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Chapter Thirty-One - Panic

Being jammed into a car with Cordelia was hell. What made it worse was that Wesley practically got a hard on the minute he took one look at Cordelia, which nearly made Faith lose her dinner all over Giles' swank upholstery. Thankfully, she was the first to be dropped off so she didn't have to bear witness to that yack-fest for very long.

As she gets out of the car though, she turns as she hears Buffy tell Giles, "I'm going to get out here; I'll do a sweep of Rose Chapel cemetery before I head home."

Right, sure. She's getting out here so she can walk to a cemetery they just passed a couple minutes ago.

"Do be careful, Buffy," Giles tells her, looking at her in a fatherly manner. She smiles at him as she gets out of the car.

"Careful is my middle name."

"And here I thought it was Anne," Faith mumbles sarcastically, not particularly in the best of moods, mainly because of Cordelia. "The things ya learn." Buffy turns so Faith can bear witness to her rolling her eyes at her, before she turned back to Giles, waving bye to him as she closed the car door.

As the Giles drives off, Faith turns to head towards her motel room. Whatever Buffy wanted to talk about, Faith wasn't particularly in the mood for it. It wasn't her; it was kinda just this whole day. Xander some, Cordelia mostly, Wesley always, and even Kennedy aggravated her a little.

Alright, that's a lie. The whole Homecoming thing kind of rapes Faith's brain, but only cause she didn't know what that even meant for them. Cause shit, nothing can change, can it? She's so sick of having things being so damn confusing. Why can't they just be friends like normal fucking people?

She's never had this problem with any other girl. Sometimes Faith wonders why, but doesn't like the conclusion her brain comes to, so she pushes her theory away immediately.

"Faith?" Buffy asks carefully, watching her walk away.

Faith stops, sighing. She doesn't turn around and she closes her eyes for a second, wishing Buffy would've just let her walk into her motel room without any interruption. "Yeah?" she asks softly, still turning to look at her.

"I…" Buffy starts, then falls silent, a little unsure of herself. The silence prompts Faith to finally turn to look at her.

"What's up, B? Kinda tired."

Buffy blinks, as if throwing herself out of her thoughts. "Yeah, sorry. I just, I wanted to apologize if… if what I asked earlier was… you know, a little…"

"Out of left fuckin' field?" Faith finishes for her. They already did this song and dance and it had an entirely different outcome than it did this time around.

"I was going to say 'unexpected', but that works too," Buffy replies, digging her toe in the gravel for a moment. She shrugs, "So… I'm sorry."

Faith stares at her for a moment, unsure about how to answer that. On one hand if she says it was cool, Buffy might take that to mean more than what it is. But if she says that it just made everything weird again, then Buffy could get pissed. So Faith just shrugs and says neutrally, "It's whatever."

Buffy looks like she doesn't know how to take that; not that Faith could blame her. "Uh… okay," she starts. "You're… okay with it though, right?" God, Buffy looks like… like such a girl right now. It makes Faith feel funny.

"Said it's whatever, B."

"That's not really an answer."

Faith sighs, frustrated. "Fine, yeah, I'm fuckin' okay with it, alright? Christ, B. I'm tired and this day has been shit and I don't…" she runs her fingers through her hair, irritated, "I don't wanna do this right now, okay? I'll go with you, it's cool. But we're just… goin' together. That's it, yeah? So it ain't like… a big thing."

"No, I mean; yeah, of course. I… I get it," Buffy says, trying to hide her disappointment yet failing miserably. Faith lets out a long breath and tries to ignore the slight throbbing in her temples.

"We're supposed to be just friends, B."

"I know," Buffy insists, giving her a small smile that she seemed to struggle with a little. She bites her lower lip then and shoves her hands in her pockets, leaning against one of the cars in the parking lot. "Look, I…" she takes a breath, looking like she's feeling a little awkward for bringing this up, "about what I said in the graveyard…"

"Really don't wanna talk about that," Faith replies, immediately putting her defenses up. What Buffy said in the graveyard made her feel… well, it made her feel. Period. Faith's pretty sure she's allergic to that kind of shit. She turns to walk away, content on just leaving Buffy standing there since she already told her she didn't want to do this right now, but what Buffy says next makes her freeze.

"I know it scared you."

Faith whips around and snaps defensively, "You don't scare me, B. Nothing fuckin' scares me." Well that was one large load of crap, but whatever. Never show weakness, right? If someone knows they scare you then they have power over you and the last thing Faith was going to do was let anyone have power over her. She has enough crap going on in her life already; she didn't need to be anyone's damn whipping post.

Buffy outright laughed at that, which made Faith shoot her a glare like she wanted to flay her alive on the spot. "Faith, you literally ran away."

"Just fuck off, okay? I don't have time for this," Faith snapped, getting fed up as she turned to walk towards her motel room. Buffy went after her, speaking as she tried to catch up.

