Faith Finds Out: Answers
A/N: Number 1 in the 'Faith Finds Out' Series that I've decided to try on for a bit. It's a one-shot, but divided into different parts. I'm sure you're all intelligent enough to figure it out. It's rather different from most of the Faith Finds Out stories, but it made sense to me at the time I wrote it. Enjoy and review.
What in the hell?
"Wait. Wait wait wait. Run that by me again, cause I must've somehow heard all of that in the wrongest, twisted-est way possible." Buffy said, shaking her head and her hands at the same time, half laughing, half in shock, before again facing a very stoic Giles.
On a screen.
"I'm afraid it's all very true, Buffy. I'm sorry, I did not wish to be of bother to you anymore, but it's been nearly a month and I am in need of your assistance." He finished softly.
It was hard for him to even look at her through the screen, but this was dire.
"Our assistance? We just got our Scythe back, our infirmaries are filled with young, dying Slayers, leaving us vulnerable to an attack, and you want assistance? Now?! Giles, do you have any idea what you're asking of me?"
She was exhausted, absolutely drained and on her last nerve. The fight had taken so much from her, the rumors and concerned looks had taken even more, and now this?
No. Absolutely not.
And besides, there was no way-
"I'm not asking you to be a part of it, Buffy. But our physical resources aren't quite as vast as yours. I should know."
He adjusted his glasses.
Of course he should know.
He was the one who helped build the thing. He was the one who funded it at the beginning, was funding it still, which was the only reason Buffy was talking to him at all.
Knowing your funds could be depleted by the - too - extreme push had a way of making people - grudgingly - listen.
"But you have money!" She cried out at last plea.
"You have money, and people and contacts...how do you not have enough-"
"Slayers, Buffy. We need Slayers for this." He sighed, sitting back in his chair.
He'd been researching for weeks already, and his lack of rest and increasing worry was showing on his haggard face. He felt like he was getting too old for this.
"But not Buffy? I mean, it's pretty clear to see that you have a powerful enemy...I'd think you'd ask for Buffy at a time like this." Willow probed for more information, always the observant one.
Giles sighed again, rubbing the bridge of his nose.
"Yes, well, they also want Buffy, which is my reason for not asking. One of my many contacts relieved the information to me. It makes no sense whatsoever; he's clearly using the wrong bait." He replied, the last line used as a sly provocation.
It was enough to stop her heart for a moment.
She was a target. Well, she could get over that; she's been a target for countless apocalypses.
But that wasn't the issue.
There was bait.
Bait taken and possibly in major danger.
Because of her?
Not that she should care, and not that she did. There was nothing inside that told her she should care.
Nope. Not at all.
"Yea. Clearly." Buffy responded coldly.
"Giles, we have to go. Assembly and whatnot, but we'll get back to you." She condescended, hand smushing against the button that shut down the communication link between here and London.
One month later
When the book went slam and closed in front of Rupert Giles in his cramped study in one of his more hidden lairs scattered around London, he pulled off his glasses and placed his face in his hands, letting the few stray tears slip past his bloodshot eyes.
Beep beep beep.
He quickly wiped his eyes and replaced his glasses before picking up his phone, even though there were no visuals, he felt he needed to clean up before actually answering it.
"Yes, Costello? Any news?" He asked, trying not to sound altogether too eager.
'Yes, but...I don't think you're going to like it.'
Giles held in a sigh of frustration and just rubbed at his neck.
"I don't believe I have any choice but to take it. What have you got?"
'Three things. One, your other contact was a little off. Yes, the Slayer was another likely target, but not now they have what they want. Two, the time limit is one week, and then the opening is shut down until the next decade.'
It was getting worse by the second. Giles was having a hard time not throwing the phone across the room and smashing it to little bits to make himself feel better.
"And the third?" He was almost afraid to ask.
'Well, the reason they're just waiting now...you see, rumor has it that...'
When he heard the news, Giles had to work twice as hard not to throw up all over his precious books.
The only good part was that it motivated him enough to not even think twice to make another call to Scotland.
"Buffy! Hey! Buffster!" Xander flagged her down from the Assembly Hall.
"What's up, Xander?" She asked, noting his pale and breathless appearance.
Bigger than the news that as far as she knew, Faith has been missing for almost two months now, and nobody had called to confirm that she'd been found.
