warmth of Buffy's hand against her palm. She wanted to fix things between herself and Buffy once and for all. Now that she was here because Buffy wanted her to be here, she knew she just might have a fighting chance to finally make things right. She flicked the ash off the cigarette, watching as it fell slowly to the ground.

"Faith? Giles is waiting for you," Willow said softly from behind her. Faith hadn't even heard the door open, too lost in her own thoughts to pay attention to anything else. "Did you get lost?"

"Er, no," she laughed nervously as she took one last drag and flicked it over the balcony. Willow raised an eyebrow and smirked as Faith shoved her hands into her jean pockets. "Okay, I got fucking lost. Big deal."
"You didn't see the signs?"

"There are signs?"

"Posted in every corridor. Giles put them up years ago. He and a few of the girls kept getting lost and he figured it would end the confusion. Come on, I'll show you the way."

"Thanks," she muttered under her breath and followed Willow back inside. "How did you know I was out there?"

Willow only pointed to the camera as they walked past it. "We have the whole castle under surveillance. You know, for security and safety reasons."


"Did you talk to Buffy? Did she say anything about why?"

"We talked, if you could call it that and no, she didn't say anything."

"Oh," Willow sighed as she turned the corner and they headed down a flight of stairs. "What did you two talk about?"

"Want me to make you a transcript next time?" Faith snapped as Willow stopped abruptly and turned to face her. "We argued. It's what we've always done. No surprise there, right? She wanted me to apologize for everything and I did. She told me I wouldn't understand why she did what she did. Then..."


"I held her hand. She didn't fight it. Felt like the right thing to do then, you know? Fell asleep after that and when I woke up I left."

Willow looked at her, a flurry of emotions flashing in her eyes before she finally smiled at Faith. "You had a moment? Like an actual friendly moment that didn't end with her kicking your ass?"

"She's not exactly in the position to kick my ass right now, is she?"

"Maybe not," Willow shrugged. "She's talked about you a lot while you've been gone and doing your own thing. I think she's missed you more than she's let on."

"Yeah, like I'm gonna believe that for a second, but thanks for giving me false hope, Will."

"It's not...oh forget it," she groaned as she pointed down the corridor. "Giles' office is down there."

Faith sighed and ran a hand through her hair as she briefly watched Willow walk away and finally disappear into one of the rooms at the far end of the long corridor. She took a deep breath and walked to Giles' office, knocking quietly before she opened the door. He was sitting at his desk reading a newspaper and had a cup of tea in his hands. He barely even looked up as she walked in and took a seat in the chair across from him. She leaned forward in the chair and pushed the newspaper down.

"You got a room where I can crash while I'm here?"

"I do," Giles replied as he pulled the paper back up. "How did it go with Buffy?"

"She didn't tell me why."

"Not surprising. I wouldn't expect her to so soon."

"How long do you think I'm gonna have to stay?"


"Excuse me?" Faith laughed as she pulled the paper away from him again. "Indefinitely? I don't fucking think so. A couple weeks to a month at most, G. No more. I got a life back in Cleveland. Hellmouth to watch over and all that."

"I sent a team of girls to Cleveland as soon as you arrived here. They'll handle things there for the time being. I need you here, Buffy needs you here and it isn't just because of what has happened to her. I need two leaders here and no one other than you is suited for the job."

"Gonna trust me with the girls' lives after what happened?"

"Yes. It wasn't your fault. Your time wasn't up."

"Fate and all that crap. Yeah, I've heard it before, save me the speech," Faith muttered as she leaned back in the chair and stretched out slowly.  "So, what about that room then? Sleeping in a chair next to Buffy all fucking banged up isn't my ideal way of catching up on sleep."

Giles pulled out a key from a drawer and slid it across the desk. He pulled out a piece of paper with a map drawn on it. "I know how easy it is to get lost around here and the signs don't always help. This should help you find your way from the most common areas to your room."

Faith chuckled softly as she took the key and the map and spotted her bag on the floor by the door. She stood up and without saying another word grabbed her bag and started on the venture to find the room she'd be staying in. The corridors were slightly damp and her footfalls echoed off the stone walls. She followed the poorly drawn map and found herself at the end of the corridor in the west wing facing a large door with a lock. She used the key Giles had given her and unlocked the door, slowly opening it and not knowing what to expect. But it was Giles who had offered her the room, not Buffy, so she knew she'd at least have a comfortable bed. What she saw when she flipped on the lights surprised her. The room was bigger than her entire apartment back in Cleveland and she couldn't help but feel a little awe-struck as she stood in the doorway and soaked in her surroundings.

It was sparsely decorated, rather bland and dull, but it didn't bother her none. The bed was large and she dropped her bags at the foot of it and laid back. It felt too good to be real. She closed her eyes and opened them a couple of times and every time she found herself exactly where she was. She sat up slowly, looking around the room. There wasn't much furniture and nothing was on the walls aside from the ancient sword that lay on a rack just over the bed. The floor was bare wood, smooth and dark. The sheets on the bed were white, a stark contrast to the dark woods and deep grey stone walls. She noticed two doors aside from the one that led into the room and she got up from the bed. Feeling like a kid on Christmas who never had a Christmas before, she opened door number one.

"Fucking A," she groaned as she found herself in a walk-in closet with space to hold more clothes than she'd ever owned in her life. She flipped on the light and noticed three black outfits. She knew right away what they were. Stealth gear. There was a weapons chest directly next to the door and she opened it, smiling widely as she pulled out the sharp, curved knife.

"Faith?" Willow called out as she knocked on the door. "Getting settled in all right?"

"Jesus, Will. This place is fucking incredible. Could've stuck me in some guest room and I would have been happy there."

"Giles actually...he saved this room for you. It's yours."


"Yeah. He's kind of been holding onto some thread of hope that you would come here and help us fight the good fight."

Faith saw the nervous look in Willow's eyes as she looked at the knife she held in her hand. With a smirk she put it back in the weapons chest and closed the closet door behind her as she walked out.

"I came here to talk to you," Willow said quietly as she watched Faith walk over to the second door. "It's a bathroom. It's connected to the room next to yours. It's Kennedy's room, but she spends most of her time with me in mine."

Faith chuckled under her breath as she flipped on the bathroom lights and checked it out. There was a deep tub, a separate shower stall and the basic toilet and sink. Nothing impressive, although the shower was looking rather tempting to her. She couldn't even remember the last time she'd had a hot shower. Her apartment in Cleveland was a dump, but it'd been home, cold water and all.

"You and Kennedy are still together?"

"Does that surprise you?"

"Not really," Faith smiled lightly as she walked over to the bed and picked up her bag. "What did you want to talk to me about? Make it quick though. I'm tired as hell and I want to shower and get some sleep before it gets too late."

"About Buffy..." Willow sighed as she hesitantly sat down on the bed and looked up at Faith. "She's been so distant lately. We're worried about her."

"Got the memo already."

"When I did get to talk to her before...it happened, she mentioned you a couple of times. She only wanted to know if any of us had heard from you and when the answer was no, she'd withdraw from everyone even more. I think she feels alone and I don't know, crazy as it is, I think you are the only one who can help her see that she really isn't alone. She has us, she has Dawn, and she has the younger slayers here and all of the ones around the world. She is not alone."

"Ever think her alone might mean something else?"


"Bet you never thought about that, did you?" Faith sighed as she opened her bag and began taking out her clothes. "From what I know about B, she's always felt she is alone even surrounded by her friends and family. Whatever has happened in the last while has gotten to her. She's lost hope. She's lost the will to go on. You get what I'm saying? It could be something big, but it could be something small that you or the others wouldn't think mattered much at all."

"I..." Willow looked baffled at what Faith had said. "Giles was right. You are the only one who is going to be able to understand what she's going through right now. How is that?"

"It is what it is."

"I kind of heard about what happened to you," she said softly as she looked up at Faith, their eyes tentatively meeting and quickly looked away. "I'm sorry it had to be that way for you."

"I'm not. I'm a hell of a lot stronger than I used to be. At least that's what I keep telling myself. I'm not here for me though, Red. I'm here for Buffy."

"I know," she replied and she smiled a little. "It just surprises me how much you've changed. You hardly seem like the same old Faith."

"Everyone changes over time," Faith said quietly as she put her clothes away in the large dresser a couple feet from the bed.

"I realize that."

"So, care to fill me in on what's the what with everyone else? Giles only told me about what's been going on with B."

"Didn't you want to shower and get some sleep?"

Faith chuckled as she shrugged and walked over to the bed and picked up her empty bag. "I can spare a couple of minutes. I think I should know the deal with everyone around here if I'm going to be staying for awhile."

"Well, Dawn and Xander are dating now."

"What?" Faith burst out laughing at the look on Willow's face. "How the hell did that happen?"

"None of us really know. It just happened. They're rather sweet together though and he completely adores her. It's really cute," Willow chuckled with ease, visibly becoming more relaxed as the minutes passed on by. "Andrew came back awhile ago. He also came out, if you know what I mean."

"Andy boy came out of the closet? About damn time."

"Giles was dating this woman from England. She runs the Watcher's Council in London. He doesn't talk about her much and I'm not so sure if they are still seeing each other. It's been awhile."

"So, everyone is hooking up with someone and what about Buffy? I heard about her and Satsu and I heard about the vampire. There hasn't been anyone else?"

Willow sighed and shook her head no. "There hasn't and even if there has been, none of us would know. She doesn't talk to us about anything anymore. Her life is like one great big secret now."


"She's depressed, we know she is. We've seen it for a long time. I don't think any of us have actually heard her laugh or seen her smile in over a year."

"That's harsh," Faith said softly, frowning as she kicked off her boots and sat on the bed. "This is different, isn't it?"

"What is?"

"You and me chatting it up like we're old friends when in reality, we are not."

"You said yourself that people change. I guess things are different for us now. I don't...hate you as much as I thought I did. You actually came here to help Buffy, to be here for her, and that says a lot about you."

"Really? Like what?"

"Like you actually care about her."

"Of course I care about her," she laughed softly as she reached for her crushed pack of cigarettes and groaned loudly when she couldn't find one that wasn't broken. "Me and B have been through a lot of shit in the past, but hey, what doesn't kill us or makes us want to kill each other has to make us stronger in the end, right?"

"I always wondered why you two were always so grr."

With a laugh Faith shrugged. "We're too much alike and too different. We clash. We've never gotten along because there was never meant to be two of us at the same time and now...now there are thousands of us and it's still the same old song and dance between me and B. Fight to the death, or whatever."

Willow watched her as she tried to fix one of the cigarettes and with a shake of her head and a flick of her wrist, a brand new carton materialized on the bed in front of her. "Just don't ask me to do that again."

"Shit, Red. You really have some wicked skills."

"Right. I hardly think me helping you with the big C constitutes wicked skills."

Faith laughed as she got up from the bed and walked over to the window. She opened it, feeling the chilly, damp air hit her as she lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply. Willow said a quiet goodnight then and left her there alone in her room. She sat on the windowsill and looked out into the night, barely able to make out the ground below in the thick fog that suddenly seemed to surround the castle.

She couldn't help but think back to the last time she'd been here. It brought back some good yet painful memories about Robin. He had been a great guy and he was respectable, to a point. He became a thread of stability in her life for awhile and she had depended on that. She knew she had. It was why his death had affected her so badly. She hadn't been in love with him, she couldn't do love then, but she knew she felt something for him, something deep and something real. It was something that couldn't even touch how she felt about Buffy though. What she felt for Buffy went beyond reason, beyond explanation, and beyond anything she'd ever known before. It was uncharted territory. No man's land. And she was almost deathly afraid of what would happen if she stepped out there and put her heart on the line.

Suddenly she didn't feel so tired anymore. Her mind was going on overload as she thought about everything, about her life and the events that led her to where she was now. She was a lot stronger now, but she wasn't so sure she could be strong enough for her and Buffy. It was a lot on her plate, to be there for Buffy when nobody else seemed to fit the bill. She had to try, she knew that much. She had to try to close the gap between them, bring them together, finally, after years of fighting. The gap was huge and it almost seemed impossible, with just the tiniest shred of hope in there that if she played her cards right she'd close that gap between them once and for all. She just needed time. How much time she actually needed she wasn't so sure.

Finishing her cigarette, she flicked it out the window and stood up from the windowsill slowly. She took a long, hard look around the room, sighing heavily as she closed the window and headed for the bathroom. She found a couple of towels in the cupboard in there and then turned on the water in the shower stall, smiling to herself when it ran hot, a little hotter than she could stand.

It was heaven. The smallest of luxuries had been one of the biggest things she'd missed in the last several years, but it had been something she'd gotten used to. Stripping out of her clothes slowly, she held her breath as she stepped into the stall and stood under the water, afraid to close her eyes in case it was all some weird dream and it would be over as soon as she opened them. The water felt hot, too hot, but comforting nonetheless as she just stood there and felt herself relax. She finally closed her eyes, immediately opening them just in case it was a dream and sighed in relief when it really wasn't.

She didn't even know how long she'd been in there when the water began to run cold and she finally shut it off, stepping out of the stall and wrapping a towel around her body. She walked back into her room, droplets of water trailing on the floor behind her. She grabbed one of her t-shirts out of the dresser and slipped it on, knowing it was a little too damp for her to sleep in the nude as she was used to doing. Small comforts and familiarity, it was all changing now. She slipped on a pair of sweat pants and dried her hair as best she could with her towel before she slipped on her boots and grabbed the key and the map and headed for the kitchen.

It had been a while since she'd eaten real food, or something that resembled real food. Her diet had consisted mostly of fast food and Jack Daniels for the longest time. Even when she'd quit doing drugs, her diet never really changed. She never had bothered to change it. Surprisingly, she found the kitchen rather easily from her room and she wasn't that surprised to find Giles in there waiting for the kettle on the stove to boil.

"All settled in, Faith?"

"Sure am, G. The room is...incredible."

"It's yours, you know."

"I know. Willow came to talk to me," she said as she leaned against the large island and eyed one of the bagels in the basket that sat in the middle next to a bouquet of dying flowers. "You guys don't have any rules about the food or anything, do you?"

"Of course not," Giles laughed. "Do help yourself. The only rule we have here is if you make yourself some food you must clean up after yourself. The pantry is over there. It's stocked every Saturday. We also have a schedule for breakfast and dinner. Lunch is a free for all. Most of the girls head into town and eat at the pub there."

"Money is an issue here, G. I barely have five bucks in my pocket."

"How were you planning to pay for the flight?"

She shrugged as she picked up a plain bagel and took a bite. "I do have a credit card."

"And how much in debt are you?"

"You don't even want to know," she muttered, taking another bite and chewing slowly as she ran her fingers over the smooth tiles.

"I just asked you."

"About fifty, give or take."

"Thousand?" Giles asked, raising an eyebrow at her. "I can help you pay it off, if you'd like?"

"I can't ask you to do that. It's my problem. My debt. I'll figure it out one way or another. Always do."
"I want to help you, Faith."

"Good for you, G. I don't want or need your help."

"I never got the chance to tell you about the allowance you were supposed to have been getting from the Council since you were called."


"It's a nice sum of money. I've put it in a bank account years ago and it keeps slipping my mind."

"Getting old in your old age, G?" Faith chuckled. "Don't worry about money. It never had any value to me before. I make do with what I have or what I don't have. If I need money, I work."

"Let me help you," he said softly. "It's the least I can do. It is not a hand-out, Faith."

"Whatever, G. You want to help me? Fine, help me whatever way you want to."

"Come see me in the morning and I will give you the information about your account. It is a substantial amount of money, Faith. I was going to let you know, but with everything you've been through in the last couple of years the timing had never been right."

"There's something I never told anyone," she said quietly as she watched Giles pour the water from the kettle into a mug. "The Mayor left me some money in his will. I never touched a cent. A couple of his lackeys found me after we left Sunnydale and gave it to me. I gave it to the first homeless man I saw on the street. I think that guy is living large now."



"That was rather generous of you, Faith."

"I didn't want his money. Something about it made me feel uneasy. I knew if I took that money, the darkness in me would come crawling back. I've always been afraid of that, you know?"

"Everyone battles their own inner demons. I've battled quite a few of my own."

"What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger, right?"

Giles nodded and joined her at the island and sat on one of the stools. "How very right you are. It's incredible how much you've changed since I last saw you."

"What do you mean?"

"You're older, mature now and a lot wiser."

"Life does that to you, I guess."

"None of us have had an easy life and you've have had it harder than all of us. I admire your strength and your will to keep going on. I know you have almost given up before and I am glad you got through it all on your own. Buffy needs to see that about you, she needs to see how strong you are and how much you've changed."

"Yeah, if she can see past the fact that all she wants to do when she sees me is kick my ass."

"I think you'd be rather surprised when it comes to Buffy."

"Yeah. I already am. Never thought she'd get to where she is now. Guess I was wrong about her just like I always have been."

"We are always wrong about the people that we love, Faith."

She blinked and nearly choked on the last bite of the bagel. "Excuse me? Who said anything about love?"
"You wouldn't have come if you didn't love her, much less agree to stay. Don't worry, Faith, your secret is safe with me, but I believe you should tell her how you feel."

"Yeah, not gonna be doing that anytime soon," she said under her breath as she stared down at her hands as she picked at the grout between the tiles. "How did you know how I..."

"I've always seen it. The way you would just look at her sometimes...it was rather intense. The look in your eyes whenever you'd look at her told me everything about how you really feel about her."

"I'm really transparent like that, aren't I?"

Giles laughed as he slowly nodded his head. "Only sometimes when you don't think anyone is looking."

"What does my schedule look like?"

"We'll discuss that in the morning. It is getting late and I can imagine you want to get some sleep."

"Haven't slept in two days."

"Why is that?"

She shook her head, not wanting to talk about it. She'd been having rather disturbing dreams lately and it was partly the reason why she hadn't slept the past couple of days. She closed her eyes and in that moment she realized there was a connection in her dreams to what happened to Buffy. But it was late and she was exhausted. It'd have to wait for the morning. If anyone could help her understand the dreams she'd been having lately she knew Giles would. Of course she'd have to leave out the beginning of the dreams, the parts that were solely that of her imagination. As open as she was about sex and her sexuality, she didn't need to tell Giles any of that.

"Just haven't," she said finally, stifling a yawn as she glanced at the clock on the stove. "One bonus about being so sleep deprived, I have a chance to get with the swing of things with the time difference."

"You might just end up sleeping at regular hours instead of sleeping during the day like your enemies do," Giles chuckled as he shook his head and stood up from the stool. "I am always up early and in my office before eight. I would like to talk to you about that schedule before you head down to breakfast in the morning. Despite Buffy being...bedridden, we all must keep with the schedule. She runs a tight ship."

"Figures," Faith laughed as she grabbed another bagel and took a bite. "One thing?"


"I'm gonna be spending time with Buffy every day, right?"

"I would hope so."

"Knowing her, she won't open up to me if anyone else is around."

"Understandable. I'll make sure your schedule is different from the others so you'll be able to spend the mornings with her."

Faith raised an eyebrow at that. She wasn't a morning person and she definitely wasn't looking forward to spending an entire morning sitting next to Buffy's bed and trying to be her friend when she knew at best she was just a former enemy who was trying to do the right thing. Giles said goodnight before she could say a word and she sat there and idly stared at the bagel in her hand. Eventually she looked around the large kitchen, sighing as the reality of where she was and what she was there for really began to come down on her.

She let out a deep breath and headed for the stairs. She pulled the map out of her pocket, taking a bite of her bagel as she tried to study it in the dim light. After taking a couple of wrong turns, she found herself outside the infirmary doors, hesitating to go inside to see Buffy. The low hum in her body intensified as she placed a hand over the handle. She pulled her hand back and shook her head, trying to dispel the thoughts of how the drugs had once made her feel. They had given her a similar hum, but none of them had come close to how Buffy made her feel.

Working up a little bit of courage, she opened the doors and walked inside. It was still empty except for the bed Buffy lay in. The light next to the bed was on and she was aimlessly flipping through a magazine, unaware Faith had even walked in. She didn't have enough courage to say anything to her, unfortunately, and she quickly walked back out before Buffy even bothered to look her way. They'd have plenty of time to talk, to argue...to do whatever they'd do. It wasn't like Buffy was in any kind of shape to jump out of bed and beat her down on the spot. She knew, given the chance, Buffy would do just that. It's what Buffy always did or what she always did whenever they'd seen one another in the past.

It was a love/hate relationship. At least it was on Faith's part. She wasn't so sure Buffy felt anything for her other than wanting to physically beat her senseless. It was going to be a ride and a half trying to get through to Buffy, and she wasn't so sure she was ready for it. But she was never one to back down from a challenge, even if she felt it would be nearly impossible.



Chapter Three

Three weeks she'd been there. For three weeks she'd spent a good six hours a day by Buffy's bedside. Even with slayer healing it was taking Buffy a long time to heal from her substantial injuries. They started to talk like they were friends, sharing stories and passing jokes back and forth. Still, in those three weeks, Buffy had never told her why she did what she did. Faith wasn't going to push her to talk either. She knew how hard it was to talk about the things that made you want to end your own life.

She wouldn't call what they had a friendship, but they were getting there. There were still a lot of things in their past that they weren't yet able to talk about. Faith was okay with that. Giles had said that sometimes it was better to leave the past in the past and just move forward. But the talks they had, sometimes it did feel as if they were friends. The first time she heard Buffy laugh was at the end of the first week. She'd never seen her eyes light up like that before. She couldn't even remember now what had gotten that laugh, but after that day it was increasingly easier for Buffy to laugh and smile.

Faith had fallen into a steady routine in the last three weeks. She felt for once in her life she needed something steady and solid. Most days she felt like she was on autopilot and there were some days where she felt as if she was walking around lost in a haze where she couldn't find the edges of reality where it blurred with her dreams. Every morning she'd wake up around seven, grab some breakfast and bring up a tray of food for Buffy by eight. She'd sit there until two in the afternoon, then head off for some training with the younger girls for a couple hours before dinner was served. She'd taken over Buffy's patrol at night and every night before she went to her room she would check on Buffy in the infirmary, saying a silent good night from the door.

Just like every morning, she woke up, showered and headed down to the kitchen for breakfast. Giles was already down there waiting for her when she walked through the large double doors. She tried to go unnoticed because she had a feeling as soon as she walked into the kitchen that he was going to want to talk. Sure enough, he cleared his throat as she opened and closed the fridge, and she could only sigh as she turned to look at him.

 "We need to talk," he said without looking up from the paper laid out in front of him at the table. "Get something to eat and bring Buffy her breakfast, then come to my office."


She felt a lump rising in her throat as she grabbed a bagel and quickly ate it, suddenly not feeling too hungry. She made up a tray of food for Buffy and headed up to the infirmary. She was afraid of what Giles wanted to talk to her about. Every day she'd seen him in the last three weeks he always wanted to know one thing. He always wanted to know if Buffy had talked to her about why she did what she had done and her answer was always the same. It'd be no different today or the next, she knew that much for sure. Buffy wouldn't talk until she was ready to; and that was providing she ever would open up to Faith at all about the events that led to her wanting to end her own life.

"Morning, B."

"Hey," she replied with a smile as she put down the book she'd been reading. "The doctors said I could be out of here by the end of the week."


"Is something wrong?"


"You're acting different today. Did something happen last night?"

"No," Faith said again as she put the tray carefully over Buffy's lap. "I need to go speak with Giles, B. I'll come back up as soon as I'm done."

"Oh, okay."

She thought she heard a shred of disappointment in Buffy's voice. She shrugged it off, knowing that dwelling on it wouldn't be too emotionally healthy for her. The feelings she had for Buffy were growing and she was fast becoming afraid that if she wasn't careful it'd slip out at the wrong time.

