A Brief Summary of Betrayal
Summary: Post Chosen. Buffy and Faith take is upon themselves to control the new rogue slayers.
"Step one: You finally meet somebody you dig, somebody you can groove with, somebody who doesn't seem like all the other phony losers out there. Step two: They share a little of themselves with you, you share everything with them. Step three: It all goes to crap. They hurt you. You hurt ‘em back. Or maybe it's the other way around. Whatever. Someday, you might find a way to forgive each other. But it won't ever be like it used to ‘cause that pain never really fades away. And in the end, no matter how many wicked good times you had together, you woulda been better off flying solo all along. Anyway, live and learn. Almost die and learn way more."
-Faith from Buffy Comic "No Future for You Part II"
Part One : Betrayal
Like most other times a crisis had been diverted, when Sunnydale California became just a big mysterious hole in the ground things changed but not so entirely as to have been drastically significant. Sure, Buffy Summers was the main slayer in charge of hundreds perhaps even thousands of other slayers spread across the world. Sure, Xander Harris had turned into some surprisingly competent and efficient commander in an army full of slayers. Sure, Willow Rosenberg had embraced her magical power to its full extent and could have rightfully been compared to a goddess. Sure, things had changed, but not so much to have rattled the foundation that existed before the hole in the ground was ever created.
Dawn Summers still was envious of her sister's calling and jealous of the attention it took away from her. Rupert Giles still provided the support and guidance Buffy and the others sometimes desperately sought out in their fits of low self-worth and rampant thoughts of self-doubt. They were all still family and the best of friends, relying on each other to survive through the crises they always ran to instead of from. And as it had always been before, Faith Lehane, Slayer Number Two, was on the outer fringes of the group that never quite knew how to respond to her even though she had been given a place into Buffy's new world order.
If asked, most of the new slayers wouldn't know the difference between Faith Lehane and Faith NoName. Rumors existed that there had been a slayer that came before the mass unleashing of slayer power into the world. Rumors were whispered about a dark slayer that had killed a few people while on an insane bloody rampage. Rumor said that the mysterious slayer was killed by Buffy Summers in a glorious battle on a rooftop overlooking the dark streets of Sunnydale.
When Buffy was seen walking along with a brunette at her side whose name no one could remember, no one seemed to be able to recall that the dark slayer looked a lot like Buffy's companion. Buffy, herself, had responded to the wild rumors of a dark slayer by saying it was a fictional story made up by a bunch of young girls who didn't understand the importance of their calling. Buffy made sure the girls knew that she would never turn her back on another slayer because that would be wrong. They were a sisterhood born with a task greater than most could ever imagine. They were the gatekeepers who guarded their world from the evil constantly trying to take it over.
Despite Buffy's valiant, if mind-numbingly self-righteous, effort to curb the spreading of the rumors, they still were whispered from slayer to slayer eventually reaching the ears that were really meant to hear it. It reached the subset of slayers who weren't willing to sign onto Buffy's game plan of being a selfless do-gooder for just the sake of saving the world. It reached the target audience of slayers who wouldn't use their powers in an effort to guard the world from evil but instead saw the benefits of using that power to welcome it, and some in that segment of girls would eventually learn that a dark slayer really did exist and they would learn that the slayer was named Faith.
They would eventually seek out this phantom kindred spirit and would look to Faith for guidance. They would ask Faith why Buffy was in charge instead of her. They would propose naively constructed scenarios of how to take down Buffy Summers and the rest of the slayers. They would propose placing a new world order in place where they were the powerful and everyone else would be their pawns. They argued that the world owed them and that it was about time they got paid.
Faith would reluctantly agree with them, and then offer weak alternatives on how they could better handle their anger. "There's no need to kill Buffy," she would say. "She's already died a few times but just doesn't seem to know how to stay dead."
Eventually, Faith would be brought on the kill Buffy bandwagon and would take charge of the new rogue slayers. They would recruit others of a like mind to build up a force that could take on Buffy and her vast support system. They would train hard and do their best to prove to Faith that they were worthy of her leadership. None of them ever quite expected the ending they would be given.
Slowly, day by slow passing day, Faith would take a small group of rogue slayers out for a lesson on demon killing as practice for what was to come with the other slayers. She would lead them to a nice secluded area and then Buffy would unexpectedly appear just coincidently hunting the same demon they were after.
