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by Princess Dushku


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Chapter One: The Ice Cream Store

March, 1999.

You’re in an ice-cream parlour, a 24 hour one apparently as it’s already one in the morning. Faith is leaning against the plastic guard, looking like a hyperactive child faced with a difficult math question. She sniggered when you ordered vanilla straight away, nudging your shoulder affectionately when you pouted yet has now somehow managed to turn choosing a flavour into looking for the meaning of life; an overly complex and unnecessary problem.

The girl behind the counter shares a conspiratorial eye-roll with you. She greeted the dark-haired slayer by name when she entered and now indulges the younger girl, as she remains indecisive. You felt a stab of jealousy when Faith jumped up on the counter to give the girl a kiss on the cheek but then giggled as your sister slayer was reprimanded for making the girl wait. Your surprise at seeing Faith blush was only outweighed by your surprise when the girl explained Faith had asked her to keep the place open for you.

You’re still deliberating on whether this is a date or just an apology when Faith suddenly decides she’s found the perfect mixture. The girl piles the scoops into a cone and you both wrinkle your nose at Faith’s ‘perfect choice’. She laughs at your look and peels away one of your hands from the half-finished ice cream it was wrapped around. She palms your tiny cold hand, rubbing the back to keep it warm, pulling you out onto the deserted street. You walk side-by-side with her, swinging your joined arms like young children and licking your ice creams as if it is an entirely normal thing to be doing at one AM.

She’d climbed in through your bedroom window earlier and presented you with a shiny dagger with bleeding roses engraved on the handle. You were dumbstruck for a moment. Confused by some kind of symbolism you thought might be there. The younger girl’s flopping down on your bed and subsequent messy search for your diary reminded you that this was Faith; everything was simple. Her life may be spent playing games but she was never one to confuse something with veiled meaning.

The dagger had been reclaimed from the sporting goods store you’d broken into the night before and was an apology for getting you arrested. She’d seen the flowers and guessed it was just the sort of girly thing you’d like. You almost rolled your eyes and threw it in your weapons chest before you noticed the way she avoided your eyes. A simple ‘thank you’ was all it took for her to raise her big browns to you with a smile. She excitedly showed you the bow she’d had slung over her shoulder and you feigned interest while watching the way her lips moved and how she lit up when you commented.

You’d been pulled out of your daze by a lightning quick request. Faith had told you she had a surprise, that she wanted to take you somewhere. The second half of her apology. You’d agreed, unable to deny her anything. She captivated you as she sat sideways on your bed, staring into your eyes as if searching for that little fire she loved to stoke. You’d kissed her the week before; standing in an empty graveyard, surrounded by dust, she’d cheered and you’d kissed her. An incentive to stay as open as she was around you- to never again show you the outside of those walls.

Now, as you sit on swings, laughing about what kind of a stupid person would put a playground in a graveyard, you think you might kiss her again. Her eyes slide to the side for a second as if she knows what you are thinking. You reach over to press your lips against hers and decide in the split second after you part your lips to never again let Faith choose her own food-mixes before you kiss her. You pull away grimacing and tell her so, she merely laughs and promises tomorrow she’ll eat whatever you want.

You laugh at her and tell her from now on she’ll be doing everything you say. She pulls faces at you and doesn’t tell you she loves you so you don’t tell her back. After all, you’re slayers, you battle. This is no different. You know one of you will break eventually, doesn’t matter who, you’ll both enjoy the consequences.

As you watch her swinging ever higher, still managing to sneak in licks of her melting ice cream, you think it might be you. You’ll tell her if it keeps her smiling like that; like a little child, exuberant and carefree. She laughs at your serious frown and stops swinging for a moment so she can reach over and smooth it from your face.

“No more trouble.” She promises in all seriousness, thinking you’re still upset about last night. Your eyes flick to the large bow resting against the metal frame of the swings. She went back for it and you find it odd; that she could be so meticulous about causing disorder.

“Jus’ you, me an’ the rush.” You mimic her voice, slurring the words together the way she does. It works and in a second the grin snaps back onto her face. She throws herself backwards so she laughs into the sky, the tips of her silky long hair brushing the dirt under her feet. It’s an action so un-like you it almost makes you blush, what you’d give to not care.

