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Chapter Twenty Eight

After I finish getting ready for school, I head downstairs for some breakfast. I'll probably have some Cheerios with slices of banana. That's my favorite. Of course that's if Sam didn't get the last of it already. Having Faith and little Sammy move in here is a good thing, but our grocery bill is starting to get pretty high. I stop in the kitchen doorway when I see my mom sitting at the breakfast bar drinking a cup of coffee. If I can hear Faith and Sam's thoughts than I can probably hear Mom's too and I don't think I need to know what she thinks.

"Good morning, Buffy," she says and she has a smile on her face. She seems to be in a good mood so I guess it's ok to enter. I'll just try to block it out, ignore whatever she thinks so I don't have to hear it. That sounds like a really good plan. Or at least it would if I knew how to do that. Whatever is happening to me seems to be in control. It's a little scary but if I'm really hearing other people's thoughts then this new ability could prove to be really, really awesome.

"I went to bed before you got back from patrol last night," she says as I take the milk out of the fridge. I haven't heard any of her thoughts so, so far so good. "I didn't get the chance to tell you, Scott called last night." The sound of his name makes me tense up for a couple of seconds. Scott, another person I've been avoiding. I know that I only agreed to date him because Faith rejected me, but it's still not fair that I'm sneaking around behind his back. I cheated on him and I feel horrible about it.

"He sounded a little upset," she says and she has that concerned "mom" voice that makes me cringe on the inside. That means she's going to start asking questions. "Buffy, is everything alright between the two of you? You know you can tell me anything, sweetheart. You don't have to be afraid of how I'll react." Yeah, because telling her I'm a slayer ended so well.

"Everything's fine, Mom. I've just been busy lately with school and the slaying that I haven't had a lot of time to hang out with him," I tell her and pour myself a bowl of cereal. We're out of bananas and I blame Faith. She can be such a pig it's borderline disturbing. I sit down across from Mom and start in on my breakfast and she has this look on her face that I do not like. It's the look of 'I have something to say but it's horribly awkward'. She got the exact same look on her face when I was thirteen and she told me what menstruating is.

"He's not pressuring you in any way is he?" Ok, that's about a thousand times more awkward than the menstruation explanation. "I know you already were with Angel intimately, but sweetie, just because you did it once doesn't mean you have to again." And the awkwardness just keeps on coming. I drop my spoon into the bowl and it makes a very loud sound. I would jump up and be even more dramatic up I don't think my legs could hold me up right now.

"I am not having sex with Scott," I say and I sound shocked and irritated. I think I sound more irritated than shocked but that's not my fault. Right now would be a really great time to be able to hear her thoughts. Does she really think I'm a tramp? How could she possibly think I would sleep with someone I've only been dating for a few weeks? Ok, so I never told her about Angel, and we haven't really gone into the details of how long I was with him but she should have a little more faith in me.

"Honey, I'm not saying that you have and I believe you," she says and I can tell by the look in her eyes that she's telling the truth. At least she's showing me some support. "I just don't want you to be pressured into something you're not ready for just because you've already done it once." Ok, so maybe I should be giving her a little more credit. She's not calling me a tramp. She's calling Scott a pushy creep. Considering he's a teenage boy and that's the stereotype it's not that much of a leap. Although I haven't spent enough time with him to find out if he's pushy or respectful.

"Mom, he hasn't pressure me at all. And I'm not in love with him so I haven't even thought about…going that far," I say and trust me when I tell you I'm really uncomfortable and it's coming through loud and clear in my voice. My mom nods her head and takes a sip of her coffee and goes back to reading the newspaper. Maybe now I can get back to eating my cereal before it gets really soggy. How ridiculous is it that my seventeen-year-old daughter has had more sex than I have since we moved here? I really need to meet someone and soon. This spinster routine is starting to drive me crazy.

"I'm going to school now," I say and jump out of my seat before she can say a word. She probably thinks I'm crazy for just taking off like that but if I didn't get out of there my head would have exploded. I don't want to think about my mom…doing that. It was bad enough walking in on her and Ted kissing. Yeah, it turned out he was a robot but for a while I thought he was a real person and the thought of the two of them leaving for a honeymoon…I might need therapy when I can afford it, let's just put it that way. But I refuse to think about it anymore. I'm headed to school and I know anything I hear won't be as bad as what I just heard.

