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by Leia


Rating: NC17

Part 1

"Hey," her voice on the phone, startled Faith out of the momentary revere the stupid television show was providing, "It's me.."

"Yeah, B, I sorta figured," Faith answered. She wanted to add, no fucking kidding. To chastise the girl for thinking she could ever forget her voice, but she remained quiet.


"So," Faith repeated, still trying to still the severe beating of her heart.

"How have you been?" Buffy asked, not pausing for an answer, "It's been a while, I know. I was hoping I had the right number. Not that many Faith Jackson's living in Boston. Though you would, think, I mean Boston is a big town, there would at least be more than one. Anyway, I just figured after you left, that is where you would go, but I really couldn't believe you actually had a listed telephone number. I guess I was just lucky," Buffy spurted, not actually taking anything that could legally be called a breath.

Faith could feel the familiar pain behind her left eye illuminating itself as Buffy spoke. It amazed her that such a pain, absent after she left the gang in L.A. could come screaming back so suddenly with nothing more than the invocation of Buffy's voice. "I'm good B. Everything's cool," she answered, wishing that she had never answered the phone.

"That's good, that you're good, I mean. I'm glad. I've been wondering if you were doing okay. I hoped that you were, at least. I've been good as well. I live in, well we live in actually, Nashville. Sounds strange? I mean the super gang moves to the heart of the south, or maybe that's Atlanta, I don't know. But they actually have a hell mouth here as well. Not as big, thank god, but still it calls for some activity. I keep busy. Plus I work as a school counselor at a high school in town. Apparently there are fucked up or fucked over kids everywhere theses days. Though they do seem a little more disconcerted on the hell mouths I have had the pleasure of living on," Faith could hear a small smile in the girl's pause, followed by a slow sigh, "Faith, I guess you are wondering why I called?"

"Thought has crossed my mind B," Faith wanted to scream but only whispered.

"Well, I sort of need your help. Though, like I said, the hell mouth isn't as big, apparently some fucking idiot doesn't care and wants to open it. And with idiot, I mean mean ass demon with nothing better to do."

"You and the Scoobs can't clean up on your own?" Faith asked, for some reason more than a little put out that this was nothing more than a call for professional help.

"Well Willow is working on a spell to buy us some time. Kennedy has gone to England with Dawn, they are having some sort of slayer initiation for all the new girls. I guess you weren't invited either," Buffy added.

"Nope," not that I give a shit, she wanted to add, "Wait, Dawn's a slayer too?"

"Huh? Oh, no, she's just tagging along with Ken. Apparently they're best buds now. Which is understandable, being closer to the same age than the rest of us." Buffy sighed for the second, "Listen Faith, I really do need your help. I know it's asking a lot, but I can pay for the plane ticket and everything and you wouldn't have to worry about the expenses, we have plenty of room. I guess the demon is not as stupid as I thought, striking when the young and agile slayers were all away," Buffy finished. Faith could hear a faint tint of tiredness in her voice, "and well I can't really do it on my own."

"Why not, B? You defeated plenty of demons way scarier than this one, from the sound of things, on your own. I just find it a bit strange, and to be honest a little, nah fuck that, a lot aggravating that you call me when you can't find someone else to help. Isn't your gang still intact? I realize that Kennedy and Dawn are gone, and I figure Giles as well, but that still leaves Xander and Willow, not too mention Andrew. Okay, well he probably isn't worth mentioning, but still, I bet if you called them they would come running back as soon as you said jump, just like always," Faith took a breath, " I just have to wonder why you are calling me and why you think out of all your little Buffy worshippers, I would come running?"

"You know what Faith, never mind. It was stupid of me to call. I just honestly needed your help. I can see that that clearly doesn't matter to you. And I don't think there is any more reason to explain. Because it obviously wouldn't matter that much if I did."

Faith was all set to retaliate, when she heard the drone of the phone being hung up in her ear. "Damn," she slammed the phone back on it's receiver, "It's so just like her to get the last fucking word in," she said out loud as she picked the phone back up. Still, it is so just like me to go running to her, she thought, as she called the airlines and made a reservation for an open-ended ticket to Nashville. "Tennessee, for fuck's sake," she said as she hung up the phone, "how the fuck do I get myself into this shit?" Still, she knew the answer to that question, and every other life changing question she asked herself - Buffy. It always came down to B.


Part 2

Willow shielded the sun from her eyes as she looked out the window of the airport. She was waiting for Faith outside of the terminal. When Faith had left the message on the answering machine with her flight number, Willow had been more than a little surprised. Buffy hadn't mentioned calling Faith, and Willow had no idea why she was coming. The scary demon that was to open the hell mouth, well it was actually a vertically challenged fledgling looking for a way to cause a little chaos, and Buffy had stomped him out with no problem. The phone call, Faith said Buffy made about said demon, had to have been right before she took off. Now Willow was going to have to explain all of this to Faith, as well as what was really going on and why she was here. A task she was not looking forward to.

Caught in her own musing, Willow jumped when she felt a tap on her shoulder, "Hey Red."

"Faith," she said pulling the girl into an awkward hug, "it's really good to see you."

Faith pulled out of the hug and looked at Willow, "You too. I hate to say though, I was kind of expecting B," she unconsciously looked around for the other girl.

Willow cleared her throat, "About that..." she started, and the paused, unsure how to proceed, "she's not...do you know why she called you Faith?" Willow asked.

"What do you mean? Didn't you guys get my message?"

"Yeah. I got it. Something about a badass demon. Seems he's been trying to open the hell mouth, right?" Willow asked Faith, making her way to one of the long rows of chairs and sitting down, "I don't know what to tell you, Faith."

Faith stood over Willow, not wanting to sit down, "what the fuck do you mean, `you don't know what to tell me?' What is going on, Red? Where's Buffy?"

"She's not here," Willow said, willing the girl to sit down.

Faith looked around the terminal, "I can see that. But where is she?" When Willow started to shrug, Faith lightly grabbed her by the shoulders pulling her up, "Are you trying to tell me, you don't know where she is?" Faith couldn't hold the anger from her voice as it continued to rise, "is she gone?" Willow nodded, "disappeared?"

"No," Willow said, "she left on her own."

"Left on her own. Like left the house, left the town, left the state? What?"

Willow sighed, "Look Faith, I'm here because of the message you left for Buffy. I didn't want you to be alone at the airport and..."

"And what?"

"I don't know. You're already here. Why don't we talk about all this when we get home?" Willow said grabbing Faith's bag. She noticed Faith's hesitant stance, and continued, "I know you're tired. So am I, actually. I want to explain everything to you, but not here. Please, come with me?" Willow looked at her pleadingly.

"All right Red. Let's go," Faith said, following Willow out of the airport and to her car.

Willow hadn't said much on the way to the car and Faith felt the need to strike some sort of conversation. Still, if the redhead wanted to hold on discussing the real deal, she would wait, seeing as she really had no choice in the matter, "So, Nashville, huh?"

Willow smiled wearily at her, before pulling into traffic, "Yeah. It's not as bad as you would think. The weather is okay. It snowed last winter, and it proves to be pretty hot in the summer." Willow swerved to miss a car that was pulling out in front of her, "Fucking traffic," she mumbled, under her breath.

"What was that?" Faith asked.

"Oh nothing. Traffic's just a bitch around Memorial Day, apparently." Willow answered.

"So, are you off work today, or are you working?" Faith asked, trying to think of something to keep the momentum going.