"You...you need to...com room...with Wills...Giles...Faith!" He was gasping for breath, and he squeaked the last name loud enough for some people to hear.
Some people she did not particularly want involved.
"What about Faith?" Kennedy stepped forward, stretching out her arms.
"Nothing." Buffy said casually.
However, Kennedy was not as stupid as Buffy hoped, nor as compliant. Besides, Xander looked like something was up; it didn't take much to put two and two together.
"What happened? Is she alright?"
Kennedy and Faith had always gotten along, even through their petty arguments and quarrels over stupid things, but they were too similar to not be good friends. Willow had once guiltily admitted to Buffy that she was glad when Faith went off on her own because of how close the two had gotten.
Faith was known, afterall, for her relationship wrecking abilities.
"Buff, you really need to get to the Com room. Now." Xander said, after catching his breath.
His eyes relayed a glint of concern. Maybe even horror.
Kennedy was the first to react, starting off in a dash towards the room where her girlfriend was destined to be. Without a word, Buffy followed after her, cursing the fact that Kennedy had more discipline problems than a wild horse.
They both reached the room a second from each other, Xander trailing in the hall.
"Wills?" Buffy asked.
"Giles?" Kennedy asked, looking pointedly at the distressed face on the screen.
Much more distressed than Buffy had seen him since...a month ago.
"What happened?" She demanded, trying to gain control.
"Tell me you're going to help, Buffy. I need back up for this." He said, strangely calm for his demeanor.
Willow paled, seeing the danger signs already, but knowing the others might not.
"You still haven't found her? You're sure she hasn't just-"
"Faith didn't just run away, Buffy. She's been kidnapped."
"Listen, Giles, I get that she's your Slayer now, and you need help, but we really can't spare any girls right now-"
Giles stood up, knocking his chair over and flung a stack of books against the wall with an animalistic roar before placing both hands on the desk and fiercely glaring at the camera.
"One week, Buffy. We have ONE goddamned week before that portal closes!"
Buffy had never seen Giles so desperate before.
Even devastated, yes.
But never so desperate.
"What's going on?" Kennedy asked, alarmed at Giles' actions and that feeling of instinctual dread began to build.
"Faith...is missing." Willow said softly.
"What? For how long?"
"Almost two months."
Kennedy had to close her eyes and suck in a breath to keep herself calm.
"Do we know who...?"
"A rare tribe of vampires that have been known to emerge on Earth every ten years. No information on who specifically, what, where, why, or how. All we know is that they have Faith, have had Faith for about two months in some crazy other dimension-world thing, and aren't exactly gung-ho about letting her go-"
"And they will not be letting her go at all unless we take her back!" Giles shouted, his slightly computerized voice filtering through the room loudly.
"We have to go." Kennedy said firmly, turning to look at the others.
Not really caring that she wasn't even a part of this Scooby issue.
Knowing Faith wasn't ever a Scooby anyway.
"No, we don't." Buffy responded just as steadily.
"Buffy's a target, too, Kennedy." Willow tried to explain.
"No, she's not. Buffy's not a target anymore. Now they have what they want, how they want...oh God..." Giles had to turn his back to the camera for a minute while he held back his tears.
Then he turned back around.
"We have to get her back. And I can't do this without help."
Buffy could feel her resolve not to be involved slipping.
"Why can't you call Angel? I'm sure he could help; he has lots of contacts and fighters and-"
"We need the best for this, Buffy. We need Slayers, magic, subterfuge. As for Angel, I believe Willow has him on hold right now."
He looked down at Willow, who nodded and clicked another button, making Angel's face pop up on the screen beside Giles.
"Angel." She greeted.
"Buffy." He responded with the same steely tone.
"Did you hear the news?" She asked bittersweetly.
"Faith is missing; I heard. Two months."
"Are you in? Are you actually going to do this? What about L.A.?" Buffy asked incredulously.
People could not be this eager to jump to save Faith.
It didn't make sense.
Sure, she was being bitter, but the two had always been about bad habits.
Angel laughed almost condescendingly at her.
"Faith nearly died to save my soul, Buffy. She risked her life for mine even when nobody completely trusted her, and you're really wondering if I'm being serious about this?"
"Then fine. You guys can handle this on your own! There's no reason why I should risk these girls' lives for Fai-"
"Because..." Giles' voice was eerily calm.
