Disclaimer: I don't own 'em. Just the idea I put them in.
Summary: A completely different Faith comes out of her coma.
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It can all change in one blink of an eye. A war can start, a life can end, or begin anew.
And it's all done while you blink. Sometimes you should really keep your eyes open.
I should have. Because one moment she was there, and the next she was gone.
And I'm still here, running through the shadowed streets of Sunnydale searching for a ghost of the girl I fell in love with. And for a brief time, she may have loved me back.
But that all ended in the blink of an eye.
I sleep with my eyes open now.
These alleys stink. The filth of both the demon and human world seem to congregate here. Infusing these small spaces with scents of death and pain.
Does pain have a smell?
She's out here. Somewhere. In these dark dank streets. Hiding from me.
I have barely a moment's warning before she hits me. She came from behind, strong and quick. She leaps on my back and I go down. I'm face first in the muck, taking a harsh beating to my neck and spine. She's not really aiming her hits as much as swinging blindly. It's not like her. She must be off her game.
She's usually so graceful.
Alright Buffy, stop wishing she fought better.
I roll us over and pin her down. Grabbing her arms and squeezing her legs between mine, I bring her fighting to a halt.
She stares up at me. Her eyes empty and lost. Staring through me like I'm not there. Like she's not there, but her tears say otherwise. Streaming down her face, washing away the dirt and grime attached to her cheeks from her mad dash.
Here she lies beneath me, wearing her stolen clothes, looking like the little lost girl my mother thought she was. She's a smart woman, my Mom. That's what gives me the idea in the first place.
It's just what she needs. What we both need.
My mother doesn't question me when I carry her inside. She unconscious. She fought me when I tried to bring her here without force. I had to blacken her eye to knock her out. And call Willow for help. She put her under a sleeping spell. Worked like a charm. Pun intended.
"Is she okay Buffy?" I jump when my mother's worried voice reaches me from my bedroom doorway.
I'm sitting on my bed, wiping her face with a wet cloth. Thinking of a time when everything was simpler. When it was just me and Faith, Faith and me. The Chosen Two.
"Yeah, Mom. Just a little tired." I shrug, I guess a coma's a bit like sleep. "I chased her through the whole town. And Wills did a bit of a number on her."
"I put Willow and her friend in the guest room. I don't want any of you out anymore tonight." Her voice is stern and I know better than to argue.
Well, that and I'm tired anyway.
"Ok, Mom." She leaves and I sigh, turning my full attention back to Faith. She'll be waking up soon and I don't want her running away. I find some rope and wake my sleeping witchy-type friend to enchant it. Don't want that Slayer strength breaking these bonds. I don't wanna have to chase her through the damn city again.
"Are you sure about this, Buffy? I mean, I trust your judgment and all, but, hey, she is kinda psycho." Willow babbles from my doorway as I tie down my sister Slayer. Tied to my bed. Oh, the innuendo.
"Hence, the enchanted ropage, Wills. She's not getting far. Besides, I think all she needs is a little love." I chuckle at the incredulous look on her face.
"I think a little prison would do her better." She informs me with her worried face on. "But if you think otherwise, who am I to tell ya you're wacky." She turns on her heel and returns to the guestroom. And Tara.
I wonder if there's something going on there.
They were kinda cuddly.
I sit up all night, watching her as she shifts and moans in her sleep, struggling against her magical bonds, stuck in her nightmares. I wonder when she'll come out of her magically enforced slumber.
Her eyes flutter open, as if she read my mind.
Her pupils are dilated, making her usually dark brown eyes black. Her gaze shifts nervously around my room, her arms and legs jerking as she tries to free herself.
"B?" Her voice is husky, I can tell she's working around a dry throat, I reach to my side and pour a glass or water from the pitcher my mother was thoughtful enough to provide. Sometimes I think that woman knows everything. She even brought a straw.
The cool twisty kind that looks like your drink is riding a roller coaster.
She gives me an incredulous look, but sips from the twisted blue straw, her eyes crossing as she tries to follow the flow of the water as it makes its way up to her lips. She sighs as she swallows several times. We spend several moments in silence, her drinking, me just holding the glass. She finally drains it and relaxes back on the pillows.
"So, B? You up with the kink now?" She gives me her trademark smirk.
Not quite what I'm aiming for right now.
