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Chase This Night

by Poetic Daze

uhhh NC-17 eventually (why bother with anything else!)
yup, and lots of it. But lets stop at Angel episode Sanctuary, its all AU after that.
VIRGIN!!!! Please be gentle with me...
Notes 2:I'm reposting parts 1-3 because I tend to get a little anal. I made a few changes that add insight to the characters emotions, but not a whole lotta changes plot wise.

Print Version: Adobe Reader PDF

Part 1

Its cold, so cold I feel it to the marrow, and the tears feel like ice on my face. I always remember this place being lit with warm lights and candles. But now, with just the pale and desolate streetlight pouring through the shattered window, everything is blue. And this light hides impossible things. It shows me awful things... things that I've done, what I could have been. It all plays on the wall. Flashing like some macabre and silent home movie. And it's always the same damn flick.

Why am I here...again? Why can't I just let it GO? This town, this apartment, this girl. This is just a dream. I know this, so why can't I wake the fuck up?! The shadows move through this space like slow oil, dripping down the walls, spilling over me and it's like I'm drowning. But that's not how I die.

I'm sitting on the bed, in my old apartment that the Mayor gave me. And old Dickey himself is sitting in the corner with that smile on his face. The one I used to love, the one I would do anything to see. It says `I'm proud of this little pawn, I think I'll keep her for a while.'

I hate that smile now. It reminds me that that's all I ever was to him, to everyone. A pawn, a tool, a pet whatever other word that could describe being totally inconsequential. I can't fuckin' stand it. That smile. I've tried yelling at him, screamin' my hate and rage, even threw the floor lamp at him. But he still sits there with that shit eatin' grin. He's waiting. Because he knows, just as I do that door is gonna open and she's gonna walk over here and kill me. The shadows shift, I watch the wall, I just killed Allen Finch.

So this time I don't yell, I don't scream or beg. I just wait and watch. And the door opens, and she's there. Dressed in red leather and loathing. She's got my knife in her hand. It would be sexy, if I wasn't about to die...again. My eyes are burning, `cause I don't think I can stand to see the satisfaction in her face that always accompanies my last breath. She steps over the threshold and I expect her to just stride across the room and gut me like she does every night, so I can die again caught between her hate and his disappointment. But something is different this time. She pauses and looks around, as if she's surprised by the situation. The shadows shift...oil spills away.

And I know she's here...like REALLY here. Fuck. What am I gonna do? I didn't expect this. I'm not ready to see her...to talk to her...I was ready to die again. She looks to the corner and so do I, boss man is still sittin' there, still smiling at me. She looks back to me and even in this dark, this cold, the green of her eyes is so shocking, the heat...the intensity pulls the air straight out of my lungs. And it hurts. It hurts so fuckin' bad... more then her stabbing me, more than dying... cause she's got tears in her eyes.

"Faith?" Her voice is like a thread, all thin and unbelieving.

"B..." I'm kinda shocked by the sound of my own voice. I'm not used to hearing it here...`cause well...usually dying right about now, but I can't let that stop me. I gotta say something, try to make all this right. I may never get another chance at it.

"You brought me here?" B whispers and it isn't all accusing like I was expecting...In fact it was kinda...hopeful? Maybe? The lights flick and I'm lying to her face.

"I-I don't know B...I'm not real sure what's goin' on here." I'm telling the truth. I finally get the balls to stand up and take a couple of steps toward her. She looks around again and her eyes hold on the Mayor in the corner, then they move to the knife in her hand. Ok, getting a little worried here.

"You wanna fight me, Faith? That what this is about?" And there's the cold hard steel I was expecting. I gotta fix this, quick. Just the thought of losing this chance...

"No! B, I-I don't want that..." God, I'm stuttering here. Fuck! Hold...it...together. I take a breath to calm my nerves and I see her looking at the man in the corner again. The wall flickers and I'm kissing Angelus, she's chained to the wall. She sees this, too.

"It always comes back..." B says, almost to herself.

"What does?" I think it's best to maybe let her run this show, I take a few more steps closer.

"Past...things I've killed...put to rest." Now she's looking at me, all that green fire, burning right through my soul.

"I tried B, tried so hard but I can't hurt him...nothin' works." I look at him and the bastard chuckles...he LAUGHS and it's a hollow dead sound. God I was so stupid then, when I wanted his acceptance, his approval.

"No...but you hurt ME, didn't have to try very hard, either." But all I ever wanted was hers.

"Tell me what I can do..." I don't want to beg her, but I know I will. "B...I- I'm so sor-" The sound of the blade slicing through the air cuts me off and I look to the corner. And he's dead...My knife in his face... bleeding and dissolving before my eyes. My head snaps back and Buffy is suddenly, painfully close to me.

"Don't you dare. Don't you EVER..." And at this moment, when the sudden venom in her voice seeps into my skin, I break. And everything is suddenly so fast so bright...it feels like I'm burning from the inside out.

"Don't what, Buffy?! Don't apologize?!" Why am I screaming? Why can't I stop? "You don't want to hear that it's all changed! That I sat in that fuckin' cell for months and rotted for you!! That I would have given anything...everything I had for you to just understand!!"

"Understand!?" And she's shouting now, too. Indignant and condemning. And it's more vicious than I could ever dream...`cause this is real now. "Understand what, Faith? What did you give me? You were a goddamn tomb! Nothing could reach you..."

"Did you even try?! God B, I was dead to you long before you gutted me!"

"Yeah you were, `cause the minute you decided that the darkness that..." She looks around for a second, it's a wild angry gesture. "...that all this was worth it... you became worthless to me." And that hurts so much worse than dying. And the knife is in her hand again.

"Does it mean anything that I regret all this!! That I'm s-sorry!" I hate that my voice is breaking, that it's so hot and bright in here now...I want the cold dark again.

She looks like she can't believe I said it...that I mean it.

"I said it B! Watcha gonna do?" I can't help but glance at the knife in her hand. She looks too, and it's as if she doesn't recognize her own hand.

"You gonna kill me now? Beat me to death?! Come on B, you promised!" And I know I'm losing it, I'm right in her face now. I grab her wrist, the one with the blade and yank it towards me.

"N-no! Faith I-" She's fighting me, shaking her head, but now I want it, `cause it would feel so much better then this.

"Maybe this would be easier, huh, B?" I jerk her arm harder. "Just like old times, yeah!? Come on B! Kill me! It's easy! You do it every fuckin' night!" God I didn't mean to say that...but I can't stop. It's all so fast.

"Faith, stop it! Don't do thi-"

But I pull harder, harder than she fights and it all slows down. For an instant...forever...I feel it, that cool, hard blade that burns all they way down to the grip. And I hear her scream `No' and then my name...but I don't die. We both look down and I expect to see my life spilling over her delicate fingers, but the knife is gone and there is no pain, just those fingers griping my shirt. Everything is so still and quiet now, our harsh breaths are the only sound...and they're almost in sync.

"Faith...I can't..." And it's her voice is breaking now. Frail. Why is this happening?