"Off work. For the summer. I teach high school chemistry. It's not bad. The kids are pretty cool actually. But, we're out for the summer," Willow mused, getting off the interstate.

"You work at the same school Buffy does?" Faith asked.

"She told you about that?" Willow asked as she turned to look at the dark haired girl. When Faith nodded, she continued, "Yeah. Buff's a counselor there. She's actually got the tougher of the two jobs if you ask me. Everyone's got a problem."

"But you're off for the summer?"

"I am. Buffy was supposed to work, but..." she turned the car into a driveway, and stopped, "here we are," she said.

Faith got out of the passenger's side and looked up at the two story home in front of her, "Nice digs for a couple of teachers," Faith said, walking around back to help Willow with her bags.

"Ken has money," Willow said, closing the trunk, "lots of money."

Faith followed her inside, and laid her bag by the door, "No kidding," she sarcastically commented, as she sat down on the couch.

Willow followed her, " Can I get you something to drink? Or are you hungry?" Willow noticed the beginning of a protest forming on Faith's lips, "Well Faith, like I said, I don't know where to begin."

"Well, I'm not going anywhere, so why don't you start at the beginning," Faith proclaimed, "I'm a little curious."

"To tell the truth, so am I," Willow responded.

Part 3

Faith settled herself on the couch, and looked around the room. Jesus, she thought, this place is huge. You could fit my entire apartment in here. She looked around and saw Willow move to the answering machine, when she pushed play she recognized Dawn's voice on the other end, "Buffy are you there? Ok, well I guess you guys are out. Willow, Kennedy's doing something top secret that I couldn't go to, which basically means they're training and she's getting the crap beat out of her." Dawn giggled. Faith looked at Willows face which had become considerably paler, "I'm joking, Wills don't freak out. Anyway, she's gone to some training seminar or something, and said she would call later. She says to pass on a message, but there is no way in hell...so I'll just say she loves you. Talk to you guys later." The answering machine beeped, indicating the end of the message.

Faith glanced at Willow with a raised eyebrow, "No," Willow said, "they don't know. Dawn would freak totally out and try to come home." Faith nodded, "Buffy hasn't been herself lately," Willow began, and cleared her throat, "she's tired, a lot of the time, she sleeps constantly. I have to literally shake her awake in the mornings. But then other times she`s...different."

"But she talked like she liked her job," Faith began to protest.

"Oh, I agree, I think she does. That isn't exactly it," Willow glanced at Faith's hands, she was wringing them, "do you still smoke?"

"Kind of obvious?"

"You seem a little nervous is all."

Faith sighed and pushed a dark strand off of her face and behind her ear, "I am. I haven't smoked since I left Boston, and for me that's like a freaking record."

"You can smoke," Willow suggested, "I don't mind."

"It's okay, I don't want to smoke in the house. I'll go out back a little later," Faith said to Willow, who was busying rustling things on the end table next to the sofa.

"Nah. Here's an ashtray. Buffy smokes," she said, handing it to Faith, " I told her it was bad for her, but she claims that she's a slayer, meant to die young and all."

"Buffy smokes?'

"Buffy does a lot of stuff," Willow said, sitting back down, "but yeah, she smokes."

"A lot of stuff? What is that supposed to mean?" Faith asked, lighting her cigarette.

Willow stood up and began to walk around, "She goes to work everyday. She seems fine. I mean, she does her job, the kids love her, she's excellent as a matter of fact. But it's one of the many faces of Buffy. If you know what I mean?" Willow sat back.

Faith nodded, "Yeah, I kinda do. I mean we all have different personas, right? "

"Yeah, I get that, Faith, but it's not the same thing. She started out small, and nobody was really even alarmed by it. I think that we just ignored it, if you want to know the truth." Willow sat up on the couch and put her elbows on her knees, hands to her face, "it's getting out of control. Or got out of control, actually."

"What is?"

Willow sighed again, "everything. She spirals. One minute she's crying and the next minute she's taking off to Fort Lauderdale. That's where she is now, Fort Lauderdale. I didn't want to tell you at the airport."

"What!?" Faith exclaimed, "What the fuck is she doing in Florida? If there is no demon, then why the fuck did she call me? And why am I here, and she's working on a tan at the fucking beach," Faith stubbed her cigarette out, and looked at Willow, "I'm sorry, it's just that this is getting a little more than infuriating."

"To tell you the truth Faith, it's way past infuriating." Willow said, "I love Buffy. I really do, but I can't deal with her sometimes. I'm sick of the messes, and with her and Xander there is always a mess. She's up one minute, and when she's up, well take my word for it, get out of her way. The next minute, she's in such a state of depression, that it takes everything in me to get her out of bed. Dawn and Kennedy try to help. Xander he's just as bad, they just facilitate each other."


"When she gets that way, in one of her upper states, as Dawn affectionately dubbed it, he plays along, cause she's funtime Buffy. Kennedy actually dubbed it more along the lines of Buffy and Xander being super duper pains in our asses. To tell the truth, she's more accurate. It's nothing for the two of them to take off on some drunken spree to the beach, as they have done."

"Xander's with her?" Faith asked, still a little confused.

"Yep. They left a note. Going to Fort Lauderdale. Call you Monday.," Willow said. Faith looked at her mystified, "No shit, that is all it said. They just left. Both of them have jobs, let me remind you, and I've been on the phone half the morning making up excuses as to why they weren't coming in."

"So let me get this straight, Buffy is having theses mood swings?" Faith asked. Willow nodded, "Do you mean she's like, bi-polar or something?"

"I think so. We can't get her to go to the doctor. Hell, we've tried to get both of them to go. They'll mope around the house for days on end, and the next thing you know they are out until two in the morning at some fucking club. They'll sleep a couple of hours go to work, and start partying all over again. I have no idea where they go, or what they do, for that matter. I know they drink, but I don't know how much. They are obviously enabling each other. Xander does have moments of clarity that Buffy has seemed to lack, but she just pouts her famous little pout and he`s all like, `sure Buff, whatever you want, let me be your lapdog some more.'"

Faith looked at Willow, "so why did she call me?'

"I don't know. Did she sound strange to you the other night?"

"Sort of. I can never tell with Buffy. She sounded tired."

Willow nodded, "she had been up for three days straight. Going to work, going out, going to work. Then she just crashed. The day before she called you, she stayed in bed all day, crying. Every time I would go in there, she would throw something at me. Pillows don't hurt, but cordless phones, well, they aren't as soft as they look. Xander, for his part, slept. Neither said anything to me. I guess she called you the next night. The next thing I know, they're both gone. I heard the two of them up the night before they left, but I don't know what they were doing. Talking is all I figured, since they were in their pajamas when I went to check on them. I figured they cooked up some sort of plan, and left, before I got up."

"Holy fuck, Red. What's wrong with the two of them? I still don't understand why she called me," Faith sighed.

Willow looked at Faith suddenly, as if she was studying her, "How do you feel about Buffy?" she asked.


"I mean, what are your feelings? Really. I never really understand why you left us in L.A. Buffy never said anything, and we didn't ask. But she did change after that."

Faith leaned back on the couch and put her hand to her head. Here comes the fucking headache, she thought. "I don't know what to tell you. You want to know why I left?" Willow nodded, and Faith continued, "She's too much. For me, I mean. It's like a strong perfume or something, but being around her left me heady. I'd get so pissed off, I'd want to hit her, and actually almost did one time. I left right after that. I just couldn't take her, you know?"