"I heard rumors you were still alive," she'd say to a grinning Faith. "I was told you took up killing humans again."
Faith would give a half-hearted shrug and say, "You know me, B. I like it too much to stop."
The younger slayers would look nervously from one to the other, never quite sure what to expect from either one of their seniors. They were always uncertain how to act now that they were faced with the reality of their decisions. They knew Buffy wouldn't simply choose to walk away from them. She wouldn't turn, no wait, she couldn't turn her back on what they had done.
So, eventually Buffy and Faith would fight and somehow one of the younger slayers would end up dead and Buffy would end up with blood on her hands. "You'll pay for this, B," Faith would swear before she called for a strategic retreat. They would return to their hideout and the surviving slayers would tell their tale to the rest of them. Fear and a need for revenge would surge throughout the young group of slayers and Faith would calm them down vowing that their time would eventually come, and then as the loner they all expected her to be, she would disappear for a day or two.
They assumed she went off to kill a few things from her pent up frustration and anger, but if they bothered to follow her (and some had they just weren't very good trackers) they would have discovered that she wasn't out to kill anything at all. They would have seen her walking over to a small apartment complex. They would have seen her pull out a key and enter apartment number thirty-two, and if they tried being voyeuristic and looked through a window they would have seen Buffy Summers greet her with more than just a friendly embrace.
"I've missed you, Faith," they might hear Buffy whisper as she had her arms wrapped around Faith's waist, and her head resting on Faith's chest. "I wish we didn't have to do this."
"I know," Faith would grab onto Buffy's hands with her own and then would take a small step away from the older slayer, and would simply look down at Buffy's hands. "How many has it been?" She would timidly ask. "How many have you killed?"
"Too many," Buffy would respond as lightly as she was able, "but still not enough."
Faith would nod her acceptance of Buffy's brief answer, and then would wrap Buffy's arms back around her body. She then would wrap her arms around Buffy, pulling the shorter woman closer. They would stare at each other's eyes silently communicating about the dark nature of the responsibilities they had undertaken. Eventually, they would lean closer into each other and their lips would meet. They would devour each other in their lust and love holding onto this reprieve from the necessary task of acting as judge, jury, and executioners to the new slayers who could not be saved from the darkness inside of them.
They would give each other comfort for a day or two, and then Faith would return to the flip side of her double life. Another small group would be lead out on a mission, and they would return minus one rogue slayer. In the end, those capable of redemption would be given it, and Buffy would welcome them back into her sisterhood. Those too far gone to be talked into seeking redemption by the Original Dark Rogue Slayer, would be eliminated, and once the process was over it would be restarted with another group of new slayers, because it was the only way Buffy and Faith could control a power that had perhaps been given away too freely.
Top Secret Special Operations, that was the technical name for what the two original slayers did. The unofficial and perhaps more morose title for what they did was: Population Control. It always took them months to complete one of their special operations since it took time for the rumors to spread to the appropriate girls, and even more time for Faith to earn their complete trust.
When Buffy first approached Faith with her idea on how to control the rogue slayers, Faith had adamantly refused to be involved in any way. She refused to be Buffy's puppet and refused to let Buffy use her like she had always done before. "I thought things were supposed to be different this time ‘round, B," she had argued, and that argument had been enough for Buffy.
She accepted Faith's refusal with no hard feelings attached and walked away to get her hands dirty on her own. It was messy and she wasn't always the best at telling apart the redemption capable from the redemption incapable, but she managed to get the job done when the job needed doing. Faith, in time, recognized the toll it took on Buffy and decided it was her duty to offer a lending hand.
Together, they accepted the mantle of power they held and eventually it bound them together like they had always been meant to be united. They each had almost died enough times to recognize that although Buffy Summers needed and loved her friends that they could never quite be what she ultimately needed in life. Faith was the only one that could fulfill her. Buffy knew that she and Faith were perhaps always meant to fly solo together, but it was too late for them to grab onto that fate now. So, they took the next best thing by leading a double life that only Giles was aware of.
"Are you certain this is a wise course of action," He had asked when Buffy and Faith had approached him with their semi-ludicrous plan of how to control the new slayers.
"It's necessary Giles," Buffy had replied in a voice that let Giles know he was dealing with one of the two most powerful slayers in the world.