But it's a definite start.
Counting in my head.
I wonder how long she's just gonna stare at me.
I hit twenty and I can't take it anymore.
"So B, how ya been?" I can't help but trace her features with my eyes. From the moment I met her I thought she was beautiful. Not that I'd tell her. Bad for the image, and I'm sure she knows.
"Good. Started college, after surviving the graduation from hell." She shoots me a dirty look. Not that I blame her. We were planning a number on her graduating class. The Mayor and I.
"I take it he failed. Ya know, the Mayor." I can't even 'look' at her right now. Hindsight is fucking 20/20, and I'm not even feeling 5 by 5.
"Yeah. Thanks, by the way." She turns away and sets down the glass I've been drinking from. That water hit the spot. I test my bonds, they're only rope but something tells me I won't be getting out of these. Just a hunch, but B knows my strength, well that and they smell funny, kinda spicy, like there's a little something extra in it.
Not that I'm big on moving right now. The beds warm and soft, not like the bed I woke up in. I didn't know hospitals put patients in rooms like that.
"The Councils after you." Buffy tells me, her voice is flat and her expression serious. "If they find you they'll kill you."
Shit. I really fucked up this time.
"I don't want you to die."
I must be hearing things 'cause I swear she just said...
"I don't want them to take you away. You're a Slayer, we were a team. So you messed up, okay. We made a mistake, you...we killed a guy. After finding out what the Mayor was about, I'm pretty sure he was a bad guy, but he was human. And we k-killed him, and you left. I wanted to help you and you left, and you were bad, and you hurt me."
I can't take it. I can't hear this, not right now. B's so close to tears and I am, too. But I haven't cried since... No, I won't cry. Not now, not after this. It wasn't my fault.
B shuts up. I startled her. Her eyes are wide and her mouth is hanging open.
"I can't do this. Not now, I fucked up B. I know I fucked up. And you hurt me, too. And..." What did she say? "What are you thanking me for?"
"Before Graduation, you told me how to beat him. The Mayor." Buffy stares down at the bed again.
"We shared that dream? I thought it was just me, making my wished amends." I shake my head. I try my bonds again, not that I really meant to, my nose itches.
"No. It was a Slayer dream, chock full of the post slay experience." She gets this strange look on her face, like she's wondering why she added that little part at the end.
Frankly, I'm wondering too. I know my prophetic dreams always left me a bit, wired, in the morning.
Apparently her's do, too.
"I think the whole 'kink' factor of me being tied to your bed has gone to your head, B." I can't help but tease.
And she 'blushes'. Oh my god, this chick's in college and she 'blushes'. Guess some things never change.
Maybe she still loves me back.
She's finally asleep. On the bed, her bed, beside me.
When she first drifted off I wondered how she did it. I couldn't sleep next to someone who tried to kill me at one point in time. Tied to the damn bed or not.
But I don't mind watching, or waiting. Hell, I could watch B every second of everyday for the rest of my life, and die happy.
Her breathing is even and deep, kinda lulling me as I lie here beside her, breathing in her scent. Sweat, vamp dust, and something uniquely Buffy. It's kinda making me hot.
Oh come on, you try sleeping for 8 months, then end up tied to the girl of your dreams bed with her asleep, half lying on you, and try not to get hot.
It's impossible. And I'm loving this.
The house has been quiet since I woke up with her staring down at me. Only the sounds of the outside night filter in and keep it from complete silence.
I close my eyes and clear my mind; one, breathe in, two, breathe out, three, relax. Ah, there they are. Three heartbeats besides B's. Two of them are almost beating in unison, with like a milisecond in between.
Then she sighs and I lose my concentration. The girl really knows how to capture one's attention, even in her sleep. Then again I've always had trouble taking my eyes off her.
I think she's drooling on me.
Oh well, that's my B.
I can't believe she put that bitch in her bed!
Why would you put a psycho in the same bed as you.
I peek into the room and jump back.
Faith's awake. And she was staring right at the door.
She heard me coming, damn Slayer hearing.
I might as well go in. She already knows I'm here.
I try to walk like I'm not nervous. I make my way to the bed and lay two fingers on Buffy's neck.
Her pulse is strong and normal.
"I won't hurt her."
Faith's voice kinda gravely, like she hasn't used it in a while. Well, yeah. 8 months in a coma, duh Willow.