Faith walked down the long, twisted maze of corridors slowly, trying not to dwell on the way Buffy had reacted. She was beginning to think that Buffy was becoming used to the hours they spent together and she had to admit she was as well. She felt comfortable around her, something she hadn't felt around Buffy since they first met so many years before. It was a different kind of comfortable now and she had to admit to herself that it scared her more than the feelings she had for Buffy.

She felt like her teenage self, falling head over heels in love with Buffy all over again. She only hoped that this time she'd be able to deal with it instead of fighting it. She didn't want to go back down the dark path she'd already taken one too many times. She wanted to prove to both herself and Buffy that she was strong and that she had changed. Somehow she already knew that Buffy had seen the changes in her. It was evident in the way she'd look at her sometimes. There were other times she saw a glint of something she could only classify as love in Buffy's eyes when she allowed herself to stare into them for longer than half a second at a time.

"G?" Faith said quietly as she tapped on the door to his office before she walked inside. "So, what'd you want to talk to me about?"

"Have a seat," he gestured, not glancing up from the stack of papers in front of him. "I wanted to talk to you about staying here for a little while longer."

"How much longer?"


"What about the Cleveland Hellmouth?"

"The team I sent there has requested to stay. They'll handle it."

"What about my apartment?" Faith asked. "And my Harley?"

"The team of girls will stay in your apartment as soon as you've cleared your things from there. As for the Harley, I am sure we can make arrangements to have it flown over here, although I must say," he chuckled softly as he stared at her, studying her reactions, "a Harley is hardly suitable transportation in the Scottish weather."

"Don't care. It's my baby. I spent the last three years riding it all over the States and Canada. No way in hell I'm giving her up."

"As I said, we'll make the necessary arrangements. What do you think about all of this? Do I need to give you a couple of days to make a decision?"

"I'll stay. On one condition. I don't want to train the girls or teach any classes. I'll lead on patrol, but not every night."

"Is that all?"

Faith laughed and nodded her head, hardly believing she was actually agreeing to stay for good. She couldn't help it. Her heart belonged to Buffy and she wasn't about to leave now, not if she and Buffy finally were working on becoming friends.

"That's all," she said finally, unable to hide her smile as Giles looked rather pleased she had agreed to stay on. "We done here?"

"We are. I'll let you know when I've booked a flight back to Cleveland for you to get your things," he replied, "and to make arrangements to ship your Harley."

"Cool. Till later then, G."

She left his office and made her way back to the infirmary. She didn't know why he didn't just bring it up while they were in the kitchen and figured that he had to have expected some kind of backlash from her. She was halfway on her way back to the infirmary when she made a quick detour and found the door that led out to one of the many balconies. In the last three weeks she had hardly smoked, she knew it bothered Buffy when she came to see her smelling like smoke. She was whipped, definitely, and she really couldn't care less. She wouldn't be whipped for anyone other than Buffy.

The sun peeked through the heavy mist and clouds creating an eerie glow around the castle and the grounds that surrounded it. Strangely, it made her feel right at home. She took a moment to remind herself that this was home now. She suddenly got nervous about breaking the news to Buffy. She had to wonder if Buffy was only tolerating her since as far as she knew Faith would be gone soon. She tried not to think about that as she finished her cigarette quickly and headed back inside, narrowly avoiding a couple of the younger slayers that were running down the corridor. She sighed and walked the last little bit to the infirmary, taking her usual seat on the chair next to Buffy's bed.

"You didn't eat," she said softly when she noticed the tray of food on the table next to the bed was untouched.

"Not that hungry today," Buffy shrugged as she kept her head turned away from Faith and stared out the window. "Are you leaving?"

"Now? No."

"I meant are you leaving to go back to Cleveland?"

"No. Giles asked me to stay."

"For how long?"

"For good."

Buffy turned to look at her then, a small smile creeping over her lips as their eyes gradually met. "That's good. We could always use a good slayer here."

"Yeah. For sure."

"You do want to stay, don't you?"


Buffy smiled a little wider as she reached for a piece of toast and took a bite. "Willow and some of her apprentices are going to try another healing spell later. Will you stay when they come?"

"I will if you want me to, B."

"Thanks. I don't know how to thank you for being here for me the past couple of weeks, Faith. You're the only one who understands me."

"Am I?" Faith asked, a little surprised at her revelation. "I only understand you cos I've been where you are before."

She didn't know why she brought it up, but she figured it was time to talk about it. Buffy looked a bit uncomfortable as she looked down at her hands folded over her stomach. Faith could see the tears in her eyes before Buffy closed them and took a few deep breaths. She'd listen to Buffy say whatever she needed to say. She'd tell her in her own time what happened to her. Right now it was Buffy's time and all she could do was listen. That's all she was there for, to be the one that could listen to her and understand her without judging her. Sometimes having a stone cold heart had its perks even if her so-called stone cold heart turned to mush every time she so much as looked at Buffy.

"I don't know why I did it, okay? Everything has been too much and not enough. I can't be happy anymore, Faith. I think after we got our powers back when we defeated Twilight I lost all ability to be happy about even the smallest of things."

"You know you can tell me anything, B. I'm not going to report back to Giles about anything you say right now."

"I miss being in love, I miss waking up every day knowing that I have something better in life waiting there for me. It's pathetic, isn't it? I was ready to end my life over that."

"It isn't pathetic," Faith said softly as she reached for Buffy's hand. "I get why you did it though, B. Being a Slayer isn't easy and as much as we try to live normal, we got to accept the fact that we can't always get what we want."

"I'm just so lonely, Faith. Nothing ever seems like it is getting any better. I'm just so tired of this life. I'm tired of leading. I'm tired of feeling unloved."

"B, you have a lot of people that love you."

"I know," she sighed. "I just want someone to be in love with me. I want..."

"Someone is in love with you. I am," Faith said softly as she looked down at their hands and she intertwined their fingers. "Why else do you think I came, B? Why else would I sit here for hours every day?"

"You love me?" Buffy asked, her voice cracking with emotion. "You are in love with me?"

"I am, B."

Buffy burst out laughing as if it was one of the funniest things she'd ever heard. She let go of Faith's hand to wipe away the tears that fell. Faith wasn't sure how to feel about the way Buffy was reacting, but it made her feel good that despite what she was laughing over, she was laughing again. It wasn't forced. It was genuine. She missed hearing that laugh and she never knew what it was like not to receive an insult or a threat that followed until she'd spent the last couple of weeks with her. Her sense of pride was a little wounded, though. She wasn't sure what was so funny about her telling Buffy how she felt about her. Those few little words had been heartfelt and powerful to Faith.

"Are you kidding me?" Buffy asked once she managed to stop laughing and her tone slipped into a rather serious one.


"How can you be in love with me?"

"Just am," Faith shrugged. "Wasn't ever gonna tell you either."

"Why not?"

"Afraid you'd kick my ass," she chuckled softly as she ran a shaky hand through her hair. "You have full permission to kick my ass if you want to, though, once you've healed."

"Why would I kick your ass? Because you're in love with me?"

"Yeah. Probably the most ridiculous thing you've ever heard me say, huh?"

"Well, you're wrong, Faith."

"About what?"


Faith stared at her, unable to take her eyes off of her. She never thought she'd be having this conversation with Buffy, at least not without having Buffy kick her ass or laughing at her for being so incredibly pathetic. She'd already laughed and Faith wasn't so sure if she was laughing over Faith's revelation or if she was laughing because she couldn't believe it.

"How long have you...felt this way?"

"Since the first time I ever laid my eyes on you."

"You mean you've felt this way since that night we first met?"

"Saw you before that night. I'd just got to town and was checking out the cemeteries when I saw you. I was too afraid to make my presence known until the next night outside of the Bronze."

"Oh. Wow."

"It doesn't bother you, does it?"

"No, but it changes everything."

Faith nodded, understanding exactly what she meant by that. It truly did change everything. Buffy reached out for her hand, smiling softly as Faith took it in and intertwined their fingers once again.

"I had no idea, Faith."

"It's okay. Didn't expect you to. I did nothing but deny it and then hide it for the longest time. I know you'd never feel the same way and I've made my peace with that. Can't have everything, you know?"

"What if you could? What if I told you that I have always felt the same way too?"

"I wouldn't believe it, of course," she chuckled softly. "Then I'd get over it and kiss you."

"Yeah? Then what are you waiting for?" Buffy asked with a shy smile.

"For me to believe it."

She raised the hand she was holding and brought it to her lips. Smiling, she gave the back of Buffy's hand a gentle kiss. Her tenderness was surprising to her. She didn't even know she was capable of being so gentle, so tender, so loving with just the simplest of kisses. Buffy only smiled at her as she pulled her lips away and she couldn't stop herself from smiling right back at her. The words not spoken were said silently and she could feel a sense of calm, of understanding. Of love.

"When are Willow and the others coming?"

"Not until later."

"Does it still hurt?"

"I'm healing slowly. It only hurts when I sleep. The gash on my back is really deep. Willow said she was going to try the healing spell again. They aren't sure why the spells haven't been working or why I haven't been able to heal properly yet."

"It was really bad, wasn't it?"


"Shit, B. If I could have been here sooner..."

"Don't. I don't want to talk about that anymore, okay?"

"Sorry. I just can't help but think I could have been here for you, B. I should have been here for you."

"Even if you were I wouldn't have been patient enough. I wouldn't have taken the time to see how much you've changed and the two of us would have fought just like we always have. I guess everything happens for a reason. I'm just glad I've given you a chance this time."

Buffy gave her hand a gentle squeeze and they both smiled at the same time. Faith could feel her heart hammering in her chest. It had always felt that way whenever she thought of her, dreamt of her. She wanted to kiss her, but she couldn't. It was too soon for her to take it that one step further. They still had some things to get over and through before they could jump head first into a relationship, if that's where everything was heading. She was just comfortable sitting there next to Buffy's bed, holding her hand and staring into her eyes. She had to keep herself from falling into the intense gaze she was receiving. Her insecurities were there in full force now, warning her to tread carefully.

"So, do you believe it yet?" Buffy asked, her eyes glimmering with hope and something else Faith wasn't so sure was there. She didn't want to look too much into what Buffy was feeling. It scared her. "Faith?"

"Working on it, B."

"This is almost too surreal, isn't it?"

"It is. Never thought the day would come where we could just sit here and talk like we're actually friends."
"We are friends. Friends who have deep, intense feelings in more than just a friendly way," she said with a laugh. "So what are we going to do about it, Faith?"

Faith didn't really know the answer to that question. The only thing ever coming close to resembling a relationship for her had been what she had with Robin. Was she even capable of having a relationship with Buffy that went beyond friendship? These were waters she wasn't sure of testing just yet.

"I really don't know," she replied honestly.

"Oh. You don't do the relationship thing. I almost forgot about that."

"Buffy, it isn't that I don't do relationships, I just don't know how."

"I can show you how," she said softly as she gently stroked her thumb over Faith's. "That is, if you are even willing to try."

"What about our history, B? We still have a lot to get over and we've done nothing but avoid talking about it. That isn't going to help us move forward, is it?"

"We can only try. No relationship is perfect and without its faults. If you do feel that way about me, what's stopping you from being willing to try?"

"This is fucked. Never thought you and I would be having a talk like this. It's crazy."

"It is, isn't it?"

"I don't know, B. This is just..."

"Crazy. Yeah, you said that already."

"I thought you hated me. I thought you wanted nothing to do with me after what happened..."

"I thought I did too," Buffy chuckled as she gave Faith's hand another gentle squeeze. "I always thought it'd be too late to tell you."

Faith didn't want to say what she was really thinking then. She didn't want to tell Buffy it'd only be too late if she had gotten herself killed before she told her. She couldn't make Buffy feel any guiltier and down on herself than she already felt.

"Am I dreaming right now?" Faith asked after a couple of minutes of heavy silence between them. "Seriously feels like I'm stuck in a dream. This can't really be happening, can it?"

"I've been feeling the same way for the last couple of years, but it's been more nightmare than dream. This is real, though, Faith. I haven't felt this...happy...in a very long time."

She wondered if Buffy saw how different she was when it was just the two of them. Her walls were let down and the masks she always had on around everyone else to guard herself were put away. For the first time in her life she felt comfortable in her own skin around someone else and it didn't surprise her that it was Buffy who fit the shoes of that someone else. She glanced over at the clock and motioned for Buffy to turn onto her stomach. She watched as Buffy rolled over gingerly, wincing sympathetically as Buffy hissed under her breath at the pain.

"Can you..."

"What?" Faith asked, leaning in so she could hear her. "What, B?"

"Can you untie the gown for me? It's digging into my skin."

She nodded and gently tugged on the loose knots of the hospital gown and pulled the thin blue material away. Her breath caught in her chest as she stared down at the deep gash that ran nearly the entire length of her back. She'd never stuck around before when one of the doctors had come in to change her dressings over the last couple of weeks so she'd never really seen the severity of it until now. It was healing though, gradually, but even for a slayer it was a wound that would take as long as any normal human being would take to heal completely. Now she knew why Willow was so determined for her healing spell to work. Even when Buffy did heal, the scars would always be there, out of place on her mostly flawless pale skin.

"Shit..." Faith breathed out shakily as she leaned back in the chair and reached for Buffy's hand. "You okay now?"


She flashed Buffy a forced a smile as she sat there in the chair and held onto Buffy's hand lightly. With her free hand, she reached for the remote for the TV and flipped it on, slipping out of her boots and propping her feet up on the bed next to Buffy's legs. She couldn't think about what she saw, she didn't want to, and she knew Buffy just wanted to forget and move on as best and quietly as she could. She couldn't help but think, though, that it was too bad it took Buffy trying to end her own life to bring the two of them together, to close that gap that had always kept them apart.

She let go of Buffy's hand when she heard the footsteps out in the corridor. She kept her eyes on the TV news, trying to pay attention as the newscaster talked about the recent deaths in town, as Willow and three of her apprentices came into the infirmary.

"How are you feeling today, Buffy?" Willow asked as she walked over to the other side of the bed and put her black bag on the edge of the bed.

"A little better."

"Morning, Faith," Willow smiled over at her as Faith dropped her feet to the floor and quickly slipped her boots back on. "Are you staying?"


"If you are staying you'll need to stand back and stay out of the way, okay?" Willow said sternly as she motioned for the three girls to surround the bed. "Buffy, I can't promise you this won't hurt. I got into contact with Oz and he found some texts with some healing spells I didn't know about already. This spell has only ever been used once before. Oz and I couldn't find any more information other than the texts saying it had been successful."

"What do I have to lose, right?" Buffy said softly, her eyes meeting Faith's for a split second. "Do what you need to do, Will."

Faith took a couple steps back and sat on the next bed, watching as Willow and the three girls began chanting in a language she couldn't understand. She closed her eyes when Buffy began sobbing quietly, feeling a slight discomfort through her own body, almost as if she was feeling the pain Buffy felt. When she dared open her eyes again, the room was filled with a soft orange light and she could just barely see Buffy under the glow. Willow stumbled back a little, without a doubt having used too much of her power, and she motioned quietly to the girls to continue while she quickly rummaged through her bag and pulled out a bottle.

Faith had to look away as Willow poured what looked to be blood over the wounds on Buffy's back. The smell was pungent, it made her stomach churn, and she fought down each wave of nausea with a deep breath. Unable to take much more of it, she slipped off the bed and headed for the nearest window. She climbed out onto the shallow roof and shakily lit a cigarette, trying to block out the sobs and whimpers she could still hear coming from Buffy.

It felt like hours passed before she heard nothing but silence coming from inside. Willow poked her head out the open window before she climbed out and sat down next to her. She looked worn out and yet she looked so alive. She said nothing as she stared out over the grounds.

"Is she okay, Will?"

"She's resting. It took a lot out of her."

"Did it work?"

"Yes," Willow beamed. "I can't believe it did though. I was about to lose all hope in helping her."

"You're a talented witch. You always figure things out one way or another."

"Did I just get a compliment from you, Faith?"

"Don't hold your breath," she laughed wryly as she took a long drag of her cigarette. "There aren't any more about to slip out anytime soon. I tend to save the compliments for special occasions and the like. How long is she gonna be out for?"

"A couple of hours? I'm actually not sure. The texts Oz found never mentioned much of anything other than the spell itself. I was so afraid of the side effects, but so far I don't think there are any other than extreme exhaustion."

Faith bit her tongue, holding back the threats she felt about to slip out. She couldn't fall back into being that Faith anymore. It was just too easy to go back to being that way and she was tired of it. Willow looked over at her for a moment before she grabbed the cigarette from her and took a quick drag. Faith only raised an eyebrow in mild amusement as Willow fought off the hacking cough that followed.

"Faith?" Willow sighed out once she caught her breath and stopped coughing. She stared at her for a moment, waiting for Faith to look at her before continuing. "Have you told her how you feel about her?"

She nodded her head before quickly fixing her gaze on the dark clouds that began to roll in from the west. "I told her."

"She loves you too, you know?"

"I know."

Willow smiled as she stood up and climbed back inside, leaving Faith out there on the shallow roof, alone with her thoughts and the thundering rain she could hear just off in the distance. She sat out there until the first drops of rain began to fall, then slipped back inside and quietly closed the window.

Her heart was pounding as she slowly walked over to Buffy's bed. She still lay on her stomach and she was sound asleep. Faith stood there staring down at her, and sighed as she looked down at her back. The gown was still untied and Faith couldn't help but lightly run her fingers over her now smooth, flawless back. It was hard for her to believe that not even half an hour before it had a gash so deep, so wide, she thought she'd forever have the scars that would match her emotional ones. Holding her breath, she ran her fingertips over Buffy's spine, feeling her shiver slightly under her. She jerked her hand back quickly, not wanting to wake her. She tied the gown closed, sighing softly as she pulled up the white cotton sheets and sat down in the chair.

She thought about how she got to where she was now. She thought of all the things she'd done, to herself and to others, that led her down the rocky path she'd chosen to take through life. She thought about the road in life she had taken that wasn't her choice, the road of being a Slayer, one of hundreds of thousands now. She wasn't alone and neither was Buffy. She knew despite both the path she had chosen to take and the one that was chosen for her, it still led her to Buffy and where she was now. Despite all the downfalls there had always been an upside to every decision she ever made. She just never saw the upside of it all until she came here.

All the bad and all the wrong and depressing shit in her life had led her here to help Buffy get through it all. She wasn't even sure she was going about it all the right way, but she figured she must have done something right for Buffy to let down her own walls and let her in the way she had. Her mind was still reeling over telling Buffy how she felt and hearing that Buffy had felt the same way about her. How many years had they avoided one another because of their feelings? She knew the answer to that already: Too many. Everything was changing again and she was afraid of what lay ahead for both her and Buffy, alone and together. Both of their lives had been filled with the impossible and being in love with one another was just another stepping stone, a boulder really, that they had yet to leap over in order to see what was waiting for them on the other side.

She had a smile upon her face as she reached for Buffy's hand and closed her eyes. She knew when she opened them, Buffy would be awake and both their lives would change. Hopefully for the better. Hopefully.



It was nearly midnight before Buffy finally woke. Faith hadn't left her side all day, wanting to be there when she finally woke up. She'd fallen asleep herself, holding onto Buffy's hand and sitting rather awkwardly in the chair, and she woke to Buffy gently squeezing her hand and whispering her name.

"Hey," Faith smiled as she opened her eyes. "How are you feeling, B?"

"Great. The spell actually worked. Can you believe it?"

"I can. Dr. Sonia was here earlier. She couldn't wake you but she'll be back in the morning. Got to wait for her to check you out before you can get out of bed."

"I feel fine."

"I know you do, B. Doctor's orders."

"I just want to go back to my room. I hate it in here."

Faith nodded in agreement. It was too sterile and she didn't think the bed was all that comfortable either. One thing they both shared was their mutual hate for hospitals and doctors in general. She wanted nothing more than to take Buffy back to her room, but she wasn't about to back down on the promise she'd made to Dr. Sonia about keeping Buffy there until the morning. She was all about keeping her promises and she was going to do it for herself, not for anyone else.

"Have you been here all day?"

"Yeah. I wanted to be here when you woke up."

"You didn't have to stay."

"I know, but I wanted to."

"You don't have to stay. That chair can't be comfortable."

"It's not. I don't mind. This chair and I have spent some quality time together. Gonna miss the ugly, fake leather, lumpy ass thing once you're out of here."

Buffy laughed as she shook her head and slowly stretched out. "God that feels so good. I am so sick and tired of being bedridden."

Faith knew the feeling. She did spend eight months in a coma after all. She didn't want to think about that now though, it brought back memories she just wanted to forget. She'd spent years trying to get past the events that surrounded that time in her life and she wasn't so sure if she ever wanted to talk to Buffy about that time and apologize for it once again.

"Since I can't exactly get out of bed yet, do you think you could go down to the kitchen and get me something to eat?"

"Sure can. Any special requests?"

"Cookies? Doesn't matter what kind as long as there is some sort of chocolate in them."

Faith chuckled softly and let go of Buffy's hand as she stood up. "Anything else, B?"

"Milk if there is any left."

Faith was about to turn around and walk away when Buffy grabbed onto her hand and pulled her down close. She held her breath, their lips only inches apart as she looked deeply into Buffy's eyes.

"Do you believe it yet?" Buffy whispered as Faith placed her hands on either side of Buffy.

"Yeah, I do."

"Then what are you waiting for?"

"Thought you wanted..."

"It can wait, Faith."

She licked her lips slowly as she dipped her head and gave Buffy the lightest of kisses. Her entire body was on an edge and she gripped the sheets as Buffy slid her hands over her shoulders and to the back of her neck and kissed her harder. She ignored the chill she felt coming from Buffy and submerged herself in the kiss. It became frantic and needy as Faith parted her lips and Buffy's tongue instantly searched out hers. When Buffy let out a low moan, Faith pulled back, breathing heavily as she tried to calm her racing heart. She gave her a quick chaste kiss before she pushed herself up from the awkward position on the bed.

She'd stopped the kiss from continuing for only one reason. Her libido was racing out of control and she wasn't about to take that plunge with Buffy so soon. She smiled down at a rather flushed Buffy, then turned and walked away. She felt like she was floating as she headed down to the kitchen and she could hardly believe what had unfolded in the last day. It was hard for her to even believe all that had happened in the last three weeks. It felt like a dream and yet she knew it was all too real. What really felt unreal was the restraint she'd just shown. She'd pay for it later, but it was nothing a few hours of working out alone in the training room couldn't fix.

In no time she was back in the infirmary with a box of chocolate chip cookies, a half carton of milk and two glasses. Buffy was sitting on the edge of the bed, her legs dangling loosely as she stared out the window. She smiled to herself as she slowly approached the bed and sat down next to her. Buffy looked at her, forcing a smile as she took the box of cookies from her and opened it. They said nothing as Faith poured them each a glass of milk, handing Buffy her glass as she reached into the box for a cookie of her own. She watched Buffy as she took a sip of her milk, grimacing in disgust as she placed the glass down on the bedside table.

"The milk tastes sour," she complained as she took a cookie and took a bite. "Ugh."

"What?" Faith asked, taking a sip of her milk. "Milk tastes fine, B. Maybe your taste buds are all outta whack from the spell?"

"Maybe. The cookies taste like dirt."

Faith raised an eyebrow and shrugged as she took the box of cookies from her and placed it behind her on the bed. She drank the rest of her milk in silence while she stared down at the faded white linoleum floor. She could hear her own heart thudding loudly in her chest. She always felt as if her body went into overdrive whenever she was anywhere close to Buffy. She was sure Buffy could hear it too and she took a few deep breaths to try and calm the rapid beating of her heart. When she couldn't, she let out a heavy discouraged sigh.

"I feel different, Faith."

"A bad different?"