"I'll arrange it." He immediately acquiesced, recognizing the necessity of their proposal but mourning the fact that Buffy was involved in it. He had wrongfully assumed Buffy incapable of such action, always assuming she wasn't the type to... "Let me know if you are in need of anything else."
So, when Buffy walked around as the hero to surpass all others with a brunette by her side no one paid much attention. Even when they saw Buffy and the mysterious brunette making out in the corner at some club with the music pulsing around them, they recognized that Buffy had good taste in lovers. And when Buffy was seen with blood on her hands and the brunette was wiping them clean, they assumed the blood belonged to a demon or a vampire, because Buffy said being a slayer meant being part of a sisterhood. It meant repelling the darkness. It meant doing the right thing. So, even when they heard Buffy's mysterious brunette lover whisper the phrase, "population control" into Buffy's ear, they imagined vampires and werewolves and demons. They couldn't quite imagine betrayal.
"Are you Faith?" The young girl asked the woman sitting at the bar, hoping that she finally got it right this time. She had been searching for so long that she had started to once again believe that Faith: The Vampire Slayer never had really existed and was just a story one of the other girls made up to scare the rest of them into complacency.
"You're one of them arentcha?" The woman asked with a small lift of her brow. She slowly turned in her seat to look over the girl standing in front of her, quickly assessing the threat level and just as quickly dismissing it. "Buffy finally decide to take me out?"
"Buffy's a self-righteous bitch who couldn't find her way out of a paper bag," the girl coolly replied.
The woman chuckled softly. "You're speaking my language." She turned back to her drink, gulped down the rest of it and then motioned for the bartender to bring her two more. "So, what is it you want from me, because I don't babysit baby slayers?"
The young girl's blue eyes widened, stuck between being awestruck and offended. Her instinct told her to defend herself against the woman who refused to show her respect, but she clamped down on instinct and held onto self-preservation instead. "I'm not like the rest of them," she answered truthfully. "I don't want what they want. I don't want what Buffy wants. I don't care about the stupid sisterhood." She leaned in closer to her idol, invading personal space and knowingly entering into danger. "I'm like you."
"Like me?" Brown eyes looked over the body in front of them once more, no more impressed now than they had been upon the first perusal. "I think you've been drinkin' too much delusional juice." She chuckled softly at her own joke, mournful that no one meaningful was around to appreciate her wit.
"Buffy said you didn't exist," the young girl pressed on. "She doesn't want us to know there's someone else we can follow."
"We? You mean there's more than one of you?" Brown eyes shifted to look behind the girl standing in front of them, not truly expecting to see more wayward slayerettes than the one already annoying her.
"They're not here now," The girl hurried to explain. "They told me that you really didn't exist, but I knew you had to. I knew Buffy was lying to us."
"Really?" Another shot glass filled to the brim with dark brown liquid met eager lips.
"Buffy's not a good liar," the girl answered the question she assumed was being asked. "If anyone bothered to pay close enough attention, they'd notice that she always reacts funny when your name comes up. It's easy to tell that you got to her." Feeling more comfortable, the girl reached out for the glass that had been laid out in front of her. Before her fingers could wrap around the cool smooth surface, a vice like grip encased her fingers causing her bones to scream out in agony as they were close to breaking.
"I don't babysit baby slayers," Faith calmly repeated. "Especially stupid ones like you."
The girl tried to pull her hand out of her idol's grip, but found that her extra strength didn't add up to much when compared to that of an original slayer. "I'm not stupid," she managed to grind out through her futile struggle.
Faith pulled the girl closer to her. "Only stupid people underestimate Buffy Summers."
The young girl stopped her resistance and settled on surrender instead. "See," she forced a smile, "you're already teaching me things."
The girl was flung back when Faith released her grip, no longer lifting the burden of the young slayer's weight. "Whatever," Faith said as she turned back to the bar once again making the girl seeking out her salvation feel small and worthless.
This wasn't what she had imagined would happen when she found the woman that was supposed to magically turn the world right side up again. She had imagined Faith would have a cool exterior and take no prisoner's attitude, but she always thought Faith would welcome being approached by someone who despised Buffy Summers like the bitch was supposed to be despised, and who saw that Buffy was nothing but a fake wannabe hero.
