Chapter Thirty-Six - Two Girls In All The World
Faith expects to be met by a legion of vampires and the Master once she gets to the bottom of the tunnel, but instead she's greeted by nothing more than a wide stretch of space illuminated by candlelight. In the center is a small pool of water and Faith's stomach drops once she sees who's lying face down in it. "BUFFY!" she screams, taking off with a burst of speed to immediately fall to her knees beside the fallen girl.
Faith pulls her out of the water, lying Buffy on her back. Her heart is racing in her chest, she can literally hear each erratic beat. What frightens her is that she can't hear Buffy's at all. "No, no, no, no," she whispers, her hands cupping Buffy's cold face. "Please don't be dead, please…" she breathes as she starts to do CPR on the girl beneath her.
Part of her knows it's futile; that if she's the Slayer now then that means that Buffy's really gone. But she refuses to believe that. Buffy's strong, stronger than any fucking person she's ever met in her entire life and she can not be dead. She just can't be, damnit! Fuck destiny, fuck prophecies; they don't mean jack shit, they're just fucking words spewed by virginal monks or something and just… fuck, she can't be dead! No!
Faith's lips cover Buffy's as she tries to breathe air into her lungs. "Please, please," she whispers, tears starting to fall from her eyes as her hands do chest compressions. One, two, three, breathe. But Buffy isn't moving, she isn't breathing, and Faith still can't hear her heart and she's starting to really freak out now. "You can't be dead!" she screams, praying Buffy can hear her and that she'll wake up. "You can't fucking be dead, Buffy! Not now, not when I…" she chokes on her tears and covers Buffy's mouth again with hers, desperately trying to give her some air.
Not when I just realized that I need you.
Because Faith does; she fucking needs Buffy in her life. It's a scary realization but the fear of that doesn't even compare to the fear that Buffy may never wake up again. She's been so fucking stupid; she shouldn't have pushed Buffy away, she shouldn't have been such a slut, she shouldn't have been so goddamn scared of something that in retrospect is so freaking simple. Why couldn't Faith have told her that she gave a fuck? Why couldn't she have tried to be in a stupid relationship? Why couldn't she have just done something? Buffy can't die; not like this. Her last day on earth shouldn't be filled with sadness and feelings of betrayal. This is her fault; Faith's… she knows it's her fault. She did this. Buffy came out here alone because of her.
"B, please…" she chokes as she does three more chest compressions. She knows she should just give up, but she refuses. On the third one, Faith hears the best sound she's ever heard in her life: Buffy choking as she coughs up the bit of water that's in her lungs. "Oh my god," Faith breathes, eyes wide in shock as she can hear Buffy's heart starts beating in her chest again. "Holy fucking shit, B… Buffy…" That's impossible… isn't it? She was dead! Sure she was trying but she didn't expect… fuck, she was just being stubborn!
Is this some kind of miracle? Faith's never been religious, but fucking hell she's about to get down on her knees and thank God in a second.
"Faith?" Buffy asks, coughing a little as she opens her eyes. She looks like she thinks she's hallucinating and she asks confused, "Am I dead?" She struggles to get herself up to a sitting position.
Faith lets out a small, relieved laugh before she gathers Buffy in her arms, kissing her with every bit of emotion she has in her. "Jesus," she breathes against her lips between kisses. "I thought you were gone… I fuckin' thought…" But Faith doesn't finish. Instead she presses her lips to hers again; needing Buffy to know how glad she is that she's alive. She's pretty sure she's still crying but it really doesn't matter – nothing fucking matters besides the fact that she can feel Buffy's breath against her lips again.
When they broke Buffy says, kind of dazed. "Yeah, I'm definitely dead. Though I have to say: heaven? Not as pretty as I would have expected. Was kind of expecting a harp playing angel at least."
Faith laughs a little; that's so Buffy for you. "You're not dead," she tells her, voice filled with emotion as she touches Buffy's hair, her cheek, her neck. She leans in and kisses her on the forehead. "Fuckin' thought you were though. Or I guess… shit, you did die, for a minute because…" she trails off; she's not exactly sure how to tell her that she's the Slayer now. Does that mean Buffy isn't anymore?
