by Jane Shadow
Rating: just to be safe, kiddies.
Pairing: Buffy/Xander (or is that Bunder?) and Buffy/Faith (Fuffith)
Disclaimer: No profit was made when I borrowed Joss Whedon's characters
for my own personal nocturnal pleasure.
Warning: A dark creamy flavor seasoned with optimistic sprinkles.
Feedback: Notice the word Feed. Because you feed me feedback and
as long as I do my job, you do yours.
Summary: Sequel to 10 Months
Print Version: Adobe Reader
February, 2005 Portland, Oregon
I always wanted to return to the West Coast, ever since I left Sunnydale,
and I had plans to do so but they remained filed into the back of my mind.
I didn't think I would be going anytime soon though, and I definitely didn't
think it would be like this. If someone had told me four days ago that I
would be where I am right now then I would have laughed at them first and
then told them specifically to get a fucking clue. After all, I have a good
job in Michigan, my own place, and all the slaying I could choose to do
just for fits and giggles.
So that's why when Xander called me four days ago and told me that I was
needed in Oregon, I did exactly that. He laughed along with me (nervously,
although he was anxious throughout the entire conversation), but seemed
very displeased at the part where I told him to get a fucking clue. However
this unfortunately did not discourage him, and he continued to insist that
I get a flight over as soon as possible almost to the point of being belligerent.
"You can't really need something from me Xan, there are at least 30
slayers within busfare distance of Portland not to mention an obscene amount
in Utah as everyone knows. I'm sure they could break away from their investigation
of demonology within the Mormon temples to come up and help you with this
little problem for a few days. I, on the other hand, can't afford the ticket
and definitely can't take the time off work." I had said to him over
the phone, trying my best not to sound too uptight but it was very difficult
not to be annoyed with the entire situation. Plus he was being far too vague
about what he wanted me to go literally across the country to help him with.
"I know you're busy," he snapped back at me testily, "but
I don't think you understand the severity of what is happening over here.
It's not normal, Buffy, and we need you to-"
"Not normal?" I followed this up with a sarcastic laugh. "I
know we might have made being a slayer slightly common, but it isn't necessarily
considered ordinary just yet. No, I hate to burst your bubble, but the low-paying
profession of staking the undead never has been `normal' by any means an-"
"Stop being so fucking patronizing. I know it's not normal. I mean
that what's going on here is bigger than anything these baby slayers can
handle. And there WERE at least 30 slayers in Portland, but now there's
only one, and she's in the hospital. They're dropping like flies out here
Buffy, as fast as they can step up to the plate they're being knocked back
in a row and it's not pretty. Next time you get your paycheck, pick up a
newspaper and look at the follow-up section on a strange `unknown ailment'
plaguing half the west coast and quickly spreading to other cities. I'm
sure they're talking about it as far as Detroit now and by all means they
should be." His voice suddenly became softer, more gentle, like the
Xander I used to know back in high school. "I've seen a lot of girls
dying here Buffy, and it's enough to break your heart. I know not even you
will turn your back on that. They're slayers... but what's more they are
simply scared little girls who shouldn't be up against so much more than
they could possibly be prepared to handle. They need you."
Nothing could make me say no to that; I knew that I had to go to Portland
despite the fact that I had no idea what I would be facing. The worst of
it all wasn't the possible demons or vampires, because I'd dealt with them
before. No, I wouldn't and didn't know until I arrived just what Oregon
had in store for me, not even when I stepped off the plane and saw Xander
for the first time in well over a year.
First of all, I didn't recognize him, and I literally brushed right past
him while stepping off the plane.
"Wow, I didn't know you were that pissed at me for bringing you out
here." He said to my back, causing me to turn around and take in a
good look at the new man I had mistaken for a stranger in the crowd. A thin
Stephan Jenkins-style goatee lined his jaw and I could have sworn his wide
and cherry colored sunglasses said Timberland on the frame. He was wearing
a black leather jacket with a stand-up collar and perfectly faded Lucky
Brand jeans that fell over his Doc Martens. The boy always did have style,
but this was the most aesthetically pleasing kind of overkill possible.