Then suddenly she’s standing there in front of you- ice cream cast away- holding out her hand and a promise of freedom. Yesterday you danced until your lungs ached; today you’re running through a graveyard with that familiar burn nipping at the edges of your consciousness. The two of you swerve around headstones; hair flying out behind you and air pushing it’s way into you.

You leap over a fresh grave and into her side, knocking you both over. You were tired of running, wanted her back with you, paying you all the attention she was giving the wind. She turns to cradle you, chuckling as you nudge her arm around your shoulders.

“You’re a hoot-and-a-half, girlfriend.” She sighs out, testing the words on her air-starved breath. You lie on her for what seems like an age. Until your breathing has returned to normal and you melt into the body you are resting on. “Tomorrow we’ll have cake”, you giggle at how decisive she sounds- as if she’s been mentally debating, “I know a tiny little place, real melt-in-the-mouth an’ all that…” She drops her voice to make you blush and you comply though you’re not sure why.

“Tomorrow.” You agree. You can’t measure how good something is unless you try again- could just be a fluke. And anyway, what’s a first date without a second?

Chapter Two: Cake in the Hallway

 May, 1999

Cake. Another one. Sitting in your locker staring at you from a little gummy face stuck on top.

You’re still feeling slightly indecisive as to whether the look it’s giving you is warm and friendly or smugly accusatory. This is the fourth one this week and the first for a while to come with a note. Normally you spend five fugitive minutes snapping your eyes from side to side while trying to appear inconspicuous and then as fast as lightning jam the cupcake into your mouth when you see Willow approaching and hope you’ve swallowed by the time she makes it over. It’s been a month now and you have it down to a fine art.

Today, however, your timing is out. ‘Out’ in that it’s unnecessary; you dashed out of the house this morning- much to your mother’s surprise- and made it in to school early.

You wanted to see her.

The last time had been 10 days ago with that stupid box thing. You’d ached to be as close to her as Willow was, knife be damned. So this morning you’d been early in the hopes of catching her in the act.

You almost had.

Her eyes take another leisurely sweep across your back. You’ve amp-ed up the Slayer hearing, you could literally hear a pin drop in the drama block from here. She knows what you’re doing and she’s keeping Slayer quiet to tease you.

You pause for a second. Then make the rudest hand gesture you can think of in the direction of the display cabinet down the hall, it chuckles quietly back at you and you grin, loving being right. That damn gummy face is still staring back at you but now it just looks happy.

“Buffy?” You spin round so fast you almost crack your head open against the locker door. As it is you’ve probably created a bump the size of Texas and lost a few hundred vital brain cells. You curse under your breath.

The voice you’d been listening for is smooth and husky at the same time and permanently amused. Instead you’d got Willow’s whisper to herself registering as a shout on the Slayer hearing scale.

“Oh My Goddess! Are you ok?” She’s flashing different numbers of fingers in front of your face and wiggling them around so your eyes will follow.

“I’m fine Will, who needs brain cells anyway?” You give her your best grin and let her help you up. Further down the hall, Faith is giving herself a coronary trying to keep from laughing; you shoot a glare her way and know she’ll somehow get it.

“What’s that?” Willow is standing, looking in to your locker and eyeing your cake.

“Nothing.” You almost yell, snatching away the note and grabbing the cake so hard you almost crush it. “Mom made it for me- want it?” She shakes her head like you knew she would so you stuff it in your mouth instead.

And then remember the cake holder.

Willow watches in near disgust as you pull the soggy paper out of your mouth. “Sorry.” You mumble, around the cake.

“That’s… ok.” She grimaces, “What are you doing in this early? More Faith nightmares?” You freeze. Of all the things she could have said…

“N-no.” You clear your throat “why would I, er, Faith? Dreams of Faith?”

“It’s just, you were telling me about how down you are about the whole ‘Evil Faith’ thing and I know when you have something big on your mind you normally can’t sleep.” She pats you on the shoulder and gives her best concerned look. “Buffy, you’ve gone all red- how hard did you hit your head?”

“Not hard enough…”

She pats your shoulder sympathetically, “I know it’s awful right now but it’ll all be better soon.”

“Will it?” A quiet voice is chanting ‘Will, will, will’ to the tune of the William Tell Overture… you’re not entirely sure if it’s just in your head or if the display cabinet’s hidden, evil – and incredibly hot- villain is trying to rile you by alerting Willow.

This may be the only time you’ve ever hoped you’re going mad.

