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Faith’s POV:

I head back towards the bar after the song. I’m all jazzed up. Goddamn, I feel good. I smirk. I guess B and Cordy don’t feel all that bad either. Speaking of B, she looks wicked hot tonight. Not that Queen C doesn’t but B has leathers on! There’s so much energy in me right now I think I’m about ready to pop. I can feel all their eyes on me.

And it feels wicked good.

I hardly even glance at the Scoobies. I’m going solo tonight and not minding it one bit. OK, fine, so I kinda wanna go over there but in my twisted mind, that’s a sign of weakness.

So I stay put.

I down my drink and order another one while lighting a cigarette. My hips move slightly with the music.

Then this guy comes over. He stands next to me and smiles.

“Hi.” He looks me up and down and grins. Punk. I decide to play with him a little.

“What?” I pretend I can’t hear him and yell over the music.

“I said Hi!” He moves closer to me.

“What?!” I fight down my own grin when I see him blush. Insecurity creepin’ up on ya, little boy?

“I...” he starts but I look him up and down and cock an eyebrow. “...nothing.”

He smiles uncomfortably and moves away. I chuckle and take another draw from my cigarette before flicking it away and crushing it with my boot. I realize this is all the fun I’m gonna get here tonight and decide to do a quick sweep of the nearest cemetery to work the edge off my hyper activity. I nod a goodbye to Lenny, grab my jacket

...and I’m out.

Buffy’s POV:

She’s completely ignoring our existence. She’s just leaning against the bar, watching people dancing and completely ignoring us. I can’t help feeling a little hurt. After that dance I thought... I don’t know what I thought. But not this. Why isn’t she coming over? I sigh.

“Well this is exciting. Really.” Cordy says, sarcasm dripping off her.

“Hey, I dunno, I’m having fun.” Xander responds. Cordy just gives him a look and he coughs.

“I wonder why.” He looks down and blushes.

“What are you complaining about anyway, Cordy? This is what we always do.” She sighs.

“Exactly. This is what we always do, you guys. And finally we meet someone who can really liven up the place and what do you do? You don’t even invite her. Can I say stupid?” She grabs her coat and leaves. I watch her and notice she’s following Faith! God damn it!

Willow sees the look on my face and looks like she’s going to start crying any second now.

“No, Will, it’s not your fault.” I say. To tell you the truth, though, I’m kinda tired of all the reassuring I have to do lately.

She smiles weakly.

I want to go after Faith. I want to be around her. I want to watch her. I want to feel her presence.

But yet again, Cordelia has spoiled my plans. And even though I love the Scoobs to death, I’d much rather be with Faith right now than be stuck here. We’re not exactly the life of the party. Faith had that covered.

All by herself.

I feel like such a loser.

Faith’s POV:

I love the night. I love breathing in the cool and fresh air. I love being engulfed by the darkness. And I love just looking at the sky. Night time is my time. So I was feeling a hell of a lot better when I exited the Bronze and was greeted by my all-time favorite pal. I lit up another cigarette and started walking. I was planning on doing a quick patrol but the moment I stepped in the night, I felt relaxed. At ease. So I decided to just walk around, if I met a vamp; tough.

“Faith!” I stop in my tracks and smirk. Could that be Queen C calling after moi? Hell yeah.

“What’s up, C?” I only turn halfway.

Nonchalance is the keyword here, people. Always gotta keep ‘em guessing.

She reaches me and damn that girl’s looking fine. She’s all out of breathe and her eyes are filled with complete and unbridled desire. Don’t hate me cuz I’m hot. Hate me for what I’m about to do.

See the girl’s confused. Xander ain’t paying her enough attention and for some reason she chose me to confide in. So she was feeling vulnerable and somehow I made her feel better ‘bout herself. Now she thinks she has these ‘feelings’ for me. It’s completely normal and I get it. And to be honest, I’m flattered.

But she doesn’t really want this. I can’t say I don’t want it either cuz Cordy’s a catch.

But it’s just not gonna happen.

“Where are you going?”

“Shouldn’t you be with the scoobs?”

She must’ve caught the edge in my voice when I said that.