I finally pull my eyes up to her face, and it's like she's looking right through me...no, it's like she's actually SEEING me. I know I've never seen that look before, I don't know if I should be scared. But I don't have time to think about it because she moves so suddenly...and she's grabbing my head, her thumbs on either side of my face and pulls me towards her...and I can hardly gasp before my lips are being crushed against hers. My eyes close despite the shock, despite the violence of it because her mouth is just too soft to bear. But this kiss is hard, and I can feel her teeth and her anger and her fear pouring over me. The force of it makes me stagger back, but she follows and presses harder. And something in the air around us begins to move...to crackle and I feel her press body press against me...sink into me. And my hands are moving on their own violation, up to her face. So smooth...into her hair. It's like silk.

A low mumble escapes and I don't know if it came from her or me, but it doesn't matter as she releases some of the pressure of her lips...and she's kissing me. Really kissing me, and the harshness is gone...and the pain is gone and all that's left is her mouth moving over mine in a hot wet slide that makes me tremble. She relaxes her grip on me and her thumbs softly stroke the sides of my face as her lips try to take...possess every part of me. I give it willingly. Her tongue glides slowly over my bottom lip and I hear another low moan and this time I know it's from me, because my whole body is shaking and her tongue just slid against mine. I can't help but dig my nails into her scalp slightly. It's so soft and warm, and I feel as if my mouth is melting into hers.

And we stay in that soft warm place for what seems like an endless moment. But it all shifts again and the gentleness fades and morphs into something new... and something deep inside me starts to tighten, it's coiling like a spring. Its something hot and wild now and we're suddenly ravaging each other's mouths. It's all too much, but I still just want more and she's sucking on my tongue and I'm biting her lips and the heat is rising so fast between us. She whimpers into me as my tongue glides over the roof of her mouth and I feel it through my entire being and I can't help but answer her in another moan.

I'm burning for her. She pulls me tighter against her body and I can feel everything...her breasts pressing into mine...god her nipples...they're so...her hips jerk a little and I don't think I can stand it. I feel my skin start to prickle and my nipples just got so fuckin' hard. I feel that down low clutch and now I have to whimper because this kiss just made me wetter than I've ever been before.

My hips buck in answer to her and suddenly there is a strong leg pressing between my thighs and my world is spinning and I hear myself cry against her mouth. It sounds desperate `cause I am. My chest suddenly feels like it's gonna explode and I have to pull away for air. My face is still in her hands as I gulp in air. She does the same and I watch her eyes flutter open...it's the darkest green. She pulls me impossibly closer and she's shaking just as much as I am...I can feel her heart beating.

"Can't kill you Faith..." It's the lowest whisper I've ever heard from her and I have to bite back a groan at the sound of it.

"Why not?" And I can't believe my own voice either.

"I'm not ready for that..." Her lips brush mine, and this time I do groan and I almost miss her final word. "Yet."

And I'm suddenly awake. And alone and in some shitty motel room bed. I bring my fingers to my lips as I pant into the darkness. They're tender and swollen and I can still taste her on my tongue. I close my eyes and I can see the whole scene playing back on my eyelids...it's just too much all over again. So I stare at the cracked and leaky ceiling above me...and I can still feel the heat of her wrapped around me...she was holding me. Tears spring to my eyes because I realize that's something I've never had. Never will have. A box fan roars its grief in my ear and its breath is humid and full of the air's ashes. Nothing moves here...not like in my dreams, and as the blackness of my room turns slowly to blue and gray I know I won't be sleeping again tonight...here comes the sun.

Part 2

I wake up and I'm on fire. That's what it feels like...the heat of her skin, her body pressed against mine, it's a phantom warmth and it blankets me. The dream is flashing Technicolor though my head...almost faster than I can comprehend. Every single emotion known is at war inside me and it feels like I'm being torn apart. The overwhelming disbelief, the violent rage, paralyzing fear, betrayal, remorse, hope...the lust. Christ I can still smell her hair...lavender and cigarettes and Faith. And it hits me then. She was here...or I was there...and...

Oh. My. God. I take a deep breath to keep the panic in check and move to sit at the edge of the bed. It was real. My lungs are burning...why am I crying?! When I stepped through that door, I had felt her, and I had known it wasn't just a regular dream...or nightmare, or whatever. So what does it mean? These dreams are always telling to some degree...prophecy girl here after all. But Faith...and the knife, well, that was past. `But it always comes back.' My words and her words are flying though my head and I can feel that anger the rage bubbling in my chest...the outrage at her audacity...that she has any right to play the victim.

I feel my fists clench and I look down at my hands, only mildly surprised to find my nails digging into my palms. Another deep breath, I stand, and now I'm pacing.

"Think, damn it." I mumble into the darkness. I force the tears to stop...the anger makes it easier. But that ache is still there, pressing...burning in my chest. Why is this happening? Why can't I just let it go? That time when I felt so alive, when she made me feel everything and then took it all away. The nostalgia leaves a bitter taste in my mouth...It wipes away what was left of her flavor...Cherry Coke.

It's been more than eight months since I've seen her...since she went to jail. She belongs there, where she can't hurt...kill anyone else. Where she can't hurt me. So does this mean she's out now?! Christ! Trust the California legal system to set the murdering psychopaths free...

"I so don't need this now...not with everything else that's going on." And now I'm talking to myself...great! Lock me up, too! It would be all I need for Faith to show up here hell bent on revenge, when I've got the mother of all baddies running a-muck, after my family.

Ok, so Faith obviously brought me to that place, well I can only assume so. I certainly wasn't thinking of her before I fell asleep or anything. The girl is dead to me...hell, she said it herself, and it's true...it has to be. So why...? And I remember her face then...god her eyes...she looked like she was falling...like she was hurt... broken... NO! Faith isn't any of those things...you have to possess some modicum of human emotion first. She told me she didn't care...and now she wants me to understand? How can I possibly understand that she has no regret for killing a human...for taking a life! And she took so much more than that, too...my trust, my belief in everything that was still good in this world, my innocence, she took it and threw it in my face and she wants me to understand!! Why can't SHE understand?! Does she have any idea of what she did to me...how she made me feel...alive and free, like I finally belonged, like I wasn't some freak occurrence, like I was RIGHT. She proved it because she existed too. We were supposed to be the same. And we WERE the same, until she killed it, with a cocky smile on those painted lips and oblivion in her voice.

I stop the pacing and lean against the door. Nothing is gonna come from this ranting...except the migraine I can already feel approaching. I slide down to sit on the floor, as I wonder why I can't stop thinking about her eyes...rimmed in red and a little puffy. They looked like caverns, dark and endless. I called her a tomb. But now I realize that isn't entirely true. She was...IS closed off. Hiding behind her callous indifference and sneering catch phrases, but her eyes were so telling. And I wonder what else I may have missed them say... what did they try to tell me. It's all so confusing.

I despise her. I know this. I know that that's what this burning feeling is in my chest. I know that's why my throat feels so tight right now and every muscle in my body feels like it's ready to spring. It's hate...it's rage. It has to be. It has to be or else that kiss actually meant something. God her lips...and I can't help but raise my fingers to my own, they feel so sensitive...