And the cream filling? Well that would have to be the part that made him
most hard for me to recognize. His once-shaggy brunette hair had been shaved
down to a near-five o'clock shadow, not even half an inch long and giving
him the complete Justin Timberlake-vibe. I would never in my wildest dreams
have imagined that he could look so much like a grown- up man and so...
sexy. But the surprise was not at all unpleasant especially as he pulled
me suddenly close for an enveloping bear hug there in the middle of the
terminal, with people swarming by us and my arms barely able to reach around
his body which seemed to have tripled in muscle mass since we last embraced.
In addition to that I was still holding my carry-on backpack full of stakes...
and yes, those are necessities to take on any airline. Quite often the first
class passengers are the undead.
"Thank God you're here, Buff." He whispered as he squeezed just
a little bit tighter. When he didn't let go, I knew that something was terribly
Xander and I headed straight from the airport to a Denny's (open 24 hours),
heading for a table in the back where we would be free from the inevitable
skateboarding teens that were searching the restaurant for someone to bum
a cigarette off of. My lips curled into a slight smile when I saw them and
immediately thought of Faith. She would have pulled them aside and given
them a 15 minute lecture on the evils of smoking before getting in their
faces and scaring the shit out of them, then casually slipping a new pack
of Camels into their sweaty palms with a devilish wink.
Shaking my head slightly, I let the fond thought of her pass, and focused
on Xander. He had taken off his Timberlands for the first time since meeting
me at the airport, and I could now clearly distinguish between his real
eye and his glass one, although I wouldn't have noticed if I didn't know
to look in the first place.
"We probably should have gone straight to the hospital, but I wanted
to give you a little warning of everything first." He said gently,
staring down into his coffee cup.
"Why would we go to the hospital?" I asked, realizing instantaneously
that it wasn't a good question as his eyes met mine with a very cold expression
plastered across his face. It was as though I had just asked him for permission
to slit his throat, and it made the strange situation even more mysterious
and frustrating as I desperately wondered just what the big secret was.
After a pause and a brief sigh, he continued, yet dodged my question. "I
told you that things have been bad. This isn't quite of Sunnydale apocalypse
proportions - but it's very bad. And a lot of people have been hurt and
some... some people are dead."
I could tell he was holding back something, but whether it was emotion or
information I didn't know. "Well is it a demon? A group of vamps? I
think I deserve to know what is that I'm going to be facing."
"I wish I could tell you."
The words soaked in for a moment and I know the look on my face was not
at all pleasant, and instead one of anger or disgust. I leaned closer to
him, practically crawling on the table as I loudly whispered; "What
do you mean you can't tell me? Is this some big secret monster that roams
around and you can only kill it when you don't know what it is, because
the slayer's best friend decides to make it like a surprise birthday party?
Surprise! It's the undead and you're about to be the next course."
"I can't tell you because I don't know, ok? No one knows, and no one
can explain how it's possible. I've been trying to call Will non-stop for
hours, Giles is in Canada following a pathetic lead that has something to
do with ancient mythology. Yeah, like there's any ancient mythology from
CANADA." Sarcasm well-noted. "Thirty slayers either ran or dropped
dead and the only thing I know is that if we can't see it coming, we can't
fight it. Hell for all I know, I could be infected."
"Infected? What do you mean... infected?"
Again, he paused. Only this time I noticed that his hands were shaking,
and Xander had begun glancing nervously around the empty restaurant as if
the next person to mill through would deserve a gaping head wound for their
trespasses. When he looked back at me, he took a deep breath and spoke calmly.
"Some how, someone... we have no idea who or what. They've made some
kind of virus, Buffy. Everyone thinks they're coming down with the flu and
they fall asleep, then wake up dead. And when I say they wake up dead, I'm
not trying to make a joke. What I mean is that they actually... wake up.
Suddenly the restaurant felt ten times larger, and my body microscopic.
I could see why he was so nervous. "So a virus is making people...
"No, mostly vampires, but different. It's like the demon inside them
is stronger and won't give up as easily, and every slayer that went after
them either ended up dead or infected as well within a matter of days. It
was literally like sending lambs to the lion's den until Giles and I could
figure out what was happening. The hard part was that they would come home,
take a shower, go to sleep normal and it wouldn't be until hours later that
anyone would discover the change."