"Because, Buffy, Faith is pregnant."
Buffy had to sit down.
Kennedy turned away.
Xander had to hold onto the counter.
Even Angel, with all his unemotional expressions, faltered, the pain and anger evident in his eyes.
Even through the computer screens.
"Rape." Giles said, voice smoldering with anger.
"There is a prophecy involved, one that tells of a child borne of vampire and Slayer's blood."
Faith; flirting, smirking, sexy, wild, and undeniably insane Faith, was pregnant.
With a vampire child.
It sounded impossible.
It was still hard for Angel to grasp. He couldn't finish his sentence.
"They take turns on her until one of them manages to impregnate her and waits for the child to be born."
Kennedy's turn now to hold onto her breath.
Not wanting to know the answer.
Needing to know the answer.
"Once that happens, they will claim the child as their own, and kill her."
Pregnant. Preggers. Prego.
Big, fat, and holding a fucking living thing inside.
Not something she really expected when they had come to check on her.
Then again, what did she expect?
Just about every single male vampire here had shoved their dicks into her, made her scream, drank from her, laughed at her, spit at her, humiliated her.
Even some of the females wanted to play.
But she hadn't cried once.
Not a single fucking tear.
No, she was waiting for the day when she'd be tearing each and every one of their heads off with her bare, dirt-covered, cracked and calloused hands.
They would pay, yes they would.
Living in the dark for weeks on end had driven her into a strange calm, making her reflect on every single possible way of escape.
Not finding one that was even close to possible.
But it didn't matter.
Living in the dark for weeks on end also had driven her into a strange state of madness, and it was fueled by the way they treated her.
She wanted no pity, if anybody out there even thought of her.
Half the time she wasn't sure if there was anybody out there.
Two months is a long time when you're starved, drained, pregnant, and tortured on a daily basis.
The word kept popping into her head.
These strange looking vampires had a celebration when it was confirmed.
Placed her on a pedestal for a day, flinging ashes and emblems carved in stone at her feet.
She was having a child.
Boy, girl, it didn't matter, it was a child, and it was hers.
It was all she had.
Now she didn't have to protect just herself anymore.
She had to protect her baby.
How the fucking hell they managed to impregnate her was a wonder.
But she was pretty sure the father was that one male with the tattoo on his upper right back, and the slightly pointed ears.
The one who smiled with such evil and raped her the worst and bit her the hardest.
She was sure because she counted and she just knew.
It was okay, though, because he was going to be the last to die when she broke free.
The Powers be sure of it.
Four days researching, searching, dividing, regrouping, cursing, hitting, shouting, apologizing...
Everything Buffy and Faith had been through, except possibly the last apologies.
24, 48, 72 hours left.
Or was it the other way around?
Maybe it made sense both ways and she was just thinking too hard about things that didn't really matter, even if it did.
Ugh. That didn't even make sense.
"Our guide will meet us soon." Giles said calmly, as if he were trying to keep them from being impatient, even though he was the one fidgeting impatiently.
They were deep in the mountain range, unaware of their exact location, only here because of Willow's teleportation.
Not only were they here, they were close.
The Coven and Willow worked together for the past four days while the rest of them did their own parts.
Giles, Dawn, the girls with the brains; they were the search engines, reading up on the possible prophecies.
Finding out that the child was meant to bring about the destruction of the sun.
Figures the child would be as destructive as it's mother.
Xander, Kennedy and herself split up to gather information from their varying contacts and sources.
Finding out that most of them hadn't even realized these strange breed of vampires existed.
They'd always been somewhat of a myth.
An underground legend type.
And so here they were, waiting for Giles' "extremely trustworthy" contact to show up and lead them towards the entrance where this tribe awaited.
Having located the place and alerting Giles just two hours before Willow and the Coven called to confirm it.
Here in the mountain tops they were, a troop of Slayers and the Scoobs, waiting around for some hermit, feelings buzzing about uncomfortably.
"Come on...where the fuck is this guy?" Kennedy was only stating the obvious impatience of the group.
They couldn't really help the clenches in their stomachs; ever since they became Slayers, it started up whenever they were near danger.
Like instant reflex, except pre-mature.
Whatever it was, it was making them all nervous.
Something about this place wasn't right.
