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by Sapphire Smoke



Rating: NC-17
Pairing(s): Buffy/Faith, Buffy/Satsu
Timeline: Season 8 - though in my world the whole Gigi thing never happened and the whole world isn't going to shit with Twilight. Because I say so. lol
Summary: 1st in the Return to the Castle series. Slayer dreams don't always mean an apocalypse is looming, but they're still confusing as hell.
A/N: I don't know why I'm doing another mutichapter story. I think I might be insane.



Chapter One - The Excuses We Make

"What are we doing?"

The quiet question seemed to echo through the darkness of the room, hanging in mid air over their heads like it has after every single time this has happened in the past month. Buffy always had to ask it outloud; always had to voice it, like each time she does she expects a different, grander answer to something so simple yet so complicated.

Satsu doesn't answer her; she's decided to stop trying to find answers for her, knowing that Buffy isn't looking for any answer that she could give her. She knows she needs to find it for herself. But Buffy still waits, the question lingering overhead, for some grand insight she expects the younger Slayer to give her. But nothing comes besides a soft kiss to her neck, something that's meant to be comforting, but it makes Buffy close her eyes and try to remember that what she's doing constitutes 'wrong' in every single meaning of the word.

This thing with Satsu is like déjà vu for her; Spike happening all over again only this time there's a lot less violence involved. But strip it down to the core and you can still stamp 'user and abuser' on her forehead. Sometimes she thinks she should; at least just to give people fair warning, though then she realizes another human being would probably never want to get close to her again, and the fact that that stops her, makes her want to tattoo 'selfish' on her left butt cheek; though that being on her left butt cheek may make that warning come just a little too late.

Well, the placement of the tattoo can be up for debate.

Satsu looks down at Buffy, her features outlined by the soft light of the moon spilling through the window. She looks distressed, again, just like after every single time they've had sex and all she wants to do is reach out and fix it. Buffy won't ever let her come that close though. They can fall into bed with each other time after time and for being so close to the alpha Slayer she knows she's still so distant. She may even be more distant from her now then she ever was before. Buffy used to talk to her but now she barely speaks more than a couple words to her and most of them are barked out orders. They slay, they have sex.

How meaningless it is breaks Satsu's heart and yet she can't stop herself from wanting to be wrapped up in Buffy's embrace, even for a moment. To know that just for a second Buffy is all hers.

"Do you want to talk about it?" Satsu asks quietly, even though she knows she'll be shot down. She doesn't know why she bothers; Einstein once said the definition of insanity is to perform the same task over and over and expect different results; which could also, arguably, be the definition of stupid too.

But then again, they also say love is stupid. And blind. And… complicated. Yes, love was definitely complicated, especially for someone who's apparently insane and stupid.

Buffy looks up at her lover and forces herself to give her a small smile. She reaches her hand out and tucks a stray strand of dark hair behind her ear before pressing her palm to her cheek. "I'm okay," she tells her, even though they both know she's not. Satsu accepts her answer though and that might be why it's so easy for Buffy to keep doing this.

Satsu doesn't force her to come up with answers or reasons. She doesn't send her weird mixed signals and then demand unmixed ones from Buffy herself (unlike some people she knows). Buffy knows exactly what Satsu wants from her and yet the younger slayer is still patient enough to let Buffy figure out what it is that she wants even though she's been all over the map lately.

I think I like you. We can't be together. Yes, let's have lots of rampant lesbian sex, please. Oh no, wait, that was a mistake. But, hey, let's do it again. Wait no, this is bad because I'm not gay and you could die. But hey, everyone has a bi-curious moment or twelve, right? Good. Bad. Yay, orgasms. Guilt. Good. Bad. Etc, etc and so on and so forth.

Buffy's giving herself a headache. She has no idea how Satsu can stand it.

It's not even the girl thing that wigs her anymore; though that was a large contributing factor during her first private little mental breakdown she had in the shower last month. Buffy's still not ready to jump on the gay train and wave a rainbow flag around by any means, but she's accepted that there's a part of her that actually enjoys the touch of another woman. Though whether that means she enjoys women as a whole gender or just Satsu, she has yet to figure out.

It was all too easy to give in. Satsu is beautiful, confident… sweet. Buffy remembers how it started that first night. Wound up from the slay and emotions running high. She barely stood a chance against her lesbian powers (because seriously, she's got to have some sort of powers cause… wow) and it seemed like such a simple answer to a more complicated problem.

"This is a bad idea," Buffy told the younger slayer breathlessly, who's eyes were black from desire. Buffy could feel it coursing through her as well and she just said that to have it out there; have it known. They weren't even doing anything yet, but god did she want to.

"Probably," Satsu responded honestly, but her breathing is hitched and they were drawing closer.

Neither of them really knew how they ended up in that position, so intimately together against a wall. Buffy vaguely remembered tripping over the rug in the hallway as she tried to make a frantic dash to her room so she could relieve some tension, and she vaguely remembered Satsu catching her before she fell and steadying her against said wall. But that was ages ago, wasn't it? Buffy felt like she'd been staring at the younger girl forever, her heart pounding in her throat and every inch of her threatening to explode.