Willow was busy nodding when she looked up, a small sense of shock crossing her face, "You love her." Faith, for her part, didn't answer, "Wow, I'm sorta of blind, huh?" Faith did nod at this. "I should have known better. The way you acted around her. Good god, I mean, if I look at it from that perspective, everything you ever did makes sense."

"I wouldn't go that far," Faith said.

Willow stood up again, "I would, though. Most of it was attention. You were just trying to get her attention. Jeez, I wonder if Xander knows? I can't believe I didn't see it. You were like a little kid really, just looking for a little love, or like a puppy or something."

Faith outwardly cringed, "Thanks Red. I hadn`t really felt that much like a loser today."

Willow looked at her, "Oh Faith, I'm sorry I didn't mean anything by it. I was just a little stunned is all. I don`t get it though. If you loved her, what could make you leave?"

Faith stood as well, and Willow sat down. Faith began pacing the floor, lighting another cigarette, "I didn't leave on my own Red. I would have stayed with her till I died. Fuck, I would have died for her. I know I had a funny way of showing it, but, you can't imagine what she does to me. But I didn't leave on my own, I never would have. She asked me to. In fact, she sort of demanded it." Faith said sitting back down.

Part 4

"She made you leave," Willow asked, still looking a little stunned, "She never mentioned that."

"Do you remember that night we went out, to the club, the night before I left?" Faith sat down in the chair across from Willow, rubbing her temple, "the next day, I told you guys I was leaving, remember?'

"Vaguely. I remember you leaving, if that is what you're asking, but the night before is a little hazy," Willow answered.

"Yeah, well, we all had a lot to drink that night. To unwind, remember," when Willow started nodding, she went on, "that was sort of the catalyst. That night."

Two Years Earlier

Faith lay in her bed, at Angel's hotel, dreaming about ice cream. Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream. She was eating it with that green guy from Shrek and his donkey. They were sitting on the beach discussing the merits of taking a bath versus a shower, and she couldn't get a word in, because the damn donkey kept licking off her ice cream cone. She was about to kick a little ass, literally, when Buffy suddenly appeared on the beach. Naked. Which to the awakened Faith would have probably been a good thing, but to the dreaming Faith, well, she was pissed. Cause she knew B was gonna have her way, and that meant eating what was left of her ice cream.

"Faithhhh," Buffy yelled for the second time.

Faith jumped up in bed and screamed, "What! Fuck B, my dream was just getting good," she turned and looked at the clock, "Jesus, it is eight in the morning. What the hell do you want?"

Buffy barreled in the room, switching on the light, "You need to get up , silly. Most people are already functioning and at work by this hour."

"Most people don't fight the forces of evil for a living," Faith shielded her eyes from the harsh light, "turn it off blondie, fuck, are you trying to blind me?"

Buffy switched off the light and bounced on the bed, "yep Faith, you caught me, all of this, everything with the First, busting you out of prison, it was all an intricate plan to cause you to go blind. I'm afraid, though, we've failed, since you figured out the plot of turning on the lights at eight in the morning."

Faith laid back, and put the pillow over her eyes, "You know, I think you guys like all take drugs, and I'm the only sane person here," Buffy giggled, "no, hear me out. You are always, and I mean always awake. No matter what time it is, the whole super gang is awake, either eating or patrolling. And yet, even with the brutal lack of sleep, you continue to be happy. I think you have a secret, like you all feed on small cheerful children or something."

Buffy smiled, and laid on her stomach next to Faith, head in her hands, "yep, we do. That's why we've kept you around for so long. Cause you are not anything near being cheerful, and I bet you taste all sour."

Faith kept the pillow over her face. Oh god, she thought, is that too easy or what? Oh, what the hell, "yep and sticky too," she replied from under the pillow, "I can let you have a taste if want. It's way more addictive than sunshine and lollipops, I can assure you."

Buffy lifted the pillow off of Faith's face, "You, my pervy little friend, wish," she said, as she hopped up and into a crossed leg seating position, "now it's time to get up," she said pushing at Faith with her hands, "so come on now, don't make me kick you out of bed."

Faith raised on her elbows, "No one, and I mean no one has ever kicked me out of bed. Not intentionally, anyway."

Buffy shoved her, "I'm sure that is another sexual innuendo I am going to conveniently overlook. Now get up."

Faith shoved her back, "No, and quit shoving me. Why the hell do you want me up anyway? Cause I got to tell ya, if it's to hang with the new Slayerettes, I would be most obliged to stay in bed, thank you very much."

"No. Will and I were talking earlier and we decided we all needed a break. Like a night out, just the gang. Everyone is still a little freaked you know," Buffy said, sidling up beside Faith.

Faith laid back down, and put her hands over her eyes, "Buffy, as much as I am honored that you guys now include me as part of the gang, and I would the last one to turn down a little break time, but unless we are going out to a nightclub in Europe, you got me up about twelve hours too early," Faith moaned.

"I know that Faith," Buffy whined, "I didn't get you up to go out, I got you up to go shopping. We need going-out attire."

Faith groaned again, hand still over her eyes, "It's EIGHT O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING. Damn. Who the fuck goes shopping at eight? Besides the fact that I have no money! And I'm sleepy. And you're insane. Like the certifiable kind, with the straight jackets and everything." Faith turned over on her stomach, and pulled the pillow over her head, "Seriously, who the hell shops at eight?"

Buffy pressed her hand and rubbed Faith's back, "Oh, come on sleepy head. Angel spotted us some money, and I know you're hungry. Aren't you, Faithy?"

Faith groaned again, "Get off me, slayer."

Buffy sat up and straddled Faith's back. What the fuck is she doing, Faith thought.

"Come on, Faithy," she said leaning in and putting into her ear, "Are you hungry?"

Faith pulled the pillow off her head, she had just realized the only thing between her and Buffy was a sheet, and she was pretty sure that if the girl didn't get off right this second, when Faith did get up, there would be a nice little wet spot.

"I tell you what. I'll go." Faith said, and flipped over quickly, causing Buffy to fall a little to her side, but not lose her balance, "if you wiggle around for a little bit?'

Buffy stared at Faith, with the patented deer 'oh shit, headlights' look, before wiggling just a bit. "Deal," she said jumping up, "let's go."

Faith looked at Buffy, unable to comprehend the open flirting Buffy was partaking in, "Umm, okay B. I'll get up."

Buffy stood with her hands on her hips, "Well come on, slowpoke, let's go."

Faith sat up, "turn around."

Buffy looked at her curiously, "What? You're not naked, I saw you're tank top. Come on."

Faith threw back the sheet, and stepped out of bed, "Whatever B," she said as she sauntered, in only a tank top, to the bathroom.

Buffy stood where she was, in a semi-state of shock. After a moment she called out, "hey, you don't sleep in panties?"

Faith called back from the bathroom, "You caught me on a good day. Last night I got kinda cold."

Part 5

After an insanely long, and scary day with Buffy, Willow, and Dawn, Kennedy and Faith were near tears. They had been to every shop, store, boutique and mall within a sixty mile radius. If Faith had to look at anymore shoes, shirts, skirts (for god's sake) or goofy little purses, she was going to scream. Kennedy had begged, going so far as to get on her knees at one point, if they would just hurry up. Apparently it did no good, and Faith was saved the shame of having to join her, when the three girls just ignored them and walked into another shop. After hours of this excruciating torture, of which Faith, at one point likened to be whipped with a bullwhip and caused a few raised eyebrows, they were at last back at the hotel.