“I don’t want to be.” You want to be with me, I think. No thanks.

“Could ya hurry up and tell me what that’s got to do with me? Cuz I got some stuff to do.” I look down the street like I’m in a hurry and really not interested in what she has to say.

I don’t want to do this, but I have to. Sorry Cordy.

I don’t look at her because I know what I’d see. First there’d be surprise. Then hurt. And finally anger.

God, I feel like shit. I know I shouldn’t. I’m doing the right thing here. But it still stings. It’s quiet for a few seconds. And then it’s over. With that one sentence I ruined any chance with her.

And in about five seconds, she’ll turn around and walk away.


She looks at me, willing me to say something to take away her anger.


I’m silent. I’m so sorry Cordy.

“Nothing. Nevermind, Faith. Bye.” She still looks at me one last time, hoping I’ll stop her from walking away.


“See ya, Cordy.” I catch a glimpse of hurt in her eyes before it’s quickly hidden.


She steels herself and walks away.


Told ya so. I’m an expert here. And I realize how sad that sounds. But yeah, go ahead, you can hate me now.

That’d make two of us.

Buffy’s POV:

I told the gang that I still have to patrol and left the Bronze.

If I had to sit through one more minute of Oz and Will making out and Xander doing Gilligan impressions I would’ve staked myself.

Maybe I should go look for Faith. I turn the corner and gasp. I really don’t want to see this. It’s Faith and Cordy. I’m about to turn around when Cordy walks away looking like she just had her heart broken. When she sees me though, she hides it.

Wouldn’t want anyone to know that she has ‘feelings’.

Part of me feels sorry for her, but another part is doing a happy dance. Did Faith turn her down? Wow. Not a lot of people would do that.

I look back to Faith but she’s already walking away. Like she doesn’t have a care in the world.

Now this kinda pisses me off. Sure, I’m not Cordy’s number one fan, but she’s still part of the gang. How can Faith not care??

I jog to catch up with her.

“Faith!” She turns around, sees me, sighs, and just keeps on walking.

Oh no, you’re not going anywhere. I grab her shoulder and she stops.

“What, B?” The fact that she sounds irritated pisses me off even more.

“What did Cordelia say to you?” Uh-oh. That wasn’t part of the plan.

“I mean... What did you say to Cordelia?” Shit. Way to go, Buffy.

She’s confused now. Whul...good!

“None of your business, blondie.” She starts walking off again.

“Did she want to go to bed with you, huh? Did she?”

What the hell am I saying?

Stop me.

Holy crap!

“Or did you want to go to bed with her and when she said no you bitched it up? Is that it?”

I’m yelling now.

Why am I yelling?

I can’t help it though. Just the thought of Faith and Cordelia together makes my blood boil and I lose all control.

She turns around and if I just stopped to think for a second I would’ve seen that something was wrong. But of course, I didn’t. I kept right on going.

“Yeah. That’s exactly what happened, B. She turned me down and I got pissed off. Now get off my back, will ya?”

Huh? Does she mean that? God, I hate her.

“Fuck you, Faith.” I stomp away and I don’t think I’ve ever been this angry. And I barely know what I’m angry for. All I know is that it’s her fault.

“Just gimme the time and place, honey!” she yells after me.

I take a few more steps and then turn around, ready to rain down all my anger on her but she’s already gone. Disappeared.

Damn it. Now I just feel terrible. What was I thinking? Stupid stupid stupid. That’s it, I’m gonna go over to her place right now and apologies. I just don’t get her though.

I never really know what’s going on in her mind. Sure, I try and find a clue in her eyes but I usually just end up gawking and making an idiot out of myself.

Hers have got to be the deepest and most beautiful eyes I have ever seen. And I’ll tell ya, I’ve seen a lot of eyes in my day.

Seriously though, all I can make out is that she’s been hurt. Hurt very bad. When she thinks I’m not looking I can see it. When she’s deep in thought, I can see the changes in her. After that she either gets pissy or hyper.

I guess that’s why she always needs something to do. To keep her mind off whatever it is that hurt her. I wish she’d trust me some time. I wish I could just hold her and make it better. That she’d come to me when she feels bad instead of pushing me away.