"Look, I understand that any sign of actual human emotion scares the living crap out of you," Buffy tried, sounding a little desperate; she didn't want her to shut her out. Faith ignored her though, digging her pockets for her keys once she got to her door. "And I was only trying to tell you that I get that you're just not ready for that yet; that it may even be years for you to be ready for something like that. It just hurts that you don't just shut me out, but everyone out. It makes me scared that you're going to end up miserable and alone for the rest of your life."

"Why do you even care?" Faith shouts, whipping back around and pointing at her with the hand that's holding her keys. It almost looks like she's trying to threaten her with them, if not for the fact that both of them know Buffy could put her down before she even made a move to. "That's what I don't get, B. I'm not worth all this goddamn effort; you seriously need a fuckin' hobby."

Buffy looks at her in disbelief. "You are worth it, Faith," she tells her, sounding genuinely confused that Faith would say something like that. Then again, Faith did always make a point to be the cockiest bitch on this side of the coast. "You really think that little of yourself?"

"Look, I'm going to say this once," Faith starts, her agitation reaching new heights. She needs this to stop; all of it. "And I'm only telling you this shit because you are in serious need of a reality check, here. Me? Probably the worst fuckin' person you'd ever want to get attached to." Buffy looks like she's going to protest, but Faith won't let her get a word out. "I'm piss poor, I fuck practically anything that moves, I'm pretty sure I might be an alcoholic, and if you knew even a fraction of my past you'd probably have fuckin' nightmares for the rest of your life." Some kind of emotion Faith doesn't recognize flickers over Buffy's features, but she ignores it and finishes, "So as far as catches go? I'm not exactly prize winning or anything."

Buffy doesn't say anything; she's probably just trying to let everything Faith just said sink in. But Faith was feeling a little bit exposed now that she just admitted all that, so she turns and shoves her key in the door, content on leaving Buffy standing there. She said what she needed to say; hopefully now Buffy would get it and just back off.

"You're strong," Buffy tells her, making Faith stop for a second once she has the door open. "And you're beautiful, and smart." Faith clenches her jaw and doesn't turn around, but she doesn't move to go in and shut Buffy out either. "You're protective, you're extremely loyal… at least to the people you care about anyway, and you… you make me feel safe when I'm with you." She pauses and Faith knows she's getting all kinds of girly and emotional on her, which is the main reason she hasn't turned around. "Faith, what girl wouldn't want to be called yours?" Her voice breaks a little when she says that; she sounds so sad.

Girly and emotional seems to be catching though and Faith starts feeling all these things she wishes she could just rip out of her and throw across the damn parking lot. Her grip tightens on the door handle of her room; yet she still doesn't move, nor turn around. Part of her wanted to run into her room and lock Buffy out of her life, but another part of her was wanting her to just turn around and kiss her with everything she had in her. The result was that she couldn't move an inch because both urges were equally as strong.

"Look, I… I didn't come here to try to convince you to be with me," Buffy tells her softly, realizing that this conversation is going in the complete opposite way than she intended. "I only came here to tell you that I understand why you can't be right now and to ask that you…" she sighs a little, sounding worn out. "I just— I need you to stop confusing me. If you want us to be friends then… then I need time to get over you."

Have you ever heard that saying, 'you want what you can't have'? Well, that seems to be exactly what Faith is exercising at the moment because when Buffy was being clingy she wanted her gone, but now, the second Buffy tells her she needs to get over her…

Faith turns around, opening the door to her motel room a little wider. "Come in," she tells her flatly, motioning her head inside. When the words leave her mouth, Faith knows instantly that she's probably being really fucking stupid, but she all of a sudden didn't want her to leave. Why? She doesn't know; in all honesty she doesn't even care seeing as that'd probably entail some serious deep thoughts time and well, she didn't do all that.

Faith likes simplicity: if she wants Buffy to leave she'll tell her to leave. If she wants her to stay, she'll tell her to stay. No need figuring out the 'why' part of the equation; that's just bound to give her a headache.

She just… wanted her around. Not forever, just… for now.

Buffy looks confused. "What?" Faith doesn't answer right away though, so she puts on her hands on her lips and begins lecturing her, "See, and this what I was saying about mixed signals, Faith. You can't just—"

"B," Faith interrupts in a tone of immense unenthusiasm, "I've had a shit day, okay? So I was thinking of just downin' a bottle of JD and callin' it a night. But seeing as we're doing the whole buddy-buddy thing now, I figured you may wanna stick around just to make sure I don't choke on my own vomit when I pass out. Cause, y'know, that's what friends are for and all."

"Oh, that's great, Faith, really," Buffy snaps, a look of utter disbelief on her face. "Because the cure to your alcoholism is definitely more alcohol."

Faith shrugs as she walks into her motel room telling her, "Take it or leave it, but in thirty seconds I'm closing that door; decide which side you want to be on when I do." She heads towards her bureau and opens up the second to last drawer, digging for the one bottle she had left.

Buffy's still standing outside, unsure if she wants to get herself involved in this mess. But once she sees Faith grab the bottle out of her drawer, she lets out a sigh of aggravation and steps inside, closing the door behind her. "I hate you," she tells her.