"I don't know," Buffy shrugged. "I feel so...cold...and the hunger I'm feeling...I can't describe it. It was gone as soon as you left and it came back tenfold the moment you came back."

"Maybe we should..." Faith trailed off as she moved to stand up. Buffy gripped onto her arm, stopping her from moving another inch.

"Please don't leave me."

"I'll come right back, B. I think I should go and get Willow. Maybe this is something to do with the spell she used?"

"Please don't," Buffy pleaded softly. "I don't want her to know something is wrong."

"What if it's something that is going to put your life in danger?"

"I don't care."

Her voice was cold, void of emotion and it scared Faith. What had happened to her in the hours that had passed since Willow had performed the spell? What had happened after that kiss? The changes she was seeing in Buffy made her nervous as she pulled her arm away from her tight grasp and she ran her fingers over her skin. It felt cool where Buffy's fingers had been. She backed away from her a little, her eyes opened wide in alarm as she thought about the possible scenarios of what changes Buffy had gone through. She pushed away the feelings she normally felt around Buffy and that's when she felt it. The other low, distinct hum in her lower abdomen that always alarmed her when there were vampires near.



"I need to go talk to Willow."

"Don't leave me," she said lowly, nearly growling as she grabbed onto her and forced her to stay sitting where she was. "I thought you loved me?"

"Buffy, I'm not leaving you," Faith sighed as she tried to get her to release the iron-clad grip she had on her. "I am just going to talk to Willow, okay? You're scaring me right now. Whatever happened to you since Willow did that spell...I don't know what it is, but I need to find out."

"You leave me and I'm gone, Faith."

Her voice wavered slightly and Faith knew she'd leave as soon as she had walked out of there. She wasn't about to lose Buffy, not like this. She had a feeling she'd already lost her though, lost her to whatever darkness that was hiding behind those hazel eyes. She deadpanned as she reached for Buffy's hands and pulled them off of her.

"I'll take that chance, B. You want to leave? By all means leave. You'll be back."

"Will I?"

"Of course," Faith smiled hastily as she stood up from the bed, a little surprised when Buffy made no move this time to stop her. "Give me ten minutes, Buffy. Ten minutes and I'll be back and we can sort this out."
Without waiting for Buffy to answer her, she took off, running as fast as her legs would carry her down the twisted maze of corridors until she reached the door to Willow's suite. She had no idea what she was going to say, but she wasn't about to waste precious time trying to figure it out. She didn't have any time to waste and she knew Buffy would be gone if she waited too long, if she was even a minute too late. She took a deep, shaky breath and she walked in without knocking. Willow and Kennedy were curled up on the sofa, both of them reading from the same book that Willow held open in her lap, and she was relieved she wouldn't have to wake Willow up for this. Faith cleared her throat as she closed the door behind her.
"What are you doing here, Faith?"

"I need to talk to you."

"Is something wrong?" Willow asked in alarm as she closed the book and eased herself from Kennedy's tight embrace. "Faith? What is it?"

"I think...I think Buffy is a vampire. I don't know for sure, but I think that spell you did earlier, it changed her. I..."

"Faith, breathe," Willow said calmly as she motioned for Kennedy to move down the sofa a little and she forced Faith to sit down. "What are you saying? The spell changed her into a vampire? She was fine, she was alive and breathing and very much a human Buffy when I left earlier."

"She's not fine now, Will!"

"Kenny, go get Giles. Faith," she sighed as she grabbed her hand and pulled her up from the couch, "you and I are going to go see Buffy. There is a spell I can do that'll show me..."

"No more fucking spells, Willow!" Faith nearly screamed at her as she angrily walked to the door. "Your fucking healing spell turned her! Did you have any fucking idea that would happen?"

"There was a paragraph in the texts Oz found, but we didn't think..."

"That's the problem right there, Will! You didn't fucking think!"

Kennedy sighed softly as she stepped past Faith and walked out the door, leaving the two of them there alone. Faith didn't wait for Willow and she ran back to the infirmary, knowing before she even opened the doors that Buffy was no longer there. She broke down into uncontrollable sobs as she sat on the edge of the empty bed and gripped onto the sheets. She knew she should have just stayed. Buffy was unstable and if she truly was a vampire now, that made her dangerous too. She furiously wiped away her tears as she let go of the sheets and looked around the infirmary, shocked to see Buffy cowering in the far dark corner. She laughed, almost bitterly, as she got up from the bed and cautiously approached her.

Buffy said nothing as she avoided making any eye contact with her. She was shaking, looking alone and terrified. Faith tentatively stepped closer to her as she reached for her hand. It was icy cold against her hot, clammy skin and she shivered, not from the cold but mostly from the fear and anger coursing through her body. Buffy still refused to look at her, trying without much of an effort to pull her hand away from Faith's.

"Just let me go," she whispered, her voice quivering as tears slowly rolled down her cheeks. "I know what I am, Faith. I can feel it in me. I can feel it all over me. Let me go, please."

"Buffy...it'll be okay..."

"I should have left. I told you I was going to leave, but I stayed. Do you know why I stayed, Faith? I felt the fear you have of losing me again and it made me stay!"


"I can feel the demon inside of me, Faith. It's tearing at my soul. Can you believe that? I've been turned into what we're meant to kill and I still have a fucking soul! Can you fucking believe that? At least have the common courtesy to turn me into this monster without a soul. I can't...I don't..."

Faith said nothing as she wrapped her arms around her, holding her shaking body close to her own. She didn't know what else to do. What could she say to her to calm her down? There was nothing she could say in a situation like this and there was nothing any of them could do to change her back. Her body felt rigid, cold and dead in her arms, but she pushed the thought away. She couldn't allow herself to see Buffy as one of them and she couldn't allow the Slayer inside of her to do what it saw as right. She couldn't kill Buffy and she knew she wouldn't be able to do it even if Buffy didn't have a soul.

She held onto her tighter as she felt the cool, wet tears soak her neck and her shirt. She shivered as Buffy reluctantly wrapped her arms around her, the coldness hitting every inch of her that Buffy was in contact with. It made her sick to her stomach. She only ever wanted to hold Buffy as she was now and feel her warmth, not the coldness of her dead, lifeless body. Her own tears began to fall steadily as they both fell down to the hard floor. The coldness of the tile she felt even through her jeans was warm in comparison to Buffy's skin and she couldn't stop the tears as they continued to fall.

"Faith, I can't live like this," Buffy whispered, her voice sounding hollow and empty as she pulled away from her. "You know what you have to do, Faith. Please..."

"Buffy, don't ask me to do that. You know I can't."

"It's what you are made for," she breathed out softly, her words flowing easily despite the fear in her eyes that mirrored Faith's own. "You have to do this. You know I can't stay this way."

"We're gonna figure it out, B."

"There is nothing to figure out! I am dead. I am a vampire. You need to kill me before I kill myself."

"Right," Faith laughed bitterly as she dropped her arms from around her. "You had a death wish before. Wasn't so successful, huh?"

"And look where I ended up! This is worse than dying, but of course you wouldn't fucking know what it's like to die! Do you know how many times I've died when I wasn't ready to? Do you? When I was ready to die I couldn't. Why the hell is it that I never end up getting what I want?"


"I just want to feel at peace. You wouldn't understand, Faith. You don't know what I've had to live through. If I stay like this I am going to lose myself completely. It doesn't matter how close we are now, you still feel a thousand miles away. You will always feel a thousand miles away from me."

"You won't lose yourself. I won't let you and I know I feel like I am a thousand miles away from you. I've always felt that way about you too, B. We gotta stop leaping back every time we take a step forward."


"So you've changed, but you are still you, aren't you? Inside that cold, dead body of yours you are still Buffy. I'm not gonna lose you or let you lose yourself. You trust me enough to believe me when I promise you I won't let that happen?" Faith asked, her voice full of hope and determination that she was getting through to Buffy despite her stubbornness. "Buffy, do you believe me?"

"I do. I just don't know if I trust you."

"Got plenty of time to work on that, girlfriend."

"I have plenty of time to work on that since you are so determined to keep me around. You, on the other hand, are not going to be around forever. You are still alive and you will be until the day you die, preferably of old age."

"Who said it's gonna take us forever to work things out? You forget all we've been through since I came here? Have you forgotten what we talked about in the last day? Have you forgotten that kiss?"

"No. I haven't forgotten anything. I'm dead, Faith, but I haven't lost my memory, unfortunately," she laughed bitterly as she moved back across the floor and leaned against the wall. "I should have known I couldn't trust that Willow could even do that spell. I should have known. I should have told her to just let me heal on my own. I could have dealt with the scars, you know?"

Faith sat there in silence, staring at her and watching as the shadows danced over her pale face. She took a deep breath as Willow, Giles and Kennedy walked in, all three of them stopping in their tracks as soon as they spotted the two of them in the far corner and sitting on the floor. She slowly pulled herself up from the ground as Giles was the first to approach them.

"Is she dangerous?" He asked quietly as he peered around Faith to look down at Buffy.

"No. She's not dangerous to any of us," she replied. "She is only a danger to herself."

"Buffy?" Giles said softly as he stepped past Faith and gingerly approached Buffy. "Buffy, are you alright?"

"No, I am not alright, Giles!"

"We're going to fix this," he said softly as he reached for her hand. "We'll fix this, Buffy. The spell just went wrong. We can bring you back. You just need to give us time to figure out how we can reverse this."

Faith looked over at Willow and Kennedy, knowing just from the looks on both of their faces that they only had hope they could reverse the now vamped Buffy. Her heart felt heavy and yet broken and empty as she heard Buffy begin to cry, and she felt like crying again as she heard the soft whispers that came from Giles telling her it would be all right.

This was Buffy, their leader and their friend who they loved more than anything. The hope they all had was heartbreaking. Had it been anyone else, they wouldn't have bothered to care or think twice as one of them plunged the stake into her lifeless heart. Had it been her instead, nobody would have cared and nobody would have wasted a single breath or a single tear on her. She was only there for Buffy and she'd continue to be there for as long as Buffy needed her and for as long as she wanted her to stay.

She turned to look back down at Buffy as Giles pulled her to her feet and hugged her tightly, whispering words to her that Faith couldn't hear from where she stood. He pulled away from her reluctantly, removing his glasses as he wiped away his own tears. Faith had never felt so much emotion flying in one room. It made her own emotions feel small and weak. Giles composed himself as he turned to face Faith and he motioned for her to follow him out into the corridor.

"You can't fix this, can you?" She asked, her heart breaking even more as she fought back her tears.

"We're going to try, Faith."

"She's a fucking vampire! You can't change her back!"

"She was not...turned in the traditional way. It could be possible to reverse this. The texts that Willow received from Oz to do that healing spell needs to be researched further. It could take from days to months, possibly even years, to figure out the solution. Tracking down the mystics that have done this particular spell before is next to impossible, but it isn't going to stop us from trying everything that we can."

"She wants me to kill her," she said under her breath as she couldn't stop the fresh tears from falling. "She wants me to kill her, Giles!  How the hell am I gonna stop her from killing herself cos she can't stand being what she is now while we wait for you and Willow to figure out how to fix this?"

"You have to try."

"You knew this would happen, didn't you?"

"I did not," Giles stammered as he refused to look at her directly. "I had no idea that the spell Willow used to heal her would turn her."

"But you knew it would kill her."


"Stop fucking lying to me! I didn't come here for this shit, Giles. I came here to be here for Buffy, to help her through all the fucked up shit she's gone through lately."


"Just don't," she snapped as she backed away from him before he could reach out to her.

"If she is, as you said before, a danger to herself, can I trust you to look out for her well-being?"

"I can only do so much, Giles."

"I know," he said with a sympathetic frown. "She's formed this bond with you. Everyone knows that and everyone can see it regardless of not actually viewing it. I know how you feel about her, how deep the love you have for her flows. We still need you here and Buffy needs you more than she ever has right now."

"You better figure this out soon," she warned as she placed a hand on the infirmary door. "I'm not as strong as you like to believe I am. Not yet."

And she wasn't. She didn't even know if she'd ever be strong enough to get through this unscathed. She walked back into the infirmary and took Buffy's hand in her own. She wasn't going to let her stay in there a moment longer. Muttering a quiet goodnight to Willow and Kennedy, she led Buffy out to the corridor and headed for her room, Buffy willingly allowing herself to be pulled along. Neither of them spoke as they walked slowly down the twisted maze of long, seemingly never-ending corridors.

She stopped at Buffy's suite, waiting for her in the doorway as she grabbed a change of clothes. Buffy smiled faintly as she reached out for her hand and allowed herself to be led the rest of the way to Faith's own room. Faith wasn't sure why she was taking Buffy to her room. She felt they'd be safer there and she knew nobody would bother them as long as they were in there. She hadn't even felt comfortable standing in the doorway of Buffy's suite and she knew why that was. It was where she'd been with Satsu and that vampire that had plotted to lead her into a death trap.

Faith reached her door, sighing as she turned to Buffy and took a moment to stare at her as the soft moonlight streamed in through the window near them. Even as one of the undead, she was as beautiful as always. It wasn't life that had made her beautiful, it was her soul. She let go of Buffy's hand as she reached into her pocket and pulled out the key. Her hands were shaking uncontrollably now and she fumbled with the key before sliding it into the lock.

"I..." Buffy started to speak, her voice faltering and fading as Faith pushed open the heavy wooden door and walked inside. "Are you sure you want me to stay here with you?"

"What are you afraid of, B?"


Faith chuckled as she reached for the switch and flipped on the lights. "I am too."

"Then why?"

"I told you before I'm not gonna lose you again, Buffy."

"When did you ever have me before?"

"I didn't have you before, I only ever wished I did," she replied softly as Buffy followed her into the room. "But you've always had my heart, B, and you always will."

Buffy lowered her head as Faith closed and locked the door behind her. She could feel the pain Buffy felt as she stood next to her, the pain of mixed, unresolved feelings that had taken them years too long to realize. She looked up suddenly, her eyes searching Faith as if she was searching for some kind of answers from deep within her soul.

"If you want to take a shower, feel free," Faith said quietly as she motioned towards the bathroom door. "I'm just gonna have a smoke."



"I...I'm starving," she whispered, looking as ashamed as Faith knew she felt. "It's getting worse."

"I'll figure something out, B. Go have a shower. It's been almost a month since you've had a shower and sponge baths just aren't the same, you know?"

Buffy chuckled wryly as she dropped her clothes on the bed and headed for the bathroom door. "Nice way of telling me I smell, Faith."

"Just calling it as it is, B," she smirked as she grabbed a fresh pack of cigarettes out of the top dresser drawer. "And for the record, you don't really smell that bad, just a little...sterile from being in the infirmary as long as you have."

Buffy just shook her head as she opened the bathroom door and disappeared inside. Faith waited until she heard the water running before she opened the window and lit her cigarette. The cool night air, fresh and yet damp after the rain that had fallen not that long ago, was a shock to her system and yet it wasn't nearly as cold as Buffy had felt when she touched her.

Closing her eyes, she could only wish this was all a nightmare and that she'd wake up next to Buffy's bed in the infirmary and she would still be alive and human and warm to the touch, her skin not as pale as it now was. No matter how many times she opened and closed her eyes, it was no dream, no nightmare. As fucked up as everything was, it was real. Too very real. It made her stomach churn, her insides burn and her heart continue to feel as if it was breaking and mending itself and breaking over and over again. She remembered feeling this way before, once just shortly after Robin and the girls had died and once more when she found out the baby she'd been carrying had been lost. It was one of those feelings she knew if she couldn't get over it would send her into a never-ending downward spiral of despair and self-destruction.

She looked over at the bathroom door when it finally opened a short time later. Buffy stepped out wearing the robe she'd found hanging on a hook on the back of the door. She had a towel in her hand, trying to dry her hair as she slowly walked over to the bed and sat down, not once looking over at Faith.

"I'm still hungry, Faith."

She'd nearly forgotten about that, her mind far gone somewhere else the entire time Buffy had been in the shower. She lowered her eyes to the floor, mumbling a half-assed apology as she turned to close the window. She weighed her options for a moment, pursing her lips together as she fought for the courage to look up at Buffy. One option was to go back to the infirmary and snatch a few quarts of blood she knew was kept in the refrigerator. The only other option she could think of was letting Buffy take just a little bit from her. She knew better, though. Buffy wasn't soulless, she wouldn't willing bite her and drink from her even if she was desperately hungry. A third option came to mind, but she quickly disregarded it. If Buffy wouldn't feed from her, she wouldn't feed from one of the thousands of useless criminals that roamed the countryside looking for nothing more than trouble as they scouted out castles and lavish homes to rob.


"You got two options, B," she said as she cleared her throat and finally lifted her eyes, meeting Buffy's intense gaze. "One, I can go snatch a couple bags from the infirmary."

"The other?"

"You can...drink a little from me," she whispered, cringing as the words fluttered past her lips. "So, what's it gonna be, Buffy? Me or..."

"I can't..." she stammered as she dropped the towel to the floor. "Why would you even suggest that I do that to you? What makes you think I'd even want to?"

"You are a vampire, Buffy. There's nothing sweeter than the blood of a Slayer."

She grimaced as she shook her head no. "I refuse to do that to you, Faith."

"I'll be back in a little while then," she replied as she headed quickly for the door. "You won't leave, will you?"


Faith wanted to believe her, she did believe her, but deep down the way the word rolled easily off of her tongue made her think otherwise. Whether or not she had a soul, she was still a vampire and she still had a fierce demon now inhabiting her body, sharing and fighting for it with her soul. One way or another, she'd lose the fight eventually. Faith could only hope that if Giles and Willow could fix this, they'd fix it before it ever came to that.

"I'm not going anywhere," Buffy called out as Faith unlocked the door and walked out, making sure the key was in her pocket as she slowly shut the door behind her.

She leaned against the door, breathing in one shaky breath after another. She couldn't believe this was happening, that this was all too real. She didn't want to believe it and yet she knew she had no other choice. After a week of being there she had promised Buffy that no matter what she'd be there for her in any way that she needed her. She just never imagined that it would end up being in this way, she never once imaged she'd reach a point where she would be heading to the infirmary in the middle of the night to get a quart of cold, dead blood so Buffy wouldn't suffer from being hungry.

She was in love with a vampire. It never occurred to her that if it ever came down to this that she'd still love her, that she'd be willing to do absolutely anything for her. She was nothing more than a woman foolishly in love, her heart and her emotions driving her, pushing her through what she knew was going to be one of the hardest, most heart-wrenching rides of her life.

Once in love, always in love. As she knew from the moment she got there, her heart would always belong with Buffy.


Chapter Five

The hollow sounds of her heavy footsteps echoing through the corridors sent chills down her spine as she tentatively made her way back to her room where Buffy was, hopefully, still waiting for her. She had heated up a nice big mug for Buffy, thankful as hell nobody had come down to the kitchen for a late night snack while she'd been down there. She paused outside her door, listening carefully for any signs of Buffy still there waiting for her. She only faintly heard the soft rustle of sheets on the bed and she tried not to feel deliriously happy that Buffy really did stay.

She opened the door and kicked it shut, her eyes meeting Buffy's over the short distance between them. With one hand she fumbled with the tricky lock and slowly made her way over to the bed. She handed Buffy the mug, feeling awkward as she pulled out the straw she'd tucked away in her back pocket. As weird as it was it felt completely normal in a way. She sat on the edge of the bed and pulled off her boots, letting out a tired sigh as she looked back at Buffy slowly sipping her drink. She had to look away. It was rather disturbing to see Buffy drink, the hunger shining in her eyes, eyes that almost glowed with every sip she took.

"I can't believe this," Buffy muttered under her breath as she placed the mug on the table next to the bed. "I don't even remember dying."

"I think it happened while you were passed out, B. I don't know any of the answers, okay? Giles and Willow are working on it."

"And nobody happened to notice that I wasn't breathing anymore?"


"Honestly, Faith."

Faith ignored the sudden change in her as she turned to look at her. "Feel better now?"

"Not so hungry, so yes," Buffy replied and Faith stood up from the bed and walked over to the oversized armchair. "What are you doing?"


"On that?"

"B, don't even start with me, okay?" Faith sighed as she sat down on the chair and swung her legs over the arm. "Just get some sleep."

Buffy pouted in protest as Faith settled as comfortably as she could in the chair. It was more comfortable than the chair in the infirmary, but it wasn't a bed and she was cold. Even with her eyes closed she could feel Buffy's eyes on her. The lights were still on, but she didn't trust Buffy or herself quite enough to turn them off. The nagging feeling in the pit of her stomach she'd ignored until now was telling her to give Buffy what she wanted, to kill her, to do what was right regardless of her having a soul or not. She pushed those thoughts down, feeling nauseous at the thought of killing Buffy. She shivered as she felt a pair of cool hands on her arms and she opened her eyes slowly to see Buffy standing there in front of her.

"Come to bed, Faith."


"What are you so afraid of? Afraid you won't be able to keep your hands to yourself?" Buffy smirked as she reached for her hands and pulled her up from the chair. "Afraid it's been so long since you've 'gotten some' that you won't be able to sleep in the same bed as me?"

Her voice was cold. Colder than her hands felt. Colder than the cool, damp air in the room. It chilled Faith to the core to hear her talk like that and yet when she looked into her eyes and saw a trickle of warmth hiding behind that coldness, she gave in. How could she not? Buffy led her over to the bed and dropped her hands as she pulled back the heavy covers and crawled across the bed to the other side. Her eyes never left Faith's as she fumbled with the button on her jeans and quickly got out of them before she climbed under the covers next to her.

She had so many dreams like this before, so many dreams where she and Buffy were in bed, but this was different and under completely different circumstances. She turned on her side, resting her head on her arm over the pillow as she stared back at Buffy who mirrored her. There was still enough distance in between them on the large bed to help Faith fight the urges to take what she wanted, to touch, to feel. She was beginning to think that bringing Buffy back to her room was a bad idea. There'd be no way in hell she'd get through the night, not with Buffy sleeping opposite her in the bed and looking at her as if she wanted to eat her alive, drain her dry.

"Did you really mean everything you've said?" Buffy asked softly as she reached over the spacious yet all too small gap of space between them for Faith's hand.

"Yeah...wait, what part?"

"When you told me you were...are in love with me...did you mean it?"

"Wouldn't have said it if I didn't, B."

"I know we already talked about this, but I'm kind of having a hard time dealing with it," she whispered. "I mean, everyone is always 'in love' with me or they have this fucking hero worship."

"Like Satsu?"

"How did you..."

"Giles kind of briefed me on everything when I got here."

"Satsu was...she was just there," Buffy said quietly as she looked away from Faith, her fingers tightening in Faith's hand as she fought back her tears. "I used her and then I tossed her away like she was nothing, like she meant nothing. God, I don't even know why I'm talking about this with you."

"I don't mind, B."

Buffy stifled a laugh as she let go of her hand for a moment to quickly wipe away the tears as they fell. "I used her like I used Spike. After awhile I started to hate myself for that. She didn't deserve for me to treat her that way, you know?"

"What about the vampire?"



"He..." Buffy sighed as she shook her head. "It's complicated. He reminded me so much of Angel and I was feeling so lost and so alone and he was just there like Satsu had been. I thought I was just using him too and then..."

"You found out he had some evil plan to kill you?"

Buffy laughed as she bit back the tears and nodded her head. "Giles really briefed you on everything, didn't he?"

"Not everything, B. Just the cliff notes version."

Faith took in a deep breath knowing that Buffy was finally going to tell her what led her to feeling so down on herself that she wanted it to be over once and for all. She didn't want to say anything that would derail her and make her feel as if she couldn't talk to her. The irony of the situation, though, was weird. She'd never thought in a million years that Buffy would ever feel comfortable just talking to her about anything, much less talking to her about something like this. She squeezed her hand gently and smiled a little, urging her to go on as she fought the pull of sleep. Sleep could wait. She was used to not sleeping. She needed to be here for Buffy now. That's what she'd come here for, to be there for her and to listen to her and understand her when nobody else could.

