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by Sappphire Smoke


Timeline: AU - Welcome to me screwing with canon for my own pleasure. Buffy and Faith aren't slayers (yet), Buffy grew up in Sunnydale all her life and is the picture of popularity. Faith moved to Sunnydale eight months ago with her mother and is befriended by only Willow and Xander. I take liberties with canon events and facts and twist them to mold to my needs, you'll learn to either love or hate me for it, I'm sure.
Summary: All her life, Faith struggled with being a nobody. Then suddenly she's hit with the revelation that she's a potential Slayer, and that she and another girl that she's always despised are just pawns in the game of destiny, fate, and maybe even the end of the world...
A/N: Hold onto your hats, boys and girls. This will be one LONG ride...
Beta: supershineygirl


"The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time." – Winston Churchill

Chapter One - High School: Hell with Florescent Lighting

"Ms. Lehane, kindly remove your boots from the furniture. This is a library, not your home."

Faith rolls her eyes and drops her feet off of the library table where she had been relaxing back in a chair. She looked over at the librarian with a cocked eyebrow, "Ms. Lehane now, huh? You gettin' all authority figure on me now, G?"

"Faith," Giles corrects with a flat tone, but with a hint of amusement tinting in his voice that he always tries to hide cause he's so British. "Let me reiterate myself in terms you may understand then; boots: dirty, table: clean." He tries not to look too proud of his little quip, but Faith can see it sneak though with a little smirk.

"There, see? Now you're talkin' my language: simplicity," Faith says with a grin. She leans back as she digs in her pocket for a stick of gum as she waits for her friends to get out of class.

Giles was cool, as far as faculty members went. Most of the stiffs in this joint looked down on Faith cause of where she came from, but not Giles. Granted, he was a librarian and while normally Faith wouldn't be caught dead in a library – though only cause she's not the biggest reader in the world, at least not for fun anyway – her friends liked hanging out here. It was really the only place they had to themselves. All the other students thought Giles was some kind of crazy warlock or something so they barely ever ventured in there. As the story goes, a couple years ago word got around that Giles was practicing voodoo on unsuspecting students. Whatever. Faith wasn't around for that, she only just moved to Sunnydale eight months ago, and as far as she can tell Giles ain't about to go making little dolls and pokin' needles in their eyes.

This town seriously needed a reality check.

Not like Faith is opposed to stickin' needles in dolls if it gets the job done; but hey, it'd make it a lot easier than having to beat the crap out of everyone and getting suspended all the damn time. She knows she's "wrong side of the tracks" or whatever, and she gets that she ain't cut out for this perfect little fucking suburb. She gets it, she does. But that doesn't mean she's gotta put up with all the shit people throw her way. Her life ain't anything anyone's got a right to comment on.

Faith grew up piss poor in Boston and is even more broke now. Her father was a gang banger of the real bad kind and after one too many drive-bys and drug deals gone wrong Faith and her mother packed up and left. Ran would probably be more specific. Ran all the way across the fuckin' the damn country and hoped to hell and back her father wouldn't come looking even though they both knew he ain't the type to let shit just walk out his front door on its own. But it's been almost a year and he hasn't come after them, so Faith figures they're pretty much in the clear now. She knows it's probably wrong and that she should feel guilty for it, but she kinda hopes the bastard is dead. He might have had a part in her creation, but he damn sure was no kind of father.

But it hasn't been all roses and sunshine since either. Her mom started in real bad with coke and still hasn't kicked the habit. They've barely got enough money to get by as it is without her mother wasting it all on powder. Faith gets why; she ain't stupid or naïve. With all the shit life tends to throw at them she's wondering why she hasn't just said fuck it and stuck a needle in her arm just to escape. But she's gotta take care of herself, gotta take care of her mom. She's sick of living in that dingy motel and sick of the life she's had. That's why she enrolled in school when she got here. Her mom didn't really care much either way, but she knows she's gotta at least finish and get her diploma. She's gotta have something in her life that she's done right.

Fifteen and feelin' like she's forty sometimes; it's not the best life, but hey, it's hers. She's a survivor, always will be.

"Hey!" came the cheerful voice of one of her friends. Faith feels a smile creep across her face before she turns to face Willow and Xander as they make their way into the library. Willow gives her an excited wave and then holds up a stack of books. "Got to get you caught up!" Willow was always way too excited about school work.

Faith groans a bit as Willow sits next to her, pushing some books her way eagerly. Faith has the feeling she loves when Faith screws up and gets her ass suspended, just cause it gives her a chance to play tutor. "We gotta do this now?" Faith asks, the apprehension clear in her voice. She just came by to say hi and hang a bit.