Faith laughs a little and twists the cap off the bottle before taking a swig. Buffy makes a face of distain at her behavior so when Faith sits down on the bed she holds up the bottle, "Want some?" She knows she doesn't by the look on her face, but for some reason offering it anyway amused Faith slightly.

"Ugh. No, thank you."

"Thought you said ya missed alcohol?" Faith counters, remembering how badly Buffy wanted some the last time they went to The Bronze.

"I drink when I'm having a good time with my friends, Faith. What I don't do is drink alone to try to dull my pain and run away from the world; for some reason that seems a little pathetic, don't you think?" Buffy retorts, giving Faith a sweet smile once she scowls at her.

"You think you know me so well, but you're so fuckin' far off base it ain't even funny," Faith says as she leans back against her headboard, taking another large swig. "This right here?" she tells her after she swallows, "It ain't me drowning my sorrows or whatever the hell else you think I'm doing. This is me taking a shit day and turning it around by finally having some fun."

"Right, because I can see how this is so much fun," Buffy replies sarcastically. "I'm really missing out here."

"Damn straight," Faith says, ignoring her sarcasm as she continues to drink like it's going out of style. She doesn't actually plan on being awake for very much longer. Buffy just stands there and watches her, fuming silently, but when she's nearly halfway done with the bottle suddenly it's ripped from her grasp. Some of it spills of Faith's shirt and she coughs, trying not to choke. "What… the fuck?" she gasps in between coughs.

"Yeah, you're done," Buffy tells her, not sounding very amused. "This is ridiculous, Faith. I'm not your goddamn babysitter."

"Give me the fuckin' bottle, B," Faith says, holding out her hand expectantly. She has to blink heavily though for a second to clear her vision; she saw two Buffy's for a second. Damn, she shouldn't have drank that fast.

"Or what? You'll fall flat on your face trying to get to me? Look at you; you didn't even take a breath between consuming all of that, Faith!" Buffy exclaims, gesturing at the state of her. "You didn't let your body even have a second to process it and now you're completely trashed in under fifteen minutes. Way to go; the award for stupidity goes to you this year. I swear to god, if you end up getting alcohol poisoning I'm going to kill you."

"I'm fine, for fuck's sake," Faith protests. Sure she feels a little buzzed and was loopy for a second there, but now she's pretty much alright.

"Yeah, you're alright now. Give it ten minutes," Buffy tells her, not looking amused in the slightest. She walks over to the bureau and places the bottle on it, staring at it for a second before she whips around accusingly. "Why are you doing this to me?" she asks. "Why did you want me here to witness this? Are you looking for pity or something?"

Faith snorts. "Pity for what? My life's fuckin' fantastic, thanks," she slurs waving Buffy off like an annoying insect.

"Right, it totally looks fantastic right now," Buffy tells her sarcastically, shaking her head. "What the hell is really going on, Faith?"

"Nothing," Faith stresses, growing annoyed. She tries to stand up so she can get back her bottle, but it seems like all of the alcohol in her body hits at her at once from the change in velocity and she nearly falls down. She would have anyway, if Buffy wasn't faster and caught her before she hit the floor.

"Christ," Buffy mutters as she helps Faith get back to the bed, sitting her down. "Are you alright? I told you this was going to happen. You drank way too much way too fast."

"Don't need a fuckin' babysitter," Faith mumbles, closing her eyes to make the room stop spinning. She knew Buffy was right, but it wasn't like she wanted to hear it or anything. God, she felt sick; she needed to lie down.

Well, one thing was for sure: she definitely was gonna end up passing out relatively quickly, so a point for her in that column at least.

"Clearly you do," Buffy tells her, shifting a little on the bed to allow Faith room to lie down.

It wasn't a conscience decision on Faith's part by any means, but her head somehow found its way into Buffy's lap. Faith's hoping it just randomly fell there. She'd move, but moving required effort and not feeling like she's going to vomit.

Buffy purses her lips but allows Faith to make camp in her lap. After a moment she even begins to stroke her hair softly, which Faith wishes didn't feel as good as it did. "Faith…" she whispers, sounding a little upset. "Please talk to me. What's going on? I know you drink but you don't… you don't drink like that."

"Sick of feelin'," Faith mumbles, not at all aware that she's admitting weakness. Everything on her feels heavy and she wishes that the world would just stop moving. She has her eyes closed and still feels like she's spinning out of control.

"Feeling what?" Buffy asks softly.

"Everything. Anything."

Buffy sighs a little, continuing to comb her fingers softly through Faith's hair. "Is this my fault?" she asks, needing to know. "Is that why you wanted me here; to punish me for it?"

"I just… wanted you here," Faith admits quietly, her words kind of garbled as the desire to sleep takes hold of her. Her mouth is more running on autopilot at this point; her brain completely unaware of the conversation she's participating in.

"Why?" Buffy asks, not understanding in the slightest.

"I like… you..." Faith mumbles, her words almost completely indistinguishable. "Safe…" she mutters, right before sleep takes hold of her and she passes out.

The blonde takes a shaky inhale of breath after hearing Faith's admission and looks down at the sleeping girl in her lap, her fingers brushing the hair away from her face. "I just wish you could tell me that when you're sober," Buffy whispers sadly. "But I know you never will."