"I can't go back to Buffy," the girl admitted, allowing herself to show Faith a weakness she had always suspected Buffy could already see. "She kicked me out, said if I couldn't play nice then I couldn't play at all."
Faith showed no signs of sympathy. "Then you should have played nice."
The younger slayer's jaw dropped. Of all the things she was expecting to hear from Faith The Vampire Slayer, this particular scenario had never crossed her mind. She had always imagined that finding Faith would be the hard part. She never even began to wonder what it would mean when she discovered that Faith wasn't as eager to jump on the Hate Buffy Train, but instead acted like another talking head in Buffy's long parade of supporters. "Are you serious?"
"Look Youngin," Faith's eyes slowly tracked back over to the young teen standing next to her, "there's a damn good reason why Buffy Summers is number one and I'm sitting in this shithole of a bar sipping my sins away."
"Unbelievable," the young girl shook her head, her heart and hopes now overtaken with disgust. "You're a fucking loser!"
Faith humorlessly laughed, as she slowly stood, all her dark energy coalescing into a solid wall around her. "You want to know why Buffy Summers doesn't want you to know that I exist?"
"Because she's afraid of you," the girl tried to be confident, but her confidence had long since disappeared. It had floated away the moment she had left Buffy's protective eye.
Faith laughed. "You want to try guessin' again?"
No, the girl didn't want to guess again but she was a slayer, and slayers were stubborn no matter how close defeat was. "She hates you."
This time, Faith didn't laugh. "Get out of here," she demanded instead.
The girl hadn't stayed long under Buffy's tutelage, but she had taken to heart the lesson of learning someone else's weakness. Of course, she had no frame of reference that would let her know that anybody that was alive, and anyone of the living dead, for that matter, could see that Buffy and Faith were each other's greatest weaknesses. She had sensed the truth of that in Buffy, it was the only reason she had ever decided to seek Faith out in the first place. She had just never thought she'd see that same type of weakness in Faith. She was too young to understand their history, and too naïve to understand it would be best for her to stay far away from it. But, since she had grandiose ideas and thought that she understood more than she actually did, she tried taking advantage of a weakness just like Buffy had taught her to do.
"Buffy hates you so much she's writing you out of the history books." She pushed. "She wants everyone to forget about you, and no one's stopping her." She pushed a little more. "She's always going to be number one, and the ones like us," she shrugged. "Well, eventually we're just going to all end up like the dead and forgotten slaves to the greater good that we are."
"This is the last time I'm gonna say this," Faith ground out after a long moment. "Go back to Buffy and play nice."
"If she's so much better than you," the girl asked, some of her confidence finally returning, "then why aren't you dead yet?"
It was the million dollar question that no one had any answers to. If Buffy's `Good' was so much better than Faith's `Bad' then why was Faith still standing? It didn't matter that both Faith and Buffy had settled their answer to that question a long time ago. They hadn't bothered to share the answer with anyone else. It wasn't a subject up for discussion. It never would be.
Faith's eyes narrowed, she ran her tongue across her teeth looking as if she was trying to decipher the meaning behind the young slayer's words. Finally, she said, "Just `cause it hasn't killed me yet, doesn't mean it won't kill you."
It was a blatant warning that anyone would have taken as a clue for self-preservation, anyone but a starry-eyed slayer too lost to possibilities of being in control instead of the one always out of it to listen. "I don't care if I die."
Faith raised an eyebrow, already knowing the kid wasn't lying. "That'll change." She walked away then, knowing full well that she had gained a new Mini Me. The girl was going to follow her around, ask annoying questions, and offer up stupid plans for world domination that she probably learned from watching too many doomsday movies.
They ended up walking through one cemetery together, and then another. The girl tried talking, but Faith was in no mood to keep up her end of the conversation. They slayed a few vampires, and then Faith led the girl to an abandoned apartment building and called it home. Thankful for a relatively clean sleeping space, the girl fell asleep almost immediately. Faith watched her for a moment before she got up and walked away. She went back to the bar the girl had found her in. Her eyes canvassed the room, seeking out the one person a part of her was always silently looking for.
She found her in a dark corner, resting in a booth sipping on a bottle of beer. She hurried over to the table, and quickly slid in next to her One Girl in All the World.
"What do you think?" Buffy asked, wasting no time with inconsequential conversation.