I kissed her...after I killed her. De ja vu much? Heck, yeah. My life has become one big broken record. But this is different, Angel died, she didn't. I loved him, and I...DON'T...don't even. I HATE her. I have to `cause if I don't that would mean all this pain was my fault...that this disgust...this dirty feeling is my doing. That I was the one that took something...that I was wrong. And I'm NOT! She took it all...and I have to hate her for it. I have to so she can't ever hurt me or mine again...

I rise from the floor as the light begins to change across the room. The first inklings of soft warm and yellow light. I pull back the curtains and let my eyes roam across the still sleeping town. The still oblivious town. The people ignorant and unaware of the promises the day will bring...the forces that are at constant battle all around them. Damn I sound like Giles...feel about 20 years older, too. Again I think of the one force in particular that is a bit less obscure as of late. A Big-bad of the week...and this one is gonna be a mother... and now, Faith reappears.

"I so don't need this now..." I whisper the words, but I know I'll deal. I always do. I will kill this thing that's after my sister, after my friends. I'll save this little Podunk town from another danger it isn't even aware of. And I'll deal with Faith if...when, she comes here...and I know she will. She can't surprise me anymore. And I know she she'll try to hurt me again...break me. Maybe we ARE alike. Because if she tries...and she will... I know I'll kill her...I'll become her. I wonder if I'm ready for that. The light finally breaks the horizon, a shocking hot burst of orange...here comes the sun.

Part 3

Waves. The amber liquid made waves in her glass. Tiny waves as the rocks melted and the cool glass cried against her warm palm. Waves, and she wondered why. She realized why. Her hand was shaking.

Faith raised the glass to her lips and the cool liquid burned in a slow, dark slide down her throat. She turned her head and tried to take in her surroundings through the haze of cheap booze, smoke and...fear? Lies? Death? Yep. All that and more. It was a wonder she could see at all. She saw a bar like any other, every other and all the others. And she wondered what the hell she was doing here...again, and in the middle of the day, no less.

She wanted to drown it all out. The girl that crawled into her mind by nights, whispered in her ear through days. And mostly those eyes, jade green that had flashed more emotions in an instant than she had ever known. 232 days since she'd seen her, since they'd stood on that rooftop, and she'd pleaded, begged her to understand. Buffy couldn't understand. She sent her to rot, and she had for nearly eight months. And judging by last night's little occurrence...time hadn't changed much in that respect. But then...that kiss, THAT was a big change. That's why her hand was shaking.

"More?" The almost-cute guy behind the bar asked.

Buffy could never see. She was blind with her eyes wide. Blind to the pain, the fear the endless spiral into the abyss. No. How could she see the darkness when every thing she touches is light. Faith knew she could never be touched. But the dreams. 232 nights of them gave her the hope that she would somehow be close to it...again. It was repentance, you see. Faith died every night so that some day she might be reborn. It even sounded biblical in her head, and she had to laugh a little. She sure as hell wasn't anybodies martyr. But the endless nights were her baptism, and maybe her salvation. Her lips had felt like heaven.

"Hey. I said `You want some more'?" The bottle of Jack was held before her. Awaiting her decision, and Faith paused, her dark, heavy lashes fluttering shut for an instant. When they opened the haze was gone.

"Can't take any more." The reply was more to herself. She looked around, dark eyes scanning the handful of patrons. This city held a lot of secrets. She figured it would be a perfect place for her to start again. The constant rain, endless docks and Pacific air, the melancholy suited her just fine. The persistent fog and overcast meant day-walking for vamps, though the cold limited the population, she figured this place could use a Slayer. But after last night...she wondered how long she could stay here...away from her. It was, after all, just like every other city and inhabitants, a mass of the blissfully unaware. They didn't know about the vamp in the corner with blue leather pants. He didn't exist to them.

"So, I get off at 2..." Almost-cute smiled.

"Yeah, you have fun with that." She mumbled, and threw down what she realized was the last of her cash. Faith wasn't worried, she knew how to steal. She headed out the door, after `Blue-pants', who was following `Sexy-redhead'.

"Hey, can I get your number?" Almost-cute called after her. Faith threw him the finger without looking back. Dick.

The alley smelled like piss and garbage. Which Faith thought was appropriate `cause well...it was an alley, and that's usually where much of the world's piss and garbage meet their end. She wondered if Blue-pants would get the best of her here. He had the girl pressed against a dumpster. Classy. He was sniffing around her neck. Typical. She lit a cig and let it dangle off her full bottom lip.

"Hey!!" She shouted, and her voice seemed to bounce off the greasy brick walls that enclosed them. The dead guy looked up and his face vamped.

"Slayer!!" It was a hiss that was far more dramatic than what the situation called for.

The girl saw his face and started to scream. Faith rolled her eyes and took a drag.

"Like a goddamned broken record." She exhaled a white cloud with the words and sprinted down the alley as the redhead began to scramble away.

A quick right hook to the face and his leathered ass was in a puddle of funk. `Too bad, those were some nice pants' Faith thought. And she wondered at her own detachment. Sexy-redhead was still hollering in the periphery.

Kick to the face, pull out the stake.

"You can't do this!! You have no idea of my power!" And Faith found that funny considering the all-powerful position the guy was in...laid out flat on his ass and all. `God, not just a vamp but an ass too!' She reached into his very nice black leather coat and pulled out a very nice thick wallet. Sweet.

Kick to the face, stake to the heart. Dead...again. And Sexy-redhead is still screamin'.

"Hey..." Faith squatted down next to the cowering girl. "You're ok now, it's over." She tried to calm her before the fear turned into hysterics.

"Oh my God! His face! D-did you see his face! H-he was gonna...gonna...GOMYGOD!!" Too late. Hysterics. And now the not-so-sexy-anymore redhead had flung her arms around Faiths neck. Christ, it just keeps getting better.

"Fuck, chill, ok?" She tried to put some strength behind her voice as she pried the other girl's arms from around her neck.

"Look, he's gone now." She held her at arms length. "And you're ok. You're gonna get up, walk outta this alley, get in a cab and go home to bed alright?" Faith watched as the girl nodded and slowly raised her head so their eyes met.

Green. A stunning, sharp hazel-green that sucked the air straight form Faith's lungs. And suddenly she wasn't looking at some anonymous vamp's victim anymore. It was the face of the one person she had made a victim.

"Go home..." The girl breathed. And the voice from her dreams...

"W-what?" Faith blinked as she stumbled to her feet. "uhh...yeah. Get outta here." She watched in a daze as the girl scrambled to her feet and staggered out of the alley towards the main street. As she disappeared into the mist, the words kept repeating over and over in her head. `Go home...go home...'

"But where the fuck is that..." She leaned against the wall and took a long pull on her smoke. Her eyes squeezed shut on the thick exhale. She knew where the closest thing was. She knew she could never go back. It was the only place...ever. She was as good as dead if she did. Faith didn't doubt Buffy, she could never underestimate her fellow Slayer. She knew B because she WAS B. The same spirit...the same essence pulses in their veins...they're the same. At least they were...

"Until it all went to hell..." The words were thick in her throat. "Until I killed it..."

Faith didn't know how much more she could take. Her dreams and waking hours were haunted. The pain and the guilt pressing into some deep lost part of her. Having everything in life come down to one moment, one person, one failure. Her failure. And that voice a gossamer whisper in her ear.