Ok, so I was totally wrong before. Things at school are even weirder than things at home. I'm still hearing people's thoughts, that hasn't changed, but the people at this school are crazy. There's this girl named Nancy who's a total self-hating narcissist and someone seriously needs to get her to take a pill. Plus when I was walking down the hallway all of the boys, and at least five girls who are total closet cases, couldn't think of anything but what they would do to me if they had the chance. At first it was flattering, but then it got disturbing.

I walk into the library more than freaked out and Giles is going through some books on the counter. He glances my way for just a second and puts his nose back in those books. My God, look at what she's wearing. If a fashion magazine told her to skin a bunch of puppies and make a coat, she would do it. That's what Giles really thinks of my outfits? Well, I'm not going even to try and act surprised or hurt. If Giles liked the way I dressed I would be kind of freaked out. That just doesn't need to happen, especially since Giles like a father figure.

"Giles, something weird is going on," I tell him but he doesn't even look up from the book. I can't blame him. In Sunnydale saying something weird is going on is like saying the sky is blue that day. "I fought these big, scabby demons last night and I killed one, and I think something got on my hand because it itched like crazy and when I woke up this morning I could hear people's thoughts." That got his attention. He puts the book down and puts his hands in his pockets. Clearly he doesn't believe me. He always puts his hands in his pockets when he's trying to seem non-threatening and he only does that when he doesn't believe me.

"Buffy, are you sure you are truly hearing other's thoughts? Perhaps the demon cast some sort of spell to make you hear voices. To throw you off your game, so to speak, make you more vulnerable for a future attack," he says and what he's saying would make sense if I wasn't one hundred percent sure they really are other people's thoughts. I hate to disappoint him because he likes being right but I need to tell the truth.

"When I walked in you thought 'my God, look at what she's wearing. If a fashion magazine told her to skin a bunch of puppies and make a coat, she would do it'," I say and I try not to sound too smug. He just sits there, gawking at me and I can't help but smile a little. Come on, how often do I get to one up Giles? I have to savor this a little.

"Extraordinary," he says and he sounds a little taken aback. I really hope he isn't going to do tests or anything like that. I'm not going to be poked and prodded like some weird science experiment. I don't even want to think about Wesley's reaction when he finds out about this. He might have me shipped off to the motherland and let Faith take over the slaying duties here. "When did this begin?" Didn't I already say that? I hate it when he doesn't pay attention.

"This morning as soon as I woke up I heard Samantha singing the Tiny Toon Adventures theme song. I thought maybe she just snuck into my room but she was in the bathtub and she wasn't talking. And then I heard Faith…think some stuff." Woe, close call. I can't believe I almost let that slip. Giles would freak if he found out Faith and I are together. Well, almost together. Ok, I don't know if he'll freak for sure, but Faith is a girl so when we finally tell everyone about us I need to assume crash position.

"And then Samantha started asking about Tanner and I heard Faith think about how angry she is with him," I say because I know he wouldn't have let me get away with not saying a little about what Faith thought. He walks over to another stack of books on the counter and starts going through them. Snyder refuses to replace the table I accidentally broke so Giles is going to have to replace it himself. Until then the counter has been completely taken over.

"I can only imagine how angry she must be feeling," he says and he sounds really uncomfortable. Giles hasn't really talked to me about what happened. One day he had Faith go into his office, said it had to do with a type of meditation he wanted her to try so the gang wouldn't get suspicious, but I knew what they were really talking about. Mostly because I eavesdropped a little. "So these demons, can you describe them in greater detail? Big and scabby won't exactly narrow the suspect pool."

"They were white, and have these long tails, and no mouths. It was disturbing. What kind of demon doesn't need a mouth? How else are they going to eat?" He opens his mouth to say something I have a mini-panic attack. "That last question was rhetorical. I really don't need to know." He gets that agitated 'would you let me finish?' look on his face.

"I was simply going to say that if you did obtain this ability from the demons then they would not need mouths to communicate. I'll try to find more information," he says and keeps digging through his books. I wonder if he'll be able to find a cure for it. Yeah, listening to people's thoughts is fun and totally entertaining, but if I have to hear my mom think about…what she thought about I might stab myself through the ear with an ice pick.

"Ok, you do the brain thing and I'll see you later," I say and start to leave. When I'm about halfway to the door Willow, Xander, Oz and Faith walk in. Why is Faith here so early? She normally doesn't come to the library until the late afternoon. She doesn't look upset so I'm assuming nothing bad happened. "Or I'll just stick around." This new ability I have just got a lot more fun.