"So no biting, no blood-drinking...?" I asked, and he silently
shook his head. "How can that be possible? It totally defies every
law of the sire, everything that allows one vampire to turn a person just
out the window. There has to be more to it, there has to be some kind of
bite somewhere along the way that no one is aware of."
"We thought of that," Xander quickly interjected, "so we
started watching each slay and keeping a close eye on every activity the
girls participated in. We even videotaped a few nights in the cemeteries,
but came up with nothing. Every time they would stake a vamp without a single
little drop of blood being shed or shared, and every time they still became
sick after a few days. It seems every time we find some sort of lead, we
end up with nothing again, and now it is spreading through the city making
new vamps left and right. I swear, they're multiplying like rabbits."
"Then what makes you think that I can do anything? If slaying them
only causes you to contract the virus, then what good am I going to be?
Maybe I can knock a few off before I end up like the 30 other slayers who
"We're running out of options Buffy, and innocent people are beginning
to suffer. Pretty soon only two kids will be showing up for their second
grade classes because the rest are underground, hiding from daylight."
"Fuck it, Xander. You need to be that dramatic to make a point?"
"I'm just stating the truth here." His face was full of the conviction
that I had seen hundreds of times before - the stone cold moral obligation
I knew and expected from my best friend. There was no way I could say no
to that... not like I had considered saying no for a second since the moment
I arrived in town.
With a sigh that could be easily interpreted as hesitant, I leaned back
in my chair and squared him up. "Ok, show me where to start with this
and we'll take it from there."
It was 5:32 am before I finally got into bed and I was unconscious as soon
as my head hit the pillow. Xander and I had been going through medical books,
witchcraft books, Vampire books... it was enough to exhaust even the most
passionate of scholars - something which neither of us could claim to be.
As I was closing the door to his guest room, finally calling the study-fest
to a halt, Xander quietly informed me that we would be going to the hospital
in a few hours. He still hadn't told me why and I was afraid to ask. All
I wanted was to experience sleep that was long overdue in a surprisingly
luxurious spare room, especially for a bachelor's apartment. I reminded
myself to ask him about that also on the way to the hospital.
Unfortunately that opportunity came much sooner than I had hoped, at 8:40
am when I was awakened by the sound of George Michael coming from the hallway
outside my door at a volume that was deafeningly offensive. Without giving
it a second thought, I literally jumped up and darted into the living room
to ask Xander why he was listening to music so loud, and why oh WHY was
it George Michael of all things.
Of course wouldn't you know that he had been trying to wake me up for all
of 25 minutes prior to that, doing everything from using a blender to crush
ice to literally jumping up and down in the hallway yelling my name at the
closed door. It's always nice when you've been friends with someone for
so many years that they can completely gage the way you will react to things.
Including George Michael.
I chose not to kick his ass for that, however, because he seemed panicked
enough about getting to the hospital "in time", whatever time
that happened to be.
In the car (a used Kia) I forgot to ask before rolling down the window and
lighting up a cigarette, although I suppose asking would have caused near
to the same reaction. Xander simply stared at me with his jaw hanging open
and then stared straight ahead without saying a word. I could tell he wanted
to comment on the fact that I was smoking but if he wasn't going to, then
I wasn't either. Traffic was a mess and I had already finished the entire
cigarette and put it out by the time we pulled into the hospital parking
"Big place." I commented, breaking the silence.
"Yeah, and it's completely full. Every person who gets the flu rushes
in here within hours just so they can be kept awake with drugs, trying like
hell not to turn into vamps. Most of the city and now a large percentage
of the country has heard about this virus that is killing people left and
right, giving them dementia-like symptoms. But most of them don't know what
is actually happening, they are just scared out of their minds." He
turned off the car and we both stepped out. Merely walking across the parking
lot seemed to qualify for aerobic exercise, and this was just the north
"So that's what we're here for? To study the people who have already
got it?" I asked while weaving around parked cars and trying to keep
up with his hastened pace.
"Yeah, something like that." Xander called back over his shoulder.
As I followed him into the hospital we passed the emergency room waiting
area, and it was literally filled with people. Some of them appeared to
be ill, and some looked completely healthy. I couldn't help but cringe,
suddenly feeling very aware of myself and the air around me, moving closer
to Xander as if his body could somehow shield me from harm. We hadn't yet
discerned the contagion properties of this virus although all signs seemed
to indicate that only contact with a vampire would lead to contraction.