Didn't feel right.
They could see that the others could feel it. They could even see it past Buffy's cool and collected exterior; there was evil nearby, and the Slayers inside were all itching to smash it out.
Saving Faith was the bonus.
Christ, if boredom could kill.
Satsu could feel the tension, but it didn't bother her as much. Was it wrong of her to not really care what happened to Faith?
She didn't know her, and so perhaps it was wrong of her to judge, but Faith had hurt Buffy, so it felt justified.
Then again, it could be jealousy.
Buffy didn't often go out of her way to save just anyone she 'supposedly' hated.
Buffy didn't often shut down and refuse cuddles and kisses just because there was something big going down.
There had been considerably larger problems.
Huge problems. Huge issues.
But there was still time for hugs and sex.
Not for the past four days, there wasn't.
No, this time they were just rants and tangents and lock-downs in the bathroom and separation of rooms...
There were definitely good reasons to feel resentment.
Nobody got under Buffy's skin the way Faith did.
Satsu knew that for a fact.
Satsu saw it in person, just how Buffy was when this whole deal erupted.
"Faith is so argh! I mean, just to even think about helping her is beyond ridiculous! We've gone way past outrageous into a whole new realm thingy of craziness! Why did Giles even ask me? It's not like I care!"
Then why did it seem like she cared so much?
"So don't go."
It was a simple suggestion. Really she'd just wanted to stop hearing about Faith.
Of course, that just brought about the explosion.
"Don't go? How could I not go? There's a prophecy and the world is in danger...again! I'm the Slayer, I should go and stop it, like I always stop evil plots and plans!"
But at least it had nothing at all to do with the pretty Rogue Slayer, right?
It was all about duty. Her job as the Slayer. Their job to protect the world and defend goodness.
Then came the kicker. The sidenote.
The short added whispers that made Satsu wonder.
"And besides, if I just left her to the wolves, I wouldn't be able to forgive myself."
Murmured to herself as if she forgot that Satsu was there.
What a bitch, huh?
Light was a beautiful thing.
She could admit it.
If she could speak at a moment like this.
But no, she was savoring it because it was a moment to be captured in her head; a snapshot moment.
Where the hell was a Kodak disposable when she needed one?
But no time for such sentiments.
"Nicht lustig mehr, ist es?"(1) Her voice cracked; it's been a long time since she'd used it for anything other than to scream.
Her accent was broken, but she followed the language carefully.
Learned it by the gestures made by their inhospitality.
Or something close to it.
No response. No answer.
Not like she was expecting one, since the bastard was too busy screaming much like she did for the past however long it's been.
"Verabschieden Sie sich! Goodbye!"(2) She cried gleefully, tossing - not pulling - him into the light she found so beautiful.
He had no time to finish screaming.
A faint kick to her stomach; how surprisingly pleasant.
She placed a hand on the slight bump in the tone of her body and smiled.
"Wer ist nächst?" She whispered to her belly.
Who is next?
Certainly she shouldn't step any deeper into the darkness; it was their advantage.
But there was always question about her vow...
Or her vow?
It only took a second to make her decision.
Ah well, safety was a relative thing, no?
Her figure was engulfed by the shadows as she stalked deeper towards the black.
Her bleeding feet felt no pain from the rocks and jagged edges from the cold stone floor below.
Her eyes adjusted well, so used to the time spent underground and the sights it expected.
Her fingers tightened around the knife taken from Kaligg's belt.
Besides, what could be sweeter than revenge?
The raggedy old gnome-like creature pointed, revealing a black opening in the rocky depths of the mountainside.
It was nearly invisible to the untrained eye, but to those of their powers; it was hard to miss.
"Struenge." Valkyr sniffed, fingers rubbing at the dark-colored dust that was found at the entrance.
"Issa ohppen. Zey nevah lease itta ohppen; issa ushally muk hardah ta seah."(3)
"The tunnel leads deep inwards, then, Valkyr?" Giles asked, brows furrowed.
"Yessa, Ruhpper Geales."
"Let's move on, then." Buffy interrupted, already having lit a high-tech torch and stepping inside.
"Ah Slayurr beeza caerfuhl. Za 'Stamm der Dunkelheit' issa eavill. Muk der eavill." The thin, graying and short man warned the impatient Slayer.
"What did he say?"
