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by Sapphire Smoke



Rating: NC-17
Timeline: Post "Chosen", though has nothing to do with the season 8 comics.
Summary: There was a lot of emotions Faith thought she would see from Buffy, but jealousy was never one of them.
A/N: This is a remake of the story She's Mine that I wrote when I was 17. Seriously, read at your own risk, but for the love of god read this first. Ha. I cringed when I read it. Man... my writing then... but, anyway. I thought it would be fun to do, remake something from almost six years ago. It'll probably be a bit longer than that was. Alright, yeah, it will be. But that's cause nothing flowed well in that one. For. Real. I'll probably change some things up too. Hell, already am.


Chapter One

Faith feels like she's back in high school being in this fuckin' thing.

Not that she actually finished it, though she was there for a good year and a half. But the heat in the bus is making the air stale, which would have been bad enough if it wasn't tainted with the distinct smell of blood and sweat to polish it all off. It ain't like it was hell, nah. Faith's been in hell, and this wasn't it. She's not complaining; not really, not after everything. But fuck, some air would be nice, y'know? Crack a damn window and just let her finally breathe. It's felt like so long since she's been able to just breathe.

It's always one thing after another, hasn't it? Shit piled on top of more shit topped off with some shitty fuckin' sprinkles. Mother's a drunk, Watcher's dead, that whole evil stint that just… fuck. Blame it on the adrenaline and the hormones, or something. The fact that she's only got half a brain. Whatever. That whole screwed up mess and the whole screwed up mess that came after when she tried to just fuckin' off herself since obviously the world would have been better off. The whole disaster that was B comin' to Angel's side of town to tell him that she ain't worth fixing. Jail. Angelus. Coming back to Sunnydale. Buffy. The First. B… fuckin' Buffy.

She just needs to breathe.

But that's how it was, wasn't it? Save the freakin' world, again, whooptie-friggin-do… and then you find yourself stuck in a hot crowded bus, driving down the highway towards the next apocalypse. There's a metaphor in there somewhere probably. Faith looks out the window, watching the scenery roll by like nothing ever happened. The rest of the world is so ignorant; content on seeing only the things they can handle seeing. Faith maybe misses that a little. Not that she wasn't ignorant as fuck even when she did know that the things that go bump in the night actually existed, but regardless.

But it's over, right? For now. Sunny D is a crater in the ground, something that's gonna baffle scientists for freaking years probably. It ain't like she misses it; it's nothing like that. That place was filled with bad memory after bad memory. Hurt, pain, destruction. But there was something about it that she can remember; maybe only briefly in the back of her mind that just didn't completely suck. Lights, heat, moving, laughter, music, lipstick, fuckin' leather pants and freedom. If only for a moment.

Coming back there was more of an unconscious decision rather than something that was fully thought out and planned. If she did plan it out, maybe she would have thought twice, but even now she doubts it. Job, destiny, something like that. Guilt, maybe. Redemption was probably on the menu too. But she's told that Buffy needs her and like some electric pull she finds herself back to where the nightmares started.

B was looking for all the help she could get, but Faith's pretty damn sure the last thing she was looking for was her. But it ain't a choice, never was. Never will be. It rips her apart inside and fuck, yeah, maybe that's where the violence came from in the first place; being so unwanted. But it wasn't like she should have expected anything different. That's how her life was since the minute she was born; unwanted. But it was different with B, but things were always different with her, weren't they? Slayer connection; dreams. Makin' the bed and counting down till the world ends. But Faith's world already ended when she met Buffy.

Or maybe it just began. Hell, she was never too good with all that deep philosophical crap.

Stupid little girl crushes and the desire to be noticed. Stand out in a crowd and have everyone just see who she was, or more like who she wanted to be. Sexy, wild, untamed and uncontrollable. Passion and anger and lust and hate. It was all about feeling. Feeling anything, really. Feel just to know she's alive, that she's still standing and she's still fighting, despite it all. But she felt too much and she felt it too fast and god fucking damnit she seriously blames the whole slayer thing for it all. Feeling her when they weren't even touching. It was intoxicating and new and she just wanted to wrap herself up in it and just let go.

Letting go is what started the whole mess though. She let go without realizing where the hell she was gonna fall to.

Most of that part of her life though was more due to confusion though. Physical feeling wasn't anything she was new to. She lost her virginity at twelve and yeah, not she's exactly happy about she became such a little slut at a young age, but there ain't no point on dwelling about it. But it was all confusion and needing to feel. It didn't matter with who. It never really mattered. Conquering; might have been about that too. That might have been how it started with B; just needing to conquer her. The first slayer; the best. Faith was sloppy seconds and her teenage ego was not about to have that written in the history books.

It wasn't like Faith was new to sex or sexuality at that time in her life, but finding herself feeling like this strange blonde bitch owns a part of her soul from day one was confusing and fuckin' scary. Maybe it's some slayer mystical thing; two slayers, one soul or some crap like that. But now being in a bus full of slayers and not feeling like a single thing has changed between her and any of them, she knew that conclusion was pretty much made of shit and excuses. And it freaks her out, even now. Knowing that it wasn't just because of the slayer thing. Knowing it was just her and her fucked up head and loving things that destroy her.

And yeah, it's gotta be love, doesn't it? There's no other explanation for this whole… whatever. Shit-fest. It'd explain why the hell she hurts every time Buffy looks at her. Why she ran down to her own personal hell without even thinking twice about it. Why she feels the pull and the ache and the desire to just make everything better. Not that she really thinks she could.

Buffy… Buffy's accepted her, if only for the moment she needed to. Clocked her once good in the jaw and then gave her the keys to the ride as she ran off and cried. But she came back, and shit went south and then back north again and… fuck, explosions and craziness and hell… here they were. In this freaking bus, and Faith ain't gotta a clue on how this is gonna play out from here on out.

Faith looks over as she feels someone slip into the seat next to her. She cocks an eyebrow at Dawn, who slinked down low, knees on the seat in front of her, clearly not wanting to be seen by anyone at the front of the bus. "What's up, shortie?"

Dawn makes a face at the nickname, but doesn't say anything about it. She looks up at her, and asks in this way that makes Faith know that the kid knows she's doing something wrong, "You got a cigarette?"

Great, cause that's what the kid needs. A smoke. And just what she needs, right? Having B ride her ass cause she gave her one. Yeah, no thanks.

"B know you smoke?" she asks, knowing full well the answer before it comes out of her mouth.


"Bad for you, y'know."

"Thanks for the health lesson, Faith, but I did take that class in school," Dawn retorts, smoothing out her jeans with her hands. Anxious. She can see it with how her fingers twitched and she shifts a bit at the anticipation. Damn, is the kid addicted already?

But Faith knows that feeling. Cigarettes were her nasty little habit she picked up in jail. It wasn't like she had anything better to do than just work out and smoke all damn day, anyway. And yeah, watching Dawn crawl inside of her own skin makes her feel a bit for her. She knows what it's like when you're out. Besides, the girl could usually not bear to even be within a ten foot radius of her. She's nice enough to her face, now anyway, but Faith knows she's still upset about the shit that went down years ago. So being here, asking her for one? Gotta suck.


She's sliding the pack of smokes out of her pocket before she can think about how this is gonna probably get her screamed at for the next couple hours about how she sucks at being a role model, but it ain't like she didn't know that already. She's not asking to be anyone's mentor. She flips open the pack and offers it to Dawn, and she pulls one out and gives Faith a little smile. Small, but it was there.


"Don't light it up here; windows are busted. Won't go down. Wait till we stop," Faith tells her, and she watches Dawn's fingers tap lightly on her jeans. Lightly, but almost erratically. Damn, well, she needs a cigarette too anyway. Faith stands up, leaning over the seat in front of her as she calls out to the front:

"Hey! I need to pee."

"Charming," Buffy responds dryly, looking back down at her. Faith just shrugs. Charming was never something she was anyway. She watches Buffy sigh and lean over to talk to Giles. When she turns back she tells her, "Ten minutes. Think you can hold it or do I need to find you a Gatorade bottle?" Snarky.

"Ten minutes is cool," Faith responds, slipping back down into her seat. Dawn gives her another appreciative look.

"So when'd this start, then?" Faith asks her as she settles back in, rolling her neck a bit to get the kink out. Even if she didn't need a smoke, a rest stop at this point was vital. It was too cramped and too damn hot. Dawn looks confused for a minute, so Faith motions to the cigarette between her fingers that's waiting to be lit.

Dawn just shakes her head, "Oh. Just. The Key thing. It kind of messed with me. You think your whole life you're real only to wake up one day to find out you're just some mystical—whatever. It was just the stress, I guess. Used to bum them from Spike," Faith watches the emotion play over the girl's face at his name. A soldier they lost in the battle, but so much more than that to, hell, everyone else maybe. Some of them. But Dawn continues, not letting in control her, "But Buffy never took enough notice to realize what was going on. Too caught up in everything else."

Faith just nods; she got that. Waking up and you're whole life has changed. She used sex the first time and yeah, the second it was cigarettes. Though that was more of a wake up and realize you're life is over thing. Just gonna be the same thing day after day. It just kinda gets to you.

Dawn looks at her and states, "You never used to smoke either."

"Shit changes."


Understatement. Everything changes, all the time. One extreme to the other and back around again, making you dizzy and wanting to throw up. There's silence between the two girls again, and Faith looks up to the front of the bus, watching Buffy tend to one girl's wound on her arm. Always the savior, huh? She used to hate her for that. Now… fuck, whatever now is. Now is just now.

"So what's the deal with you two?"

Faith turns to looks at Dawn, confused. This whole talking thing was not just weird, it was unexpected on so many levels. "Me and B?" Faith asks, wondering why she wants to know. Why she even cares.

"Yeah." She flicks the cigarette between her fingers in anticipation. Maybe she's talking just to pass time.

"I dunno."

Dawn looks at her in a way that makes Faith thinks she should have understand more of what she meant. She smooths out her pant legs again, pursing her lips together for a moment before turning her head to look back at Faith. "I was just trying to see if everything is cool between you two again. Or, okay, not cool exactly. Just… better. Than before."

Once again Faith is deep in the realm of ‘why does she even care?' But she just shrugs, trying to make light of the situation. Like nothing mattered, when in reality everything mattered. "It ain't like we're besties or anything. Ain't ever gonna be that. Ain't ever gonna come anywhere close to that. You know. With all this rain of shit we poured on each other back then. But. I dunno. Guess she's… just whatever about it now. Maybe."

More silence as Dawn thinks about that. She takes a breath before saying, "She talked about you a lot. When you were gone. Locked up."

"Hate and anger, blood and guts probably."

Dawn shakes her head, "No. Not all the time." She's quiet for a minute, like she's trying to decide if she should even say anything. Faith just watches her, her curiosity spiked just due to the whole… adultness of this conversation. What happened to little annoying Dawn? Whiny and bratty? Who was this in front of her, and why the hell didn't Faith realize she had grown up until just now?

The world continues to just pass her by, huh. Figures.

"You made her sad, you know," Dawn says finally. She doesn't look at her though; she's looking at Buffy across the way.

"Angry," Faith corrects.

"No. I mean sad," Dawn says, then her eyes look over to rest on Faith. "She won't say it outloud. She likes it up there; where she can look down and control everything around her. She couldn't control you though. Maybe she thought you should be up there too with her. I don't know. But she was happy for a little while when you came. I remember that. She's been sad ever since the Mayor. She talks about you and I see it."

Faith doesn't really know what to say to that for a minute. It's weird, having this conversation with Buffy's little sister. She's really not so little anymore though. "I fucked up," is all Faith offers her, training her eyes back out the window. Another understatement.

"Yeah," Dawn agrees. There's more silence as they pull off the highway. "I looked up to you a lot, you remember that?"

"Yeah, kid. I remember," Faith says, her voice low and… shit. Sad. Yeah, she remembers. She remembers Dawn wanting to practically be her and how annoying it was when she would steal her favorite lipstick and try to talk like her. But now? Now it just seems so screwed up. A memory that never really happened. "Stupid thing to do."