When Faith wakes up, she feels like she had been hit in the head repeatedly with a two by four. She also finds when she's coherent enough that she's lying in vomit; probably her own. Actually, definitely her own. "Fuck my life," she groans, her whole body feeling like sludge as she tries to sit up. A wave of nausea passes over her once she moves though and she fights the urge to vomit all over her floor. She closes her eyes and wishes she could just go back to sleep and say fuck the world, but she apparently puked on herself in the middle of the night and she needs to shower.

It takes a moment, but when Faith finally opens her eyes she realizes she isn't in bed alone. She nearly jumps out of her freaking skin, but once she realizes its Buffy she relaxes. She must have stayed the night to make sure she didn't die or anything.


Faith tries to remember last night, but the last thing she can remember is nearly falling down and Buffy catching her. All she can do is pray to God that she didn't do or say something incredibly fucking retarded in her drunken stupor. At least Buffy still had all her clothes on, which was… good. Well, not good but it definitely didn't put her in the 'oh shit' column yet.

God, why did she even do that? In what messed up part of her mind did she actually fucking think drinking that much would be helpful? Because right now all she wants to do is die to make this hangover from hell go away. Sometimes she wonders why people even let her make her own decisions; all she does is make bad ones.

Faith carefully crawls out of bed so as to not wake Buffy and heads into her bathroom, turning on the shower. She tries not to breathe in as she takes off her vomit soaked shirt and then shimmies out of her jeans and underwear. Every inch of her is screaming in pain but she sucks it up as she steps under the warm jet of water, needing to wash away the remnants of her idiocy last night.

She can't even remember why she did it in the first place. Then again, knowing her she probably didn't even know why she was doing it when she did it. Faith's never been real big on the self-exploration thing; she lives off of her surface urges. Which while they had always worked for her in the past, are now actually becoming an annoyance. It's one thing to do what you want, when you want it, but it's another thing entirely to do shit and have no idea why anymore.

Sometimes Faith wonders if she's subconsciously trying to become some sort of robot or something. Honestly, probably wouldn't be so fucking bad, actually; to never feel anything.

As she's washing the shampoo out of her hair, she's suddenly surprised to realize she's crying. It startles her because she's been too lost in her own thoughts to notice, and it scares her a little that she's so freaking out of touch with her own damn feelings that its making her start to feel like she's a stranger in her own body. "Fuck, what the fuck," she swears, wiping the tears away violently. "What the fuck is wrong with me?" she exclaims, not really expecting an answer but needing to voice it out loud anyway.

This didn't make any sense; none of this made any goddamn sense. Did she have some sort of mental breakdown last night or something? Has she gone completely bat shit insane? Because if this is what insanity feels like, she doesn't want it – no matter how much of a great excuse it makes.

"Shit," she swears, leaning against the far wall of the shower and sliding down it until she's crouched into a ball at the base of her tub. She's totally cracking up and if she doesn't pull herself together she's going to be finding herself with a one way ticket to the loony bin. Maybe it was just stress… with an apocalypse there's bound to be stress, right? And then with all the bullshit with Cordelia, Xander, and Buffy yesterday maybe she just… cracked.

That might be part of it, but it definitely wasn't all of it; Faith could tell that much as her tears didn't stop no matter how much she tried to hold them in. She was crying so hard she was practically choking but she just couldn't pull herself together; probably what happens when you keep everything bottled inside of you and only allow yourself to cry once a goddamn year, if that.

She was sad though; she could recognize the feeling now, though it was mixed with something else. But she didn't know why she was sad and that made her want to scream and punch a hole in the wall. How can someone just cry and not know why? Is she that much of a freak?

Scared; that's what the other feeling was. But with the end of the world just around the corner, isn't that to be expected? Shit's raining down and fuck knows if they can stop it; hell, the chances of Buffy surviving it are slim to none, even though they all put on a brave face and tell her she'll do fine…

That one, single thought makes her break down even harder and now she's shaking, trying to suck in as much air as she can through her tears so she doesn't end up passing out and drowning. The lump in her throat is painful and her esophagus feels like its closing and… fuck, Faith's pretty sure she's starting to have a panic attack.

She tries to climb out of the tub, not bothering to turn the shower off as she lands heavily on the linoleum floor. She needs to calm down, she needs to fucking calm down so she can breathe, but she keeps thinking about Buffy dying, herself dying, Xander, Willow, Giles… and she can't deal with it. She can barely see through her tears and her whole body still kills from her hangover and for a split second she fears she's going to die on the floor of her bathroom just from sheer panic. How pussy is that?

Buffy must have heard her hit the floor though because suddenly the bathroom door opens and she's standing there; frozen for a second when she sees her friend naked, crying, and barely able to breathe. "Faith!" she exclaims, panic in her voice as she kneels down, trying to find some way to help her.

But Faith can't move, she can't speak, and suddenly without any warning her world goes black.



Chapter Thirty-Two - RPG: A Kinky Sex Thing?

