It was early fall and even earlier in the morning when the calls began. Buffy had been rubbing arnica on a sore shoulder after patrolling when her cellphone beeped to life to reveal a surprising name.
They hadn't seen one another since Faith split for Cleveland and Buffy headed to Europe after Sunnydale sunk. Each headed up their own squad on their respective sides of the Earth. Where there were once two, there was now hundreds of demon hunting super girls, but that didn't mean that evil was defeated. Case in point, her shoulder, which she landed on when a vampire tossed her into sarcophagus. Tired and hungry, Buffy sighed, rinsing her hands off, wondering if hell opened up on the shores of lake Erie. "Morning, Faith."
"B." Faith sounded shaken. "How's hunting?"
"Everything copacetic? I can hear you wigging out from across the Atlantic." Buffy held the phone between her ear and shoulder as she dried her hands.
"Close call today," Faith mumbled.
"Rewind that a second, what?" Buffy asked as she flicked on a light to the hallway and walked towards her office to begin sending Faith reinforcements.
"I had a close call. Wasn't even a demon. Car accident." Faith swallowed. "I'm square, but the motorcycle is fucked. My helmet cracked..."
Buffy turned toward her kitchen to make herself some tea. "Tell me what happened."
They talked for an hour that night, but the calls continued sporadically as fall turned into winter and leaves fell from the trees. Sometimes they didn't talk for very long.
The red numbers on the digital clock read 4:48 in the afternoon when Buffy's cellphone beeped to life. She mixed and covered the stir fry in the wok before answering the phone and leaning against the counter. "Hey, Faith. Getting back from patrol?"
"Yup, I'm eating ribs at my favorite greasy spoon. Wondered how you were hangin' and how patrol went."
"Actually the main baddie turned out anti-climatic so I went dancing yesterday. Or would it be yester-night? I was cooking dinner, but now I'm just waiting on Dawn to come back with some veggies." Buffy smiled as Dawn came into the kitchen in a flutter of energy and produce. "Speak of the devil, here she comes bearing florets."
"Good to hear that you kicked ass. That demon had a wicked bad reputation. Ciao, B."
It wasn't just Faith who needed to talk. As Buffy pulled out her winter clothes and Faith started complaining about the snow, Buffy found herself calling the other slayer more and more.
"Is it unethical to transfer Kennedy to Siberia?" She called to ask after a long afternoon counseling a distressed Willow on the astral plane.
"Well, hello to you." Faith sounded amused. "Probably. Did she finally dump Red? If she did, Spike owes me $13 and a pack of Marlboros."
"Ugh, yeah, she did. Willow is in the John Cusack and strawberry ice cream stage of relationship grief." Buffy leaned her head back on her sofa and closed her eyes. "I'm not even going to touch the comment about a bet."
"Off the high horse, Buffy." Faith laughed. "Besides, now you don't have to be nice to Kennedy."
"Horrible." Buffy giggled. "What are you doing? Patrolling?"
"Looking for a vamp nest with a wicked ugly Sopranos reject as the leader." Faith continued on, telling her about the vampire's reputation, and how hard she stomped his ass the last time they met up. They talked until they were interrupted by the aforementioned demon. Buffy called, needing to know how patrol went, hours later.
Neither noticed as the monthly calls became weekly and then every other day.
If asked why they reconnected, Faith would have rolled her eyes and made a smart remark about Buffy losing the stick in her butt. While Buffy would have pointed out that she had always been cool with Faith -- when the other slayer wasn't killing people. It went deeper than that. They were still set apart from the power girl horde as legends and leaders – the real Chosen Two – and as Sunnydale survivors. The scoobies had scattered and both girls were more lonely than they would admit. It was all that and more that made Buffy call Faith first after she heard the news.
Woken up by astral Willow, she listened to more evidence of Angel's heartbreaking turn to the dark side. She wished he had been soulless, but he was as soulled as the day he born when he signed up with Wolfram and Hart. Rumblings in the watcher's spy network spoke of a mysterious evil cabal and Angel's amoral tenure as CEO of Hell inc. Buffy told this all to Faith before the worst of it.