Faith sat in the lobby and propped her feet on the nearest table, "God, my fucking feet are killing me. Add shopping to the list of reasons to commit you," she said to Buffy.

Buffy plopped down in Faith's lap, causing stares from the rest of the group, "Come on, Faith, you had fun, admit it?"

Faith sat back, looking at Buffy, "well, no, but if you wiggle around a little, like you did this morning," she made sure to add for the benefit of the others, "I'll quit complaining."

Xander, Willow, and Andrew were all in the lobby. Xander and Willow looked at each other shocked. Andrew, oblivious to the display, was whining about the new shoes he and Xander had purchased.

Buffy saw the questioning glances of her friends, and hopped up, "Quit being so vile Faith, it's really unattractive," the other two looked away, trying now to assure Andrew that his shoes weren't 'dorky'. Buffy leaned in and whispered in Faith's ear when they had turned around, "I would, you know, cause at least I would know what it felt like, being the one who's pantyless now ." She raised up, lifting her skirt a tiny bit, before giggling and then smirking at Faith's open mouth and bounced into the kitchen, "Shopping makes me hungry. Willow?"

"Me too. I'm famished," Willow said, following Buff out.

The shower Faith took, before their little foray into the nightlife, was much colder than normal. She's just flirting, she told herself. It's what she does. Flirting, no big deal. I can't really expect her to be any different, I mean, we're all coming off the high of defeating the First, and it's nothing, plain and simple. Still, she thought, if she had known how close I came to lifting that skirt up and...ok, no thinking about Buffy without panties. Oh, who the hell am I kidding, like it matters. If I had my way, I'd just rip them off, and..."Fuck," she shouted.

Buffy, who had been walking by the room heard the shout and peered in the bathroom, "Faith? Are you okay?"

Faith pulled the shower door back enough to peer around and look at Buffy, "Yep, right as rain."

"I heard you scream."

"Oh, that was nothing, a little shampoo in my eyes, no big deal," she said. What the fuck, she thought., and stepped out of the shower, "Can you hand me that towel, Buffy?" she asked the stunned girl, whilst running her fingers through her hair, "I seemed to have grabbed the hand towel instead."

"Here," Buffy said, hurriedly shoving the towel into Faith's waiting hand.

"What's up, B? I thought you'd love to see me au natural. It takes the pain of you having to talk me out of my clothes later," Faith said, wrapping the towel around herself, and turning to face Buffy.

Buffy had already started heading out the door, but turned her head around, "Faith, I'm pretty sure, no make that fucking one hundred percent without a doubt sure, that if I wanted to get you naked, I wouldn't have to ask twice, cause you don't seem like the type a girl to put up much of a fight," She said, walking out of the room.

"You're right," Faith agreed, toweling her hair in the steamed mirror.

"On the other hand," Buffy said, as she paused at the door, "you'd have to do a little more than ask, if you wanted me to reciprocate."

"Oh, is that right?" Faith asked, sticking her head around the side of the bathroom door, as Buffy was about to leave the room, "and what else would that entail?"

Buffy shook her head, and without looking back said, "If you don't know, Faith, I'm certainly not going to tell you."

Part 6

The club was packed and Faith could already feel her leather pants sticking to her legs. The fucking price I pay to look good, she thought, making her way to the bar. She could feel the eyes of the other patrons following her. Not that she actually gave a fuck. It was a common reaction to her entering a room, and she paid it no attention. The gang was sitting at a table they had found, practically screaming at each other over the music, to carry on any semblance of a conversation.

Xander was still self-conscious of his eye patch, and had opted to sit with his back to the crowd, therefore blocking Faith's view of Buffy. She figured that wouldn't last long, because apparently an eye patch is kind of cool to some chicks, and Xander was not lacking for conversation. Neither was Andrew, who was regaling his tale of heroics to some girl who was either too deaf or stoned to actually here what he was saying.

Faith placed an order for a drink, decided on a couple of shots for her and B as well, and made her way back to the table.

"And then there was this huge snake, and he ate the principal," Andrew was telling the girl next to him, "well, that's what I heard anyway. I wasn't actually there, but I do know the school was gone the next day."

The girl smiled sweetly at him and said, "non parle anglais," shaking her head fervently at him.

Andrew nodded, "yes, he was very scary and big, bigger than the school even," he told her.

The girl gave him a confused look and shook her head, but continued to smile. Foreign, Faith thought. I didn't think about that. She walked around the table, and placed the drinks in front Buffy.

Buffy picked up a drink and took a sip, "Eww, it tastes like motor oil," she said screwing her face up appropriately.

"Yeah, B. I ordered motor oil. Seems to be the drink of choice around here," she said, "How the hell would you know what motor oil taste likes?" she had to practically scream over the noise.

Buffy took another drink, "You know what I mean," she said, "it's gross."

"And yet, you still seem to be drinking it," Faith retorted, "Imagine that?"

Buffy turned the glass up again, and then looked at Faith, "well, I'm branching out. Broadening my horizons. If everybody else is drinking it, I guess I could jump on the bandwagon."

Faith finished her drink quickly, "Yeah B, I'm thinking more along the lines of you taking baby steps. I don't want you to get all drunk and suck the fun out of my good time."

Buffy finished her drink as well, "How would me getting drunk suck the fun out of your good time? That just makes no sense. Not that that is surprising, you being the girl most commonly associated with lacking good sense."

Faith looked around for a waitress, "I'm not going back up to the bar. That's ridiculous. Stupid crowds. And by the way, I'm going to ignore the no good sense comment. I prefer to think that you guys just don't see things the way I do. I would try to explain the complicated reasoning to you, but I'm not actually trying to confuse you tonight. Though, I have to say, when you do finally figure out what I'm talking about, it's like a little light goes off in your head, and you get all glow-y. It's kinda cute."

Buffy flagged down a waitress, "are you insulting me?'

Faith looked at her, "You'll figure it out sooner or later."

Xander was busy telling some girl about how he'd lost his eyes. Faith only caught a bit of the conversation, and tried not to snicker when she heard the words `saving a small child' and `really big sword.' Apparently, and fortunately for him at least, Faith noticed that the girl had the vacuous look of a half-wit. An incredibly attractive moron, though, she thought. After Buffy ordered the drinks, Faith pushed one of the shots she had ordered over to Buffy.

"What's this?" Buffy asked, picking up the drink and smelling it.

"Don't smell it B. You won't want to drink it," Faith said, picking hers up as well, "just chug it, like this," she said, as she turned the drink up, "fuck," she muttered, trying not to make a face.

Buffy stared back, "Oh yeah, that makes me want to drink it. Nothing more appetite inducing as the staggering look of disgust from a friend," Buffy turned up the drink and swallowed, "Oh, god, that was awful" she said, grimacing, "I don't particularly get how people become alcoholics. This stuff tastes like shit. Isn't it much easier to get addicted to something sweet, like chocolate?"

Faith paid the waitress for the drinks, who set them down if front of the two girls, "for some reason, I don't think chocolate has the same effect." She reached for her drink and took a sip, "where's everyone else?'