"The splitting has come to pass, as it is written."
Both Buffy and Faith turn, jumping up in a defensive stance as they suddenly realize they're not alone anymore. Faith take a step forward in front of Buffy, almost trying to shield her from three ugly ass demons in black robes that appeared out of fucking nowhere.
"Who the hell are you?" Faith demands.
The first one speaks first, "We are one." Then the second one, "We are many." Then the third, "We are the Composers of Prophecy."
Do they really have to talk like that? That's freaking weird.
"The Zan'Hurrak," Faith answers, putting the pieces together. Her heart is pounding in her throat. Why the fuck are they here? If it's to kill them, they really don't need this kind of shit right now. The Master's all vertical and walking around upstairs and that kinda takes precedence at the moment.
Buffy's eyes flash though and she steps out from behind Faith. "You killed my Watcher!" she screams, just as she takes off towards them to lay some serious smack down.
"B!" Faith calls out, but it's too late because the middle demon passes his hand through the air and suddenly Buffy's warded back by some sort of force field. She nearly trips over a rock as she's blown back and Faith catches her.
"We pose no threat to you," the second demon tells her. "We are merely the messengers, not the hand that drives the sword," the third finishes.
"What the fuck is that supposed to mean?" Faith demands as Buffy steadies herself on her feet.
"We are the composers prophecies; writers of destinies. We do not carry them out," the first informs them. Faith thinks that's one large load of bullshit, but she fumes silently. Sure, they don't but they probably got a whole slew of minions to do their dirty work for them. But they gotta be here for a reason then, right? Might as well let them spew their crap.
"Then what are you here for?" Buffy demands, still looking like she wants to flay each and every one of them on the spot.
"The apocalypse draws near," the third demon replies.
"Uh, have ya checked the news lately? Big bad and ugly has already escaped from his cage, geniuses," Faith spits, annoyed by their complete lack of answers that made any kind of sense.
"An ally once trusted will turn against you during the coming war," the first demon tells them, ignoring Faith's response. "A death will cripple the darkness, leaving the soul vulnerable to corruption," the second goes on. "The light must eradicate the coming shadows before the fourth phase of the moon, or earth will perish in the fires of Hell," finishes the third.
"What the fuck does that even mean?" Faith asks, really confused now. Can't they speak like normal fucking… non-people? Jesus Christ. They don't exactly have a weirdo demon translator handy.
"You have been warned," all three of them say just before a bright light blinds both Slayers. They shield it with their hands and when the light fades, they're left alone. They look at each other, neither of them understanding what they were just told.
"The Master," Buffy says suddenly, remembering what happened before. "Shit, Faith… it's my fault he rose. He couldn't have left without drinking some of my blood." She presses her palm to her forehead for a moment before sighing and running her fingers through her hair. "Damnit. I didn't think—God, I hate prophecies!"
"You and me both, B. But fuck playin' the blame game; let's get out of this gutter and go filet his ass."
She takes Buffy's hand and is about to lead her back up the tunnels, but the blonde stops her. "No, Faith; I'm not going to let you get hurt. This isn't your fight!"
"Fuckin' hell it ain't my fight!" Faith exclaims. "I just had to bring you back from the dead. From the fuckin' dead, B! Can you even think for one goddamn second how screwed up that was? That asshole fucked with my property, I ain't lettin' that slide."
"Your property?" Buffy repeats, sounding halfway between astounded and offended. "I'm still angry with you, you know! You may have saved my life, but that doesn't make up for everything."
Talk about ungrateful.
"So not the time."
"I know it's not—!" Buffy starts, but stops herself midway and sighs instead. "Fine. But you're still not coming with me to fight the Master. He'll kill you in a second; you're not the Slayer."
"B, you died!" Faith exclaims, trying to make her understand what the hell that means. Buffy doesn't seem to be comprehending though.
"So? I feel fine now, I can do this!"
"No, you're not fuckin' getting it," Faith replies, letting out her own sigh of aggravation. "You died and…" she's sure she's not going to take this well so she exhales a hesitant breath before finishing, "and I became the Slayer, B."