"Cordelia's dead." Buffy never thought she'd cry for Cordelia but she had never thought she'd outlive the vivacious former cheerleader. "I heard she became a real Champion before she was..."
"Possessed? That's the way Angel tells it. Makes me feel even worse about the time I socked her in the face."
"She was the first person I met at Sunnydale High. We were almost friends." Buffy sniffed, sitting cross legged on her bed in the dark, as she remembered Cordelia letting her read of her textbook. "For like two class periods, I was a Cordette. Did you two ever hang out?"
"I kissed her once." Faith remarked after a pause.
Buffy gasped. "Really? I thought I was the only girl she kissed. Before she decreed that I was a freak."
"Good to know you were a three beer queer from a young age, Summers." Faith chuckled. "I kissed her around the same place that we kissed. Just outside the Bronze."
"Was that like your office, Fronzie? How many girls did you kiss there?" Buffy tried to joke but it came out wrong and she wanted to put the Happy Days reference right back into her mouth after it was said.
"It was after us. You made it clear that three times wasn't a charm before I put the moves on her."
"No, I don't mean it like that, I just still can't believe we both kissed Cordelia."
"I can't believe she is gone." Faith voice faded. "When she'd kiss you anyway?"
"It was after this house party at her place during my first week at Sunnydale High. Maybe it was the vodka or that I was the only one of her friends who helped her clean up, but she just leaned forward and kissed me before we went back to stashing trash bags full of red cups." Buffy talked longer, finding out about Faith and Cordy's rendezvous, and mourned her fallen frenemy even as her mind wandered through the past.
"Ever think about the times we kissed?" Buffy blurted out.
Faith didn't speak for a minute before answering too casually. "I guess. It's a real memorable moment in our misspent lesbian youth. Anyway, I gotta go patrol. Demons to kill and shit."
Buffy looked at her clock and knew that it was still daytime in Cleveland. "Okay, sure. Bye."
She went to sleep and dreamed of Faith, post-slayage kisses, and that dingy motel room before she dreamed that Xander invented a mechanical panda and wanted her to invest clams in the venture. Buffy woke up and her first thought was to tell Faith about the robo-panda.
The sun hadn't rose in Rome the next morning, when Buffy called Faith as she walked down empty thin streets that were older than most of the vampires she had slain. She couldn't help asking a question after saying hello. "Do you ever wonder what could have happened between us if we had stayed friends?"
"Still not pulling your punches, are ya?" Faith sighed. "Yeah, I do."
"Please don't do this." The other slayer grew quiet and sounded closer to vulnerable than she had ever let Buffy hear her.
Buffy sucked in a breath, a wave of embarrassment ran through her, as she was hit with the hot sting of rejection.
"Don't raise my hopes and not meet me halfway again." Faith hung up.
Her eyes stung as she wandered back to the apartment and ran into a pajama-clad and minty-fresh Dawn in the hallway. Buffy tried to take the kicked puppy expression off her face.
"Whats wrong, Buffy?" Dawn rubbed at her eyes.
"Nothing. Just got off the phone with Faith." Buffy looked away from her sister.
Dawn put her hands on her hips. "Did you try to awkwardly bumble your way into a relationship?"
"Maybe." Eyes downward, she frowned.
The teenager shook her head. "You two have been cooing at each other for months. We have the phone bills to prove it. How about you get off the cell phone?" Dawn gave her sister a hug. "By the way, its called Skype, Buffy, learn to love it."
The next day Buffy called Faith as she walked down an indoor hallway of an apartment building. "Hey, Faith, I thought that you should know that I'm not going to meet you halfway." She knocked on a plainly numbered door.
"What? Just a second." Faith snapped as she opened the door. Her jaw and her cell phone dropped.
"I figured that I should met you all the way there." Buffy hit 'end' on her phone before putting it back into her denim pocket. "Can I come in?"