by KW Jordan
Note: I've used some of the stuff from the comics, but it's just things I've learned from reading fanfic online.
Chapter 1: One of Those Days
Tendrils of sunlight crept across the plush cream colored carpet and reached for the small blonde curled up in a recliner near the window. The warmth made her shiver and her grip tightened on the tumbler in her right hand. She brought it to her lips and sipped, sighing as the vodka burned a trail down her throat.
Her bloodshot hazel eyes lifted to gaze out the window to the trees beyond and she let her head rest back against the chair. She sniffled and a tear trickled down her left cheek. She swiped at it in irritation, shifting in the chair to try to get comfortable.
Downstairs she could hear the sounds of dishes being clanked around in the kitchen and the rasp of a faintly familiar voice. She briefly contemplated going to investigate, but she came to the conclusion that she didn't really care. She wasn't hungry and she didn't feel like being sociable.
She realized she wouldn't be able to avoid her sister forever, but for now she was going to continue hiding in the guest room until she had no other choice. Considering what she'd just been through, she was more than deserving of some alone time.
Ugh, don't go there, she thought in disgust. Thinking about it leads to crying and I've cried enough in the past week for one lifetime.
The stereo across the room switched tracks and the first strains of the new song caught her attention. She tilted her head and listened curiously. It wasn't one she recognized.
Must be something one of Dawn's guests left in the changer, She mused.
Sitting here wasted and wounded
Whoever left the CD must have been the same one that left the bottle of vodka. She smirked and toasted the air.
With an ironclad fist I wake up and
Her smirk disappeared and she took another sip from the tumbler. She set the glass aside on the table by the chair and leaned forward with her elbows on her knees. Her mussed blonde hair fell down in a curtain around her face and she idly tucked it behind her ears.
I want to lay you down in a bed of roses
Well I'm so far away
She scrunched her face up and scrubbed at her burning eyes. Too much crying had left them dry and irritated. The past three nights had been spent in a bar, the smoky atmosphere not helping any.
I want to lay you down in a bed of roses
She vaguely remembered calling Dawn to pick her up in the early morning hours when the bartender cut her off, which was how she'd come to end up where she was. She really wasn't looking forward to explaining herself to her little sister at all. But it was inevitable.
The hotel bar hangover whiskey's gone dry
She sighed and looked around the neatly arranged room. The dark blue silk sheets on the queen sized bed were the only thing out of order. She wasn't planning to make it up. She figured she'd end up there again soon, so what would be the point?
Her own home had seemed too empty to stay there. Memories had haunted her and kept her from getting any rest. She had simply packed her stuff up and ended up at a motel to get away from it and to avoid everyone she knew. She hadn't wanted to speak with anyone else because that would eventually lead to questions and explanations.
She'd ended up at a bar that first night when she couldn't sleep. The motel room didn't have a mini-bar. Then she'd just kept coming back to the same bar because it was the only thing she had to fall back on when her mind betrayed her. At least drunk, the memories didn't seem to hurt so badly. So far the only reason she could come up with for why she had called Dawn had been that the alcohol had made her stupid.
Now as you close your eyes
Her chest tightened and she cursed inwardly as more tears filled her eyes. Damn it. She stood and stomped over to the stereo. She hesitated with her finger on the power button, uncertain as to why the song was even affecting her.
I want to lay you down in a bed of roses
She shook her head in confusion and turned it off. I have to get out of here for a while.
She looked down and considered the slightly baggy black silk boxers and the fitting white tank top she'd found in the dresser before she'd passed out earlier. She shrugged and turned to leave. Whoever's down there can deal with me like I am.
She left the room and walked down the short hall to the stairs, feeling a tingle go up her spine that meant there was a Slayer nearby. She sighed and forced herself to continue down, almost afraid of which one she'd find down there.
I think I'm actually hoping to find Faith or Kennedy down there. She snorted at the thought. It wasn't likely though since the dark Slayer spent most of her time out of the state and Kennedy didn't get up before noon if she didn't have to. The last she'd heard, Faith was in Texas reigning in one of their rogue Slayers.
When she reached the bottom of the stairs, she paused. The tingling had taken on a familiar intensity stronger than the usual and a wry smile spread across her lips. The unlikely was likely to happen when she least expected it.
She shook her head and walked through the living room to the kitchen. She paused in the doorway, unseen by the room's occupant. Her eyes took in the sight before her.
Faith stood in front of the stove in a pair of tight jeans and an even tighter black tank top. The dark wavy hair was slightly shorter than the last time she'd seen it, now only brushing Faith's shoulders, and had a lighter tint to it. She blinked and then her eyes took in the full scene, making her wince.
The dark Slayer was standing in front of the stove. But the part that truly frightened her? Faith was cooking breakfast. And she was apparently doing a good job of it considering the room didn't smell like anything had been scorched. In fact, the bacon, eggs, and pancakes had her stomach growling.