"I don't know yet," Faith answered as she reached out and took a hold of Buffy's beer, already forgiving the other woman for her impolite greeting. She understood that this was always the hardest part for Buffy; it was the moment she always had to admit that she had failed yet another girl.
Buffy dropped her head onto Faith's shoulder. "I didn't think she'd be one of them," she softly admitted. "I didn't see that she was so angry."
Faith's free hand swung around her lover's shoulders and she pushed their bodies closer together. "There's still time," she offered, though she didn't know for sure that there was. She took a sip from the beer, and then laid it down and took what comfort she could from this one moment she was given with Buffy. Now that they had started another campaign, these moments would grow more infrequent and they'd be left standing on the opposite sides of a battle once more.
"More are coming," Buffy whispered, her eyes closed, her hand running across Faith's clothed stomach.
"Four, maybe five."
"Hmm," Faith groaned. "And when do you leave?"
"I'll leave after the last one gets here," Buffy mumbled.
Faith's hand fell away from the bottle, and then ran across Buffy's face forcing the other's woman's eyes to open. "What'd you tell the Scoobs this time?"
"They knew Madaleine ran away," she explained. "They think I'm trying to find her."
Faith nodded. "And Giles?"
Buffy humorlessly laughed, "He's still pretending like he doesn't know anything about this." She snuggled closer to the warm body next to hers. "Are we done talking about this now?" She asked, her voice finally shedding some of the weariness it had held throughout their conversation.
"Sure thing, B," Faith whispered, as she leaned down and then placed a soft kiss against the other woman's forehead.
"Let's get out of here," Buffy suggested.
"You know I can't. I've got to get back to the new kiddie before she misses me and finds me snuggling up to her number one nemesis."
Buffy gave a faux pout. "You're not fun."
Faith chuckled. "Then meet me in the bathroom," she winked and then quickly got up and ran off, not giving Buffy a chance to protest.
Buffy rolled her eyes before she abandoned the table she had been sitting at for the better part of an hour. She walked past the line of women waiting to use restroom, already knowing her lover wouldn't have done something so polite as to wait in line. And since she had perhaps taken on more of Faith's personality traits than anyone had realized, she didn't even bother to knock before she opened the bathroom door and slid inside.
Faith immediately grabbed hold of Buffy's body and then pushed her against the bathroom door. She kissed the lips she had been away from for too long and ran her hands across the skin she was always too eager to touch. "This reminds me of our first date," she whispered into her lover's ear before running her tongue down soft skin.
Buffy chuckled, having no difficulty recalling the way they had stumbled into a relationship. What Faith called their `first date' was actually a chance meeting in a bar that had resulted in them fucking in a bathroom, a consequence from one too many drinks and a mutual general lack of companionship. Buffy hadn't really thought too much of the experience then, but now in a twisted way that fit in more with their relationship than she liked to admit, she cherished that moment as uniquely theirs and uniquely special.
Buffy reached out and captured Faith's face in the firm grip of her hands. "I love you, Baby."
Hands stilled for just a moment. "Always, B."
Then, lips immediately met again and hands explored pieces of flesh that were available to none other. They took the time they could, having long ago learned that Romance wasn't in the place, or the length of time given. It only existed in the brief moment and the person they were sharing it with. They hardly had time for fancy dinners, or extended walks on the beach. Mostly, they had barroom bathrooms and darkened cemeteries, because they still had a world asking more from them than of any one else.
When they finally pulled partially apart, breathing hard, Buffy's legs still wrapped around Faith's naked waist they each silently laughed, and then the moment was over. They had to pull completely apart, gather up their clothes and separate once more. Faith would go back to the disturbed little slayer and Buffy would be watching from the shadows.
It was just the beginning of another one of their betrayals. It was just the first step.
"I'll see ya later, B" Faith called over her shoulder as she began to open the bathroom door.
"Later Faith," Buffy called back as she buttoned her jeans.
Faith didn't look back again as she walked out of the bar, and Buffy didn't try to capture Faith's eyes as she watched her lover leave. But, as soon as Faith was outside again, and Buffy had settled back into the booth that was her temporary home, they both unknowingly silently whispered to themselves, "Step one."