"Hi, Buffy," Willow says and gives me one of her bright 'Willow smiles'. I smile back and tell her hi and we walk further into the library. I'm surprised she said hi. I hear Willow think, and she sounds a little bitter. Whenever Faith's around she doesn't notice anything else. I think it's safe to assume she's still feeling insecure about Faith. I already told her I don't want Faith to replace her as my best friend but I guess I have been neglectful of my best friend duties lately.

"Will, what are you doing after school? There's this massive sale down at April Fool's and I was hoping we could check it out," I say and she gets another bright smile on her face. There's nothing like a shopping trip to reinforce the bonds of female friendship. Ok, so there are plenty of others, but this one is my favorite. Oh, look at Buffy's legs. They look so soft and smooth. I wonder what they look like without the skirt. The death glare I send Xander is so powerful he actually takes a couple of steps back.

"Alright, Buff, you can have the jelly. I'll take a glazed," he says and he holds up the box of dough nuts. Oh, cool, jelly dough nut. I take the yummy pastry and munch away. If giving that kind of glare gets me stuff I might have to do it more often 'cause there is no downside to this. I turn back to Willow and she has a slightly confused look on her face but it goes away, and now she looks excited.

"Shopping sounds cool," Willow says and she looks extra perky. I need to start spending more time with her if this is the reaction I get at the idea of a shopping trip. I've been such a sucky friend lately. I'm surprised she still wants to hang out with me. "Oz and I have a date tonight so we could pick out a new outfit. I might have to keep it at your house, though. If my parents find any sexy clothes they might actually have to have a conversation with me."

"I've had that talk with my mom more than once. Just because I wear clothes that could be classified as provocative doesn't mean I'm going to start sleeping around. Living with her can be such a pain sometimes. The best thing about college is going to be living in a dorm," I say and she nods her head. I don't care if I sounded a little bitchy, everything I said is true.

I'd love to see B in something provocative. What she's got on now isn't so bad. I wanna bend her over the table, and lift hat skirt up real high. Or take her into the stacks, get on my knees and eat her out until she can't take it anymore. I work as hard as I can not to look over at Faith because I don't trust myself right now and something not good would happen. I can't fight off the blush that's burning my neck, ears and face, though.

Listen to what she just said, dumbass, I hear Faith's voice again and she sounds so…angry isn't strong enough. Whatever comes after angry, that's what she sounds like. She wants to go to college. Do you really think she's going to screw around with you forever? You're a dead beat single mom. You really think you have anything real to offer her? I glance over at Faith and her expression is what it normally is at a scooby meeting, bored, but her eyes are giving everything away. And she's not eating her dough nut anymore, she's just kind of picking at it.

"Are we going to get this meeting going or what? I got a couple places I need to be today," Faith says and she sounds a little agitated. O, so that's why Faith will go from being perfectly fine to totally irritated in a heartbeat. Her negative thinking, that is totally untrue, bring her way down. Ok, so how am I going to reassure Faith without making Willow jealous? It's a double edge sword, that's for sure.

"Where is that exactly? Is there a biker convention in town today?" Will asks and I roll my eyes. I've been avoiding both of them for the last couple of days, but Willow probably thinks I've been spending all of my time loved up with Faith because she doesn't know the whole situation. All of these secrets are starting to make my stomach ache.

"No, Red, that's next week," Faith bites back and she sounds totally defensive. She puts her dough nut back in the box and starts cracking her knuckles. She only does that when she has energy to burn but nothing to do with it. I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't want her to burn it off on me, especially after that very naughty thought she had earlier. "I have a couple of job interviews today. They're just part time positions but I wanna get an apartment. That little rat trap motel ain't exactly healthy living." Faith wants to move out of my house? Why would she want to do that?

"That's an excellent idea, Faith," Giles says and he looks up from the book he's been flipping through. "I've petitioned the council about increasing the monthly funds you receive but they've yet to return my phone calls." Damn wankers don't believe she deserves a proper place to live. At least now she's at Buffy's and not that roach motel. Wow, Giles is really bitter about the council. And now so am I.

He's probably just saying that to be nice. B's his girl, why would he give a damn about me? And Faith is very bitter about Giles. Maybe I should try to get them to do some type of bonding exercise. You know, like when one person falls backwards off of a ladder and the others catch them. Or they could just do one-on-one training more often because I think Giles would drop Faith and that would be bad.