When Faith wakes up, she finds herself in a hospital bed. "Shit," she groans, holding up her hand and finding an IV attached to it. This is probably the most embarrassing thing to ever happen in her life and worse – it had witnesses. When Buffy hears Faith swear she looks up from her magazine and then suddenly it's dropped to the floor, forgotten about as she rushes over to her bedside.

"You're awake," she says, voice filled with relief. Actually, Faith's pretty sure she wants to shoot her fucking face off and not be awake anymore, thanks; this is mortifying. "You scared the crap out of me," Buffy tells her, grasping her hand and holding it like she doesn't want to let her go. She's looking at her in a way that makes Faith's heart rate increase and so she looks away, staring out the door to the hospital room.

"Who else knows?" she asks, needing to know how many damn people knew she was too much of a pansy bitch to deal with everything that's going on.

"Uh," Buffy starts, sounding a little confused as to why Faith would ask that first. But she tells her, "After I called 911 I got your mother because I just didn't… I didn't know what to do. So it's just the two of us. Why?"

Faith locks her jaw for a second, not saying anything as she continues to stare out the door. Finally she requests softly, "Please don't fuckin' tell anyone. I don't need the whole goddamn world knowing I can't handle my own shit."

"Hey," Buffy prods, holding her hand a little tighter and making Faith turn to look at her. "I won't tell, I promise." Faith doesn't say anything so Buffy takes a breath, not exactly knowing what to do now. "Your mother went to go get something to eat – I'm sure she'll be back soon."

"Great," Faith says flatly, not exactly looking forward to her mother freaking out at her. She chews on the inside of her cheek for a little bit, being overly aware that Buffy's still holding her hand but not exactly wanting her to let it go either. "They tell ya what happened?" she asks finally, choosing to stare at the wall instead of her.

"They… said you had a pretty severe panic attack," Buffy admits, running her thumb lightly over the back of Faith's hand. "And I'm not going to ask," she goes on softly, "but only because I know you won't tell me."

The way Buffy says that makes Faith look over at her; it sounded like Buffy didn't think Faith trusted her and that was probably the furthest thing from the truth. Faith trusts her too much – that's the problem. "B, we all might die in like, a freakin' week. What the hell did you think it was about?"

"We're not going to die," Buffy tells her seriously. She pauses, then revises that sentence, "Well, you're not going to die. Me? Maybe." She tries to look okay with that, but Faith can see the fear that registers on her face once she really thinks about that possibility. She tries to brush it off with a failed attempt at humor though because she finishes with, "But you know, that's my job; destined to die young for the good of others. You'd think I'd get paid more for it… or at all."

"And you think I should be fuckin' okay with it because only you might die?" Faith snaps. That's the reason the panic attack started; with the possibility that Buffy may die. Her and her friends were only secondary thoughts; she knows Buffy's the one in the most danger here. "I don't want you to die either!"

"No, I—look, I promise I won't die…" Buffy tries, but she's interrupted by Faith screaming at her.

"You can't promise shit like that, Buffy!"


Faith turns to see her mother standing in the doorway. God, she hopes she wasn't standing there long; it'd be a bitch to try to explain why two teenage girls were worrying about dying. But by the look on her face, she seems to have heard at least part of it. "What's going on?" she asks lightly, yet her tone is full of suspicion as she walks over to her bedside.

"Nothin' Mum, me and B were just having an argument. S'Cool though."

"An argument about dying?" Caroline inquires, looking at the two of them, making damn sure they both knew she wasn't about to fuck around with this conversation. "Why the hell would two teenage girls be worrying about something like that?" Her voice was all accusing and with Faith's luck she probably thinks they made a friggin' suicide pact or something.

She might be stupid, but she ain't that stupid.

"Drugs!" Buffy bursts out with suddenly, making Faith turn and look at her like she's lost her freaking mind. "We're on drugs; lots and lots of… drugs," she tells her, not sounding convincing in the slightest. "That's why we're afraid of dying soon. You know, because drugs are bad and everything." Her eyes shift to look at Faith and she has this expression on that says 'help me!'

Faith wanted to smack Buffy across the back of the head for that crap, and then bang her own against a wall. Her mother wouldn't buy that she's into drugs; she knows how much she hates that she does them.

"Drugs, huh?" Caroline replies flatly, clearly not believing that for a second.

Faith tries to think of something fast and comes up with probably the lamest excuse ever. "Nah, Mum. It ain't drugs it's… uh, we were just playing an RPG." Not that she's ever actually played one, but she hangs out in comic book shops – she's bound to browse through other shit sometimes. Buffy looks at her like she has no freaking clue what that even is, but Faith squeezes her hand tightly, silently telling her to go along with it.

"What's an RPG?" Caroline asks, not having a clue either.

This is so going to prove how completely dorky she really is, but fuck it. Rather this then 'Hey Mum, don't worry – we were just talking about the apocalypse!'

"Role Playing Game. Like, Dungeons and Dragons and shit; ya act stuff out and whatever," Faith explains, trying to sound relatively convincing. "But it's like… usually for scrawny little virgins and me and B got a rep to protect at school so it ain't like we're exactly forthcoming about the shit."