Buffy stares at her for a moment, a look of utter disbelief on her face. Finally she shakes her head and says, "No, that's not possible. I know I'm still the Slayer, Faith; I can feel it."
"Well then we both are! I don't fuckin' know. I just know that I am! I can see better, hear better, smell better, and fuck knows I'm stronger than I've ever been, so yeah; pretty damn sure here," Faith tells her, needing her to understand that she's not lying or anything. "And can't… hell, can't you feel me?" she asks. "Because I'm pretty sure that humming feeling I'm gettin' right now is you."
Buffy continues to stare at her for a moment, as she's taking all of this information in. She's still looking distrustful though so she tells Faith, "Hit me."
"Just humor me for a second."
"B, I'm not gonna fuckin'—"
But Buffy punches her in the arm which makes Faith retaliate by hitting her back just as hard. The feeling for both of them makes them stop, staring at each other. "That actually kind of hurt," Buffy tells her, astounded.
"And that didn't hurt nearly as bad as it used to," Faith adds. Instead of feeling like she just got hit by a truck, it's like she was just punched by someone… well, normal.
"This is so crazy," Buffy says, staring at Faith like she doesn't exactly know what to make of her anymore. "How is this even possible?"
"Dunno. But ya think that's what those ugly ass things were talkin' about? The splitting happening, like maybe the Slayer split between us?" Faith asks, trying to piece everything together and have it make some sort of sense. She hopes it doesn't mean they're only half as strong though; that would suck.
"I don't know, but we should probably figure it out later. We need to go," Buffy tells her, her brain catching up to the situation at hand that doesn't include the anomaly in the Slayer line.
Fuck, she's right. Who knows what kind of damage the Master has already done while they were standing down here getting lectured by a bunch of demon monks and playing punch for punch.
The two of them make their way out of the tunnels quickly, stealing across the graveyard in record time. But then Faith stops, grabbing Buffy's arm. "What?" Buffy asks, impatient.
"Where the hell are we even going? How do we know where the bastard's gonna be?"
"We don't, that's why I'm figuring we should go back to Giles and regroup – he might have some info we don't," Buffy answers, like Faith should have figured that part out already. Well excuse her for not being able to read minds.
"Fine, then let's motor," Faith replies, biting back her sarcastic remark. The two of them take off again until they reach the outskirts of the Sunnydale High parking lot. This time Faith doesn't have to stop Buffy because she grinds to a halt at the same time Faith does; staring out at the school with the same look of horror Faith's wearing.
Vampires were everywhere. At least thirty five of them were making their way into the back entrance of the school, near the library. "Well, least we know where he's at," Faith responds to the scene dryly. Fuck.
"Why would he want to come to the high school?" Buffy asks, though knowing Faith doesn't have an answer for her.
Faith shrugs. "Fuck if I know, but at least they ain't goin' in the gym; we'd have massive casualties. Ya think they're after G's books?"
"Only one way to find out," Buffy replies before she takes off towards the school. "The roof!" she calls back to her, letting Faith know that they're going the back way, away from all the vampires that could alert the Master of their presence. Faith nods and continues after her, hoping all her friends were still safely in the gym and not wandering around the damn library.
They get to the fire escape and start climbing until they've reached the second floor. Unfortunately, that's where its cuts off and they still got at least five more feet until they get to the roof. "Give me a boost and I'll pull you up," Buffy instructs, turning her gaze from the roof back to Faith.
Faith cocks an eyebrow at her. "Take off those heels and we'll talk."
Buffy sighs in aggravation but kicks off her heels, telling her impatiently, "I can fight in heels, you know."
"Not ya fighting I was worried about. It's you climbin' on me with those things; pretty sure I'm gonna end up shanked."
Buffy rolls her eyes. "You can't get shanked with a high heel, Faith." She puts her bare foot in Faith's linked hands and holds onto her shoulders.
"Ya don't think?" Faith counters as she lifts Buffy up with enough ease that it actually surprises her. It's going to take her awhile to get used to being super freaky strong, that's for sure. She looks up as Buffy gets herself situated on the roof and waits for her to hold her hand out, but it never comes.
"I'm sorry," Buffy apologizes, looking a little guilty.