"Probably. But I think I did it cause Buffy did. Younger sister syndrome or something."

That makes Faith turn to look at her. "B never wanted to be like me."

"I think she still kind of does," Dawn tells her, and Faith can feel the bus rolling to a stop as they reach their destination. Well, their designated rest stop. She shrugs a bit. "You were free. She never had that. With mom and me she could never just run off and do whatever she wanted. Think she envied you for it."

People were starting to pile out, and as Dawn gets up to leave, Faith asks, "When did you grow up?"

Dawn smirks a little, but it's almost sad. "When you weren't around."

Faith watches her leave, watches all of them leave. Damn. Yeah, alright, that hurt. It was supposed to though probably. It was all so messed up, every single part of this. Her life. The world. It's like she left and when she came back everything was all still the same but still so fucking different. But the world keeps turning.

Ain't nothing ever gonna wait for you.


Chapter Two

This little hick town don't know what hit them.

People were staring as they all filed out of the bus, some of the new slayers injured and bloody. Mother's put a hand on their children and steered them in the opposite direction; probably thinking that they're all trouble. Hell, we got rid of the trouble, lady. You're welcome. But it ain't like Faith could blame them; she could see what they all looked like. A mess. Beaten, dirty, and tired. Probably a bit scary and overwhelming, yeah.

She doesn't even bother with the bathroom; it wasn't like she really needed to go in the first place. The line is now out the door anyway, and her patience isn't something she's well noted for. Taking out her pack of smokes and sliding one out, she looks around for Dawn, but can't find her. Figuring she's trying to stay out of sight from Buffy, she turns the corner and goes around the other side of the little convenience store their party seemed to have taken over. She catches sight of her, cigarette in hand, tapping her foot anxiously. She doesn't have a light.

"Heads up," Faith calls out to her, and when Dawn looks up she tosses her lighter. Dawn catches it eagerly, lighting her cigarette with a flick of her thumb. As she exhales the smoke she leans back against the wall, relaxing finally.

"Thanks," she says, handing Faith back her lighter once she's walked over to her. Faith just shrugs in response as she places her own cigarette between her painted lips and lights it.

"B catches you, you didn't get it from me," she tells her, the smoke forming around her words as she speaks.


The silence the falls between them isn't weird this time, it's more comforting. Maybe just relief. Addictions and their control and all that. Feed it and maybe you get calm. But as Faith flicks her ash on the ground she looks over at her, the guilt from the last conversation hitting her a bit. "Sorry I… ah. Didn't turn out to be the best role model, or whatever."

"Over it," Dawn replies, placing the cigarette between her lips again and taking a drag.

"You sure?"

Dawn looks over at her, exhaling a large cloud, obscuring their view of each other for a moment. But Faith doesn't move, she just looks at her. "It still pisses me off," Dawn tells her honestly. She flicks her cigarette, watching the ash fall. "All of it. You were like a second sister. Sorta. I don't know. Pissed me off. Not that you just screwed up, well, everything. But that you didn't even bother to try and fix it."

"Trying now."

"Might be a little too late," Dawn tells her, and Faith can feel the rocks pile up in the pit of her stomach. But then Dawn shrugs and says, "Might not. I don't know. I don't exactly hate you anymore for it. Buffy doesn't either. But we're both still pissed off. I think everyone is."

Faith could take that. She already knew that, to some degree. It isn't like everything is going to go back to the way it was, before all the bad. The world doesn't work like that. She's about to say something, when she hears Buffy exclaim, "DAWN!"

Dawn drops the cigarette automatically, her shoe covering it to put it out. Maybe to hide it, even though it was already pointless. And here comes Buffy, hands on her hips in this wave of self-righteous glory. That will never change.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?!"

Dawn's face colors in annoyance, and Faith can already start to see the Dawn that she knew start slipping out again. Maybe it was because she was around Buffy. Siblings tend to do that, or so she's heard. "It's none of your business what I do."

"The hell it isn't! What are you doing smoking?!" she's shrieking now, and it makes Faith wince as she backs up. Might as well get the hell outta dodge before this shit storm get's pointed at her.

"I really don't need you on my back right now, Buffy. I just needed one, okay? Damn," Dawn exclaims, and yeah, alright, she's back to being a teenager; defiance and all of that.

Faith was almost gone, so damn close, when Buffy rounds on her. "Where the hell do you think you're going? If I find out this was your doing I will kick your ass nine ways till—"

"I didn't get it from Faith," Dawn interrupts, and Buffy has this look that crosses across her face that Faith can't read before she turns and faces Dawn again.

"I will not have you smoking! It's a disgusting habit. You're going to get winkles and your teeth will turn yellow and just… ew. Seriously, Dawn."

"You're not mom, Buffy. So just… quit trying to be. This is my life, and if I want to make my lungs black then I will!" Dawn yells, stomping her foot just like a child as she storms off. Yup, she was back to being the Dawn, Faith knew. But hell, she's still in that awkward teenage phase. Part woman, part child, and all confusing. She can't blame her for it.

"Lot of help you were," Buffy snaps as she turns back to Faith. She raises her eyebrows.

"Me? What did I do?"

"Encouraging her. You're a shit role model," Buffy tells her, frustrated. She starts to walk past her, away, just angry in her little blaze of fuckin' annoying glory but Faith isn't gonna just take that. She doesn't need all this crap right now, not from her. They just finished this huge battle, rather not start another one. And yet, all she can do is snap back:

"Excuse me? It ain't like I handed the kid a cigarette and told her she should shed some years off her life and forfeit her left lung cause it'd be fun. I was just there. Besides, she's been smoking for years."

That makes Buffy stop, and Faith can notice her sigh a little. Maybe in defeat. It's unusual, her just giving up on an argument so quickly, but she's tired. They all are. "She told you that?" she asks, without looking back at her. Another sigh, then a quieter, "Figures."

"Figures what?"

"Nothing," Buffy replies. "Just. Her telling you." She takes another breath and then starts walking towards the front of the store. Faith follows.

"How does that even fit inside the realm of ‘figures'?" she asks, not understanding. "The girl's still pissed at me about… hell. Everything. And I ain't someone anyone goes to keep their secrets. That requires trust."

"And yet she just did it," Buffy says, and Faith can tell there's some hurt in her voice. Maybe because Dawn felt like she couldn't go to her about it.

"Not outta trust, B. Outta addiction. I'm sure I wasn't her first choice."

"So you did give her one."

That makes Faith stop. Shit. Walked right into that one, didn't she? But Buffy ain't mad, she's just… tired. That's really all Faith can say to explain it. "Yeah," Faith tells her, just doing the honesty thing. Best policy or whatever.

"And she lied to protect you."

"Yeah. I guess."

"From me."

"I guess."

"Congratulations," Buffy responds, stopping when they get to the front of the store. Faith feels like that should have been sarcastic, but she didn't hear a hint of it in her voice. Buffy leans against the wall, watching all the girls enjoy the fresh air. Laughing, talking. Being thankful they're alive. But not her. She's pensive, quiet. Faith just watches her a little.

"On?" Faith asks, though isn't sure if she should.

"Just. I don't know," Buffy says, but can't seem to find the words, if she even knew what they were in the first place. "You know."

Faith does know. It's moving forward, at least with someone. But she looks over at Buffy, and it just, fuck, hurts. Again. Like always. Rips her apart cause she can't ever more forward with her. At least not, hell, forward enough. They weren't ripping each other's throats out, but they ain't friends.

There's a light breeze, and it feels good flowing through Faith's hair. She sighs a bit, looking over at the sun. Past five now; it's gotta be. Don't know where the hell they're gonna stay for the night, but something will be figured out, probably. Unless they're all gonna crash on the bus and for the love of everything she prays they don't have to do that.

"So where are you gonna go?" Buffy asks her suddenly, taking Faith out of her thoughts. "After we get to LA, I mean."

Well, that answered that question. "That's where we're going? Thought Angel heading up the Big Bad's office wigged you out."

"It does," Buffy says, wrapping her arms around herself a little. "I don't understand how he— but, whatever. We have a dozen girls with new superpowers and we need a safe place. Least for little bit. Until everyone is patched up and we have a plan."

Faith nods a bit, looping her thumbs in her belt loops and leaning against the side of the building. "Dunno where I'll go," she tells her honestly. She shrugs. "Around. Does it matter?"

"No. Yeah. I don't know. It could. Just in case…" Buffy trails off though, shrugging a bit herself. "Boston?"

"Fuck no. Staying as far away from there as possible." Too many bad memories there. She just went back to one hell hole; she'd rather not go back to another. But she never really thought about this. The after. Hell, maybe cause she didn't think she'd be around long enough for there ever to be an after.

Buffy bit down on her tongue lightly as she stares off in the distance. "You should… stick around. For a little while," she tells her finally. It makes Faith raise her eyebrows in surprise as she looks over at her.

"Why? You gonna miss me?" she asks, a teasing smirk on her face. She had to. Just to… hell, get some normalcy. Least normal the way she liked it. Missed it, even. It seems like Buffy missed it to though, and Faith can see her crack a smile despite herself.

"Not what I meant, you cocky asshole," Buffy says, but its light. She's still smiling a bit to herself, but then it's gone. Back to business. "What I meant was just… you know. New slayers and all. We're going to have to train them; teach them. I can't do it all on my own."

"And you sure you want me near these girls, teachin' them shit?" Faith asks, the surprise evident in her voice.

"You can teach them stuff I can't."

"Like what? Like how to fuck up? Faith's lesson on what not to do as a slayer?" Faith snorts, but it's not funny. It never will be. It just fuckin' hurts.

"Don't… don't be a child," Buffy tells her, finally turning to look at her. Faith just lets it slide; she doesn't want to argue over her calling her a name. They were too old for all of that. "You know that's not what I meant either. Least. I don't know. Not like that. But yeah, a bit. Teach them how out of control the whole thing can seem; how you can wrap yourself up in it. Teach them what it means if they go down that path. Teach them about redemption."

"I ain't the teaching type, B."

"Never thought you were the say you're sorry type either," Buffy retorts, but it's quiet. She purses her lips together, and looks away again. She sighs a bit. "Things change. People change. You never know. You could be really good at it."

"Figured you'd want me out of your hair the first chance you got."

"No. I think I want to be there when more congratulations are in order," she says simply, like it doesn't mean way more than just those few words.

"What's with the sudden faith in me?" Faith asks, looking at her like she doesn't know who's standing next to her anymore.

"This isn't faith, not really. Just. Giving you the chance I refused to before," Buffy tells her. Faith just stays silent though, so Buffy turns to her. "This isn't forgiveness," she says, trying to make that clear. "And this isn't pity. This is just a chance. You helped us; figured you earned as much."

"Do you get sentimental after every time you save the world?" Faith responds. Almost a joke. Almost.

Buffy smirks, turning around so she's facing her. Faith's not sure if she likes the change in position though. Her back is up against the wall and it feels almost like being trapped. But she stands her ground, looking at her lighter counterpart.

"Least there are no flowers involved," Buffy responds, the smirk still lingering on her lips. Faith cocks an eyebrow, deciding to tease her rather then, hell, finish this conversation. Whatever it was. It was getting too… just too something.

"Was that a hint? I can give you a nice bouquet with a little card next time. Something that reads, ‘Sorry for being such an asshole', or whatever. I can ever hire a singing messenger, that's what get's ya off, B."

Buffy rolls her eyes, but she's smiling a bit. "You're kind of an idiot," she tells her. Faith just shrugs, a hint of a smirk still playing on her lips. Buffy laughs a little; once, softly, before turning around. "Come on, let's get everyone back on board so we can get to someplace with a bed."

"I'm for that," Faith agrees, and suddenly her muscles decides to remind her how damn sore she is. Hell… yeah, a bed? That sounds fucking fabulous right about now.

When they all piled back into the bus, Faith was surprised when Buffy slid herself into the seat next to her. Faith didn't say anything and neither did Buffy. They just kind of left it like it was, so completely done with talking that it didn't matter enough to start again. It was maybe three or more hours until they got to LA, and Buffy did end up nodding off during the way. Faith didn't even notice until she felt her slip onto her, her head resting on her shoulder.