Willow’s smile back at you is placating, “It will, it really will. You’ll beat that…. Bitch!” You both jump at her loud profanity, Willow looking slightly more shocked than you despite the fact it came from her mouth. You direct another hand-gesture at the display case as it starts turning the air blue and listing ways to skin a cat (you weren’t aware there was more than one).

She smiles guiltily at you and silently motions towards the library, you nod and she slinks off, itching the rash that always seems to appear on the side of her neck whenever Faith is mentioned.

“Oddly, I like her more now she openly hates me.”

“I wouldn’t use ‘hate’, per say”

“You wouldn’t?”

“More like despise.”

She chuckles throatily as you turn to her and then stops as she sees the shiver it sends down your spine. “Do you despise me, B?”

In the five long seconds it takes to attempt to process what it is exactly you feel about her and how to reply she slides up to you. Her few extra inches seem to stretch to miles as she towers above you, her dark pupils cupping yours. “I…” You start to reply but something foul seems to be coating your throat, thick and bitter it burns and stops all breath. There’s an angry thump in your chest, the golden light she was bathed in a few moments ago now seems cold and murky. She smirks, her teeth pointed ridges and all you can think is ‘how dare she?’. How dare she ask you such a thing? You have every right to hate her, to want to smash your fist into her perfect face, pull on her shiny hair and rip her god damn eyes out!

Faith lets her eyes wash over you. “Oh.” She yelps under her breath. Turning to walk away she gives you one last look and looks for a moment like the girl you fell for; the girl in the cemetery with the wild, messy hair and sarcastic grin who layered on too much make-up and found fun in everything. You blink and don’t have to try hard to recognise that the girl in front of you is the cold-blooded killer, not the child. Her hair weighed down by expensive styling products and face artfully painted. All paid for by him.

You can almost kid yourself that you can see the gleam of the knife in her eye. The knife you pulled out of the wall and a giant spider. The one under your pillow.

“Go away, Faith. You’ve ruined it.” She winces as if you’d stabbed her before molten iron floods into her vision and she fixes you with a sneer.

“Nothing to ruin, Princess.” You’d blocked her out of your mind but her words speak to your body, tightening the vice round your heart and burning the invisible mark under your left breast- the only place she ever touched under your clothes.

Her back is steely as she struts away from you; hands equally hard clutch a note and a mushy fairy-cake cup by your sides. Your game stopped today. The rigid edge you show to each other when in company has spread into your secret life.

Suddenly it all seems very real, the air rushes out of you in one short blast. Your weakened knees almost find the floor before you steady yourself on the edge of your open locker.

You give yourself a moment to grieve before you take a key and lock away whatever it was the two of you had.

It isn’t until English the next day that you remember her note. Searching for blank paper, you find it hastily shoved between the pages. You scan briefly over her scrawl-y handwriting and messy doodles. Your more self-destructive side pointing out how happy and carefree she seems, scribing smile-y faces at random. She asks you to meet her this Saturday and gives you only a street name and number to go on. You recognise it as somewhere just off the main street.

The janitor who picks it up after it rolls out of the bin smiles good-naturedly. Looking around the empty classroom he thinks back to when he was young and in love.

Chapter Three: Hospital JellO

 July, 1999

“What kind of person leaves food in a coma patient’s room?” You manage to slur around a mouthful of green jell-o. Oddly, it had had a spoon sticking into the top of it when you first came in. Faith neglects to fill the pause you left for her to reply but maybe it’s better this way- god knows, she’d give you a heart attack if she actually did speak.

That and you don’t want her to. Can you call it being in love if you want her to stay asleep?

You can image her reply anyway; something sarcastic and teasing, probably a sex reference. Anything to make you blush.

Jell-o is your comfort food. You eat it compulsively whenever bad things happen. And hey- it’s good for you! Even if those bits of ‘fruit’ do occasionally turn out to be marshmallows… marshmallows are made with air, right? And air has good stuff in.

“Ok Buff, you’re not even kidding yourself with that one.” You sigh and put the pot down.

Three minutes of Faith-watching later you crack and pick it back up. It’s just too weird watching her without something in your hands. Almost as if the jell-o gives you a reason to be here… well, it makes you feel less pervy.

“I’m only here for the Jell-o. I don’t care about you.” Faith’s face remains static. “You’re right- I’m a lousy liar.”