She’s really good at that, you know. Pushing people away. I don’t even notice she’s pushed me away until it’s done. She gets under my skin and I pretend to be pissed off or something and then it hits me.

It’s what she wanted to do. She’s got it all worked out. Her defense-mechanisms are well honed and automatic. I don’t even want to think about what she went through to make her have to put them up.

I walk up to the motel and I’m about to head towards the stairs to her room when I see them. It was like a fucking blow to my gut. I had to steady myself against the wall. I couldn’t even breathe.

Oh my god.

It’s Faith.

Faith and some guy.

She’s hugging him tightly and her head is buried in his shoulder. I can hear her sobbing. She’s telling him she missed him. Where did my lungs go? In fact, where did my whole body go? I can’t feel anything. Only an aching emptiness.

The guy is stroking her hair and whispering soothing words in her ear. This hurts so much. I know for a fact that I’ve never felt this bad in my life.

Who the fuck is he?

And why the fuck is Faith opening up to him?

Why is he the one holding her? It should be me.

It should be me.

Faith’s POV:

It’s all out the window.

My whole attitude, the mask I put on towards the world. It’s gone. Somewhere in the back of my mind I hear a little voice going ‘hey, hold on a second you can’t do this to me!!!-‘ but it fades away.

Mike’s here.

And all I can feel are his arms around me. I’ll tell you what though, he musta been scared shitless when he saw me flying up the steps. Slayer speed and all that.

I totally just jumped on him, man. And that’s when the Slayer strength kicked in. Yup. I jumped on him, he fell to the floor and I was just hugging him like there’s no friggen tomorrow. I couldn’t give a shit about my reputation.

Although I did get off of him after a while, didn’t want him to die after all.

When we both got to our feet, I finally got a good look at him and the moment I saw his eyes I knew I was fucked. They see in you, yunno. And I knew right then that I couldn’t hide anything from him. And for some reason, I broke down crying. I didn’t even realize I was hurtin’ until it all came out. It was wicked freaky. The rest of the night’s a blur.

We talked for hours, I cried several times. He held me.

Oh and fuck you. I’m only human.

You have no idea what shit I’ve been through. And you have no idea what shit I still have to get through every single fucking day.

Mike’s my friend, my soul(Hey ladies and gentlemen, James Brown!!). My home. And I’m not letting go.

Buffy’s POV:

I feel sick.

I’m lying in bed and I have absolutely no plans of getting up. I’m dying, I’m sure I am. I cried myself to sleep last night and everything’s killing me.

My eyes are killing me, my head is killing me, my throat is killing me, my whole damn body is murdering me right this moment. And if I’d get up and look in the mirror I’d probably kill myself.

How’d everything get so messed up?


Oh god, no, don’t do this to me. Dawn bursts in my room and I hide my head under my pillow.

“Buffy, mom says you gotta get up! So...get up!”

I moan and she sighs.

“Jeez, Buffy, you really are a lightweight.”

Huh? I sit up and look at her.


She just giggles in this infuriating manner and goes

“Faith told me to call you a lightweight if you didn’t wanna get up.”

“What’s Faith got to do with anything?” I snap.

She rolls her eyes at me.

“Duh, Buffy. Saturday morning, you always train with her on Saturday mornings.” She looks at me like I’m an alien or something and walks away.

I hear her bounding down the stairs.

“She’ll be right down, Faith. What’s a lightweight anyway?”

I hear Faith’s throaty chuckle and my mom asking her if she’d like something for breakfast.

“Nah, it’s cool Mrs. S, but thanks anyway. I’ll explain it to ya some day, shorty.”

I smile. For like two seconds. Too bad I have a memory.

Faith dancing. Faith dancing with Cordy. Faith dancing with me. Faith touching me. Faith ignoring me. Faith going outside with Cordy. Cordy almost crying. Faith being a bitch. Me being a bitch. Faith with some guy.


Faith’s POV:

Jeez, B’s taking her sweet time. She’s probably still pissed ‘bout yesterday. What was that about anyway? Whatever. Guess I’ll just have to put on the good old Faith charm. Finally, I hear her coming down the stairs.