"Drugs are more socially acceptable," Buffy chimes in, shooting a look at Faith.

"Right," Faith agrees before shifting her eyes to look back at her mother. "So if anyone asks, we're shootin' up dope or something."

Caroline looks at both of them like she doesn't understand why anyone would rather say they were doing drugs than playing a game, but she shakes her head, not wanting to get into it. "Nevermind. Do what you guys want, but Faith don't be stupid and go around telling people you're doing drugs. If the 5-0 start knocking at our door and one of us gets a record in this town, you know your father will be here in—"

"Don't fuckin' talk about him!" Faith bursts out, pissed that she's even mentioning this shit with Buffy in the room.

Caroline looks a little peeved that she just got interrupted and screamed at, but she looks at her pointedly and tells her, "You know I have a point. So please don't pull that shit, okay?"

"Fine, fuckin' whatever. Okay? Just shut up about it."

Caroline sighs, knowing she's not going to get anywhere with that conversation. And damn straight too; the last thing Faith even wants to think about is her no good deadbeat Dad. He ain't gonna find them; he's just not. "They did a tox-screen on you," Caroline mentions. "They told me your blood alcohol level was wicked high. What the hell have you been doing?"

"Drinkin', obviously," Faith deadpans.

"Yeah, well I hope you enjoyed it while it lasted, because I'm not buying you anything again," Caroline told her, apparently trying to actually be a mother for once.

"What?" Faith exclaims, getting angry. "Mum, don't be such a fuckin' hypocrite!"

"Look, I might not be winning 'Mother of The Year' any time soon, but I'll be damned if I'm gonna just sit there and watch you fuck up your own life at sixteen! You're lucky I'm not sticking you in rehab."

"My life is fine!" Faith screeches, furious. "And look who's fuckin' talking, huh? I should go to rehab?"

Buffy's looking increasingly uncomfortable with this entire interaction; but she stays quiet, continuing to hold onto Faith's hand.

"This isn't about me," Caroline tells her sternly, getting angry herself. "I already threw away my own life, but you actually have a chance at a future."

Faith scoffs, "Sure. What-the-fuck-ever, Mum." This is complete bullshit. Her mother can sit there and snort up pounds of drugs, but whenever she has a shit day she can't enjoy a damn drink?

Faith isn't doing her anymore favors. This designated drug runner has retired.

Caroline sighs, knowing that Faith's going to be angry with her for quite a while. "I'm going to go find the doctor. Now that you're awake you should be able to get released soon."

"Whatever," Faith mumbles, making a point to not look at her. This is such crap. She can hear her mother let out another small sigh before she turns, heading from the room. Buffy's looking at her intently, but Faith ignores her too.

"Faith?" Buffy starts softly, sounding a little confused. "What's a role-playing game? Is that like some kind of kinky sex thing because—"

Faith can't help but bust out laughing. "B, I said it was for nerdy virgins; how did you get 'kinky sex thing' from that?"

"Well I thought you might have just been lying! I don't know," Buffy protests, flushing. She looks a little unsure of herself as she continues, "But that can be a sex thing, right? Or am I just stupid and making myself out to sound like a huge pervert all in the span of thirty seconds?"

Faith chuckles, far too amused by Buffy's embarrassment. "Yeah, B. It can be a sex thing. Not what I was talkin' about though, but interesting that that's where ya mind went immediately."

Buffy blushes beet red. "I wasn't thinking about us doing it or anything!" she protests, groaning as she pitches her head forward, burying it in Faith's hospital bed sheets. "I should just remove my vocal cords – save myself the embarrassment," she mumbles.

Faith snickers, patting Buffy on the head like an adorable puppy. "Nah, ya wouldn't be nearly as entertaining that way."

But after she finishes patting her head, she finds that her fingers slip through Buffy's hair softly of their own accord. Buffy lifts her head up to look at her and Faith almost brushes a piece of hair away from her face before her hand freezes and she puts it down rather awkwardly. She clears her throat, knowing she should probably untangle her other hand from Buffy's since they've been like that for like ten minutes, but she didn't know how to do it without making it obvious that she's freaking out a little.

Buffy however apparently feels the need to make everything more awkward because she wastes no time leaning in, kissing Faith soundly on the lips. Faith means to pull away immediately, but finds that she can't. It's like her body is running on autopilot as her tongue lightly teases Buffy's, her hand squeezing hers just a little bit tighter.

God, she's totally fucked, isn't she?

When they break, Faith tries to say something but Buffy doesn't give her the chance to. "Don't," she tells her seriously. "You just scared the living crap out me, I thought you were going to die, and especially after all the selfish crap you pulled last night the least you can do is give me that."

Well look at Buffy laying some smack down. Faith can't help but smirk a little bit, but she shrugs, relenting, "Fine. But we're not in a relationship." She doesn't know if she's trying to convince Buffy or herself at this point.