Buffy wanted to kiss her so badly and the revelation kind of startled her because the only person she's ever had that thought about was… well, that didn't end well. Buffy's pretty sure because of that she shouldn't be wanting to kiss other girls. Any girls. Girls in general. Then again, she never had the best track record with men either and oh
god she could now feel Satsu's breath against her lips.

She was not this damp a second ago. Has she become gay? Can you
become gay?

And Satsu's in love with her! That's not the best way to start out a relationship; with one person being in love and the other… what was she doing? About to experiment? Cause right now? God, yes, did she want to experiment. There was lots of experimenting to be had if it all felt like this and they hadn't even got to the good part yet.

The anticipation was killing her.

"I'm just going to end up hurting you," Buffy told her softly, trying to talk some sense into her. Maybe even into herself. By this point though she was mainly just talking to talk because she was pretty sure her mind was somewhere in the realm of 'Bed, now.'

"I trust you," Satsu breathed over her lips, making Buffy melt into one big pile of Slayer goo. She closed her eyes and took a breath, trying to think, but the only thing that seemed to be thinking for her was her very wet—

"You shouldn't," Buffy whispered. "It's going to get you killed." Everyone who loves her always dies.

Satsu smirked, thinking that she was being a bit overdramatic. She leaned and pressed her lips to Buffy's ear, "I trust you with my life, Buffy." And she did, she always would. But that wasn't what this was about. "I'm not expecting anything," she told her.

"You're in love with me," Buffy protests, but her resolve was fading quickly. She felt her hands sneak around Satsu's body of their own accord, pulling the younger girl closer to her. Satsu smiled, Buffy could feel it against her cheek.

"Yes, I am. And if you want… I'll spend all night showing you how much."

That pretty much sealed the deal for Buffy, that one sentence being so sweet, so sensual, and so sexy the way it was breathed into her ear that it made Buffy feel like she was on fire and all she wanted was to be consumed by Satsu. And she was, completely and utterly.

It was so perfect and any sane person would jump at the chance of being with a girl like Satsu. Buffy wants to feel things for her, she does. Satsu is so close to perfect and yet Buffy can't find it in herself to feel more than just… friendship. Well, friendship with some sexy feelings. But it's like something's missing and both of them know it. Just neither of them has said anything about it. Satsu is happy with what she's getting and Buffy's just… needing to feel something human.

So no, what's wigging her isn't the girl thing; it's that deep down she knows she's just using her and that in the end she's going to end up crushing the girl's heart into a million tiny pieces… and yet she can't make herself stop. She's been lonely; she wants to feel connected again to someone in any way that she can. It's not the connection (that's a whole other screwed up mess she doesn't want to get into) but it's still something at least.

And that, right there, in big bold and shiny letters spells out the word "selfish."

Buffy sighs and sits up, clutching the sheets to her body. Satsu moves back a little, knowing this part all too well: the part when Buffy runs. "You don't have to go," she tells her, though once again knowing it's useless.

"I know. It's just… training tomorrow. Faith's coming back with more girls and if the last batch was anything like this next one I'm going to have to check myself into a mental institution sooner than I planned," Buffy tells her, feeling awfully old and tired all of a sudden.

"You often think about checking yourself in to a mental institution?" Satsu asks her, a little amused.

Buffy smirks a little. "More than you know."

Satsu watches the blonde gather her clothes and the silence seems to stretch on forever. It's always like this. Satsu isn't naïve about what's going on and about what this is. She knows she's going to get her heart broken in the end; that Buffy's going to come to her senses and stop this at some point. Buffy pretty much told her that from the beginning. Better to have loved and lost though, right? That way of thinking might make her a little naive though; she's never loved and lost… she's never experienced the pain. Yet here she is, willingly opening herself up to it. Maybe she should be the one checking herself into a mental institution.

She still holds onto the hope though. It's small, but it's there. She has to hold onto it because it's the only thing that keeps her sane and patient.

Once she's fully clothed, Buffy turns and leans down over the bed to cup the back of Satsu's neck as she gives her a long, deep kiss. "I want you there with me… when Faith comes back." She doesn't take her hand off of the younger Slayer's neck; maybe like she's afraid Satsu will run when faced with something Buffy absolutely needs her to do. But if, well, anything Satsu has done since she's been here has been any indication, Buffy knows she won't run. But she still has to make sure.

"You do?" Satsu asks, surprised. Whenever Faith comes back every few months with new girls, the meeting that they have is always reserved for the original "Scoobies," which she was not.

"Yeah. Faith being here is about as pleasant for me as getting a root canal and I think I need you to be my moral-support girl so I don't throw her out a window again. Xander told me that if I do I'm going to have to be the one that fixes it this time and I'm awful when it comes to being a handy… woman. Destroying I can do. Fixing? Not so much."

Last time Faith was here Buffy and her got into a huge fight which ended with Faith flying out a window (it was a first story window, but still) right before Buffy broke the dining room table by landing on it when Faith kicked her in the face. Leah swears up and down it was about Faith using up all the hot water but Satsu's pretty sure that can't be it seeing as that's a ridiculous reason to get into a fist fight over.

"Why did you?" Satsu asks cautiously. "Throw her out a window, I mean." She might as well try to find out.