"After I killed him," Buffy whispered as she slowly moved a little closer to Faith. "I don't know what happened to me after that. I'd never felt more vulnerable in my life. I think the feeling of being used as I've used others made me realize that I'm nothing but a cold-hearted bitch who is incapable of loving anyone the way they deserve to be loved. I started thinking too, you know, about you and about our past and how many times I had the chance to make things right and I never did."

"You have the chance now."

"I know, but look what it took for me to get that chance, Faith!"

"B...don't be so hard on yourself, okay?"

"All that thinking led me to thinking about how alone I really was. Nobody understood how I felt or what I was going through. I've always felt the weight of the world on my shoulders even after Sunnydale. That feeling that no matter what would happen in the future...I couldn't control the fates or my own destiny and I couldn't run from it either, it just pulled me down. I just wanted that feeling to go away. I wanted to be happy again and no matter how hard I looked or how hard I tried, I couldn't find that string of happiness anywhere."

Faith was beginning to understand what led her to where she was now. She'd felt it herself shortly after Robin and the girls were killed. It was one of those feelings that no matter what she tried to do, it just didn't go away. It got worse. Buffy still didn't know everything that had happened to her after that. She wasn't so sure how to tell her everything she'd gone through herself either. For now she'd just listen to her, be there for her and when the time was right she'd let down her own walls and let Buffy in.

"What happened in Cleveland?"

Maybe now was the time to talk about it. Faith sighed as she let go of Buffy's hand and rolled onto her back. "A lot of things happened in Cleveland, B."

"I meant with you and Robin. Were you two..."

"We weren't together, not exclusively or anything. He was just there, you know? He started to change after we left Sunnydale and he proved that he could be someone stable in my life."

"Did you love him?"

"I did, but I was never in love with him."

"I know the feeling," Buffy replied quietly as she reached out for her, her cold fingertips brushing over the bare skin on her arm sending chills through her entire body. "What happened after..."

"It's hard for me to talk about it, Buffy. I kind of just...after you called and told me I was on my own, I just went into self-destruction mode. I couldn't deal with losing you yet again even though I never even had you in the first place. I couldn't deal with losing Robin and the girls. I..." she sighed as she turned to look at her, the tears falling continuously now. "I found out I was pregnant after he..."


"I lost the baby. Got attacked one night out of nowhere. Four of them, big nasty fucking demons, had been tracking me, waiting for that right moment to strike. Guess they figured a pregnant slayer was vulnerable and that was it. I'd probably be dead if the old elderly couple that found me didn't find me when they did. After that happened I took off running, hoping if I ran long and far enough I'd get rid of the pain, you know?"

"Giles told me you were..."

"Into the drugs, yeah. Made me not feel. Made me numb. Made me forget about everything for the most part. After he tracked me down, I started to think about everything and about what I'd been doing to myself. I locked myself in a motel room for three weeks. I'd never felt so sick in my life than I did in those first couple of days and I'd never felt more alone and more vulnerable to the demons I was fighting inside of me than I did in those three weeks."

"I was right," Buffy whispered as she moved even closer to Faith and draped her arm over her stomach. "We understand each other more than we ever realized we do."

"Pretty fucked up it took us both to go through all the shit we've gone through to realize that, though, isn't it?"

"I was wrong about you, though," she said softly as she looked up at her. "I thought you were always stronger than me despite everything you'd gone through. I thought no matter what life handed you, you always figured out a way to get through it all."

"Been to the point where all I wanted was for it to end. I just never had the guts to go as far as trying."
"It was an accident," Buffy whispered as she held onto Faith a little tighter. "I went out that night to talk to one of the slayers we have placed a few miles out of town. I got lost and ran into the nest of vampires we'd been tracking and trying to avoid confronting. I should have run, I could have, but when they cornered me I just didn't care. I didn't go out that night looking to get killed, but when the opportunity was there I just gave into it."

Faith grew still as Buffy inhaled deeply, her nose just lightly grazing the side of her neck. She had to keep reminding herself that even though Buffy did have a soul, she was still a newbie vampire and she was still hungry, just not as much as she'd been before. She had no idea how much control Buffy would be able to have over herself and despite them finally talking about the things neither of them ever talked about to anyone else, the hunger would win in the end if she couldn't control it, suppress it. She could only imagine how painful that hunger was, and she wondered if it was nearly as powerful as her own hunger to have Buffy writhing beneath her, nothing between them but skin upon skin.

She thought back to the few women she'd been with over the years. Nameless, faceless women she'd used to scratch her itch, women that never came close to making her feel the way Buffy was right now. Women that were never anything to her, not the way Buffy always had been. She sighed deeply as she looked down at Buffy and ran her hand over Buffy's arm still draped over her stomach. She saw the goosebumps form on her skin, despite how cold she already was, and she could feel the lust radiating off of Buffy with every soft touch along the smooth, cool skin on her bare arm. She wanted nothing more than for Buffy to be her, for her to be alive and to feel her warmth instead of the cold.

She couldn't be with a vampire even if it was Buffy. She despised them. She was made to kill them, not love them. The only vampire she'd ever treated as a human, or close to it, had been Angel when he helped her find herself and led her on the path to redemption. Yet, right then, it didn't matter that much to her. It was still Buffy; it was still the woman she'd been in love with all those years. She started to feel vulnerable again. She'd never been so open to anyone; she'd never had her feelings, her heart just laid out in the open. She felt trapped, as if she wasn't even in her own body. She had to look at it from a different point of view and she had to push down the feeling that it was her lying there in bed with a vampire, and not a warm, very much alive human Buffy.

"What are you thinking about right now?"

"Right now?" Faith asked as she found Buffy staring deep into her eyes. "That's a pretty loaded question, B."
"Do you still...love me even though I'm..."


"You don't, do you?"

"I do."

"Prove it."

"Prove it?" Faith stammered as she leaned back a little bit from Buffy. "How?"

Of course she knew how. She knew exactly what Buffy was getting at too. She also knew if this was human Buffy she'd not think twice about it, nor would she hesitate and have an internal struggle with herself over it. The vampire part, the whole 'dead with a soul' was stopping her. That wasn't who she was, yet she had a feeling it was who she'd become if she couldn't fight the growing attraction, the lust, the need and the want that was beginning to pour out of her, filling every pore and nerve in her body. Buffy held her impossibly closer, her nose grazing her neck once again, and the cool breath as she exhaled sent a rather big shiver down her spine.

And yet Faith didn't stop her as she reached for the hem of her shirt and slowly began inching it upward, careful not to touch her skin just yet. Their eyes were locked in a long, hard and lustful gaze and even though Faith was trying to resist, her body was giving in. Buffy moved to straddle her hips, not yet settling her full weight down on her, teasing her still as she pulled on her shirt, pulling her forward just enough to pull it over her head. Small yet powerful cold hands roamed over the soft skin of her exposed stomach. Her body was humming with every soft touch, fingertips dancing over warm skin, cooling it only slightly. Lips upon lips, icy cold mixed with fiery hot. Her body craved more, it needed more, and she knew she'd get so much more as long as she allowed it to continue.

Fatigue disappeared from her tired body as cool fingertips slid over the last barrier. Buffy bit her lower lip gently, drawing a little blood as her fingers rolled over hard, stiff nipples. She was in complete control and Faith could only surrender herself to the icy cold yet burning touch. She could only stare up at Buffy as she withdrew her lips and sat back, rolling her hips down into Faith's as she tantalizingly swept her hands over her bra encased breasts and down over her stomach leaving a trail of goosebumps in their wake. Her fingertips fluttered over the top of her panties, hazel eyes now shining with lust and desire, they now looked green in the soft light of the room.

"Do you want this?"


"How much do you want this?" Buffy whispered, her voice sending chills through Faith's body as she spoke. "How much do you want me?"

The words were caught before they could even be formed. She opened her mouth to speak and all that came out was a quiet whimpering moan as Buffy slid her hand between her legs, smiling seductively when she felt the pooling wetness over the thin barrier of her thin cotton panties. Only when she did that did Faith see the feral look in her eyes and she grabbed her arms and tossed her off of her.

"What are you doing?" Faith muttered as she reached for her shirt and hastily put it back on. "Seriously, Buffy. What the fuck are you doing to me?"

"Isn't it obvious?"

Faith knew that look she had in her eyes. She'd seen it a thousand, if not a million, times before in every vampire's eyes. She'd seen it before she fought them and dusted them. Bloodlust. And in Buffy's case she had bloodlust on top of the lust she was feeling. Which one was fuelling the other, Faith had no idea, and she really didn't want to stick around to find out, either.

"Where are you going?" Buffy asked as Faith got up from the bed and pulled on her jeans. "Faith?"

"I...I can't stay here with you tonight, Buffy."

"I thought you wanted this?" Buffy purred as she ran her fingers over the sheets where Faith had been laying.
"I do, but not while you are acting like this!"

"Like what?"

Faith laughed incredulously as she zipped up her jeans. "You know, B, I thought we were just gonna talk about the shit you've been going through. I didn't think that..."

"We talked. All has been said and done. What more do you want me to say? I'm tired of talking."

Shaking her head, Faith grabbed her jacket and slid it on. "I'm not doing this right now."

"Where are you going?"



"Don't fucking know!" Faith nearly yelled at her as she grabbed her key and slid it safely into the hidden inner pocket of her jacket. "I just can't fucking stay here right now, okay?"

"What's gotten into you?"

"What's gotten into me? What about you, Buffy? What has gotten into you? Why are you acting like this?"

"Right, I forgot," Buffy laughed as she raised herself up on her elbows. "You've been gone for three years. You don't even know who I am anymore or what I am like. People change, Faith. You've changed and so have I. You still see the old Buffy. Has it ever occurred to you I haven't been the Buffy you think you know since Sunnydale became nothing more than a massive crater in the ground?"

"You've changed all right," Faith muttered as she walked into the closet and opened the weapons chest. She grabbed a couple of stakes and placed them in her jacket pockets and slid out the knife and ran the tip of her finger over the sharp blade. "Do what you want, stay here or run off and do whatever you want. I don't fucking care anymore, Buffy. I can't..."

"Can't what?" Buffy asked as Faith walked out of the closet and found her standing right there. "You can't what, Faith?"

"You've changed," she said softly as she tried to step past her. Buffy grabbed her arms and pinned her up against the wall next to the open closet door. "You weren't like this yesterday, Buffy."

"Well, in my defence," Buffy whispered as she kept her grip on Faith's arms and leaned her body against hers, effectively pinning her securely against the wall, "I wasn't like this yesterday. I was still in rough shape yesterday. I feel more alive right now than I did yesterday."

"Let me go, B."

She was feeling vulnerable and insecure after telling Buffy what she'd gone through, as hard as it was for her to tell her. For Buffy to turn it around into nothing but a sick sexual game, it was messing with her head.

The woman she was seeing now was not the woman she knew she loved. This was the vampire, hungry with bloodlust, playing with her like she was nothing but a simple object she could just use and toss away when she was finished.

Buffy backed away slowly, dropping her hands as she lowered her head to look down at the floor at the small space in between them. "It wasn't supposed to be this way."

"No," Faith sighed as she zipped up her jacket slowly. "I don't even know which way it is supposed to be, Buffy."

"I went too far, didn't I?"

"You did."


"Don't you dare fucking apologize to me, B."


"Listen to me, Buffy," Faith said as calmly as she could as she took a step closer to her. "Once we figure out how to deal with you being what you are now we'll figure out how to deal with us, if there is even an us to deal with. You know how I feel about you. I told you and I'll tell you a thousand times more. First time is always the hardest you know, but now I just...god, would you listen to me? I'm becoming such a chick."
Faith shook her head and walked away from her, unable to finish the conversation. She wasn't sure how it had gotten to this point. Everything was completely messing with her head and pulling at the fragile strings that held her heart together. Buffy being the way she was now, what she was now, wasn't helping her any either.

"Faith, don't just leave!" Buffy said as she followed her to the door. "We need to talk about this."

"Thought you were tired of talking, B?"

"God, you are impossible!"

"I'm impossible? Why are we even arguing about this?"

"I really don't know. One minute we're...bonding, and then the next minute all I can think about is how much I want you," Buffy said softly, unable to look up at Faith. "It's not what I am now that's changed me, Faith. It's what you told me the other day that changed everything."

"When I told you in not so many words how I feel about you?" Faith asked and Buffy nodded her head as she took a few steps back and sat on the edge of the bed. "Would things be the way they were before if I hadn't said anything?"



"I've never known how to tell you how I felt about you. Our past has always been in the way before. We both did things to each other we shouldn't even forgive each other for, and yet look where we are now."

"Nobody said we have to be perfect or be like anyone else. We got our history, there's no doubt about that, B. We can move on from it, though, can't we? Haven't we?"

Faith couldn't believe they were even talking about this. She was still pissed, still thrown off balance by the way Buffy had just taken control of her the way she had. She needed her space and she needed to go off and think, alone. She'd fallen into a routine, a balance and it was all tossed aside the moment Buffy had changed and she needed to find some sense of normal and familiar so she'd stop feeling so torn up inside.

When Buffy said nothing more to her she left, slamming the door behind her and shuddering as the sound of the wood cracking in the frame echoed through the corridor. She ignored the sinking feeling in her gut that told her to go back and talk to Buffy, try to sort it out so they could move on. But her libido was out of control, her anger was reaching the point of surpassing her frustrations and her conflict with her inner demons was threatening to push her over the edge completely.

She took the back stairs that would lead her right down to the ground floor. She didn't want to encounter any of the younger slayers that would without a doubt be coming in from patrol about now. She slipped out the door near the back stairs and let the cool, damp night air hit her like a stone cold wall. She walked down the pathway that headed to the back gates. It was a bit of a walk, but she would do anything to stay out of anyone's way right now. She needed to be alone and she didn't want to completely lose it if she did happen across one of the younger slayers on her way out.

The gate creaked a little as she opened it just enough to slip outside and beyond the safe barriers that surrounded the castle. She closed it behind her, letting out a deep breath as it clicked shut, and turned to walk down the pathway through the thick patch of forest. She was about a hundred feet away from the gate when she knew she wasn't alone. Someone was following her. She reached for the stake tucked in the back of her jeans and spun around.

"It's just me!" Kennedy said quickly as she held up her hands. "Jesus, Faith. Couldn't you hear me?"

"No. I'm kind of off in my own little world right now," she mumbled in reply as she tucked the stake back where it'd been. "What do you want?"

"Couldn't sleep, and you know the rules. None of us are allowed out alone."

"You means none of you. Those rules don't apply to me."

Faith pulled out her pack of cigarettes and offered Kennedy one. When she refused, Faith shrugged, lit one and continued walking down the dark path. Kennedy followed her, keeping back a few steps for a couple of minutes before she got ahead and stopped Faith from walking any further.

"I heard you and Buffy," she said quietly as she tried to get Faith to look at her. "What happened?"

"What does it matter to you?"

"We're all worried about Buffy right now, Faith. You don't have to take this burden all on yourself. You don't have to watch out for her alone. It isn't why Giles brought you here."

"Then why did he bring me here, since you seem to know everything?" Faith asked, her voice cold and bitter. "You know, I'm so not in the fucking mood right now. Do yourself a favour and get lost, alright?"

"Look, Faith," Kennedy said through clenched teeth. Faith knew that between her temper and her sassy, bratty attitude the junior Slayer wouldn't leave her alone until she talked, or at least listened to what Kennedy had to say, "Willow is trying to figure this out right now. The spell went wrong."

"Or she just didn't read the fucking fine print where it said that Buffy would be turned into a goddamned vampire!"

"We all make mistakes. Will only wanted to help her. I know you care about her, Faith. We all know you do and we all know how you feel about her. From the stories I've heard, it's always been pretty damn obvious that you've been in love with her for as long as you've been in her life."

"What's your point?"

"After what I heard tonight I knew the last thing you needed right now is to be alone. You don't have to be alone, Faith."

"What if I want to be alone? You still aren't gonna leave me alone, are you?"

Kennedy sighed out in annoyance as she grabbed the cigarette from Faith's hand and took a long drag. "What I'm saying is, it's all right to let us in. At least let me in. I know you can't stand me, but you don't even know me. You need friends, Faith. Real friends and if you haven't noticed, everyone here wants to try. You just aren't letting them in or giving them a chance."

"I don't need any friends, Kennedy. I've never had any and I've made out all right so far."


Faith took her cigarette back and rolled her eyes as Kennedy smirked at her. They started walking down the path, further and further away from the castle. She wanted to tell her to fuck off and leave her alone, but it was pointless. Kennedy was just as stubborn as she was at times and the thought of that made her laugh just a little. She stopped at the edge of the path and sat down on the fallen tree just off to the side. Her head was swimming with too many thoughts for her to pick through them to try and make some sense of it all. She needed time and she wasn't going to have the time alone that she wanted either. She was never alone even when she felt like she was. Kennedy had just proved that to her by staying instead of leaving like she wanted her to.

They sat there until the sun rose, neither of them saying a word. Faith was too busy thinking, finally finding a spot to start sorting everything out. She didn't even care when she started to cry and she didn't even care when Kennedy put a comforting arm around her and told her that no matter how fucked up things were looking right then, it had to get worse before it could get better.

She knew she couldn't fall back on her past without bringing up the darkness inside of her. She knew she couldn't fall back on her and Buffy's rocky history because it would lead both of them absolutely nowhere. They both were struggling to find a strand of happiness. They'd seen it in each other before everything had turned to shit years ago and they'd seen it again over the last three weeks. Everything was changing and she wasn't. She was holding herself back, looking at it all the wrong way.

Everything that had happened in the past had brought her and Buffy closer together in ways they should've always been. It had taken one too many years for them to reach this point, and even though they'd taken a couple of steps back yet again, there was only one way to go from here. Forward. No more looking back, no more stalling and no more wanting to run.



Chapter Six

The heavy drapes were shut, encasing the room in almost darkness, blocking the warmth of the sun from breaking past the cold barrier in the room. Faith slowly opened the door, knowing before she even made it to her room that Buffy was still there waiting for her to come back. Why she was still there, Faith had no idea, but she also knew she'd find out sooner rather than later. She stepped in the room, keeping as quiet as she could as she closed the door behind her and allowed her eyes to adjust to the sudden darkness. She could only faintly make out Buffy on the bed, lying on the right side on her stomach and clutching one of the pillows close to her chest.

She stifled a yawn as she slipped out of her jacket and pulled off her boots. Her body was begging for sleep, cold and restless and beyond the plane of exhaustion. She hesitated for a moment before slipping out of her jeans, t-shirt and bra, throwing on an old workout t-shirt and climbing into the bed next to Buffy. If Buffy had heard her come in and get into bed she made no indication that she did. She lay there completely motionless, still sleeping with her back to Faith. She looked so cold, so dead, and Faith had to remind herself that right now she really was.

Pushing out the thoughts of sharing her bed with a vampire, she closed her eyes and waited for her sub-conscious reality, a reality she could deal with, to take over. It wasn't coming anytime soon, though, she knew that. She still had far too much on her mind, and with Buffy being as close as she was even on the other side of the bed she was far from being relaxed.

"When did you get back?" Buffy whispered as she turned to look at her.

"Just now."

"Are you okay?"

"I'm fine, B."

Buffy reached over and ran her cool fingertips over the raw skin near her eyes. "Have you been crying?"

"What does it matter?"

"I have never seen you cry like this before," she said softly as she slowly moved closer to her. "Do you want to talk about it, Faith?"


Buffy withdrew her hand and placed it down on the mattress between them. Faith shivered as she pulled the covers tighter to her. It didn't help that the room was still cold and the bed even colder with Buffy so close to her now. The other chills that ran down her spine weren't from the cold and Buffy seemed to know that too as she backed away from her.

"I'm sorry about before, Faith."


"We need to talk about it."

"No, we don't need to talk about it. Right now I need to sleep."

"It's never going to be easy for us, is it?"

"What do you mean?" Faith sighed, knowing sleep was definitely far off now.

"We can never move forward together. We were doing fine until I had to go and screw it all up."

"Lust is a bitch, ain't it?"

"It's more than that," Buffy replied as she reached for Faith's hand under the covers and gently intertwined their fingers. "It would have been different last night if I wasn't..."

"Buffy, everything would be different right now if you weren't a..." Faith trailed off, unable to say the word 'vampire' to her face. It made her skin crawl and her heart ache for the warmth and the life that had once filled Buffy. "Like I said before, we'll figure us out after we figure out this."

"What if they can't change me back?"

"Don't know, B. Guess we'll all just have to deal with the new you," she replied and she forced a smile as she turned to look at her. "Funny thing is I still love you more than ever right now. Spent the last couple of hours trying to figure out why."

The truth was, and she wasn't about to admit it, she'd also spent the last couple of hours thinking of the way Buffy had taken control over her. Just the thought of her being so bold, taking what she wanted and then thinking of what could have happened had she allowed it to continue further caused a fresh flood of arousal to course through her body. As her eyes became more adjusted to the dark, she could see that same feral look in Buffy's eyes as she inhaled deeply, without a doubt being able to smell how aroused she'd become.

She could feel Buffy grow tense and she squeezed Faith's hand a little too hard before she pulled it away and turned her back to her. Faith could sense the inner struggle Buffy was now having with her self-control and she held back, wanting nothing more than to give in to what Buffy wanted, what she wanted. Her heart was thudding loudly in her chest and she took a few deep breaths to try to calm herself down. She'd never refused her body's needs before, not like this, and it was fast becoming painful in a way that the pain was almost pleasurable in itself. She pulled Buffy to her and kissed her softly, giving in just a little.

The soft, insistent kiss relaxed her. She was still on guard, not wanting to give in to a vampire despite the fact it was still the woman she loved. As Buffy's hands began wandering, she grabbed them roughly, deepening the kiss as she held Buffy's hands away from her. She wasn't going to surrender control, not this time. Had it been a different situation, had Buffy still been human, she would relinquish all control to her without a second thought.

Her body shuddered as Buffy slipped an insistent thigh between her legs and she involuntarily moaned as the cool skin brushed against her own. She was craving the contact, more than just lips upon lips. She needed more and Faith pulled back from the kiss, the overwhelming need she could feel coming from Buffy jolting her senses.

"B...we should stop."


"Unless you can control yourself..."

"I'm in control. Maybe not total control, but just a little," Buffy chuckled half-heartedly.

"Can I ask you something?" Faith asked, not yet letting go of her wrists. "Would you still be like this and want this even if you weren't..."


"Are you just saying that?"


Faith sighed out softly as she let go of Buffy's wrists and looked up at the ceiling. She hadn't slept in well over twenty-four hours and even though she was used to the fatigue from days of no sleep at a time, it was getting to the better of her now.

"You okay?" Buffy asked gently. "Faith?"

"I'm fine, B."

"Just thinking again, huh?"

"When am I not?" She laughed as she reached out for her hand. She'd gotten so used to holding her hand that she felt almost lost without the simple touch. "Buffy, I want to make one thing clear. I'm not ready for everything you have to offer me. For the first time in my life I want to take things slow. Crazy, isn't it?"

"No. I understand. I won't..."

"Don't get me wrong, B. The few times we've kissed have been all sorts of wow and everything."


"And I do want you. It's all I can think about, but," she paused to take a deep breath before continuing, "like I said, I want to take it slow. This means something to me, B."

"So the whole 'I'm in love with you yet I can't be attracted to you because you are a vampire' thing isn't what is holding you back?"

"I never said that you being...what you are now is holding me back," she stammered as she stroked her thumb over Buffy's. "You have no idea how much I want you, all of you."