That hurt rips through her again, and she does everything she can to just not think about it. She trains her eyes out the window, the darkness settled in and the bright lights of the city on the horizon. She tries to ignore everything, all of it. All the feelings and the longing and the, hell, the sadness. Loneliness, maybe.

But it's kind of hard to ignore something when the cause of it is sleeping on your shoulder.



Chapter Three

Pulling into Wolfram & Hart was a mind fuck and a half.

It ain't like Faith didn't know Angel was now working for them – that news traveled fast. More like it didn't actually sink in until she saw him come down the stairs from his office to greet them, big boss on campus, while the whole gang stood in the middle of… hell. Really. Last time she was here she was being contracted to kill him, and now he runs the joint. Though by the looks of it, he's still trying to get used to it himself.

Buffy was all kinds of awkward when she woke up and realized she had been sleeping on Faith, but Faith just brushed it off and let it go. She didn't want to talk extensively about it, or at all. It happened and it's not like it fuckin' meant anything. Not to Buffy. But it was… alright, it was hell. But it was the nice kind of hell. The one that makes you feel good until you realize it's some twisted torture technique. There's gotta be a dimension of hell like that. She had to hand it to the Powers That Be and their sense of humor.

"Buffy," Angel says, coming down to meet them. He looks like he's about to ask her how she's been, but that'd be a stupid question. He just looks at all the beaten troops behind her and says, "Our medical center can have a look at all of you before you turn in for the night. It's—where is it?" Angel asks, looking to the green demon, Lorne, to his right. Yup, he still ain't used to this place.

"Two floors down, near the Restoration room," Lorne replies. "Don't worry, Angel-cakes, I'll take care of this." He turns to the group, putting his hands up and motioning for them to follow him, "Anyone who needs fixing up, follow me please. I'll give you the grand tour on the way."

Most everyone followed Lorne as he took them away, but Faith stayed behind with Buffy. She was good. Sore as all hell and back again, but alive. Functioning. She smirks a bit though at Angel, "Angel-cakes? Cute pet name."

"Faith… nice to see you didn't die," Angel responds. It's dry, but Faith can tell he means it by the small smile.

"You know me. Surviving."

"You have… rooms, here?" Buffy asks, looking around the building in either awe or fear. Faith couldn't tell. Nor could she blame her. "For all of us?"

"Yeah, didn't find that out until yesterday," Angel says, that confused look back on his face. He scratches the back of his neck. "This place is—you know, they have a room that when you go in it the doors change so you can't find your way back? Was lost in there for about an hour. Still have no idea what it's for." He shakes his head, but continues, "Yeah, we have a couple. Looking at the size of your group I'd say we have enough, but some might have to share. I think they were for hiding out clients; there was a ton of mystical barriers around them. Fred only finally found the blip on her radar and decided to check it out. Fully furnished. Nothing real fancy but, you know, it's a bed."

Buffy nods, stifling a yawn. "Sorry," she apologizes. "I'm just worn out. Long day. Hell of a long day."

"Well let me show you where they are," Angel responds, turning to walk up the stairs. They all followed, one by one, each and every one of them still wary of the place, but once they got into bed? Nothing else mattered but sleeping.

Faith did end up getting her own room. Some of the potentials—no, slayers now—shared, and Willow and Kennedy shared, of course. Man, Faith didn't know how good sleeping could feel until that night. She was out like a light and slept like a fuckin' brick and waking up in the morning actually felt good. She's woken up to impending doom for so long that for just a moment to wake up to something somewhat normal was refreshing and desperately needed.

There was a knock on her door after she climbed out of bed. She yawned, rubbing her eyes a bit with the back of her hands. Shit, no. She shouldn't have jinxed it. It's too early for doom.

When she opened it, Buffy seemed to have lost her train of thought completely. She blinks for a minute, her eyes sweeping over her form. "Faith, I believe you have heard the phrase ‘leave some to the imagination,' right? Well right now, I think that would be appropriate."

Faith looks down at herself, confused for a minute. Oh. Jeez, what a prude. She did have clothes on. Underwear and bra definitely constituted clothes, especially in her book. She looks back up at her, an eyebrow cocked, "Is there some imagining going on now that I don't know about?"

Faith couldn't be sure, but she thinks Buffy just flushed a little. But she's pushed out of the way as Buffy invites herself into her room, and Buffy doesn't give her a chance to figure out if what she saw was real or a figment of her imagination. Faith just blinks in her half awake state and closes the door behind her. "That's so not what I meant," Buffy replies, firm.

But Faith can't help but notice how she didn't deny it either. God, she must really be half asleep for her to even think that—no. Yeah, she's just tired. But it still lets the predator in her come out to play for a bit. She leans against the wall, smirking a bit as she crosses her arms over her chest to accentuate her breasts. She takes note that Buffy makes every effort not to notice.

Well, this was… not new, exactly. More like a flashback to when she was sixteen. A flashback to when she did everything in her power to get Buffy to notice her like that and Buffy did everything in hers to not. "So what's up?" Faith asks.

"I… got food," Buffy says, seeming to stumble over her words for a minute. She holds up the bag in her hand, and Faith's eyes light up. Shit, she was starving. She makes a grab for the bag, but Buffy holds it away from her. "Clothes, then food."

"Buffy, I'm not naked," Faith protests.

"Close enough."

Faith just rolls her eyes, mocking ‘close enough' silently as she walks over to her clothes she left laying out from the night before. None of them had any changes. She unhooks her bra with a flick of her fingers and it falls to the floor as she grabs her shirt. If she has to wear these clothes twice, she's not gonna wear her undergarments with them. Just seemed a bit gross. Then again, wearing grimy clothes twice kinda did too. There was no winning, really.

"Jesus. Faith. This is what bathrooms are for," Buffy says, shielding her eyes from her with her hand. "I swear. There's something wrong with you."

"Probably," Faith replies, sliding the shirt over her head. When she takes off her panties, Buffy makes some sort of noise that Faith can't tell if it's frustration or something else. But hell. She wanted her to get dressed, and she's not exactly the shy type. After she pulls on her pants she sits down on the bed and holds out her hands, "Gimme."

"Please," Buffy corrects, but hands it over anyway. "And it isn't all for you, so don't scarf it all down, like you do."

"Right, yeah," Faith says, dismissing her and pulling out boxes of Chinese food. Thank god. She dives in to the Kung Pao as Buffy starts to take some out of the bag for her. They eat in silence for a little while, until Faith gets the urge to be cocky, or maybe annoying, and says, "So what? This your idea of a date, B? Knockin' on my door when I'm half dressed and bringing good food?" She smirks.

"You're intolerable," Buffy tells her, but she looks amused, despite it. She holds out her hand, "Pass the Lo Mein." Faith hands it to her, the smirk still lingering a bit on her features. Buffy looks up at her, then narrows her eyes a bit before snapping her chopsticks together in her face.

"Stop looking like that. Your face will get stuck that way."

"Yes, mother," Faith replies dryly, and wipes the smirk on her face and turns it into a look of mock seriousness. Buffy snorts a bit into her noodles, and it makes Faith laugh.

But the laughter soon turned into awkward silence. It was just… it was just too weird. Trying to be normal with Buffy, when everything was so very not fuckin' normal. Buffy coughs a little awkwardly and Faith immerses herself back in her food. There stretch of silence probably seems longer than it actually is, but when Buffy talks, Faith isn't sure if she preferred it over the quiet.

"We do this… don't we?"

"Either this or tryin' to kill each other," Faith responds, making a point not to look at the blonde. She used the chopsticks to fiddle with her noodles in her bowl.

"But… pretending isn't the healthiest thing either." Faith just shrugs, not really wanting to have this conversation. But apparently neither does Buffy. "We should talk," she goes on. "But… not now."

"Whatever you want," Faith mumbles, just because it is, isn't it? Whatever Buffy wants. She's not bitter about it; she knows she's part to blame for making it that way. "So what? We go back to pretending now?"

Buffy shrugs, a little smile etched on her face. "Like you said, it's better than killing each other."

"Word," Faith responds, holding up her chopsticks with a smirk. Buffy rolls her eyes at her response but clicks her chopsticks to hers. Acceptance. For now.

"So… guess what I got?" Buffy asks, her eyes twinkling a bit. Faith looks at her expectantly, and then Buffy pulls a credit card out of her purse, waving it around.

"You stealin' people's plastic now, B? Didn't think you had it in ya."

Buffy makes a face, "I didn't steal it, moron. It's Angel's. So we can get clothes. Unlimited funds." she stresses, the grin on her face widening. Those words make Faith's eyes light up as well. "You want to go shopping?" Buffy says lightly, but the excitement is clear in her voice.

"Shit, don't gotta ask me twice," Faith responds with a grin. Man, it'll be nice to have some clothes that don't… ick. These are kind of grimy. Going out in public in them ain't high on her list of priorities, but hell. She needs to at least wear something out of this… establishment. Pfft.

Shopping with Buffy was actually almost fun, in that little girly way. Not that Faith was one to really be girly, but new clothes always put a smile on her face. It was kind of funny, almost, shopping with her too. Just cause they have such a radical difference in clothes.

"You look like a slut," Buffy tells her when she steps out of the dressing room, a hint of disapproval in her voice.

Faith smirks, turning herself around to look at her backside in the mirror. "So yes then?"

"Yeah, sure, if you want a big neon sign over your head that reads ‘I'm easy'," Buffy responds, clicking her tongue in annoyance as the store clerk is so obviously just appreciating her presence.

"Mission accomplished then," Faith retorts, but it's light. She might not appreciate being called easy, but there is a lot of truth in that statement. So the hell with it. She likes dressing this way.

"Jesus. Take a picture," Buffy snaps at the store clerk. The girl widens her eyes at Buffy's rudeness and scutters off. Faith turns to her.

"What's up your ass? The girl was just looking."

"Rather not stand here watching you get ogled, it's so tactless," Buffy responds, clearly annoyed with something. "I mean, she has a job to do. This isn't pay-per-view."

"Whatever," Faith responds, turning back to the mirror and fixing her hair. Yeah, she looked hot. She can still see Buffy's annoyed reflection though. "So what did you get? Something that's not pastel I hope."

"Pastels aren't a bad thing, Faith," Buffy retorts, almost chiding her now. "I am an adult now. So are you, if you've forgotten. You're not a teenager anymore." Her eyes sweep her form, taking her in. "And you're definitely not sixteen."

"Come on B, don't be a stick in the mud. It ain't like I'm gonna be wearing this as every day shit. Just. You know. When I gotta go out to pick up. H&H and all that good stuff."

"Charming," Buffy says dryly. She picks at her own nails for a moment, debating. Then she asks, "Doesn't that ever get old for you? ‘Picking up'?" she uses very annoying finger quotes to prove her point. Faith just rolls her eyes. "I mean, don't you ever want something… more?"

Faith stops fixing her hair for a moment to look at Buffy's reflection through the mirror. Yeah, of course she did. All she fuckin' thought about when she was around—shit. But it ain't like she's the happy ending type of girl. Not in the fairytale sense, anyway. Faith just shrugs, blowing it off. "You know me; get some, get gone. Ain't not point trying for anything else."

"Yeah, I do know you, which is why I think that's a load of bullcrap," Buffy says. Faith bites the inside of her cheek lightly and turns around to face her.

"What do you want me to say?" she asks, a bit defensive. "Yeah, it'd be nice, alright? But it ain't like… shit, B. You know how it is. Secret lives and all that. Putting people in danger. There ain't no room for love in our world." Besides, ain't no one ever gonna love her. Not the real her. But she doesn't say that outloud, she's not looking to have a pity party here.

"I refuse to believe that."

Faith scoffs lightly a little; amused even though it's not funny. She leans against the changing room door, arms crossed over her chest. "Well then. Guess I'll be the pessimist and you can be the optimist. Like always."