It wasn’t that good a reason anyway. Stinking Jell-o.

Stinking hospital.

Stinking life!

“Crappy.” Your adjective of yesterday. Today’s should be something worse. Something Faith taught you. Something… naughty! You sigh, you might be near-technically alone in the room but that doesn’t mean you can actually say one of those words out-loud. Too many years of a good upbringing, swallowing down and suffocating it before you can shape your mouth to the first syllable.

Your stomach jumps as you watch her and then clenches to quash the feeling. Today you’re all about repression. Stupid butterflies. You want to kiss her and you know it. Doesn’t mean you have to like it.

You can’t kiss anywhere other than her forehead since she’s gotten ill. ‘Gotten ill’; makes it sound like she’ll get better. Like she’s just unfortunate. Picked up a bug, a cold, few days in bed and she’ll feel better. You’ll take her soup and pat her hair and say ‘there, there’ and… she’ll be up by the weekend, ready for your date and looking gorgeous. She’ll hold your hand across the table, flash her dimples at you above the menu and you’ll say how good it is to see her on her feet again. Her eyes will tear-up slightly as she thanks you for your caring act, tells you no-one has ever shown her love like this before and she’s devoted to you- besotted. You’ll kiss on the porch after an amazing meal where you laughed so hard your stomach ached and half the food went to waste. The apprehension in her eyes makes you feel bolder as you invite her upstairs to show her that she doesn’t have to be scared anymore; she doesn’t have to do stupid things. You love her. In the morning she brings you breakfast in bed and feeds you grapes to make you smile. She tells you to lie in bed all day and that she’ll take care of you like you did for her. Then you live happy ever after.

Except she’s not got a cold.

It’s a coma.

She fell off a building.

You think that if she ever wakes up she’ll probably say ‘pushed’- because she’s like that. In her mind things only ‘happen’ to her, she’s never the problem.

The ‘date night’ is only one of your many fantasies. In another one she wakes from her coma without a memory. She knows she loves you the first time you step into the room. You don’t tell her about her past but you still fall in love. Then either her memory comes back or someone tells her the truth- doesn’t matter either way. She’s angry and runs to the docks but by the time you find her (bathed in orange light from the sunset and with a gentle breeze ruffling her hair) she’s forgiven you. You kiss… and live happily ever after.

Or maybe She wakes-up repentant. Or pregnant with your mystical love child. Or it’s you in the coma and her watching over. Or-

“I think about you too much, you know. It’s weird. And wrong. But I can’t stop thinking about you. And they’re not good thoughts… or… they are but that’s where the whole ‘wrong’ thing comes in. I- I stabbed you. And you still won’t go away. I hate you… but you’re in my brain.” On a Sunday months ago you’d sat curled-up in your duvet and dreamed about why Faith had wanted to meet with you the day before. Another mystery date? You’d spent the time tracking hellhounds and then at the Prom. She must have known where you’d be; you’d felt her eyes metaphorically stabbing into Angel as he’d danced with you, seemingly unaware. You wonder now if your absence and the reason was what made her shoot a poison arrow through him. Perhaps she’d known you intended to go solo and she- well, she invited you to homecoming, didn’t she? Is it that strange to think she might have been planning… something?

You wait for her face to twitch, her hand to move, her voice to call you. She stays motionless and it brings up your irrational anger again. Like Pandora’s box; once opened, always there. Brewing under the surface. Desperate to reach out and clutch those wires or that neck and clench- tug- rip- destroy. Whatever it takes to get her out of your life. “Angel left me and I didn’t even do anything!” Yet you’ve tried so hard to rinse her out. The dirty little stain. “ I didn’t do anything except… age? Is that even a good reason to leave someone?” What about turning evil? Sleeping with your boyfriend? Lying bastard. She’d had the decency to write a note telling you the truth. “I mean; ‘you’re getting older’. Ok so, if I was, like, forty and he was, I dunno, twenty then yeah- leave me! But- hello!- HE’s older. I should be the one doing the dumping! He’s MY first love! I SHOULD BE THE DUMPER!” Two loud crackles later and you’re staring at a leaking pot of green jell-o infused with purple plastic. “Stupid spoon.”