Buffy sighs dramatically and sits down next to Satsu on the bed, staring at the far wall. She knows it's going to come out sounding completely insane, but maybe she does owe some kind of explanation if she expects Satsu to be there for her. "She's just… she disregards everyone else around her! She never once stops to think about anyone else but herself and her needs and when someone, I don't know, rational tries to come and explain to her the rules in a castle she's a guest in, she's all 'Don't get your panties in a knot, B.' I mean, she completely dismisses everything I say to her all the time! It wasn't even about the hot water, not really. I mean it was also about the last of the Cinnamon Toast Crunch which, hi, so had my name on the box. I mean who ignores names on boxes?!"

Satsu blinks. "You threw her out a window because she used up the hot water and ate your cereal?"

Buffy pauses, knowing exactly how that sounds. "Faith and I are… complicated," she tells her, like that should explain everything. "Besides, she started yelling at me first." Yeah, Childish 101? She passed that course with flying colors. Buffy sighs, running her hand through her hair. Faith just works at her last nerve. She always has. There doesn't have to be a reason why they fight; they just always do. They could try to kill each other over who's supposed to breathe first and it'd be just another day at the office.

Yeah, Satsu has her work cut out for her.

Buffy was worried. Things were always tense and edgy when Faith was around, and she knew things were going to be even weirder than usual this time. That last slayer dream…

"So you want me to try and keep you and Faith from killing each other?"

"I want you to do your thing, that thing that you do; the… calming thing. You're good at that," Buffy tells her. She shifts her hand on the bed a little before having it come up to rest on Satsu's knee. Satsu puts her hand over hers and holds it.

"I can try, Buffy." It's all she can promise. She's not exactly sure how she does the 'calming thing' though, seeing as mostly all they do together is have sex.

Buffy smiles at her a little, though it's etched in sadness still. "Thank you. I know it's a lot to ask but I… I guess maybe I need someone there who can talk some sense into me; someone who didn't experience the whole Buffy and Faith drama-fest first hand. Neutral eye… or something. They say that's important, whoever 'they' is. Are. You know."

"I get it."

Buffy licks her dry lips a little out of nervousness. She takes a breath before she untangles her hand from Satsu's and stands. She starts towards the door but stops suddenly, and Satsu can feel herself holding her breath. Buffy never stops. The older woman doesn't turn to look at her, but says quietly. "I do appreciate you, Satsu. I know I'm… confused right now, but I want you to know that I appreciate you."

Satsu doesn't say anything to that, though mostly because she doesn't know how to respond. Buffy walks out the door then, leaving the younger girl to herself. Satsu tries to not let it happen, but that little glimmer of hope inside her is fighting to get a little bit bigger just by that once revelation.


"What's she like?" Krista, one of the young slayers asks Faith as they see the castle in the distance. Her voice is wispy, like a song, reminds Faith of that blonde chick in Harry Potter. Yeah, the one that's a little nuts.

"Who, B?" Krista nods and Faith shrugs. "Blonde." She really doesn't wanna get into describing Buffy, mainly cause the first things that come to mind tend to be 'annoying', 'sexy,' and 'selfish', in no particular order.

"Great, so we got Malibu Barbie as our leader? Yeah, I can see how this is so much fucking better," Jenna scoffs, folding her arms into herself. She was still the most bitter out of all of them, only coming with Faith cause it was either that or death, basically. She might be a little bratty shit, but she doesn't wanna die.

"She's an extraordinary leader, Krista. One that I'm sure you'll learn many things from," Giles tells her.

Faith points to Giles and says dismissively. "Yeah, and that."

Faith's real good at what she does; helping girls that have gone rogue to find redemption. She wouldn't trade it for the world. Thing is, she can talk 'No Bullshit' sense into any single one of them but what she can't do is be all 'Ra Ra Buffy!' She's always real good with them up until this point, but more than one of them has caught onto the fact that Faith plus Buffy equals disaster. She's been trying to keep that suppressed, cause most of these girls respect her for trying to help when no one else would. Faith also knows that some of them figure if she doesn't like Buffy than maybe they shouldn't either, and that's not what she's trying to do. She needs them to want to stay here. This is where they're gonna get saved; not with her.

"You don't like the bitch," Jenna observes flatly, noticing her reaction to any and all things Buffy. Fuck. Well, as far as hiding her emotions went, that just blew up in her face. Again.

But she doesn't lie. "Nah, I don't." No, 'like' has never been the word to describe her feelings for Buffy Summers. It's way more complicated than that. "But ya know what? I respect her. So should all of you." Faith respects her as a leader, anyway. She could never do the shit Buffy does. Hell, last time she tried she got the troops blown up.

"How long are you going to stay?" Krista asks airily as she smiles and slides her fingers slowly down the glass of the car window. The kid's grown attached, but sometimes that happens.

"Just a week. Lettin' ya settle in before me and G take off again."

The third girl with them, Mariah, just throws her the finger with a glare out of nowhere. Faith isn't her favorite person in the world, that's for sure. Not that she can blame her.

The van pulls up to the castle doors and Faith grabs the door handle, jumping out of the vehicle before it even stops. She fucking hates car rides; she feels like she's suffocating. This is why she usually jumps on the back of her Harley to get around. Least you can breathe when you're riding it. But a Harley can't take four passengers and a driver so… hence van.