"Fuck..." It was a ragged whisper as she looked to the cloudy sky. It was just a pale gray void. Not gonna cry. NOT gonna cry. But a thick sob broke the silence. But just one. Another shaky, smoky exhalation and the wall is back in place. She pulled the pilfered wallet from her pocket. Well, this is one good thing. Blue -pants was packin'. Eight...nine...ten grand!?

"Oh, hells yeah." It so pays to be good, sorta. She re-pocketed the wallet and was about to head back to the main street when the loud clang of a trash can being over turned gave her pause.

"Slayer..." Oh god, not again. But her radar wasn't going off...and the British accent. Oh fuck.

"It is your decision how difficult this will be." A scrawny and haggard man stepped from the shadows. A glimmer of steel in his hand. Faith looked around the alley, gauged her chances. Slim and none. They were everywhere, hidden in the fog. She flicked her cig into a puddle. Orange ash sizzled to nothing.

"The alley is surrounded, Slayer, we will have you. Alive or dead is your choice." He continued in his clipped tone. And Faith couldn't help but think he was probably right. Until she spotted her out. Fire escape.

"Well, since you put it that way, tweedy..." She gave him...them, her cocky smile. Yeah, she didn't believe it either. "Since when have I ever liked it easy...more of a hard and fast girl, ya know?"

And she jumped. Vaulted, really, to the ladder behind her and begin to climb. She had reached the second landing when she heard the shot...a second before she felt it tear through her shoulder. Fuck, not good. A second bullet whizzed by her head, then a third, then too many to count. She had reached the sixth floor when she was hit again. She didn't stop to inspect the damage just kept climbing until she reached the roof. Her left arm was numb.

Faith wasn't sure how she out-ran two helicopters or the twenty-something foot soldiers. She only knew the instinct forcing her to sprint across rain-slicked rooftops and foggy aback alleys, the adrenaline pumping in her veins, and the fear pushing her to hide in one abandoned building after another until she made her way to her shabby motel. Leaning against the door, she curled herself in a ball and waited...and bled. Too scared to cry...to afraid not to. But nothing came. And the only sounds were her harsh and labored breath, and the couple in the next room fighting.

After what she guessed was about a half hour Faith figured she was in the clear. She righted herself and with a shaky breath finally took in the damage. She was shot. The concept of it all felt sorta surreal. Shot as opposed to bitten, or clawed...or stabbed...again. But the pain, oh that was as real as it got.

"Shit..." It was hissed as she peeled off the blood soaked denim jacket. One in the shoulder, one in the upper arm, and lots of blood. She felt light headed, but she knew the damage would be minimal both bullets had passed clean through. A few days and she'd be gold.

"Gotta love them super powers." She wrapped a shredded towel around the wounds as best she could and sat on the edge of the bed. She spared a look at the clock on the nightstand, the glowing red numbers swam before here eyes. 2:44. Booze and blood loss, not a good combination. What was she gonna do now? The Council was serious and deadly so judging by the condition of her arm. Her recently acquired cash gave her a few options...run again. But what happened when that ran out. Faith had been running her entire life, never sure of where she was going, what she was chasing. She'd had enough. So one last time and that's the end. She wondered if it would be the end of her and was only slightly shocked that she really didn't give a fuck anymore. The apathy had no end she supposed, but something had to change. She glanced at the clock again, 2:45. It was time to go home.

Part 4

The persistent tapping was like a jackhammer on her sleep-deprived nerves. Continuous, and unrelenting its singular terrible goal was to drive her into the dark depths on insanity...it was succeeding. Buffy had to stop it before she slid further into the abyss.

"God! Will you just STOP it!!?" The command came out in a harsher...and louder tone than she expected as she snatched the detested pencil from her best friend's fidgeting hand.

Buffy's chest felt tight, like there was this invisible force...a pressure pushing into her. It made it hard to breathe. It hadn't left since she awoke that morning, with tears in her eyes and Faith's taste on her lips. She crossed her arms across her middle and tried to block out the endless pull. Something was telling her to move...it was a tense and anxious feeling...and she had no idea what she was reaching for.

They were sitting around the large table of the Magic Box. Research mode, and all had been going about as well as could be expected. They were all talking, debating options but with Buffy's sudden outburst the steady chatter came to an abrupt halt. All eyes were on her now, and the microscopic feeling only served to add to her anxiety. Her eyes darted around the group, but she couldn't really meet anyone's stare. They were all on edge, she knew this; the stress of the new threat had taken its toll over the past few days. Buffy was thankful for them all, they were her support, her structure, but that didn't mean things didn't get a little shaky from time to time. That tightness was still inside her, and not just in her heart...she tried to quell it with a deep breath...but there was never enough air.

"Umm...You ok there, Buff?" Xander spoke cautiously as he closed the insanely large old book he had been thumbing through. The dust from the pages fluffed a musty cloud into the face of his girlfriend. And Anya coughed.

"Yeah Buffy, you seem a little...on edge today. More so than in past days, not that you don't have reason for the edginess, `cause well things...and now with the demon and the...eviscerations...it's all kinda...edgy..." Willow's babble fizzled out and Buffy couldn't help but smile at her best friend. And her best friend's girlfriend. Yeah...wow that was new. She was still adjusting to that particular development. But Tara was sweet and part of the team now.

"I'm sorry Will..." Buffy sighed and rubbed her temples. "You're right...much edginess, I didn't get a whole lot of sleep last night."

"Are you worried? A-about this new vampire...or w-whatever it is?" Tara spoke, it was such a soothing and compassionate sound that Buffy couldn't help but relax a bit. Yeah, she liked Tara.

"No, it's not entirely tha-"

"Sexual frustration maybe!?" Anya piped up, sure of her conclusion. "I know sometimes I can't sleep unless Xander gives me a happy...he's very good at that." And she smiled adoringly at her now very red-faced boyfriend.

"Uhh thanks for the praise honey bear, but I don't think that's what Buffy was gonna say... unless that WAS what you were gonna say...Buff?" And all eyes were one her once more.

"What? NO! No that's not it!" Ok now SHE was turning red, because after that dream...that wasn't entirely the truth. And she was NOT about to get into that with them...Hell, she didn't want to get into it with HERSELF. The last thing any of them needed to worry about was Faith returning to their lives. One disaster at a time, thank you very much.

"Well, is there anything we can do...to help?" Tara again...and again so sweet, but Buffy was tired of that look. The one she had been getting so much lately, ever since her mother had died. It was a look that said `Be careful she might break'. She hated it because she knew it was probably true, maybe she was already breaking. It made her want to run...to give into that that pull.

"Yeah Buffy, maybe we could all patrol tonight...with Spike and Riley, It'll give you the night off?" Willow chimed in, ever helpful and now she had that look too. Buffy felt her eye twitched. She had to take a deep breath to keep from snapping. She let it out in a listless sigh.

"No guys it's okay...I'm okay, really." It sounded believable, even if she didn't believe it herself. "Besides with this vamp-demon thingy running loose I really don't wanna put you guys in anymore danger."