Anger seeping away like blood congealing in reverse, you dump the sticky mess in the trash and suck your sickly-sweet and slimy fingers. Moving to check no-one’s running down the hallway inspect the cause of the yelling you stand in the doorway, studying the places Faith’s dimples would be if she was awake and could see the state you’ve got yourself in.

“Ha, ha, very funny.” You mutter and wipe the last of the goo of on your top- fortunately an old one discarded into the ‘slaying’ pile. The jell-o oddly matches the crusty streaks left by the disembowelment of a slime-demon last year. It was easier to slide the knife into Faith. No resistance.

You sort of think she might have let you do it.

But only sort of.

“Do you want to stay asleep?” You talk to your shirt and she couldn’t have heard you even with her slayer hearing fully functioning.

You came here the first few times wearing a pretty dress, perfume and make-up; just in case she woke up. Now you’re dressed in a dirty, partly crispy hooded sweatshirt and tracksuit pants with the stretch long gone. Maybe it’s just realistic- the doctors don’t think she’ll ever wake-up anyway. Maybe you don’t want her to. You’d like to believe she’d think you were beautiful anyway.

You’d like to believe everything will be ok when she wakes up.

That all it takes for your problems to go away is for her to open her eyes.

And tell you that she loves you.

Because that is the only thing that will stop you from beating her back into unconsciousness.

And as much as you love her- you think that might be your first response.

Chapter Four: Alcoholic Chocolate

 October 1999

You’re hyperventilating; stabbing in your chest and screaming in your head. The sirens are shrieking, the nurses are running and you think that you might just die right here if she doesn’t open her eyes.

Five minutes ago, you sat propped-up next to her on the bed, nursing the worst hangover of your young life. Which isn’t surprising really- considering you de-evolved last night. Your friends were still giving you strange looks so you’d come to see the one person who knew all your secrets- even if only in her subconscious.

She is the secret you love to keep. Not even Willow knows you come here. She hated Faith for how close she perceived the two of you to have become. You know that if she knew the truth- that it was even closer than she thought- you’d never win her friendship back.

The hospital visits are just the latest in a long line of Faith-related secrets, starting with the first night Faith had taken you out drinking. She’d claimed Slayers could drink twenty times more than the average human. She’d been wrong. Obviously.

Waking the next morning, semi-naked and grimy, you found your skin had turned a sickly yellow colour. Faith cheerfully explained to you, as you retched into the cracked and dirty toilet-bowl, that you had liver-failure. That had been the hardest of all slayer-related injuries (so called because this was definitely, 100 percent, Faith’s fault) to cover-up.

Although, on second thoughts, after the first impulse to wrap your hands round Faith’s neck and shake the life out of her for making you hurt so bad had receded, it had actually been a pretty good week. She’d sneak into your room every morning with tubs of foundation and you’d chat as the two of you attempted to make your skin resemble a normal colour again. Plus she’d looked awfully kissable that morning, perched on the edge of the tub with ice cream matting half her hair to the side of her face.

She’d taught you to suck chocolate just the right way to ease your hangover and you’d been so caught up in it a moment ago you hadn’t noticed the rapidly increasing beats of her heart monitor until her shoulder began to jump against yours.

Her spasms knocked you to the floor before you’d had time to move. Your knee smashed against the cracked linoleum, you scrabbled to push yourself back up. The room filling in seconds. Screeching alarms tearing through your frontal lobes and now you’re pleading, screaming, begging for them to stop her, to save her, to do anything. Something.

The nurses are attempting to pump drugs into her, flying everywhere as she shakes. Plump, comfortable arms wrap around you, endeavouring to coax you backwards but they hardly register. “We can’t get close to her!” yells one of the fallen nurses to the entering doctor. You manage to fumble your way off the floor and scuffle for a moment with her flailing body. The doctor raises an eyebrow at your seeming ease as you rest your weight against her, but says nothing.

“MAKE HER STOP!” you scream and they rush round, pumping her full of whatever’s in the syringes.

Suddenly she stiffens and you’re all held in suspense, breath choked down, until she relaxes back against the bed. “Is- is she ok?” The doctor pats your shoulder, his crinkled old eyes comforting in a patronisingly knowing way.

“She’s had a seizure. We need to run some tests. We’ll call you in the morning.” His British accent is clipped as he hustles you to the door, patting you condescendingly on the shoulder.

“No!” You’re made immediately suspicious by the doctor’s lack of surprise in finding he is powerless against you. He purses his lips as you glare up at him. “I’m not leaving her.”