"You don't want to fall behind, do you?" Willow asks, though clearly rhetorically as she opens up her history book and motions for Faith to do the same as Xander flops into the seat next to her. "You know how Snyder can be with the ‘grr'," Willow says, making a face and curling her fingers into claws to accent her point. Faith snorts.

"Have I thanked you for punching Cordelia yet?" Xander asks with a big grin on his face. Faith smirks.

"'Bout four times a day since it happened," Faith replies as she opens up her book in front of her. "Gotta say, best reason I've gotten suspended for yet. I'll take the heat just cause it was way worth it to see the blood gush from her perfect little nose like that." Xander holds up his hand triumphantly and Faith gives him a high five, laughing a little.

Xander and Willow are the only friends Faith has in Sunnydale. Outcasts themselves, they bonded after they witnessed her taking Cordelia's right arm, Buffy Summers, down a peg or two at The Bronze. The uptight little blonde had started making fun of the two of them with her little group of friends, at least until Faith got involved and damn near scared the shit out of her. But ever since then all three of them have been the target of the popular group's torments. Though after Cordelia made a very public statement in the middle of the commons about how Faith's just a cracked out super-dyke and got a face full of Faith's fist, all of them have steered clear, at least for the last couple of days. None of them really expect it to last too long though.

"Alright, Julius Caesar…" Willow starts as she looks down at her book, ready to get started.


Willow looks up at Faith with a little shy smirk on her lips that Faith knows she's trying to hide. "Yes, he's dead," she affirms, trying not to sound amused, but it isn't working.

"You're definitely gonna ace that test with all your bountiful knowledge," Xander says with a laugh. Faith laughs with him until she sees the look on Willows face. She quickly shuts up; Willow isn't amused anymore.

"Sorry, Red. Payin' attention now." She sits up a little in her chair to prove her point. She didn't want to lose her tutor; then she'd really be screwed.

"W-What do you know about him?" Willow asks, stuttering a little. She's gotten a lot better with it, but sometimes she's always instinctually nervous.

Faith shrugs, "Uh. Roman emperor. Got stuck in the gut when his little boy-toy betrayed him on that… March thing."

"The Ides of March," Willow corrects. "The fifteenth of March in 44BC. The senators were hoping to restore the normal running of the Republic by doing that, b-but all it did was end up causing another war and everything went… kaplooy." She makes a motion with her hands like something exploded. It makes Faith smile a little. She likes the way Willow talks. It's a little weird, but it's cool. Kinda cute.

"Yeah, that."

"Wait, wait, back up," Xander says, looking up from his homework, waving his hand a bit erratically to back up the conversation a couple steps. "Did you just say Caesar was gay with Brutus? Because my version of the textbook doesn't say that and I think I'd rather have that version. It sounds way more interesting." Faith cocks an eyebrow at him and he splutters, realizing how that sounded, "No, no, I don't mean interesting in the I wanna be gay way, just interesting as in less boring than what I'm reading right now… way." He awkwardly coughs, but Faith lets it go… for now. She's still smirking though.

"Caesar wasn't a homosexual," Giles says, butting in as he walks out of his office. He nonchalantly sips his coffee as he wanders over to the morning paper, "He was a demon."

"Really?!" Willow asks, her interest perked. "What kind?"

Faith rolls her eyes. "Come on, G. Don't encourage her like that."

Willow had been on this whole supernatural magic kick for the better half of the last six months. Giles had been giving her books to study it with, maybe just trying to feel like he's needed as a librarian or something since no one else ever comes in here. Whatever. It all sounded like a bunch of fairytale crap to Faith though. She knows some people believe in that sort of stuff, but sometimes she still can't wrap her mind around the fact that stuffy old Giles seems to be one of them. She gets why the whole school thinks he did voodoo now, but only cause of that. In reality, Giles couldn't hurt a fly, and Faith's a pretty good judge of character. Had to be, the way she grew up. Giles might be a little on the crazy side cause of all that crap, but he was the lovable kind of crazy.

He was a good guy.

Giles flashes a look at Faith that she can't decipher before he picks up the morning paper and scans the headlines. He addresses Willow, "He was a Skor-nai demon. They take human form by drinking the blood of a virgin priestess every evening. Obsessed with power, the lot of them. They are how the Cold War started actually, if I'm not mistaken."

Faith rolls her eyes again. Whatever. If they wanna play fantasy-world it's five by five. She sighs and leans back in her chair, popping her feet on the desk again, but Giles makes a cluck, cluck sound at her, voicing his disapproval and she slides them back off.