"What is holding you back then?"

Faith wasn't so sure how to answer that. She had her own reasons and the reason she'd just told her was the only one she wanted her to know for the time being. She was trying to figure out what made her kiss Buffy and even though the obvious answer was there, there were still other reasons she hadn't completely figured out yet. She knew she could feel whatever Buffy was feeling, she always could, but it was growing more and more insistent as the hours and days went by.

"We don't have to talk about this now," Buffy said as she smiled sweetly at her. "You're tired. I'm tired. We should just sleep."

"Not gonna happen."


Faith motioned to the door as someone knocked quietly. "That's why."

She slipped out of bed and pulled on her jeans before she walked to the door and opened it. Willow stood there on the other side juggling three mugs in her hand and with an awkward smile she handed one to Faith as she walked into the room. Faith took a sip, smiling to herself when she found for once Willow had gotten her coffee right. No sugar, splash of cream and a hint of Bailey's.

"I know it's early," Willow said as she handed Buffy her mug and grimaced slightly as she watched Buffy take a sip, "but I've been up all night researching the spell I used on you, Buffy. I couldn't find where it went wrong so I started checking the ingredients we used. Everything was exactly how it was supposed to be but..."

"But?" Buffy asked, taking another sip and closing her eyes, looking as if she was fighting to stay in control of her bloodlust. "There is a major but, isn't there?"

"I do not know how we got that mixed in with our ingredients. We're usually so careful about these things."
"Got what mixed up?" Faith asked as she walked over to the chair and sat down. "Spit it out, Willow."

"Vampire blood, or venom if you want to call it that."

"What?" Buffy nearly shouted as her eyes went wide. "You used vampire blood on me?!"

"It was a mistake, Buffy. I really don't know how we even got it! I have had the girls checking every vial, every bottle and bag now. If one thing has been contaminated, who knows what else has been."

"So, it wasn't your fault then?" Faith asked. "It wasn't even the spell that turned her?"



"The spell is what made her hold onto her soul. I went over it a thousand times so I am absolutely positive it was the spell that did most of the...changes. It was the blood that actually changed her."

"Doesn't someone need to be on the brink of death to be turned?" Buffy asked quietly. "I mean, I felt very much alive when you were doing it. Sure there was a lot of burning pain, but I was alive. I know I was."

"It happened after you passed out, Buffy. The only person in the room with you was Faith."

"Don't look at me!" Faith said as she held up her hand in defence. "I was sleeping too, you know! She was fine when I checked on her. She was fine when Dr. Sonia was there, too."

"Since you've figured out how I changed into this, how are you going to fix it?" Buffy asked as she raised her mug and took another sip. "You can fix this, right?"

"I'm still working on it. I will find a way, Buffy. I promise you that. It was never supposed to go this way. It shouldn't have gone this way. I only wanted to help you. I didn't think it'd turn out to be like this."

"It's okay, Will," Buffy sighed as she motioned for her to come and sit next to her on the bed. "I know you were only trying to help me. We all make mistakes, big and small. I just need to know there is some kind of chance that I won't be like this forever. I can't live with myself if I have to be."

Faith watched as tears sprang to Willow's eyes. She was definitely taking this a lot harder than she was showing. The tears in her eyes, the apparent stiffness in her body showed Faith that. Buffy herself was struggling to hold it together, but as soon as the tears began to fall from Willow's eyes, her tears began to fall as well. Faith couldn't look at the two of them and feel the emotion that came from them without feeling her own tears begin to sting her eyes. She pulled the chair over to the window and after making sure the light wouldn't reach the bed she drew back the drapes just a little and opened the window a couple inches.

Willow and Buffy were crying and talking quietly and Faith was trying not to pay any attention to them. She lit a cigarette and leaned back in the chair, closing her eyes. She was so impossibly exhausted. She wondered if she was being selfish for thinking it was just as hard for her as it was for Buffy to be dealing with this situation. She'd never felt so many different layers of emotions before and it was scaring her. She no longer was in control of herself, of her thoughts. The only sense of control she had was over her actions and even then it wasn't that much.

The despair she felt coming from Buffy every time Willow whispered promises that she'd fix this was tearing her apart inside. She tried to shake it off as she leaned forward in the chair and took a long drag, fighting her emotions and fighting the exhaustion with the last bit of strength she had. She was running on empty now and it wouldn't be much longer before she gave in to it all. Just like she knew if Buffy kept kissing her the way she had, pushing her, she'd give in to her without resistance. She'd give in to her because she loved her, and the vampire factor would be an issue she'd most likely have pushed far to the back of her mind by that point.

How they'd even ended up here was making her head spin. She looked back to the night Giles had called her, remembering how she felt when he told her she was needed here. She hadn't even thought about saying no, about coming up with some kind of excuse not to come. It was Giles who called her and told her she was needed there and he meant almost as much to her as Buffy. Any reluctance had been overshadowed by her willingness to do whatever she needed to do, to be there despite not being ready to face Buffy and their past. Things never turned out the way she envisioned in her mind, though, as she was finding out more and more lately.

"We'll fix this, Buffy. We will. I just need you to be patient right now," Willow said quietly as she got up from where she sat on the bed. "I am so sorry. This wasn't supposed to happen."

"I know it wasn't supposed to happen, Will."

"I'll understand if you never forgive me for this," she continued as she stood by the side of the bed and looked down at Buffy, tears still falling down her cheeks freely.  "I won't be able to forgive myself for doing this to you."

Faith looked over at Buffy as she said nothing to Willow. She could see the betrayal, the hurt, the fear Buffy was feeling and she knew Willow could see it if not feel it as well. With a choked sob, Willow left the room and the two of them were alone once again.

Faith put out her cigarette and lit another, sighing softly as she turned her head to look away from Buffy. She had an unnerving feeling that somehow Buffy was able to read her thoughts and feel everything she was feeling. As if to prove just that, Buffy got up from the bed and walked over to her, careful to stay out of the sunlight as she leaned against the wall. Buffy reached out for the cigarette dangling from her lips and with a sly smile she took a drag, inhaling deeply and closed her eyes as she handed the cigarette back to her.

"What do you make of all this?"

"Of what?"

"The spell," Buffy said softly. "You really think it went down like that?"

"I don't think Will would've intentionally turned you, B."

"You honestly think they can change me back?" She asked. All hope faltering in her voice as Faith stared over at her.

"Guess we'll wait and see, right?"

"What if..." Buffy sighed as she shook her head. "It sounds crazy, but what if I don't want them to change me back?"

Faith opened and closed her mouth, not sure what to say to that. She wanted Buffy back, the real Buffy, not vampire Buffy. If Buffy didn't want that, though, who was she to argue about that? For once in her life Buffy had a chance at getting what she wanted and Faith wasn't about to be the one to stand in her way. She could only do what she'd been there for so far and that was just be there for Buffy in any way she could. She just had a feeling Buffy needed her a lot more than just to be there to listen to her. Buffy needed her, all of her. She felt it constantly now. Their connection, the Slayer connection, had become stronger with every kiss, with every touch.

"Then I guess we'll have to figure out how to get a steady supply of blood, keep the fridge stocked or whatever," Faith shrugged, trying to play off her own thoughts and emotions before Buffy could pick up on them.

"I'm so tired," Buffy sighed out softly as she reached for Faith's hand. "Come to bed, Faith."

She nodded, putting out her cigarette and closing the heavy drapes shut. She let Buffy lead her back over to the bed and before she could even get in, Buffy's insistent hands were working on unbuttoning her jeans. Faith couldn't slow her racing heart as Buffy eased her jeans down, their eyes locked, neither of them blinking even once until Faith stepped out of her jeans and took a step back. She was shaking slightly as she crawled into bed, her exhaustion definitely beginning to wear her out and drag her down. She looked up at Buffy with heavy lidded eyes and the last thing she saw before she gave up and fell asleep was Buffy getting into bed next to her.

Her whole body was on alert even in her deep state of sleep. Every once in awhile she'd open her eyes and look over at Buffy sleeping like the dead next to her. She was in bed with a vampire and although Buffy had a soul and wouldn't intentionally turn on her, she still had a lingering doubt that she could trust her long enough to get some decent sleep. The third time she woke up she could swear she heard Buffy crying softly. Buffy had her back turned to her, but the soft little whimpering sighs she made were evidence enough that she was crying.

"B?" Faith whispered as she moved closer to her. "You alright?"


Faith frowned as she slipped her arms around Buffy and held her close. "You want to talk about it?"

"No I...can you just hold me for a little while, Faith?"

"I can do that."

"I hate feeling so cold and you feel so warm," she sighed out as she laid her hands over Faith's arms that were wrapped firmly around her. "I feel...alive again with you so close."

Faith smiled a little even though she knew Buffy couldn't see it and she closed her eyes, still too tired to keep her eyes open for much longer than a couple of minutes at a time. Finally giving in to the relentless pull of sleep, she drifted off into a dreamless world where she saw nothing, thought of nothing, and felt nothing but Buffy, cold and stiff in her arms.

She woke several hours later with her arms still around Buffy. She was still tired, but she was always tired. The exhaustion she'd felt before was gone, however, and she groaned softly as she moved and let go of Buffy to stretch out her stiff muscles. In an instant Buffy had turned around, staring at her as she continued to stretch out, groaning softly as her muscles flexed and relaxed. The hunger in Buffy's eyes made her hold her breath for a moment and she let it out slowly, watching as her eyes darkened.

She'd never, even with Robin, spent so many hours just sleeping in the same bed as someone else. It was a sense of closeness, of innocent intimacy, of personal space that always made her want to sleep alone. This was different. It was Buffy. She always knew she'd do absolutely anything for her. Coming to Scotland to be there for Buffy said enough of how much she was willing to do for her. Buffy knew this too. The hours they'd spent talking, bonding and getting to know one another had been useful in more ways than one. She'd never felt so attached to anyone before, either, and it was scaring her just a little to know she was clinging to Buffy when she knew she should push her away.

There was a sense of protectiveness deep inside of her when it came to Buffy. Seeing her how she'd been the last couple of weeks had brought that on. Seeing her as she was now, as a vampire, created a conflict with that feeling of protectiveness she felt. Buffy didn't need a protector, not as herself and not as a vampire. She was capable of protecting herself, to a fine point.

"You always look so...animated when you're thinking. I can almost pick up on what you're thinking about sometimes," Buffy said softly as she reached out and smoothed out Faith's furrowed brow. "You've shown me a lot since you came here. You've shown me a side of you I never imagined could exist or that you'd ever feel you could show me."


"Yeah," she smiled as she leaned in a kissed her softly. "I wish you would have shown me this side of you years ago, Faith. Could have saved a lot of bullshit from going down between us."

"It is how it is, B. Can't dwell on the past. It'll get us absolutely nowhere."

"I know. I just can't stop thinking about how wrong I was about you. I really don't know how to thank you just for being here for me, no questions asked."

"I'm sure you'll think of something," she replied as she placed a hand over her stomach as it growled. "Damn, you think I missed dinner?"

"Probably," Buffy shrugged.

"Damn," she said again as she closed her eyes and tried to fight off the sudden hunger pangs. "I'm gonna go down and grab something to eat. You want me to get you anything?"

"I'm coming down with you. I feel like a prisoner."

"You're not."

"I know I'm not!" Buffy sighed out angrily as she watched Faith get out of bed and snatch her jeans up from the floor. "I've done nothing but spend nearly a month in bed. I'm not a fucking cripple, you know!"

"No, you aren't, but we can't have anyone finding out what you are now, B. Don't you get it? It's safer for everyone if they don't know what has happened to you."

"They'll find out eventually. Secrets don't seem to be kept for long here," Buffy muttered under her breath as she changed her clothes quickly.

"What about Dawn?"

"What about her?"

"You know she'll completely freak out when she finds out what happened to you, Buffy. Then, I don't know...she might possibly try to kill Willow once she finds out that her spell was what brought this whole fucking thing on in the first place!"

"It's not Willow's fault..."

"No, not entirely. Just a little. Thank fucking god for Willow, B. You managed to turn into a fucking vampire and hold onto your soul," she snapped, the sarcasm thick in her voice.

She wasn't sure where this agitated attitude was coming from. Buffy had pushed the wrong buttons, flipping on her bitch switch. She groaned softly as she ran her hands through her tangled hair, wanting nothing more than a decent shower after she ate. Buffy was watching her and her eyes were roaming over her body lustfully. Faith could swear she could feel Buffy's hands run over her arms, her stomach and up to her breasts, ghostlike hands that still felt as cool and yet warm as if she really was touching her.

She blamed it on her raging libido. She couldn't even remember the last time she'd ever had any kind of release. All she did know was it had been quite a while. Too long for her. Buffy was smirking now as Faith stumbled back and sat on her bed, overwhelmed by the tingling feeling of those ghostlike hands running themselves over her body. Buffy was at the door now, leaning against it with a coy smile dancing over her lips as she watched her. Faith didn't know what was happening. Was she losing it, finally losing it due to god knows how many months without scratching that itch?

Faith knew she must have been quite the sight to see right then. Panting, moaning and feeling as if she was about to get well fucked. Her body temperature was rising; her clothes beginning to feel restrictive and she began tugging at her shirt, trying to breathe normally as those ghostlike hands became lips and tongue. She snapped her eyes over to Buffy, groaning as the feeling in her body stopped suddenly.

"Wow," Buffy smirked as she pressed off the door and walked over to her slowly. "Wasn't that something, Faith?"

"What the hell was that?"

"I just fucked you, nearly," she whispered as she moved to straddle her legs before Faith could get up from the bed. "Brings a whole new meaning to mindfuck, doesn't it?"

"You...what the hell, B?"

"I have no idea. I just thought I'd try something. See if it worked."

"Whatever that something was, it sure as fuck worked, Buffy!"

"I think..." Buffy sighed as she ran her fingers over Faith's jaw and stared down into her eyes. "I think I got some kind of powers from being turned."

"Mind control?"

"No," Buffy shook her head. "Something else. Kind of like telekinetic powers, but not quite."

"You just figure this out now?"


"You think we should tell Giles about this?"

"No," Buffy said quickly. "I'd rather keep this between you and me. It seems it only works when I uh...want to do nothing more than...you know."

The way Buffy bounced from being somewhat full of unbridled sexual energy to almost shy about it was making Faith's head spin. She knew the one part of her was controlled by the vampire she now was and the other part of her, the part with a soul, was what tried to balance her out. The thin line between good and evil was fading as Buffy stumbled around it, struggling to stay on the side of the good. Faith could not only see that in her eyes, she could feel it as well. It was unnerving yet almost comforting to feel the way she was, and with Buffy so close to her their connection was becoming stronger, more solidified.

"Uh..." Faith groaned softly as Buffy's fingers traced over her jaw and across her neck. "Should probably go down and get something to eat, B. I can't think too clearly on an empty stomach."

"Neither can I."

Buffy's faced morphed and Faith opened her eyes wide in shock, this being the first time she knew of that Buffy had changed into her game face. She flinched as Buffy ran her fingers over her pulse point and slowly leaned in and licked over it, purring as Faith's heart quickened under her touch. It wasn't just the fear that made her heart race, it was the surge of arousal that coursed and burned its way through her body at Buffy's touch. She grabbed Buffy's shoulders and pushed her back, sighing as her game face disappeared. She looked beyond mortified and the tears in her eyes made Faith's heart clench.

Faith laughed a little, not at the way Buffy was feeling, but for the song that slipped into her head considering the situation they were both in. Sympathy for the devil. In some ways that's what Buffy felt like, like she was truly Lucifer himself. Toying with her emotions, her libido...dangling there in front of her on a string and never quite giving her what she wanted. Pulling her every which way, making her want things she never wanted before.

It made sense and it didn't at the same time. She wanted Buffy; there was no doubt in her mind about that. She wanted her now even though she was a vampire and whatever had happened over the course of the last day had changed the way she thought about her supposed enemies. Buffy was just like that, with a soul nonetheless, but she wasn't her enemy. Not anymore and not in the same sense that the others were. In love with a vampire. The thought no longer made her cringe. It now had the complete opposite effect on her.

"Always thinking," Buffy whispered as she moved to get off of Faith's lap.

"Always," she mumbled in reply as she got up from the bed and followed Buffy to the door.

"Faith? You think I could come out on patrol with you tonight?" Buffy asked as Faith opened the door and shrugged. "I know it's probably not a good idea, but I just want to get out there. I may be one of them now, but I am still me and I am still a Slayer."

"I'm sure it'll be fine. You are the boss here, General Buffy. Your call."

"Hey!" Buffy laughed as she playfully nudged Faith in the shoulder. "You know I hate being called that!"

Back and forth and pretty much in a comfort zone once again. It was too easy to fall into any one of Buffy's ever changing moods. Much too easy to fall prey to the seductive undertones in her voice and the subtle little signs in her body language. They said nothing as they walked through the corridors and down to the kitchen. Buffy stayed close to her, growling slightly under her breath as a few of the younger girls passed them. Faith let it slide knowing Buffy was just as hungry as she was and smelling the blood of so many slayers had to be pure torture for a vampire, for any vampire, soulless or otherwise.

Much to Faith's relief they entered an empty and quiet kitchen. She rooted through the fridge and found a plate covered with saran wrap and a piece of paper with her name on it taped to the top. She smirked, knowing it was Giles who made sure there were leftovers for her. She kept her back to Buffy as she heated the plate of food in the microwave, ignoring the feeling of Buffy's eyes roaming lustfully and hungrily over her body.

The coming days, weeks and months were going to be nothing short of interesting and a struggle. For both of them.



Chapter Seven

She'd been dreaming. She knew she had to have been. Either that or it was really happening and her exhaustion made a thin veil of doubt, or perplexed feelings that made it all feel like a dream.

Buffy hands, so cold yet warm, ran over her bare back, sending shivers down her spine with every tantalizing touch. She kept glancing between them and seeing how very naked they were together. It wasn't just their bodies that were naked, their thoughts and feelings were naked as well, laid out in the open for both to see. Their eyes were locked intensely as neither of them moved and Faith barely breathed, somewhat afraid that if she did, she'd wake up and it truly would have all been a dream.

How they even landed in bed, naked and fucking and then, with some fear behind the thought, making love, Faith really had no idea. They'd gone out on patrol together for a couple of hours and faced nothing but a few newbie vampires that didn't put up much of a fight. It was the adrenaline of the slay that fuelled the hungry and the horny. No matter how big or small, it always felt the same. It was a rush. It was like a drug and Faith was fast beginning to figure out that nothing came close to how she felt now being with Buffy, feeling her between her legs with every subtle thrust of her hips.

It had been rough, animalistic and primal at first between them. It was everything Faith had expected when it came to fucking another slayer. In the back of her mind she had to wonder if it had been this way for Buffy and Satsu, but now was not the time to be thinking about that, much less asking. It changed, however, after a couple of hours, which led them to where they were now. It was tender, it was slow, it was just about feeling one another. Their bodies pressed close, merging almost as one.

It was how she wished it would have been between them when Buffy was still fully alive. The constant chill coming from her body was enough to keep Faith's senses on high alert. Vampire with a soul or not, she still didn't fully trust her. The small little nicks where Buffy had tried to pierce her skin just above her breasts were evidence enough she didn't have full control over her bloodlust and the urges that came with it.

Buffy rolled them over so she was on top and she smiled down at Faith as she ran her fingers over the two small puncture marks just above her right breast. Her smile faded however and she lifted her eyes to look at Faith.

"I'm sorry I...got a little out of control," she whispered her umpteenth apology since she'd done it.

"It's alright, B. You didn't take much. Just...don't do it again."

"You don't trust me, do you?"

"I do."

"You're lying," Buffy whispered as she leaned in to kiss her lightly. "Please don't lie to me. Not now, not after tonight."

"I do trust you, it's the vampire part of you I don't trust," Faith replied honestly and she groaned as Buffy pulled back a little, eliminating most of the delicious contact they'd been having for hours. She looked away as Buffy's face changed and her fangs slid out. "Buffy..."

"I'm so hungry," she murmured as she kissed her again. "So fucking hungry it hurts. I can't control it anymore."

"Do you want me to go and get you..."

"No, I want you to stay right where you are."

"B," she said soothingly as she ran her hands down Buffy's back and felt her muscles ripple and relax with her touch. Slowly she changed back to normal, the demonic ridges across her forehead now smooth, her fangs gone but the bloodlust in her eyes still there and stronger than ever. "Let me go get you some. I won't be long."

"No. Not now. I want to...taste you again," she whispered as she trailed her fingers down her stomach, her fingertips barely touching her skin as she reached the apex of her thighs. "Can I?"

Faith hissed and arched into her hand as her fingertips brushed over her tender, swollen clit. Her whole body ached for more and responded to Buffy in ways her body had never responded to anyone else. Buffy knew just how to touch her, how to kiss her in a way that drove her absolutely insane with intoxicating pleasure that filled her body much like a drug but gave her a high no drug could have ever touched. With a nod of her head, her words lost in her now erratic breathing, she closed her eyes as Buffy began lightly kissing her way down her neck, nipping gently at the skin as she moved lower.

Afraid if she opened her eyes she would find this was all truly a dream, as it had felt from the beginning, she kept her eyes closed. Instead she focused on Buffy's lips and tongue as they trailed a blazing path across her breasts, pausing to lick at each of her painfully hard nipples before continuing down. Instinctively she spread her legs apart as Buffy's tongue swirled around her belly button. It caused a whimper she'd been holding back to escape. She felt Buffy smile against her skin before she withdrew her lips and shifted her body down lower. Buffy's fingers danced over the soft, smooth skin of her inner thighs before Faith felt the cool, unnecessary breath escape from Buffy's lips.

The first touch of Buffy's cool tongue against her sensitive, throbbing clit sent Faith propelling into a stratosphere of pleasure she'd never experienced until tonight. It was a feeling she was fast growing addicted to feeling and if she had it her way, they'd spend the rest of their lives, at least the rest of her own, doing nothing but this.

"Oh fuck, B..."

She gripped the sheets, feeling the cotton straining under her vice-like grip as Buffy gently nibbled on her clit before she deftly slid two fingers inside of her hot, wet and pulsating core. Buffy gripped her left thigh with the hand not currently preoccupied and kept her hips from bucking up every time she sucked and licked her clit harder. She could feel the edges of an intense orgasm building quickly and she snapped open her eyes, staring down at Buffy who was staring back up at her through her thick eyelashes.

It was all she needed, that and one more lick to her overly sensitive clit, to push her over the edge she'd been lingering on all night continuously. It was intense, not the biggest orgasm she'd had since they landed in bed together, but it flooded through her entire body, throughout every muscle. She moved her hands from the now ripped sheets to the back of Buffy's head, urging her to stop yet at the same time hungry for more.

Buffy kept two fingers buried inside of her as she languidly ran her tongue up her body and captured her lips with her own in a hot, deep and passionate kiss. Their tongues sought out each other with almost primal ferocity and Faith's lungs soon felt as if they were about to burst if she didn't pull away to catch her breath. When she did try to part from the kiss, Buffy roughly slid a third finger inside of her and bit her lower lip just hard enough to break the skin.

It went from fucking to making love right back to fucking again and Faith was loving every last second of it. She never in a million years would have thought that Buffy would be such a vixen in bed, be able to keep up with her, urge her on, dominate her the way she had been most of the night. Buffy had been able to take her on and push all the right buttons, to touch her in ways she'd never allowed anyone to ever touch her before.

Her own fingers found their way to Buffy's pussy, slipping over the pool of wetness that was waiting there for her. Buffy groaned as she stopped kissing her and sucked on her bottom lip that she knew was still bleeding just a little. What she thought would have completely turned her off was doing quite the opposite. She pushed those thoughts away as she circled her fingers over Buffy's clit, causing her to moan and kiss her deeply. It was barely minutes before they were both coming and muting each other's moans and cries with a feverish kiss.