“You cannot be with her while we run these tests.”

“Then I’ll go with you and wait outside the room.”

“Miss. Summers, it would be best-”

“I am not leaving until I know she’s ok.”

The two of you face off, you let your slayer senses tingle and flow; feel the rush to your fingertips, the narrowing of your eyes and the almost perceptible buzz that crackles in the air. As your vision blurs for a second before evening out into a golden sheen you catch the hint of fear in his eyes- his bubbling resentment reluctantly simmering into wariness. He knows who you are. And of what you are capable. Faith has shown enough for both of you. Slayers kill.

The squat, brunette nurse behind him rests her hand on his arm. The look you send her is appreciative but it’s met by one of revulsion. The type of woman to say ‘your kind’ stares back at you, lip curling; “You might want to say your goodbyes now, Summers, your friend might not be here in the morning.” The gasp from the other assembled hospital employees at least reassures you that even if the council has two emissaries here the additional practitioners are scrupulous.

“She will be here. As will I.” The lash of your angry impression into her plump surround sends her scurrying backwards without having to lay a finger on her.

The orderly’s hustle to the bed breaks the tension and suddenly everyone is rushing around; moving the bed, reading from charts and calling out things meaningless to anyone without a medical degree.

A younger, redheaded nurse eyes you with concern before slipping her hand into yours and patting it. “She’ll be alright” For a moment her dimples remind you of the girl on the bed who can’t flash hers and it almost has you sobbing right there.

“Thank you.” Your voice has a strength you don’t feel. You feel hollow. You feel sore and you feel itchy; like there are a thousand spiders dragging their jagged limbs painfully across your skin. It’s the sign of danger and it’s also echoed from Faith’s body. Since she’s been in a coma it’s as if her slayer senses have attached themselves to you, even a nurse’s injection in her skin gives a phantom prick into yours.

“I can take you upstairs to neurology if you like but he’s right, you’ll have to wait outside. If you’d prefer to wait here I can make sure… she’s alright.” Looking like the perfect combination of an adult Willow and a juvenile Faith she calms your nerves. The others wait for you to move from the doorframe, some patiently, some angrily.

“Will she be ok?” ‘Don’t let them hurt her’

“We won’t know for sure until we’ve run these tests” ‘I won’t’.

So you sit and you wait, on a floor strewn with bits of melted chocolate, and you try not to think of all the awful things that could be happening to her right now. But mostly you’re trying to quash your guilt. Because when she first shook you thought she might be waking up. And nothing scares you more than that.

Except for the fact you hate the love of your life.

Chapter Five: PopTart Smuggling

 March 2000

“So in the end it was all just this big spell so we’d all think he was cool. After that he just got really embarrassed and left town. Weird though, huh? That I’d think I wasn’t strong.” You bite your tongue and eye her raised brows, “And ok, that sounded really big-headed? I’m not always strong. Sometimes I’m really… useless…?”

She doesn’t take the bait but slips back into eyeing you impassively. You’d felt closer to her when she was unconscious. Now, separated by a thick wall of glass, she is resentfully silent.

Two week ago you’d told her to shut up as she pleaded with you. Her voice jabbing you in the gut, a painful annoyance so different to the feeling you’d had upon learning she was awake. You’d been shocked, scared and exultant, a bubble forming in your heart with nervous devotion. You’d craved to be close to her. But she hit your mother, she slept with your boyfriend, she ran to your ex. Not you. She’d burst your bubble, sure, she’d stolen your body… but she didn’t want you. She didn’t need you. She didn’t…

“You have to speak some time.”

Arriving in LA you’d been confused, angry, willing to do anything to get her to look at you. And she had. But you didn’t want it any more. Those weren’t the right words or looks or actions. She was sorry because she’d hurt you. But sorry for the ‘hurt’ part. You could have been anybody on her list of past crimes. It was Angel who’s shoulder she cried on.

“I saw Angel’s name in the visitor logs. That’s good. Do you talk to him?”

You don’t need her to answer. You can imagine. They have their cosy little chats and they don’t even bother to laugh at you, to talk about how stupid you are. They probably don’t even think of you. She’d tried to apologise, you said no and she’d given up.

So damn simple.