Chapter Three: Step Two
Faith looked over her new girls as they gyrated across the dance floor like they owned, not just the club, not just the town, but the whole night itself. They were raw and wild, too hyped up to realize that they were already mistaking lust for love, love for hate, and hate for salvation. They thought they were finally at the top of the food chain and just kept on pushing themselves up higher and higher no longer caring about falling back down to the weaknesses they were running from.
Faith had just taken the six girls out slaying. They were already well trained, thanks to Buffy and her far reaching, never ending mission to train and arm her innocent young flock of freshly minted Slayers who were being offered a one way ticket to a calling that took more from the soul than it ever gave back. It was a tough sell, but somehow Buffy always managed to inspire and persuade making ‘death as their gift' look a lot better than an early grave and a fancy tombstone.
So Faith never had to worry about teaching them how to stay alive. They knew how to do that already, some knew how to even before Buffy came into their lives offering them formal training, quality education and five square meals a day. It wasn't Faith's place to offer them the same self-righteous talent show that Buffy and her Scoobs put on—preaching about doing all the right things for the right reasons in a world that offered up a never ending parade of wrong.
This group of six wasn't about doing right. Handling them wasn't about saving the world or even making it a better place. It was a police action, secret ops, highly classified, hush hush, and even perhaps a little crude, de-evolved and barbaric. It certainly brought the whole Slayer origins back to basics, calling up the little savage inside that always wanted to be let loose.
These girls, some of which were lost and searching for a better way than Buffy's way, some of which heard the word bandwagon and decided to go on a hayride, and some of which had a little too much of the demon inside of them polluting their minds with nasty little thoughts that made them want to kill, maim, and torture without remorse. These girls were now Faith's girls. She was their acting judge and jury so that Buffy could come back around and act as their prosecution and executioner.
But, none of these six knew that. They couldn't even conceptualize it, because all they saw was Faith on the dance floor with them gyrating her body like she owned not just the club, not just the town, but the whole night itself. They saw their new leader doing things with them that Buffy never did, never would do, and that they mostly thought her incapable of. Faith had no need to prove that she was one of them, because they believed it already since she was outside of Buffy's world and rejected by the holier than thou preach-aholic Slayer.
And, when they left the club and stumbled back to the abandoned apartment complex they were now calling home, they leaned onto Faith and let her carry them back to safety. They told her stories about their corrupted childhoods, broken memories, and fractured souls. Each and every one of them had a story, and wanted to get a chance to voice it. All of them but Madeleine, Buffy's only true worry in the small group that had been set up and set aside for special action.
Madeleine helped Faith put to bed a few members of their newfound sisterhood and then followed the older slayer away from the snoring five. They walked up the fire escape to look over the town at the top of the roof, and let the cool night air run across their heated skin. Faith took out her pack of cigarettes, offered one over to Madeleine and then struck a match to light up the one true addiction, besides her obsession with Buffy Summers, that was a carryover from her adolescence.
They sat on the edge of the roof, looking down knowing that the fall wouldn't kill them but that it would still hurt like a bitch. Then, they looked at each other not quite sure who would end up pushing the other over the ledge first.
"So," Madeline drew out the word as she reached up and pulled her burning cigarette away from her mouth, "what now?"
Faith didn't bother to look over at the girl; she didn't need to see the young slayer's eyes to know that there was madness there. "I thought I already made it clear that I wasn't a babysitter." She flicked her cigarette away from her, throwing it out over the edge of the roof and watching it flutter down, down, down until it got picked up by the wind and carried off to pollute someone else's view.
"You're nothing like her," Madeline said with confidence. "You know that, right?"
"So, I've been told," Faith muttered.
"You could be, though," the young slayer suggested, flicking her own cigarette away. "You could be the leader Buffy can't be."
Finally, Faith turned her head so that she could look over at the girl she had long since singled out. She said nothing, just raised her brow as if she was interested in being told just how wonderful a world she could mold with her powers. This was a speech she had heard before, but she felt no need to interrupt. This was quality bonding time that she had learned was a necessity for her future success.
"Buffy doesn't understand us, like you do Faith," Madeline continued. "She's trying to make picture perfect assembly line Slayers out of every one of us, but we all haven't been made with the same parts."
Faith chuckled, but still said nothing.
"Buffy doesn't understand," Madeleine turned away from Faith's gaze as she stumbled over her last uttered word. "She doesn't get that we're part of the night for a reason," she whispered. "I'd always listen to her words, her preaching, hoping that she'd finally say something that made sense. I was hoping that she'd finally talk about the…demon…inside, but she never did. She never will, ‘cause it doesn't exist inside of her."