It smelt like cabbage.

Meet and Greet at the door wasn't the fun-filled fest of the year, but at least Buffy wasn't there which made Faith relax a little. It meant she had some time to do that yoga meditation crap Giles keeps making her do to control her anger. She's not the time bomb she was but she still has her issues, and Buffy? She was at the top of her list of issues. She knows she probably has about an hour before the meeting where they discuss the new recruits and so she slips away from the festivities as quickly as possible, letting Giles get the girls settled in while she heads toward the creek.

The creek has always been her little spot when she comes here. It's far enough away from the castle to give her space but close enough to get back if something goes down. But it's peaceful, a little step away from reality when things go shitty when she's here which, let's face it, is ninety percent of the time. She lies on the grass and watches the clouds or she just sits by the water and skims rocks along the surface, listening to nature. It's one of those things she never thought she'd be into but after the rampant migraine that is her life back in good ol' Scotland, she found that it's nice to just have a second to breathe and actually appreciate life.

The creek isn't deserted today though, which Faith finds when she sees a girl sitting in a tree overlooking the water. She turns, hearing Faith approaching her and a smile breaks out on her face as she hops down from the tree. "Faith!"

Angela, another girl who got attached, she was an orphan; no one to love and care for her her whole life. No one to tell her what was wrong and what was right. Faith was the first and it's kinda stuck in Angela's mind that Faith's almost like her savior or something. Faith doesn't feel like much of a savior though. She knows she helps, but she's not… well, she's no Buffy. She's not the Golden Girl.

Faith gives her a small smile and flops down on the grass, digging her cigarette pack out of her jacket pocket. "In the flesh," she tells her. "How's Scotland treatin' ya?"

Angela shrugs, wrapping her hand around the trunk of the tree and swinging around before she starts walking towards Faith. "It rains a lot." She sits next to her and Faith chuckles a little.

"Yeah. Ain't nothin' like Cali." It's where Angela was from originally.

"Yup." Angela sighs, watching Faith light up her cigarette. "Buffy's kind of a bitch too." That makes Faith smirk before she exhales a long stream of white smoke from her painted lips. Another one of the girls who has called her on that. Sometimes she thinks they say these things to get on her good side, but she doesn't want people hating Buffy for her.

"Yeah well, she's always gonna be that," Faith says. "But she's teachin' ya how to kick ass I take it, cause ya don't seem too broken up about bein' here."

"I like it here," Angela states, then shrugs. "She's just… she's really hard on all of us. She plays favorites too, which is completely unfair. I just kind of wish you were the one to teach us."

"Nah, I ain't good at all that. That's B's deal."

There's silence between the two girls for a little while before Angela seems to understand that she needs some space. "I'm going to go inside. You'll be helping Buffy train us later though, right? At least while you're here… like last time?"

"Last time didn't go so well." That was an understatement. "S'B's call. We'll see."

Angela picks herself off the ground and dusts her jeans off. "Well I hope you do. It was fun to watch you and Buffy spar." She gives her a little smile before she turns and walks away, leaving Faith alone.

Spar. Right.

What started out as sparring pretty much snowballed into a full on brawl after Faith commented on being able to smell how turned on Buffy was and that she thought it was time she got a little action. She knows the way it came out probably wasn't the best, but she seriously was just trying to help. Buffy's wound way too tight and she really needs to de-stress, especially since she's the head of the whole operation here. She wasn't offerin' or nothing, though Buffy apparently took it that way once she got wicked pissed and started mouthing off about how she'd be afraid she'd catch something since Faith 'sleeps with everything with a face'. Yeah, what commenced wasn't exactly sparring anymore.

Fuck she hates coming back here.

But she sucks it up and deals because that's who she is now. She ain't gonna run away just because Buffy screws with her head constantly. They fight, yeah. All the time. But sometimes there are also moments of normalcy between them. Smiling, laughing; like how it used to be. Well, for that brief time anyway. The moments never last long, but they're still there. It might be those moments that make it worth it for Faith.

She doesn't like Buffy, but she respects her.

She hates being here, but she wants Buffy to welcome her anyway. Ha, like that'll happen.

The First told her that she always wanted Buffy to love her. That she needed it. Faith thought it was a crock of shit when she heard it at first, though maybe only to try to dull the feeling of being stabbed in the heart by those words, but she's realized that maybe it's true. All she fucking wants is for Buffy to see her for who she is, to accept her for who she is. To stop painting her as the villain and just get, for one god damn second, that pretty much everything Faith ever did was for her or about her.

Faith loves Buffy; as screwed up as that is.

She was the sister Faith never had; that's what Faith figures it has to be, anyway. Though then again, after the last Slayer dream they had that might be a gross visual. But she shared something with Faith that no one else did. They were so alike yet Buffy looked down on her because of their differences. She was young, she didn't get it. It pissed Faith off and made her lash out. She came to Sunnydale cause finally, finally there was someone in the world like her; that would get it. Well, that and a huge old as fuck vampire was chasin' her ass.

But still. Buffy didn't get it.

Hell, Buffy still doesn't get it. Buffy's been the center of her fuckin' world since day one and she still can't see it. She's tried to let go and tried to move on but it hurts when she's away from her and it hurts even more when she's near her. Faith figures she just can't win, so why bother playing the game? She's still gonna end up torn to shreds by the end of it any way you slice it.