Yet I remained fearful nonetheless not only for myself, but for him as well.
We took the elevator to the second floor where we were promptly greeted
with an enormous sign stating that all cell phones must be turned off. Xander
reached for his, a tiny flip-phone to match his stylish outfit and (somewhat)
stylish car. I was beginning to wonder just exactly how he had been doing
so damn well for himself.
"Turn your cell off." He mumbled to me.
"I don't have one."
Without another word he briskly took a left and headed down the hallway,
it was clear he had been there many times before and knew exactly where
to go. I did my best to keep up. We rounded a second corner and then he
stopped, turning around to give me a solemn look.
"She knows more than anyone about this." Xander whispered, his
face downcast. "I didn't know until she told me last night... before
I picked you up. God, this is hard."
He stopped and looked down at the floor, both of us unsure what to say.
Although his words were cryptic, I knew exactly what he was telling me I
just didn't want to believe it. I knew because I had felt it the moment
we entered the hospital, but I told myself it was only the presence of the
other slayers in the building making me feel that way. Now his elusive tone
was giving away what I had prayed was not the truth. That she was here.
In the hospital - and quite likely the only thing separating us now was
two steps down the hall and an open doorway.
I couldn't bring myself to speak, it was as though no words were coming
to mind and all I could think was that I had to see her, not even knowing
what was wrong. Without thinking, I pushed past him and straight into the
first door I saw, revealing a dimly-lit, stale room. I could hear Xander
say something behind me but my senses were in over-drive and I couldn't
make anything clear. I looked in the first bed and saw an elderly woman
hooked up to life support. Her eyes were open but her body was completely
motionless and I imagine that my storming in was somewhat disruptive to
her, but I continued on through the room to check the second bed, behind
a blue privacy curtain. Everything seemed so surreal, the dull sounds of
`Wheel of Fortune' as it played on the hanging TV set from over the beds,
and the sterile atmosphere that always brought bile to my throat, remembering
my mother's death.
And Faith, in her coma.
I remembered it all over again and a hundred other scattered memories as
I pulled back the curtain and saw her laying there. All the times I had
told myself that I was better off without her were a faded memory and an
obvious lie when our eyes met, and I stood there with one hand still on
the curtain and my body just as motionless as the elderly woman in her bed.
She stared straight back at me and it seemed that we were both still images,
captured on film and seeing each other through panes of glass that kept
She looked exactly as she had in her coma, only this time she was awake.
The skin under her eyes was dark and her cheeks appeared sunken, as pale
and white as the bed sheets. In her hands she was holding a pen and paper
and I had clearly interrupted her from writing something when I came in.
"Buffy." She breathed, barely even making a word so much as a
I felt myself panic involuntarily and my heart raced as I realized what
this truly meant. "You're sick. It's happened to you too... did you...
"I'm alive. I haven't turned." Faith wet her lips and looked away
and I knew that she was thinking the same thing that I was. How long would
it be before she became the one thing that I couldn't allow to survive?
How long would it be before I had to slay the woman I loved just as if she
were another vampire wandering the cemeteries after dark searching for a
The shock of seeing her would have been bad enough, but seeing her and realizing
that she only had a matter of time now and I didn't know how to save her
was beyond extreme. Slowly I let go of the curtain and walked around to
the left side of her bed, closing the gap between us, her eyes never leaving
As though moving in a fantasy I slowly sat down in the chair beside the
bed, knowing Xander had probably spent countless moments there since she
was admitted, and my heart ached wishing that I had been the one there to
see her over all this time. I wanted to reach out and hold her hand or touch
her in even the slightest way, but I was afraid and I simply sat there,
taking everything in.
"You shouldn't be here," she strained to say, her breathing labored.
"We don't know how it's spread just yet, and you could get it. You
have to stop it before that happens. You have to."
"I'll stop it. And if Xander can come close to you without it affecting
him, then so can I. Obviously he's not getting sick." I glanced towards
what I could see of the room for a glimpse of the subject of our conversation
but he was nowhere in sight. In my rush I hadn't even noticed if he had
come in from the hallway after me.