Buffy looked around, pointing, "Willow and Kennedy are dancing. See?" she asked Faith, who nodded, "and Dawn is...Dawn is talking to some guy," Buffy was looking more closely now at Dawn who was sitting about 10 feet away, "with really big hands. That just happen to be on her upper thigh. Oh no. I don't think so," she said getting up.

Faith turned and followed Buffy's eyes, "chill B," she said putting a hand on the girl's arm and guiding her back to her seat, "he's not hurting her," Faith said, turning back to look at Dawn, "in fact, looks to me like she likes it."

Dawn was turned towards the guy, playing with her hair. Faith couldn't hear what they were saying. Actually she almost couldn't hear much of anything, but she could tell that he was amusing her somehow. How cute, she thought, Dawnie's all flirty. She made the mistake of voicing the last thought aloud.

Buffy tore her eyes away from the brute, who was, in her opinion, molesting her baby sister to respond, "Flirty? She is not flirting. I'm going over there and stopping this," she said, trying to rise again.

Faith stopped her, "Oh no you're not. You've got to lighten up, find the fun. Leave her be, okay?" Faith looked at Buffy, who did not reply, "I'll tell you what, if he even makes like he is trying to pull a move, you and I can take turns pummeling him into the ground. That make you feel better?"

Buffy pouted, but sat back down, "I guess," she said.

Faith smiled at her, "Good. Now I say you and I concentrate on getting so shit-faced that Xander and Andrew will have to carry us home on their backs."

Buffy laughed, "Yeah, right. Xander can't see straight even without the profuse amount of alcohol he has already consumed.," she stopped for a minute, "oh, God was that mean?" Faith shrugged, so she went on, "And as for Andrew, well he can barely pick up a drink without straining," she smiled at Faith, "so I'm not so sure how they could get us home."

Faith looked at Andrew and Xander, before turning back to Buffy, "well Xander may could, but if things go the way they are looking, he won't be coming home with us," Buffy followed her line of gaze as she continued, " and Andrew, well, ok you're right. But look, even Andrew is scoring," Buffy raised an eyebrow, "he's talking to a chick," Faith said, "and she hasn't ran out screaming or worse yet, laughed in his face."

Buffy smiled, "Well yeah, but she's foreign, so I`m not sure that she understands anything he is saying, and the night is still kind of young. So I wouldn't make any bets against it," she said, turning up her glass.

Part 7

Faith looked around the room. Dawn was still talking to the same, big-handed brute, and actually giggling, which gave Faith a sudden wave of nausea. She continued. Willow and Kennedy were suspiciously missing for a moment, until she spotted the two girls also giggling and kissing in a dark corner. Andrew was drinking something fruity and pink, though he wasn't giggling, but looking around the room longingly. Said girl, just as B had predicted, had pretty much laughed in Andrew's face, and left. Not that he cared, he was busy scanning the room, looking for someone, Xander probably.. Oh well, she thought, too bad for him, as she ducked out of his sight, just as he turned around.

Faith leaned over andspoke to Buffy, who was staring at the crowd of dancers, "All this giggling is getting on my nerves."

Buffy turned and looked at Faith, a gloss in her eye, "huh?"

"Look," Faith said, spanning her hand dramatically around the room, "everyone is freaking giggling. What the fuck do they think is so funny? And why," she said turning to face Buffy, "would they not let us in on it?"

Buffy stared at Faith for a moment, and shook her head, "Where's Xander?"

Faith turned back around and rolled her eyes, "Gone B. Xander went bye-bye, remember?"

She got a vacant stare and a shrug for her humor, seeing as Buffy obviously didn't remember.

Xander had actually left an hour earlier, telling Buffy and Faith, that he was going back to the hotel. Faith found it hard to believe that he was going there alone, seeing as the vacuous hottie was in tow. Faith wondered, how drunk Buffy actually was, since she had asked the question twice already.

Fuck this is getting boring, she thought. She turned to watch the people on the dance floor. It was about that time of night, where people started pairing up and going home. She knew the scene. The first few hours people would socialize with each other, but it was becoming couple time, and she felt a small wave of panic. I am alone in this club, she thought, turning to look at Buffy, who was twirling Faith's lighter in tiny circles on the table. She's so beautiful, was her next thought, followed quickly by shut the fuck up, dumbass she would never want you. She knew it was the alcohol, making her so emotional, but she found, that sitting there, in the silence, she couldn't take her eyes off the girl. Buffy looked up and smiled at her, before turning to survey the crowd. Faith wanted to turn her around, make her look at her. She wanted Buffy to smile at her like that again. She wanted to be one of these people on the dance floor, pressed against the blond beside her. So she screwed up her courage.

"Buffy you wanna dance?" she asked turning again to face her.

Buffy didn`t answer her at first. Again she smiled at Faith. Faith felt her breath catch in her throat. All of sudden she knew, it was this moment. This would decide everything. She waited, not wanting to breathe, not wanting to disturb Buffy. She was almost afraid when Buffy finally did answer her.

"Not really, Faith." she looked in her face, and most likely seeing disappointment there, quickly added, "I'm just tired."

When Faith did exhale, such a minimal reflex Buffy didn't even notice, she felt a pain so deep within her stomach, she thought that she may actually cry. In this fucking smoky, godforsaken club, in front of B. No fucking way, she thought. She swallowed the knot that was forming in her throat.

"I think I'm just gonna go dance," Faith said, "if it's cool?'

Buffy just nodded and looked away. Faith knew she should leave, move her legs and go, but she couldn't. She stood there, looking at Buffy, willing her to turn around. But she didn't.

Faith wiggled her way through the crowd and onto the dance floor. Dancing for all of two seconds, she was unable to find any rhythm, and her head was swimming, so she backed back off. She didn't want to go back to Buffy, not at the moment, not yet. She felt humiliated. Logically, she knew, it wasn't that big of a deal, but to her it felt huge, and she didn't want to deal with it. So instead, she made her way to the bar and ordered another drink. She lit a cigarette, and smiled at the woman sitting next her.

"Hi," the girl said.

Faith tipped her head in acknowledgement, and turned around.

"Are you okay?" the girl asked, and then quickly apologized, "God. That's none of my business. I'm sorry."

Faith turned to her more fully and looked at her. She was tall, about 5'8". All in all, quite attractive. Not that that matters much, she thought, cause she ain't Buffy.

She finally answered her, "It's okay. It's just kinda been one of those nights. You know? Where you think things are going one way, and then they do a complete turn, and reality smacks you in the face?"

The girl nodded, "Actually I do know. I'm sorry you're having a rough night too. It seems to be the night for rejection," she sighed, turning up her own drink, "Name's Carmen."

Faith smiled at her, "Faith."

Faith and the girl were busy talking, engrossed in a conversation as to why unrequited love sucks ass, when she felt a very persistent tap on her shoulder.

"Fuck off," she said, before turning around, "Oh B, umm sorry."

Buffy looked from her to the girl, and back again, "did I interrupt something?"

Faith looked at the girl who smiled and answered for her, "No, of course not."

Buffy put her hand on Faith's upper thigh, "Have you been here the whole time. I've been looking everywhere for you."

Faith was staring at the hand on her leg, "Yep B, been right here. Guess you weren't looking that hard," she said turning, and dislodging her hand, before turning her back to her and facing the bar.

Buffy scooted in between her and the girl, "Well, it's time to go," she said turning Faith back around on the bar stool.

Faith didn`t budge, "Woah B, I'm not ready to go."