"Come on Faith, don't you think it's even a little bit interesting?" Willow says with an excited smile. "Demons, magic, prophecies?" she looks like she's about to get off on the thought alone and Faith raises an eyebrow.

"The real world sucks enough without all that crap," Faith tells her flatly.

"If you grew up here it wouldn't sound so far-fetched," Xander tells her, which makes her look at him in disbelief. He holds up his hands. "Hey, I'm not jumping on the demons-are-real train here, but I'm just saying. Weird stuff happens here all the time."

The phone in the library rings and Giles puts down the paper to take the call in his office. Faith is still looking at Xander with her eyebrows raised, "Like what, exactly?"

"You know. Weird stuff. Like students disappearing. I could've sworn Mrs. Yeckler was eating them, she kept eyeing me up like I was a big thing of cheesecake."

Faith snorts as she laughs loudly. "You got issues, Xand. Strong ones. Sounds like the bitch wanted in your jailbait pants, to me."

"Hey! It's not as crazy as it sounds, okay? She also suddenly disappeared, right before I was supposed to go meet her after class to discuss my term paper too. It's always been like this in Sunnydale. I think this school is haunted or something," Xander defends, but Faith just keeps laughing.

They were crazy, all of them. But hell, she loved them. Couldn't help it.

"Well… well what a-about Ronald Berkly!" Willow pipes up, pointing. "You were there for that! How do you explain him suddenly having spikey things popping out of his skin?"

"Skin condition?" Faith asks. She shrugs. "I dunno. I ain't a dermatologist."

Faith can faintly hear Giles in his office on the phone. She can't make out what he's saying, but she definitely just heard her name. She starts to tune out Willow and Xander who were rambling off more things on their list of why Sunnydale was doomed, trying to listen to what Giles was saying.

"A potential? Are you sure?" There's a long pause and Faith strains to hear. "Two?… Oh, no, I didn't realize that—… Yes, yes I understand…. No, that will be quite alright, I know the girl. Who will be taking care of—? … Ah, I didn't realize Merrick was in town. But isn't she a little old? Why hasn't she gotten a Watcher before this?"

Faith was starting to get more confused by the minute. She's a potential what? Problem? Only thing she can think of, but Giles ain't never treated her like one. Besides, that didn't really seem like that type of conversation.

"Died, you say? Oh dear. All of them?…. No, I'm sure Merrick can handle it; he's one of the Council's best, after all…. Yes, I'll be sure to get started right away with Faith." There's a longer pause, and Faith is getting more curious by the second. Willow and Xander have noticed she's not even paying attention anymore, and Xander's waving a hand in her face.

"Earth to Faith! Come in, can you read me?"

Faith smacks his hand away out of his face in annoyance as she listens to the end of the phone call. "No, I quite agree that the two should not train together. If the Zan'Hurrak believes she is the next in line then she might become a target as well…. Yes, of course. I will send updates as they come in…. Thank you, goodbye." Giles hangs up the phone and Faith gets busy looking like she wasn't just listening into that. She turns back to her friends.

"Sorry, spaced," she says.

Willow looks at her funny, then sighs. "You weren't thinking about her again, were you?"

"Not healthy," Xander murmurs in agreement, shaking his head a bit.

Faith rolls her eyes, crossing her arms across her chest defensively. She notices Giles making his way back into the room, but she doesn't turn to look at him. She'll find out what's up eventually. "I wasn't thinking about Harmony, okay? Jeez. She ain't all that. I'm completely over that bimbo slut."

"Faith, y-you don't have to lie to us, we're your friends. We know how bad it sucked when she turned around and… and started spreading around that you're gay after she… well… did the gay thing with you," Willow blushes a little, never liking to talk about sex all that much.

Faith remembers the day she told them both she was into girls. Willow's eyes almost popped out of her skull and she couldn't form a sentence for a good twenty minutes. Xander drifted off into a fantasy world that she had to slap him out of… literally. But they were fine with it now. Old news, really.

"Yeah, it sucked," Faith agrees evenly. "Didn't need the whole world knowing my business. But whatever, alright? I popped the bitch a couple times and that was that. End of story. Never actually liked her. The dumbass can't form a sentence without using the word ‘like' at least twice, so I definitely ain't gonna be wasting any time thinking about her, that's for damn sure," Faith retorts in a tone that meant they were finished with that conversation.

Willow and Xander just look at each other skeptically.