"I know that," Buffy tells her, sighing a little. "Trust me; I'm more than aware of that." She takes a breath and brings their linked hands up to her lips, kissing her hand so softly that it makes Faith feel weird and she has to look away from her. "But can you do me a favor and stop doing really stupid things?" Buffy requests seriously. "Whether you want me to or not, I do care about you. A lot, if I'm being honest."

"Was just havin' a bad night," Faith mumbles, finally taking the initiative to untangle her hand from Buffy's, making the older girl sigh softly in disappointment.

"We all have bad nights, Faith. But that's not a reason for you to try to recreationally give yourself liver failure. And maybe if you just talked to someone about what's going on, then maybe you wouldn't have completely freaked out like that. You can't keep everything buried inside of you forever; all it's going to do is make you explode."

"S'Cool, B," Faith dismisses, not wanting to get into any of this. "I'm dealin' now. Stuff just kinda felt out of control for a sec, but I know I gotta pull my shit together." The apocalypse isn't going to stop itself, after all.

But Faith does know she's gotta deal with some of her issues, cause it ain't just that hell might be raining down on their heads at any given moment. The Buffy thing is obviously a huge factor in her freak out, but it's gotten to the point where everything is so messed up and the lines are so blurred that she doesn't even know what to do about it anymore. At this point she's just about to say fuck it and let what happens happen just so she stops driving herself halfway out of her mind cause of it. On top of that, she feels like she's losing her two best friends; she's been going through all this crap lately and Willow's always hanging out with that Tara girl and Xander's off getting himself some. Faith's always prided herself in not needing anyone, but clearly that whole things been shot to fuck because she hates how alone she feels right now.

Buffy looks at her skeptically, but she doesn't push it. Instead she says, "Good, because I wouldn't want my date for Homecoming to die before I could make my move." She sounds like she's only half joking and Faith narrows her eyes at her.

"Pushin' it, B."

Buffy smirks, knowing that she is. "I know. But I can't help but take advantage of the fact that you're not pulling away as hard today."



Faith would like to think the only reason she wasn't pulling away from Buffy was because she had an IV stuck in her arm and couldn't exactly bolt out the door, but that'd be a lie. She doesn't dwell on it though because the last thing she really needs is another mental breakdown.

Homecoming though; Buffy did remind her that it's coming up soon and Faith still hasn't figured out a dress situation. Once she's out of the hospital and back in her own motel room, she starts going through her shit to see if she had anything worth pawning. Problem is, she doesn't exactly have a lot to her name. Her comic books ain't going to amount to enough and outside of that she doesn't own much else besides her clothes.

This sucks; she doesn't know how she's gonna pull this crap off. It's not like she can ask her mother for money because a) she doesn't have any and b) Faith's still pissed off like all holy hell at her for basically cutting her off from liquor. What even gives her the right? What's more fucked up is that if her Mum wasn't too busy blowing all her money on cocaine, she probably would have the money to get her a damn dress.

Her cocaine.

Faith has a really bad idea, but because she's pissed it translates into a brilliant one in her head. If her mother wants to cut her off, fine; then she'll cut her off. Her mother just got a new bag yesterday and handed it over to Faith to manage her use and if she sold it she could probably get at least eighty dollars from it; that's enough to get her dress and shove a big 'fuck you' in her mother's face.

Faith smirks; well, that's one problem solved.

She looks over at her phone and sighs a little; now for her second problem. She climbs to her feet, leaving her comic books spread all across the floor, and walks over to her phone. After dialing Xander's number, she settles back on her bed and rhythmically slaps her boots with her hand, having the overwhelming urge to just move all of a sudden.

Xander picks up on the second ring. "Hello?"

"Xand; need ya over here in like fifteen," Faith tells him, not bothering to say hello.

Xander noticeably pauses. "Is this one of those times where if I go over there you're going to kick my ass? Because I bruise easily."

"Dude, I ain't ever kicked your ass, so no," Faith replies flatly. Xander should know better than to think that she'd actually do that, even if she is pissed at him. "Just come over, okay? Got shit goin' on." She pauses, not knowing if she should tell him this but figuring she might need the extra push to actually get him to come, so she adds, "I just got out of the hospital."

"What?" Xander exclaims. "What the hell happened, Faith?"

"Just come over, okay?" Faith requests a little impatiently. She doesn't want to do this over the phone.

"Alright," Xander relents, sounding a little worried. "I'll be over there in a second."

Xander was over her house in less than twenty minutes and once Faith hears him knock on the door she yells, "Come in!" The door opens cautiously, like Xander still isn't sure that he won't get decked in the face, and Faith rolls her eyes once he peeks his head around to look at her sitting on the bed. "Not gonna hit you, Xand. Chill out."

Xander laughs nervously, but walks all the way into the room and closes the door behind him. "I knew that," he tells her unconvincingly. "So what happened?" he asks, sitting next to her on the bed. "Demon attack?"

"Fuckin' wish," Faith says sighing, rubbing her temples. "Nah, I just… drank too much and kinda passed out. Wouldn't wake up and B freaked," she lied, figuring that's a better thing to say than she had a full blown panic attack. She trusts Xander, but that's not exactly something she wants everyone knowing.