"What? Are you kidding Buff, danger's my middle name!" Xander leered, and threw in an affective eyebrow wiggle for emphasis. Anya nearly swooned and Buffy couldn't help but chuckle at his enthusiastic girlfriend but a despondent pressure arose in her chest as she glanced at her friends...it kept the burning anxiety company. Xander's girlfriend, Willow's girlfriend, it seemed everyone had a girlfriend but her...but wait...that wasn't right! She had a BOYfriend. A very nice...and handsome?...well...and devoted one at that. For some reason that didn't alleviate the distant ache, but added to her confusion. No sooner had the thoughts passed through her mind did the boyfriend in question entered the shop, with Dawn in tow.

"Hey guys! Any trouble on the way over here?" Buffy shook the disturbing thoughts from her mind as she approached them, she had to get her focus back. She couldn't afford this distraction.

"Nope, none at all." Riley leaned in for a kiss and his brow crinkled when he was presented with her cheek rather than the soft lips he was expecting. He wrapped his arms around her waist as she turned in his customary possessive display and was pleased as Buffy leaned back into the embrace...He didn't know she was grinding her teeth. Dawn rolled her eyes as she plunked herself down in the chair.

"I still don't see why I need a stupid chaperone... I mean... Hello? Daylight!?" The pout was of epic proportions.

"Dawn, we've been over thi-" Buffy sighed.

"Its just too risky, Dawnie." Riley cut in. Dawn rolled her eyes...again. Did the girl know any other means of self expression?

"And besides, there's no way I'm letting anything happen to my girls!" Buffy felt his arms tighten around her waist in what she knew was supposed to be a gesture of comfort, it only served suffocate her. It was claustrophobic and she had to clinch her teeth to keep from throwing him off her...and across the room.

"He's right Dawn." Buffy stepped calmly from the bulk of Riley's arms. The tense mask of concentration escaped the entire group. Maybe they had seen it so much, they didn't realize it for what it was. Buffy liked the lie...her safe charade. She was in control.

"This thing knows what I am and its safe to assume he knows the people close to me. We can't take any chances." She was good at the fearless leader speech. And no one saw the flicker of fear to cross her eyes. Riley had his arms around her again and she felt her skin prickle when he breathed against her neck. She imagined a thousand tiny needles. Buffy clenched her fists and let him stifle her. She was brave like that.

"I agree completely." Giles clipped British tone cut the heavy silence that had settled like a fog across the group. "Especially now that I seem to have discovered exactly what it is we're up against." The groups attention shifted as he entered the room, and rested yet another ancient volume on the central table.

"So what do we got?" Xander spoke as he reached for the book, only to have his hand swatted by Giles as if he were a petulant five-year old.

"What we `got' is a force that I dared not even imagine..." He paused to remove his glasses, and the group became contrite. The heavy silence returned until Buffy spoke again.

"Alright, so enough with the dramatic pause..." She broke away from the man that was holding her once more. She had her limits, she could admit that.

"Buffy...what we are dealing with is a vampire...a demon so old he predates all of written history...she is a master-"

"Ok, so been there and done that...and a few times...and did you say SHE?" Buffy was pacing...she could feel her mask beginning to crack, she had to keep moving...something was pulling her. Her hands were shaking.

"Buffy, no." Giles continued, tone soft and full of fearful awe. "This is something I myself can hardly begin to comprehend...this creature is not only a master...she very well may be THE master. The alpha of all vampire creation. She walked the earth with the first humans...she has seen ice ages come and go...empires raise and crumble...and prophets persecuted. She is the very reason for the evolution of The Slayer...she is the reason you exist Buffy...and she has killed all others like you that she has come across."

The glasses came off again. Stifling silence and Buffy stood still.

"Well this thing can't...come here and...why the hell hasn't somebody killed it by now...what the hell does it want?!" She barely heard the tirade of her lover, because for Buffy, in that instant everything became a sharp and brilliant contrast. It was a clarity that could only come from the shocking distinction of black and white. It was all so simple.

"It wants to destroy the one thing that is a threat to its eternal existence..." Her watcher's voice seemed miles away.The world was fading around her, melting into a cool and dripping gray. And in the center of it wall was the piercing spot of light, its intensity nearly brought her too her knees. It was divine and she was left breathless in its multitude. And at the first hint of realization Buffy did fall, overwhelmed by her epiphany. She didn't notice her friends rushing to her side, or the worried voice of her lover...she couldn't hear them. Couldn't feel them. But she could feel that light. And it made her pant...her eyes burned with moisture. The heat of it was intense and the tightness, the weight was lifting from her chest...she shuddered at the precious release. Her eyes fluttered shut, but the spot of light remained. And it was part of her. Her spirit, her Slayer. And she gasped...an amazed and wondrous sound...when the light split, and one luminous point became two.

Part 5

I wake up and I'm on a train. Which isn't that big of a shock considering that's where I last remember falling asleep. The 4:15 barreling down the west coast. But I know somethin's up when I look around. Even with all the extra cash I KNOW I sure as hell didn't pop for this. I'm in one of those private first class numbers... a `sleeper' car. It's all plush bench seats and soft pillows.

What the hell?

I let the gentle sway or the car lull me for a moment and try to clear my head... It's a little foggy, but I figure that's from all the blood loss. The rhythm of the tracks passing beneath my feet is soothing and constant. I stretch out a little, `cause I can now that I'm not in coach anymore for some damn reason, and when I stretch my arm... that's when I realize... I'm stretching my arm, the one that those Brit bastards shot up not 3 hours ago. Fuck. Just a dream. Well it's a change of pace from my regularly scheduled program... no Buffy... no Mayor... and no dieing. Yeah this could work out all right.

But then I look out the window... and nothin's right... that cold dark oil sweeps over me... this space... like a tidal wave. It's so sudden and all consuming. It's pressing on my chest, pulling the breath right outta me. The shock leaves me gasping. Goddamn it I can never get away! That silent movie is flashing outside the window. Where there should be trees... the sun setting and reflecting off the Pacific... there's just me, and my past. Morbid scenery. It's dark in here and cold, and everything suddenly looks kinda hazy. I look up at the continuous reel playing my life and it looks like cheap 8mm, all jagged around the edges. Figures.

I'm letting my Watcher die... god I'm so sorry Jen...

I put my head in my hands and try to just block it all out. But it just keeps pushing in... speeding up and making everything move so fast around me... the train feels like its flying down the rails. The light's flickering. It's chaos. Wake up... wake UP damn it!! There's this pull in my chest, it's making me clench my fists... nails in my palm. Why do I gotta relive all this? She's beggin' me to help her... This is just too hard I can't take it any more! I'm gonna give in. I just fuckin' know it... just for the peace that's all I want!! Just the peace... please?! I look at my wrists... skin's so thin there... NO!

"Mother FUCKER! WHY?!!" I hit the wall... literally. Trying to break the backdrop for the scene that's flashing in font of me. But I can't break it... its breaking me. God I still can't save her... he's still pullin' her skin off. My voice is echoing through the tiny cab and it sounds strained and horse. Shit, when did I start crying so much?!

I know my eyes must look wild... crazy even. My heart is poundin' against my ribs...Why can't I just fuckin' BREATHE...and now I'm shaking all over. Oh god I'm scared... I'm so fuckin' scared `cause I know I might be losing it again, it's that same feeling I got last time... when I ki-...FUCK don't! Don't think about that!!