But Faith didn't like her. Not really. Couldn't really stand to listen to her speak, as a matter of fact, but that didn't mean she didn't like tongue fucking the girl till she came all over her face. But it's high school, Harmony's reputation was at stake… whatever. She blamed it all on the alcohol and how sexy Faith looked in tube tops and one night in The Bronze she cornered her and they had their way with each other in the bathroom. Happened every weekend for a month until Cordelia started sniffing around; then suddenly it's all, "That dykey slut Faith tried to hit on me!" and, well, that's how Cordelia ended up with a broken nose that day in the commons. She really should have hit Harmony, but she's been hiding behind Cordelia and Buffy and trying to avoid her. And well, Cordelia's just got one big fat ass mouth that was begging to be shut.

But it ain't like she cares really.

Willow seems to be under the impression that Faith's sex actually means something to her, but she's a virgin so Faith couldn't actually blame her. She's pretty sure Xander just thinks she cares cause of the rumors and everything, but she really couldn't give a fuck less what people in this school thought about her, honestly. She's all leather-clad and attitude and it's worked for her so far so she sees no reason to change that.

"Faith," Giles says, thankfully interrupting the Harmony conversation. "I know you're not due back to school until Thursday, but do you think you could come in early tomorrow? I have some things I need to discuss with you."

"How early is early?" Faith asks. She wants to know what he's been having secret phone calls about, especially if they involve her, but she ain't getting up at the butt crack of dawn when she's suspended. The only thing suspension is good for is sleeping in.

"Ten in the morning would be best, I think."

Faith shrugs noncommittally, "Sure, long as me dragging my ass in around noon's gonna work for you."

"Faith," he says flatly in that disapproving way he does that always makes her feel bad.

"Yeah, yeah. Ten AMs fine," she says with a bit of a scowl and a heavy sigh. Damnit.

"What do you need to talk to Faith about?" Xander asks, looking up at Giles questioningly. But Giles mumbles something about ‘her future' absentmindedly as he wanders back into his office. Xander smirks and looks over at Faith. "I bet he's gonna try to recruit you to be his apprentice librarian or something."

Faith rolls her eyes. "Yeah, cause I'm the book-lovin' type. He's probably just gonna give me another lecture about how I can't go around hitting people if I ever expect to succeed. He knows my mum don't give ‘em to me, guess he figures he's gotta." Faith sometimes wonders why she lets him, too. Maybe it was just nice to have someone that gave a shit.

But even as she said that, she knew that wasn't it. As far as she knew, Giles didn't get mysterious phone calls about her violent behavior.

"Well he's right you know," Willow points out. But when Xander and Faith look at her in surprise she backtracks, "N-Not that I don't think Cordelia didn't deserve the whole… punchy thing. Cause she did, really really did. But. Y-You know. Principal Snyder is just looking for an excuse to expel you. The only reason you aren't already is because the school board won't let him because you're like, a genius or something."

"Genius" was stretching it a lot, and Willow knew it. Faith did skip a grade, but only because she retained information well. She was unfocused most of the time; school bored her, but she did get through it rather easily when she can manage to set her mind to it. Well, at least when she wasn't getting suspended left and right, anyway.

"How do you know they won't let him?" Faith asks, surprised. Then she smirks as she realizes, "Have you been hacking into his email again?" Willow blushes a little and Faith gives her an approving nod. "Wicked."

"That's our Willow, always on the wrong side of the law," Xander says with a little laugh. Willow pokes him hard in the arm and Xander winces like the little wimp he is. A cute wimp though, so it ain't all bad.

"Alright, I gotta get outta here. Being at school when you don't gotta be here tends to suck the fun outta life," Faith tells them as she gets up, grabbing her books. "Ya'll gonna come hang at mine later?"

Faith's motel room had always been their place to hang out, only because she lived relatively alone. Her mom was next door in hers, but she never really bothered them. Too busy enjoying the drinking and passing out parts of life. Faith would always come check on her a couple times a day, make sure she gets up to go to work when she needs to, and tried to get her drug habit relatively under control. She would only give her enough to get her through the day without going crazy, just so she could focus and get shit done. Not that working at McDonalds actually required paying attention to much though.

"Yeah, we'll be over there later," Xander tells her as they all get up.

Willow's about to say something, but Faith interrupts her, already knowing what it is. "I know, I know. Catch up on my homework. Don't worry, I got it. Ain't gonna fuck it up, swear." Willow smiles at her.

"Okay, because you know I'm not giving you my notes anymore. Not unless it's an emergency."

"I'm about to fail Algebra, does that constitute an emergency?" Xander asks hopefully as they all walk out the door of the library, all calling back goodbye's to Giles who seems way too involved in his own thoughts as he mumbles back a response.