Xander scratched his head, having a hard time following the strange speech of the gnome.
"In direct translation he said, 'Slayer be careful. The Tribe of Darkness is evil. Much of evil.' And he is correct, we must all be very cautious if we want to save Faith." Giles repeated quickly, also adding his own little note of caution.
"You'd think they'd have a more creative name by now. Alright. Follow me." Buffy rolled her eyes and started for the entrance.
"Nah, Slayurr. Valkyr gooza fuhrst. Mea kneussa der way."(4) Valkyr stepped in front of her nobly. If the vampires were to attack, he would rather it be he who fell rather than one of the Chosen Slayers.
Which explained why he was willing to help in the first place.
Valkyr was a peaceful...man-like being. But he was also a creature with much courage and a creature willing to act on it.
There were few living beings like Valkyr left.
Kennedy rubbed her arms, and several other girls did the same.
It was a bit cold inside.
Perhaps on the freezing side.
How the hell did the little man stand it, wearing a big old torn shirt?
"Deahr wassa baetulle, Slayurrs. Ya seah za ashes widda culeur der ruhst?"(5)
Valkyr pointed at the random piles of scattered ashes; in the light, they were clearly the color of rust.
"Vahmpyre duhst, ya seah? Za Slayurr feught hahd eund wahl."
"The Slayer did whatta now?" Buffy asked, cocking her head at the funny looking man.
"Faith fought hard and well, he says. Let us hope she is safe." Giles translated once more, following carefully along.
After what felt like days but was only about 30 minutes, Valkyr stopped at a large opening.
Where the stony floor was covered inch-thick with dust the color of rust.
"Shea keehl zem ahll." Valkyr's voice was filled with absolute awe as he slowly moved his torch from one side to the other, gazing wide-eyed at the spectacle.
One statement they all understood.
"So where is she?" Kennedy had to ask, scanning but coming up negative in the Faith search.
"Guhn, Slayurr. Za Reugue issa guhn. Ezscappa."
"Goon? Faith is a goon? Since when? And what's a goon?" Xander - of course - questioned, tension making him nervous.
Dawn rolled her eyes in exasperation.
"She's gone, Xander. Escaped."
"Oh bloody hell." Giles sighed, brushing hand through hair.
"Nuh wuhreez, Ruhpper. Valkyr weehl faend za Reugue Slayurr fah ya."(6) Valkyr said while waddling towards a natural-looking dip in the large cavern.
When they passed the rock in their view, they saw a small opening near the floor.
"Seah heah? Saecrete eggzeaht. Za Slayurr ezscappa fruhm heah."(7)
He began to crawl upwards, bits of ashes falling around him.
It seemed the Slayer had taken the battle aboveground, as well. Perhaps it hadn't been too long ago.
Valkyr scurried up quickly.
"Uhrry nahw! Vee muhst faend za Slayurr seuhn!"(8) He called down, while the others followed in the cramped hole.
"Well good news, she's escaped and killed them all. Bad news, she's killed them all and escaped." Xander quipped, feeling a little off.
"Negative, Xander. She's killed most of them, but the remaining ones are possibly hot on her trail; much like we are." Came the response from Giles.
"Great news." Xander muttered.
He had hoped this would be over soon.
Now he hoped they would all make it out of this with smiles.
Though he really wasn't sure anymore.
Hands on his neck, knees on his chest, knives pinning his wrists down into the ground...
"Lachen Sie für mich, Nikyll."(9) She hissed.
With a smile on her drawn face.
"Nie."(10) He spat blood in her face.
She didn't think much of it; only enjoyed the taste and the fact that his voice was rattling with the blood gathering up in his throat.
"Ertrinken Sie in Ihrem Blut...Wie schmeckt es? Gut?"(11) She laughed now.
Her hands tightened around the reddish-brown throat, eyes gazing deep into his yellow eyes, sealing his fate.
"Du bist letzte, zu sterben." She whispered into his pointed ear.
He shuddered, knowing the truth.
You are the last to die.
Her nails dug in deep.
His throat clogged.
Break the skin.
What happened when your own victim became the one you feared the most?
A roar of triumph.
And dust the color of rust.
They saw, and they weren't quite sure if they had been too late or not.
For they had just watched as she - emaciated and wild with rage - tore away the throat of the last remaining vampire of the tribe.