Buffy stood still staring at Faith for a few seconds, "I don't remember asking if you were. But we're tired."

Faith turned back around, "Go, if you're ready. No one is stopping you."

"Obviously you are."

Faith rolled her eyes, "Look B, I am a big girl. I can get back to the hotel on my own," Faith looked around the room, and then back at Buffy, "I'm having fun."

Buffy's face was turning somewhat red. She put her hand on Faith's arm again, "I'm not leaving you here by yourself."

"Why the fuck not? Scared I'm going to hurt someone. Go all, psychoslayer again," Faith growled.

"Shut up Faith, that is not what I meant," Buffy said.

"Then stay here with me. You didn't even dance. Come on B, just you and me," Faith said, uncharacteristically swallowing her pride yet again.

Faith could see Buffy contemplating whether or not to stay. She looked back at her friends, standing at the door, waiting for her. Andrew was shoving Dawn, who in turn, stepped on his foot. Buffy looked at Faith and sighed. "I think I'll just go," she said, sounding a little defeated. "I'm tired, and they're ready to go. Just go ahead and stay," she peered over Faith's shoulder at the girl beside her, "I don't want to spoil your fun." She turned and left.

Faith watched her leave the club, smacking both Andrew and Dawn in the back of the head on the way out. All of sudden she didn't feel much like staying, but she didn't want to go back now. She turned and ordered another drink, for herself and her new found friend.

Part 8

It was pushing four a.m., when Faith made her way back to the hotel. Plied with drinks and a little woozy from it, she stumbled, while going up the stairs, "Fuck," she said, trying her damndest to be quiet. She tiptoed quietly on, intent on making it to her room, and not waking anyone, especially Buffy.

The gang had left a couple of hours earlier, and Faith quickly got back in the habit of being alone at a club. Unfortunately, that habit including being a little reckless, and she had had too much to drink, and almost went home with a very sweet, very attractive and yet utterly unappealing girl. Apparently a moment of lucidity found her, and she was able to make an excuse and leave. She ran her hand over her neck, couldn't leave a little earlier, could you dumbass, she thought, as she felt what was the beginning of a telltale sign that she had been doing more than talking with the chick.

She opened the door to her room, and softly shut the door behind her. Letting her eyes get adjusted to the dark, she began to remove her shirt.

"Have fun?" Faith heard and jumped.

"Fuck me, Buffy. You scared the shit out of me." She said, still not turning the light on and trying to stumble to the bed, "What are you doing in here?"

"Waiting on you," Buffy answered, "You can turn the lights on, you know, it would make it a little easier."

Faith made her way over to the bed, "No way. Lights are bad. They hurt my eyes," she said, sitting on the end of the bed to remove her shoes.

She felt Buffy shift beside her, "I don't think it's the lights, but whatever. " She watched, in vain, as Faith tried to unbuckle her pants without having to stand up, "Lay back," Buffy told her.

Before tonight, Faith would have jumped at the chance to insert any number of sexual references, but now she just obeyed. Buffy finished what Faith had started, quickly getting the pants undone. The next part was a little more difficult.

"Jesus Faith," she said, "you could help, like a little bit. What did you do, glue these on?" Buffy said tugging the pants forcefully. She was thankful it was dark. She wasn't so sure that she needed to see the truth as to if Faith ever wore underwear or not. Faith had successfully removed her top and bra, and crawled under the blanket, before bolting back up.

"Hot," she exclaimed.

"Let me get you some water or something," Buffy said, turning on the bathroom light. Handing the water to Faith she noticed a scarlet mark, just above her jugular, "God, Faith," she said jumping onto the bed to look closer, "Oh my god. Did you get attacked?"

"Huh?" Faith mumbled.

"Did you get bit. There's a mark..." Buffy suddenly stopped, and backed away, "Oh, that's a, umm...yeah. Never mind," she said, backing off the bed and standing up.

Faith looked at Buffy backing up, and put her hand to her neck, "B, wait...it's..."

Buffy raised a hand, "It's cool. That's what it is. None of my business."

Faith rose more fully from the bed and the sheet fell to her waist, "B wait. I can explain," Buffy stopped and looked at her, "It's not what you think" shut up dumbass, that'll make her believe you, she thought.

Buffy begin leaving now, "Like I said Faith, none of my business."

She turned to leave when she heard Faith whisper, "I want it to be."

Buffy turned back around and looked at her, "what?'

"I want it to be. Your business, I mean."

"Faith," Buffy sighed, "don't..."

She couldn't finish, because Faith had risen completely from the bed and stood in front of her, "No. I do. I want it to be your business," Faith knew the alcohol had dulled her senses but she couldn't help herself. It was as if she had to do it. Had to tell her. Even if she already knew the reply.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Buffy replied, so surprised that she didn't register Faith's nudity.

Faith grabbed her arm, "Yes you do B. You are not stupid. You know exactly what I'm talking about." Faith was holding Buffy's arm, getting closer, "Aren't you even a little bit curious as to why I'm still here. Why I came to help you at all. Why I asked you to fucking dance tonight. Do you? Fuck Buffy, I'd follow you anywhere, if you'd let me. The entire time I was in prison, you were the only thought I had. At first, I thought I could kill you, and that was enough, but, I was fucking fooling myself. Every dream I had, every single one, you were in. I couldn't escape you, and I didn't want to. I still don't. I love..."

Buffy twisted free of Faith's grasp, "No you don't. Don't say that."

Faith looked at her, astonished, "It's the truth B, I do..."

"Faith," Buffy said, "I mean it don't say it."

Faith backed away from her and sat back down. She couldn't believe what she had just done, what she had just said. She suddenly felt ill, and laid down. "I'm sorry," she whispered, "I'm just drunk."

"I know," Buffy said, about to leave.

Faith knew she should just let it go. Go to sleep, pretend it never happened. But she couldn't. And it would never be like it didn't happened. Almost as if she couldn't help herself, she said, "no, you don't. You don't know shit, Buffy Anne Summer, nothing. You can't pretend this didn't happened. I can't pretend it didn't happen."

Buffy stood over the bed, "pretend what Faith? That you didn't just profess your love for me. I can and I will. Because there is no way in hell I can deal with this right now. You had no right thrusting this on me. I'm tired, and fuck, Faith..."

Faith sat up again, "thrusting this on you? You were the one in here waiting up for me. What did you want?"

"To make sure you got home safe," Buffy replied.

Oh, fuck you B," she said, getting angry and not giving a shit, "Fuck you. Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you. You can not play the sanctimonious super girl with me. I don't need her."

"Things don't go your way, and you get all mad," Buffy said, "Isn't that right, Faithy? You get pissed, you lash out, and I clean up your mess."

"You have never cleaned up shit, Buffy, unless you wanted to."

"Faith, you drain me," Buffy said, suddenly calm, and sitting on the bed, "You physically fucking drain me. I don't know what you're doing or why you're doing it most of the time. I can't deal with all of this. I can't. I'm sorry if you don't like that, but that's the way it has to be."

Faith was still angry, "You don't get to decide, Don't you get it? You are not the all powerful decision maker here? Everything is not about you."

Buffy sighed, "but this is."

"Get out," Faith said, looking at Buffy furiously, "just get out."

"Oh, that's it Faith," she said, "just hide. That always solves your problems."

"Goddammit B, isn't that what you want me to do," Faith slammed her fists on the mattress, "You can't fucking deal. You said so yourself. So get the fuck out, and you won't have to."