It took your mother to remind you that ‘sorry’ was what you wanted to hear. Arriving home fuming you’d beaten the hell out of almost everything in the basement before your mother admitted that perhaps today wasn’t the best day for spring cleaning. She’d sat you down and you’d talked about everything that was bothering you; how you’d hoped she’d be different, how you’d been surprised that she was… then how you wanted the old Faith back. The one who tried to get you to eat disgusting food combinations and taught you to find the fun and… promised not to sleep with anyone else even though you weren’t even officially dating. That last bit you’d left out obviously.

Everything had been confusing. But you’d resolved to visit her. To win her back.

If you could only get her to speak to you.

“You almost flat-lined in the hospital, did they tell you that? I was there. It was so… I- I thought we’d almost lost you. And then there’d be some new girl. Giles would probably want me to teach her stuff, and, and they’d watch her all the time and… she wouldn’t really get to have fun like we do-id, did. Obviously. Um…”

You sigh as she shuffles round in her uncomfortable chair, not even the mention of her near-death getting through to her though you can see a spark of annoyance in her eyes.

“Look, I get that I hurt you but I’m here now, isn’t that what you wanted?”

She stares back at you with a bland ‘who, you?’ look. You would have expected your heart to ache but instead your insides curl and a layer of angry red covers your vision. That bitch… you’re trying!

“If you don’t want me to be here why did you even bother apologising?” You spit, a muscle twitches in her cheek, “Why are you sitting there if not for me? I told you ‘prison’ and you went. Seems a little like ‘how high?’ to me!”

“IT IS NOT!” Faith roars, shooting to her feet. The guards move in. “I didn’t do this for you! You don’t get to say you’re sorry! You don’t get a second chance!”

You’re almost physically thrown back in your seat as she snarls at you, repeating your words from a fortnight ago. The stabbing in your stomach returns with an ironically brutal force. Why does she always work you up like this?

“I gave you chances! You took everything I had to offer you and then you stole the rest!”

Shrugging off a guard she turns to glare at you, “You can’t rape the willing, B!”

“I’m not talking about that!” She’d barely even made it to second base with you- technically she hadn’t- but you know she thinks you regret it. “I- I-” You choke back the word ‘liked’, now is not the time to confess just how much you ‘liked’ her. “I wish you’d died!” It escapes from your lips ferociously before you can bite it back down.

“So do I!” She slaps a hand over her own mouth and growls at you through her fingers, “You little shit… Why are you even here? You want to gloat? Wave your fake forgiveness in my face just so you can snatch it back again?”

She’s no longer talking into the phone but your enhanced senses clutch her sneers through the reinforced glass.

“I don’t- I don’t even know why I’m here!” An itch spreads along under your skin, tearing at your nerves, “I don’t have to be here. You’re the one locked up! I can go anywhere I want.” Your taunts burn the back of your throat, she makes you so angry but you wish you could just swallow it all back down. “You’re a pathetic loser, you can’t even be bad right! You don’t want to talk to me? Fine! You- you can rot Faith!”

Your hands smack simultaneously into the glass so hard it surprises the both of you. Cracks radiate out and a thin trail of blood slides down the glass between your palms though you’re not sure which side of the glass it’s from. For a moment you both stare at your hands and then at each other. It doesn’t seem odd to you that at the exact same time you’d both hit the exact same area of glass.

“I…” Her eyes have a slightly unhinged quality behind the anger and pain yet when she speaks again it is with a dull and resigned voice, “Fucking hate you.”

She pulls her hand back first, fingertips leaving circles of condensation on top of yours. The glass balances for one precarious second before shattering down.

You tear out of the visiting room; swiping so hard at your non-tears you graze your fingernails across your face. “Stupid, stupid, stupid…” As the guard buzzes you out you turn to see Faith angrily scrubbing her cheek against her shoulder while the guards cuff her arms.

“Miss?” floats through to you from a guard beside Faith and you think it strange that they call her that before being startled out of your reverie by his handing Faith a package with ‘Checked’ stamped on. The distance from here to Faith is measured rapidly before you dismiss the idea- even if at top speeds you could make it to the other side of the gate and the fallen glass in the blink of an eye… you’d still have to wrestle it from Faith.

She stares in confusion at the packet of Pop-Tarts, tugging her hand free to pull out the note you’d slipped inside. You turn and run, not leaving time to watch her expression as she reads the short and scrawled; ‘I’m sorry too.’




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