Faith swears and drops the cigarette as it burns her fingers. Fuck, she just let the whole thing burn out on her. That's what she gets for trying to be all contemplative about life and love, huh? She takes a breath, realizing her thoughts aren't going to leave her alone long enough to even attempt to clear them, so she's not even gonna bother. She stands up, figuring she might as well just get unpacked before the meeting.

Man. She is not looking forward to the meeting. They never go well.


Chapter Two - The Queen Doesn't Take Orders

"What's Yuri doin' here?"

"Her name is Satsu, Faith. And what the hell is a 'Yuri'?" Buffy asks, irritated. Yeah, thirty seconds of being in the same room as Faith and already she's annoyed. She feels Satsu put a hand on the small of her back though, reminding her to try to stay calm. She huffs though, but her eyes go wide as Satsu leans in and whispers what 'Yuri' is. "Did you just call her cartoon lesbian porn?" Buffy blurts out before she can stop herself.

"B, if ya seriously just called Yuri a 'cartoon', me and you are about to have an issue." A beat. "And it ain't always porn."

"She said it was porn!" Buffy says, pointing to Satsu.

"Shoujo-ai is the romantic side, actually," Satsu corrects Faith. "Yuri usually depicts a sexual relationship. Or at least that's the distinction most make." The brunette just shrugs.

"Potato, tomato. Whatever. It's some hot shit, s'all I know," Faith replies as she winks at Satsu.

Buffy's eyes almost bug out of her head. See? This is what she means. Faith just comes waltzing in here all 'Look at me! I'm sexy and watch anime porn!' and… is Satsu smirking at her? She's not supposed to be amused by Faith! She's supposed to be on her side. Great, this is just going swimmingly.

"Right. Well, as fascinating as this cultural conversation is…" Giles starts, "Faith?" He's looking at her to report and Faith tears her eyes away from watching the interaction between Buffy and Satsu. There's something bugging her about it, but she lets it go. From what she heard, Satsu is Buffy's second in command now which is probably why she's playin' with the big kids.

Faith's never really talked to her much, but from the little she has she likes the kid. She's that 'strong willed but has a heart of gold' type; Real eager, real dedicated, but also willin' to look at things rationally. Outta all of 'em she's definitely the best so Faith can see why Buffy chose her.

"Alright, well first up we got Jenna. Bit of a hard ass, completely fuckin' hates everything, apparently. Gotta lot of anger in her. She was abused a lot of her life and when she got her callin' she started dishing out payback and then some. She's only here cause it was either this or she dies, so she ain't jumpin' for joy over the idea," Faith tells them, settling back into the couch. "She's gonna take a lot of work and if she calls you a cunt don't take it personal: it seems to be her favorite word."

"Lovely," Buffy says dryly. Faith tries like hell to ignore her even though she wants to snap at her.

Buffy's always like this with the girls she brings to her. Never once is she happy that Faith's started to bring them past the brink; started savin' them. Faith swears all Buffy sees when Faith comes is more work, more responsibility that Faith's dumping on her and that's not what she's tryin' to do. Faith's got her job and Buffy's got hers. Ain't nowhere in her job description does it say that she's supposed to be following through with all of them. Not that she wouldn't want to, she actually would love to help these girls all the way through, but she can't exactly go out save more of them if she's stuck here. She gets them past the real bad part, but the rest is up to Buffy.

"Then we got Krista. She was just tryin' to get attention, really. She's a good kid but her minds a little messed up. Think she hears voices, honestly, but she's always real happy, even when she was fuckin' up. Not quite sure what her deal is."

"Do we have another Dana on our hands?" Buffy asks, sounding worried. Faith shakes her head.

"Nah, the girl ain't lookin' to get all chop happy or anything. She's not delusional; she's just kinda… a bit out there. Loopy, maybe? I dunno. She's sweet though. Kinda attached to me like Angela was and I dunno how well the separations gonna go but we'll see. Think it'll be worse than Ange. When I found Krista she called me her angel and, uh, well, I'm just gonna say that her attachment formed kinda quickly." Krista completely tried to make out with her, then asked her what Heaven's like. Faith thought she was on drugs but… apparently that's just how she is. Faith shrugs though, "She's a good fighter though, strong as hell."

Buffy nods, but looks wary. "And the third?" she asks.

"Mariah. I uh, kinda busted her vocal cords when I choked her out so she can't talk at all. Doc says she may not be able to again," Faith tells her, looking guilty.

"Great, Faith. Real nice," Buffy snaps.

"Hey, ya know what? I'd really like to see you do my job, Blondie. You don't fuckin' know what I go through to get these girls and frankly? Kinda doubt that you'd be able to handle it. I do what I have to do. I know you don't like it and most of the time I don't either, but not everyone can be saved," Faith shoots back at her, fire in her eyes.

"Yeah, and you'd know all about that, wouldn't you?"

"Buffy…" Satsu warns softly, putting her hand on the small of the older woman's back again, trying to tell her to be calm.

"What the fuck is that supposed to mean?" Faith yells, standing up. Buffy completely ignores Satsu's protests and stands up too, feeling threatened by Faith rising to her feet first.