Willow narrows her eyes. "Don't take advantage of me, Xander Harris."

Xander puts his hand to his chest in mock offense. "Me? I would never."

Faith snickers a little as they leave the school. Hell, they might all be crazy. Giles may be the craziest of them all, but she liked having people around. She's never really had friends, not in the strictest sense, anyway. Not people who actually cared. And yeah, maybe her home life is a wreck, maybe she's not the most popular girl at Sunnydale high, but she was happy.

And that's all that mattered.


Chapter Two - Drinking Games

Faith walks into her motel room and put down her books on the bedside table with a sigh. The room was hot, meaning that the air conditioner decided to shut off again just to make her day even more frustrating. She growls in annoyance as she walks over to it, bending down as she fiddles with the knobs. When she gets no response she swears, gets up, and kicks the damn thing and… it works. Figures.

As the thing whirs to life she grabs a hair tie that she finds lying on the floor and pulls her hair back as she makes her way over to the door that connects her room and her mother's. She didn't hear things breaking, which was always a good sign, but then again, sometimes silence can be scarier. She can hear the faint sound of the television though so she opens the door, and she hopes everything is alright. It's always touch and go. Each day she never knew what she was gonna face. Sometimes her mom is up, happy, doing stuff… and others she's got a bottle in her hand, high as a fuckin' kite with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth as she curses her existence.

Today wasn't her lucky day.

She walks in and finds her mother staring at the TV, though she seemed more like she was staring through it. She has bags under her eyes and she is licking her lips subconsciously. She barely even notices Faith has come in through the door. Faith sighs and looks over the state of the room; a fucking disaster. Then her eyes fall on the empty baggie near her.

"Mum!" she yells, angry now.

It was always ‘Mum', never ‘Mom'. Her father was originally brought up in England, but came over with his parents when he was about seventeen. It's not a piece of him that Faith wishes she had, especially since she learned to call her mother that when he was screaming at Faith, telling her to "Go tell her Mum to sod the hell off before he fucking beats her to death." She's tried to train herself to use ‘Mom', but something's just stick whether you want them to or not.

Faith stomps over and picks up the baggie, waving it in her face. "I told you not to go in my fuckin' room! How are you about to tell me to limit your shit if you go and steal it back and do the whole damn thing?!"

Caroline, Faith's mother, blinks at the sudden intrusion to her happy little doped up state and she looks disgruntled at her daughter's infuriation. "Needed it," she mumbles, snatching the bag out of Faith's hands before going back to staring at the TV.

Faith snaps her fingers in her mother's face, but she doesn't respond. "Fuck, you're wasted," she says, though mostly to herself. "Mum!" she yells, trying to get her attention, but she just stares at the television. Faith starts to get worried and kneels down in front of her, making sure she's blocking the TV so she has to look at her. "Hey, Mum… you alright? What happened? You were doin' good this week."

Caroline looks at Faith sadly. "Got fired," she says simply. Faith feels her stomach drop.

"Shit," she says softly. She looks over her mother and takes her hand. "Hey, don't worry about those assholes. You'll get another job." Caroline just looks at her like she's naïve and Faith sighs. "Seriously, come on, you gotta clean yourself up. You can't be doin' this. I'll help you look for another one in the morning, promise. I passed the Doublemeat Palace on the way home, they got a sign that says they're hiring. Maybe you could give it a shot there. Food tastes like ass, but it's a paycheck, right?"

"There's no point, Fai. I'm a mess," Caroline tells her. Which, yeah, Faith's bound to agree on that point at least, but that doesn't mean she's not gonna try to clean up the mess. Caroline looks on the verge of tears though and it makes Faith's eyes widen. She hated seeing her mother cry.

"Alright, hey, no cryin'. Come on. Get up, go take a shower and I'll clean up, okay?" Faith says, standing up and pulling her mother up by her hand to get her standing. But Caroline's starting to sniffle, basking in her own self-hatred.

"I'm a bad mother, I'm a bad employee, I'm a bad person. I fuck up everything I touch," she mumbles as Faith leads her into the bathroom.

"You don't fuck up everything, Mum. Just take a shower, okay? You'll feel better."

Caroline nods weakly as Faith sighs, closing the bathroom door. She hated this, she hated all of this. People wonder why she's got fuckin' anger issues? Look at her life. She tries to pick up the pieces as best as she can, but she's fifteen for Christ's sake. She should be the one getting taken care of, not the other way around.