Buffy smiles a little, amused a bit too. "Probably safer. The world might fall out of balance if we actually agreed with each other."

That makes Faith laugh a little, softly. She looks down at the ground, the smile on her face becoming wider before she looks up. Buffy's eyes lock with hers and Faith can swear she sees something behind them, but she was never a good reader of people. But she can feel this like… heat. It startled them both for a moment, and they both stepped back from each other, smiles gone.

It was like how it was. Only for a moment. The Slayer connection. It had dulled so much since they grew apart, since the world went to shit and back. There was always that light hum, hidden under the surface, but the heat? Man, she hasn't felt that in years.

"Okay, awkward," Buffy says, blinking a bit. "That was—"


Buffy looks halfway between being annoyed at being interrupted and thankful that she did. "Yeah. So no more of that then. Whatever that was."

"Probably a good idea," Faith says, even though she has no idea what that was or how it even came to be again after all those years.

Maybe it meant something, maybe it didn't. Maybe it was just a fluke; confusion of the senses. But it was there, if only for a second. It made her feel good, but freaked her out all the same. Seemed to do the same to Buffy, who has decided that the new shirt she's looking at was absolutely fascinating. It sucked, honestly. Having it feel weird. But it had too, just because of, hell, everything. And yeah, maybe it meant nothing at all.

But Faith couldn't help but hope that it did.



Chapter Four

Talking wasn't high on their list of priorities, mainly because both of them weren't looking forward to it, but two days later that's what they did. Talked. Sorta. It was late at night and Faith was about to turn in when she heard a familiar knock on her door. Knowing who it was before she even opened it, she unconsciously fixed her hair and readjusted her bra. Not that she was trying to look pretty for—alright, fine, she was. But it was just a habit. They die hard and… all of that. Whatever.

When she opened the door, something was tossed in her direction. Faith catches it out a reflex, then looks down. "Wanna go slaying?" Buffy asks, a little smile on her face. The grin spreads across Faith's.

"Like I'd turn that down." She plays with the stake between her fingers a bit before asking as she grabs her coat. "We teaching the noobs?"

"Nah, most of them still need to rest. Recuperate. Just thought. You know. Just us oldies. It'd give us a chance to…" Buffy trails off, shrugging.

"Do what we gotta do," Faith finishes as she wraps her leather jacket around her. Buffy nods.

Talking while slaying though had to be one the better decisions both of them made. If things got too heated they could kicks some ass and dust some demons without taking it out on each other. There's probably some therapy technique like that, but probably not as violent.

You probably don't breathe in undead fungus after either.

Buffy sneezes after she dusts a vamp, making a face. "Ugh, that went right up my nose."

Faith chuckles a bit as Buffy sneezes again. She leans against a headstone, arms crossed over her chest. "You know, that might be what causes the H&H, if you think about it. Like a drug. Up your nose. All… fuckin' up your system. Maybe it's like slayer cocaine." She laughs a bit.

"I told you I don't get H&H," Buffy retorts, rubbing her nose for good measure. She blinks a bit, then turns to Faith.

"You're full of shit," Faith tells her, smirking. Buffy just ignores her comment, stalking off in the other direction. "I know you get the itch, girlfriend. We all do."

"Come on, there's gotta be more down this way," Buffy says, still ignoring her.

Faith gets off the headstone, the smirk still lingering on her face. They walk together for a bit in silence, the eerily unsettling vibe of the graveyard washing over them. Yeah, there was definitely more around here. But it's faint, so they know they aren't going to come across one any time soon. "So," Buffy starts, the awkwardness back in her voice. "We should…"

"Yeah," Faith agrees, just wanting to get it over with. She plays with the stake in her hands as they walk across the grass. "So how we gonna have this play out? I say sorry, you punch me a couple times, and that's that then?"

"Because that's healthy," Buffy deadpans, but she smirks a bit before shrugging. She sighs. "I don't know. Guess I already punched you out more than enough times, so we can skip that part."

"Good, cause last time I swear you almost dislocated my jaw."

"You had it coming."

"Always do," Faith responds, but it's a sigh. Defeat. Maybe sadness. Fuck it. "Look, I am… y'know. Sorry about, fuck, everything. Taking out my teenage angst on you like it was your fault." She doesn't look at her when she says it, but that's okay because Buffy isn't looking at her either. They just walk side by side through the maze of headstones and trees.

"Part of it was my fault," Buffy says quietly, and it makes Faith's face color in confusion and annoyance.

"Don't do that, B. Fuckin' hate when you do that."


"Do the whole self-pity bullshit. Ain't none of that on you, and frankly you don't make it any better when you pretend it is. You can't carry around everything on your shoulders. And my shit ain't yours to deal with," Faith tells her. It makes Buffy stop, turning to look at her. Faith stops too, arms crossed over her chest. She can feel the annoyance radiating off of Buffy. Or maybe it was her own, just reversed cause of the whole connection. It's too complicated to think about extensively, that's for sure.

"I'm not doing anything like that," Buffy retorts. Her own arms fold across her chest, defensive as well. "You're only half of the story, Faith. Now do you wanna stop acting like a brat, shut up, and hear mine? Or do you just wanna throw down since apparently that's all we're good at doing?"

"Name calling is real mature, Buffy."

"Well if you listened for one damn second then maybe I wouldn't have to," Buffy snaps. Faith falls silent though, cocking an eyebrow in her direction as she waits expectantly. "It was just that…" Buffy starts, then sighs. She turns and starts walking again, and Faith follows. "When you came to town you were like… a sister. Almost. We had this connection and it was so amazing and, well, you know. But I got – and I swear if you repeat this to anyone I will personally remove your larynx – I got… jealous. I guess. You were… untamed, I guess would be the word. Everyone loved you and everyone wanted to be you. It pissed me off and I just kind of… shut you out. I made everyone shut you out."

"Think I made everyone shut me out when I switched teams," Faith said softly, but it was only so she could blame herself. Part of her knows what Buffy's saying is true, and that it makes sense. Not that she was gonna blame Buffy for what happened, but maybe if… maybe if it didn't happen like that she wouldn't have felt that she needed to go to someone else for some kind of love and acceptance, even if he was evil.

"Before that," Buffy says, just as softly. The grass crunches beneath their feet as they walk, then finally she says, "So. I'm sorry. About doing that to you."

"It ain't nothin' now," Faith responds, then pulls her arms around herself as she knows it's her turn. Vulnerable. Fuck. She ain't the kind of person that just—this ain't her thing. Sharing. Feelings. Verbal ones, anyway. "But, y'know, I was jealous of you too."

"I know."

Faith looks over at Buffy, pursing her lips together a little. "Family. Friends. The whole nine yards. Think that's why it was always about you. Maybe. Just… trying to destroy the one thing you had that I didn't. Make you feel what it was like. I was just… fuck. An uncontrollable fuckin' time bomb. Didn't know which way I supposed to go, but it seemed I always ended up back at you. It was always about you."

"Because of the jealousy?"

"Something like that," Faith says, knowing full well it isn't just about that. It was always about Buffy because Buffy was her other half, whether she liked it or not. Whether they ever became a whole or were doomed to wander the earth without ever knowing that connection.

"But there's more." It's a soft statement; she already knows. Faith stops, letting out a breath she didn't know she had been holding. She leans against another headstone, the marble cold underneath her palms as she presses against it.

"Ain't there always, B? With us. It's always more than what… fuck, what it's supposed to be."

Buffy shrugs a little, looking down as she moves to lean on the headstone next to her. There's silence for a moment. Just the sound of the wind blowing through the trees, making the branches creak and the leaves shudder. "It's different with us," she agrees, finally.

"Hundreds, hell, maybe thousands of slayers awakening across the world. So why is it that I can still only feel you like this?" Faith asks her. She doesn't look at her though.

"I don't know," Buffy says. "Probably has to do with destiny, or some prophecy, or another end of the world scenario."

"Figures," Faith scoffs lightly. "Leave it to my feelings to end the freaking world." Another scoff, and the last word is softer, barely even audible. "Again."

"And what feelings are those?" Buffy asks lightly, and Faith can tell she's looking at her now. She can feel her eyes on her, but she doesn't look back.

"Y'know," Faith says softly, meaning more than what she's saying. But she switches it quickly, tries to cover it up to, "Just. The Slayer connection. Whatever."

"You were wrong, you know," Buffy says suddenly, and it makes Faith look over at her. Buffy's eyes meet hers. "About the thing you said before, back in Sunnydale. Us not getting along because we weren't supposed to exist with each other. If that were true, we'd have a whole mess of girls fighting all the time now. Besides, Kendra, before you… yeah, we didn't get along, but there was no… connection. No feeling. No dreams."

"Great then," Faith says with a light sarcasm. "Glad to know we're the only fucked up ones then."

Buffy laughs lightly. "Maybe we are a bit fucked up," she agrees. She nudges Faith a little with her elbow, softly, just getting her attention. "But maybe we should just… stop. The past happened; it was screwed up, yeah, but we can't keep—you know, making everything more of a hell when there's already enough hell all around us. There's just no more time to fight and be childish about it. We got a whole slew of new slayers that need guidance from us and maybe we should, I don't know. Kind of set some sort of example."

"Be adults, you mean?" Faith says, but it's lightly teasing. Buffy smiles a bit, then nods.

"Yeah. We have to grow up sometime."

But Faith isn't listening anymore. She puts a hand on Buffy's arm, stilling her as a smile creeps across her face. "You feel that?" she asks, excitement in her voice.

Buffy stops, a smile forming over her own face. Her eyes twinkle. "Come on," she says, before taking off through the maze of graves, Faith hot on her heels.

This time it was almost like the past again; the perfectly timed banter and fluidity of their movements. Their last slay was two individuals working together. This? Maybe there was something different now. It was more like one slayer in two bodies. Defense and offense; they switched so rapidly but so easily, each giving the other a turn without even having to speak to synchronize their movements. When the stakes came down to deliver that final blow, it was as if there was something that pulled them to do it together, the dust scattering into the wind before their eyes, leaving them facing each other.

"Don't breathe in," Faith jokes.

"Why not? If you're little theory proves right, then I'm already high," Buffy says, smirking. She tucks the stake into her back pocket, dusting off her hands.

"You feelin' it then?" Faith asks, curiosity and wonder peaked in her voice as she takes in Buffy's form. Poised; on edge. Her muscles ripped and ready. A shiver, though Buffy will probably say it's cause of the wind. Oh yeah, she's feeling it.

"I'm not adding to your little perverted fantasies," Buffy tells her, but she's smirking. She hits Faith lightly in the stomach as she starts walking. "Come on."

"Hey, who said you were in my fantasies?" Faith retorts as she follows behind her. "Conceited a bit, aren't we?"

Buffy snorts, "Let's not kid ourselves, F." It's said lightly, teasing, but it makes Faith wonder how much she really knows about how she feels about it. About her. About everything. But if she does know, it also makes Faith wonder why the hell she isn't running screaming or kicking her ass into next Sunday. But that little window of opportunity makes her try to stick her head through. Or maybe up her ass, depending on how this goes.

"So you wanna hit a bar with me? Feed the hungries a bit?" Faith asks. It's light, but all she can think about in her head is how much it just sounds like she just asked her out on a fuckin' date. "We can find someone else to take care of that other H there too," she adds as an afterthought, just trying to make it not sound like she was asking her out.

"I don't pick up like you do," Buffy tells her as they walk out of the graveyard and down the street. "And frankly? Rather not see you do it either. Would like to keep my food down."

"Ha, ha," Faith says dryly. But then she shrugs. "Fine, just us then. No beefsticks or rug munchers. Whatever. One H down is better than none."

Buffy shifts her eyes a bit to look over at her. "You do play both sides then?" she asks, curious. But she shakes her head a little, as if deciding she doesn't want to get into that whole thing, and says instead, "Nevermind. Yeah, food sounds good."

It wasn't until an hour later, when they sat at the bar with enough food in front of them that could probably feed a small army, that that conversation is revisited. Faith didn't know why it really mattered much to Buffy, or maybe she was just trying to… hell, bond, or some weird crap like that. "So," Buffy starts, waving a french fry about absentmindedly. "This girl thing. When'd that start?"