Too late.

It's playing in the window... B's screamin' but there's no sound... blood on my hands... too fast. Get it off! Gotta get it off! I'm rocking back and forth... can't be still... somethin's pullin' me...Dripping black oil... the look in his eyes, shocked and so scared...look in her eyes, disbelief, disgust...No B, HELP me! Why won't she help me!? I start rubbing my hands...FUCK!!


"It's not real... none of it is real." I gotta chill, stay away from that edge. I grit my teeth and try to back get a little bit of control... yeah like I had any to start with. When I was in prison, in that cell... the walls would move, start to push in on me. It took me a while but I finally figured out how to push back. Just gotta focus... Take all the pain and all that energy and focus it on the problem. Ok better... slowing down. Now just think. Eyes closed.

There... I guess the self-help bullshit Angel was preaching is paying off. Yeah, right. I still can't stop these freak-outs. Not enough that they happen when I'm awake? At least I got the shakin' under control... but that pain in my chest...

I gotta start to wonder if this all means somethin'... Like prophecy maybe, or some subconscious stuff like if its my brain trying to tell me somethin' about... myself. Ok now I'm just adding to the headache. Me and B are dancing. I can't help but smile as I get lost in that little memory. It quickly changes and I'm punching her in the face... shit it HAS to mean something.

"You always had a good right hook." And her voice doesn't even startle me. I had felt her a second before she spoke. Warm prickles on the back of my neck. I'm expecting her to be watching the wall, but when I turn my head her eyes are locked firmly on mine. And she's just sittin' there, in the seat across from me... all pastel light... she always reminded me of birthday cake.

"None of it's real ya know, B..." I'm trying to keep my wall up, but I'm just so tired... I sound tired. Wonder if I can deal with this.

"Oh as I remember it was all VERY real F." Cold as ice. Nope can't deal... wanna wake up now.

"I don't wanna fight Buffy." It's hardly a whisper, but I know she heard it. I expect a challenge but now its all silent... just the rails passing beneath us. Christ, I can't even look at her! What the hell happened to all that bad ass I had stored up?

"What DO you want then Faith?" She breaks the silence, her voice full of accusation, and I can tell right now that this whole damn train might be goin' to straight hell... better strap in. Now I got a couple of options here. I can do the smart ass thing...

She raises an eyebrow, all cocky.

...or I can just punch her in that sanctimonious little mouth, FUCK she pisses me off. I'm just tired of the games...

"I'm so tired of the games." Ok truth then. Different but doable.

"Yeah... me too..." Guess she's tryin' it too, cause that `I'm so superior' look is gone. And I can actually look at her now... REALLY look at her, past that halo I force her to wear... and she looks...

"I'm just tired Faith..." It's dripping in her voice. "Everything is just falling apart, there is so much going on right now you wouldn't believe... and now you... and all this? Faith what are we doing?" Good question.

"I got no fuckin' clue B." And we're quiet again just takin' each other in. Those tingles start spreadin' down my spine. It's all surreal with the images flashing in the periphery. She spares them a glance, and then her eyes are back on mine.

"I can't make `em stop B." She just nods... and with her eyes still on mine she reaches out one of those delicate hands to touch the glass. Then just like that they're gone. Like somebody pulled the plug. You GOTTA be kiddin' me.

Ok, yeah THAT is a sign. And that pull, that tightness in my chest is just as gone. She takes it all away with just one touch. I think I'm shaking again. The window is clear now and light is pouring in like warm butter, taking away the cold. Everything is so soft and orange.

And she smiles at me, with that new warm light wrapping around her, bouncing off her hair and shining in her eyes. Fuckin' unbelievable.... Jesus I wonder how many files I'm catchin' here. Say somethin' idiot! Things are shifting... I can feel it. It's scary as hell.

"Ya know Faith, I've been thinking." She beat me to it, just as well... jaw still on the floor and all.

"I had this sorta, revelation I think... a-about you and me."

Woah... I mean... shit. She looks a little nervous now. I think she's waiting for me to say something... Good to know my thought process is just as quick as ever.

"W-what kinda revelation B?" and I thought SHE sounded nervous? She suddenly comes over and sits next to me, and yeah the cold is DEFINITELY gone now, `cause I can feel the warmth just rolling off of her in waves and those tingles are all over me. How could I have ever tried to forget this feeling. And I think... I hope she's feeling too.

She does that shy smile thing and looks at me through her lashes... was I mad at her a few minutes ago?

"Faith was there something I could have done? When you were in Sunnydale? I mean... like I could have listened more... maybe tried harder or something... it all seemed like this downward spiral..."

"Buffy wait a sec." I have to stop her there. First so that I can adjust to the subject change and two, because she's blaming herself and that's just SO very wrong. But I can tell she's trying to understand... and its for real this time. I gotta get this right. Were close to something here I can feel in past my bones, to the very depths of me.

"You were right when you said it before. You gave me all these chances, but I was... I couldn't go there ya know?" The look on her face says she doesn't know. This is so damn frustrating.

But then she takes my hand. And my whole world just funnels to that prefect contact. Deep breath.

"B, I was angry when I met you... I-I was messed up more than you know... there are... things that you don't know about f-from my past... And I think I'm angry still but I don't want to be anymore..."

This is so hard... so fuckin' hard! Her eyes are burnin' through me and I can't stand not knowing what's goin through her head right now. I squeeze my eyes shut and feel her grip tighten on my hand and a wet splash...god I she cryin'?!

"I don't want to stay in all this... in this dark place ya know? Trapped like this... by my mistakes... and not being able to make it right..." and now my voice is breaking but I can't stop... I won't "I need you to hear, I need you to see me Buffy. I-I've seen my share of devils ya know? So many I woulda sworn I was in hell... but I'd never thought I... could... would become one myself- "

"Faith no, you're-" She tries but I can't stop.

"No! B please I just gotta..." She's moving closer even though I still don't look I can feel it. And I can barely force the words out... my voice all breath and tears.

"I'm in a place B, and I can't escape it... a-alone. I need you to help me, I think you're the only one who can...Buffy you're in my blood... can't you feel it?!"I sound as desperate as I feel. I finally open my eyes to meet hers and I fall instantly into the watery green. It's quiet except the rhythm of the tracks as they slide by. I've said all that I can... it's all that I have. God I just hope it's enough.

Part 6

She's waiting. I realize that I'm holding something very precious in my hands right now. This moment has the potential to be everything. It has potential to be a disaster. And this time, if it all breaks apart, it will be my doing, no doubt and nowhere else to place the blame. Could there BE more pressure here? Doubt it.

I'm sitting in this train car filled with warm amber light. It bounces off the walls and the tiny dust particles dance in the glowing rays. It's beautiful and the warmth is drying the tears on my face. I know this is a dream but it feels so beyond real I don't think there is a word for it. Corporeal? Super-real? Whatever, it just IS. Her hand feels so hot. She smells like lavender.

Faith just laid it all on the line. In her own halted and cautious way. She's never been emotions girl, but this... just now... I know she gave me everything. And now she's waiting.

For me.