That loud cry was enough to strike fear into their brave hearts.
Ooh. Vampire dust!
Buffy did what she could to keep her eyes off of Faith herself.
To keep her eyes off of the proof that her somewhat understandable refusal to help was the cause of this.
"Ah nuh." Valkyr whispered in horror.
He was not only a tracker, but a creature of empathy. Reading and grasping the aura of another was his specialty.
Something like Tara.
"What?" Angel asked, not liking the tone.
"Za Reugue issa prehgnann, Vahmpyre Ahngele."
"We know that. But we can take care of that later, she needs hel-"
"Za chile issa maekin za Slayurr mahd, Ahngele. Ya kehnna saev'er vehdout keehling za chile."(12) Valkyr replied softly.
Kill the child, save Faith?
Keep the child, have a crazy Faith?
"We'll abort the damn baby, then." Kennedy growled, ignoring the protests of some of the other girls.
"Shut up! That's a fucking rape kid. A vampire raped Faith, and now she's pregnant with some vampire child, and you really would rather save that prophesized fetus of destruction over Faith? A Slayer, like us?" She snarled.
Well that was putting it into perspective, now wasn't it?
"Listen, we'll worry about that later. Right now we have to get Faith to a hospital." Willow interrupted the impending chaos, reminding everybody of their job.
Of what needed to be done.
"Faith...Faith? It's me, Giles."
Giles reached his hand forward, shaking, unsure.
What can you expect from a mad person?
Do you approach like you're approaching a cornered animal?
Do you approach with a firm and steady voice?
Ignore the fact that she has ashy hands and a knife on either side of her crouched figure?
Giles would take his chances.
"Berühren Sie mich nicht." She muttered, shaking her head as her ratty, dirty curls fluttered about.
"What is she saying?" Dawn asked, brows furrowing.
Valkyr licked his chapped lips.
"Shea issa saeyung-"
"Don't touch me...don't touch me!" She screamed, jumping back faster than they'd ever imagine someone could move.
"Trauma." One of their prized Slayer doctors diagnosed immediately.
It annoyed Buffy incredibly.
"It's alright, Faith. It's me, Giles. We're here now. We're here."
Such a comforting voice; something Buffy had missed over the seasons.
"Ruhpper! Staey uhwaey fruhm za Slayurr! Uhrry!" Valkyr shouted as he grabbed at Giles' arm and pulled him back.
"What is wrong with you Valkyr? Faith needs me; she needs my hel-"
"Shea issa guhn, Ruhpper. Za chile hassa keehled ya Slayurr."(13) The old gnome relayed gloomily, the apologetic tone in his voice not enough.
Just not enough.
But the meaning was caught.
Comprehended by every single one of them there, and even Satsu could feel the horror rippling throughout the ones who knew Faith.
The baby was causing Faith to go mad.
Killing the baby would kill Faith.
The baby was killing Faith.
And there was nothing you could do about it.
"Ya muhst keehl ehr, Slayurr."
-to kill Faith.
No, you couldn't make her.
She wouldn't do it.
"Buffy! Do it! You have to!" Angel cried out to her, even if it hurt him almost as much as it hurt her to have to hear it.
Stuck now in a position so familiar, even if it had happened years ago.
Hands grappling against each other.
So near the edge.
But this time, there was no truck.
Nothing to cushion the fall; only rocks and inevitable death.
And this time, there were knives in both hands.
She didn't know how this happened.
But of course she did.
It only took a couple minutes before Faith had come flying after them like a crazed wolf.
And Buffy had to intervene, like she always felt she must.
They exchanged blows, hurled insults, picked up a sharp object...
She saw flashes of the night she did this very thing:
Leather pants. Leather jacket.
"I can't...Faith, please...I can't...don't make me do this..." She whispered, hands shaking as they faced each other.
"Itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout..." Faith giggled in a singsong voice, the feral glint not going away, not going anywhere.
God, she was fucking out of her mind.
But it didn't mean they couldn't fix her again.
Help her again.
She turned to meet Giles' eyes.
They were teary, defeated, helpless.
Do what you must.
To save the world.
What the fuck has the world ever done for them?
They were still struggling, pushing at equal strength.
One slip and a knife would stick itself in either one's belly and send them over the edge.
"Down came the rain and washed the spider out..."