"But it's inside of you," Faith knowingly stated after a brief moment of pause.
Madeleine brought her head up to look back into Faith's brown eyes. "It's inside of you, too," she accused. "I've seen it. I saw it when I first walked into that bar and saw you sipping on that bottomless glass of whiskey."
Faith casually leaned back, resting her weight on her hands, her body more relaxed than this particular topic of conversation warranted. "I don't know what you're talkin' ‘bout."
Madeline tried to mimic Faith's pose, but couldn't manage to look as relaxed or as effortlessly casual as the woman she was bearing her soul to. "Yes you do."
"You need to do yourself a favor, Kid, and forgot all those stories you've heard about me." Faith's words were a warning, one of only a handful she would offer before she pushed forward with her mission to assess the necessity of elimination. "Most of ‘em probably aren't true, and those that are probably were told to ya wrong."
The younger slayer gave up on trying to look casual in such an important conversation. She broke away from mimicking Faith and went back to leaning forward and staring over the edge of the roof. "Does your demon still scare you? It that why you hide away from Buffy and the rest of ‘em?"
As far as unexpected questions went, it didn't catch Faith completely off guard. "Whoa, Pint Size, let's get something perfectly clear here. I ain't hidin' from nobody."
"Tell that to your never ending line of empty bottles." Finally, a hint of the Slayer strength that ran through Madeline's blood made an appearance. "But, I don't think you'll ever be able to drown that darkness." She put some of Buffy's training to use and reached out to capture Faith in her grasp, too slow to complete her goal, and too inexperienced to stop herself before she lost her balance and started falling over the edge.
With an unconcerned swipe of her hand, Faith caught the younger slayer from completing her journey to the hard cement below, knowing she probably should have let the girl fall, but not quite able to stop herself from saving the mouthy menace. She didn't pull the girl completely back to safety, though. She let her dangle in between the bounds of safety and fatality. "What was that you were saying about my demon?"
Both of Madeline's hands grasped onto Faith's. "Let me fall," she challenged. "Kill the demon inside of me, and continue to be alone."
She thought about letting the younger girl go, but redemption meant more to Faith than a quick and painful death. This girl knew all the right words, she just didn't understand any of their meanings. Faith had to give her a chance to prove that she could control the pieces inside of her that made her different than the others.
"You need to get some rest," Faith ordered as she pulled Madeleine back to safety, offering no explanations for her own actions or hesitations.
Madeleine straightened out her shirt, it being the only action she could take now that she knew that tonight she wasn't going to die, no matter how much she may have wanted that particular fate. "And what are you going to do?"
"I'm not thinking that's any of your business." Faith met the other girl's gaze head on. She wasn't going to back away from her now. She still needed to be in control.
The girl gave a knowing smile, blatantly assuming that Faith was going to go out and do something about that darkness she had been trying to draw to the surface. "I guess it's not." She turned away and then walked back down the fire escape. She didn't look back to see whether Faith was following her, she knew that the older slayer wouldn't be. Faith was a loner, and Madeline respected that, hell, even a part of her admired that bountiful independence.
When Madeline was tucked back inside with the rest of her new crew, Faith exited the building as quickly as she could. She ran away from the intensity that the young slayer brought out and cursed the necessity of the whole fucked up situation. She hated this part. Always hated it because it reminded her of just how much she hadn't changed. It reminded her of all the things that she was supposed to have put a moratorium on, but hadn't yet succeeded in completely burying.
She wanted to go out and kill something, but with six slayers in one small little town that didn't have a enough demons to even keep one slayer occupied, the likelihood of Faith finding a new kill was minimal. So instead of running towards something to kill, she ran towards someone to devour instead. She didn't even bother to knock on the dingy motel room door before she flung it open. She didn't give Buffy a chance to fully acknowledge her presence before she jumped onto the bed and roughly gripped her lover's wrists inside the firm grasp of her hands.
"Do you see me?" Faith whispered into Buffy's ear.