"He will though," Faith whispered, "it's hitting everyone
just like the cold or flu or whatever the fuck this thing is supposed to
be. Only instead of taking three days to get over it, they take two and
wake up dead. Only when I say they wake up dead, I don't mean that-"
"I know, they literally wake up dead. It was kinda funny and ironic
when Xander said it to me the first time. But A for Effort baby." Oh
fuck, I actually called her baby. I prayed silently that she didn't notice.
"He said that to you? The bastard, I'm the one who came up with it.
Why does he always have to steal the funny shit I say?"
I couldn't help it, this made me smile. Granted, it was very slight, but
it was a smile nonetheless and it brought warmth into her eyes.
"You called me baby."
Shit, she HAD heard it. Shit. Shit. Shit.
"Buffy..." she began, her voice growing incredibly soft. It reminded
me of the way she used to sound when she would try and coax me into bed
with her. Of course I always gave up, and I nearly went numb now hearing
that tone from her again. "I didn't want Xander to bring you here so
you would... I didn't want you to see me. I'm a fucking wreck. Obviously.
And we don't know how much longer it will be. Hell, it's amazing I've made
it five days without turning yet."
Hearing her confirm the facts of her completely questionable status of being
one of the living brought on the tears that I had been holding in, and they
rolled down my cheeks without so much as an audible sniffle from me - because
that part I managed to somehow keep back.
"Please don't cry, because it's all going to be fine. You can't cry
B, you can't let yourself think that somehow this changes how you feel about
me, because it doesn't. I knew that if you saw me you would feel sorry for
me, but you can't do that... it isn't..." Faith choked on her words
and looked away. "It isn't love. It's pity."
I wanted to tell her that it was love, that I'd never stopped loving her,
I'd just accepted that we couldn't live with each other and managed to let
myself move forward and find peace through work and the proverbial "little
things" everyone always goes on about. But it wasn't right, it wasn't
the right time or place and I knew that with the first word out of my mouth
I really would begin to sob uncontrollably.
"We're going to stop this thing. It's not going to take another life
now that you're here. The chosen two, right B? And nothing ever survives
when the chosen two come after it."
"Right." I whispered. But even as I said it all I could think
was that if I came face to face with her once she had turned, I would let
her drink from me until none was left before I could ever possibly put a
stake through the heart of the woman I loved.
September, 2003 Detroit, Michigan
"Baby! I brought you a present, get your hot little ass out here!"
I had heard her obnoxiously loud steel-toe boots coming up the stairs even
before I heard her keys in the door. I was in the kitchen cooking waffles
and scrambled eggs (enough to feed an army, of course), and with a smile
as wide as a kid on Christmas morning, I stayed cleverly out of view from
the entrance of our apartment. She had been bringing me presents quite often
lately, and this time I decided to give her one in return, one that would
be rather unexpected to say the least.
I heard the door open, then close, and her feet shuffling lazily across
the floor towards the bathroom. I knew she was probably expecting to find
me throwing up in there or laying down in the bathtub, since that was where
I had been for the past week every night, battling a flu that would make
pregnancy seem like a holiday.
Fortunately I didn't know that from firsthand experience - the pregnancy
part, that is.
"Baby?" She called out again.
I tried my hardest to quit giggling with pure joy. Finding me out of bed
would be something, but finding me cooking her dinner and wearing nothing
but a white tank top and panties would be a whole different something indeed.
And as she entered the doorway of the kitchen and her jaw practically hit
the floor I saw that my predictions had been entirely correct.
"Y-you're out of bed." She stammered, her face flushing instantly.
"Mm-hmm." I looked down at the frying pan to hide my grin.
"I uh... I brought you a... you know it really doesn't matter right
now, you can see it later." Her deep brown eyes were making their way
over my body, ravishing every inch and I could practically feel them penetrating
my skin. "Aren't you cold? It's kinda cold in here to wear that B,
maybe you should cover up with something. Like... maybe you should get in
I turned to protest but caught sight of the mischievous glint in her eyes
that only meant one thing. I'd seen it countless times but it still made
me shiver, and I did now. Fortunately her timing was perfect and before
she could take the three steps forward that would put her body against mine
I was able to reach over and turn the stove-top burner off. Had it not been
for that, our dinner would have become rubber and eventually only a crisp
memory of the food it once had potential to be.
Her hands made contact with me first, gently sliding over my ribcage and
down to my waist while her firm gaze held mine, that look of pure lust constant
in her eyes.