When I met you. But Faith doesn't say that, thank god, she just shrugs instead. "Y'know. Prison. Girl-lovin' only up in there. Unless you wanna boink the guards and – ew. Ain't desperate enough for all that. Though one bastard did try to rape me," Faith laughs a bit at that while Buffy looks horrified. "Hey," she says noticing her look. "Come on, like it would have ever gone down like that. Mother fucker got his face busted and his shoulder dislocated. Spent awhile in solitary for that, but it was worth it."

"Jesus," Buffy says, taking that in. Her eyes widen and she pops the fry into her mouth. But she lets it go, changing the conversation back. Well, sort of back. Now they were on the whole relationship conversation that they sort of had back in the dressing room. "So have you ever actually had a connection with someone that was… meaningful?"

"As in, lasting for more than a night?" Faith asks, picking up her jack and coke and taking a sip as she peered over at her.


"No. Well, I don't know. In prison there was this girl. We fucked on a pretty regular basis, but maybe that's cause you can't exactly get some and get gone in that joint. Wouldn't call it a relationship though."

"So what would you call it? Did you like her?" Buffy pries, though she does it in a way that makes her seem like she's being casual about it. She's not looking at her, just saying words in between poppin' french fries in her mouth. Faith knits her eyebrows together.

"Seriously. What's with the sudden curiosity?"

Buffy lets out a dramatic sigh, rolling her eyes for effect. "I'm just trying to, I don't know, have some sort of normal conversation with you. One that doesn't involve screaming or angst. Is that a crime now?"

"No. It's just weird," Faith says honestly, picking at the food on her plate. She was starting to get full.

"Fine. Then we'll talk about something else," Buffy decides, but Faith doesn't want to. That other H was sticking its' head in where it doesn't belong, especially with Buffy around.

"Nah, you know what? We should probably head back," Faith says, making a point to look out towards the door instead of at Buffy.

"Oh," Buffy says, surprised. Maybe disappointed? But Faith couldn't put her finger on it. "Yeah, that's fine. Tomorrow I guess we should start figuring out where we're all going to go too. We can't stay here forever."

"Don't think I'd want to," Faith responds as she slaps some money on the counter to pay for the bill. "That place gives me the creeps."

"The heeby-jeebies," Buffy agrees. She starts to pull some money out to pay for her part, but Faith waves it off.

"I got it, B."

"And where did you get money?"

"Same place you did: Angel. Come on, let's get out of here. That guy over there looks like he's five seconds from comin' over and trying to get you in the sack," Faith tells her, standing up. Buffy looks over to where she was motioning too.

"Oh, ew," she says, giggling. It makes Faith crack a smirk, but then the guy starts moving towards them. Faith rolls her eyes.

"I got this," she says, and puts an arm around Buffy's waist. Buffy looks surprised for a minute, but Faith is looking over at the guy, cocking an eyebrow and giving him a ‘don't you dare' look. He stops in his tracks, almost gawking at the two of them.

Buffy laughs, "Oh, my hero."

"You know me," Faith jokes, leading her out the door. Maybe her arm lingered around her a little longer than it should, but Buffy didn't push her off. It was all just a joke anyway. Shits and giggles. Fucking around with some guy just cause they could.

But when her arm does fall back to her side, she realizes how much she missed it. How much she could still almost feel it. The tingles; the heat that comes with it. The everything.

Even if it did mean nothing at all.

Chapter Five

Taking care of that other H shouldn't have been this fuckin' difficult.

She was in her room. Buffy had gone to hers, the lights were out, her clothes were off, and she was trying to take care of business. The heat was dominating her abdomen, the flashes of the slay and the bar were filling her mind and fuck, she just needed to get off. Her fingers slipped over herself almost tauntingly slow, making her gasp into the darkness of the room and arc her hips into her hand.

She started imagining all the little scenarios that could have happened that night, if only something like them could ever happen. The slay done, the heat and the passion being fueled between the two of them so much that they could feel it crawling all over them. Eyes locked and bodies intertwined and somehow it suddenly jumped to Buffy being bent over stark fuckin' nude over a gravestone with Faith's fingers buried in her tight little pussy.

It wasn't like this was anything new. No, she's fucked herself plenty of times thinking about Buffy. Even when she hated her, she wanted to fuck her just to destroy her, own her in a way. It's always been about Buffy whether it was about love or hate. Her whole fucking universe revolved around that woman, and frankly?

…It was a bit pathetic.

Faith lets out a frustrated sigh and stops herself halfway through; her breathing labored and her chest heaving from anger. She turns her face to look at the wall; the wall that separates her and Buffy's room and she locks her jaw. This was so fucking pathetic.

Was this all she was going to be? All she was gonna do? Just waste her life away pining over some woman who can barely even stand to be in the same room with her?

Alright, well, apparently she can stand it now. They had their little truce and fuckin'… whatever. But that still doesn't change the fact that Buffy would have to be clinically psychotic to ever want Faith the way she so desperately wants her too. Needs her too. She's all she wants and all that she's never going to get and instead of trying to move on she just continues to sink herself just a little deeper. She always pushes her fuckin' fingers in just a bit deeper and pants out her name before she releases, letting the sadness wash over her as much as the damn orgasm does.

Faith was never one to be emotional; at least not in front of people. She puts on a hard face and makes any kind of weakness turn to anger instead because she refuses to ever let anyone know how fuckin' broken she really is. But that doesn't mean that when she's alone that she doesn't cry. Cause she does. All the damn time.

She hates it, hates all of it. And as she feels the tears start to well up in her eyes she sits up quickly, maybe trying to jolt herself out of it. Snap some damn sense into herself. She takes a breath, trying to just not think, before she rises from the bed and grabs her clothes. Fuck all of this.

It just has to stop.

Her clothes are on in a rush and she's out the door in all the same. She just needs to get away. Hell, find someone to take her away. Not in that stupid knight in shining armor crap way, but just take her out of her head. Hell, take Buffy out of her head. Fuck her to make her forget. It always works, just the problem is that once their gone and out the door it all comes back again. Every single miserable part of it.

Faith hates feeling sorry for herself, it makes her seem like a spoiled brat who's crying cause they can't get the shiny toy they want. But Buffy was more than just a toy. She was more than just some prize to be owned. She was… fuck. Everything. All of it. With a nice little fuckin' bow on top.

Picking up was easy. It always is. She knows she was born lucky; to look the way she does. If sex came in human form she'd be pretty damn close to how it looks. The hair, the lips, the breasts, the dangerous air and cocky attitude and fuck, yeah, it's just easy. Almost too damn easy.

She wasn't picky tonight, she doesn't think she could handle being that way cause the longer it takes for her to find someone the longer she keeps thinking about Buffy and how she wishes she was trying to pick up her. The first person who showed an interest was the one who ended up in her bed; Faith on top in some sweaty, raw, sexual haze. She lets her body take over and says adios to the thinking cause thinking never leads to anywhere good.

But it's almost like animals. When you let your body take over it all becomes instinctual it turns into something that dances with the line between human and primal. Rough, hard, bordering on almost abusive with the biting and the scratching and just, hell, owning. Owning another human being just because you can, if only for a moment. It's loud and it's passionate and it's so fucking sexy that yeah, for a second she forgets about Buffy. And that was the point, wasn't it?

Hours. Hours and fuckin' hours of nothing but sex. It was strange that she found someone with enough stamina to rival her own, but she ate it up because it tasted so fuckin' good. But eventually the stamina wore out with both of them, and as she collapsed on the bed, eyes closed and breathing labored, her guest sat up a little, a little smirk lingering.

"That was fun," the girl states, in this almost airy way as she made light of something that was fuckin'… Faith wouldn't say incredible, that might be giving it too much credit, but it was pretty damn close to amazing, regardless.

Faith doesn't say anything; she just rolls over and stares at the ceiling, wiping the hair out of her face. Her face is flushed and she can still feel the mist of sweat on her body. She takes a deep breath. Man. She needed that.

The girl peers down at her, almost inquisitively. She's a bit out of breath herself, but it's not as pronounced. Almost as if she's learned to quiet herself on command. "Did you get what you needed?" she asks her, like she knows more than what she's letting on. Faith turns her head to look at her.

"Yeah. Thanks for the orgasms," she says, though maybe it's hinted with a bit of sarcasm because somehow, what she just said, turned on her defense mechanism. This was… weird. There was something off about this girl.

"You're welcome," she replies with a little smile; that light, airy tone back again. Maybe she was a bit crazy. Go figure for Faith to pick the most fucked up broad in the whole damn bar. What was her name again? She doesn't remember her even saying…

"I don't think I got your name," Faith says, sitting up as she finds her clothes. She picks up the girls shirt first though and throws it at her. She catches it easily.

"That's because I never told you," she replies, like it should have been obvious, as she slides the shirt over her head. Her blonde hair spills down around her shoulders and she looks at her.

Though, on a completely unrelated note: go figure she'd be fucking a blonde too. What is it, some kind of weakness she has? Fuckin' stupid.

But it was weird, the girl not saying her name, even when she asked. She half expected her to get pissed off at her, like most women. Faith could never remember names; they just weren't her strong suit. "You gonna tell me?" Faith asks, the defense kicking in again. Something wasn't right.

"No," she replies as she pulls on her jeans. "But I don't think I want to know yours either."

"What is this? Some kind of kinky fetish you have? Fuckin' strangers and never wanting to know who they are?" She could be down with that, honestly. But it still didn't seem like that was it either.

"No. I just don't trust you," the girl tells her simply. Then she cocks her head to the side in thought a bit. "And I don't think I care what your name is."

"And you're making me trust you even less than I already do, which usually means that you're about to fuck me over and we're gonna have to throw down," Faith says as she grabs her clothes and starts putting them back on, keeping one eye on her the whole time.

"You don't have anything I want," the girl says flatly, like that made some kind of fucking sense. But then Faith thinks about it a bit. What was she, some kind of thief? It was the only thing that even made it into the realm of slightly logical with all this… fuck. Craziness. No name, no trust, no whatever. But hey, she does have nice things. Fucking hella nice things after being able to go spree with Angel's plastic. She might be offended that this girl, if she is a thief, doesn't even find anything of hers worth stealing.


But then the girl doesn't go for the door, she goes for the window. Faith stares at her like she's got five fuckin' heads and one of them is starting to yodel. "What the fuck are you doing?"


"Out the window? Are you fucking insane?"

The girl looks at her, blinking a few times with this blank eerie sort of stare. "It's only three stories up," she says, completely ignoring the insane comment and saying it in a way that made Faith feel… weird. This girl really was a bit off.

"There's no fire escape."

"And that's what makes it fun," she says with a little smile… and then she's just fucking gone. Faith blinks and stands up, making her way over to the window just in time to see her scaling down the drainpipe and her feet hitting the ground before she takes off into the darkness.

Man, she needs to start fucking normal people.

The next morning she woke up to the sight of Buffy… standing over her. Faith jerks up straight in bed out of automatic reaction, clutching the covers to her chest. "Fuck, shit, god damnit B, what the hell are you doing??" Faith mumbles in her sleepy and startled haze. She rubs the sleep out of her eyes so she can see clearly. Damn, way to freak a bitch out. Just kinda creepy when you wake up and someone's standing over you. It's like in the horror movies before some hot bitch gets her heart cut out of her chest and shown to her.

That better not be on Buffy's agenda this morning.

"Nice mouth," Buffy deadpans, a hint of annoyance seeping into her voice. She walks away from the bed and over to the window to yank open the curtains. Light floods into the room and Faith makes some kind of whiny, aggravated noise before throwing the covers back over her head.

What the fuck. She's still freaking tired.

"Get up, it's almost noon and we have to train some of the newbies," Buffy tells her flatly. Faith doesn't have to be looking at her to know that she has her hands on her hips. Faith has no idea what's up with the attitude this morning, but she's really not digging it. Didn't they call truce? Does she have to wave a white flag now? God damn.