"Faith…" he starts, voice filled with disapproval.

"I know, I know; don't start. I already got an ear full from B and my Mum, who by the way refuses to buy me liquor now. Fuckin' hypocrite."

"While I applaud your Mom for… well, actually being a mom; it is a little hypocritical," Xander agrees. "Not that I'm advocating for you to drink yourself into a coma either, I was just saying."

"For fuck's sake, I'm not trying to drink myself into a coma!" Faith exclaims, getting a little sick of everyone worrying about it. "You guys need to stop freaking out about something that's barely even an issue right now."

"You ended up in the hospital," Xander points out flatly.

"Only once," Faith retorts, like it's some kind of brilliant excuse. She waves it off though, "Whatever, I didn't have ya over to talk about me. What the hell is going on with you and Chlamydia?"

"You mean Cordelia?" Xander corrects, trying to not look amused by the nickname, yet failing miserably. Faiths smirks.

"Same thing. But yeah; what I meant. And I'm sorry I like… freaked the fuck out on you before it was just, I dunno, unexpected," Faith tries to apologize, albeit a little awkwardly. She shrugs, "Plus right before that B asked me to Homecoming and my head was all kinds of in a screwed up place, y'know?"

Xander shifts uncomfortably on the bed but says, "Yeah, I get it. It just… I don't know how it happened. It was kind of a blur. One minute we were screaming at each other and the next… bam; we were making out. She kind of jumped on me, actually. I could have sworn we got sucked into an alternate universe or something."

"See, I don't get it. I just… she fucking hates us, Xander," Faith replies, still confused because that seriously cleared nothing up for her. "When the hell did this even start?"

"The day we found out Kennedy was a potential Slayer too," he answers. "I was in the supply closet trying to get… uh, supplies—"

"Were you stealin' shit again?" Faith asks, chuckling a little.

"Look, it's not my fault all my number two pencils disappear all the time; I swear we have a ghost in this school – a nerdy ghost who likes Algebra! I was just trying to stock up," Xander defends. "Besides, they have like a thousand boxes of those things, it's not like they're going to notice if I… borrow one."

Faith snorts, but motions for him to continue. The pencils weren't the point.

"Okay so I'm in there getting pencils and all of a sudden Cordelia comes running in completely freaked out because I guess the mirror in the girls room started talking to her? I don't know, she wasn't making any sense. Anyway, she closed the door to the supply closet after she ran in and kind of… locked us in there," Xander explains. "So of course she starts yelling at me like it's my fault she closed the door. So I start yelling at her and I don't know, we were doing that for about twenty minutes and all of a sudden… she's like, on top of me."

Faith blinks. That still makes a sense that is none. "Why?"

"I don't know! I still don't know. I don't know what's going on or why it's going on, but it just is! Now she's pulling me into bathrooms and closets and making out with me randomly before she completely switches personalities and is all 'get off me!' like she wasn't the one who started this whole thing in the first place!" Xander exclaims, looking completely perplexed. "I don't understand. Are women normally like that?"

"Uh, no. Queen C's just fuckin' nuts, Xand. She probably finally cracked and has gone all schizo," Faith tells him, giving him a sympathetic look. Poor kid; first girl that's shown an interest in him and she's gotta be bat shit insane. She takes a breath though, not wanting to bring this up but knowing that she has to. "Ya know she isn't like… faithful to you, right?" she asks carefully.

Xander shrugs, trying to hide his disappointment. "I didn't really think she would be; she's not my girlfriend or anything. We're just… I don't what we're doing, honestly. I guess I'm just taking what I can get until she finds something better."

Faith's mouth drops open. "Do you fuckin' hear yourself, Xand? You don't deserve that shit. You need to get a girl who actually gives a crap about you; not some bitch that makes you her dirty little secret. I don't get why you allow yourself to be used like that."

"Probably for the same reason all of those women you sleep with allow themselves to be used by you," Xander replies softly, knowing that's going to hit a sore spot.

"Ouch, dude."

"Sorry, but you know it's true," Xander tells her, shrugging lightly. "You use women and they allow you to because you're probably the hottest thing they're ever going to have."

Faith pauses, processing that statement. Finally she tells him, "I don't know whether to be insulted or complimented by that."

Xander laughs a little, shaking his head. "Be both? I don't know. It's still the truth regardless."

Faith shakes her head. "No. No, dude. I mean yeah, probably with the bitches I sleep with, but you can do so much better than Cordy and you know it."

"Maybe I can get someone better, but I definitely can't get anyone hotter," Xander tells her honestly.

"Still think that's bullshit."

"Well that's because you're a good friend; you have to say that," Xander replies, chuckling a little. "Trust me, Faith; I know what kind of women I can get and what kind I can't. So Cordelia? She might be crazy, but I like being able to say that I made out with that. It kind of inflates my ego a little."

Faith smirks; she knows how that goes. Bragging rights always have to count for something. "Fine," she tells him. "I don't like it; ain't ever gonna like it, but you might as well at least fuck that to make it worth your while, all I'm sayin'."

Xander laughs. "Trust me, I'm trying."



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