"B…" Faith warns, knowing exactly what she's trying to do. She damn well better not. This ain't no time for jokes! Buffy already died once fighting this dude, does she seriously think she can take him on again alone?
"I'm not going to let you get hurt; this is my fight. I'm sorry," is Buffy's only rushed explanation before she takes off running.
"BUFFY!" Faith screams in aggravation. Fuck, she should have known she was gonna do that. She's still got that 'one girl in all the world' complex. Whatever; Faith knows how to work with what she's got. It's not ideal and it definitely doesn't allow her the element of surprise, but she's out of options.
Faith's elbow collides with the second floor window she's next to, shattering the glass on impact. Damn, that was a little louder than she expected it to be. Snyder's probably gonna piss himself when he sees it, but Faith's hoping there isn't any cameras around that documented her little delinquent act. She'd rather not get suspended when she's trying to save the world, thanks.
Faith climbs into the building and finds herself in a classroom. She runs over to the door and… of course it's locked. "Man, I hope this works," she mutters as she takes a couple steps back. She's only seen this in the movies and she knows that when she wasn't a Slayer she'd probably break her leg doing this, but she rears back and kicks the door will full force.
The damn thing nearly comes flying off its hinges.
"Sweet," Faith exclaims, grinning. She could get used to this. Her attention flies to the sounds coming from downstairs; the vampires were moving in fast. However they seemed to be completely ignoring the racket Faith's making upstairs. Though it confuses her, she doesn't dwell on it; more important shit to worry about. Instead she takes the stairs two at a time to get to the roof door.
When she barrels her way through it she hears the Master speaking to Buffy from on top of the library roof across the way. "You're dead," he says, surprise in his voice as he sees Buffy standing not ten feet in front of him.
"And I still look pretty," she quips, "which is more than I can say for you."
"You were destined to die; it was written!" the Master exclaims, looking furious with this new plot twist. He snarls and holds out his hand, as if trying to enchant her. "Come here," he demands. Faith's about to laugh at his ridiculous attempt at mojo, but starts to freak out a little once Buffy's feet actually start moving towards them, seemingly of their own accord.
When the hell did vamps get that kind of power?
"Buffy!" she yells, beginning to run towards her. That seems to break the Master's concentration and he turns, watching Faith jump over a small sunroof to get to them. Buffy hits the Master square in the jaw before falling back into a defensive stance, smirking. He snarls, backing up a few steps.
"This can't be…" he mutters, looking between the two of them. "Such power should not radiate from two girls, there can only be one Slayer!"
"Your fault, ya know," Faith tells him, smirking as she watches the Master reevaluate his position now that he's up against two Slayers. "If ya hadn't tried to gank B, I wouldn't be here right now."
"I told you to stay behind," Buffy hisses, looking over at her with disapproval. "Don't you ever listen?"
"Have I ever?" Faith replies, grinning as she suddenly fills with more confidence than she's ever had in her life. This bastard's gonna die; she can feel it. If he can't even manage to kill one Slayer properly, how in the fuck is gonna kill two?
But that confidence is quickly shattered once a deafening crash is heard below. Both slayers look down the large oval sunroof into the library, eyes wide. "What the fuck is that?" Faith screams, seeing a fifteen foot tentacle-clad looking creature burst out of the floor – right in the middle of the library.
That can't be normal.
"Faith, everyone's down there!" Buffy exclaims, finally taking notice of Giles and their friends pressed up against the doors, trying to keep the herds of vampires out. "Faith, we need to—!" but she doesn't get to finish her sentence because all of a sudden the Master grabs her by her throat during her lapse in concentration.
He hovers two fingers in front of her eyes, trying to enchant her again. "You will not struggle," he hisses and Buffy stops moving instantly.
Dude, this hypnotizing shit ain't fair. At least he can only seem to do one of them at a time, which puts him at a serious disadvantage.
"She might not, but I sure as fuck will," Faith tells him before she kicks out; her foot landing square on his back and making him release his hold on Buffy. He snarls and whips around to face her, blocking the first punch she throws but unable to dodge the second.