“Hey, honey, you really shouldn’t keep Faith waiting.” Mrs S tells her.

Uh-oh. I can see the small changes in B’s face that basically tells me to run for cover.

“But then I wouldn’t be able to hang with this little brat.” I say.

I ruffle through the kid’s hair. She sticks out her tongue at me and I grin right back.

“Ya know, cuz the big brat would be taking up all my time.” I wink at Dawn.

Mrs S smiles and shakes her head while Dawn starts giggling madly.

I sneak a peak at B. Bingo.

Slight annoyance with me is better than outrage at the whole of Sunnydale. Yeah, I always was the self sacrificial type o’ girl.

“C’mon B, hurry up, and eat somethin’. I’m dying for some action.”

I wink at her to fill my daily innuendo requirements but instead of her usual eye-rolling she goes back into thundercloud mode.

What the hell?

It’s like she remembered something. Like ‘oh waitaminute, I’m sposed to be mad at Faith, lemme just fix up this little malfunction on my face. There we go. No more smile.’.

Damnit. What’d I do anyway?

The usual morning Summers banter is going on while I’m mulling over what I possibly could’ve done wrong last night.

Ohh... Probably mad cuz of what I did to Cordy. Or what she thinks I did to Cordy. I look up at her. She’s eating some cereal and she doesn’t seem herself. She must be really pissed.

She isn’t usually this moody. I miss her smile. Normally she’d be hopping around, munching away at her breakfast all while chattering on and on about anything that pops in her cute little head. Weird.

Ok, now I’m scared. It usually takes like an hour before we actually head out to the library to train. You know, what with the babbling, foolin’ around and getting ready. I never did get that last part. It’s only training and the way she hovers around her closet and bathroom, you’d think it was prom night or something. Not today though. After eating, she went upstairs (note that this time she didn’t drag me along) and she was ready in like ten minutes. Either I’m rubbing off on her or I really hit a nerve last night.

Not liking any of those possibilities.

We got to the library in almost complete silence. I was gonna tell her about Mike but figured now wasn’t the right time. Mike’s sleeping it off at the motel by the way. Dude had a rough trip getting here. He actually looked me up.

Who’d have thought?

Somebody actually thought I was worthy of looking up. Not an easy trick either. I’m good at hiding when I don’t wanna be found. Which was the case. I figured the only people lookin’ for me were all a buncha fuckers I owe money or... you know.. blood. Whichever. Never thought Mike’d come looking.

But ya know, B’s really getting me on edge. Lemme just say I am not a fan of this personality change.

Maybe I should just kick her around a bit at training. Speaking of which...

Giles is going on and on about ‘proper assessment of the situation prior aggressive action’.

“Just let us at it, G-man.” I interrupt.

“Faith, it’s absolutely vital for both of you to take caution before engaging in battle.”

Typical Giles.

“I hear ya, but right now I’m just itching for a little rough ‘n tumble, so save the preaching for afterwards, ‘kay?” I look at B for support but she’s spaced out.

Apparently, G noticed it too cuz he’s looking at me, a question mark painted all over his face.

I shrug at him and he puts on his ‘concerned dad’-face.

“Er... Yes, well, I suppose you could commence with training first. Perhaps a little warming up would be in order. Buffy?”

Wow. She must be really pissed off at that tree outside cuz by the looks of it, she’s ready to cut it down.

“Yo, B, spazzy much?” I’m walking on thin ice here but hey, I never claimed to be caution-girl.

Her head snaps up and she blinks a couple of times.

“Buffy, are you alright?” Always the concerned father figure, Giles puts a hand on her shoulder.

“What? Yeah, Giles, I’m fine. Do we start now?” Right, B, no problem whatsoever, right?

I hop off the table. Giles looks doubtful but nods anyway.

“Finally. Let’s do this, B.” I grin and ignore her non-playful angry look.

Maybe I shouldn’t have.

Buffy’s POV:

Who does she think she is? Coming to my house being all cool and charming and playful. Seriously, what’s up with that? After last night, how can she act like this? Like nothing happened. When she was all goofing around at the house this morning I wished she’d just shut up. And walking to the library, I wished she wasn’t all silent. Creeped me out. But I forced myself to stay angry. It’s all her fault anyway.