"Oookay and now I think it's that time of the meeting where we take a breather," Willow says, intervening. She steps between the two Slayers to block them from each other's view. Something like this always happened during the meeting and more often than not Buffy's the one who starts it, even though if you ever say anything like that to her she'll outright deny it and throw a fit.

Buffy glares at Faith but starts to stomp out of the room, Satsu in tow behind her. Faith flips her off as the blonde storms off but she calls back without even turning around, "I saw that!"

"Do ya got eyes in the back of your head now?" Faith snaps, though is surprised. That'd be fuckin' weird if she did.

"There's a mirror, you moron," Buffy tells her before leaving the room. Faith looks around and yup, there's a mirror. Well, that didn't help any.

"Faith," Giles says, disapprovingly. "I thought you were going to work on this."

Faith points accusingly out the door where Buffy left. "She fuckin' started it! I ain't gonna sit here and take her crap, G. I do my fucking job." She just seethes for a minute before announcing, "Fuck this, I'm gonna have a smoke," before storming out as well.

Outside, Buffy was ranting pretty much along the same lines as Faith. "—She always starts shit like this! She always comes in here and throws it in my face that she's still dangerous! I mean I'm supposed to be trying to trust her to be part of the team and not stab me in the back again and how can I when she's off busting girls' vocal cords?!"

"Buffy," Satsu tries, but Buffy's not listening.

"And what is it with you and her anyway?" Buffy exclaims, making Satsu's eyes go wide at the implication. "She's all winking at you and calling you a name that indicates lesbian porn! Did you have sex with her?!"

"Whoa, whoa, Buffy, slow down," Satsu says, holding up her hands in defense at Buffy's rash judgment. "Faith and I have had a total of one conversation in our whole lives and it didn't end up like that."

"Well she's tried to have sex with everyone that's been mine so far so I just...! I just… oh god," Buffy says, covering her face with her hands. "I think I'm going insane," she mumbles. Satsu is bound to agree but won't say it out loud.

Satsu smiles though, despite Buffy's little breakdown. "I'm yours?" she asks softly. Buffy takes her hands away from her face to look at her.

"Well… yeah," she says, blushing. "I mean for now we're doing the… the things we do and… okay, I know I jumped the gun with the you and Faith sex thing considering the last time she was here we weren't even doing our… thing so I guess thinking she's taking things from me again was a little bit insane but she just… god she makes my brain bleed, I swear!"

"Like ecstasy?" Satsu replies conversationally. Buffy shoots her a look.

"No. Like… like getting hit with a sledgehammer. By a Slayer. By an Angry Slayer with emotional problems and Daddy issues."

"Sounds pleasant."

"Well it's not." Buffy sighs, rubbing her temples a little to try to stop the forthcoming migraine. "Sorry I… jumped on you like that. It's not your fault."

"It's okay," Satsu tells her softly.

"No, it's not. It's really, really not. You shouldn't have to put up with me when I'm like this. No one should have to put up with me when I'm like this. I should just lock myself in the basement for the next week."

Satsu chuckles, "If you want to lock yourself anywhere, I'd rather it be in my bedroom."

Buffy smirks, but doesn't comment on that. She does take a breath though, trying to calm herself down. She hates how Faith can get under her skin like this. It's like everything she does invokes either anger or weird sexy feelings; it drives her completely insane. It's always been that way with Faith. All the mixed signals and crazy sexual tension that somehow all gets translated into extreme anger and violent tendencies.

It's really, really not healthy.

Buffy sighs, psyching herself up to go back in there. "Okay, I can do this. I can sit there and listen to her report and not want to punch her. I can do this."

"You can do this," Satsu affirms.

"I can do this. I can… okay I can try to do this. No promises," Buffy states before turning and walking back into the castle. Faith was back, sitting on the couch with one leg crossed over the other. Her foot was twitching like mad. God, that was gonna drive Buffy insane.

Faith's eyes connect with Buffy's and she bites her tongue to keep from saying anything. She cocks her head to the side though and gives her this look that almost dares her to make the first move and she watches Buffy curl her hand into a fist as she tries to control herself. It makes Faith smirk.

"Finish," Buffy requests once she sits, though the word seemed to have trouble coming out of her mouth.

"Like I was sayin'," Faith starts in this tone that indicates it was rude to be interrupted in the first place. Giles clears his throat in disapproval and Faith tries like hell to stop being a bitch. "Mariah's vocal cords are busted. She was one of the hardest I've had. Almost fuckin'… well, she didn't. I got a handle on the sitch eventually. But she hates the fuck outta me, so me steering clear of her would be probably be better. G was the one that got through to her, not me. But she's killed before; Got a lotta blood on her hands, actually. But she's broken, scared. She's also got a real short temper so ya should probably stick her in one of those yoga seminars ya do or whatever. But accordin' to G she's willin' to try to get back on the straight and narrow."

Buffy nods, "Is that… everything?" She asks it carefully, trying not to start anything by any kind of tone in her voice. She knows that's all it can take sometimes and she's trying here so she better get some kind of credit after this.

Faith raises an eyebrow, testing the boundaries. "Ange wants to know if I'm gonna help train while I'm here."