Faith can't celebrate her victory long though because his fingers are soon wrapped around her throat. What is it with him and his asphyxiation kink? "You got fruit punch mouth," she informs him as she sees Buffy come up behind him. Off of his confused look she smirks just as Buffy punches the back of his head hard. He drops Faith instantly and snarls.
"Faith, help them!" Buffy shouts, but Faith doesn't budge.
"And watch you get hypnotized and bitten again? No thanks, Princess. Besides, Angel's down there; he's got that covered while we deal with this asshole."
"FAITH!" Buffy screams in frustration as she dodges another punch, which allows Faith the opening to attack.
"Ya want me go to down there? Then let's dust this fucker quickly so I can!" Faith shouts back, not about to leave Buffy alone. Honestly, neither of them should be alone with this Houdini mother fucker.
"Ugh, sometimes I hate that you're so damn stubborn!" Buffy shouts, pouring out all her aggravation at Faith on the Master.
It's strange, but it seems like after a little while they seemed to be moving in sync with each other; complimenting each other's moves. As they've never trained like that since they've never been on the same level, it's safe to assume it only came naturally. It was kind of wicked, if Faith's being honest.
The Master was strong; there was no denying that. Even with their combined strength and skill they still had a hell of a time fighting him. They kept him occupied enough though that he couldn't hypnotize them, which Faith figures is a plus just in case he got fed up and ordered one of them to kill themselves. After a brutal back and forth, Faith sees an opening and drives a stake through his heart.
But nothing happens.
The Master laughs, pulling the stake out from his chest and dropping it to the ground. "You're going to need a bigger stake, Slayer."
"Uh, B…?" Faith starts, backing up a few steps. Fuck, it ain't like they're carrying sharpened two by fours in their back pockets. The Master advances on her, cackling in that typical bad guy way. Mixed between her feelings of dread, Faith can't help but wonder if all vamps have to take lessons for that kind of shit.
"On it," Buffy tells her as she looks down through the sun roof, into the library. Faith's too busy to see what she's doing though because he suddenly has his hands around her throat again.
"Fuck, what is it with you and choking people!" Faith screams through her coughs as she feels her airway start to close. "Anyone tell you there's supposed to be a safe word involved?" Her fingers close around his own, trying to pry them off of her.
She has the stray hope that maybe Buffy can get at him, but that's diminished when the Master apparently senses her coming and suddenly she's in a choke hold as well. "Fuck, way to go," Faith wheezes, starting to feel a lightheaded. He's backing them up towards the sunroof and Faith's praying he doesn't throw them through it.
"Did you really think you could stop me from unleashing Hell upon this earth?" he goads, looking far too pleased with himself than Faith would like.
"You're that amped about Hell?" Buffy asks, eyes flashing before she grabs a hold of his throat. Faith instantly follows her lead and places her hand over Buffy's, helping her keep him in a choke hold. "Then go there," she tells him before she shoots a pointed look at Faith. Maybe it's a Slayer thing, but Faith seems to instantly understand what she's trying to do.
They move in sync as they step to the side quickly, forcing the Master to release his hold on them as they hurl him through the glass of the sunroof. He curses at them as he falls, but it's short lived once he lands on a large, jagged piece of the flooring that was uprooted from the tentacle demon's entrance. He screams as he turns to dust, leaving nothing but a skeleton behind.
Damn, Faith ain't ever seen any actually leave something behind before. Guy must be super fucking old.
The second the Master dies, the large tentacle demon retreats back into the hole it came from and the vampires scatter. Giles and their friends look up at the roof to try to figure out what the hell just happened and they're greeted by Buffy and Faith's grinning faces.
"One apocalypse down," Faith says, turning to look at Buffy.
Buffy frowns as she finishes, "Ugh, which means one more to go."
"Don't sweat it, girlfriend. There's two of us now; serious ass kicking is bound to happen." Faith grins at her and Buffy tries to keep herself from smiling, but one sneaks out anyway.
"Your cockiness is going to kill you one day, you know," she warns, but lightly. She still sounds amused regardless.
"Whatever. Least when I die I'm gonna go out thinkin' I'm the shit."
Buffy laughs, shaking her head as the two of them begin to make their decent back down to the library.