"I'm tired," Faith complains, just cause it's early and she's grumpy. She makes a face and wipes the fallen strands of brunette hair off her face. Damnit, she wants to go back to bed. She lies back down, flopping back and staring up the ceiling.

"Yeah, well, me too," Buffy says, irritated. "You kept me up last night. Really considerate, by the way."

Faith blinks as this heavy weight makes its way down her throat and lays camp in her abdomen. She turns her head to look at Buffy, who had her arms crossed over her chest as she looks down at her disapprovingly. "You heard me?" Faith asks, though clearly that much was obvious.

"What I heard was more like animals during mating season," Buffy says flatly, her annoyance with the situation written all over her face. Faith sits up though, still making sure to keep the covers over her as she does so since she hasn't bothered to put clothes back on last night. "This is not a whore house, Faith," Buffy continues in her little high-and-mighty disapproving voice that just works at Faith's last nerve. Her own grumpiness wasn't helping the situation much either and it makes her snap back,

"Whatever, you can stand there and act like you're better than me because you like to pretend you don't feel it like I do, but I'm willing to bet you got yourself off to the sounds of my little mating session last night, Twinkie."

She should have expected what was coming next, and part of her damn well knows she deserved it since that was kind of over the line, but when Buffy's fist connected with her jaw it still knocked her back, disoriented her for a moment, until her instincts took over and the next thing she knew she had Buffy pinned against the far wall, forearm over her throat and her breathing ragged from rage.


But Buffy doesn't make a move, she just stands there, letting Faith hold her since she still couldn't bring herself to press down and apply pressure enough to threaten her. Their eyes connect and Buffy taunts her, "Press down. I dare you." It almost makes Faith think that she just let her make that move just to see what would come after it.

"Fuck you."

It's said softly, almost a hissing sound through her teeth as they continue to stare at each other, neither moving but both calculating reactive moves if the other one dares to begin their dance. Faith notices Buffy's breathing change, just slightly. Not as defensive anymore but more… anticipation.

It wasn't like Faith studied people, or ever cared to. But if there was one thing she did take in from her slayer training it was how to spot signs of weakness and changes in strategy. Not that Faith knew how to make any of them turn in her favor when she's up against Buffy though. Everything with her is always just… running on emotions. Pure feeling.

"You used to not hesitate," Buffy says, but its softer. There's still a hint of a challenge behind her words but it was mostly masked by her own curiosity.

"You used to not wait for me to make a move," Faith counters in a voice equally as soft. Buffy just stares hard into her eyes for a moment, until Faith notices them become a bit softer as she lets them drop slowly, looking over her darker counterpart.

"You need to get dressed," Buffy states flatly, but it's also hinted in this odd tone that Faith can't place. But that snaps her out of it and she steps away from Buffy, backing up a few steps. She still doesn't move for her clothes though; she just looks at her.

"Truce over?" Faith asks, trying to not make the disappointment and sadness seep out through her words. She tries to make it comes out strong, but she doesn't think she succeeded very well.

Buffy blinks, tearing her eyes away from Faith's nude body to look up at her face. "No," she says simply. She grabs Faith's tank top off of the bedside table and throws it at her, and the brunette catches it easily. "But I still don't think I know how to start my day unless I get to clock you in the jaw."

That makes Faith crack a smirk as she slides her shirt over her head. "You still got a mean right hook." That makes Buffy smirk as well before she turns towards the door. But then she stops as her hand touches the doorknob, and Faith can see her take a breath. She turns back around and Faith watches her out of her peripheral vision, surprised to notice that Buffy was very much looking at her as she pulls on her panties.

"Keep looking at me like that and we're never gonna leave this room," Faith says, that little hint of cocky arrogance in her voice that usually makes her want to slap herself silly after she uses it. Man, she needs to really start using that brain to mouth filter, she's gonna get herself into trouble.

"What? I'm not—! Faith!" Buffy exclaims, all flustered and irritated as she narrows her eyes and stomps her foot a little to make her point. "That wasn't what I was—! Just get dressed!" she snaps and then in a flash she's out the door, it slamming behind her.


Yeah, she really needs to start controlling that better. But Buffy was looking, she didn't imagine that. And maybe it was just cause she's one big giant prude and nudity either offends or intrigues her, but still. She was looking. At Faith. All… naked. At all her naked little parts.

And even though she just pissed Buffy off by stating that fact out loud, she can't help the smile that's on her face. On some level, hell, it doesn't matter which one, but on some level Buffy couldn't take her eyes off of her.

And she'll take that… no matter what the reasons were.


Chapter Six

Faith should have known better.

Last night they didn't go slaying with the noobs so they could all rest and recuperate, and yet today they were training them? If Faith took two seconds to think about that, she might not have been surprised when she walked into the training room to find it empty except for Buffy. But she didn't think, and so she was surprised. Or more like confused. She was still only half awake, after all. The fact that she can even form a fragment of a thought right now should really be considered some sort of accomplishment.

"Whoa. Am I early to class for once?" Faith asks, surprised, as she walks into the large rectangular room. Her sneakers squeaking slightly on the polished wood, reminding her of her high school gym in a way. Minus the fat, underachieving asshole of a teacher that she had. Faith figures she might be the underachieving asshole now, never doin' the normal thing cause of destiny and some other crap. But hey, at least she isn't fat. She'll take the points on that one.

Buffy looks up at her as she sweeps her blonde hair back into a ponytail. She leaves a few stray stands to frame her face, and Faith tries like hell not the stare because she's pretty sure that finding Buffy mesmerizing when she's only fixing her hair is probably a bit ridiculous. "I tried to rally together the troops, but there were only a handful able bodied enough to train. Guess we're going to have to wait a couple more days."

Faith took a step back towards the door hopefully, "So crashin' out is back on the agenda?"

"No, get in here," Buffy orders in that special little way of hers that makes Faith feel like she has no other option. Damnit, she shouldn't have asked; making a run for it probably would have yielded better results. But when given the option to run when it has anything to do with Buffy, she tends to find herself running towards her instead of away from her. Faith's beginning to think she has some sort of masochistic complex going on.

Faith sighs a bit and unzips her hoodie as she watches Buffy stretch. "So what? Are we training the few that can?" Really though, Faith doesn't know why she asks questions she already knows the answer to. Maybe she's just trying to prolong it, put it off, something. She really didn't feel like getting all sweaty; fuckin' down and dirty with Buffy this morning.

Well, in the way that—

"No," Buffy says as she stretches her arm across her chest, interrupting Faith's thoughts for a moment. Her eyes scan down Buffy's body, taking in every curve of every muscle. She's a bit like a panther, if Faith needed to pick an animal to describe her. Strong; agile. Beautiful. Buffy doesn't seem to notice her moment of appreciation though as she stretches her arm back behind her head. "Thought now would be a good time for us to map out a curriculum."

"A what now?" Faith asks after she's taken off her hoodie, eyebrow cocked as she takes her own rubber band off her wrist to tie her hair back off of her neck. "What is this? Slayers: A History?"

"No, Giles and Andrew are working on that," Buffy says seriously, which just makes Faith cock her eyebrow even further because she was fucking joking. "But we should go over what we're going to teach them, and when."

"We teach them how to kick undead ass," Faith says, like that in its self should have been plain as fuckin' day. "The end."


"B, this is stupid. You do what you do and I'll just go along with it, like always," Faith says, crossing her arms across her chest. She really didn't want to sit down and talk strategy. She was more of a doer than a planner. And yeah, maybe if she did think in terms of plans and strategies she'd come out on top more often. But does she look like she's got the patience for that? Hell No. It just is what it is.

"It's not stupid," Buffy said with a bit of a huff, rolling her neck back a little. Faith can hear a small crack before she shakes it out and steps back in a defensive stance. "We'll teach them blocking first. Be the offence; come at me."

"This is pointless; we already know how we spar together. We've tried to fuckin' kill each other; don't think we need the practice. Besides, the kids helped save the world. I think they can block fine."

"Fine isn't good enough, Faith," Buffy says seriously, and like she should have known that. "Come. At. Me."

But Faith doesn't want to just come at her. Not cause she doesn't like sparring with Buffy, but just cause of what it does to her. Being up close and personal with a sweaty out of breath Buffy does things to places she'd rather not admit, least of all to her. There's heat and there's passion and it gets to the point where it's either fight or fuck, and you can guess the one Faith tries to choose. So she just tries to play it off, act like it's stupid, fuckin' whatever she has to do to not get sucked into this hell hole of adrenaline and hormones.

"Nah, girlfriend. You have fun with... whatever. I'm just gonna—" Faith tries, stepping back with an amused look on her face and her hands up in surrender, just trying not to get herself in trouble by backing out. But Buffy was obviously having none of that, because before she can even finish her sentence, Buffy launched herself at her.

Well, apparently Faith is on the defense now. Typical.

"Fuck. Damnit!" Faith swears after she manages just barely to block Buffy's first punch. "B, seriously—"

"Come on, block me," Buffy taunts, and this time her punch did make it through Faiths' defenses, making her stumble back a couple steps. Faith rubs her jaw in annoyance and Buffy's smirking, looking like she enjoyed that a bit too much for just sparring. Great, cause this is really what she needed today.

"You don't give a shit about training. All you want to do is hit me this morning," Faith accuses, but this time she backs up just far enough to give herself room to deflect. She knows Buffy isn't going to stop until one of them is on the ground, and it ain't gonna be her. She's been on bottom for this bitch more times than she can count.

Buffy snorts a bit, "What gave you that idea?" But then she swings again. Faith's ready for it this time and blocks it cleanly, turning around in enough time to manage to get behind the blonde and slam her elbow between her shoulder blades. Buffy winces. "I said defensive!" she yells and she whips around to face her, rolling her back from the pain.

"You mean let you keep hitting me and I can do nothing about it?" Faith says, her eyes fired up and her muscles ready for a fight now. Her fists are up, her left foot back and planted to keep her ground. "I don't think so."

But there's a twinkle in Buffy's eye from that, almost like a challenge. "Aw, does Faithy think she can play with the big girls now?" she taunts, a little smirk on her face. They start circling each other slowly, never once letting their eyes leave each other. Dancing; like they always had. Taunting; because it's the only thing they know how to do.

"Please. You play with fire, you're about to get burned, sweetheart."

"Is that so?"

"Come at me and find out."

Buffy smirks, this sly little grin spreading across her face. She cocks her head and licks her bottom lip slightly before asking, her voice much lower than should ever be allowed, "And what if I said I wanted to get burned by you?" Her voice is dripping of sex and something much sweeter, using a tactic Faith didn't see coming from a mile off.

It makes Faith blink in shock from that unexpected sentence, and that hesitation was all Buffy needed. Once she managed to get Faith's hands where she needed them, one leg sweep was all it took to get the younger slayer flat on her back with Buffy pinning her down with a smirk of victory etched on her features. "And the winner is…" Buffy taunts, still keeping her grip locked on the girl's wrists. Her touch was like fire to the younger woman.

"You cheated."

"You should have never told me you had a weakness for women," Buffy says with a smirk as she gets up and holds out her hand to Faith. She laughs a bit, "Come on, let's go again."

Faith makes a sound of annoyance at being beaten but begrudgingly takes Buffy's hand and lets her help her up. "Never said it was a weakness," Faith retorts, her ego bruised more than her body. She stretches her arm across her chest to work out the kink she feels as she takes a step back. That really wasn't fair game right there.

"Maybe not, but I just proved it," Buffy says, and it annoys Faith that she apparently finds it amusing. She cocks her head to the side, and proceeds to fuck with her mental state all over again, "Or is it that you just have a weakness for me?"

Faith's brain stops, and as she tries to figure out something to say to that that doesn't sound like a defensive retort or a straight out lie, she lets her defenses down again. Her hesitation costs her, again, and within minutes she's flat against her back on the floor for the second time. "Stop doing that!" Faith yells, aggravated. Buffy just chuckles as she looks down at her.

"It's not my fault you're brain goes X rated in a matter of three seconds. You're just like a guy."