Two days ago I never would have seen this happening. A day ago I hated her. But a few hours ago I fell. When I had that revelation, or whatever it was, it all just became so clear. I saw what basically came down to this reason for being, flashing behind my eyelids...it was incredible... not to mention scary as hell. It was all very `meaning- of-life' like. I had felt this sudden all-consuming sense of purpose, racing though my veins and screaming in my head but all I could hear was blessed silence. My path... my destiny rolled out like a Hollywood red carpet. I had never felt such a force... it was peace and excitement and intensity all in one instant.

Well, I guess had felt it once before... but then I couldn't deal. It was stronger than me, bigger than me and I couldn't control it. And we all know how I like my control... I did learn SOMETHING in college. I went to class... occasionally. But that force, it was molding me, changing me and it was so RIGHT but all too much... we both rebelled against it... afraid of what it would do to us... what it made of us. She had pulled and I had pushed until one of us fell off the side of a building. We were so afraid then.

And I'm terrified now.

I always thought that we were the same... because we were slayers or joined mystically or whatever. I really do listen to Giles too much. Maybe in a sense we are the same, but more than that we are complete and total opposites. Like that contrast I saw that made everything so clear. Darkness and light. Inside and out. I had fought it then... the darkness inside me that was trying to...screaming to come to the surface... To balance out the falsity of pink and pastel that was on display to the world. That was my armor, and she was stripping it away. She didn't know... hell I didn't either at the time. But I'm a bigger liar than she ever was because I refused to see... I denied the light that exists inside of her. Opposites.

It all had hit me so fast that I couldn't even stand. It had felt so GOOD. And there I was, blissed out of my mind on the floor of the Magic Box, not one of my finer moments. There may have been drooling. And with all the people I care about around me, trying to help me, trying to figure out what I needed I just wanted them to fade away... just for a while. Because I already knew. And now she's waiting.

I REALLY need to say something. She's starting to look a little worried. If only I could trust my voice right now. I smile at her a little instead. I can't NOT smile right now. Because I GET it... finally. I never claimed to be the sharpest of stakes. But I do catch on eventually. So much comes out of that mouth ...lies of omission and biting sarcasm. It's HER terrible armor and that's what I hate. And I hate whatever forced her to wear it. Whatever forces her to hide.

All this time I should have listened to her eyes. Oh but I get it now. And I can feel my smile getting a little bit bigger. I'm probably starting to look a little goofy. But I couldn't care less... because she wanted me to hear her, and now I do.

Like now! Those dark, dark pools are shifting back and forth, so slightly like she's reading something... and that tiny indent appears on her forehead as her eyebrows move together. And now I KNOW I'm grinning like an idiot, because she just asked me if it was enough? If it was too much?

My heart just sped up.

I'm gonna start to giggle any second now. I actually feel giddy with this new knowledge, this understanding. I really need to say something. Oh! Look at that!! She just pulled back a bit and that little frown got a little deeper! She thinks I'm going crazy! This is so great! I must look totally insane!!

Oops I can see doubt slowly turning to panic now so I better get this together...

"Faith..." Her name seems to hang in the thick air between us. I can feel this tension creeping up over me, it's laced with fear and apprehension and I can feel it clenching in my throat. And suddenly I can't find the words. Maybe I should have gone to more classes... But she's looking at me, her eyes shining like pure onyx. She needs to hear how I understand, she needs to hear that I get it all, that I forgive her, that I need her to forgive me. She needs to know that I finally know, she needs me to say that its all ok, she needs me to say-

"Yes..." And again with the silence. Maybe there is more I can say. It sure seems like there should be... I mean one tiny word... but wait! Her eyes! They're squinting up some, like tiny chocolate moons. Is she gonna start crying? No! If she starts up again then so will I and then there will be all the sniffling and hiccups and we'll never get to the actual talking part...

"So that's yes as in..." She tapers off and no, not crying. Smiling.

Oh. My. God. I can actually hear the breath leave my lungs. She's just... amazing. The light that's coming in from god knows where is sliding over her like warm honey. Her hair is shining with it, all dark mahogany and splashes wine. Those full glossy lips are spread over her teeth and I think I might go blind for a second. Her skin is glowing and I'm suddenly very aware of two things:

One, she gets it. Like she can hear everything that's going on in my head or she can read it in my eyes like I'm reading hers. And two. I want to kiss her. The first is a good thing. The second...well. That's not what this was supposed to be about! I still can't figure out how that happened the last time... or that I was the one who did it! I'm really hoping she doesn't bring that up. Gotta stay on track here

"Yes I can hear you Faith, yes I can see you, and yes I can feel it... I- I understand." My voice breaks at the end and I hear a tiny sniffle as that smile gets bigger. Ok so maybe a little crying. She shakes her head in a bit of disbelief and those umber waves dance around her face. It makes me want to say it again... makes me want to shout it... but it comes out a whisper.

"Yes..." And I get another smile. This is so good. My chest feels so full.

"This is all so freakin' weird yeah?" Yeah it is.

"Weirder than what?"

"Well, for the longest time now, its just been about the pain ya know? I die every night... alone... just so I can make it better, but it's never enough..."

Ok that hurts... bad. `Cause I know I'm the one that kills her.

"But then we come here, to this place, and I say a few words... and you say even fewer and suddenly its all good?" She looks unsure, but she wants to believe it. Her eyes tell me.

It'll be good if we let it. Faith please just let it.

"It's a start though." When did I move so close to her?! She smirks like she used to, and I realize just how much I missed her dimples.

"A good one I think... beats the hell outta the alternative." Faith squeezes my hand then and its like a current running up my arm. It hits my shoulder and rolls down my spine like a wave. I wonder if she feels it too? She's looking very intently at where our hands are linked. And that's when I notice my thumb has been rubbing over the silky skin of the back of her hand. Gentle sweeps... unconscious circles. What the hell am I doing?! Her eyes slide back up to mine and I feel it like a caress.

I should not be thinking the things I'm thinking right now.

"Umm! So I guess this all means that you're out right? Of jail I mean?" Not the best of subjects to jump to but I need something to focus on... other than her mouth.

"You guess right B."

"And you're coming home?" It seems like a casual enough question, but she suddenly gets this look on her face, her lips part but there's no sound. Her eyes are all intensity. Until she finally whispers

"Yeah B, I'm comin' home."

"I'm glad." I really, really am.

"Yeah I got this feeling like I'm needed..." I get the eyebrow... huh? What does that mean?! "Like there's trouble coming and that's where I need to be."


"Well there is this major baddie... raising all kinds of hell... literally." My head hurts just thinking about it.

"I want to help ya know... if you'll let me that is."

"I'm gonna need it." She nods, all serious. Then says

"Then I'm coming back B. And I want to stay. And I need you to know that I'm not gonna hurt you or anybody else, that's the last thing I ever wanna do. I'm gonna come back and we're gonna beat the crap outta this thing."

And there is so much conviction in her voice, its that old-Faith confidence. It feels like a magnet pulling me towards her.

Ok time for some shoptalk. How to do this... I feel a long drawn out explanation coming on. Giles was talking for hours about this thing and the Slayer and all that other stuff.

"It has to be you Faith. Thi-"

"It's always been you B."


I think I just blew a circuit. And now she's looking at me kind of... shy? Her eyes are peaking up behind those thick painted lashes.