I stand up and stretch a little. Faith is so gonna get her ass kicked. An evil little smile tugs at my lips and I take a quick glance at Faith.

Oh dear lord. I gasp.

Okay then. Note to self, do not look at Faith unless prepared for pleasant full body shivers. Especially when she’s stretching. That’s it. No more of this ‘she’s so pretty’ crap. Time to show her who’s boss. That’d be me, by the way.

I jump a little on my toes and give her the heads up.

“Ready?” Right when she looks up to answer me, I kick her feet out from underneath her.

She quickly hops back up and looks at me weirdly.

“That’s cheating, B. Can’t win the fair way?” She grins at me and I hate her. I hate her so bad.

I run towards her and just before we collide I spin around to end up facing her back. I’m about to grab her in a choke hold but she musta anticipated this because she ducks and grabs my legs. I fall face first on the ground. That stings. Chin and ego.

“B! Chill.” That’s what she said to me at the Bronze.

I get up and throw a frenzy of punches at her. She’s able to block or dodge most of them but the ones that connect, connect hard. When I almost have her pinned against the wall, I realize she’s not hitting back. She’s just been taking the blows.

“Fight back!” I scream at her.

“No.” She replies calmly while blocking a punch that nearly connects with her jaw.

“Fight back!!” I can feel tears stinging in my eyes. What’s wrong with me?

“No, B.”

My arms grow heavy and I slow down almost to a halt. She catches my fists and looks me in the eyes. God, she’s so worried. The tears fall when I see the look of pure concern in her bruised but beautiful face.

She holds me. She wraps her arms around me and just holds me. She feels soft but she’s holding me up. If it wasn’t for her, I’d be on the floor by now. My face is buried in her shoulder and I’m shaking. A sob escapes me once in a while but mostly my tears are silent.

Faith’s POV:

Never a dull day in Sunnydale. No apocalypse? Ah, never fear, personal dramas shall be unraveled for your discomfort! Hu-fucking-ra.

Not that I mind that B’s falling apart. Wait... that’s not true. But I mean... I don’t mind holding her and stuff, but I don’t want her to cry. It was one thing for her to flip on me but crying is a whole different thing altogether.

Before I knew it, I was holding her. I thought of saying something soothing, but I had no clue. So I just held her.

She pulled away when Giles came back.

“Dear God, what’s wrong? Buffy, are you hurt?” B pulled away and violently shook her head.

“No... I... no. It’s nothing... I have to go.”

And that was it. She ran out leaving me and Giles looking blankly at each other. I really wanted to run after her but figured it’s not my place. I called Willow instead. Gave her the heads up.

I bailed on Giles and headed back to my place. Mike’s on the bed when I come in and he smiles at me. Even though I’m really worried ‘bout B, I can’t help smiling back.

“Miss me already?” He gets up and stretches. He’s still gotta be a little tired.

“Actually, I was just checkin’ that you didn’t finish all my food.” I fall on the bed and notice the dude’s been cleaning.

“What food? You mean that green stuff in the mini-fridge? I don’t think so.”

“I had green stuff in my fridge??” Cool. I thought it was empty.

He leans against the wall while I jump towards the fridge, I’m wicked hungry. Oh wow.

I turn around and I can’t hold back my grin.

“You’re such a dork, you know that? First you clean up my place and then you re-stock the fridge?” The fridge is jam packed with all my favs. Have I mentioned I love the guy? Of course not. I don’t say stuff like that.

“Actually the re-stocking came first. Then the cleaning.” He lights up a cig as I open a can of rootbeer.

“So what’s the plan for today? I know we kill a buncha demon scum tonight but we’ve got approximately ten hours till then. Any good bars around here?” Oh yeah, he knows ‘bout me being a slayer.

I shake my head.

“How ‘bout just givin’ me a grand tour?”

“That, my challenged friend, I can do.” He pushes off the wall and grins.

“And we all know you can’t do all that much.”