"Fuck off, will you? And get off of me while you're at it," Faith snaps in irritation, but Buffy doesn't move. She continues to pin her down, just screwing with her because apparently it's become her fun new game.

"What's the matter? Too close for comfort?" Buffy taunts. Faith swears she must have some evil in her because all of a sudden she's pressed, yeah, way too fuckin' close for comfort. The fact that Buffy thinks this is just amusing, innocent fun annoys her even more, and she's close to snapping. This isn't fuckin' funny anymore. "Thought you liked having boobs in your face."

"What did I say about getting burned?" Faith asks her, her own anger from the situation turning very much into adrenaline and hormones, just as she feared in the first place. But it's too late now, and Buffy's just asking for it. Faith's cocky arrogance arises and she smirks, lifting her head up enough to brush by Buffy's ear, "You couldn't handle playing with me, B. You'd be screaming before you even realized you'd touched the surface…" If Buffy wasn't going to play fair, then neither was she. Her voice was low and slick like molasses and she could practically feel the heat radiating off of Buffy and the lust dripping from her own words.

She also noticed when her little sentence temporarily stunned the older slayer, which was all Faith needed. Buffy was the one on her back so quickly it was almost like a blur, and the Buffy struggles underneath her as she screams, "Damnit! Faith!" It's Faith's turn to chuckle now. Who's the bitch now?

"Told you."

"Get off of me!"

"So what? You can torture me again? No thanks, think I'd rather be the one on top right now." Faith's hands were pinning Buffy's upper arms against the hard wood floor, her torso applying just enough weight to keep her there as long as she doesn't get distracted again. She can see Buffy getting all worked up at her anger from being bested, and her eyes flash.

"Messing with you constitutes as torture now?" Buffy asks, giving up on struggling since she knew she wasn't going to get anywhere unless she threw Faith off again. But Faith was prepared for it this time. Sort of. "Or do you really just want to fuck everything?"

"Eat me."

"You'd probably like that too much."

"Y'know, I probably would," Faith says, almost a snarl. She's fed up with this stupid game. Buffy isn't gonna make her break. She cracks a smirk and taunts back, "But seeing as you're the one who keeps bringing it up, I'm beginning to wonder a bit about you." Buffy's eyes go wide, and apparently Faith hit a sore spot.

A very sore spot.

"Fuck you, I bet you screw yourself at night thinking about me!" Buffy yells suddenly, and gets up enough adrenaline from her fury to knock Faith off of her, but only for a moment. Her hands connect with Faith's chest but Faith grabs her wrists, pinning her down heavily, her face inches from hers. "Slut," Buffy spits out at her. "You've always been obsessed with me."

"Oh go fuck yourself, you cocky bitch. Unlike you I get some when I need it, I wouldn't waste my time thinking about you."


They're both breathing heavily, the passion from the anger humming across their skin like torture, and as they glare at each other they start to feel something that neither of them were expecting to feel in that moment. There's silence. Long silence that seems to stretch on forever and taunt both of them. Faith can feel her grip slacking, but Buffy doesn't move. She just lies there, seemingly letting Faith own her for a second. What was going on? This is the part you feared, Faith. The part when the line blurs and everything doesn't make sense. When things just run on feeling and fuck knows that never leads to anywhere good.

"Go to hell," Buffy says softly, her voice catching a bit in her throat as Faith's hands seem to have a mind of their own and slide down Buffy's forearms softly, almost agonizingly slow. Buffy seems almost scared, yet almost breathless with anticipation. Terrified but letting this play out. Whatever this was.

It's all a haze in Faith's head. The screaming, the fighting, the position they were in how the air in the room seemed to be heavy with the stench of lust. If she was thinking straight she would have gotten up, left. Fuck. Run the hell away. This doesn't make sense, any of it. They rip each other to bits and suddenly there's… fuck. What was this? Some kind of a spark. Some kind of… fuck, hell? Yeah, she was definitely in some kind of hell, but god did it make her feel powerful.

"Only if you're the one to take me there," Faith retorts, her voice soft as she looks down at the woman beneath her. Her heart is going so fast she's afraid it's going to burst out of her chest. It gets worse when Buffy sits up then, only a little, but enough for Faith to feel her breath on her lips. Her senses are practically screaming, the slayer connection is going haywire and it was almost like the world around them fell away. Nothing mattered but them.

"Why is it always about me?" Buffy asks quietly, curiously, and Faith notices a slight shake in her voice. But if she's scared she isn't backing down. If anything, she's getting closer. Faith looks down at Buffy's lips for a second, wishing she had the nerve to just take what was so close to her. But Buffy wasn't just some girl; she wasn't just some normal fucking person. She was… everything.

Faith was terrified to screw that up, so she doesn't answer her. She can barely even breathe right now with Buffy this close to her and all she can feel is the hum, everywhere, all over her skin. She knows they're too close, knows that the second one of them moves an inch their lips will be touching, and it's overwhelming. It's one of those perfect, fucked up moments that you have no idea if you should run away from or dive in head first.

But the moment didn't last long.

"Hey guys? What do you want me to do about the—HELLO." Kennedy stops in surprise as she sees the state of the two girls on the floor. Faith tears her eyes off of Buffy to look over in surprise at their unexpected witness, which gives Buffy enough of a chance to push Faith off of her… hard. Faith lands on the floor so suddenly that the breath gets knocked out of her from being basically thrown. She coughs once, annoyance written all over her face.

Well, that was one option. Fuck. She sighs and lies back on the floor, letting her head bang against the wood slightly for good measure. It just felt appropriate.

"Kennedy. Hi. We. Uh. Hi," Buffy starts, trying to get herself off of the floor. She brushes herself off. "Sparring," she explains, but Kennedy has an eyebrow cocked at her. Buffy coughs, just trying to let the moment get as far away from them as possible and changes the subject, "What do you want me to do about what?"

Kennedy narrows her eyes at her, flicks them over to Faith who's getting herself off the ground, then back to land on Buffy. But she doesn't say anything for a moment, and thankfully not about what she just maybe witnessed. "Willow's been channeling through the Scythe, trying to find some of the other Slayers who awoke in the general area. Do you want us to…?"

"How many did you find?" Buffy asks, back to business now. Faith wonders idly how she just does that. Switches everything off like that. Fuck knows she can't.

"Only a few. We can get them here within the day."

Buffy nods, her tongue pressed against her teeth as she thinks. "Alright, yeah. But. Hey. Make sure you bring Giles, he hates to miss out on doing ‘The Chosen One' speech." She smirks a little, and so does Kennedy. One big joke. Ha, ha.

Faith rolls her eyes. She hated jokes right now.

"Alright. You two… well, have fun," she says in this way that makes it sound so completely dirty, and Buffy's eyes go wide. She's attempting to say something, sputtering, is more like it, until Kennedy's out the door. Finally she stops attempting to speak and just sets her jaw.


"We were sparring," Buffy says evenly, after a moment, not even bothering to turn around to face Faith as she addresses her. Faith just raises an eyebrow as she leans against the wall, arms crossed over her chest. Defensive.

"Yeah. Got that much."

"That was it."

"Well what else would you call it?" Faith snaps back, angry that everything just fell apart when it was so close to perfect. Angry that Buffy wouldn't even look at her. Angry that she didn't just kiss her when she had the chance.

"We just. We…" Buffy stops, taking a breath. She still doesn't turn around; she's staring out the window. "We get that way. Us. We yell and we, I don't know. Work stuff out. So. Let's just leave it."

"Yeah, cause that was really healthy," Faith mutters under her breath.

"Look I'm just saying," Buffy defends, finally turning around to look at her. "That's happened a lot. Okay? Not in awhile, but it used to happen all the time. It's just how we get when we spar. It just is what it is and there's no reason to throw a parade over it."

Faith scoffs. What the hell was Buffy doing? Trying to be the bigger person? She really didn't like the tone of voice she was using, like she was trying to explain something to a child. Explain that the world just sucks and there's nothing anyone can do about it, that sort of thing. And yeah, okay, maybe things used to get heated when they were younger, but they never almost kissed.

Does it just get worse with age?

"It's just the connection we have," Buffy finishes, like that explained everything. Whatever.

"Bit fucked up that our connection wants us to…" Make out. But Faith didn't finish her sentence. She just shakes her head, annoyed, and gets herself up off the wall, crossing over to grab her hoodie. "Alright B, no parade. Gotcha."


But Faith doesn't turn around as she leaves, not wanting to look at her right now. "It's all good. Got places to be," Faith avoids. Then she's gone, away from all the craziness and the headaches and the confusion.

That's just how they got? What kind of ridiculous bullshit was that? Yeah, Buffy just admitted there was something. Sure, yay, what-the-fuck-ever. But… damnit. Watching her just try to rationalize it by spewing the first load of crap that came to her mind fucking… hurt. Maybe because she isn't sure if it's true or not. What if that is just how they got? What it has nothing to do with anything, and Faith's feelings for Buffy are completely separate from that entire fuckery?

One thing's for sure though: next time Buffy asks her to spar, she's gonna tell her to stick it up her ass. She didn't need this crap. Everything hurt enough as it is.



Chapter Seven

"You made out with my sister?"

Faith looks over at Dawn, who's flopped down on the brick wall next to her. She didn't seem upset, merely curious. Faith blinks and takes a drag off her cigarette, willing herself not to just freak the fuck out at that statement. Buffy is going to go on a murderous rampage if she hears that rumor. More than likely she'll be the target too, not Kennedy who was now at the top of Faith's personal hit list.

"What the fuck? No."

"That's what everyone's saying," Dawn says as she takes out her own cigarette and places it between her lips. She motions for the lighter. Faith sighs and holds it out, flicking it, making it spark and flame. After Dawn get's hers lit, Faith shakes the lighter, letting it close with a click before pocketing it. She still won't look at her.

Great, that's what everyone's been saying. Fucking awesome.

"Ain't what happened. We were just sparring," she replies, looking out at the sunset. How she had gotten through the whole day without hearing a single thing about this rumor before now though, she has no idea. Maybe everyone else in this joint is intimidated by her. And honestly, Faith finds it mildly irritating that Dawn seems to be immune to that.

Dawn snorts, "Yeah, cause sparring turns into a rumor that you guys made out so easily." Faith takes another drag of her cigarette and ignores her. She doesn't want to talk about this. Especially not with her. "Seriously."

"Seriously, nothing, okay? We were sparring. I had her pinned and maybe it looked like something else but it just wasn't," Faith says, just wanting her to drop it. Why the hell did Dawn even care? And by care she means care about what happened, and not care as in like… coming over to attempt to kick her ass for violating her family. Because that she would have expected. This new found "adult Dawn" is freaking her out a bit.

"I'm not stupid, you know," Dawn snaps at her, and that finally makes Faith look at her. Alright, that wasn't so adult. "I was around for everything. I've seen how you guys are. So don't act like I'm some stupid kid."

"And how are we, exactly?" Faith retorts, eyes narrowing. Hell, she'd like to have a little insight on that herself. Maybe it'd answer all the lingering questions she has in the back of her head. Like why Buffy almost let her kiss her. Almost.

"You're completely in love with her, Faith. I mean seriously, wake up."

Faith stares at her, not believing she really just said that to her. But she doesn't deny it, there's really no point. And it sure as hell didn't help her any either, because she already knew that. She takes another drag of her cigarette before flicking it into the street, watching the sparks skitter across the pavement. "If you're gonna start giving me advice on how to get into your sister's pants I'm gonna throw myself into oncoming traffic," she says flatly.

"What? Ew. No," Dawn says, making a face. She shudders a little, probably just trying to get out the very horrible image Faith just put in her head. She takes a drag of her cigarette like she's trying to get out the bad taste by overpowering it with another. When she exhales she says, "I was just saying I'm not stupid. So if you kissed her…"

"I didn't kiss her, Dawn, okay? Shit. We were sparring, I'm not lying to you," Faith says, frustrated. She slides off the wall. Yeah, she's done with this messed up interaction right about now. She had been trying like hell not to think about what almost happened all day, and this wasn't helping any. She starts to walk away when she hears:


Faith sighs and turns around, looking back at Dawn who was still perched on the wall. Dawn gives her a small, sympathetic smile. "Just don't be stupid about it," she tells her softly.