If this had been the first time this particular scene had played out, then perhaps Buffy would have been frightened and confused. If this had been the first time, then perhaps she would have fought back or would have tried to have a rational conversation with the woman that was forcefully holding her down. But, this wasn't the first time. It wasn't the second either. It had all happened before, most likely would happen again, and again because this was necessary. This was what nobody currently understood, except a young fifteen year old girl named Madeleine who felt like she had a demon living inside of her that she didn't particularly want to control.
All the others believed in the mission, believed in the sisterhood. They let righteousness guide them towards doing the right things for the right reasons, and embraced their power as a gift from the White Hats. They let Buffy's purity guide them towards salvation, and for most of them that was enough. Buffy was their Holy Grail. It was and always had been her destiny.
"What is it you want me to see, Faith?" Buffy asked, letting that righteous purity fade into the void of darkness Faith's presence offered.
Immediately, Faith saw the minute change run through Buffy's body, and she welcomed it. She wanted her partner, her equal with her now. She wouldn't settle for anything else. "The killer in me."
Buffy swallowed heavily and then licked her lips and softly whispered, "Is the killer in me."
Then, as if in an instantaneous, simultaneous, broken truce, they exploded towards each other and began to tear at each other's clothes ripping away anything that didn't rightfully belong. They weren't gentle, nor were they particularly loving. The bed had become a battlefield and they were warring with each other for dominance. They growled and scratched, and let the darkness take them over.
Everyone had always known Faith was capable of the violence, and knew they wouldn't be out of line to expect to see that darkness resurface every once in a while. They gave her a bit of a free pass when it came to expressing her darker instincts; Buffy had no such leeway.
But Buffy always wondered, that if underneath Giles there could be a Ripper, and if underneath Willow there could be a Witch willing to end the world, and if underneath Xander could be his dark jealousies that tainted his own purity, and if underneath sweet Dawn could be the power to unleash Hell on Earth, then why couldn't she have a little bit of her own darkness? Why couldn't she let her demon out to play? Because it was a fact, pure and simple, that she was part demon after all.
"Stay with me," Faith ordered as she began to see Buffy's eyes falling too deep into the basis of their Slayer origins. Her fingers stilled from inside of Buffy's core and she used their connection to draw Buffy back just a bit from the depths she wasn't completely used to exploring.
"I'm here," Buffy softly announced, her grip on Faith tightening, needing to hold onto the one person she had always understood she belonged to.
She no longer believed that her dying the first time was a mistake. Nor did she believe that Kendra's death was a horrible tragedy. Things had happened for a reason. Faith needed to become a Slayer, and needed to come to Sunnydale and side with Mayor Wilkins. It all had to happen because Buffy and Faith had to exist in the same moment in time, to become the same side of the same coin.
One slayer wasn't enough, could never be enough. It always had to be the Chosen Two, because only they could draw out the true source of the Slayer's power without tipping it over to be used as a tool for darkness. It was the universal balance that they had ignorantly fucked up when they unleashed the Slayer power to a mass of girls who were never really meant to be Slayers at all.
Now, both Faith and Buffy were convinced that it always should have been just them. No Willow. No Xander. No Giles. No Dawn. No Angel or Spike. They were meant to fight until they both died and then the universe would have had to come up with a new plan. But since it didn't happen that way, they were now stuck with cleaning up the messes they had inadvertently made, and they were stuck with only being able to be themselves in these stolen moments.
Both Faith and Buffy screamed as their bodies began to shake from the dark pleasures that had been released, and then collapsed into each other. Their joint darkness momentarily mollified. They each had the independent pointless wonderings of what would happen if this had been their beginning, but gave up on those pointless thoughts. Because, they understood that they had a duty to fulfill and a job to complete.
Buffy would always be the Holy Grail and Faith would always be her Temptress. It was the way things had settled after the fall. They'd never have a chance to make everything as it should have been; Fate would never be that kind to them. So all they could do was follow through with their steps.
Step one had been checked off, and since Faith had come to her under their demon's spell, Buffy knew she could put a check mark near step two as well. Madeleine had exposed everything to Faith, and instead of reciprocating, Faith had come running to Buffy where they could share everything with each other.
Maybe one day their steps wouldn't work, but they always kind of figured since the steps had managed to put on hold their fated bond, then they'd be more than enough to control a mini slayer that would grow up to be a threat to the precarious illusion that sustained and maintained Buffy's mantle of power. The new slayers could only be soldiers in the army, there could only ever be one supreme commander: it was Buffy's Destiny.