Faith was sore all over, a good kind of sore, and she groaned softly as Buffy slipped her fingers out of her, moving to her side and draping half of her body over Faith's as she pulled the covers over them and held her close. She was beginning to get used to the chill she felt with Buffy's body pressed against her own. It was becoming comforting and at the same time it was beginning to scare her. She knew she loved Buffy and she knew that Buffy being what she was now hadn't changed how she felt in any way. That was evidenced by the fact they'd just spent the last couple of hours in bed together, fucking and making love.

"Still feeling hungry, B?"

"Yeah," she mumbled into her neck. Faith flinched a little when she felt Buffy run her tongue over her pulse point. "I don't want to move right now. Feels too good lying here with you like this."

"Basking and all that shit," Faith chuckled softly as she ran her hands over Buffy's bare back. "Never did the whole 'basking in the afterglow' thing with anyone before. It's nice."

"So I'm the first?" Buffy asked, lifting her head up to look at her. "Really?"

"Yeah," Faith nodded, smiling at her as she lightly kissed her on the lips. "Really."

"It's never been like this for me before. This was...amazing, Faith. I..."

Faith held her breath, knowing what Buffy was about to say and even though she'd technically already said it before and several times throughout the night in the throes of ecstasy, she wasn't so sure she was ready to hear her actually say it again. Buffy stared at her, smiling softly as she watched Faith's eyes show her thoughts clearly. With one last kiss, Buffy slipped out of bed and found her clothes that had been tossed over the room and slowly got dressed. Faith could only rest her head on her arm as she watched her, her heart racing at the sight and wanting nothing more than to get Buffy back into bed for more.

Her own stomach was betraying her now and it growled at the thought of food. With much effort she got out of bed and found her own clothes, her eyes locked with Buffy's as she got dressed. She stumbled as she pulled her jeans on and glared at Buffy for giggling at the sight. It wasn't her fault that all Buffy had to do was run her tongue over her lips slowly and sensually to bring a flood of fresh arousal coursing throughout her body.

It was a struggle to keep from grabbing Buffy, pinning her up against the wall and fucking her once again as they walked through the corridors and down to the kitchen together. There'd be plenty of time for that. Her stomach was still betraying her and she knew Buffy's hunger was fast becoming dangerous. For both of them.

Faith headed straight for the pantry, not wanting to be there when Buffy drank. It made her stomach turn and the last thing she needed right now was to witness that after the night they had shared together. She grabbed a bag of plain chips and stayed in the pantry, eating them slowly, mentally counting the amount of time that had passed by. She groaned when she licked the salt from the chips off her fingers, still tasting Buffy's intoxicating arousal lingering there on her skin. She was fast becoming addicted to her, to her taste, to the way she made her feel, to the way Buffy would touch her, tease her, taste her and please her.
Another groan escaped past her lips as she felt those ghostlike hands run over her body. She shivered involuntarily, giving in to it as she gripped the shelf with one hand and what was left of the bag of chips with the other. Buffy was going to be the death of her if she kept that up. Almost as if Buffy knew what she'd been thinking, it stopped and a moment later Buffy was standing in the doorway to the pantry with a sultry smile dancing across her lips.

Faith noticed that the bloodlust that showed so clearly in her eyes was dimmed and it was replaced with normal lust. It was a look on Buffy she was trying to get used to seeing. So much had changed between them it was hard for her to really get a grip on the reality of the situation they were now in. Were they together? Were they just fucking? Was this all just a game, part of the bloodlust Buffy was constantly feeling? So many questions and not enough answers.

Buffy practically stalked her way over to her and Faith stopped her before she could lean in to kiss her. Buffy stood there, pouting and looking confused for a moment, then a look of realization washed over her. Faith couldn't kiss her after she'd drank. The taste of blood that wasn't her own would make her sick and the last thing she wanted was to be repulsed by Buffy. Faith sighed as she reached into the bag of chips and took out a handful, grinning at Buffy as she shoved the entire handful into her mouth.

"That's...attractive," Buffy laughed as she shook her head. "Of everything that's in here you choose to eat chips?"

"Its food," Faith said once she'd swallowed the mouthful. "Definitely not what I want to be eating right now either, but what I want to eat doesn't exactly take away those hunger pangs."

"Naughty," Buffy winked as she backed out of the pantry slowly, beckoning Faith to follow her out.

Faith felt the pull coming from Buffy. It was magnetic. Something she just couldn't deny. She followed her out of the pantry, neither of them breaking the intense eye contact they were holding since the moment Buffy had walked in there. They both stopped short and broke away from their gaze as Giles cleared his throat from where he now sat at the kitchen table.

"You two are up awfully late or awake rather early," he said as he poured some milk into his cup of tea and stirred. "How was patrol?"

"It was alright," Faith shrugged as she grabbed the last bit of chips in the bag. After shoving them into her mouth and receiving a raised eyebrow from Buffy she tossed the empty bag into the garbage. "Couple of newbie vamps who didn't put up much of a fight. This one, however, kicked ass like always."

"And how are you feeling, Buffy?"

"Okay," she shrugged as she stood next to Faith. "Good, considering. Have you guys found anything out about how to reverse this yet?"

"We are working on it," Giles responded, and Faith could swear she heard sadness and lingering doubt there in his words. "Faith, if I could have a word alone with Buffy, I'd appreciate that."

"All you had to do was say so," she shrugged and turned to look at Buffy. "I'll meet you back upstairs when you're done?"


Faith sighed as she walked out of the kitchen and headed back up to her room alone. A part of her, a big part of her, wanted to stay down there and eavesdrop on their conversation. She wasn't like that, though, she'd never been, and whatever Giles wanted to talk to Buffy about alone didn't concern her. If it did concern her she wouldn't have been asked to leave. Deciding not to let that bother her, she walked into her room, heading straight for the window and opening it. She lit a smoke and sat on the windowsill, her eyes closed and her mind still reeling with too many thoughts for her to process all at once.

It wasn't much longer before Buffy came into the room and slowly closed the door behind her. She was crying, her whole body trembling as Faith chucked her cigarette out the window and walked up to her, wasting not a second before she wrapped her arms around Buffy and held her close. Whatever Giles had talked to her about had upset her deeply and Faith didn't even want to think about what it was that made her cry.

They stood there for awhile just holding onto one another, Buffy crying into Faith's neck and soaking her shirt with tears. She ran a hand up and down Buffy's back, trying to soothe away her shuddering tears. She wasn't good at the comfort thing; she didn't really know how to do it. Nobody had ever been there to comfort her in times of need, in times when all she could do was cry until she cried dry tears.

"B?" Faith sighed out as she pulled Buffy back a little to look at her face. She frowned as she raised her hands to wipe away her tears over her reddened cheeks. "You okay?"

"No," she cried, her voice quivering as the tears continued. "He told me...he told me that finding a way to reverse this is next to impossible. He basically told me I'm stuck this way."

"Basically? Buffy, shit...just cos it's gonna be next to impossible doesn't mean that somewhere in there isn't some strand of hope that it is possible."

"I just...I can't stay like this, Faith. I'd rather be..."

"Don't," she said, stopping her from saying what she knew she would say. "Don't say it, B. You're still here. You are still alive despite being what you are now. You are still you and you have me now, don't you?"

"Do I?"

"Thought tonight kind of..."

"Brought us together in more ways than one?" Buffy asked and Faith slowly nodded her head. "It did. Is it enough? Will it ever be?"

Faith furrowed her brow trying to figure out what Buffy was getting at. "Isn't that something you should be asking yourself, B?"

"I have been asking myself that. It's all I've been thinking about all night."

Faith said nothing and just held her. There was nothing she could do or say right now. All she knew she could do was hold Buffy, comfort her even if she wasn't so sure she was doing it right. She shivered when she felt Buffy's cold hands slip under her shirt and idly run over her lower back, seeking out her warmth any way should could.

She wanted whatever they had together to be enough for Buffy, to make her want to live, to realize she wasn't as alone as she believed she was. How she could make it enough, she wasn't so sure. She didn't do the relationship thing. Always too much drama and too many expectations she had a hard time living up to. She'd found out one thing for sure when it came to Buffy: She'd do whatever it took to make her happy, anything but that. That being the fact that Buffy wanted her to stake her, take care of her as she would with just any other vampire she came across. She'd never do it, especially not after the night they had shared together. If this was the only way Buffy could be in her life then she was going to take it.

Buffy's hands still roamed over her back under her shirt, her nose grazing her neck lightly as she listened to Faith breathe. The constant chills running through Faith's body weren't just from the icy cold fingers, they were from being so close to Buffy that her whole body shivered and tingled in titillating excitement. She knew Buffy was feeling everything she felt and she knew it in the way her fingertips danced over her skin, her tongue sweeping out in between the soft kisses Buffy was now placing over her neck.

It happened when she let her guard down and her whole body froze in shock and in fear as she felt Buffy's fangs pierce her skin. When it had happened while they'd been making love, she saw it coming and she allowed her to do it, but this time was different and this time it actually hurt. She grabbed Buffy's shoulders, gripping them tightly as she tried to pull her away.


Buffy pulled back, her game face instantly fading when she realized what she was doing. "Oh god...Faith...I'm sorry..."

She tenderly ran her fingers over the small puncture marks on Faith's neck, sobbing softly as Faith flinched away in pain and in horror, in betrayal and almost in disgust. Faith backed away from her, feeling slightly weak even though Buffy hadn't been able to take too much from her. She found the bed easily and sat down, her entire body trembling as she looked up at a very guilty looking, crying Buffy.

"I'm so sorry, Faith. I don't know what came over me."

"It's nothing," she muttered, trying to shrug it off. "Forget it even happened."

"I can't just..."

"Just forget it, Buffy. You were wrong when you told me you had control. You don't have any control. The bloodlust controls you. I think it'd be better if you and I..."

"Don't," Buffy whispered as she took a step closer to Faith. "Please don't say what I think you're about to say."

"Buffy," Faith sighed as she ran her fingers over the tender spot on her neck. The bleeding had already stopped, but it was still sore and still fresh. "This isn't right. This isn't safe. I can't let my guard down even for a second with you being what you are now. You need to learn to control the bloodlust and until you do, we shouldn't be around each other."

"Where did this come from?"

"When you just fucking bit me!"

"But I...when we were...how is this different?"

"Cos I let you before," Faith pointed out. "Totally different."

Buffy let out a frustrated sigh as she sat down next to her on the bed, close to her, but making a point of keeping a bit of space between them. "This is just...so not the way I thought things would be."

"What part? The us part or the you being what you are now?"

"Both. I thought we would eventually find our way to one another and that it would have been...different somehow. Not that I want to take back tonight because that was all sorts of wow and amazing," Buffy said softly and if she could blush, Faith knew she would be right about then. "I never wanted to be a vampire. I'd rather be..."

"Don't say it, B."

"I'd rather be dead than have to be this way, to live this way if you even call this living," Buffy finished despite Faith's poor attempt to get her not to say it. "Somehow, though, this brought us closer together. I'm not just talking about now; I'm talking about the whole incident even before Willow's spell ended up turning me into this."

Buffy pointed to herself as she said that and Faith sighed as she reached out for her hand. "I feel like an oxymoron right now. I always had this...disgust when it came to thinking of being intimate with a vampire. I'm not you, B. I never could see past that, always just wanted to tap 'em around a bit then stake 'em. With you...I don't know whether its cos of you or what, but...you being what you are now never stopped tonight from happening, and it didn't stop me from wanting you just as much as I always have."

"You want me still?"

"Oh yeah," Faith nodded, her breath hitching in her chest as Buffy swiftly moved to straddle her legs. "So want you right now. Still kind of shaken up from you biting me like that."

"I'm sorry," Buffy said ashamedly as she lowered her eyes from Faith's. "I told you I don't know what came over me. One minute I'm upset and the next..."

"You don't need to explain. You vampire, me sexy slayer," Faith chuckled as she wiggled her eyebrows.

"You do realize how adorable that just sounded?"

"Adorable? I was going for sultry, seductive, maybe a little bit on the side of a cavewoman kind of deal."

"How can it be like this?" Buffy asked as she ran her hands over Faith's arms and up to her shoulders. "One minute we're at each other's throats, almost, and the next we're just joking around like nothing even happened."

"Guess that's just the way it is between us. Gonna have to get used to it."

"I can think of one thing I can definitely get used to."

"What's that?"

"Kissing you," Buffy whispered softly. "Touching you, making love to you, and fucking you."

Faith moaned softly, a flood of arousal shooting through her body and her mind becoming a haze of images, memories from earlier in the night. Buffy's lips possessively captured her own in a hot, deep kiss. Hands roamed and tore at clothing until they were both lying on the bed, naked and their bodies writhing and sliding together, fitting so perfectly and seeking out more. Too much and not enough. It was never enough in the sense of being able to feel, to touch, to taste, to please.

Her body was pulsating, buzzing and the feeling of her blood rushing through her veins reminded her of all those times she got high. She stopped moving against Buffy for a moment, fighting back those painful memories and the driving urges that came with them. It was still hard to get over that period in her life, the addiction. Buffy placed a hand on her cheek, sighing as her eyes searched Faith's, trying to figure out what was going on without having to ask her.

Pulling herself from those thoughts and right back into the moment, she pulled Buffy down for a deep kiss, one hand tangled in her hair and the other languidly making its way over her body, down her sides until she reached the apex of Buffy's thighs. The only part of her that radiated heat was the molten heat of her pussy. How it was possible she wasn't sure, and she didn't want to think of anything else right now other than pleasuring Buffy, making her moan and scream out her name until her voice was harsh and her body couldn't take it anymore. She felt Buffy's body go tense and relax as her fingers slowly circled her clit. The kiss grew deeper, feral as Buffy moved her own hand between Faith's thighs, mirroring every move she made, teasing her just as Faith was.

With some effort and some resistance on Buffy's part, Faith rolled them over so she was on top and she began a slow decent down her body, peppering every inch of skin she could reach with light and wet kisses. Buffy whimpered as Faith circled her hardening nipple, teasing her and watching her as she did so. There was nothing more erotic that seeing the effect she had on Buffy with just a touch. The sensual way Buffy's body would arch into her mouth drove her wild with lust and she trailed her tongue over to her other breast, capturing her other nipple between her teeth and giving it a slight tug.

"Faith..." Buffy moaned as her hands slid into her hair and gripped her a little too hard. "God...feels so good..."

She knew what Buffy wanted, she knew where Buffy needed her to touch, to taste, to feel. She wasn't going to rush this, she felt no need. This was different than all the times she'd ever been with anyone else. It had been this way earlier in the night and the feelings she'd felt during that first time with Buffy were intoxicating. She couldn't quite get enough. She'd never get enough and she wanted to make Buffy feel that too.

Feeling the craving that Buffy had for more tug at the edges of her very soul, she trailed her tongue down her stomach, stopping every couple of inches to place light, wet kisses over her skin. She felt Buffy's skin warming under the soft touch of her lips and tongue against her cool skin, warming just for a second before she continued on her slow, torturous descent. Buffy gripped her hair as she teasingly ran her tongue over her clit, feeling her try to raise her hips for more. Faith had her hands firmly gripping her hips, holding her down against the mattress to keep her from bucking up with every touch of her tongue.

This moment was all about her. This moment was about taking it slow, devouring her, worshipping her, making her feel absolutely incredible. Buffy's firm grip on the back of her head prevented her from moving away from her even an inch. She wiggled around on the bed a little, trying to get comfortable and stifled a laugh when she felt Buffy's eyes fall upon her, questioning her reluctance to continue her torturous assault on her clit.

"What's so funny?"

"Just trying to get comfortable, B."


Faith nodded as she lifted her head to look up at her. "Yeah. Comfortable. Planning to be down here for awhile, you know?"

She wiggled her eyebrows as Buffy laid her head back on the pillow and eased her grip she had on her head, allowing her to shift her body enough to settle more comfortably between her legs. She licked her lips before feverishly kissing along the inside of Buffy's thighs, knowing how much it was driving her insane with need. Buffy strained to hold herself back, strained to keep from trying to buck her hips up under Faith's firm grip.

Faith moaned as she felt those ghostlike hands running over her own body, teasing her, tantalizing her with the feather light touch. She breathed in deeply, running the flat of her tongue over the length of Buffy's wet slit, the muskiness of her arousal sparking her taste buds and stirring a primal passion to devour her completely without stopping or bothering to breathe. Without hesitating or teasing her for a second longer, she slipped her tongue as deeply inside of her as she could, feeling the surge of arousal run through Buffy's body.

Buffy let go of her head then, choosing to grip the sheets instead as a low, primitive moan escaped past her lips. Faith smiled against her, driving her tongue in harder, faster with every moan that Buffy let out. She pulled back for a second to catch her breath and dove right back in as a small and pleading whimper escaped past Buffy's lips. It was only then that she knew she had Buffy completely under her spell, wanting more. So much more.

Those ghostlike hands were still teasing their way over her body, touching her, just barely, in all the right places. It drove her on, pushed her to her own edge as she brought Buffy closer to hers. Faith shivered as thunder rumbled off in the distance and she languidly removed her tongue and scraped her teeth over Buffy's pulsating clit, feeling her about to come and wanting to draw it out that much longer. It was torture, yes, but pain was pleasure and Faith had only learned throughout the night that as much as Buffy protested the teasing, she loved every second of it.

Faith trailed her lips back up Buffy's body, hovering over slightly as she waited for Buffy to open her eyes and look up at her. The instant that she did, Faith's lips were upon hers in a wickedly sweet kiss, her fingers trailing lightly over her inner thigh before she drove two of them hard inside of her. There was nothing quite like kissing Buffy while she came long and hard. Faith had never, not before tonight, cared so much about the other. Never had she experienced the things she had with Buffy when it came to fucking. Making love was a whole category she'd never been close to before tonight. She never wanted tonight to end and when the thunder crashed, louder and closer this time, Buffy came hard, biting her lip as she raised her hips into Faith's hand.

Buffy's arms were around her as she came down from her intense orgasm, her pussy still throbbing and grasping at Faith's now still fingers buried deep inside. Even her breathing was ragged, the breaths she no longer needed to take. Faith leaned back to look down at her, smiling as she saw Buffy's eyes flooded with lust, with love, with pleasure, with yearning.

"It feels like a dream," Faith whispered as she slowly lowered her lips to Buffy's. "Feels like nothing but a dream."

"You aren't dreaming," Buffy whispered against her lips as she raked her nails down Faith's back. "If you are dreaming then I must be too. It feels too real. All too real. Definitely not a dream."

"No, it's definitely not, and if it is," Faith breathed in slowly, running her tongue over her lips as she stared deeply, intensely into Buffy's eyes, "then I never want to wake up."

"I'm glad you're here now, Faith. I...for the first time in longer than I can remember I actually feel happy and I feel loved with you. It's crazy isn't it?"

Buffy sighed when Faith didn't answer her and she ran her hand down Faith's arm and toward the hand still over her pussy, the fingers still buried deep inside of her. She groaned softly as she pulled Faith's hand away and swiftly flipped them over. "If I knew it'd be like this between us, I wouldn't have..."

"Don't, B. Leave the past where it belongs. In the past."

"I need to say this, Faith. I wouldn't have forced myself to hate you even after everything. I did forgive you a long time ago. The thing with Robin and the girls, I was more upset than I was angry. I was also worried about you, although I wouldn't have admitted that even to myself when that happened."

"You're just saying this cos you're post-orgasm, aren't you?" Faith teased as Buffy moved to lie next to her, draping a possessive arm over her stomach. "So, let me get this straight. You never hated me even though all those years you led me on to believe you truly did, and truly wanted nothing to do with me?"

"That's the gist of it."

"And I thought I was the crazy one."

"You are," Buffy chuckled. "Crazy in a good way now, Faith."


"I don't know," Buffy shrugged. "Just crazy in the way that no matter what I've tried to do since you came here, I cannot stop thinking about you."

"So, me driving you crazy makes me crazy? You realize that makes no sense?"

"Nothing has to. Not when it comes to us," Buffy whispered, kissing her shoulder softly.

Faith sighed, knowing how right she was about that. Nothing ever made sense when it came to the two of them. She was already getting used to that fact. Buffy wasn't the only one who was going 'crazy'. She had been thinking of nothing but her for as long as she could remember. It was different now. Now she had the girl of her dreams. She finally had something she always wanted and she wasn't afraid it'd be taken from her. Not this time. She wouldn't let it happen.



Chapter Eight

The bed was cold and empty next to her when she woke much later in the morning. She reached out blindly for Buffy, sighing dejectedly when she felt nothing next to her. She missed the cold yet almost lingering warmth of Buffy's body next to hers, against hers, fitting into her own as if they were made to be fit together as one.

She licked her dry lips as she stretched out in bed slowly, opening her eyes to find the room dark and the rain pattering hard against the window. With another sigh she got out of bed and headed for the bathroom, needing a shower to loosen her stiff, still asleep muscles. She had no idea where Buffy had gone off to. The last thing she remembered was falling asleep with Buffy in her arms and Buffy listening to her heart beat steadily, surely. The lingering flash of thoughts that maybe it had all been a dream flooded her mind as she turned on the hot water in the shower. She ran her fingers over her neck, feeling the slight bruising around the two small puncture marks from where Buffy had bit her and she knew it had been no dream.

Not even a few nights before she had refused to be with Buffy because of what she was now, a vampire. That had all changed in an instant. Even now Faith couldn't figure out just why that had changed. Being with a vampire was no different than being with a living, breathing human. She knew one thing, though. She knew she had looked past that because it was Buffy who was the vampire, not someone else. It was always about Buffy. Even those faceless, nameless women she'd been with before had resembled Buffy in the smallest, slightest of ways.

She stepped under the hot spray of water, closing her eyes as she lost herself and her thoughts just for a moment. She relaxed, feeling her tense body release the hold it had over her under the hot, soothing spray of water. She showered quickly, her stomach growling and begging for food, food she'd been nearly neglecting since Buffy had been turned.

The sounds of everyone in the castle awake and beginning their day fluttered to her room as she dressed and tried to towel dry her hair as best as she could. The soft knock on her bedroom door made her jump a little. She hadn't expected anyone to come to her room and with Buffy not there with her right then, she wasn't sure why anyone would. In the nearly month or so she'd been there, nobody but Giles, Willow and Kennedy seemed to bother with her. She was fine with that. The less people she had to face the better it'd be in the long run. She opened the door and chuckled under her breath to see Giles standing there on the other side with a fresh cup of coffee for her in his hand and a small white envelope in the other.

"Morning, G."

"Good morning, Faith. I have arranged a flight back to Cleveland for you. It leaves in less than five hours."

"Great," she said with a forced smile as she took the cup of coffee and the small white envelope from him.

"When is the return flight?"

"In two days."

"What about Buffy?"

"I'm sure she'll be fine here without you for a couple of days, Faith. If it's any comfort, I can promise you we'll do everything we can to keep her from harm's way until you return."

"What are you gonna do? Lock her up somewhere?" Faith asked bitterly as she took a sip of her coffee. She placed it down on top of the dresser and opened up the envelope, finding a plane ticket and a small wad of cash tucked inside.

"No...we uh, we'll figure something out. She's actually speaking to Dawn right now in her suite. She came to me early this morning asking me if it was the right thing to do to tell Dawn exactly what has been happening over the last couple of days. Suffice to say Dawn, along with everyone else not in the know, has been quite worried about her."

"And you told her she should, right?"

"That was entirely up to her," Giles replied calmly. "But Dawn is her sister and I do believe she should know what has been happening."


"Are you alright this morning, Faith?"