"Bed sounds like a good idea." I whispered softly. With the tip
of my finger I reached up and slowly traced along the inside of her leather
jacket, wanting to drive her crazy but also knowing that it had been long
enough since we made love and neither of us needed much anticipation.
"Oh... but you made such a good dinner. We should eat before it gets
cold." Faith replied, ignoring as my fingertips traced from her right
hip to just above the top button of her faded low-rise jeans.
"Yes but I don't think that the dinner will whimper and beg if you
don't eat it right away."
Her expression suddenly became desperate. "Please don't beg. That's
just not nice."
My smile widened and I broke away from her touch to lazily wander out of
the kitchen and onto the bed, turning around to face her as I sat on the
edge and I reclined back onto my elbows, noting the fact that my nipples
were incredibly hard and incredibly visible through my thin, tight shirt.
Clearly Faith noticed this fact as well, and I hoped that the look I was
giving her was as coy and seductive as I intended for it to be. I began
to slide my hands over my chest, exaggerating my breath just to give her
a show, but she wouldn't tolerate it. In less than a second Faith moved
towards me and push me back onto the bed, crawling up so that her knees
were between mine, her hands beside my shoulders holding her above me.
As she looked down at me tenderly, I mustered up the most innocent look
I could manage, which was undeniably weak. "What's wrong lover, don't
want to watch tonight?"
She wet her lips and seemed to consider that offer for a moment before responding.
"No," she mumbled huskily, "I want you too much already."
As she spoke her hands moved down and I felt them grip my thighs tightly,
her nails digging in gently as she pulled my legs up to wrap around her
slender waist. I moaned at the instant contact of her between my legs, shuddering
at the full contact of our bodies. Without giving it a single thought I
reached up to tenderly brush her thick auburn hair back and she lowered
her full lips to meet mine, passionately yet so incredibly slow. It seemed
like the sweetest kiss I had ever felt, when in reality we had shared thousands
of them but being without her touch for so long had renewed my senses.
Her impatience to find her body on top of mine was now combating with her
natural tendency to make love to me leisurely, something that it had taken
me a while to discover and know of her for certain. I could feel her muscles
tighten and relax all at once, as though she was simply breathing in all
that she could take while we kissed in a way that would satisfy her raging
desire yet allow her to thirst for more - I knew it so well because it was
exactly what I felt, too.
Her velvet tongue slid over my lips and I eagerly allowed it into my mouth,
sucking slightly and feeling her breaths slow just barely in the process
as we both concentrated on the sensation of my tongue against hers.
After several moments, Faith pulled away, placing her hands on either side
of my body to support her own weight above me and staring down into my eyes
with her lips only centimeters from mine.
"Are you feeling better?" She whispered, her breath hot against
my face and I wished I was feeling that heat someplace much lower.
"Yes, much better..." I reached up and cupped her face with my
hand, brushing my thumb over her cheek and her lips and she turned her head
to kiss my palm affectionately. Nothing could express the love I felt for
her, the wholeness that only she could give me in that moment. But I whispered
that I loved her anyway, because it was the best I could do, and I whispered
that with her in my arms, I was complete.
Faith sighed deeply, smiling down at me and I absent-mindedly traced the
outlines of her dimples with my fingertips.
"I love you too Buffy... I always will, even if I forget to tell you."
Her brown eyes grew seemingly darker, as though something intense was on
her mind. "We're still the chosen two you know, and that means you're
stuck with me forever. Nothing can break us apart."
For a moment I allowed her words to sink in, I guess I was still waiting
for her to make some wise crack about how beer might do it, or really big
pliers... anything that was `typical' of her to say. But it didn't come
and she just stared down at me with love in her eyes.
"Since when did you get all mushy?" I playfully asked, although
my voice cracked slightly as I did.
"Me? Oh I dunno, that's just how all us bitches from Boston talk nowadays."
"Mm... you're my bitch tonight."
That earned a grin out of her as well as Faith's hand sharply coming down
against my ass. "We'll see who the bitch is when you're begging me
to fuck you in 10 minutes."My supportive moan was stifled by her lips
closing over mine in another passionate kiss. And she was right - I did
beg her to fuck me, only it was in 8 minutes.