Buffy’s POV:

I made an idiot of myself. Now she thinks I’m a complete moron. An unstable drama queen. I suck.

When I ran from the library I didn’t know what to do, or where to go. I ended up at Will’s house. She opened the door and she didn’t seem surprised at all to see my tear-stricken face. Apparently, Faith called her. Faith. It’s always Faith.

Willow was really trying to comfort me, but she couldn’t. In all fairness, though, I didn’t tell her what was wrong.

“I know you miss Angel.” What? Oh. Angel.

“I... what? Angel?”

“Yeah, Buff. Angel; the love of your life. You can’t really deny it much longer, it’s kinda obvious that it’s killing you.”

She places her hand on my shoulder and looks at me sympathetically.

“I...” ...completely forgot about Angel. Oh my god. How could I have completely forgotten about Angel?

“I don’t know anything anymore...” I’m so confused I burst out crying again.

“Aww, Buffy... I’m so sorry...” Willow hugs me and gently strokes my hair.

We decided to stay in the rest of the day and just watch a lot of movies and eat ice-cream. I love it when we do that. I couldn’t really concentrate on the movie though.

Angel. If you said his name a month ago I’d be feeling a million emotions. But now it’s just... What about him? And that pisses me off. I loved him, didn’t I? It all felt so... real. It was love, right? I don’t know anymore.

Maybe it wasn’t.

When I was a kid, I loved the Beauty and the Beast. Around puberty I gushed over Romeo&Juliet. Maybe... Maybe I just wanted love so badly. An exciting, forbidden love. Angel represented that. He was a vampire... He was dark and handsome. He made me feel special. Like I was the only one on the planet. But... is that love? I don’t think so anymore. Did I get butterflies when I saw him? Sure. But did his smile make the world more beautiful in my eyes? Scratch that, did the simple fact of him being in the proximity make the world more beautiful in my eyes? Whether he smiled or not. Whether his hair was perfect or disheveled. Whether his face was dirty or smudged. Whether he looked at me or not. Well he always looked at me but...

Did he make me happy?

No. The thought of us made me happy. But that was it. A thought. A dream. It wasn’t real. I made it out to be so much better than it was. I pretended that his eyes could see in me, when he never really had a clue what I was thinking or feeling. And when he did, he never really knew how to handle that. I’d pretend everything was perfect when he held me. But it wasn’t. I noticed his cold arms enveloping me. I pretended the shiver came from how good it felt. But that wasn’t true. It didn’t feel quite right.

I may have loved him. But it wasn’t the real thing. Not what it should be. Not... everything I know it could be.

I suck at this whole introspection thing.

It’s almost dark by the end of the third movie and I need to go to Angel’s. I need to say goodbye. He may be ... you know.. dead and everything but I haven’t really said goodbye yet.

Faith’s POV:

You enjoying the story so far? It all goes to shit from here. See, now I’ve made peace with the following events. But at the time I was messed up beyond belief.

Maybe I should tell you what happened, huh? Okay, just gimme a minute. I may have come to terms with all the shit that happened but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. So just hold up while I try not to break something.

Not that there’s a lot to break in my room anymore. There’s barely anything here to be broken.

The night I gave Mikey the grand tour of Sunnyhell, I didn’t come home. I didn’t come back to the motel for...

See I don’t even remember how many days I was out on the streets. But when I eventually did come back, I caused some major damage in this place. It was a shithole before, but now it’s even worse.

The bed doesn’t even look like a bed anymore if it wasn’t for the mattress. There’s holes in the wall everywhere from where I kicked and punched it. I currently do not have a sink and if I wanna take a shower I get flooded. Not cuz the shower sucked like before, but cuz the bath tub is missing.

Well it’s still there. And hey, if you like puzzles, maybe you could fix it up for me again. Yup. Shattered.

I still haven’t told you what went down, huh? Fine.

Mike’s dead. My friend, my heart, my fucking home... is dead.

Did ya see that one coming?

Hey, don’t worry ‘bout me though. I’m five by five. Like I said, I’ve made peace with it. I forgave him. Angel. He did it. He killed Mike. He just... Fuck this is definitely not easy.