"Good morning, Buffy."
She jerked her head in the direction of Dawn's voice and her eyebrows furrowed. She'd been so fixated on Faith's presence that she hadn't noticed her sister. She shook her head and entered the kitchen reluctantly. Then she dropped down onto a stool beside her sister and leaned her elbows on the breakfast bar.
"Morning," She muttered.
Dark brown eyes glanced over a bare, pale olive-toned shoulder at Buffy, their eyes locking. Buffy clenched her jaw and jerked her gaze away from the brunette's. She didn't think she could handle one of their usual interactions right now.
So it's one of those days, Faith mused.
She started to look back at the stove and then did a double take when she registered the clothes Buffy was wearing. Irritatin' little clothes thievin'... She rolled her eyes, unable to muster any real annoyance at the sight of her sometimes-enemy in her PJs.
Finding herself smirking, she returned her attention to the pans on the stove. She flipped a pancake and then crossed to a cabinet to retrieve another plate. Stacking it on the others by the stove, she returned to her task.
Guess I must've left the damned things in D's guestroom last time I stayed over, She considered with a mental shrug.
It wasn't impossible considering that when Faith visited, she almost always stayed with the younger woman. They had settled their problems with each other what seemed like forever ago. All they'd had to do was find some common ground to stand on.
Behind her, Dawn studied her sister and then sighed. "Did you even get any sleep?"
She contemplated not answering, then with a shrug, said, "A couple of hours."
Concerned, the younger woman asked, "Why didn't you just go back to sleep?"
"I didn't feel like it, okay?" She snapped.
She didn't want to admit that every time she closed her eyes the fight with her partner replayed. She sighed. I knew coming down here was a bad idea. Now she's going to expect explanations and that's the thing I've been trying to avoid all week.
Dawn held up a hand in a placating gesture. "Whoa, calm down. I'm just worried, Buffy. You called me at three A.M., drunk out of your mind. Then when I picked you up, it was pretty obvious you'd been at it for a while. I'm entitled, y'know?"
Chapter 2: The Hardest Part of Breaking Up
Trying not to be obvious, Faith listened to their conversation as she finished up their breakfast. If she were being tortured, she'd have to admit she was concerned too. Dawn had picked her up at the airport an hour ago and filled her in on the way to her house. In the fifteen plus years she'd known Buffy, never had she heard of the blonde getting so drunk she had to call for a ride.
That was more Faith's style. That and Dawn's description of Buffy's tearful reaction to an innocent question about taking her home had certainly pricked her curiosity. She piled a big helping of the food on a plate and set it in front of Buffy. Slayers didn't get severe hangovers unless magic was involved, so she knew there wasn't anything to worry about.
"Need somethin' to drink, B?"
Hazel eyes studied her in wary consideration. Faith smirked.
"Would ya rather I started a fight? 'Cause I can, y'know."
Buffy shook her head and snorted. Though ten years had passed since the last time they'd exchanged blows, it was still odd to have the dark Slayer being nice. It just didn't sit well with her. Sarcasm and agitation still ruled their interactions for the most part.
Everyone realized it was an act on both sides, but they refused to admit to it. The Chosen Two found that they enjoyed their verbal spars. They had their moments when they got along without the antagonism, but those were few and far between.
"So do ya?"
She blinked and looked at Faith in confusion. A tilt of the dark head reminded her of the question and she simply nodded. For now, she could do without the aggravation. Maybe they'd make time to have an argument for old time's sake before Faith went back to her life.
"A glass of orange juice will be okay."
The blonde reached for the fork stuck in the stack of pancakes and pushed the gently steaming eggs around in her plate. She tried to ignore Dawn's expectant look, but it didn't seem to be working. The requested glass of juice was set next to her plate and she lifted her eyes to watch Faith filling two other plates with food.
Finally, she blurted, "Satsu left me."
"What?" Dawn screeched.
"Dawn!" Both Slayers objected and rubbed their ears, giving her warning looks.
"Sorry," The younger woman mumbled sheepishly.
Buffy stabbed the fork back into the pancakes and her shoulders slumped as she leaned on the breakfast bar again. She forced a smile and brought her eyes up to see Faith hand Dawn one of the plates. Unable to handle the sympathetic look the other Slayer gave her, her smile disappeared and her gaze dropped back to the bar top.
"Yeah, she uh, she asked for a divorce," She reluctantly continued with her explanation.
"Why?" Dawn asked in confusion. "I thought everything was going good for the two of you."
"I did too," Buffy muttered desolately. "But apparently I was wrong 'cause according to her, she fell out of love with me." Her face darkened and her voice broke. "Then she proceeded to fall into bed with someone else."