"Just a little tired," she shrugged. "Didn't get much sleep last night."

"You'll have plenty of time to sleep on the flight to Cleveland," he said with a warm smile.

There was a slight twinkle in his eye as Faith looked over at him and she wondered if he knew exactly why she hadn't slept much at all. Giles was just too stuffy, too uptight to actually say it. Then again, she felt like she really didn't even know him anymore. She felt like she didn't know any of them, not nearly as much as she once thought she had. Giles was a complete mystery, but at least she knew his intentions were of the good kind. She wasn't so sure about Willow. When she'd first come, Willow treated her much like the way she had years and years before. Over time, as days had passed, they had become friendlier with one another, but not quite on the friend level just yet.

She'd neither seen nor spoken to Dawn or Xander since she'd arrived there. A part of her was avoiding the two of them, for many reasons she didn't even want to admit to herself. She wasn't even sure if they knew she was there and she hadn't cared, not until now. Xander would be easy to deal with, not so easy to talk to and Dawn was a whole other story. She'd been wrong about Buffy hating her, but she knew she wasn't wrong about Dawn feeling that way too. There were things she'd done and said to her in the past that she knew Dawn wouldn't so easily let go and forgive her for.

She'd last spoken to Kennedy that night she had followed her out and sat there with her until morning came. Kennedy was just...there. She always was. She hadn't forgotten the things they'd talked about that night, either. They really drove home, every last word. She'd been wrong when she told Kennedy that she didn't need any friends. She was always wrong about that in particular. She wanted to do what Kennedy had told her to, to let everyone in that wanted to, to give them that chance they seemingly wanted to give her.

Giles looked at her curiously as the thoughts trickled through her mind and he chuckled a little when Faith blinked and opened her eyes wide, not even realizing at first that he was still standing there the whole time. Giles shook his head as he stifled a laugh and waited for her to come back down from her thoughts.

"What?" Faith asked, smirking at the look on Giles' face.

"You just went off and got lost within your own thoughts there. Was rather amusing."

"Thanks," she chuckled as she took a sip of her coffee. "So, I'm leaving in a couple hours, huh?"

"Yes. I've arranged for a car to take you to the airport in a little under three hours from now."

"I should pack some clothes and say goodbye to Buffy before I head out."

"You may want to give her some more time to talk with Dawn before you do," Giles said softly as he backed up to the door. "In the meantime there are a few things I would like to discuss with you."

"Which is?"

"Did she bite you?" He asked as he moved to examine the mark on her neck.

"Yeah, little bit," Faith shrugged. "It's okay, G. She just got a little out of hand is all. Nothing to get your man-panties in a twist over."

"So, she has no sense of control?"

"She does, it just..."

"Should I be worried?"

"No!" Faith sighed out. "G, seriously, don't worry about it. She's under control, for the most part. It's not like she's gonna go around trying to drain every human in sight."

"There is one other thing," he said as he looked over at her, not believing a word she'd said. "Buffy had spoken to me before about some dreams she'd been having. Dreams she believes you two were sharing. Is there anything you would like to tell me about these dreams?"

"Which ones?"

"Any of them, any of the ones you can recall in detail."

"Basic shared dreams, G."

"No prophecies to worry about?"

Faith shook her head. "No. I, uh...was having these dreams before I came here. Dreams that showed me what had happened to Buffy. Didn't think it was anything but a nightmare sparked by an overactive imagination."

It was partially the truth. She wasn't sure why she was holding it back from Giles. He, as Buffy's former Watcher and her own, had every right to know what was going on in those dreams minus the sexual parts. Telling him, Faith knew, without a doubt would not only help her figure out what kind of connection she'd been sharing with Buffy, but could help Giles figure out a multitude of other things as well when it came to Buffy and herself.

"Nothing I should know?"

"No," Faith shook her head slowly. "I mean, I saw her being ripped to shreds by a pack of vampires, wild looking ones. I just never put two and two together until I came here."

"And you've waited until now to tell me about this?"

"You never asked me before!"

Faith paced for a few moments, then began packing up a bag, stopping every couple of minutes to drink her coffee. Giles stood by the door, keeping quiet as he watched her. She sighed out as she zipped up her bag and spun around to look at him. He had this knowing look on his face, almost as if he could sympathize with what she was feeling and going through right then. She sighed out loudly as she finished off her coffee and placed the mug down on top of the dresser.

"Anything else you wanted to talk to me about before I head out?"

"Yes, there is actually," Giles replied as he motioned for Faith to follow him. "I've gotten into contact with Angel."

"With Angel? Why?"

"Regarding the changes Buffy has gone through. You can only help her so much, Faith. Unfortunately one of the things I believe you won't be able to help her with is the bloodlust and the ramifications she's dealing with being what she is now with a soul. Angel is the only one who would truly understand everything she's going through and feeling right now."

"Is he coming here then?"

"He will be arriving here in a few days, probably about the same time you return. I wanted to clear this with you first," Giles said quietly as they walked down the corridor towards the main stairs. "It's been quite some time since any of us has seen Angel. He's more than willing to come here and help Buffy."

Faith just nodded, wondering why she hadn't thought of bringing Angel in to help Buffy in the first place. Giles was right about one thing. There was only one person who could truly understand what Buffy was going through, who could help her, and that was Angel. She stopped at Buffy's suite and listened for a few moments. She could hear both Buffy and Dawn talking quietly and she let out a soft sigh before looking around for a Giles who was now no longer there in the corridor with her.

She paced in front of Buffy's suite for a good ten minutes before she stopped, took in a deep breath and knocked on the door. She'd been debating whether or not to disturb the two of them. Whatever they'd been talking about was between the two of them and up to Buffy to explain, not her. She knew neither of them would appreciate the fact that she was meddling in their sisterly talk, a talk she feared wouldn't end well for Buffy or herself. She waited and knocked once more, holding her breath until she felt like her lungs were about to burst.

She heard Buffy tell Dawn they'd talk more later and within a few seconds the door was flung open. Buffy stood there, a little pissed at first, but when her eyes fell upon Faith she smiled and pulled her into the room. Faith looked over Buffy's shoulder and saw Dawn sitting on the long sofa off to one side of the room.
"I just came to say goodbye," she said quietly as her eyes drifted back to Buffy's. "I'm leaving for Cleveland in a couple of hours."

"You're leaving? Just like that? Even after..."

"B, I'm leaving just to go back there and pack up my apartment and bring everything back here. That was the plan originally, remember? Told you I was staying here for good and that's what I plan to do. I'll be back in two days."

Buffy sighed out, running her hands up Faith's arms slowly as she backed her up against the door. Faith was in no position to stop Buffy as she leaned in and kissed her. Not even the groan of disgust coming from Dawn stopped either of them from indulging in what was possibly the sweetest, most tender kiss they'd shared since things really started unfolding between them.

"You two want to be alone?" Dawn called out, forcing them to break away from their kiss. "Because you know I really don't want to witness you two making out in front of me anytime soon, or ever for that matter."

"She knows about us?" Faith whispered and Buffy only nodded her head slowly. "What does she know exactly?"

"That we're together," Buffy replied. "I also told her everything else."

"How'd she take it?"

"Pretty good, considering," Buffy said softly as Dawn walked over to them and waited for the two of them to move away from the door. "We'll still talk later, Dawnie?"

"Yeah, sure," she shrugged and looked right at Faith. "Nice to see you again, Faith."

There was no malicious tone in her voice and the smile she flashed at Faith before she let herself out and closed the door behind her had been genuine. She shook her head, laughing a little as Buffy grabbed her hand and pulled her further into the room. She looked back at the door, half expecting Dawn to come back in and lash out at her for all that had happened in the past. When she didn't, there was this underlying feeling that even though it hadn't been said, Dawn had forgiven her and forgotten the past. She was willing to move forward just like Buffy was, along with others that were slowly falling into that group who wanted to look to the future, all of them together as one as it should have always been.

Still looking back at the door, she sighed out contentedly, relieved that for once in her life there was no backlash about to rain down on the string of happiness she'd managed to find in all the darkness and the drama that continuously found its way into her life. The consistent tugging on her arm from Buffy made her look back and she gave her a lopsided grin as she allowed herself to be pulled further into the large room. Finding her voice finally after what seemed like hours, she stopped and took in a deep breath, calming whatever little bit of nerves that dared flutter up from beneath the jagged, hard surface that covered her soul. Words that were everything but the things she truly wanted and needed to say.

"So, I take it she's taken everything better than expected?" Faith asked as Buffy pulled her roughly toward the bed.

"Uh huh."


"She was a little pissed at first that I was turned. I had to explain as much as I could as quickly as I could about the spell before she ran off and tried to kill Willow."

"And how come you told her about us?"

"Because," she whispered as she pushed Faith down on the bed. "There's no way I'd be able to keep what we have a secret from my own sister."

Faith felt slightly uneasy. She wasn't even sure what they had together. Was it a relationship? A full blown, genuine relationship they had or was it something else entirely? Buffy gave her no time to stop and think before she was already tugging at her clothes, trying to get them off. Powerless under her, Faith let her strip her naked and laid there, propped slightly up on her elbows, and watched as Buffy slowly stripped out of her own clothes.

The yearning in Buffy's eyes, the desire, the lustful haze, burned into her own as Buffy crawled over her and straddled her hips. She reached up for her, sliding her hands over her neck slowly and pulling her down for a painfully intense kiss. She'd forgotten in that moment everything that had happened that morning. She'd forgotten the talk she had with Giles, she'd forgotten that Angel would be coming there to help Buffy learn to control who she was now and she'd forgotten than just mere minutes before Dawn had been there in the room with them.

It was so easy to slip away from the rest of the world and fall into one that only the two of them shared. She knew this was Buffy's way of saying goodbye even though in less than three days they'd be together again. How they got this far, this deep so quickly was a mystery to her. Three weeks before they barely could speak to one another. Three weeks before Faith only had dreamt of Buffy, of being with her this way and now it had all became a reality, one she still feared was a dream, that at any given moment she'd wake up and find herself back in Cleveland, alone.

"How long until you leave?" Buffy whispered as she broke away from the kiss. "How long do we have?"

"Uh...two hours?" She shrugged, struggling to remember what Giles had said to her. "Something like that."

"It is going to be pure torture being apart from you," Buffy whispered against her lips as she rolled her hips hard into Faith's. "I'm...this is crazy, isn't it? One day we're just friends and the next..."

"We're insatiable."

"I can't get enough of you, Faith. I want you every second of the day," Buffy moaned softly as Faith's hands wandered over her back aimlessly, their hips languidly thrusting into one another's in perfect synchronicity. "I can feel you want the same thing, you want me just as badly as I want you."

"Oh yeah," she grinned as she stared deeply into Buffy's eyes.

"Two days?" Buffy sighed out slowly. "Pure. Torture."

"You got it bad," Faith chuckled as she rolled them over and gripped Buffy's left thigh as she settled between her legs as if she belonged there. She barely even noticed the chill coming from Buffy's body beneath her own over her own heat radiating throughout her body. "Two days is nothing, B. Went this long without each other."

"We didn't know how we felt about each other before."

"Point taken."

Faith stopped all movement and stared down at Buffy, wondering what was going through her mind at that moment. Everything had changed too much and it was hard to soak it all in. They'd taken such a giant leap forward together and Faith felt if she didn't stop and slow down she'd fall so quick and end up hurt with a broken heart in the end. It was always at this point in any relationship, or what could be a relationship, when she felt that itch and that urge to run. Buffy seemed to know what was going through her mind and she held her close, her nails almost painfully digging into the skin over her shoulder blades.

"Don't run, Faith."


"Don't," Buffy whispered softly, trailing her fingers down her back slowly in long, soothing strokes. "I know this is all kinds of new and all kinds of fast, but trust me when I tell you that this could be the best thing to ever happen in your life and in mine."

Faith raised an eyebrow at that, never imagining that Buffy would think of her as a good thing in her life. Then again she never could imagine how close they'd become, how much they'd gotten over and how far they'd come to where they were now. Buffy was nothing like she thought she was. She was nothing like the old Buffy, in more than just the very obvious way. There were parts of her that Faith never knew could ever exist, parts of her that loved Faith in ways nobody had ever dared love her before. She let herself relax, having not realized how tense she'd become until she did.

"Is it so hard for you to believe that this is real?" Buffy asked. "Because it is very real, Faith."

"I know it's real."

"Then why do you want to run?"

"How do you know I want to run?"

"I can feel it," Buffy whispered in reply. "Does it really scare you this much?"

"Yeah," Faith admitted much more freely and easily than she thought she'd be able to. "It scares me cos it's you, B. We've both been through so much together and on our own and to be where we are now..."

"You mean right now?" Buffy asked, stifling a chuckle as she glanced at the next to no space between their bodies.

"You know what I mean," Faith chuckled and shook her head, making no effort to move from where she was. "To be where we are now together, I...it's hard to explain how it's making me feel. The world feels like its stopped spinning and I just keep on going, you know?"

Buffy nodded her head slowly as she wrapped her legs around Faith's hips. She said nothing more as she brought their lips together. Her body was screaming at her just to give in, to let go and submerge herself within Buffy and her head was telling her 'no'. It was far too late for that now and she just let herself be taken, falling away into the intense kiss. She shuddered a little, the cold body beneath hers chilling her to the core. It was only then that she felt her anger and insecurity begin to consume her, and she broke apart from the kiss, panting heavily as she tried to control the emotions going through her. Buffy brought their lips back together, both of them smiling into the kiss as all those insecurities, those fears and doubts fluttered away at the feel of Buffy's insistent lips upon her own.

Nearly half a day later she was back in her old apartment, standing in the middle of the living room with a cigarette dangling from her lips and her eyes wandering over what little belongings she had. The slayers that had been covering for her had already gone out on patrol, leaving her on her own for a couple of hours to pack and to think. Mostly think.

The last couple of hours she'd spent with Buffy, after those insecurities, doubts and fears finally did disappear, were nothing short of amazing. She could still feel Buffy all over her, taste her upon her lips. She was still amazed at where they were now. Amazed at how over the last several weeks they'd gotten over their past and slowly began to let each other in behind those walls that guarded both their hearts. But the harsh realities of what led them together came crashing down as she took a long look around her nearly empty apartment.

She felt like she could burst into tears, her emotions, her memories, her dreams and nightmares all of a sudden blurring together, fading out the thin edges of the world around her. She was strong, not as much as she wanted to be, but strong enough to hold herself together. She'd found something in Buffy she could never have even dreamt of having. She'd found parts of her soul inside of Buffy, parts of her soul she never had before. It made her shake, tremble with anguish that Buffy was no longer herself, that there was a demon inside of the cold, dead  body of hers, fighting with her soul every second of the day.

She crushed out her cigarette in the overflowing ashtray, grabbed her jacket and her keys and headed out. The walk to the abandoned safe house was long and it was cold and lonely. The first rays of dawn poked over the horizon as she finally reached the house and she took in a deep breath, letting those memories of Robin and the fallen slayers come back to her. She slid the key into the padlock and shivered as she opened the door and walked inside.

Tearing off the old, dirty sheet from her Harley, she smiled a little as she ran her fingers over the worn leather seat. It felt like far too long since she'd felt the purr between her legs, the power the bike possessed when under her control. Without wasting more time, she rolled the bike out of the house, locking the padlock and double checking to make sure it was secure before she started up the Harley and sped from the house, headed away from the city.

She was running, not for good, but just for long enough to clear her head of everything barrelling through it. It was what she'd done before, what kept her sane all those years she'd spent alone. She wasn't alone any longer. She had Buffy now, she had Giles and Willow, and she even had Dawn and Xander along with everyone else in Scotland and those around the world she'd never even met. It made her heart warm a little knowing she was a part of their lives now. She'd never been a part of anything, a family. Her own life had been spent mostly alone and knowing nothing more than the feeling of being unloved and broken.

Farmland, forests and the odd small house whipped past her as she pushed the Harley to its limits, the tears of happiness, of loneliness tearing at the corner of her eyes with every sharp breath she took. She allowed her memories to come flooding back, memories of her broken childhood, memories of her time in Sunnydale, of after, of Robin, of the fallen slayers she was supposed to protect, to lead, to help them live another day. She came to a stop just outside the small, nearly forgotten cemetery and turned off the bike.

When she'd come back after her downfall, she'd found this cemetery and something about it just felt right. She walked past the rusted gates, forever stuck partway open, and made her way to the five small tombstones in the back. She knelt down in front of Robin's, knowing he and the others had never properly been laid to rest, but the memory of him was there, proof he had lived and passed on. That he was a hero, just like the others.

She closed her eyes, letting the tears fall as she laid her hand upon the small stone. She wondered how different her life could have been had he still been alive, had she not lost the baby. Would she have been happy? Would she have felt loved? It wouldn't have been close to what she felt with Buffy, but she knew it would have been enough. He had shown her how to love even if she didn't love him the way she knew he hoped she would. He had helped her find pieces of herself that made her who she was now, pieces that fit together with the pieces of her soul she'd found within Buffy.

The chirping of her cell jolted her from her memories, from her thoughts and she groaned as she stood up and slid it out of her pocket.


"Hey," Buffy whispered softly. "Did I catch you at a bad time?"

Faith chuckled as she wiped away the tears on her cheek. "Just taking care of a few things, is all."

"I needed to hear your voice."

"That your way of telling me how much you miss me?" Faith asked with a teasing tone in her voice. It was amazing how much Buffy had been clinging to her even so many thousand miles apart. "I miss you too, B."

"I wish I could have come with you."

"I do too, but with your new allergy to the sun, we couldn't risk it."

"I keep thinking about you, about us," she said softly, so softly it sent shivers down Faith's spine. "I've got you under my skin, Faith. It's never...been like this before."

"Crazy isn't it?" Faith asked as she glanced down at the ground in front of her. "Everything has changed.
Changed for the better. I keep asking myself how this happened."

Buffy laughed quietly and they both fell silent as Faith slowly made her way through the cemetery and back to her Harley. Her head was spinning again, too full with too many different emotions for her to swim through, to breathe through. It pained her how much she really, truly did miss Buffy. To know Buffy was feeling the same way made her feel like she actually mattered and was loved in more ways that she realized.

"What are you thinking about?"

"Besides how much this phone call is gonna end up being?" Faith chuckled as she shook her head. "Thinking about you, B. I'm always thinking about you. You got me under your skin and I got you in my heart and in my soul."

"In your soul?"

"Always have been there, B."

Faith bit her lip, knowing how cheesy and sappy she was sounding. But it was too easy just to say it, to let her know what she felt. It made it feel real. Extremely real, and still a little scary for her. Everything about her, her thoughts, her feelings, her heart, was unguarded to Buffy now.

"You always surprise me," she said softly after a few minutes of silence between them. "I never knew how deep you could be until these past couple of weeks. Even through all those times we just joked around and laughed, I could see parts of you that you'd never let me see before. I think it's how I knew to accept and embrace the fact that I love you. That I'm in love with you and always have been even before I met you, Faith."

"God, you were right before when you said that these two days would be pure torture, cos all I wanna do right now is kiss you," Faith breathed out shakily. The line filled with slight static and she pulled the phone from her ear quickly. Half a bar. She groaned, not wanting to hang up, wanting to hear Buffy's voice for just a little longer. "I gotta let you go, B. Losing the signal out here."



"Say goodbye to Robin and the girls for me," she whispered, the soft click that followed let Faith know she'd hung up.

Faith smiled to herself, not questioning how Buffy knew where she was, just knowing that somehow Buffy could just feel it. She slipped her phone back into her pocket and made her way back inside the cemetery to deliver one last goodbye from her and from Buffy.

She stood in front of the empty graves, saying silent goodbyes and shedding the last of her tears. She had no idea how long it'd be before she would find herself back here. It could be months or even years. Before, when she'd first given them a place to 'rest' she'd never cried, never said goodbye. It was different now. She had to leave a part of her behind, a part of her love for Robin and her fallen slayers. If she believed in anything, it was believing that one day she'd see them again. Closing her eyes and letting the words goodbye pass her lips ever so quietly, she turned and walked away, feeling the weight of the world crushing her as it always had and always would, but it was less painful now.

Saying goodbye had been something she knew a long time ago that she needed to do in order for her to really move on. She didn't even plan to do it today, but once she'd been on her Harley, it almost seemed to just lead her to here.

Everything was changing, just as the world did with every day that passed. Her life was taking a different turn now, one she was scared to death of and one she welcomed with open arms and an open, unguarded heart. She rode back to the city with a lingering smile upon her lips and a lighter, carefree feeling surrounding her very soul. No matter what was about to come her way, she felt a tiny bit stronger and ready to take it all on, one piece at a time or all of it at the same time. She knew what her purpose in life was now, aside from being a Slayer. Her purpose was to love and let others love her if they so wished. Robin had tried to teach her that, but it had been Buffy who unlocked it from deep within her.

She entered her apartment quietly so she wouldn't wake the sleeping girls scattered throughout the living room, sleeping on the couch, the armchair and a few laid out on sleeping bags on the floor. She walked into her room and closed the door slowly behind her, feeling the call of sleep beginning to take her over as soon as her eyes fell upon the bed. Tearing off the clothes she'd spent far too long in, she made her way over to the bed, collapsing in exhaustion and already feeling the edges of her dream world begin to take over her consciousness.

The whispered voices in her head spoke to her, but she was too exhausted to listen, too far gone to hear what was said.


Chapter Nine

Inane chattering and the smell of freshly brewed coffee lured her from a deep sleep just a few short hours later. She groaned loudly as she pulled the pillow over her head and tried to drown out the voices of the girls in the kitchen as they laughed and talked about their plans for the day. Faith threw her pillow at the door the second three soft taps came upon it.

"What do you want?"

"I've got coffee," one of the girls said meekly as she opened the door and held out the cup, her hands shaking slightly as she peered in the room. "Heard you come in earlier this morning and I thought you might want a cup."

Faith groaned as she slipped out of bed, holding the sheets over her nearly naked body as she walked to the door and took the cup of coffee from the girl. Amy, she thought her name was. With a mumbled thanks, she shut the door forcefully and walked over to the bed, taking a long sip of her hot coffee before placing it on the nightstand and grabbing her pack of cigarettes.

She wanted to be alone and in an apartment crowded with six girls it wasn't going to happen. She was used to being alone. She craved it even though there were a lot of times when she hated being surrounded with nothing but loneliness. It reminded her of how she felt that first day she'd arrived at the castle and had become lost after walking through the corridors. The twisted, never-ending maze of them was much like her own life, her own path of loneliness she'd taken far too many times before. It was the quiet that came with the loneliness she craved, the quiet and the ability to sleep for more than a couple short hours at a time.

She sat on the edge of the bed, still clutching the sheets around her body with one hand as she lit a cigarette with the other. Those first few deep inhales sent the nicotine rushing through her sleep-deprived body and she welcomed it, she welcomed the little shivers she felt all over her body just from a simple, disgusting habit she knew she never should have picked up. Shrugging it off, she let the sheets fall from around her body as she leaned back against the headboard and watched as the smoke danced and twirled over the few streams of sunlight poking through the blinds. The simplicity of it all relaxed her and helped her put her mind at ease and shut out the voices filtering through the thin walls and poor excuse for a door.

In seventeen hours she'd be on a plane and heading back to Scotland. Seventeen long, gruelling hours. She shook her head and reached for her coffee, sighing as she took a sip and leaned her head back on the headboard. Yet another soft knock came upon her door and she leapt off the bed, grabbing her clothes quickly and slipping them on before she opened the door.


"Hi," she said quietly as she stepped past her into the room. "Bet you're wondering what I'm doing here, huh?"


"Buffy made me."

Faith chuckled as she shook her head, watching as Willow paced around the room, taking in the sight of it slowly. It did look like a bomb had gone off in there, most of the girls now living there had their clothes in there and they were absolutely everywhere.

