Chapter 5: People Should Smile More
I'm stuck in a coma,
“SPENCER!!” Startled from the unexpected scream, the young blonde jumped off the couch knocking her ipod off her lap and across the room.
“Dawn! What the hell?!” Glaring at the smaller brunette, Spencer stomps across the room to retrieve the most recent gift from her mother.
“Sorry, Spence, but I’ve been calling your name for the past five minutes.” Glancing from the music device to her cousin, an understanding look replaced annoyance, “You’re doing it again, aren’t you?” The statement from one cousin to the other made instant tension. With no words spoken, and one worried look staring into angry eyes, the answer was obvious.
“Can we not talk about it, for once?” A plea.
“We never talk about it,” a fact from the older cousin, “You need to talk about it.” Another fact.
“When someone dies because of you, then we can talk about it.” As soon as the words left her mouth Spencer wished she could pull them back in. “Dawn I’m sorry, I just...”
“It’s okay. It’s easy to forget she was ever gone when you see her every day.” Spencer was the only family member Dawn ever told about Buffy’s swan dive. She had kept grilling Dawn about all of Buffy’s adventures after her rescue from a vampire attack, and Dawn just broke down and told her. Even though Buffy was back by the time Spencer found out, she still couldn’t help but to seek out her blonde cousin and hug her with all she had.
“She is walking around, Dawn. Buffy came back. Madison didn’t. I still don’t want to talk about it.” With both girls lost in thought the conversation was dropped, for now.
“Come on, ladies, it’s time for school!” Walking excitedly into the somber room, Buffy saw the sad faces surrounding her. “Okay I know its summer vacation, but are you guys really that depressed? Come on girls, where’d your excitement go?” Not wanting to upset Buffy, both girls threw less than true smiles on their faces and followed the Slayer out of the house.
“I think the last smile looked a little less fake than this one.” Whipping her head up from the desk, Faith glared at the intruder. “You know, this may be the earliest I have ever seen you here, and did you actually clean your office?” Laughing to himself, Robin failed to see the brunette Slayer walking up to him until they were face to face. “Um, what I meant was your office looks nice.”
Throwing one last glare in his direction, Faith walked back to her desk. “Thanks, but don’t expect this too often. I figure the quicker I can make the princess happy, the sooner she will be out of our hair.”
“You do remember she is here for the whole summer, right?” Watching the school's head Slayer drop her head to her desk, Robin couldn’t help but smirk. “This isn’t some little trip where we kiss her ass, make her smile, and then send her on her way. Buffy is here for the long haul, and we just need to prove to her that we have everything under control. Well, technically that we have one particular person under control, and congratulations on that not being you, for once.”
It’s moments like these were Robin is grateful that he is the son of a Slayer. It gave him the perfect reflexes to dodge the desk items that were thrown at him. “Sorry!” He exclaimed while picking up the pens, papers, and stapler that where tossed his way. “Lets wait at least an hour before we destroy the recently cleaned office.”
“Shut up,” Faith replied, still not lifting her head from where it lay on the desk, “This summer is going to be a nightmare. Everything we worked for, everything we’ve done with these girls, is going to get picked apart and destroyed one thing at a time.”
“Okay, you’re not excited, I get it, but do you really think it’s going to be that bad?” He asked with concern.
“After all these years, you still haven’t read up on your Buffy and Faith history. Things tend to break when we get around each other,” She sighed
“I know the past, but I meant present wise I thought you guys were on good ground. Did you spend a summer with her before you came here?” He tried to remember.
“Yeah, we spent some time together, but much wasn’t said when I left. I thought all was good, but I know better now, that was my mistake too, thinking it was all in the past.” When she finally lifted her head, Robin had never seen her eyes look so sad. The sad glaze didn’t last long as Faith’s shield once again went up.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Robin liked to think even though no romantic relationship ever came out of what they had; that they had developed a good friendship.
“Thanks, but no. Right now I just need to figure out how to make princess happy without throwing up in my mouth.” The smirk on Faith’s lips reminded Robin of the first time he ever met her. Beaten and sad outside of the blonde Slayer's house, acting as if she couldn't care less about Buffy, but clearly that was not the case. Giving her one last smile, Robin left, and Faith went back to looking into the mirror. “Everything is five by five, girl. You got this.”
“What’s up the all the smiles?”
“Does nobody knock anymore?” Faith asked while glaring at the new figure in her door way.
“First, your door was open, and second, you asked me to come here. Kind of early, don’t you think?”
“Just sit down, Ashley.” Today just gave Faith another reason to hate mornings. “Let’s go over the plan for today, okay?”
“Okay, so today should be an easy day, for all of us.” Looking at her family members before getting out of the car, Buffy sees that neither person’s mood seemed all that happy. “I know you guys don’t want to be here. I get that you guys have enough school in your lives, but I promise it won’t be that bad. Spencer, you have always seemed interested in this part of our lives, and Dawn you’re not going to be stuck in classes; you two decide what you want to sit in on and just pay attention. Also, I am allowed to basically come and go as I please, so we will be spending time together like I promised you both before all of this went down.”
Realizing that Buffy was blaming herself for their crappy moods, both girls gave the older blonde an honest smile for the first time this morning. “Sorry, Buffy, my mind was somewhere else. I am sure today and the rest of the summer is going to be great.”
“Yeah, sis, I can’t wait to get my Slayer.” Dawn bounced in her seat.
“Dawn, we’re not at the pound. You can’t just pick one out and take her home. This is a trail period, if she passes then we’ll work out the details, and starting September you’ll be a full time watcher.” The pride and worry was clear in the Slayer's eyes, but her smile made the other two smile back. “Alright ladies, let's move, we’re supposed to meet Faith at the entrance in five minutes.”