"Oh my God," Dawn whispered. "Buffy, I'm so sorry."
She shrugged and gave her sister a weak smile. "I'll live."
"Yeah, well, she won't," Dawn grumbled. "I'm so going to kick her ass."
Faith kept her eyes on her plate and continued to chew slowly on the bite of pancake she'd taken. Anything she could say right now would probably be taken wrong. She hadn't liked the younger Slayer and it hadn't been a secret. They had come to blows more than once in the past.
They hadn't told Buffy, but the blonde had to have heard about it. There were usually plenty of witnesses and there wasn't a chance Slayers could resist that juicy piece of gossip. Faith had come to realize that Satsu had some twisted view of the love/hate relationship between Buffy and her. She'd been jealous of something that would never happen.
It couldn't happen. Anything more than the quasi-friendship they had would be asking for trouble. Not that she wanted anything to happen.
Sh'yeah, right, Faith snorted inwardly. Me and B date? We'd wind up killin' each other.
She swallowed and reached for her glass, her gaze lifting to the older Slayer. Her jaw muscles clenched at the dejection obvious in the blonde's very posture. Dark smudges circled Buffy's bloodshot, puffy eyes and her shoulders were slumped like she was trying to curl in on herself. Faith forced down the irrational urge she felt to go track Satsu down.
And what would I do if I did go after her? She snorted inwardly. Beat her to death? What for? She ain't the first person in the world to cheat on someone.
How the fuck would I even explain somethin' like that? 'Oh sorry, she fucked around on my sometimes-enemy, so I had to kill her'? It ain't like I've never hurt B, so I ain't got any room to talk.
Still, it pisses me off, She concluded reluctantly. I wish I could do somethin' to cheer her up, at least.
She winced. She'd never liked seeing the blonde hurt. Even when she was the one doing it, part of her couldn't stand it. And though she'd never admit it anyone, much less the blonde, she truly hated seeing it now.
Jesus, She grumbled silently. If B could read my thoughts right now she'd be havin' herself a good fuckin' laugh.
"Dawn, don't start anything with her," Buffy answered tiredly, pulling Faith from her thoughts. "I just want to move on."
Or try to anyway, The blonde thought with a grimace.
Unnoticed by the blonde now focusing on demolishing her breakfast, the two brunettes shared a look full of meaning. Disliking Satsu had been their common ground. Their friendship only grew once Buffy had married the annoying woman four years earlier.
Faith dropped her gaze to her plate, shoveling a forkful of food into her mouth. If Dawn was expecting her to make any comments, she was going to be severely disappointed. She didn't want to push Buffy too much. She also didn't want anyone reading anything into her actions, either.
Fuck knows what B would think if I suddenly started tryin' to take up for her, She thought, feeling a faint shiver run up her spine. And I know what Dawn would think.
She shook her head. Some of their friends and fellow Slayers were in agreement with Satsu, thinking there was something between them. Unfortunately, Dawn seemed to believe it too. Faith was just grateful the younger woman knew better than to harass her about it too much.
Dawn huffed. "I'll try not to, but if she says anything..."
Buffy looked up from her plate and rolled her eyes. The look on Dawn's face was a familiar one. It meant trouble unless she nipped it in the bud right now.
"Promise me, Dawn," She said firmly.
Dawn narrowed her eyes and studied her sister for a long moment, trying to see just how serious she was. Then her shoulders slumped and her bottom lip jutted out.
"Fine," She grumbled.
"Thank you," Buffy said with exasperated fondness.
"What about Faith?" Dawn asked, a sudden smirk sprouting. "Doesn't she have to promise not to do anything either?"
Faith's eyes jerked up from her plate. She gave the other brunette a warning look, which was cheerfully ignored. Damn it, Dawn... Don't bring me into this shit. She groaned internally.
"I mean, she'll probably do worse than bitch Satsu out."
Buffy looked over at the other Slayer, a faintly amused grin spreading over her lips. She met a pair of glaring dark brown eyes and arched an eyebrow. Faith hadn't ever really needed an excuse to fight with Satsu, she knew, but she also realized Dawn had a valid point. If the dark Slayer thought there was even a remote chance of her getting by with it, she'd probably go after the younger woman as quickly as she could.
Faith hurried to swallow another mouthful of food and took a gulp of her drink. Then she set her glass on the breakfast bar with a thump and shook her head. Raising her hands in front of her defensively, she snorted.
"Don't fuckin' look at me. If short-shit wants to fuck around, it ain't my problem."
"Gee, thanks," Buffy said sardonically.
"My pleasure," She answered cheerfully.
Buffy rolled her eyes and shook her head. She noticed a familiar glint in the dark eyes across from her and an answering twinkle appeared in her own hazel ones. It was obvious what Faith was trying to do. She wouldn't say it, but she was grateful for it.