Automatically I pour her a glass of water from the pitcher on the nightstand. I can't help but giggle when her eyes cross as she watches the water flow up the straw.
Buffy moans in her sleep and burrows further into Faith's shoulder.
Faith freezes, she looks from Buffy to me and back again. Letting the straw fall from her lips she gives me a look that would have normally made my blood run cold. But she 'is' tied down with enchanted bonds, and her eyes are... not quite her eyes anymore.
Not a trace of insanity, or that black harrowing hatred I grew used to seeing when she worked for the Mayor.
She was just a little angry.
"Don't wake B up. She's exhausted." She hisses softly.
Buffy shifts again and drags her arm across Faith's torso. It would be cute, I was asleep on Tara the same way not 20 minutes ago, but this is Buffy, and psycho Slayer Faith!
But not quite psycho Slayer Faith.
"If there's a mark on her, just one mark, that you've caused, in the morning. I'll beat you to death with your own arm." I threaten in the softest whisper I can manage. I've put on my resolve face. I'm serious. I will not allow Faith to hurt Buffy again.
She presses herself flat to the bed, I look in her eyes again and the first thing I notice is the fear.
"When did you get so scary, Red?" She asks in a soft voice.
"When you stopped being so scary. Good night, Faith."
I slowly walk back to my room, wondering how I could possibly leave Buffy alone with Faith, and not worry about her well-being.
Xander managed to steal us a wheelchair from Sunnydale General. We told him it was for a plan Willow and I had devised. He'd of freaked if we told him it was to push Faith in so we could hide the bonds on the hands and legs.
He didn't know Faith was back, and I planned on keeping it that way. For the next hour, anyhow.
I push her up to Giles' front door, Willow and Tara are behind me, holding hands, worried.
I'm beginning to think there's something going on there, with all this hand holding and whispered conversation.
I knock on the door, Giles answers it a moment later, ushering us in. I wonder why he didn't freeze when he looked down at Faith. Then I notice that she's fallen asleep in the chair, her head hung low, dark hair covering her face.
"Come in, come in." Giles moves out of the way.
I push the chair through the door, Willow and Tara close behind me.
Giles hurries back to the phone.
'Yes, I understand! If we see her you'll be the first to know. Of course, she tried to 'kill' my Slayer man, do you think I'd honestly endanger her safety to protect a wanted fugitive?"
Shit. Quickly I turn Faith's chair around so it's facing the couch, and I sit down before her. I can tell she's not asleep anymore, just sitting there, being quiet and still.
"Yes, I know. I assure you we are agreed." Giles finishes his phone call by slamming down the receiver.
"Giles? I found Faith." I start. But her shoulders stiffen. "But I'm not giving her back to the Council. You said they'd kill her!"
"I do not intend upon giving her back to the Council if she can be rehabilitated." Giles says smoothly. He's got that fatherly look on his face. The same look he had when I told him about us and Alan Finch in the library a year ago.
Faith's head shoots up and she stares at me, her eyes wide with wonder.
"Well, Faith? What do you say? Are you going to take your second chance?"
Faith turns as far as she can to look at Giles, her mouth moves but no words come out.
"I'm trusting Buffy's judgement of character here. If she believes you can be helped. I will help you. But if you hurt her, I'll kill you myself." He gets this strange look in his eyes, that tells me he's serious.
"You'd have to take a number. Red threatened to beat me to death with my own arm last night. She's got dibs." Faith says calmly before looking back at me. "Are you sure B? 'Cause some people take attempted murder pretty seriously."
"Do you plan on doing it again?" It's all I want to know. If she wants help, I'll make sure she gets it.
"No. Just demon killing" She bites her lip and won't meet my eyes.
"Good, then I'm sure." I nod at her.
"I'm watching you." Willow says in her spritely voice, but her eyes look anything but.
Faith glances at her then ducks her head. "When did she get so scary?"
"She's always been scary." I can't help but laugh softly.
Faith looks up and meets my eyes.
There are tears in her's.
"Thanks, Buffy." They slowly make tracks down her cheeks.
"For what?" I brush them away with my thumb.
"Not giving up."
"It's gonna be harder on you than on me." I tell her with an evil grin.
The look in her eyes says it all. 'Oh, Shit.'