She starts picking up the mess of dirty clothes and trash around the room as she tries to figure out what they're gonna do for money. She can steal some shit; pawn it for some cash, but she hates doing that. Things get too bad though and, well, fuck. They need a place to live, need food to eat. Her mom needs more drugs and she seriously has to find a better hiding spot for them. She can't wean her off of them if she can grab the whole thing and screw everything up again.

She fuckin' hates her dad for this. It's his fault shit is so fucked up.

Once the room started to resembled halfway decent, Faith hears the shower turn off. She looks towards the door. "You alright?" she asks, just out of habit.

Caroline mumbles something in response that Faith will take as a yes. She cleans up the last of the trash as her mom walks out of the bathroom, still in the daze that her high is giving her. Faith picks up a bottle of liquor. "Okay, I'm not advocating you gettin' totally smashed and whatever, but you gotta pass out and sleep this off, and I know you ain't gonna be able to do that while you're brains halfway to nowhere on that shit. I'm gonna get you up early, okay? We'll get you a new job. So drink, pass out, get some sleep. I'll give you a whole bunch of aspirin in the morning for the hang over and you'll be good as new."

It's sad that she tries to make herself sound all cheerful about this stuff. But she knows she's gotta be the happy one for the two of them right now. Positive and all that "hurrah, life!" crap.

Caroline doesn't say anything, but she holds out her hand for the bottle. Faith gives it to her and watches her sit down, opening it and taking a long swig. Faith watches her and it breaks her heart. Breaks her heart to pieces and makes her want to punch a wall.

But she smiles, like the positive daughter that she tries to be and leans down, kissing her on the cheek. "Yell if you need anything," she tells her. "I gotta catch up on some homework. Promise me you'll sleep."

Caroline makes a motion of crossing her heart, and Faith smiles and does the same back. It was a thing they did ever since Faith was a little girl. She watches her mom settle back on the bed with the bottle, and she turns and walks away, back into her room. She closes the door behind her and sets her jaw as she tries her hardest not to cry.

It felt like it was never going to stop. Every time things started looking a little up, life would throw a whole bag of shit at them and knock them on their asses again. She loved her mother, she did. Caroline would throw herself in front of her and take the beatings when her dad was fucked up. She protected her through that and Faith figures now it's her turn to do the same. Her mom was so strong through all of that though. She drank, yeah. She always turned to the bottle, but it never got bad. But now that she feels safer Faith figures it's just her turn to break down about everything that's happened.

Faith wonders when it'll ever be her turn to break.

She knows it ain't now though, so she sucks it up, fights back the tears and grabs her books as she sits down on the bed and tries to concentrate of Caesar and his fucked up little life instead of her own. Least she hasn't ended up with a knife in her gut like him; that's gotta be a plus.

A couple hours later she's finished with her homework, lying on her bed as she watches TV. She checked on her mother about an hour ago and she was passed out, thankfully. She tries to focus on the soap opera that's on but her mind keeps wandering to what Giles was talking about on the phone. Some guy named Merrick, potential something, the Council… whatever. None of it made sense. She was glad when she finally heard a knock on her door; a grin forms on her face as she gets up, bounding over to the door, happy to have a distraction. When she pulls it open, Willow and Xander greet her before coming inside.

"Mochas!" Willow announces cheerfully at the tray of drinks in her hand. "Tonight seemed like a mocha night."

"Score," Faith says with a grin as she grabs one before sitting cross-legged on her bed. Xander closes the door behind them and he and Willow sit on the bed across from her. She grabs a bottle of liquor beside her bed and starts pouring some in her mocha. She doesn't have to look up to know the looks she's getting from the two of them.

"What happened?" Xander asks her, carefully. They both know that Faith only drinks at home when something bad has been going on.

"Mum," Faith replies quietly before taking a sip of her drink. Not the best tasting concoction in the world, but whatever.

"Is she back to doing…?" Willow asks softly, not finishing her sentence. She didn't need to.

Faith was never really one to tell people her business, but Xander and Willow found about how hard her mother's been having it one night when they were over. She was high, crazed, and smashing her room to pieces. Kinda hard to hide that and pretend everything is cool and dandy.

"She got fired," Faith says sadly, "Fucked up. Gonna have to help her look for a new job in the morning."

"I'm sorry, Faith," Willow says sincerely, putting a hand on her leg for comfort. Faith just brushes it off, she hates pity. She moves back a little so Willow can't touch her.

"You know me. Surviving. Gettin' shit done. We'll be fine."

Willow and Xander look at each other, but they don't say anything else on the subject. They know Faith isn't the most open human being on the planet. Silence washes over the room for a few minutes before Xander speaks up.