Buffy stood, and began explaining again, "you have no idea..."

Faith stood as well, "shut the fuck up," she said, rather too calmly, " and get the fuck out. Now."

"I should have known. Ruffle your feathers, and you turn into the old Faith," Buffy said.

Faith advanced on her pretty quickly. Buffy, who wasn't expecting it, stood stock still as Faith grabbed her with one hand, and raised the other. She pulled her closer, "Get the fuck out of my room." She stared into Buffy's eyes, waiting to meet any challenge the girl would give her.

Buffy stared back incredulously. Watching Faith's hand, "Are you going to hit me? Is that it? Do you want to fight?"

Faith said nothing but let Buffy's arm go and backed away.

Buffy walked closer to her, "I'll leave, but when I come in here tomorrow, I want to see you gone. I mean it. I want you out of here. Away from my family, away from me. I can't control you right now, I just don't have the energy." She turned and left, leaving Faith staring at a closed door.In her head, she was screaming, what? No. I'm sorry. Anything but the silence she delivered when Buffy told her to leave. She knew she didn't have to, Angel would take her side and some of the gang probably would to. And she didn't want to, she never wanted to be anywhere but with the blond. But that didn't matter. It was what Buffy wanted, and as much as Faith hated to admit it to anyone, even herself, that was the only thing that mattered to Faith. She slowly sighed and reached for her clothes. If Buffy wanted her gone, she was gone.

Part 9
Present Day

Normally, when Faith woke with a headache, it was her own damn fault. But tonight, after spending most of it explaining everything to Willow, she was tired, and all she wanted to do was sleep. Unfortunately, that was impossible because she was in B's house. The girl was everywhere, even though she wasn't there. Faith could smell her perfume, albeit faintly, in the living room. On her way to the guest room, she slipped into Buffy's bedroom and looked around. Not above snooping, the scent of the girl overpowered her, and she quickly retreated. She had fallen asleep in her new bed on top of the comforter, before waking suddenly when she heard Willow speaking.

"It's three in the morning," Willow said.

Faith had to strain to here what the redhead was saying. The girl's bedroom was next to the room she was in, so she concentrated and listened.

"Buffy, please stop crying" Willow said, "just come home."

Willow was busy mumbling `I know' over and over again. Faith wondered why the blond was crying. Fuck, what's wrong with you B, she thought. She was debating whether to get up and go into Willow's room when her door opened.

"Faith," Willow whispered into the dark room.

"I'm awake." "Buffy just called," Willow said. Faith nodded. "She's crying. I couldn't understand her. I don't know what to do. I told her to come home, but," the girl crossed the dark room and sat on the bed, "she said no. That she didn't think she could come back here. Not right now. I don't have a clue what she means. I asked her where Xander was. She said she thought he was sleeping. "

Faith hesitated for a moment, "Did you tell her I was here?' she finally asked.

"No. I was going to, but she was crying and she..."Willow stopped for a moment, "I don't know. It didn't feel right. But I did get her to tell me where they were. I guess I'm going to go down there. See if I can get them to come home."

"And then what?"

"I don't know. I don't know what to do with either of them. It's starting to get to be a little much. I love them, don't get me wrong, but ...I think maybe I'm outta my league here."

"Well then let's go."

"Oh, Faith I didn't mean you had to go. I mean I don't want to rush you out or anything. But this is my problem and I don't see any good reason to force you to get involved. I know you have a life and everything, and I don't want you to have to take on someone else's problems."

Faith got up and turned the light on, "Did you listen to anything I said, Red?" She picked up her suitcase and rooted around for something to wear, "And you still honestly think I'm not going?"

"Faith, you don't have to."

"Do you want me to?" Faith asked her.

"To tell you the truth it would be nice. But I don't want to..."

Faith held up her hand, "Don't. I'm already involved. She called me, remember? Besides the way I see it, it`s not your problem either. And, she added, "I know you're powerful and all, but I could still kick your ass. I don't want to. But you try to keep me here, and..."

Willow laughed, "Please Faith, I'd turn you into a toad before you got the first punch in." She stood, "get your stuff. I'll call the airport."

Sunny Florida. Not unlike sunny California, expect for a lot of more old people, Faith thought looking around the airport. I guess California had those as well, she remembered, except they were usually of the undead variety, making it harder to determine their age. She busy shifting, foot to foot, waiting for Willow to finish at the car rental station. There was guy sitting in a chair next to where she was standing. She could feel his eyes on her, and she was about to turn around and ask him what the fuck he was staring at when Willow walked up.

"Okay, got the car and directions to the hotel. He said it's about twenty minutes from here. I hope we can read the map. It looks like we've got to turn two or three times. I hate maps. I'd rather just teleport there," Faith looked at Willow strangely, "Oh, I don't do that anymore, she quickly got out, "but it was useful. Of course, if I was going to teleport anywhere it would be to London, not here. Oh fuck," she suddenly exclaimed, "I forgot to call them. They're going to be pissed. Wonder what time it is there? Do you think there is any coffee around here anywhere?"

Faith stared at the girl for a minute, "Whoa, okay, slow down. I'm sure there is coffee around here. But after the six and a half cups you've drank thus far, you aren't getting any of it," Willow pouted. Faith continued, "give me the keys." Willow handed them over hesitantly, "and the map. Good. Now let's go. You called the hotel, right?"

"Yep. We are all set. All we have to do is check in, find Xander and Buffy, assure them we are not spying on them, force them to see the errors of their ways, and then we can get righteous tans."

"Oh, well, looks like we got an easy day, huh?'

Whoa B. Living the high life, Faith was thinking as they walked into the hotel. She looked around the lobby, hoping to spot the blond and Xander. But, everyone in the place was blond. Ok, well not everyone, but she was too busy caught up in the long parade of bikinied sun seekers to differentiate. Come on Red, she willed, let's get going. Willow was busy conversing with the desk clerk, and Faith was trying hard to pay attention, but she was fast being lured by the idea of a sun soaked vacation. Ok, not here to party. Here for B, she reminded herself.

"Ready?" Willow asked, causing her to jump.

"My fucking head hurts," Buffy moaned to Xander who was lying on a chair next to here, "like someone drove a nail into it or something."

"Or plucked your eyeball out?" he asked.

"Haha. Funny, funny Xander, but no. Not like that. Like someone hit me on top of the head. Repeatedly."

"Ok, I hit you on top of the head. Repeatedly. Last night," Xander said, "but I thought you liked it. You didn't say anything."

"If I thought you were serious Xander, I would hurt you," she answered, "but it like really hurts. Not like Xander thinks he can hurt me hurts. More like something strong can hurt me hurts."

"Touché, Buffster. I'm actually offended."

"No you're not."

Xander bent over and reached for the sunscreen. He offered some to Buffy, who waved him off, "Who'd you call last night?" he suddenly said, staring behind him.


"Did ya happen to call anyone last night, Buff. Think?" he turned and asked her.

"No. I don't think I did. Why?"

"Think really hard Buffy."

"I don't know, Xander. I told you my head hurts in the not remembering anything sort of way," she turned over on her stomach and looked at him, "So? Again I ask, why?"

He didn't need to answer her though. She followed his eyesight, which was trained on the hotel behind them. She sat up, and shielded the sun from eyes. Willow, she thought, before letting her eyes focus. Followed quickly behind by Faith. Well fuck, Buffy thought, still staring as they approached.