Man, Faith hated sympathy.

"I'm not gonna do anything about it," Faith tells her evenly, but honestly. She never has and she never will. It's just some kind of problem that she has, apparently. It was right there in front of her this morning and she couldn't just take it, what's wrong with her? Regardless, that's not the only problem she's got at the moment, because seriously? Everyone's been saying that? Buffy is going to hit the freaking roof. Probably tear the damn thing off and throw it at her.

So. Best not be around for that one, then.

Instead of heading back into Wolfram & Hart, she heads down the street to the bar she went to last night. Hell, if she's gonna come back to getting screamed at, she might as well be drunk for it. Least then when Buffy hits her it won't hurt so bad. Least not until the morning. But hey, maybe the hangover will overpower that pain. Can't hurt to try, right?

She downs three jack and cokes and turns away five drunk men before she even begins to notice her surroundings. It was a Monday night so there weren't that many people; just what seemed like a few regulars and some college kids having it off cause they had nothing better to do with their lives. She's about to say fuck it and leave, go out and do some slaying or something, until she notices a woman sitting at the other end of the bar, looking bored.

Oh, it can't be…

Faith gets up, taking her drink with her and makes her way over to the blonde. Sliding in the seat next to her she says, "What is this, your pick up place?"

The girl she very much slept with last night turns to her, that bored look still on her face. "No," she replies, like she didn't even understand the question. "I failed the apples and oranges test, so I'm here to socialize." She sounds like she's reading off of a billboard, and Faith snorts a bit as the woman fiddles with the straw in her little girly looking concoction that she seems to not even have an interest in.

She has no idea what the apples and oranges test is, but she'll just pass that one by. "Yeah, cause sitting here by yourself is really making that one work out well."

"I'm not by myself," the woman says simply, in that eerie little way that she does. She cocks her head slightly as she turns away from her, seemingly people watching, "I'm with you."

This girl really ain't all there upstairs.

"Yeah, whatever," Faith says, taking a sip of her drink. She finishes it with one last pull of her lips and as the ice clinks against the bottom of the glass, she puts it back down on the bar. She wasn't much for seeing her old fuck dates, but she had an unsettling feeling of loneliness in the pit of her stomach. She clicks her tongue a bit to get the girls attention, and when she turns back to her she asks, "You gonna tell me your name tonight, or are you gonna pull that woman of mystery crap again?"

"Today I'm Alice," she replies, a little smile on her face. Faith can't help but think that, hey, even if the bitch is a bit crazy, she's still beautiful, especially when she smiles. Anyone with eyes can see that. She was a tiny little thing, even though she stood a good two inches taller than her. Tiny in every way but very strong underneath; like she was trained for something that Faith is pretty sure she wants to know nothing about.

"Right. Okay. Alice," Faith mocks, because she's sure that's not her name, but whatever. Least she has something to call her now. She waves to the bartender to get them two more drinks, and after they're delivered she slides one over to Alice, asking, "So what's your deal?"

"I'm a book keeper," Alice tells her, but then makes a face like she isn't sure if that's right. She picks up her drink and takes a sip as she seemed to think about that one, then she nods, sure of it. Faith cocks an eyebrow. Part of her wishes the chick's just drunk, then she'd have a reason to be all fucking weird, but Faith has a feeling that's just how she is.

"Doubt that," Faith says, but shrugs. "But whatever." She ain't gonna dwell on it since she ain't gonna tell her what she does either. Not that dusting the undead is really what she does for a living, though. But man, if she had a dollar for every vamp she slayed she'd… alright, she wouldn't be rich, but at least she wouldn't have had to resort to stealing when she was younger. Because really, there's only so many times you can eat people's leftovers that they threw away before you go insane.

Alice blinks a little, then looks at her curiously. "Are we going to have sex again? Is that why you came over?"

Faith laughs a little just because, hell, you had to laugh at that. The girl might not have tact, but she was direct, and Faith kind of liked that. It saves time by not playing all the stupid games every woman tries to pull. She smirks, "Why? You up for some fun tonight?" She wasn't particularly horny, what with all the craziness going on back at the ranch, but who was she to pass up sex with a good looking woman? It might take her mind off of things, at least. Sex was always good for that.

Alice shrugs, very nonchalantly, then agrees, "It was fun. I liked it." She smiles then, almost giddy at the prospect. "We can do it again."

Faith's maybe still a bit wary of her mental state but hey, the girl was amusing her. She needed that after the whole confusion that was Buffy and their little spar slash almost make out session. So yeah, she took her back to her room. And no, maybe it wasn't the smartest idea, but hell, she just needed to forget everything. Alice could help her with that. Just fall into her and fuck for hours and just forget.

The problem though, was that Faith failed to see the large, gaping hole in her plan that was Buffy waiting for her outside her bedroom door.

Alice seemed to have some kind of aversion to clothes, because in the elevator she had already stripped off her shirt and had her tongue down Faith's throat. Not that Faith was opposed to that, or even gave a fuck. Quite the opposite, actually. She laughed at her craziness, almost reveled in it as they were attached at the mouth all the way back to her room. All the potentials had been hanging out downstairs so she knew none of them would catch a glimpse of what or who she was doing, and especially whose jeans she now had her hand down as they attempted to make it to her bedroom door. She didn't think about anything besides how she was about to feel within the hour, didn't pay attention to anything around her, and thus didn't notice Buffy staring at her, eyes wide, mouth open, at her very slutty display in the hallway, until:

"You've got to be kidding me."

That made Faith's heart leap into her throat as she turned around, taking her hand out of Alice's jeans quickly. But she doesn't even have time to think of some lame ass excuse, or whatever it was that she was about to have come pouring out of her mouth and having her look like even more of an idiot, because Buffy's screaming now.

"We have kids in this building, Faith! What the hell do you think you're doing, bringing your whores up here and being all… whorish in the hallway?!"

"HEY!" Faith exclaims, the only thing she can find herself to say. Fuck, Buffy can be pissed all she wants, but she doesn't have to be a rude bitch, either. Faith might never have been one to explicitly care about other people's feelings, but Buffy used to be, and calling Alice a whore didn't exactly constitute as welcome wagon behavior. Not that she expected such, but the least she could have done is wait to scream at her until after her guest leaves.

"I don't like her," Alice tells Faith simply, though seems to not care much either way. She states it just how it is: a fact. She then turns to inform Buffy, like she didn't hear her the first time, "I don't like you."

"Great, I don't like you either," Buffy snaps at her, seemingly dismissing her from the conversation. She turns back to Faith, hands waving in the air erratically until they fall to her hips, "What is the matter with you? First you go around and tell people you kissed me, and now you've decide to run around and act like a five dollar hooker? Side note: you're past your hormonal teenage bullshit excuse, so don't feed me that."

"Go ram a stake up there, B. What I do ain't your business," Faith snaps back angrily, grabbing Alice's hand. She opens the door to her bedroom and lets her in, before she turns back to Buffy, who's standing there seething. "Oh. And F-Y-fucking-I: I didn't tell anybody shit. You want someone to blame? Go kick Kennedy's ass." She slams the door and locks it before Buffy can say another word, and leans against it heavily, just trying to take a breath.

That irrational, childish anger was boiling to the surface. She tried to suppress it, she did. She tried to just let everything go, just let it be what it was – just some stupid fight, but she couldn't. Buffy always had to make her out to be the bad guy, didn't she? Never mind that she was just screaming at her in the middle of the hallway like Wife Swap gone bad, the only thing that mattered was that Faith was the fuck up, right? Faith the whore, Faith the slut. Whatever. Faith, the one who ruins everything.

Well fuck that.

Alice didn't ask, which she appreciated. She also took her angry I-Hate-Buffy sex like a fuckin' champion, and Faith made sure they screwed for hours and was as loud as possible just to spite the bitch. She wanted her to hear every little dirty moment and imagine everything she was doing in there with vivid detail. She wanted to hurt her, bad. Not that she thinks her sex will actually hurt Buffy, but it sure as hell is pissing her off at least. That much was obvious each time Buffy punched the wall that separated their two rooms.

She wanted to piss her off so badly with it in fact that after Alice left (though the window, again. What's wrong with her?), she continued to masturbate with the most overdramatic noises in the world. The worst part about it was that Buffy knew she was alone now, and knew she was doing it just to piss her off. So she wasn't that surprised when finally there was banging on her door.

"Will you shut up?!" Buffy shrieks, her lack of sleep infuriating her even more. It makes Faith smirk. Yeah, they were fighting like childish brats, but Buffy started it. Well, alright, maybe she started it, but Buffy didn't have to be rude about it. She wouldn't call her a whore for bringing home some guy in the middle of the night, but maybe because she just doesn't have the balls to.

Or maybe because Buffy isn't a slut like she is.

And maybe she should have stopped there; she proved her point, after all. But instead of stopping she replies with a very loud and long moan. Her fingers teased her clit but she could barely feel it anyway because all she was focused on was pissing off Buffy. It was always fuckin' about Buffy.

The banging on her door continues. "Faith, I swear to god if you make me come in there I will kick your ass!" Buffy screams, probably waking up the entire floor. But their juvenile feud apparently knows no bounds anymore. Buffy was pissed, Faith was pissed, and when they were pissed the only thing that mattered was the two of them and how much further they could take it until one of them snaps.

But Faith continues, not going to back down from this. All the orgasms weren't helping her anger; if anything, they were fueling it. So when the door splinters and comes crashing in, Faith is expecting it. She's standing just in time to block the first punch that heads in her direction.

Everything was a blur; the whole day was a blur. Everything seemed to go too fast and get too heated and too fucked up so quickly that Faith didn't even have a moment and stop to think what was really going on. But this was how it was with them. Everything was good, fine, fuckin' dandy one minute and the next the whole world comes crashing down and they're trading punches, though usually Faith is dressed for this part.

It was messed up; it was really fucking messed up. All of it. How did they get here? Yesterday they were out slaying; coming to some sort of truce and then the rug gets ripped out from underneath them. They're kidding themselves, right? They can never be friends. Not really. Because this is what happens. They really are like two children. They fight over the stupidest shit just to hear themselves argue. Just to best one another; come out on top. They have this competition complex with each other, and no matter how much they try to fix it… it's always gonna be screwed up. This is always going to end up happening.

And Faith is always going to wake up the next morning, littered with bruises and guilt, and blame the whole thing on herself.

This all got screwed up way too fast.

They fought for what seemed like hours, but probably was only twenty minutes. It only ended when Buffy finally got in one good blow that sent her skidding across her bed to hit the wall. Buffy stood there, angry, breathless, looking on the verge of fucking tears as she waits for Faith to get up. But she doesn't, she's just done with this. She sits up, wincing at the pain in her back and knows there's gonna be a mark later.

"Fine, you win," Faith gasps out as she rubs the offended area. Fuck that was painful.

Buffy doesn't say anything, but Faith doesn't think she can. She's just staring at her, looking like she's on the verge of breaking. She finally finds it in her to sit on the edge of the bed, her breathing still labored. "No…" she tells her softly, her voice shaking a little from either the sadness or the rage. "I didn't."

And as if the screwed up situation couldn't even get any more messed up… Buffy ended up sleeping in her bed that night. They didn't say anything after that last exchange of words; both of them were just too exhausted and upset to even begin to form a thought. So when Buffy curled up at the bottom of Faith's bed, just staring at the wall, Faith let her. And when she realized Buffy was asleep, she took a pillow and a blanket, and decided to sleep on the floor so she wouldn't accidentally kick her in the middle of the night.

It didn't make sense. Any of it. How they can just go back and forth, be so perfect and then fuck everything up. How they just fought fiercely for what seemed like forever and then just let everything go for the night for the sake of sleep. Maybe for the sake of sanity. Neither of them really knew.

If there ever was a need for Slayer therapy… now would be it.



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