Were they watching a re-run or a completely new episode?
Between the two, it was always hard to tell.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out...
Who was the spider?
What was the rain?
Was it blood?
Was it Faith?
"Out came the sun and dried out all the rain..."
Who was the sun?
Was there a sun in this story?
There was always blood on Faith's hands.
Always blood on hers, too.
"Don't make me do this...Faith, please..." She pleaded.
Those eyes flickered in some sort of recognition.
"And the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again." Faith finished the song quietly, letting out her breath in a sigh.
"Persevere, she said. Persevere, he said. Ain't help me get anywhere, persevering."
It was the first full and intellectual semi-statement Buffy heard Faith say tonight.
Breakthrough was always such a relief.
"Faith!" She said excitedly, though through experience she held the grip as tight as ever.
"Faith, listen to me, I know this baby thing is doing it's evil thingy right now, but we can fix it. We've managed to get through the impossibles. You've always managed-"
That slight recognition disappeared at the mention of the child.
"You can't touch my baby. I won't let you hurt my baby." Faith growled.
No talking about the baby. Check.
"Faith...Faith please, just listen, we want to help you get back to normal. Please, just let me help you..."
Faith shook her head violently, and the knife in her hand dropped, clinging its way down the mountainside into nothingness.
"No! No! Get out! Get outta me!" She shouted, trying to pull away, but Buffy held her grip.
That was all she managed before Faith kneed her in the stomach.
Satsu was about to run in with back up when Buffy halted her with a single hand signal.
This was her battle.
It wasn't her fault, but if only she'd listened a month ago.
If only she had been less stubborn.
If only she'd focused more, worked harder.
If only she hadn't accused Faith.
She didn't realize what happened until her hand was soaked in hot blood.
Green eyes widening, boring into hers that were slowly glazing over.
It wasn't as hard the second time around.
Knocking the blonde away from her, feeling the knife jerk out of her body as Buffy fell back onto her elbows.
It wasn't as satisfying the second time around.
Not feeling the thump thump kick of her baby's foot against her stomach.
How lonely she'd been all those years.
Opening her mouth to speak, but tasting only blood.
It was a deeper cut than Buffy had intended it to be.
A fatal one.
A spark of insanity made her laugh.
The irony was just too funny, but at least she'd had her revenge.
Now she was leaving with a bang.
Just like the Mayor knew she would.
He knew a lot more than she did, it seemed.
And she knew a lot more than Buffy thought she did.
Her eyes caught gaze with a certain Asian girl in the troops.
How she knew it was her, she'd never know.
Or maybe the way Satsu's almond shaped eyes reacted to the way Faith was looking at her.
Maybe a dash of hate.
"Deep down, you always wanted Buffy to accept you. To love you, even. Why do you think that is?"
Because it was only natural for one to hope that someone you loved would love you back.
"You keep looking for love and acceptance from these people, these friends of yours but you're never gonna find it. The truth is, nobody will ever love you."
Hadn't Mom said something like that way back when?
She couldn't quite remember.
Things were starting to blur.
"All she needs is an excuse, and she'll finish what she started when she stuck that knife in your belly. You stay on guard, Faith. Buffy's dangerous. If you're not careful, she'll destroy you."
So he had been right after all.
It's different now, she had said.
But she was wrong.
She heard the whisper past the buzzing in her ears, and looked down.
Past the heads of people looking at her, past Buffy on the ground, until it reached her hands.
Tightly pressed against her wound.
Blood and ashes spilling past her grimy fingers.
Her baby was dead.
So was she.
Looked back up towards Buffy, who was staring at her.
The way Buffy looked at her...
Was it love?
She would never be sure.
She wished Buffy would tell her, but they were always playing games.
No more games.
No more time.
"L...ove...y...ou...B..." She gurgled, out, letting her hands down.
Letting the blood seep.
Letting the dust mingle.
Letting her feet slip.
Going without any knowledge of love.
If anybody could ever love her the way she could've loved.
The way she should've been loved.
Faith was dead before she hit the ground.
Buffy scrambled towards the edge as quick as lightning, reaching out her hand to catch Faith.
"No!" She cried.
Her voice echoed, but there was no response.
It was all she wanted at that point.
At that moment.
Irony never failed to haunt her.
Buffy never got her answer.
And Faith always took hers.