Did I miss something?!

I look down where her eyes were a second ago. How did my hand get on her leg! I certainly didn't do it... but there it is... fingertips stroking her jean-covered knee. Oh my god, STOP IT! Hand... listen to me... move away from the leg...NO not up! Away!! I have lost total control of my body... Shit! Don't think about loosing control! I start to jerk back but she stops me, and now she holding both my hands... soft, soft skin.

"Buffy, you remember these dreams when you wake up right?" Her voice feels like gravel rolling over my skin.

"You know I do." I can tell she's thinking about something...biting at her bottom lip...Don't look... don'tlookdon'tlook. Shit! she caught me... and now she's running her tongue over it. I feel my own lips part. And I know where this conversation is headed.

"Why'd you kiss me last time?" And there's the million dollar question. I am so not ready to have this conversation...

Her eyes just flicked down to my mouth.

"I-I um... well..." Genius!! Pure genius!! Some one save me!

"'Cause ya know it kinda came outta nowhere. One minute we're screamin' then the next... It was wicked intense yeah?"

Yeah. Intense. Tree pretty....

"I was just wonderin' if it was a `heat of the moment' kinda thing... or..."

Yes! That's what it was! Heat of the moment, emotions on high. It had to be that or else things are gonna get way more complicated... she's still looking at my mouth. My heart is pounding on my ribs. "...or maybe it was it was something else...?" What?! No! Not something else! She's leaning towards me and I scoot back a little but I'm trapped as my back presses against the soft back of the seat. I can feel her breath, hot puffs against my face... so close and all I can see are those lips.

I want.

"Why B?" A ragged whisper and they just brushed against my own. I hear my breath hitch and I can feel that part of me, that dark part that I've always buried, rising. That's the part of me that needs to close the two inches between us. It's the part of me that kissed her last time. It's the part that's needy, demanding, power hungry and out of control. It whispers to me `I want' I try to jerk back... because it still scares me.

And her hand comes up... fingertips over my jaw... she's shaking. I'm panting. And I feel it again. Full and wet and for just a second. She's holding herself back, she's waiting. It feels like my entire body is tightening like a bow, and there's this energy humming all around us. I can smell her...more than the lavender, and I breathe deep.

"Tell me..." The sound of her voice makes my skin prickle. All roughness and longing. The sweep of her mouth makes my nipples get hard. God It's not enough... just that instant of contact. That dark part of me is screaming for more screaming for me to take it.

Her hand slides back into my hair. I want.

The warm tingles that I always feel when I'm near her suddenly become something I can't even recognize. It's a fire... and it rolls through every inch of me so fast I feel my spine arch from the intensity. My stomach muscles clench and a hot flood of lust spills between my legs. Oh god I'm gonna combust. She hasn't even touched me yet.

And she feels it too. I see it as it passes over her face and her eyes turn black as midnight. That berry red mouth falls open and I feel her entire body shudder on a humid exhale. I think that's got to be the hottest thing in the world...

Until I hear her moan.

It's a pleading sound that's wrapped around my name and it makes me crazy. And I can't stand it any more. I snap and that part of me takes control. Both my hands are suddenly overflowing with silky strands of brown as I pull her lips down to mine.

It happens so fast I think I surprised her. I feel her gasp against my mouth and it just makes me hotter. My tongue takes advantage and slides into her hot mouth and suddenly we've reversed positions. She tastes so good. I'm pushing her back into the plushness of the seat as I try to taste every inch of her mouth at once. We're both breathing hard into the kiss, refusing to break for air and the panting just makes it slick and wet and messy. Out of control. Her tongue is fighting back, dragging over my bottom lip and I hear a groan as my body settles on top of hers. I think it's me. The shock of the full body contact makes us both tremble and I finally have to pull back to breathe.

I'm straddling her hips and the subtle rocking of hers is causing a wonderful pressure right on my clit. I don't even think she realizes she's doing it. It's getting me so wet. She is so absolutely beautiful. Her hair is a riot of dark waves spread out around her head... eyes half closed and shimmering black... and that mouth... wet and swollen, lips spread apart as she pants. I follow the hazy blush from her cheeks down her neck to the tops of her breasts and I'm mesmerized as I watch them strain against her shirt. I can see her nipples... they're reaching for me. My hands are moving on their own, over her chest and I take both of those perfect mounds in my hands cupping them...kneading them. The tips drag against my palms and I watch as her eyes flutter shut. She pushes into my hands and I take her nipples between my fingers and roll them through the thin fabric of her shirt. She likes it. I feel this power surge through me. I squeeze harder and she moans

"B...oh my god B... oh fuck..." Ragged mumbles as her hands travel up over my hips to my stomach they slide under my shirt. Oh god her hands...

And I start pushing back, and now she realizes exactally what she's doing. Her eyes snap open and lock with mine as she arches back a little and lets her hips roll into mine. And I can feel her heat... her pussy, pressed right up against me and just the thought of what that would feel like if our clothes weren't in the way makes me moan.

"Unnnggghh...Faith..." is that my voice? I guess so because at the sound of it Faith starts rocking harder... a slow grind. I feel her hands slide over my back... nails raking gently. It makes me shiver. I lean back down and crush my lips to hers... taking her mouth. It's a wild kiss and I suddenly feel so fierce. I want to mark her... make her mine. Everything feels so hazy like a mist is saturating the air around us. It smells like lavender and sex. It makes me nuts.

"I want you Faith..." I sound feral... out of control...it's that dark part of me talking. But my words cause Faith to stop moving, her hands freeze on my waist

"B...?" She's gazing up at me with an odd expression, that little frown is back. She's taking deep breaths, trying to calm down. But my hands are still on her breasts... I pinch her nipples again, stroking the tips.

"Buffy..." a deep groan this time as her eyes close again, but her hands come up to my wrists and she pulls them away. I want... I move to put them back, but she tightens her grip.

"We gotta stop this B... we can't... I can't." What?! NO! I move in to kiss her again... so she can stop saying these things. But she dodges my lips. I settle for the smooth skin over her neck and let my tongue glide over her pulse... feel it jump under my lips... I feel wild.

She jerks me back again though holding me by the shoulders at arms length and I'm suddenly hit with a hot pulse of anger. It flies though me...violent and intense and I can feel my lips pull back in a snarl. I see her beautiful eyes widen. Oh my god she's afraid!

"Buffy not like this..." What am I doing!? What is happening to me?

"Faith I'm sorry! I don't know what-" And she sits up pulls me into her arms gentle... but cautious.

"Shhh it's ok, it'll be ok B..." No it won't! I've ruined it... it's all broken again.

"It's not broken...it can't be" Did I say that out loud? I'm really losing it.

"It's like I said B, none of this is real..."

"But it feels real." I whisper and she smiles and I feel a little better

"Yeah. Just think of it as practice."

"For what?

"For when you wake up."And suddenly the train is gone. The warmth of her body, the smell of her hair. Gone. And I'm in my room watching the ceiling fan spin slowly in the darkness. I hear something shift next to me. And for an instant I think it's her. But as the weight of a large muscled arm drapes across my stomach I realize it can't be... may never be. And I feel my heart break. But then I remember... she's still coming home.

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