"She made you come here?"

"Told me that two days is two days too long. I can't believe how...bad she has it for you, Faith. It's unreal."

"You're telling me," she muttered under her breath as she shoved the clothes she'd worn the day and night before into her bag and zipped it shut. "So, you gonna like mojo me back there? What about my stuff?"

Willow nodded as she toed the pile of dirty clothes by the closet door with her foot. "I really hope this isn't all yours."

"Does it look like it's all mine?" Faith laughed as she slung her bag over her shoulder and grabbed her cup of coffee. "Everything I got fits in this bag, Red. I came back mostly for my Harley. You can mojo that back, right?"

"Of course I can, what do you think I am? An amateur?"

Willow smiled smugly at Faith as she followed her out of the bedroom and into the kitchen. Faith slipped off the keys from her key ring, three of them, two to the apartment and the one for the padlock to the safe house. She placed them on the counter and told the girls to stay safe even though she knew they didn't need to hear it. They were better trained and more prepared than the girls that had been there before. She wrote down directions to the safe house and handed it to the girl who'd brought her coffee earlier.

Faith didn't say much else to any of them. She didn't know them, didn't care to really. If she knew them, she'd worry too much and she wasn't the type to worry about anyone but herself, as selfish as it sounded. She headed out of the apartment with Willow following close behind her. She led Willow outside and across the road to the small parking lot where she'd left her Harley. Without saying a word, she climbed on the bike and motioned for Willow to get on behind her.

"Where are we going?"

"You gonna mojo us back in broad daylight with however many people around?" Faith pointed out as Willow looked around at the many people walking down the street and driving in their cars. "That's what I thought. Now get on. We're going for a ride."

Willow sputtered a half-assed refusal as Faith slipped her bag from around her shoulder and put it over Willow's. She smirked as Willow shook her head and reluctantly climbed on the back of the bike and wrapped her arms around her waist. Faith rode them out of town, finding a deserted side road where she stopped and turned off the engine. She climbed off the bike, trying not to laugh at the look on Willow's face as she stood on shaky legs and dropped Faith's bag to the ground.

"That was..."

"Amazing, huh?" Faith chuckled as she picked up her bag from the ground. "Never been on a Harley before, have you?"


"First time for everything, Red."

"You're telling me," she said under her breath as she finally composed herself. "Here's the plan. I'm going to send your baby back first and then you are coming back with me. It's the only way I can do this. The only problem is, because there are two of us, there's no telling where in the castle we'll show up exactly."

"And you say you aren't an amateur."

"I'm not!" Willow said loudly and shook her head as she calmed down. "Spells like this are tricky even for someone who knows almost everything, like myself. Now the bike, I know exactly where it'll turn up at the castle. Because it's not a living breathing thing, they are more predictable as to where they'll end up."

Faith nodded her head, interested in what she was saying, but now growing restless knowing it'd be minutes and not hours until she was back in Scotland and back with Buffy. Here she thought Buffy had it bad. She probably had it worse. Her whole body was itching for her, craving her, needing and wanting her. It was borderline painful. Then she remembered that Angel would be arriving there in Scotland today and she couldn't help but feel a string of jealousy that he'd be there and back in all their lives, especially in Buffy's.

It was one thing she'd tried not to think about ever since Giles told her that Angel would be coming to help Buffy. She knew the two of them were long over, that they no longer felt that way about each other. It still didn't stop her from remembering how it'd been years before between them all and it didn't stop her from remembering how Angel had helped her find her path to redemption, either. A part of her couldn't wait to see him again. He did mean a lot to her and she did owe him a lot, her life possibly. But that bigger part of her, the part with the jealousy and the doubt and the insecurities, that part threatened to rear its ugly head and the past would end up repeating itself.

"Buffy was right. You really do go all spacey when you think," Willow laughed as she waved her hand in front of Faith's face. "You were thinking about him, weren't you?"

"About who?"


"Yeah," Faith nodded as she kicked the gravel road and sighed. "When's he coming?"

"When I left he was just arriving. We had no time to say anything but a quick hello," Willow replied and when she saw the crestfallen look on Faith's face she reached out and tentatively placed a hand on her shoulder. "She doesn't love him, you know? She hasn't for a long time now."

"I know."

"I know what you're thinking. That they're both vampires with a soul, that they are perfect for each other. They'll fall back in love and the only difference now is that this time they'll be able to truly be together."

"Maybe," Faith shrugged, willing herself not to get so worked up over it when she knew it wasn't going to happen.

"You do realize all I've heard in the past twenty-four hours has been Buffy talking about you and whining about how much she misses you?" Willow asked and smiled as Faith looked up at her in mild surprise. "I am just happy that she's finally smiling and happier than I've seen her in a long time. You have a lot to do with that and I don't think it's just because of the...recent developments in your relationship. I think it has a lot more to do with all the time you'd been spending together over the last several weeks. You've really helped her get through what's been the hardest time in her life."

"Just tried to do the right thing for once," Faith said softly. "Giles knew I'd do anything for her and I think she knew that too."

"You ready?" Willow asked as she pulled Faith further away from the bike. Faith only nodded and watched as Willow spoke in a foreign language and her bike disappeared into thin air.

"Red?" Faith said softly as she reached out for her and pulled her in for a hug. "Thank you."

"For what?"

"For giving me a chance," she said sincerely. "Now, tell anyone I hugged you and I'll..."

"You'll what?" Willow smirked as she grabbed Faith's hand. "Don't worry, I won't say a word. Just one thing?"

"What's that?"

"Don't let go," she said and she repeated the same words she'd used to make the bike disappear.

In an instant Faith found herself standing in the middle of her room in the castle. She let go of the breath she'd been holding as she let go of Willow's hand, breathing back in shakily as she dropped her bag to the floor. Willow looked around the room, seemingly pleased with herself, and without another word she walked out and left Faith standing there alone.

She took a few unsteady steps towards the bed and collapsed face first as soon as she was at the foot of it. She was so tired and all she wanted to do was sleep. The low, deep hum in her body was growing more and more intense as the seconds ticked by and she smiled to herself when she heard the door open slowly. She slowly rolled to her side and looked over at Buffy as she stood in the doorway, leaning up against the frame with her arms crossed over her chest.

"Hey, B. Heard you missed me," Faith chuckled as she sat up and watched Buffy try not to smile as she stayed where she was. "What, no `I missed you' kiss hello? You make Red come all the way over there to mojo me back and now you just..."

Buffy laughed as she pushed herself off the doorframe and walked into the room. She kicked the door shut with her foot and slowly made her way over to the bed. Faith could sense the internal struggle Buffy was having to not just to leap on the bed and completely devour her. She could sense it in every step that Buffy took that brought them closer together. Faith leaned up on her elbows, smiling smugly up at Buffy as she stood at the foot of the bed in front of her, hesitating for a moment before she moved to straddle her hips and pulled her up by the collar of her shirt.

They stared at one another for a moment before their lips crashed together in a fierce, wanton kiss full of passion and want and need. Faith ran her hands over the back of Buffy's thighs, lost in a haze of pleasure and lust. It was incredible the way Buffy made her feel and how much passion was in the kiss between them. She wanted more, so much more, but the rational and sensible part of her mind told her it would have to wait until later. Much later.

"God, I can't believe how much I missed you," Buffy whispered against her lips. "This is crazy. I was driving myself insane without you here. Dawn probably thinks I've completely lost it."

"You have completely lost it, B. I mean come on. A month ago you wanted nothing to do with me."

"That's not true."

"Well, it is, B. If you hadn't..."

Buffy shook her head as she ran her fingers over the back of Faith's neck. "Don't. I want to try and forget what happened, what brought us back together and just remember everything after."

"Have you...eaten today?" Faith asked, hoping a change in topic would ease the growing tension between them. Buffy only nodded which caused Faith to sigh out slowly in relief. "Where's Angel?"

"Talking to Giles, apparently. I haven't seen him yet. Soon as he arrived he went to talk to Giles and they've been in his office for the last hour and a half."

"How'd you know I was back?"

"Besides the fact that Willow came to tell me? I could feel you."

"You could feel me?"

Buffy nodded as she smiled down at her. "I always could feel you even when you were a thousand miles away. It's more intense now. I can feel that familiar hum all over me, filling me with you and I can feel it in my heart and soul now too."

Faith wanted to tell her that's exactly how she felt now too, but she knew she didn't need to. They were communicating silently with just being so close together. The bad-ass part of her wanted to laugh at the way she was feeling. It wanted to tease her relentlessly for falling so head over heels in love with Buffy. Three weeks ago she might have cared and it would have bothered her, angered her, but it was different now. She wouldn't trade how she was feeling now for anything in the world. Well, almost anything. She'd give anything to have Buffy turn back into herself, to be human again, for the coldness in her to become full of warmth, for that hunger in her eyes to just be of lust and not bloodlust as well.

She felt as if she was full of empathy, in tune with what Buffy was feeling and sending everything she was feeling to her just by the touch of their bodies and the soft touch of lips upon lips. She ignored that rational side of her that told her to wait until later to get reacquainted with Buffy and she slid her hands under her shirt, slowly pulling it up. They broke from their kiss for only a second as Faith pulled her shirt over her head and let Buffy take off hers before their lips crashed back together and Faith laid back on the bed, holding Buffy close to her. Her fingertips trailed over Buffy's smooth, cool skin, dancing over her back until her fingers reached the edges of her bra.

Her heart was thudding in her chest, excitement and arousal taking over her body as she unclasped Buffy's bra with one quick flick of her fingers. Her mind was stuck between thinking about how easy it was just to `be' with Buffy and thinking about how they shouldn't do this at the moment. But she was fast becoming lost in the lustful haze that filled her as Buffy's agile fingers popped the button on her jeans and slowly began tugging them down.

"God, I can't believe how much I want you, need you," Buffy groaned as Faith pulled her bra off of her and shifted her body enough for Buffy to rid her of her jeans completely. "I don't think I'll ever get enough of you."

"Sure as hell will be wicked fun trying though, huh?" Faith chuckled as Buffy pulled her up a little and rid her of her bra, leaving her lying there beneath her in only her panties. "Never knew it could be like this."

"Be like what?" Buffy asked softly, her voice thick and husky with sexual need. "Incredible?"

"One of the words I was looking for."

"It would have been like this if I wasn't..."

"I know, B. Don't think about that though. Just think about now."

 Their lips crashed back together with such force it was almost bruising. The last of their clothing came off, nearly being torn off in the heat of the moment. It had only been just over a day, but it felt like forever as their bodies came together, finding one another, fitting perfectly as if they were the last two pieces of the puzzle that made it complete. As hands wandered over the dips and curves, lips sought out more, tongues danced a dominating, erotic dance to the song playing in both of their hearts. It was small moments such as this when the world fell away, the darkness and the light merging as one and all of life's problems disappearing just for a short while.

She felt Buffy slip into her game face before they broke away from their kiss. She opened her eyes and stared at Buffy, sighing as Buffy licked her lips and ran her tongue over her fangs before moving down to kiss her way over Faith's neck. She felt Buffy tremble as her tongue caressed her pulse point and she could feel the fight Buffy had not to sink her fangs in and have a taste. As crazy as it was, Faith almost wanted her to. The feel of Buffy sinking her sharp fangs into her skin, both of the times she had done it already, had been a rush. She couldn't even describe the feeling of how it'd felt, the words disappearing from her mind as Buffy scraped her fangs over the flesh near her collarbone.

Letting out a soft sigh mixed with a quiet moan, Faith looked down at Buffy as she trailed her lips, her tongue and her sharp fangs over her body. She reached out and ran her fingers through Buffy's hair, the soft touch calming Buffy, relaxing her just enough for her to slip out of her game face and continue her torturous assault on Faith's eager body. Her heart was racing still, thudding loudly in her chest as Buffy circled her tongue over a hard nipple, her fingers dancing over her skin, creating goose bumps under her icy cold touch.

Buffy took her time, licking and nipping and sucking at her hard nipple, lingering long enough to taste, to tease before moving ever so slowly over the rise and fall of her breasts to her other hard nub. The coolness of Buffy's mouth around her, tasting and teasing her, turned her on to no end and she arched up into her mouth, her body pleading for more as cool fingers began a slow descent to the apex of her thighs. She could feel Buffy all over her, in her as her fingers slid deftly inside her hot, wet core. Her hands tangled in Buffy's hair, her breathing ragged, her body aching in delicious pleasure she knew now that only Buffy could satisfy.

"You taste so good," Buffy whispered against her skin as she began to place feather-light kisses over her stomach, following down the same path that her fingers had taken mere seconds before. "Every bit of you has its own taste. It's addictive."

Faith groaned, her words caught in her throat as Buffy slipped her fingers out from inside of her and spread her legs as her tongue grazed her clit. She could feel the edges of her world, of reality fading as all she felt was the touch of Buffy's tongue on her, in her, all over her. She felt her whole body tense and relax and she whimpered at the loss of Buffy's tongue and lips against her. She looked down as Buffy breathed out slowly, her cool breath tickling her skin and causing those wonderful shivers to run rampant from her core throughout the rest of her body and back again.

Then she saw it, the conflicted look in Buffy's bloodlust filled eyes. She wanted to bite her, to taste her, mark her yet again as hers. And Faith wanted nothing more in that moment than to let her.

Daring her with her eyes, just a simple look, they shared a soft, knowing smile before Buffy easily transformed into her game face and stared down hungrily at what was on full display in front of her. Contemplating where she wanted to go, to bite, to drink, to taste, she took in an unnecessary breath before trailing the tips of her fingers over Faith's inner thighs, seeking out the sweet spot where she would mark her once again. Faith gasped out loudly when Buffy sunk her fangs into soft flesh, a whole new wave of sensations and a flood of arousal pouring over her body as Buffy drank from her.

She forced Buffy away from her when she felt her racing heart straining at the sudden loss of blood in her body. Buffy let herself be pushed away, licking her blood-stained lips hungrily as she stared intensely into Faith's eyes. She dipped her head back down slowly and licked away the trail of blood slowly seeping from the two puncture wounds on Faith's inner thigh.

"I was right about how good you taste," she purred as she slowly moved up Faith's body and straddled her hips, slipping out of her game face as she traced her fingers over Faith's tense shoulders. "You okay?"

"Sure," Faith stammered as she struggled to keep her eyes open. "Why wouldn't I be?"

The slight blood loss, although it wasn't quite enough to make her pass out, was making the room spin around her. Her heart was still hammering in her chest, her ears were ringing and her body ached for more and begged for sleep. What her body wanted more of, she knew now, was more than just Buffy's touch. She was beginning to understand why Riley had done what he did near the end of his and Buffy's relationship. She'd heard the stories and Buffy had even talked to her about Riley over the past several weeks. She groaned as she closed her eyes, her body fast grown numb with a multitude of sensations running through her body at far too quick a rate for her to take them all in.

Buffy sighed as she nuzzled her neck and settled off to her side. Faith knew she wanted to get off too. She not only knew, she could feel it as well, but the fatigue, the loss of blood and the feeling of too many conflicted emotions at once were getting the better of her. She breathed in deeply and slowly as she kept her eyes closed and her arms wrapped tightly around Buffy. She lazily reached for the covers, barely managing to pull them up before she felt that relentless pull of sleep become too much. Giving in and giving up on trying to fight it, she let sleep overtake her.

The morning sun poked through the window, warming her half exposed naked body. She woke up in alarm and reached out for Buffy, finding the bed once again very empty and cold next to her. She reached down and ran her fingers over the spot where Buffy had bitten her. The skin was still a little tender, but other than the tenderness there was nothing there but some slight bumps on her usually unmarred skin.

The soft, faint footsteps she heard forced her to open her eyes. She looked over at the bathroom door and smiled as Buffy stood there, staying in the only darkness in the room and wearing not a stitch of clothing. Faith slipped out of bed, pulling the heavy drapes shut and watching as Buffy made her way over to the bed as her eyes adjusted to the darkness. Faith joined her, both of them reaching the opposite ends of the bed at the same time and they shared a smile as they crawled under the covers and moved to lay within the warm and cold confines of each other's arms.

"Morning," Buffy whispered softly as she kissed her lightly on the lips. "I was wondering when you'd wake up."

"Been a long couple of days," Faith groaned. "And I'd say good morning to you, but this is about the time you go to sleep."

They both chuckled as Buffy laid her head on Faith's shoulder and sighed contentedly. Faith knew that she couldn't spend the entire day in bed even if it sounded like the best idea as of yet. She shivered as Buffy ran her fingers over her thigh, stilling her fingers when she reached the mark she'd given her. She lightly moved her fingers over her skin, inching upwards until Faith grabbed her hand and pulled it away.

"Not now, B."

Buffy rolled her eyes and tugged her hand free from Faith's grip and placed it over her stomach, her fingers tickling the slight dip at her side just above her waist. They laid there for awhile before Faith started to feel restless and she hastily untangled herself from Buffy and got dressed. Buffy's tired eyes lingered on her body and even though Faith's back was turned to her, she could feel the lust radiating off of her.

"Where are you going?"

"To find out where Red mojo'd my Harley, then I'm gonna go for a nice long ride."

"Oh, okay."

"Get some rest, B. I'll bring you something to drink when I get back, all right?"

She walked over to the bed and leaned down and gave Buffy a long, deep kiss before she headed for the door, grabbing her jacket and taking one last look back at her before she slipped out of the room. She made sure the door was shut before slipping on her jacket and heading for the back stairs. She wasn't in the mood to be seen or talked to by anyone at the moment. All she wanted was to ride her Harley and to think in the peace of her own mind.

A sense of relief washed over her as soon as she walked outside and saw her Harley parked next to the row of cars that lined the gravel driveway. She pulled out her keys from her pocket as she climbed onto the bike and as soon as the engine roared to life, she was off and leaving nothing behind her but dust and gravel flying in every direction.

The twisted roads helped her clear her head as she pushed the Harley to its limits as she always loved to do. She came to a stop when the thick forest around her cleared and she pulled the bike over and turned off the engine. She walked out to the field, the long grass dancing lazily in the early morning sun and breeze and she found a spot and laid back, staring up at the clouds in the sky and trying to think over everything that had unfolded in the last three weeks yet again.

It was hard for her to believe the turn of events her life had taken. Here she was in love with Buffy, who was now a vampire, and every bit of morals she'd had before when it came to `boinking' the un-dead had flown right out the window. It was also hard, next to impossible, to believe that Buffy was in love with her, with her of all the people she could possibly fall in love with. Had that admission of love come after Buffy had been turned, Faith wouldn't have accepted it. She wasn't sure why, she just knew she wouldn't have been able to accept it, embrace it and let it consume her the way it had.

The way they seemed so perfectly in tune with what the other felt was entirely new and Faith had never been able to feel that with anyone else before. It would have scared her if it wasn't for the fact that she shared this with Buffy, the one woman she'd always loved even before she knew she loved her. Empathy wasn't something she normally felt, but it was something she knew she was going to have to fast get used to. There was a connection between her and Buffy, be it Slayer connection or something else entirely, and that connection was not going anywhere anytime soon. In actuality it was only growing stronger, deeper, and the pull she felt that drew her in deeper to Buffy was merging their souls as one.

She sighed as she placed her hands behind her head and watched as the small puffs of clouds skimmed overhead. There was just something about lying in a quiet field and thinking with nothing but nature and her own thoughts surrounding her that centered her. Had anyone told her three years ago or more that she'd be lying in a field in Scotland thinking about her life, about Buffy and what they now shared, being in love and having the feeling being mutual; she would have laughed at whoever had told her just that.

Hours passed by like minutes and she stayed there until the sun lowered in the sky. With a heavy sigh she got up, walked back to her bike and rode back to the castle, feeling more at peace with herself, her thoughts and her feelings than she had hours before. She parked her bike and made her way inside, her first destination the kitchen as her stomach growled at the simple thought of food.

"Where have you been?" Giles demanded as soon as she'd walked into the kitchen and found him standing near the stove and waiting for the kettle to boil. "We have been looking for you all day."

"What's the big deal? Something happen?" Faith asked as she opened the fridge and pulled out a cold beer.

"No, nothing has happened. When I heard you were back early and that you'd locked yourself away in your room with Buffy all night I ah, ahem, thought I'd leave discussing the courses of action Angel and I spoke about until this morning."

"Which are?" She asked tiredly as she twisted off the cap on her beer and took a sip.

"He'll be here for quite some time helping her on the right path, learning how to control her impulses and deal with what she has become until we have found a way to reverse this tragedy."

"What if she doesn't want to go back to being what she was, G? You ever think about that?"

"Has she..."

"She told me," Faith said stiffly. "I have a feeling too that even though she didn't react well at first to what she has become that this is what she wanted."

"You are telling me that she wants to be a vampire? Do you have any idea how absurd that sounds?" Giles asked and his voice rose slightly as he shook his head. "Her worst fear was once being just like one of them. I refuse to believe that she now willingly accepts this fate that she so feared before."

"Whatever, G. It is what it is. I'm starting to accept the whole fucked up mess this has turned out to be. I know you and Willow have no hope that you'll find a way to reverse this. Why should I have any hope if you two don't?"

"There is hope, Faith. It'll take time. With Angel here now, he'll help us as well as helping Buffy."

"And what about me?" Faith asked as she stared at him, her anger beginning to show. "You brought me here to help Buffy and now that I can't help her in the way she needs it, what the fuck am I supposed to do now?"

"Be there for her," Giles responded calmer than she expected him to. "I am quite aware of your...relationship with Buffy. Although I haven't seen much of her in the last several days, it is rather a relief to see how happy she is now with you."

"You're cool with us being together?"

"Yes, I am. It's not much of a surprise to say the least. Always had a feeling that one day you two would find your way to each other and find love, friendship and happiness together."

"If you say `I better get a hand delivered wedding invitation' I'm gonna freak the fuck out," Faith chuckled, her voice faltering slightly at the thought of that actually happening.

"If that's what you two choose, I very much would love to be there on that day," he said with an impish smile. "I would say, though, at this point in time thinking that far ahead may be moving slightly too fast. Not only for you and for Buffy, but for the rest of us still trying to accept your newfound relationship."

"I'm not marriage material, G. I don't think we'll ever get that far. Hell, I didn't even think I was relationship material, but Buffy seems to think otherwise."

"You are. Everyone thinks that way about themselves until that moment is right, until that moment is presented to them and they take it and run with it. As I've said, it might be too fast and far too soon to be thinking that far ahead. We still have a lot to deal with right now. I think the only thing you should worry about is Buffy's well being for now."

Faith nodded and took another sip of her beer as she leaned against the counter. "Any way I can help you and Willow figure out how to reverse this spell?"

"I'm not sure what you could do that would help us. Willow is still trying to track down the mystics to no avail. I have my own theory as to why she was changed aside from the fact that the blood was switched."

"Oh yeah?"

"This particular spell has never been used on a Slayer before. The essence that is the Slayer, which as you know is a demon in itself, has made this healing spell complex. That Slayer essence along with the vampire blood allowed those changes to happen, and it was actually the spell that made Buffy hold onto her soul. If it wasn't for the spell..."

"The spell is what changed everything," Faith muttered under her breath. "But I see what you're getting at, Giles, and if I wasn't so damn hungry and tired right now, I'd understand more of what you're trying to say."

"What I was..."

"Can we just talk about this some other time?" She asked, cutting him off once again. "I mean I do want to know all I can about why this happened and how we can fix it, but right now my brain is saying one thing."

"Which is?"

"Feed me."

They both shared a laugh as the kettle whistled and a soft, understanding silence filled the air around them. She waited for him to leave before she made up a mug for Buffy and headed upstairs, completely ignoring the hunger pangs that screamed at her.




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