"Is this the demon?" Giles asks and shows me a picture. A shudder runs through my body at the gross sight. Why do they have to be so icky? For once I would like to fight something that doesn't look like it's covered in snot. Then again if I fought something cute I would probably get the urge to take it home and keep it as a pet.

"Yeah, that's them in all of their mucus covered glory," I say and the gang gets a little closer. Well, Willow gets a little closer to try and see. The others who have been eating take a step back. I think I'll always be a little jealous of them because they get to do that. For them, fighting evil is a choice. If they wanted to they could walk away from all of this and have normal lives. I can't just walk away, it will never be an option. Why am I thinking about this? I need to focus because Giles is talking and could be saying something important.

"It would be best to avoid the other demon until we find out more about these circumstances," he says and he must have said more because his cheeks are a little red and he sounds a little winded. I almost feel bad for spacing out and not hearing what else he had to say. But only a little. I'm sure most of what he said could have been left unsaid since he has a habit of over explaining things way too much.

"Did we get a lead on the creepy vampire cult?" Willow asks and I glance over just in time to see Oz put his hand on her back. It doesn't take a mind reader to know that these vamps are really upsetting her, but it helps. Demons and vampires really have no sense of decency. If they're going after these little girls than no one in this town is really safe. I hope Oz never wants kids because I don't think I could bring a helpless baby into this world knowing what I know.

"No, unfortunately we still have no leads. I'm afraid this is something entirely unrelated," he says and takes off his glasses and starts cleaning them. If he wanted to build suspense he sure knows how to do it. We need to tell them about this new…power you have. It's only fair. I know he's thinking that intentionally and as soon as he puts his glasses on I nod my head. I have a feeling this isn't going to go well.

"It seems as though when Buffy fought this new demon last night she acquired the ability to read other's minds," he says and I hold my breath and wait for the others to react. Xander lets out a little chuckle so clearly it hasn't sunk in yet. Willow looks shocked, Oz looks as neutral as Swiss cheese, and Faith looks like a mixed of confused and pissed. They don't look like they're joking. For the love of god please say you're joking. Xander sounds like he's going into panic mode.

"We're not joking, Xander. I really can hear what everyone is thinking. It isn't intentional. They just kind of slip inside my mind," I tell him and his eyes get a little bigger. She's barely a person anymore. She's not going to need me anymore. Ever since Faith showed up she's barely needed me at all. "No, Will, that's not true. I still need you. Don't think that way because I always will. You're my best friend. I'm always going to need you." She looks upset and freaked out, which is totally understandable.

"How long?" Faith asks before Willow can say anything. Faith sounds so pissed off that everyone looks over at her but she doesn't seem to notice. Her eyes are locked dead on mine and she has angry tears building up in hers. It's scary because I've never seen her like this before. I've never seen her so angry to the point of tears.

"'How long', what?" I ask, playing dumb because I know exactly what she's talking about. I'm so afraid of her reaction that I'm delaying the inevitable. God, she can be a real bitch when she wants to be. She's not stupid so why is she trying to play me? I think I totally just made things worse. Why do I have to be so dumb sometimes?

"How long have you been able to just invade everyone's privacy whenever the fuck you want?" One of those tears escapes her eye and makes a quick retreat down her face. I take a tiny step towards her, but she takes three back. Ok, so touching is out of the question. She's going to shut me out. I hate it when she shuts me out.

"Since I woke up this morning," I tell her and the look she gets on her face…it's like her whole world is crashing down around her. Why is she getting so upset? It's not like I heard anything really bad. What is she so afraid of me knowing? There's got to be something or she wouldn't be acting like this.

"So the whole time, since we walked in that fucking door, you've been spying on our thoughts?" she asks and she still sounds really angry but she also sounds like she doesn't want to believe it. "What gives you the right, B?" Her voice is lower now, and her tone isn't as harsh but the expression in her eyes is devastating. "Screw this. I don't need this bullshit." She turns around and runs towards the door.

"Faith wait," I call out and start running after her but it's kind of hard in these shoes. Stay away! She screams it so loud in her head and it's so painful like a miniature bomb just went off in my mind, and it drops me to my knees. Giles, Willow and Xander are at my side in an instant, helping me off the floor, and I can feel these thick, heavy tears rolling their way down my face. It feels like my heart is shattering into a thousand little shards because I don't think I'm going to be able to fix this.



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