He came back from hell and killed my... he killed Mike. You think I’m being overdramatic? You think it’s ridiculous for me to be calling Mike my heart, my home?



I have nothing now.

But it’s no one’s fault really. Except for mine.

Me and Mike were walking down the street, heading towards the nearest cemetery and he was quizzing me on Sunnyhell life. After giving short bio’s on everyone I was offhandedly explaining to him how easy it is to get B riled up if you push the right buttons. Which is true. And I am definitely the button queen. I was ranting something about my humble servants drooling at my button pushing capabilities.

“So you should tell her, you know.” He takes another drag from his cigarette and I note that he’s looking kinda sad. What’s the deal?

“No need, everyone recognizes my royalty. Even B the thick-witted.” I smirk at my own lame joke.

Mike, however, just smiles wryly and shakes his head. Something’s wrong with the dude cuz my Button Queen monologue was highly amusing.

“Sorry to break it to ya, babe, but you’re the one with the thick wits.” He’s looking at the ground.

“Why, Michael, lest thou seeketh a fierce ass-whoopin’, enlighten me. Pray tell.” I deadpan.

He chuckles at that but the smile doesn’t reach his eyes. He stops walking and sits down on a low wall. He’s got me worried.

“What’s up, Mike?” I sit next to him and gently nudge his shoulder.

He sighs. Why the hell is he so sad?

“Faith, you like this Buffy chick.” Um. Okay.

After a few seconds of silence I realize I’m supposed to say something.

“Uh... Yeah, she’s cool.” What’s he getting at?

“Hey, dumbass, you’re in love with her!” He stands up angrily but then sighs and sits back down looking resigned.

After my initial worry about his actions, the words seep in and I am now utterly confused.

“And why d’you say that?” I decide to play it cool.

“She inevitably comes up every two or three sentences and... I hate to say this, buddy, but you get a love-sick look every time you talk about her.” He takes out his cigs, lights one and hands it to me. I accept and take a deep drag, mulling over what he just said. He lights up another and stares off into space.

If it was anyone else saying this to me, I woulda either laughed at them or kicked ‘em in the face. But this was Mike. The guy knows me. More than I know myself. And the more I think about it... The more it seems like he has a point.

“Willow; nice girl. Buffy’s best friend. Great friendship. Xander; funny dude. Used to have a major crush on Buffy. Dawn; Buffy’s sister. Cordelia; cheerleader. Buffy used to be a cheerleader. You always end up with her, Faith.” He mumbled everything but the last part.

This is too much to deal with right here. I love Mike. I... want to kiss Mike. Don’t I? I look at him and I realize I don’t. I do love the guy. But he’s my best friend. What we had before had grown into a comforting familiarity and I didn’t feel the need to expand on what we had now. A small smile forms on my lips until I realize he’s still sad. He glances up and in those two seconds our eyes met, I saw it. He still loved me like he loved me back in Boston. He was still in love with me. He sighed and looked back up at me.

“Busted.” He whispers with a wry smile.

I return his with a pained smile of my own. The situation’s pretty shitty. But we both knew we’d work through it. We always did, no matter what, we’d end up together. Whether as friends or more. But right now, I couldn’t offer him more.

I kiss his forehead and hug him.

“I love you, Mike.”

He wraps his arms around me tenderly and sighs again softly.

“I love you too, Faith.”

We separate after a while and do our usual ‘nothing happened, we’re still cool’-routine.

We both cough, looking around nervously, pretending to be embarrassed. He smoothens his clothes while I smoothen my hair.

“Yo, we’re still cool, dawg.” I cough.

“Damn straight, woman.” He coughs.

Then we smile at each other and we know we’ll be fine. Nothing can tear us apart.

We walked on in silence for a few minutes and it hit me. Buffy. Images of her kept flying around in my head. Little things I noticed her doing, which I found adorable. The small electrical jolts I got whenever we touched. The feeling of completeness whenever it was just her and me for patrol. Her large array of smiles which she had for different people and occasions. It was all too much for me at the moment. Damn, forget Queen of the Buttons, I’m the fucking Empress of Denial. All those thoughts and feelings were all shoved way back in my head.


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