Buffy blinks and everyone turns to her, wondering if she's going to blow up again. Buffy takes a breath. "That might not be… wise. Last time it didn't go so well."

"Kids love me though, right Yuri?" Faith says with a smirk at the Asian girl. Buffy rounds on her and looks at her like she expects her to tell her no. Satsu is not getting in the middle of this.

Thankfully, Willow saves her. "Buffy, while Faith is here it might be helpful if she… helped out."

"Will, I don't think—"

"Great, when's the workout?" Faith asks. She's been itchin' to do a little violence on, well, Buffy. Buffy narrows her eyes at her, trying to remain calm. She thinks of calm rivers and green grass pastures and… fuck. This isn't working.

"You're not coming," Buffy says flatly.

"Like hell I'm not, B. Girls' gotta have a little more perspective than just what you can teach them," Faith retorts.

"Here we go again," Xander mutters.

"Faith, I don't want your 'perspective' anywhere near my girls!" Buffy exclaims.

"Oh, your girls now, is it? What, you winin' and dinin' 'em now?" Buffy flushes a little at that statement and Faith's eyes go wide. She was just shooting off her mouth; she didn't expect that kind of reaction. "Okay, what the hell did I miss?"

"Nothing," Willow says quickly, trying to avoid the disaster that's sure to follow if Faith ever finds out what's been going on with Buffy and Satsu. "Look, maybe you guys should train them separately. Like Buffy can get one group and you can get the other. We can make up schedules, color code them, tack them to the board and we can all follow them, okay?" she asks Faith.

"I missed something," Faith states flatly, not even looking at Willow. She knows something's going on by how embarrassed Buffy looks and how Willow's trying to steer away the conversation in not the most subtle of ways.

"Forget about my personal life, Faith. You're not training any of my girls and that's final!"

"That's final? What are you, my mother?" Faith snaps. Like hell she's gonna take orders from her. She's a Slayer too; the damn bloodline runs through her! She's got as much right to train these girls as Buffy does. It should be her decision, not Little Ms. I-Think-I-Run-The-World.

"Someone has to be!"

"Buffy, calm down," Satsu tries, but once the Buffy & Faith train wreck from hell gets started, there really is no stopping it. It used to not be this bad, but now every time they see each other it tends to get worse.

"Oh, right cause that's fuckin'…" but Faith stops, taking a breath. She's not gonna do this anymore. This is stupid, pointless, and it's just giving her a headache. She puts her hands up in defense. "Ya know what? Fuck this. Ya ain't worth it," Faith tells her before backing up out of the room.

"I'm… I'm not worth it?!" Buffy shrieks, somehow that one sentence offending her more than anything ever has. She starts going after Faith. "Excuse me? You wanna run that by me again?"

"Buffy!" Both Satsu and Willow call after her, but Buffy isn't listening. She takes off after Faith, furious, until she's corners her outside. Willow and Satsu don't follow thankfully, maybe realizing they need to work this out on their own. But seriously… she's not worth it?! What the hell kind of load of crap is that?!

"B, will you just quit?!" Faith yells at her after being practically backed into a corner. "I ain't tryin' to fight with you, Jesus! Give me some fuckin' space!"

"Don't try to turn this around; you're always trying to fight with me! It's like what you were born to do! And how can you have the audacity to stand there and tell me 'I'm not worth it'?!" Buffy shrieks.

"Why are you doing this, B? Huh? Do ya get some sort of sick pleasure out of screamin' at me, is that it? Am I gettin' your rocks off, Princess?" Faith snaps.

"Like you're one to talk!"

"You think I get off on this?!"

"I know you do!"

"Yeah Buffy, really, I fuckin' lay in bed every night and screw myself thinkin' about your fuckin' nagging, screaming, annoying ass voice in my ear," Faith shoots back sarcastically. "Get a fuckin' reality check, girlfriend."

"Oh I got a reality check, F. Or have you forgotten when happened the last time I saw you?"

That makes Faith stop, the memory of the Slayer dream coming back to her. She sneers. "Right, about that; I owe ya something." Faith grabs Buffy's shirt and pulls her towards her without any kind of time to let Buffy react, crashing their lips together in a heated kiss that leaves Buffy's head spinning for a second. Okay, well, she wasn't expecting that. Faith pushes her back and snaps, "There. Ya got what ya asked for; happy?"

"Oh, very," Buffy sneers, though her brain is still having some sort of meltdown or a parade; it's hard to tell. Jesus. Faith kissed her. Granted, she did ask for it in the dream; she asked for Faith to make it real. She doesn't know why; Slayer dreams were always messed up. It's a place where all the bad never happened between them.

"Good, now you can fuck off," Faith snaps before storming off back into the castle, leaving Buffy there in shock. Shit. That was… shit.

Unexpected. Screwed up. Sexy. Awkward.

Buffy's pretty sure she needs to sit down.

The blonde Slayer sits on the bench outside of the door, her head reeling. Faith was not supposed to just up and do that, even if Buffy asked for it! Especially not in the middle of a fight! What is wrong with her? Why does she always have to do everything wrong? Her mind floats back to the dream they shared almost a month and a half ago, the only thing that ever did feel right between them:

They were in bed this time; the two of them. Usually they're making it or doing some other mundane house chore together. They always played house in their dreams. But this time they lay on top of the covers, facing each other. There was no past between them, there never was in their dreams. Buffy smiled at her and Faith returned it and Buffy couldn't help but think how beautiful she looked when she let all her walls down.