Faith dressed in a pair of really short shorts, Buffy noticed, sauntered over to the pair and sat on the chair next to Buffy, "What's the what B? Mind if we join you?" she asked.



Part 10

Buffy just stared at Faith. What the fuck are they doing here, she was silently asking herself. She tried to remember last night, she thought she could recall talking to Willow, but not Faith. And she knew that Willow hadn't mentioned Faith, because that she would have remembered.

She laid back in her chair, scooting Faith, who was sitting on the edge, over a little with her foot, "What are you guys doing here," she asked her, tilting her sunglasses down a little while looking at the girl sitting beside her.

"Oh, you know B. Figured I could use a break. We got beaches in Massachusetts but, it's kinda hard to lay out on the rocky shore," Faith said, stretching her legs.

Xander was busy starting at the two girls on the chair and Willow, who was standing over them. She was shielding the sun from her eyes, and almost bouncing with anxiousness. He looked up and smiled slightly at her, and scooted over so she could sit down.

"Thanks," she said.

He nodded and looked to Buffy and Faith. The latter was busy staring at her counterpart, who looked, to Xander, like she could care less. He could see Buffy becoming angrier as the seconds passed and Faith ignored her.

"I guess we should put our swimsuits on," she said to Willow, "I'm starting to feel a little out of place."

Willow nodded, all the while watching Buffy, who was still to proud to speak. Faith was doing a good job, Willow thought, of ignoring a angrily pouting Buffy.

Faith turned to Buffy and smiled, "You guys gonna be out here a while?" she asked.

Buffy looked at Xander who simply shrugged his shoulders. She couldn't believe the audacity of this girl. Sitting here, like they didn't come to spy on us, she thought. When Faith stood up to leave, still waiting for an answer she reached for the tanning lotion next to her.

She put it in her hand, and begin to slowly rub it over her legs. Starting at her ankles and working her way up to her stomach, she applied the lotion methodically. She looked up, hopeful that Faith was staring. Desired effect achieved, she spoke, "Oh, I think we'll be out here for a while." She said, stretching her arms over her head. She looked around for a moment. "But there are no more chairs out here," she told Faith. She patted her on the leg, "that's okay though, you can share with me."

Faith, who was mentally willing her self not to follow the path of Buffy's hands, was thinking that this may be a little harder than she had anticipated. She smiled too sweetly at the blond, "Whatever you say, blondie," Faith countered.

This is too easy, Buffy thought, as they walked away. Willow thinks Faith is going to help her drag me back to Nashville. Well she's out of her mind. A day with me and Faith will be a puddle. Of course then I would get another party buddy, so there's something to be said about it.

Xander spoke after a few minutes, "So, you didn't talk to anyone last night."

"Shut up," she said, "I think I remember now calling Willow."

"Why do you think they're here?"

"Come on Xander, don't be stupid. They're here to get us. We've been bad. If Faith wants to play the righteous game with Willow. We can give them a run for their money," she said, smiling at him.

He held up his hand, "Nope. No way Buffy. I'm not playing any games with you. I'm just here to have a good time."

"Hey. They just didn't come to get me. You're in the boat too. Well, I for one, Xander Harris, am going nowhere with them."

Xander sighed.

Buffy continued, "There's nothing wrong with us. So we like to have a little fun. When has that been a crime? I mean shit Xander, the two of them have killed people. We are just taking a vacation. Way I see it, they really have nothing to be so smug about."

"That's kinda mean Buffy," he said.

"Maybe. But it's true. I don't need them telling me what to do. Do you?" he shook his head, and she kept going, "Good. So they're not going to. Let's just let them play their little game. We don't have to start one of our own. We can just play along with theirs. We'll see who wins."

Xander laid back, "Whatever Buffy," he said, "I'm sleepy," and pulled his cap over his eyes going to sleep.

Buffy looked at Xander who had fallen asleep. She got up and went to the hotel bar on the beach and ordered a drink. At least it will get rid of my headache, she thought, when she noticed someone staring at her.

"Hi," she said to the guy.

"Hi." he replied, "mind if I get that for you?"

"Be my guest," she said smiling sweetly at him.

It took thirty minutes of coaxing to get Willow out of the room and back to the beach. Faith was anxious to get back to Buffy. If she wanted to play, Faith was more than ready for her.

When they got there, she stopped. Who the fuck's that, she thought, looking at the guy sitting on the edge of Buffy's chair. Buffy was smiling, a drink in one hand. Her other hand was resting on the guy's arm. Meathead, she thought, looking at the piece of plastic practically ogling Buffy's body.

She strolled over to the pair, "Hey," she said looking down, "I'm Faith."

She removed the sarong she had, and stepped out of it. Peering over her glasses she could see him staring at her.

"Mark," he said, now ogling her.

Faith was about to speak, but Buffy beat her to it, "thanks for the drink Mark," she said pushing him away.

"I..." he tried to speak, but quickly picked up on the tension the two girls were sharing, "You're welcome. Maybe I'll see you guys around tonight," he said hurriedly, as he walked away.

Willow had watched the exchange with interest. "Well Faith, we need somewhere to sit. I need an umbrella, cause I'm a little scared of melanoma," she said.

"Oh, what do ya know," Faith said, "there are two chairs over there." She smacked Xander on the back of the head.

"Oww. What the fuck did you do that for?" he said, jolted from his sleep.

"Get up. Go sit with Willow," she said, pointing to the girl, who was busy setting up the umbrella to the two chairs next to them.

Xander looked at Buffy, who nodded.

Faith watched, "what is she? Your momma? Go on," she said shoving him out of the chair.

With no further argument, Xander got up and retreated to the chair by Willow. Faith followed him with her eyes. She almost felt sorry for him. The first time Red had shut up was when they got on the beach. She figured he wouldn't be getting back to sleep anytime soon. She stretched her towel out on the chair, and smiled at Buffy who was watching her, and laid down.

Buffy was busy thinking about the bikini Faith had on. There wasn't really a question as to why that guy Mark had stopped mid-sentence when Faith walked up. White, it was held on each side of the very low-cut bottoms and shoulders with little silver clasps. Though Buffy never skimped when it came to bathing suits, and that meant the skimpier the better, she was certain that if Faith got the thing wet, well, what little part of her breasts that couldn't be seen, would fast become visible. And that's not even considering what would happen below the waist.

I can't take this, Buffy was thinking. Faith had been here sitting less than a foot away from her, and had not actually said anything. I need a watch, she thought. They had to have been out here for at least twenty minutes. She looked over at Xander and Willow. Willow was rambling, arms moving around, and Xander was watching as intently as he could. She could tell they weren't talking about anything important, cause Willow was smiling and Xander wasn't groaning. She guessed that was a good think. She just hoped he wasn't giving away details of their nightly escapades since they had been here.

"Whatcha looking at B?" Faith said, still lying down.

"Have you missed me Faith?" Buffy asked, looking down at her. She turned and laid on her stomach as well, facing the dark haired girl.

"Like a hole in my gut," Faith smiled at Buffy.

Buffy wanted to hit her. It came over her very suddenly, and she had to fight to give into the urge. Still, she laid very still and stared at the other girl. "So, what do you guys want to do tonight?" she asked.

Faith rose on her elbows, "I don't know. I hear you got all the info on fun times. Figured you would just lead the way."

"You gonna follow me, Faithy?" Buffy baited.Faith was not biting, "doesn't everyone?'


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