Ten minutes later, outside the entrance of the school, an annoyed Buffy waited with her two smirking companions. The two younger girls started betting on when the older Slayer was going to start pacing. Right when it looked like Dawn was going to win, a red-head rushed toward Buffy and wrapped her up in a hug before either non Slayer could blink. “BUFFY!!”
“Hey, Vi.” Buffy laughed as she pulled herself out of the tight embrace. “DAWNIE!!” On to her next hug victim, Vi jumped on the younger Summers girl almost knocking her over. “Person I don’t know!” Everyone couldn’t help but laugh when the excited Slayer pulled Spencer in a hug. “Vi, this is Spencer, she’s our cousin.”
“No, but she’ll be here for the summer to keep Dawn company when I have to work.” Nodding her head in understanding, Vi was obviously still excited to see the people in front of her as she smiled brightly at them all. “Well, I know you guys are expecting Faith, but she actually had a last minute meeting with one of the girls, so Robin asked me if I could. I didn’t even know you guys were coming!”
“Well, technically when I come for a visit, no one but the head Slayer and head Watcher are supposed to know, keeps everyone on their toes and gives me an honest view of the school.”
“Oh that’s makes sense. Well I know you have been here before, Buffy, but we have had some changes since Ken and Willow left, so hopefully you will find some entertainment in the tour.” Entering the security code on the front doors, the group started on their way.
“Is this fun for you or something?” The brunette was clearly annoyed as she slouched down in her chair. “It’s like you keep dangling things in front of me to get me to act the way you want, and then you change the rules. I am NOT your dog. Stop asking me to bark on command.” Finally letting her anger take over, Ashley stood up and headed for the door.
“Ashley,” Faith stern voice filled the quiet room. “Come back here and sit down.” Ashley stood directly in front of the door and didn’t move a muscle. “Now.” Realizing Faith was just as unhappy as she was caused the younger brunette to turn back to her chair and sit. “Thank you.” Ashley only looked up from her shoes for a millisecond to shoot a glare at the older Slayer.
“You’re not a dog, Ashley. I don’t think you’re a dog, but you are a bitch. I only change the rules when you break them. We both know if I didn’t intervene last year Robin would have tossed your ass out and there is no way in hell Buffy would let you become a Slayer. Yet here you are, so fucking close to becoming assigned to the princess’s sister and getting a fucking family visit, but you continue to bitch. Is it not enough I am putting everything on the line to help you?” Tired of controlling her temper, Faith stormed over to the younger Slayer to try and make her understood what she clearly wasn’t getting. “There are no second chances with Buffy; trust me, I know this for a fact. You step out of line with her and there is nothing I can do.”
“Can you really get in trouble for what you did for me last year?” Coming down from her rant, Faith looked at the girl in front of her and actually saw she was worried.
“I’m not going to lie to you, Ash. Buffy is going to want to know everything about you, everything. She’s going to look over your files, talk to staff, and classmates. Once she realizes how involved I am, I’m sure there will be a lot of questions I am going to have to answer for.” Slowly the Slayer in charge went back to her seat, letting this new development sink in.
“Then why help me?” Realization finally hit Ashley. Someone cared about her, someone who had no ties to her was putting everything on the line and asking her to do the same. “You could lose everything.”
Leaning back in her chair, Faith pondered how to answer. “When I was your age I lost everything because I made a lot of bad choices. I guess if I had this school or someone to even just look out for me maybe things would have been different. Or maybe I still would have fucked it all up. I don’t want you to have to go through what I did to get here. You have great potential, you just need to see it.”
“What if I screw it up?” Ashley knew herself, it was a big possibility in her books.
“You already stopped yourself once.” Both Slayers feel into silence.
“So this is the big meeting I heard about?” So deep in thought, the two brunettes jumped. “Ashley, right?” Feeling a bit drained from her conversation with Faith, Ashley didn’t know how to deal with Buffy.
“Actually, Ashley, classes are going to start soon, you better get going; sorry. Buffy, but you know how it is.” Looking better at the two older Slayers, Ashley was frozen. The two were locked in a staring contest.
“Buffy, what the hell!” All occupants of the room change focal point when new arrivals showed up. “We told you we’d be right out, but you can’t wait three seconds?” The angry Summer’s girl yelled.
“Dawn, I had Vi wait for you. I figured since I was going to be spending the rest of my day here with Faith, I may as well see if she was done with her meeting. I knew you guys were coming here before going directly on your way, so I don’t see what the harm could be in leaving you for a second.” While trying to explain herself to her sister, Buffy gave a sideways glance to see Faith’s reaction. She couldn’t help but smirk when she realized the brunette had no idea they would be spending that amount of time together. “Plus besides the new wing Vi showed us, I am sure Faith can show me whatever else is new. Actually, Faith just said classes were going to start soon, are you still going to be free to show the girls around Vi?”
"I just have one morning class; but if the girls don’t mind sitting through that, we can continue right after.” Oblivious to the tension, Vi seemed excited at the prospect of having the girls sit in on her class.
“What kind of class is it?” When Ashley heard the angelic voice, her focus quickly fell on the young blonde leaning against the doorway.
“The Art of Defense, it’s awesome, right Ashley?” Realizing someone was speaking to her, Ashley spoke up.
“Cool, sounds like fun,” Dawn answered, while bumping her hip into her cousin as to break the staring contest she seemed to be having with the younger Slayer.
“Perfect, well why don’t you guys get a move on, I don’t want anyone to be late, and we’ll meet for lunch.”
“So Faith, you ready for our day together?” Buffy smirked, while Faith thought about which practiced smile looked the best.