"Things are changing," Faith told her quietly.

"Are they?" Buffy asked, their weird conversational tone they have going on in all their dreams becoming apparent again. "The wind is still blowing the same way."

Nothing ever really made sense in these anymore.

Faith smiled, reaching her hand up to brush away a piece of blonde hair from Buffy's face. Buffy's eyes fluttered closed at the soft touch. "The gate is collapsing," Faith said. "The troops make way for the Queen."

Buffy opened her eyes and stared at her younger counterpart. "The Queen isn't ready for battle."

"You have to prepare her," Faith told her, her hand stroking Buffy's cheek softly. Somehow they got closer, though neither of them moved. The dream seemed to shift and all of a sudden Buffy could feel Faith's breath on her face. "Only you can prepare her."

"She'll fall," Buffy told her softly, regrettably. "A soldier will strike her down."

"But you will pick her up," Faith said with certainly. She smiles again, leaning in and pressing her lips to Buffy's. Buffy's breathing hitched; they've never done this in a Slayer dream before. She found Faith's hand on the bed and took it in hers and she parted her lips invitingly to the younger girl. The feeling of her tongue against hers was probably the single most erotic thing she had ever felt in her life, but it was over way too soon.

"Make it real," Buffy whispered when they parted; the one thing that didn't come out shrouded in riddles. She needed the kiss to be real; for some reason that overshadowed everything else. One simple request that was more powerful than the hold of the dream and its point. Though maybe making it real was the point.

Faith smirked. "The Queen doesn't take orders."

"Not even for the King?"

The dream faded into nothing then, and it left Buffy more confused than she's ever been in her entire life as she lay awake in bed for the rest of the night.

Buffy sits on the bench, her head in her hands, still trying to figure it out. Faith was the Queen; she got that much. Obviously Faith got that much too (and apparently she does take orders, who would've thought?). But all this stuff about soldiers and Faith being struck down… god, she really hopes this isn't the beginning of another apocalypse. She really can't handle that right now, not on top of everything else.

Not that all of their Slayer dreams meant that an apocalypse was looming. They shared a dream when Faith was in prison once that Buffy thinks was supposed to help them work out their issues but she was babbling about cheese in it and when she woke up couldn't make heads or tails of it. No, they didn't always have to be about an apocalypse but they always had to be confusing. Why the Power's can't just send them some straight answers, she'll never know.

But she needs to prepare Faith for some kind of battle, apparently. Though it might help if she actually knew what kind of battle. But of course, that's way too much to hope for.


"Don't wanna talk," Faith snaps as she storms past Xander.

"Faith, slow down."

"I said I ain't talkin'!"

"Well then can you listen?" Xander calls out after her. Faith stops, closing her eyes and sighing heavily before turning around to look at him. She knows she has no right to be an ass to him like this. The last few months he's the only one who's been cool with her; has given her a chance to be a friend again. She doesn't want to throw that back in his face.

"What's up?" she asks.

Xander walks over to her and puts a hand on her shoulder to steer her into one of the rooms and away from all the prying Slayer eyes that have started coming out of the woodwork to see the commotion. He closes the door behind them and Faith flops down on a chair.

She kissed Buffy. For real this time. And then told her to fuck off. Does she have some kind of mental deficiency?

"What's going on with you and Buffy?" he asks her.

"Nothin'," Faith avoids.

"Faith, every time you and her get together your arguments keep getting worse and worse and I, for one, am sick of repairing all the furniture you guys break. I know I'm Mr. Fix-It but I'm about to go on strike."

"We got a lotta energy," Faith shrugs, still continues to avoid.

"Yeah, you guys are like five years olds having a temper tantrum… with super strength," Xander says flatly. Faith shoots him a glare. "Hey, you know I'm right. You guys have gone way past the line of immature."

"What do ya want me to do? Hug and kiss and make up? We've tried that before. Me and B just don't mix."

"Well not to get all quasi-Watcher, mainly because I don't want to turn into Giles, but the girl's here look up to you guys. You really think them seeing you guys fight is going to help? Especially the unstable ones you bring to us," Xander points out. Faith sighs. He has a point. She kind of hates that.

"She just… bugs me," Faith says lamely. Xander raises an eyebrow at her and she rolls her eyes, kicking her feet up on the desk in front of her. "Okay, I'll try to play nice."

Xander smirks. "Good, because it'd be a shame to see you go before I got to challenge you to a… showdown." Faith perks up.

"Mario Kart? Oh you're on."

"Hey, don't look so sure of yourself: I've been practicing."

"Hope so, you're gonna need it," Faith says with a grin as she gets up, ready to kick some ass on Xander's Wii. Everytime she comes here they always end up wrapped up in video games at some point or another during her stay. And right now a video game seemed like the perfect way to take her mind off of Buffy and that entire fuckery.

She knows she's gonna have to deal with Buffy sooner or later, but to Faith, the word 'later' has always been more appealing than 'sooner' ever could be.



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