"I know what'll cheer you up!" he says, clearly determined. Faith looks at him skeptically. "Hey, hey, hear me out. Harmony's having her birthday at The Bronze tonight. Guess who's gonna be there in all her nose-smashed-in glory? I know you wanna check out your handiwork." He grins at her, and Faith can't help but grin back.

"I could do with a laugh," Faith says, shrugging a bit like it doesn't matter, but she can't stop her smile. Seeing Cordelia bruised up might make this day not suck so much.

"I don't know…" Willow says apprehensively. "I mean, what if they try to gang up on you? Like in those movies where the scary popular girls surround the other girl like… like a pack of wild animals! And they're just gonna claw you to pieces! Itty, bitty, tiny pieces! Faith, what if you get clawed up?" Faith has to laugh at how terrified she looks.

"I can handle my own, Red. Relax. Besides, Harmony won't go near me, Buffy's scared to death of me, and I doubt Cordelia wants to get her nose reset again." She smiles. Yeah, this could be fun. "Alright, let's get out of here."

The Bronze was packed for a Tuesday night. All of Harmony's little friends and everyone who wanted to be Harmony's little friends were there. It's kind of sick, really, the way that some of these people gravitate to her, Cordelia, and Buffy. Like moths to the flame. Let ‘em get burned, is what Faith says. Fuck it. Better to watch the train wreck then be a part of it.

"Look! It's Oz!" Willow says as they find themselves a seat. She's pointing up at the stage where Oz and his band, Dingoes Ate My Baby, were performing. Willow sighs happily, almost swooning at the sight of him. Xander looks disgruntled by it.

"Relax, Xan-Man. You know how chicks get with band types," Faith tells him quietly. She's not stupid; she can see how much Xander likes Willow. Willow likes him too, but is always too shy to ever do anything about it. And swooning over Oz ain't helping her case much, either.

"So why are you immune?" Xander asks her, but when Faith just raises an eyebrow at him he remembers. "Right, right. Oz doesn't have boobs. Or… any other womanly parts," he finishes awkwardly. "That sounded weird didn't it? Can I take that back and rephrase? I'm thinking of Oz being a woman in my head now." He makes a face like that thought isn't the prettiest picture. It almost makes Faith want to laugh, but she contains it so Willow doesn't notice their little private conversation.

"Yeah, sounded a little bit weird, and no you ain't taking it back," Faith says with a smirk as she waves over the waitresses to the get them some drinks. After they ordered, Faith takes a look around the club.

She spots the little trio of bitches over by the bar, laughing and getting their drink on. She smirks as she see's Cordelia's nose. She's looked prettier, that's for damn sure. Cordelia and Harmony are deep in conversation, but Faith's eyes land on Buffy as she notices she looks kind of distant from the rest of the group. It takes all of about five seconds before she realizes she massively doesn't care, and turns back to her friends.

"Cordelia's face looks like a train wreck," Faith says with a laugh. "I'm the shit, I gotta give myself props."

Xander laughs and mockingly bows down to her while Willow giggle a little behind her hand. But then her eyes go wide as she looks behind Faith, making her turn around to see Cordelia and her band of misfits walking over to them looking extremely not pleased with the situation.

"Well lookie here. It's the rug muncher and her posse of weirdos. I'm sorry," Cordelia says, sounding not sorry at all about what she's about to say, "but this is a private party. Scum isn't allowed."

"Last I checked, The Bronze was free reign to anyone," Faith says coolly, leaning back against the table to cock her eyebrow at her. Her eyes shift to Harmony and she gives her a dirty smirk as she licks her bottom lip, making the girl's eyes go wide. Faith laughs a little. Just the reaction she wanted.

"Hey!" Cordelia says, suddenly getting defensive for Harmony. "I think you need to back the hell off. Harmony isn't a disgusting dyke like some people here."

Faith's hand twitches at that word, but she keeps her cool. She just smirks at her before saying, "No, maybe not. But your other little friend here looks like she's devouring me with her eyes." Her eyes flicker over to Buffy, who flushes automatically and looks away, not realizing she was staring at her. She backs up to get behind Cordelia. Pussy bitch. Her eyes flicker back over to rest on Cordelia with a triumphant smirk. "Besides," she says with a low, taunting voice. "I wouldn't come near Harmony again with a ten foot pole. She wasn't exactly the cleanest bitch I've ever gone down on, if you know what I mean."

"HEY!" Harmony yells, offended now. Too offended to even think, apparently, "I was totally clean; I took a shower right before that!" Then her eyes go wide as she realizes what she just let slip. So do Buffy's and Cordelia's as they turn to look at her. Harmony just stutters something and runs off, looking mortified.

Cordelia rounds on her, looking furious. "Stay the fuck away from my friends, Faith. I don't need you tainting them with all your… gayness."

Faith stands up, getting in her face. She notices Cordelia starting to look weary. "Or what? You gonna try to throw down with me again? Cause I got news for you, Princess…" she leans in, getting all into Cordelia's personal space. Cordelia's too scared to even move, clearly not wanting to get her nose smashed in again. Faith puts her lips to her ear and whispers the last part out throatily, "I came out on top."

Cordelia's eyes flash and she pushes Faith off of her, but Faith doesn't retaliate; she already knew she won that round. "You're disgusting," she snarls at her before backing up a few steps. "Come on," she addresses Buffy. "Let's get out of here before loser starts to rub off on us."

Faith just smirks as she watches her leave, her little pet blonde in tow behind her. She turns back to Xander and Willow who were gaping at her.

"You got balls," Xander says, though Faith can't tell if it's in awe or fear. She smirks.

"Big ones, I know."

"The biggest of the biggest."

"W-What did you mean Harmony might not be… you know," Willow says, leaning in with a hushed whisper. "Didn't she…? I mean d-didn't you guys…?"

"Yeah, but she only does it when she's trashed. She ain't gay," Faith tells her simply. "Buffy, on the other hand…" Willows eyes go wide. So do Xander's.

"Is this that… that thing you guys have?" he asks. "Gaydar? Is that what this is?" Faith can't help but laugh. Loudly.

"I dunno about ‘gaydar', but if you just look the signs are easy to recognize. Seriously, just watch Buffy for a bit. Her eyes continuously find themselves trained to big boobs, though most of the time they're so fixated on Cordelia's ass that she can't tear them away to notice anything else. She's good at hiding it though; I give her some props for it."

"But… but…" Willow stutters, trying to wrap her mind around that. "Isn't she with Scott? She's been with him for like two years."

Faith shrugs nonchalantly. "Closet-case. Big time."

"You're not going to… well, you know with her, right?" Willow asks her, eyes still wide as saucers.

"Can I vote yes on that?" Xander asks, raising his hand. Faith rolls her eyes and backhands him in the stomach. Not hard, but hard enough to get the point across. He sputters into his drink. "Okay, sorry. No lesbian thoughts. Brain is free and clear of naked Buffy. Naked you. Naked you and Buffy… oh my god someone stop me." He groans and Faith just laughs.

"Nah, I ain't gonna pop the bitch. Bad enough I did it with Harmony. I usually got more standards than that."

"Good," Willow says, sighing a little bit. "B-Because you can do better, Faith. Those three are just… mean." She pauses and adds as an afterthought, "When they're together." Faith doesn't have time to dwell on that last statement though, because Xander interrupts her thoughts.

"She looked at her ass!" he says triumphantly as he's watching Buffy. "Oh! We should make a drinking game out of this!"

Faith laughs and shakes her head. But hey, any excuse to drink is fine by her. She looks over at Willow, who's looking at Xander disapprovingly. "Come on, Red. It'll be fun," she wiggles her eyebrows a little at her, which makes Willow blush.

She knows Willow is a closet case too, but she'll never say anything about it. Maybe part of her wants her and Xander to be happy together. Besides, even if she didn't want that, she'd never push her into doing anything. She loves Willow, just in no way like that. She's too much of a friend to end up in bed with, it'd be weird.

Faith doesn't wait for an answer, just strolls up to the bartender and gets them a couple shots. She's in so many ways underage, but having slept with the bartender once has its perks. She flashes the girl a sexy smile and says thanks as she comes back over to the table, pushing each one in front of her friend. "Let the fun begin," she says with a grin as she turns to watch Buffy.

It takes only two minutes until Faith watches Buffy's eyes sweep down Cordelia's backside, letting her gaze rest there for a minute before she turns and starts talking to Scott like she wasn't just ogling another girl in front of him. Xander cheers and Faith holds up their shot, Willow sighs as she clicks their glasses together.

"This feels so wrong," Willow mutters, but yet still isn't stopping the fun train. Faith thinks she's secretly enjoying this, even if it is at someone else's self-conscious expense. But Buffy was never really nice to her, so Faith knows she has no real reason to complain about making a drinking game out of her lesbian habits.

After many hours and shots later, she finds herself alone in her motel room, drunk and stumbling as she gets out of her clothes so she can just crawl into bed. She looks at the clock, cursing it before she switches on her alarm, having no idea that when she wakes up tomorrow the world would have gone and changed on her forever.




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